Friday, February 27, 2004

Adelaide Festival kicks off with Aboriginal welcome

The curtain rises on the Adelaide Festival of the Arts this evening with an Aboriginal welcoming ceremony on the banks of the River Torrens.

South Australia's major arts event also begins with welcome news at the box office.

Ticket sales have reached $2.7 million, which is well ahead of target.

The festival gets underway with a sacred opening at Pinky Flat on the Torrens just before sunset.

Local Aboriginal communities will be involved in the event to the beat of 100 drums and the haze from burning eucalypts.

The free outdoor event will be held while inside Adelaide's theatres, there will be diverse performances such as the Prague Chamber orchestra, Britain's Imaginary Body Company, Circus Oz and state theatre's world premiere production of Night Letters.

Premier Mike Rann is urging all South Australians to get involved over the next two weeks.

"This is one of the great festivals of the world and it's up there with Edinburgh, everyone can participate," he said.

About 65,000 tickets have been sold to festival shows so far, which is 15 per cent above expectations.

By Koori 27 February 04

The Daily Telegraph attack Mr Breen again!

This time they are alleging UPPER House MP Peter Breen used his $102,000 public salary to fight for yet another cause, the newspaper doesn't agree with.

Perhaps he should have used it for binge drinking with the Bulldogs?

Mr Breen, who was elected earlier this month backed a High Court bid to free the killers of Virginia Morse and Janine Balding, and is lobbying for the life sentences of some of the state's lifers to be redetermined.

Peter Breen MP attacked by the Terror

Yesterday the Reform the Legal System MP had a rare victory, convincing the State Government to remove all royal coat of arms featuring the lion and unicorn, in exchange for the state coat of arms.

The royal crest, held up by a lion and unicorn, is largely only used in the legal fraternity, on about 360 NSW courthouses, above the Speaker's chair in State Parliament and on judges' letterheads.

The state coat of arms, designed early last century and featuring a lion and kangaroo, is used on all other government buildings and flags.

Under the new law, all royal emblems will have to be removed from Government buildings within three years.

Mr Breen, who also wants X-rated videos legalised, claimed the bill would not cost taxpayers' money. The Government also claimed the law would not cost anything and said royal emblems sculpted into sandstone buildings would be exempt and others in government building replaced only during renovations.

"People really don't think it is appropriate to use British symbols to represent the dominion and sovereignty of NSW people," Mr Breen said. "I think the Government has been very courageous in supporting this."

By LILLIAN STAR 27 February 04

THE DOG: RUFF ROUGH...Should the Daily Terror attack honest politicians doing their job?


Peter Breen MP attacked by the terror
LILLIAN SALEH and STAVRO SOFIOS both reporters for the Daily Telegraph have written an article allegedly for Bob Carr in today's Daily Telegraph.

A Question of Innocence
Minister Chris Ellison: Yes we’re watching the progress of this project in NSW with great interest. This has been raised at the Standing Committee of Attorneys General and a working group is looking at this very question. I think we have to have a considered response to this proposal and on a national basis, we would need to have the cooperation of the states and territories.

Tony still seeking release after half a lifetime 'inside'

"If only I could be free again and keep alight the peace and serenity found in the darkness of this night." (Tony Rawlins)

WHEN Tony Rawlins was locked away for life; trams were still running in Brisbane. City Hall was the tallest building on the skyline and Joh Bjelke-Petersen was a little known Opposition backbencher.

Tony who was 28 years of age in 1955 is now 74 and is Queenslands longest serving prisoner.

He has been behind bars for 48 years more than half his life.

He was arrested on New Years Eve in 1955, tried and sentenced on 15th February 1956. He felt that the short time on remand, indicates, the prosecution wanted a trial whilst the "Hue and Cry" was still 'rife' of course he said he may have been cynical!

Back in 1956, when he appeared in the Townsville courthouse charged with the murder of a 12-year-old girl Fiona Verdova, he sought solace in a set of rosary beads.

49 years later Edward Arthur Anthony Rawlins is till seeking peace of mind.

"I have never stopped thinking about what I did. I will for the rest of my life." He said, 17 years ago while going about his duty as a greenkeeper at Wacol Prison.

"I accepted many years ago that I will always think about it. Remorse is timeless."

Tony an alcoholic when he committed the crime entered the A.A. program in 1958. October 13th and hasn't missed a meeting since, except when hospitalised.

He allegedly pleaded guilty it was said but the Magistrate refused the plea and committed him for trial in the Townsville Supreme Court.

The crime was allegedly committed at Kissing Point in a gun emplacement and Tony recalled nothing of the predicament of the charge because he suffered from Alcoholic Amnesia.

"I was informed that I had pleaded "guilty" at the low court."

"I can assure you I have never entered a guilty plea in my life. Nor have I written statements."

Tony was sentenced to life with hard labour.

"A life sentence is a life sentence you have to live with that," he said.

"But parole after so long would certainly be fruit on the sideboard.

During his prison term Tony has seen numerous psychiatrists.

"A favourable report is only valid for "six months" an unfavourable report is "quoted" for the duration of your sentence and in some cases into the next sentence."

When Tony drew attention to this stating that, "it was illegal" the reaction seemed to be "illegal" is just a "sick bird". As he didn't understand the process! He replied "I have read the handbook on the subject." (It's titled "CATCH 22").

It has been stated in the Courier Mail that a significant number of prisoners, are never to be released. Those files have been "flagged" Special Interest to the Minister.

Tony feels that the psychologists and psychiatrists have too much input and sway in decision making, on the release of prisoners, in QLD.

When he was first locked away. Tony recalled, a new suit cost "(three pounds ten shillings)."

"They took me out to the Indooroopilly shop for afternoon tea and the local bowling greens it was a great day he grinned. What a lot of changes the world seems to have shrunk."

"Prices shocked me. A new suit now costs a couple of hundred dollars and the amount of visual pollution, all those billboards and home made signs on trees and posts. I was amazed.

He has also been outside to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in Ipswich.

"That was my downfall I'm an alcoholic." He freely confessed.

"That's my problem. It always will be. One drink would be fatal. AA is something you can never leave."

Tony told us his motto,

"You can't build castles in the sky. You have to take one day at a time", he explained

"Sadly too many young ones never do that and when they get a Dear John letter they go to pieces. If you think of the future, you worry and nowhere in the recorded history of mankind has worry ever solved a problem."

"If I could be freed again and keep alight the peace and serenity found in the darkness of this night."

Freedom for Tony Rawlins, however is a little more than a glimmer at the end of the tunnel?

"I have started once again preparing other applications. But you mustn't raise your hopes. Take one day at a time."

"It would be good however, to get a reason as to why parole is knocked back. At least I could then plan ahead to meet that objection. In the meantime as it has been for 49 years it's one day at a time. He said.

After serving imprisonment continually since February of 1956, because of his age 74, he suffers from high blood pressure, angina, has survived a mild stroke and two major strokes in the past few years, leading to mobility problems on gradients and he continues to have irregular heart problems.

One wonders what danger Mr Rawlins would be to the community if he were released?

He has previously completed several Leave of Absences without incident and his behaviour has been impeccable.

His applications have been for the purpose of attending Anzac marches, at Rathdowney, participating in social and cultural activities consistent with his curriculum vitae, museums and art galleries.

The Rev A McDonald has committed to sponsor his Leave of Absence.

Programs completed to date:

Qualified Greenkeeper, Community Youth Work, Full Member of the National Geographic Society, Communications and Human Relations, Anger Management, Otions Marriage Guidance, Toastmasters International, Spirit of Success, First Aid, Cognitive Skills, Cabinet Making, Carpentry Joinery, Debating, Public Speaking, Adjudicator, Short Story Writing & Poems, Boat Building House Caravan and Small Ship Design. Hon Life Member AYRS of Cornwal, UK Life Member of Junior Chamber of Commerce Scope Award.

