Complaint lodged over Ms Dhu custody death

A complaint has been lodged with the Australian Human Rights Commissioner about the case of a 22-year-old Aboriginal woman who was treated inhumanely in the lead-up to her death in West Australian custody.

Ms Dhu, whose first name is not used for cultural reasons, died in a Pilbara hospital in 2014, two days after being locked up at the local police station for unpaid fines.

She succumbed to staphylococcal septicaemia and pneumonia after an infection in her fractured ribs, caused by domestic violence, spread to her lungs.

But some officers thought she was faking illness and coming down from drugs, and some medical staff also thought she was exaggerating.

Coroner Ros Fogliani said in her 2016 inquest findings that Ms Dhu's death could have been prevented if her illness had been diagnosed days earlier, and her treatment was unprofessional and inhumane.

On Tuesday, Sydney-based solicitors Levitt Robinson lodged a submission with the Australian Human Rights Commissioner on behalf of Ms Dhu's family.

The lawyers argue that based on the coroner's findings, actions for malpractice should have been brought against medical staff and police should have been investigated for possible criminal charges.