Wednesday, January 8, 1997

The Law According to Gregory Wayne Kable

I was sharply separated from both my children aged just 4 years and two years and sent to prison for the manslaughter of my wife. I cared for my children when my wife worked and I believe that I still had a responsibility to them even after the crisis situation and tragedy. I wanted to reassure them now and find out how they were doing.

As this did not happen in the first 12 months of my incarceration I became very frustrated and angry about it. I subsequently wrote a threatening letter to the in-laws who denied the access and who had stolen my children - along with the state government. My mother sort custody and she had my authority to do that.

I felt this was my choice not theirs. Subsequently, I was charged with sending a threatening letter and given and additional 16 months jail on top of my manslaughter sentence of 4 years.

No more threats ensured and just before I was to be released at the end of my sentence I was used by the NSW Liberal government who were grandstanding on law and order to try and win the 1994 State election.

So instead of their assistance with contact to my children they used my sad case to try and leverage themselves (liberal government) back into public office for another term. Subsequently they were defeated by the Carr Labor government.

I protested long and hard to see my children until finally
Liberal premier John Fahey made a law against me. That law was the Community Protection Act 1994.

Initially the law was meant to be general according to the first Parliamentary debates and reading speech. However, the community howled with protest and during the course of the second Parliamentary debate and reading speech the Parliament designed the Act for me.

Yes! One person!

Kable specific legislation - The enactment of a Second Class Citizen in NSW.

I was serving time, minding my own business, but complaining to a specific public servant, the then Liberal, Attorney General, Minister of Justice and Minister of Corrective Services, John Hannaford, because I had not seen my children in years.

Falling through the safety net in prison, I was told I had no means and no merit. Having initially, no legal knowledge or understanding of legal proceedings, I did not have the skills to take up my own case.

It is my understanding, nonetheless, that public servants are there to serve the public. Four years after making my numerous complaints and protests to see my children the NSW Government hit me with a stick. I was subsequently profiled in an election campaign and then nailed to the wall.

I served seven more months behind bars for no crime, on the balance of probabilities that I was more likely than not to commit a serious act of violence. Without being charged or granted bail and I was given the Gulag treatment by numerous Forensic Psychiatrists.

For those of you who do not know what the Gulag treatment means. It means forced discomfort and brain washing until one submits with their alleged wrongdoing.

Flowing on from the above I spent twelve more months in self proposed exile in Queensland waiting for the High Court to rule because both the Premier and his Attorney made public comments after I secured my release, that the Judge was wrong to release me.

If I had remained in NSW and if it was thought by some police or politician that I might commit a crime I could have been locked up for a three month interim period without trial, without bail, and without any evidence.

When the High Court ruled the New South Wales Community Protection Act invalid and I was helped down off the wall that I was nailed to, no-one from the government said sorry. Left up to the Politicians who claimed that I made the mistake.

No-one with the exception of my family, Resamen housing and the totally un-funded Justice Action, offered any social support.

The populist view at that time was that it does not matter! The Act was passed specifically for Kable! It did not affect anyone else!

If you thought like that you were wrong. Precedent is a rule of law throughout Australia and the Commonwealth. Effectively they could of lifted up the skirt of the legislation at any time and added your name to it as well.

Brandies J of the Supreme Court of the United States, who strikes a particular resonance in connection with the Community Protection Act, wrote the following:-

"Experience should teach us to be most on guard to protect liberty when the Governments purposes are beneficent." "Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers."

There were times in gaol when I became negatively reinforced, frustrated and extinguished for trying. I took on matters out of my qualified league. From a point of disempowerment I tried where everything was multiplied by ten in terms of getting it.

Even a pencil can be multiplied by ten if it is behind ten locked gates. Or ten stubborn guards who won't understand the need. Or try ten extra hours locked in a cell when prison guards go on strike.

The frustration of trying to get a glimpse of my children made me feel like ripping off my skin.

These special Acts of Parliament are not Community Protection Devices. They are Star Chambers that's what they are.

Trust us, we know best. This is not nineteen forties Russia. No person shall be regarded or treated as an insane person simply for the expression of opinions no matter how absurd these opinions may appear.

No person shall be imprisoned and treated as an insane person. This my friends was a blatant attack on Civil Liberties. There was no expiry date on the legislation. We have to balance the rights of individuals, with the rights of their freedom, with the rights of society. Keeping people in gaol because of something they might do, thoughts they might have.

The distribution of wealth, class, and media; and even more sinister the macro level in Australia of legalistic bureaucracy, with its manifold arms, in the form of commissions, ombudsmen, tribunals and the like who can insist on secret arrangements enacted within their particular legislation to view matters in camera. In short we don't know what goes on most of the time. We don't hear of the worst cases of abuse. Even when you are right, there is no utility or funding to do anything about your concerns.

How do I argue with a QC who heads a department full of resources? Especial distress occurs when you know of your rights but cannot implement the same because you suffer hardship and there is no Legal Aid dollar. For instance, all I wanted to do was to see my children. All I got was a decision by the Government to place my children into protective custody and change their names.

Now! if that doesn't send shock waves throughout the community it is because of the balance of power and the fact that it has only effected a minority. We don't need to fight them, but we need to tell them how it is for us. If I can point you to the pain of alienation where the whole community is looking upon you as an enemy to it's peace. It is no small trial.

In 1838, Birney wrote the following:-

"I have not one helper- not one from whom I can draw sympathy on this topic! Again he faced censure and threats of violence from mobs while he believed, that if ever there was a time, it is now come. I am aware that many object to the severity of my language , but is there no cause for severity ? I will be harsh, as harsh as the truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject I do not wish to speak or write with moderation. No!... Tell a man who's house is on fire to give a moderate alarm. Tell a mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which he has fallen, but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am earnest. I will not equivocate. I will not retreat a single inch and I will be heard."

Those are special words for me. Let us all work together with love and in peace for the common good of all the people. Gregory Wayne Kable

Ed: The Law according to Gregory Wayne Kable is an edited version of the opening speech he gave at the First National Conference of Community Based Criminal Justice Activists. The Conference was hosted by Justice Action.

Justice Action

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