In 1956, The Statute "Life" Sentence was 13 to 25 years, he feels that, due to the 'Corrective Commission' Semantices Acts of Parliament are transferred into the Commission's guidelines, and become retrospective which has bought about his having served, to date 47 years in prison.

Letter from Mrs Niezgoda Tony's sister she writes as follows:

I am his sister and the only family member who now visits him when I can afford it. I can only afford to visit him about every two years. If he were in NSW I would be able to visit him more often.

My other children who would visit him could stay at my place and we could all see him.

If he had more visits I think he could cope better.

Hoping you may be able to see about getting him released.

Letter from Ms Dean is Tony's niece she writes as follows:

My Uncle Tony has been imprisoned for a term for longer than anyone should be.

At the moment he is at Unit B on the prison farm at Rathdowney, QLD.

As his niece I support him his endeavours to be a free man. Due to his age and health he should be allowed his remaining days to be spent as a free man. I feel he has paid his debt to society many times over.

Tony's last answer, was "A risk of re-offending"? He believes only a pseudonym, for "We have NO other excuse to refuse your application".

So what possible risk could this man be to the community or the Queensland Government?

I urge the Queensland Government to respectfully consider releasing Tony back to the community.

If you can assist Tony Rawlins please contact Justice Action

justice ACTION
PO Box 386 Broadway, NSW 2007, AUSTRALIA
Ph: 612 9660 9111 Fax: 612 9660 9100

By Justice Action 27 February 04


Four Corners [Walls]: Bank Robbers in The Firing Line...
Well folks! Four Corners [Walls] is back "in the firing line" and around every corner there is another wall. They must go out and find these people, to match the profile they seek to exploit.

8,500 Prisoners in NSW, 2000 on Remand
The Government yesterday released figures which showed that the state remand population accused criminals who have been denied bail has reached 2000, up 200 from last year. This is the highest number of people on remand ever in NSW. As well, the state's overall prison population reached 8500 on February 15.

NSW Parole Board: Catherine Dovey
The daughter of former prime minister Gough Whitlam has resigned from the NSW Parole Board, complaining of political interference from the Carr Government.

Former Royal Commissioner Justice John Nagle and Professor Tony Vinson are the keynote speakers at a seminar this week marking 25 years since the landmark Nagle Report into NSW prisons.

Jails the new asylums?
QUENTIN DEMPSTER: Asylum seekers -- no, not what you think -- but those who are so disillusioned with the current approach of our mental health system that they believe we should go back to the old ways and rebuild the asylums.

Inside Out Community Forum
Inside Out Association of NSW Incorporated is a newly formed initiative aiming towards developing genuine educational, rehabilitative, and re-integrative programs and assistance packages for prisoners and others effected by the criminal justice system, [criminal law system.]

Government justice not personal justice
Mr Collins said that, " No one is entitled to add to the court sentence to wreak personal vengeance on the offender, this is government justice not personal justice."

Risk Assessment Tools: Justice Health
As I mentioned at the time, there are indeed a large range of actuarial tools for making such assessments, but a review of the literature shows that their ability to predict dangerousness in any one individual is next to zero (or as the Macarthur Study puts it, "the unaided abilities of mental health professionals to perform this task are modest at best"

Experts: The Prisoner's Dilemma
[One] reason we are so-so scientists is that our brains were shaped for fitness [to the peopled environment], not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not. Conflicts of interest are inherent to the human condition, and we are apt to want our version of the truth, rather than the truth itself, to prevail.

Ron Woodham my faithful Commissioner?
The Departments have all the senior legal staff, they have the brightest minds in the country and others who are willing to get their hands dirty to get the job done. They have the law and legislation which they can do with as they will, and a budget to blow your minds!

Sentencing: Violent crime and practical outcomes
It's about just deserts, time to stop and reflect, to gain insight into your offending behaviour, to learn more ideas, retribution for the victims, and to set an example for the community.

The Nagle Report 25 years on
On 25 February 2004 the Faculty of Law, University of New South Wales and the Centre for Health Research in Criminal Justice will be co-hosting a seminar to celebrate the Nagle Royal Commission. The seminar will be held in Parliament House, Macquarie Street Sydney, from 5.00pm. Entry will be free, but seating will be limited.

Practicably Perfect
Do you remember your first driving lesson? You were to steer as close to the curb when parking 'practicably' not perfectly or practically. Why? Because we are not as perfect as Premier Bob Carr wants to be seen. The degree of our mistakes depends on our experience and reflects on our upbringing and sometimes the lack of it.

Defining JA Mentoring
Mentoring is not a new concept. Justice Action graduated its first class of Mentors in December 2003. A good idea has legs of its own, and so the concept of one-on-one support for vulnerable people finding their way in society is now being taken seriously.

Call for royal commission into NSW prison health system
Mr Tony Ross a social justice activist said yesterday that a royal commission into the health system in NSW should be wide reaching to ensure that the Corrections Health Service, [Prisons Health Service], is also exposed because of reported widespread cover ups in the prisons health system.

CONS COMMIT CRIMES IN HASTE, NOW CAN REPENT AT LAWTEY Yes some peasants were out of work, hungry and desperate and had to find a way to feed their families, as they were not born with silver spoons in their mouths, Lord. They just robbed from the rich and gave to poor.

Australian prisoners numbers have increased by 50% over past 10 years In the past 10 years, the prisoner population in Australia increased by nearly 50% from 15,866 in 1993 to 23,555 in 2003, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). This increase has exceeded the 15% growth in the Australian adult population in the same period.

NSW Police Association wants sentencing powers?
NSW Police Association president Ian Ball said Inspector Borland now feared for his safety because of a 63 year old man being released from prison after doing a quick 18 for manslaughter.

Conditions in the HRMU
Justice Action is trying to obtain documents on behalf of prisoners held in the Goulburn High Risk Management Unit (HRMU) from the Federal Attorney General's Department, Corrective Services Minister's Conference regarding the process described below, in which the Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australia were adopted. This documentation will help explain the justification for the conditions in the HRMU.

Man wrongly imprisoned awarded $1m
A Sydney man who was acquitted of murder has won more than $1 million in damages for wrongful arrest and imprisonment. The New South Wales Supreme Court has agreed with Garry Raymond Nye's said that the charge was maliciously laid.

Forensic Hospital at Long Bay
NSW should reject the government decision to set up a secure forensic hospital at Long Bay - or in any place where it can be influenced by the Department of Corrective Services (DCS) (or probably Corrections Health Service (CHS) for that matter).

NSW leaves nation behind in rate and cost of jailing people
NSW not only has the most prisoners of any Australian state but also has the most violent prisoners, among the highest rates of recidivism and an increasingly expensive prison system, a Auditor-General's report says.

HRMU Solitary Confinement And Stopping Violence

Database clears up crimes but not used to clear up miscarriages?
NSW Police Minister John Watkins said at the launch of a Sydney conference of international forensic experts meeting to mark 100 years of fingerprinting in NSW.

But there are Keys!
Charles Dickens said, "Life is a secret and you haven't got the key." "And you never will have."

We the inmates, [prisoners], at the High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn Correctional Centre, would like to ask you for help in receiving equal treatment and opportunities as other inmates, [prisoners], throughout the system. As we are told that we are not in a segregation units, [solitary confinement units], but we are treated as though we are in one.

Should Pauline Hanson have gone to gaol in the first place?: Carmen Lawrence For example, the cost of running the NSW prison system is over $530 million each year and rising. In addition, the government spends around $90 million per year on building and maintaining prisons.

The brutality and savagery at Grafton jail that went on for 34 years with people getting their legs and arms broken running the gauntlet through a line of prison guards with batons. Some of those prisoners who were sent to jail for non-violence and punished went on to commit some of the most heinous crimes of the century.

The ACT Government has drafted a new Bill to implement Home Detention This very discriminatory type of sentence also punishes the family. It is questionable that it has been successful anywhere it has been tried.

Justice Kirby concerned at self-representation
High Court judge Michael Kirby says Australia's justice system is weakened by the increasing number of people representing themselves in court. Justice Kirby says he agrees with One Nation founder Pauline Hanson's concerns about the high cost of legal advice.

A veil of secrecy makes justice in jail a different kind from court justice
Although Queensland courts mete out justice, that justice ends at the gates of the Queensland prisons system where a bureaucratic and politically expedient doctrine of "out of sight - out of mind" takes control.

Hanson: I no longer support mandatory sentencing
One Nation Party founder Pauline Hanson has revealed she contemplated suicide while serving an 11-week jail term in Brisbane. Miss Hanson told about her time in jail and her future plans.

A Question of Innocence
Minister Chris Ellison: Yes we’re watching the progress of this project in NSW with great interest. This has been raised at the Standing Committee of Attorneys General and a working group is looking at this very question. I think we have to have a considered response to this proposal and on a national basis, we would need to have the cooperation of the states and territories.

Children of Prisoners' Support Group
Children of Prisoner's welcomes Ann Symonds as our first Patron at this years AGM and screening of "The Space in Between" video , and will have a visual display to demonstrate the invisible population of children effected by parental incarceration.

REMAND PRISONER BAIL REFUSED, THEN SHOT AND KILLED IN CUSTODY A Melbourne court has been told a prisoner was shot dead as he tried to escape from a hospital. The Melbourne Magistrates Court has been told remand prisoner Garry Whyte was receiving treatment at St Vincent's hospital in May last year, when he tried to escape.

NSW Corrections Health Service: Response
Prisoner: MRRC Long Bay: Corrective Health Services [Prison Health Service] in NSW fares only slightly better than CHS in the US. Force often takes the place of real medical care and custodial staff [guards] in fact must approve all CHS medical decisions.

Solitary Confinement: Our very own Alcatraz
Solitary confinement only makes prisoners more violent and inhumane, writes convicted armed robber Bernie Matthews. They were countless. Grafton floggings were routine and didn't require a reason. Everything at Grafton was routine a mindless, never-ending routine of isolation and solitary confinement that was punctuated by a screw's baton, boot or fist. The prison system called it rehabilitation.

The Sentencing (crime of murder) and parole reform act 2003
We wish for each and every prisoner to be brought in front of a Judge to have closure on their sentences, a fixed non-parole period on an individual basis, to give these people a chance to be able to rehabilitate and to stop them being used as Political Prisoners.

Prisoners as citizens and duty of care
For a long time now most learned people have been aware of the book Prisoners as Citizens. The Victorian Opposition is outraged at a confidential payout won by a prisoner injured while playing table tennis at the Melbourne Remand Centre because they can't afford the book?

Long Bay: Corrections Health Services in NSW prisons
Firstly, to call the Prison Health Service a Corrections Health Services is the first identified mistake. Nice names don't take the place of the type of service, they only attempt to cover up for a bad service, when the service is out the door....

Home detention for people who make mistakes
LEARNERS are getting home detention sentences by the State Government diverting people from the anti-social prison system.

Sisters Inside is a community organisation that works with women in prison, pre and post release. We challenge the injustices that impact on women in prison, their children and families.

NSW Terrorist Minister leads the way
New South Wales is hosting a two-day conference of state and territory prisons ministers on how to detain terrorists [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's resource war's in the Middle East.]

Anecdotal evidence from staff working in the New South Wales correctional system [prison system] has always suggested a high prevalence of mental illness among the prisoner population.

Yatala Labour Prison Adelaide Going Backwoods: response
Thank you and your team for your support. I have been trying to write you back. However the person has now stopped me from using the computers and education centre and the typewriter has been broken.

On the treatment of prisoners at the NSW HRMU
Prisoners sister's letter from her brother: Following our phone conversation some weeks ago I would like to set out a few points on the treatment of prisoners in the High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn (Super Max) (Guantanamo Bay).

Review of Justice Ministers claims about conditions at HRMU
Minister for Justice John Hatzistergos stated on 15 July 2003 concerning the prisoners at the High Risk Management Unit at Goulbourn.[Prisoners held in solitary confinement and tortured endlessly in a Supermax Prison at Goulburn.]

Lithgow Prison: This is no Irish joke!
Allow me to introduce myself to you my name is John Smith I am writing to you for your help in regards to Corrective Services Jail at Lithgow, I am a prisoner at this centre and I am serving a long sentence. I originally came from Ireland a number of years ago.

Lithgow prisoners speak out about rations
Some new issues have arisen today. A senior officer called me to the office, as they usually do to inform me of all new local orders etc concerning prisoners. The deputy governor has cut back funds for stores. Officers have been told they will issue only the following: One Toilet roll per week per prisoner One Toothbrush per month One plastic disposable spoon, fork, knife per day prisoner exchange only.

The High Risk Management Unit at Goulburn [Solitary Confinement Supermax, Torture, Gulag,] alleged to have been the first Australian jail of the 21st century and the most secure in the Southern Hemisphere (it was claimed in an article SMH 14 May 2001).

The Daily Telegraph licensed to set up prisoners?
A man who smuggled a mobile phone into a Sydney jail and took pictures of stockbroker Rene Rivkin has been sentenced to 400 hours of community service.

International Prisoners Justice Day 2003
Justice Action, Prisoners Action Group and others celebrated this year's IPJD by visiting Silverwater Jail Complex and talking to the visitors as they went in and came out. We handed out copies of the media release and Framed to the visitors (who took them inside!) and showed our support for prisoners and their families, talking through the loud hailer so prisoners inside would be aware of our presence.

Weak NSW Government suspends Innocence Panel
The DNA evidence panel is under investigation and the New South Wales Innocence Panel's operations have been suspended and a review of how it works ordered.

Is Prison Obsolete?
Eileen is a senior lecturer in the School of Social Work UNSW where she teaches and researches in the areas of social policy and social development. She has been the chief researcher, and has also collaborated on projects and publications regarding prisons, the criminal justice system and women, public and social housing and indigenous matters. She has recently completed major research on ex-prisoners, accommodation and social reintegration. Eileen has been active in using research to argue for policy change in the NSW criminal justice field for some years.

Escape proof but not so the prisoners mind
Fewer prisoners escape from prison these days because they're "cemented in" by materials that do not break and by legislation that can keep prisoners in jail until they die. All new prisons are virtually unbreakable. Built out of products like perspex, concrete and steel that have no flexibility and ensure that the prisoners of today take the full brunt of all Department of Corrective Services institutional failures.

Parents on the inside leave children on the edge
They have been dubbed the forgotten generation - the innocent casualties of their parents' crimes. New research shows that in 2001 14,500 NSW children had a parent in jail. And 60,000 NSW children under 16 have experienced the incarceration of a parent, more than half enduring the trauma of separation before they turn five.

New video to create empathy in violent criminals?
Violent offenders in New South Wales prisons will be the audience for a new video put together by the victims of crime group, Enough is Enough, but nothing from the ex-prisoners, support groups, like Justice Action, because they don't rate?

Junee Prison, NSW Parliament and Noble Cause Corruption
I have not been charged with any offence. The first thing I knew was when they (the Intel officer) at Junee had me called to reception. I was then told that I was going to segregation for good order and discipline.

Beyond Bars: Sentencing reform
A spokesperson Dr Tim Anderson said, " The law reform commission was too gutless on this a few years back but re-introducing remissions (perhaps under another name) would be a valuable move best wishes".

The Australian Institute of Criminology has released the National Deaths in Custody Program annual report for 2002 Between January and December 2002, there was a total of 69 deaths in custody in Australia. There were 50 deaths in prison custody and 19 deaths in police custody and custody-related police operations.

Yatala Labour Prison Adelaide Going Backwoods
I'm a prisoner in south Australia (Adelaide), Yatala Labour Prison, I'm 39 years old with only two and a half years spent in the community since the age of 13. I came into the adult prison system in 1985; I was released in 1998 only to re-offend. I'm now doing 30 years with a 16-year non-parole period, as it's truth in sentencing in our state and there is no remission. My release date is 2016.

Inspector General of Corrective Services Debate
Below is our response to Justice Minister Hatzistergos' comments in a debate in Parliament on July 2, 2003 regarding the impending decision about the future of the Inspector General of Corrective Services in NSW.

Hatzistergos: The Daily Telegraph's prison mates
Who convinced a prisoner on periodic detention to take a mobile phone into prison to take a photo of Rene Rivkin? The prisoner said no and contacted the Daily Terror to say no.

Premier Bob Carr, Deputy Premier Andrew Refshauge, Senator Aden Ridgeway, and other community representatives have been invited to receive the message from the men of "The Hole.

Goulburn Solitary Confinement: Midnight Special
If you ever go to Goulburn HRMU yeah, you better walk right, you'd better not breathe and sure thing better not fight. The next thing you know the SCU gonna arrest you and Rotten Ron send you down and you can bet your bottom dollar Lord, you'll be chaingang bound.

Carr defends prison handling of political PRISONER
Bob Carr should be ashamed of himself after giving the prisons Commissioner Rotten Ron Woodham another filthy job setting up Phuong Ngo as one of the most dangerous prisoners in the State.

How the QLD Dangerous Prisoners Act failed the first test
What is dangerous? Everyone is dangerous naturally it really depends on how far a person is pushed. Standing on a mountaintop with someone walking you backwoods towards the edge would promote fight or flight and if there is nowhere to fly but over the edge you may choose to respond. When a person breaks the law they lack social skills or are repressed into breaking the law.

Prison rehab programs in 'disarray': Opp
The New South Wales Opposition says rehabilitation in the state's prisons is in disarray. But the states prisons could never rehabilitate in the first place. So how can it be in disarray? The space station as it is known cannot rehabilitate because it's only a dot on the community map, as it were, in relation to how people were raised.

Justice Action calls for the retention of the office of Inspector General and a restructure of the legislation making it truly independent.

Old bureaucrats to say whether they felt there should be an effective inspector of bureaucrats?
JA is urgently working on a response to the 31 page review of the position of the Inspector General of Corrective Services position released by the Minister on10/6/03.

High Risk Management Unit (HRMU) INSPECTION
This letter is to request permission for an independent inspection team to examine the 75-cell HRMU at Goulburn Jail. The proposed inspection team consists of specialist doctors, jurists, members of the Corrections Health Service Consumer Council and prisoners representatives.

MJA - BBCD Outbreaks in NSW prisons
Seems some of our friends in & around Corrections Health Service (CHS) were able to take advantage of a couple of recognised cases of needle sharing by HIV positive prisoners to gather data for a study.

As an ex-Grafton intractable (1971-1975) and the only living ex-prisoner to have served the longest time inside Katingal (1975-1978) I feel qualified to offer the following personal observations:

Intolerable Conditions of Prisoners at Goulburn's HRMU
We wish to with respect, level a serious complaint against the Chief Executive Officer, Corrections Health Services, Dr Richard Matthews.

NSW death in custody, false imprisonment, and assault
Knight's case sparked headlines after it emerged that his suicide in John Moroney Correctional Centre [prison] in Sydney on January 22 occurred 18 days after his official release date.

Victorian (Australia) Juvenile Deaths in Custody & Post-Release has just been published on the British Journal of Medicine Quotes (BJM): "The risk of death was nine times higher in male offenders than in the reference Victorian male population. Although the estimate is unstable because of the small number of deaths, female offenders seemed to be about 40 times more likely to die than the reference Victorian female population."

The Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act 1986 Qld
The Criminal Law (Rehabilitation of Offenders) Act 1986 (Qld), requires that any person who has committed an offence which is less than 10 years old or which resulted in a prison sentence of more than 30 months, must disclose that offence if requested eg. for employment purposes. If a criminal record is disclosed in a job application, it is unlikely that person will be given the job.

NSW Serious Offenders Review Council
In response to a letter we have received from Mr K C who has said that he is serving 24 years and 10 months commencing on 29/8/1991 with his earliest release date being 28/6/2016 with 4 years parole and full time 28/6/2020. He said that he contacted the Serious Offenders Review Council in writing but received no response.

Justice Action's complaints about ACM to the NSW Ombudsman fell on deaf ears The Federal Government is reviewing allegations that the company it pays to run Australia's detention centres the same company who runs Junee Jail in NSW has fraudulently reduced staffing levels in at least one centre to increase its profits.

Token Parole Board reforms silent on Govt bungle
The Carr governments token reforms of the Parole Board are minimalist and still fail to explain the election cover-up of mismanagement, which contributed to an inmate's [a prisoners] death.

The Justice Minister has released government reforms to the Parole Board following the death of an aboriginal inmate, which was due to a Parole Board error.

Sentencing innovation breaks vicious circle of jail terms
"Three months' jail for one punch in a pub fight is too much," said the victim. The victim's comment counted because he and the offender, Robert Bolt, a Nowra Aborigine, were making history in the first case of circle sentencing, a new way of deciding punishment for indigenous offenders.

Letter from the mother of a prisoner on remand at the High Risk Management Unit Goulburn Correctional Centre I am writing to give you permission to make any inquiries on my behalf as I am invalid pensioner who doesn't drive and been only well enough to travel by train once in 15 months to see my son Scott Simpson. I have enclosed a copy of Scott's letter and also a copy of gaol papers form I have to fill out and wait to see if I'm allowed in to see him. He doesn't get any visits. He is in the Supermax and deprived of any privileges not even legal Aid will fund a solicitor to see him in Goulburn.

WA Jail trade in 'sex for favours'
THE West Australian Government has ordered an inquiry into claims guards at Perth's main women's prison are trading favours for sex, and encouraging inmates to form lesbian relationships.

NSW prisons over-crowded. Gov't orders investigation into death in custody
In January this year, a 23-year-old Aboriginal prisoner was found hanging in his cell in a Sydney jail 18 days after he was due to be released.

Yes Minister: 'Justice Action meets John Hatzistergos Justice Mininster' We have taken a few days to pass this on, as we wanted clarification of the minister's statement about the purposes of imprisonment before publishing it.

Beyond Bars Alliance colleagues
There are certainly problems with the IG's terms of reference and the position is not nearly as strong as it should or could be but it should not be lost it should be strengthened (along the lines of the UK IG of Prisons) to provide an independent voice to the Parliament regarding activities and processes that otherwise happen behind prison walls.

Submissions for Review of Inspector General
There is a very serious attack happening on the office of the NSW Inspector General of Corrective Services. A secret and flawed review is taking place at this moment, and we call upon all individuals and organisations interested in the area to make their views known.

Two thirds of a billion dollars and DCS can't work out what authority they have? "Two thirds of a billion dollars of taxpayers money and the Department of Corrective Services can't work out what authority they have to hold the people who are in jail."

Australia: Private Prisons, Junee NSW
When I got to Junee I was given nothing except bed linen. That's it! No clothing. I had to put my name down for clothing, which they said I could get on Saturday. When I went down to get my clothing on Saturday I was told they had nothing but I was told that I could buy what I wanted on their monthly buy-up. In the mean time I got rashes between my legs from the dirty clothes I had on.

Justice Action meets with new Minister for Justice
John Hatzistergos Minister for Justice is meeting with Brett Collins and Justice Action today at 11:30 a.m.

The prisoners of Lithgow Correctional Centre have requested that the Lithgow Inmate Development Committee write to you on their behalf and ask that the phone systems heavy burden upon the prisoners at this institution and their families be reviewed. I will outline the problems.

Health problems denied in prison
Lithgow Correctional Centre (IDC) Inmate Development Committee "Currently there are 72 inmates on the doctors waiting list with only one doctor coming fortnightly and usually on a weekend".

NSW Prisons Inmate Development Committee speaks out
I am writing on behalf of the IDC Inmate Development Committee in area 3, MSPC at Long Bay. Area 3 is where, the Department is congregating minimum-security offenders within maximum-security walls whilst awaiting mandatory programs at Cubit (Sex Offenders Program).

THE GULAG TREATMENT - The Trauma Of Court Appearances When Incarcerated Prisoner transport vehicle 10th January 2003 It's about 4.40am, very darkoutside and although I'm expecting it, it is still intrusive when my dreams are interrupted by the sound of my name, it is the officer checking that I'm awake ready to face the long day ahead.

Sir David Longland Correctional Centre
If it were possible to characterize the term B Block attitude in a modern dictionary, it would read something like "demeanor of inhabitance" or "state of mind or behaviour of occupants".

SIR DAVID LONGLAND CORRECTIONAL CENTRE QLD - CELLS IN B BLOCK The cells in B Block are like no other in any Queensland prison. After Mr. Cooper was severally embarrassed by the Abbott and Co escape on 4th November 1997, he visited B Block and the surrounding grounds. It was that visit, by Cooper, that set in motion a plan (up the ante) to make sure security in B Block would never embarrass him again. It was like closing the gate after the horse has bolted.

Inspector General Ignored On Womens Prison
Four months after a report from the Inspector General on Mulawa Correctional Centre, key recommendations involving safety and welfare of prisoners and staff have been ignored. Kathryn Armstrong (former chair of Inmate Development Committee) and Annabel Walsh, released from Mulawa Womens Prison in February, have produced an independent report confirming the findings of the Inspector General.

Distribution of: 'How to Votes in prisons'?
Justice Action have received information from Andrew Burke of the NSW Greens that they have enquired with the Department of Corrective Services as to the procedure for distributing their How To Votes in prisons in the period before the election.

Getting Justice Wrong DPP make full admissions
Back in May 2001 Nicholas Cowdery QC made an error at law by giving a speech called Getting Justice Wrong at the University of New England, Armidale Thursday, 31 May 2001. Sir Frank Kitto, Lecture now published at the DPP website. At page six, paragraph 3 under the heading:

Inspector-General: The Greens believe that the role of the Inspector-General is crucial to the proper functioning of the prison system. It has never been more important to have a powerful watchdog role than today. Section 3.11 of our Criminal Justice Policy commits the Greens to "strengthening the role of the Inspector-General of Prisons."

Long Bay Prison: The latest inside story
Private food purchases called Buy-Ups that normally take care of the prisoners additional food nutrition in Jail has been changed.

Doing time even harder: 146 prisoners far from home
The United States, however, has detained without trial about 650 men from 43 countries. They include Australians David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib, who are held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base as part of the sweep against global terrorism [scapegoats for the Coalition of the Killing's, pre-emptive strikes, occupation and genocide for resources in the Middle East.]

Human Rights 'Framed'
Here is a quick report on our Human Rights Commission approach on Framed (the quarterly magazine of Justice Action) being banned from all NSW prisons. After 42 issues went in.

Prison Privatisation: Death camps looming in NSW
I asked for the identification of the person I was speaking to and was told that I was not entitled to that information. I needed to verify the call and asked for a name or number to register my call because I was asked to get those details by my coordinator.The person refused to identify themselves either by name or number. I asked to be transferred to a senior person and was refused. The person I spoke to then hung up the phone.

Corrections Victoria and criminal acts: SCS-4\320 UPDATE
You have stated "Section 30 of the Corrections Act 1986 and the Information Privacy Act 2000, restricts the release of confidential information regarding prisoners, I therefore am unable to provide any information regarding this matter."

Death camps looming in Victoria
A letter was received on 15 January 03 from SCS-4\320 a remand prisoner in Victoria's Barwon Prison I later found out that the prisoner was in the Acacia High Security Unit.

Take crime talk beyond the bars:'lobby group'
A coalition of academics, crime experts, welfare and church groups is preparing to launch an intensive pre-election campaign aimed at refocusing the attention of NSW politicians from harsh sentencing reforms to crime prevention strategies.

Six weeks, six months, six years: inmates have little chance of making fresh start More than 15,500 people are released from NSW prisons each year, twice the number of 20 years ago. But new research shows many ex-prisoners find it impossible to reintegrate into society and, months after release, are worse off than before they went to jail.

NSW A-G moves to stop criminals and ex-criminals selling stories
From next month criminals or ex-criminals who try to profit (earn a living for paid work, like writing a book etc..) from their crimes in New South Wales will have the proceeds confiscated.

NSW Govt criticised over criminal justice record
Key criminal justice groups have described the New South Wales Government's record on justice issues as a "disappointing performance".

The decision of the Carr government to appoint John Jacob Klok as the new Assistant Commissioner for Corrective Services in charge of security represents a statement of contempt to all those concerned about law and justice in NSW.

Prisoners Representatives Excommunicated
Ron Woodham, Commissioner Corrective Services stated "[this Department] does not recognise Justice Action as an advocate on correctional centre issues." He has ordered a ban on all Justice Action material inside the NSW prison system. This resulted from a request for the approval of the latest edition of Framed (the Magazine of Justice Action) to be distributed throughout NSW prisons as has occurred for the past ten years.

Dept of Corrective Services: Rotten Ron Woodham on the ropes
This is The Freeedom Of Speech and The Press in a goldfish-bowl! Herr Goebells has spoken. Zieg Heil! (Which means, actually: "aim-for health!" incidentally)Apologies for not making meetings ... my first experiences with Woodham (then a -screw-gestapo-minor-with-a-friendly-dog - AND YOU KNOW WHAT IT MEANS WHEN EVEN HIS DOG DOESN`T LIKE HIM?)

At the Minister's Pleasure The case of Michael Kelly
Michael is caught up in a particularly cruel version of the game of Cat and Mouse. Because he is classified as a forensic patient under the Mental Heath Act of NSW, the Minister for Health is his master, not the Minister for Corrective Services. And the Minister for health will not let him go.

Name removed by request served time in prison decades ago. Shes still being punished today. According to commonwealth and state legislation, ex-prisoners applying for jobs must declare any conviction that fits into the following categories: less than 10 years old, more than 10 years old but served more than 30 months in prison.

The Australian Law Reform Commission had recommended that the Innocence Panel be independent and have the power to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice.

Australian prisons are fast becoming the new asylums of the third millennium. The prison industry is booming, while Australia spends far less on mental health services than similar countries.

Medical records Alex Mitchell's lost world
Perhaps we can get your medical report and spew it around publicly so you can see how it feels. But surely we do not have to go that far. And of course we are law-abiding citizens and I should think it would be enough to remind you of your ethics to report at all.

NSW Department of Corrective Services attack right to privacy
Corrective Services Minister Richard Amery has a problem attacking prisoners right to privacy.It seems to us that a civil society is best served when social justice laws are applied to all people regardless of their circumstances. Once government starts making exceptions which disadvantage certain groups and individuals, such laws are meaningless.

Litigants are drowning: in the High Court
There were so many self represented litigants appearing in the High Court that more than half of its registry staff's time was taken up in dealing with them. The "go it alone" litigants have to take on tasks well above their qualified league causing them stress. This growing problem cannot be left unchecked.

Everyone wants to get out of 'jail' but 'Framed' wants life: Rotten Ron on the ropes On 2 May 2002, Justice Action received a faxed letter from Manager of DCS Operations Support Branch saying that, in his view, articles in Framed edition #42 'lack balance and integrity' and he is therefore 'not prepared to recommend this issue of Framed for placement in to correctional centre libraries.' Prisoners and those concerned about prisoner issues have very few sources of information.

Methadone addicts formed within: 'NSW Prisons'
The New South Wales Opposition has accused the State Government of turning jailed heroin users into Methadone addicts.

Murder charge first for DNA data bank link, but not the same as solving the murder Mass DNA testing of prisoners has [allegedly] led to the first NSW case of a person being charged with a previously unsolved murder as a result of a controversial gene-matching data bank.

Prisoners can prove innocence for $20?
Les Kennedy Daily Telegraph reported today that" Prisoners who believe that DNA will prove they were wrongly convicted will have the chance to prove their innocence for a mere $20 administration fee. The move comes 20 months after NSW inmates were asked to provide DNA for comparison with a databank of DNA from unsolved crime scenes for possible convictions.

NSW opposition pledges review of detention laws
A spokesperson for Justice Action Ms Anal Advice said " NSW Prisons are a sex offence if you have been raped, bashed and squatted down to be strip searched. People should be diverted from going there at all material times".

Civil libertarians condemn planned changes to prisoners' privacy rights The New South Wales Government is using a recent case involving [framed] serial killer Ivan Milat to justify its decision to remove the privacy rights of prisoners. But really just another attack on Ivan Milat from Parliament House.

The punishment: Is the 'crime'
The punishment is the crime according to retired chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia Justice Alistair Nicholson. "Smacking a child ought to be seen as assault".

NSW prisons - primary industry bailed up!
In many quiet regional centres around NSW there is a new primary industry shaping up. It has something to do with Bail but not with bales. The minister for Agriculture Richard Amery who also has the prisons portfolio is now committed to farming prisoners.

Black Nexus
The Separation of Powers Doctrine is nowcontaminated witharangeofcolours, now leaving us with a black shirt on a once blue bridge that crossed that thin blue line. The 'Amery and Woodham show'.

Prison Mind Games-Do they exist?
Directives are given inside the prison system that are not consistent with the law in NSW. And not in the good interests of the health and well being of the prisoners.

The Government is likely to abolish the Inspector General of Corrective Services position The Mulawa inspection report recommendations below strictly illustrate how important he is.

Chronology - A History of Australian Prisons
[Allegedly:] The events that have shaped NSW prisons - from convict days through royal commissions, to the Supermax of today. [I say allegedly because no one should trust Four Corners [Walls], why? Because they spill out the propaganda of the day for the Government, whether it be wrong or right. A government that lies and has no remorse about it.]

Justice Action
Justice Action is a community based organisation of criminal justice activists. We are prisoners, academics, victims of crime, ex-prisoners, lawyers and general community members. We believe that meaningful change depends upon free exchange of information and community responsibility.

Beyond Bars Alliance colleagues
I imagine all of you received Justice Action's email yesterday regarding the position of Inspector General of Corrective Services.

Community Restorative Centre
NSW spends more than half a billion tax dollars a year on prisons. It costs $60,000 to keep someone in maximum security for a year: more than double the minimum wage. CRC looks for and implements better solutions to the high social and economic costs of crime.

Sisters Inside Inc
Sisters Inside Inc. is an independent community organisation, which exists to advocate for the human rights of women in the criminal justice system, and to address gaps in the services available to them. We work alongside women in prison in determining the best way to fulfil these roles.

Smart Justice
Smart Justice does not support any party but calls for investment in prevention, alternatives to custody and initiatives that tackle the causes of crime. It is important to dispel the myths about 'law and order' and promote real solutions to crime and violence.

Shine For Kids
What happens for a young person who has a parent in prison?
There are a lot of consequences for children or young people who have a parent in prison. During Groupwork the kids themselves have identified as being:

Children of Prisoners' Support Group
Children of Prisoner's welcomes Ann Symonds as our first Patron at this years AGM and screening of "The Space in Between" video , and will have a visual display to demonstrate the invisible population of children effected by parental incarceration.

Thursday, February 26, 2004

PM in denial over Redfern Death in Custody

Prime Minister John Howard says treating Aborigines differently is contributing to violent confrontations with police.

Howard has also blamed family breakdowns for recent incidents including last week's riot at Redfern in inner-Sydney after the death of Aboriginal teenager Thomas Hickey.

He has again defended police against claims they were pursuing the teenager when he died, saying there is no evidence to support that.

An Aboriginal Boy Dies, Chased by Cops

This Week in Redfern


There is a boy dead in a city morgue. A teenager. Thomas "TJ" Hickey. Dead at 17. How do you write about death? About riots? About an issue no-one in power seems to want resolved? The mad scramble of Australia as it is today. Inner city Sydney Redfern. Put on some music. Whatever is on the player. Hi 5 and Paul Kelly. And try and describe what happened this past weekend. Before time and more life fades.

THE SCENE: Sydney, Australia. Feb 14, Valentine's Day: An Aboriginal youth- Thomas "T J" Hickey, aged 17 years. On his bike. Ends up impaled on a fence. How did he get stuck on a high metal fence? He dies the next day in hospital, from his injuries. Aboriginal people of Redfern get angry. People say he was chased by police. Tensions boil over. A riot takes place on Feb 15.

Counter Punch

Evidence to support some of the above came from police themselves, 'police who have empathy for Aboriginals are not in the club' and 'police were chasing someone else'.

The fact that police made a statement in the Hickey case pending an investigation contradicts what normally happens when police argue they cannot comment pending an investigation.

Cops Leak: Bulldogs accused of rape at Coffs Harbour

I suppose Howard will also claim the Bulldogs footballers 'superstars' don't pack rape their victims and therefore no charges should be laid against the alleged perpetrators and no notice or names should be given out to the media.

Howard [said] there are other reasons for tensions between police and Aborigines. "They arise from a combination of factors," he said.

"They arise from a total breakdown in family authority within Aboriginal communities, they sometimes arise from a policy of perhaps treating different groups in the community differently.

"The solution lies very much in treating everybody equally and as part of the mainstream as far as law enforcement is concerned."

By Starsky and Hutch 26 February 04

THE CHICKEN: Equal, does that include racist police who lie?

THE EGG: Chuck and PuKE over the racist police who lie and should be treated equally and sacked. When are police going to stop investigating themselves?



Redfern police 'need to be made accountable'
POLICE have no right to demand increased support to patrol Redfern in the wake of one of the worst death in custody cover-ups by police in Australian history.

On TUESDAY 24th FEBRUARY 2004 to coincide with "TJ's" Funeral in Walgett. Gather at the Block at 9am March to Phillip Street Redfern, "Turanga Block" vigial at site of "TJ's" death. March to Redfern Police Station to leave list of demands regarding the enquiries into his death.

Payback over Redfern riot after death in custody
A 37 year-old woman will appear in court today charged over her alleged involvement in a riot in Redfern on Sunday night. The woman from Hurstville was arrested yesterday and has been charged with riot, throwing a missile, affray and violent disorder. She was refused bail and will appear in Redfern Local Court later today.

Was Thomas Hickey payback?
Yesterday it was alleged police faced a potentially deadly confrontation with locals of a redfern housing block last week when a gun was grabbed from an officer's holster and held to his stomach.

Daily Telegraph alleged opposition: Bulldozer
NSW Opposition leader John Brogden has said we just need a bulldozer and that'll fix the problem after Sunday's death in custody and subsequent riot at Redfern.

Riot in Redfern over death in custody
The reported claim that 50 police were injured during rioting in Redfern over a death in custody is nothing more than a counter claim required to balance the argument that Thomas Hickey wasn't chased to his death by police.

Fatal accident prompts police pursuit probe
A fatal car accident in New South Wales has prompted a review of the procedures police use during high-speed pursuits. Police say a man and a young girl were killed when a speeding car crashed head-on into another car at McGrath's Hill in Sydney's north-west.

The Australian Institute of Criminology has released the National Deaths in Custody Program annual report for 2002 Between January and December 2002, there was a total of 69 deaths in custody in Australia. There were 50 deaths in prison custody and 19 deaths in police custody and custody-related police operations.

Riot in Redfern over death in custody
The reported claim that 50 police were injured during rioting in Redfern over a death in custody is nothing more than a counter claim required to balance the argument that Thomas Hickey wasn't chased to his death by police.

Fatal accident prompts police pursuit probe
A fatal car accident in New South Wales has prompted a review of the procedures police use during high-speed pursuits. Police say a man and a young girl were killed when a speeding car crashed head-on into another car at McGrath's Hill in Sydney's north-west.

The Australian Institute of Criminology has released the National Deaths in Custody Program annual report for 2002 Between January and December 2002, there was a total of 69 deaths in custody in Australia. There were 50 deaths in prison custody and 19 deaths in police custody and custody-related police operations.

QLD Prisoners DNA Bid

THE curious case of Queensland's "cat lady" murder is set to test the state's legal authorities again, with the man convicted of the killing asking the Attorney-General to take the unprecedented step of releasing blood samples for DNA retesting.

Laura-Leigh Cameron-Dow, a Bond University "miscarriages of justice" law student working on behalf of Andrew Fitzherbert, said enough question marks hung over the DNA evidence presented at the landmark trial to give grounds for Attorney-General Rod Welford to release the samples.

However, [allegedly], no Australian legislature has grappled yet with the question of who owns DNA samples, and whether those implicated by them have the right to access them after the appeal process.

DNA yours or mine?

Fitzherbert, whose conviction is heralded as the first in Australia based on DNA evidence alone, has maintained his innocence of the savage knife murder of veterinarian and Cat Protection Society president Kathleen Marshal.

Current DNA tests show that, for example, sperm in a rape case is, [allegedly], "exceptionally unlikely" to have come from a source other than the perpetrator.

Which is why, in criminal trials, forensic experts talk about the probability that a sample came from the defendant, rather than answering "yes" or "no" when asked if it matches.

"The problem is that we will never really know how many people we've locked in prison with DNA matches are not guilty. People do regard DNA evidence as being very strong."

Even a fingerprint can be tested if skin cells from the offender's finger are left behind.

"But it could have been a cell left lounging around on the surface before the offender put their finger on the same place," Professor Shaw said.

"So there is always the question 'did it really come from that person?'. You can never be 100 percent certain."

Guilty until proven innocent

Professor Shaw said the proposed library could mean that innocent people become suspects, just because their DNA is close to that of the offender.

"If I was suspected of some crime and a DNA sample was taken and a profile stored, it's possible that at some future date, my DNA might be matched to the DNA of a suspect in a crime.

"Therefore the police would come knocking at my door and it would be very difficult to argue that I had nothing to do with that crime."

Although the chances of that happening were remote, "the more samples you get, the greater the chance that you find two samples that look the same but are not actually from the same person".

DNA = Do Not Assume - DNA Controversies!

The Australian Law Reform Commission recommended in March last year that the federal Government amend the Crimes Act to specify that it is the prosecution's duty to give defendants adequate time to organise independent testing before trial. The commission's report is still being considered.

Ms Cameron-Dow said the still emerging DNA technology was very new at the time of Fitzherbert's 1999 trial, and methods of testing, interpreting results and presenting them to juries had changed.

She said the testimony of the John Tonge Centre's forensic scientist, Ken Cox - in which he said there was one chance in 14,000,000,000,000,000 that the blood found at the crime scene was from someone other than Fitzherbert - was "not representative of his data".

Such a big figure, which has not been repeated in subsequent cases, would require almost perfect DNA "matches", which Ms Cameron-Dow said Dr Cox's results did not show. Dr Cox also limited his tests to blood samples in an area some metres from the stabbing scene. Fitzherbert wants to test samples that were never tested.

Ms Cameron-Dow said the rest of the case against Fitzherbert was highly contradictory and "hugely full of holes".

"When you build a circumstantial case the whole theory is that you build it strand by strand by strand until you get a rope, and you hang them by it," she said.

"When we have DNA evidence we have the tendency to go, 'I've got a rope and I don't need anything else'."

Comment: Anonymous

A couple of years back I had a look at the Fitzherbert case and concluded that it was almost certainly another Ken Cox stitch up (see below). Unfortunately I was unable to get any support or legal advice from Queensland to the media on it and was forced to drop it.

Part of the problem is that Fitzherbert and his supporter(s) seem to be incoherent and full of, out there, conspiracy theories. He was conspired against all right, but the rantings and ravings of his supporters are more likely to hinder him by scaring people away than help him.

Fitzherbert had the right to retest the blood samples at the government's expense at the time of trial and at his appeal, but the legal aid prisoner was never made aware of that right. He now wants to pay for the tests himself.

Saturday, December 07, 2002
Subject: Fw: R v Fitzherbert


Today I got a rather incoherent anonymous letter from someone making various claims about Ken Cox's evidence in R v Fitzherbert.

There was a long copylist which included Owen & Karina and I conclude that it was probably prompted by the recent repeat of the 'Catalyst' program 'DNA A shadow of doubt'. The letter is more notable for its insistence that Cox lies (so therefore nothing he says can be believed) than it is for showing that he falsified evidence in R Fitzherbert.

But about a year ago I was concerned enough about what I had read in the online transcript to send the message below to Karen Fletcher, then head of Queensland Prisoners Legal Service.

Doesn't seem likely that Catalyst will be revisiting Ken Cox's standard of giving evidence in the near future but if anyone else at the ABC is following this up, please feel free to pass my contact info onto them.


Karen Fletcher
Tuesday, November 20, 2001
Subject: R v Fitzherbert

Hi Karen,

I've been looking into DNA evidence presented by QLD forensic scientist Kenneth Cox and am increasingly convinced that he routinely produces very dubious evidence.

One case which looks particularly shonky is the Cat Protection Society murder [R v Fitzherbert [2000] QCA 255 (30 June 2000)] where the defendant claims that Cox stitched him up.

His appeal on this basis was dismissed by Pincus, Davies and Moynihan who seem to have made every mistake in the book of misinterpretation of DNA evidence in doing so from the 'Prosecutor's Fallacy' to failing to recognise that failure to match at *any* loci implies exoneration (instead they decided that 5 matches out of nine loci was a good match).

Fitzherbert tried to appeal without the benefit of expert forensic assistance and although he seems to know he was stitched up by Cox he seems mystified as to how it was done or how to prove it (many of his allegations as to how it may have been done were completely fanciful and dismissed by the court).

Cox's graphs were used in the appeal and its hard for me to know exactly how bad the DNA evidence was without seeing them.

Was hoping you could help me to get in touch with Fitzherbert or his legal reps so that I can get my hands on a copy of Cox's evidence.

I'm pretty sure Cox is less than honest and unless he's exposed he will keep sending people down on bogus forensic evidence.


By RuFF Justice 26 February 04


Database clears up crimes but not used to clear up miscarriages?
NSW Police Minister John Watkins said at the launch of a Sydney conference of international forensic experts meeting to mark 100 years of fingerprinting in NSW.

JUST BEAT IT! Govt lauds crime-solving technology?
They told him don't you ever come around here. Don't wanna see your face, you better disappear. The fire's in their eyes and their words are really clear. So beat it!

DNA testing causes debate in murder case
"Once police have some part of you like DNA, they will look further to profile you whether you're guilty or not. If they find some form of circumstantial evidence [or even flawed circumstantial evidence] to attach to your DNA they will plant the rest of the evidence on you like you had always owned it and you will be convicted and sent to jail guilty or not," he said.

Retrospective Laws: Mesmerised like a chook syndrome
What is it? This chook syndrome. Perhaps it is when we allow 800-year-old rule of law to diminish for a dictator like Bob Carr.

The Australian Law Reform Commission had recommended that the Innocence Panel be independent and have the power to investigate alleged miscarriages of justice.

Murder charge first for DNA data bank link, but not the same as solving the murder Mass DNA testing of prisoners has [allegedly] led to the first NSW case of a person being charged with a previously unsolved murder as a result of a controversial gene-matching data bank.

Prisoners can prove innocence for $20?
Les Kennedy Daily Telegraph reported today that" Prisoners who believe that DNA will prove they were wrongly convicted will have the chance to prove their innocence for a mere $20 administration fee. The move comes 20 months after NSW inmates were asked to provide DNA for comparison with a databank of DNA from unsolved crime scenes for possible convictions.

Military lawyers await probe on DNA tampering
The Army's Criminal Investigation Command said nearly 500 forensic test results from all services dating back 10 years are under review after one of its examiners allegedly faked results. About 119 of those cases pertain to the Navy and Marine Corps.

Corrupt police planting DNA evidence at crime scenes
Others have raised concerns about corrupt police planting DNA evidence at crime scenes.

Expert baffled by Falconio evidence DNA contamination
NT: The director of the Northern Territory's forensic science unit has told a Darwin court he does not know how his DNA contaminated a key piece of evidence in the Peter Falconio murder trial. [lost trial? After all he wasn't found?]

The ABC for good or evil?
He had a suspect that he wanted to find guilty based on the chances of a spouse killing a spouse which were greater in anycase, at least more likely than that of a stranger.

First Grabs To Control Our DNA
A small company in Australia has been subjected to gross denials of rights after DNA database technology was stolen from it's company. This one year saga has spawned them to form a new approach to projects of importance to all people.

Worries over DNA and racial profiling
UK: Black men are four times more likely than White men to be on the national DNA database and there is growing concern about racial profiling in criminal investigations.

Lab's Errors Force Review of 150 Virginia DNA Cases
US: WASHINGTON, - A sharply critical independent audit found that Virginia's nationally recognized central crime laboratory had botched DNA tests in a leading capital murder case. The findings prompted Gov. Mark Warner to order a review of the lab's handling of testing in 150 other cases as well.

Witch-hunt targets scientists
QLD: SCIENTISTS at the John Tonge Centre are being threatened with jail in the wake of a government hunt for the source of leaks highlighting serious problems in the forensic laboratories.

Fresh swipe at DNA labs
Scientist Kris Bentley, whose departure yesterday follows that of forensic biologist Deanna Belzer after concerns about "inaccurate" DNA results and unvalidated equipment, issued a scathing resignation letter leaked to The Courier-Mail.

DNA leads 'CSI' cold-case squad to first arrest?
Frozen case? I don't really know what to say about them until they come up with their case. They say it involves DNA evidence but that's the only stuff we know.

Criminal's DNA filed under relative's name
The New South Wales Opposition is calling for an investigation into claims that police have entered DNA data for serious offenders under incorrect names.

DNA fingerprinting 'no longer foolproof'...
The genetic profiles held by police for criminal investigations are not sophisticated enough to prevent false identifications, according to the father of DNA fingerprinting.

PROFESSOR BARRY BOETTCHER: Now, there should be a law enacted within Queensland so that when cases come up like this they can be brought to attention and if an appropriate authority such as a judge of your Supreme Court considers that it merits further inquiry, an inquiry be ordered.

'Rape' officer clears his name
UK: A former policeman has been cleared of rape after protesting his innocence for 15 years. Judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh ruled that Brian Kelly, 47, had suffered a miscarriage of justice over crucial DNA evidence.

New unit investigates unsolved deaths?
A new police unit has been established to investigate more than 360 unsolved deaths in New South Wales, with many of the deaths dating back more than 30 years.

Prisoner's bid for review denied
Prisoner Roger Cheney has lost a Supreme Court action to have a judicial review of his 1993 convictions an 30-year jail sentence. Justice Shaw said he was concerned about the prisoner's claim that DNA evidence held by the police could prove his innocence. Although Cheney had requested the results of the DNA tests, he had been denied access to the forensic analysis.

QLD Prisoners DNA Bid THE curious case of Queensland's "cat lady" murder is set to test the state's legal authorities again, with the man convicted of the killing asking the Attorney-General to take the unprecedented step of releasing blood samples for DNA retesting.

Database clears up crimes?
NSW Police Minister John Watkins said at the launch of a Sydney conference of international forensic experts meeting to mark 100 years of fingerprinting in NSW. He said the collection of DNA from prisoners and suspects in NSW during the past two years had led to more than 5,400 matches on the forensic database.

A Question of Innocence
Katrina Bolton: The promise of DNA freeing the innocent as well as convicting the guilty has been repeated by politicians across Australia, usually while DNA laws are being expanded. The promise was made as a national DNA database, ‘Crimtrac’ was created, and it was made as NSW introduced legislation giving unprecedented powers to take DNA samples from prisoners, by force if necessary.

Mouse Trap Game? Tried Until Guilty!
Two New South Wales Labor MPs have strongly criticised the Carr Government's proposed abolition of the 800 year old double jeopardy rule, which stops people being tried a second time for the same crime. The left-wing MPs have branded the reforms as dishonest and unjust in a formal submission to the Attorney-General's department.

Weak Carr Government suspends Innocence Panel
It's a callous disregard for justice! The panel takes applications from convicted prisoners for DNA evidence to be analysed a move that may help in a future court appeal.

JUST BEAT IT! Govt lauds crime-solving technology?
The New South Wales Government says advances in crime solving technology are helping the progress of hundreds of police investigations.

DNA testing causes debate in murder case
The use of voluntary DNA testing in the investigation of a murder case in New South Wales has been applauded by victim support groups who are ill informed about the process said Justice Action's spokesperson Gregory Kable.

Abolition of double jeopardy law a political stunt: NSW Opp
Why draconian laws? What about the re-trial by media that goes along with it? Twice shy?

The NSW government has finally appointed somebody (Justice John Nader) to head up its Innocence Panel and has produced leaflets and forms for people convicted of serious crimes (eg murder) to apply for DNA testing if they believe it may help prove their innocence. You can get the info by phoning 1300 881 717 or writing to the panel at GPO Box 45 Sydney NSW 2001.

Is the Westminster System flawed?
Most people would say Lady Di got the boot and NSW has so much trouble getting the Innocence Panel moving. I said hey, what's going on!

Murder charge first for DNA data bank link, but not the same as solving the murder Mass DNA testing of prisoners has led to the first NSW case of a person being charged with a previously unsolved murder as a result of a controversial gene-matching data bank. The Herald reported 25 Nov 02 "a DNA saliva swab led to the charging of a former prisoner with the bashing murder of a woman. Police had been unable to find any witnesses or suspects following the murder in Sydney's inner city two years ago. Detectives had admitted they faced a tough job finding the killer."

Prisoners can prove innocence for $20
Les Kennedy Daily Telegraph reported today that" Prisoners who believe that DNA will prove they were wrongly convicted will have the chance to prove their innocence for a mere $20 administration fee. The move comes 20 months after NSW inmates were asked to provide DNA for comparison with a databank of DNA from unsolved crime scenes for possible convictions.

DNA yours or mine?
Now they have isolated two genes that they say tells you if you're more likely to be depressed. What does that mean? It could mean that you should stay in jail because you are more likely than not to continue your offending behaviour according to a Department of Corrective Services Forensic Psychiatrist.

DNA = Do Not Assume - DNA Controversies!
The national DNA database of all known offenders proposed by Prime Minister Tony Blair could mean that innocent people will be accused of crimes they did not commit.

DNA Evidence of Bipartisanship
Last week the U.S. Congress passed the Justice for All Act, which includes provisions of the Innocence Protection Act. As of this posting, the legislation has not yet been signed by President Bush. Attached is an analysis of the legislation prepared by the Justice Project.

Murder charge first for DNA data bank link, but not the same as solving the murder As long as the the prisoners DNA wasn't planted at the crime scene. It is one thing to force prisoners to hand over their DNA and another thing to exploit it.