Monday, March 14, 2005

Craig Annesley: Miscarriage of Justice

The reason for this article is because a Secretary at the Council for Civil Liberties stated to me that they haven't got the funding to help me with a false imprisonment case which happened February 97 - and in February 2005, it will be 7 years after the incident which will mean I will be too late to bring a civil case to court?

I will try to keep this story simple though I acknowledge and warn you it gets a little complex.

The Council for Civil Liberties (Secretary) told me to attempt to get help from Justice Action.

This is what happened:

I had been sentenced to two years weekend- detention for 'stealing matters', which ended up being cancelled, which meant I had to do the order - as full time custody.

May 16th 1996, I was then released from prison. I got a job and remained out of trouble.

Then 8.5 months after my release I had a confrontation with Mr Barry O'keefe whom said that I was to remove my car from a Car Park immediately. This was the 2nd February 1997.

My car had no battery, so in order to do what he told me, I had to push my car. I began pushing and he stormed off to get security and returned with about 5 police officers.

They asked me my name, then stated to me that there is 3 x 1st instant warrants for my arrest, being 2 x fail to answer call muster (prison roll-up call) and 1 x fail to pay Victims Compensation Levy (VCL) and my own investigation found this was issued by a Court, while I was in prison paying VCL?

Therefore these warrants were false!

The police then said to me (Feb-87), "We have to take you to jail for these warrants so we may as well charge you for 'drive whilst disqualified'."

I was also charged for stealing (a number plate) and goods in custody (my lap top computer which I bought from a shop).

I was refused bail initially because I was in custody for the false warrants?

After serving the 10-12 days for the warrants, I was taken to court at Redfern and granted bail with the following conditions:

* Myself be willing to forfeit without security the amount of $500.00.

* That a suitable person also be willing to forfeit without security an amount of $1,000.00.

My Legal Aid solicitor and the magistrate both said that no money or proof of money is needed - just a signature.

My girlfriend tried at the Police Station and they wanted proof that she had $1,000.00 available to forfeit?

I was taken to Goulburn Correctional Centre and locked in a cell for 3-4 days with no water, sunshine or access to a telephone?

Each day the Department of Corrective Services (DCS) would show me a piece of paper stating I had to sign it.

The form said: " I do not hold the Department of Corrective Services responsible for anything that may or may not happen in the main part of Goulburn Remand Centre.

I refused to sign it and remained in the cell for 3-4 days. I was fed.

Eventually my girlfriend showed them $1,000 dollars cash and I was released on bail conditions for self and suitable person - I had no $500.00 to show or prove.

A week later at Redfern Court, Legal Aid would not represent me because I pleaded not guilty?

So I represented myself and was found guilty anyway and again was given 6 months - (weekend detention).

On the police fact sheet little did I know at the time. They had described me in the following way.

"Craig Annesley is an unemployed heroin addict and a cancelled driver due to a neurological condition". - I never held a licence?

This was in April 1997, when I had not used heroin since 1993, and had been working up to 6 days per week - as a furniture removalist since my release in may 1996? - Defamation to put it lightly.

On the day of my first weekend detention I had put myself into Balmain Casualty Department as I had extremely red and sore eyes.

I had asked the nurse/doctor to please write me a letter for the DCS to explain why my eyes were red and sore.

Wrong diagnosis (severe conjunctivitis) yet a letter to explain.

I wasn't going to risk not attending PDC (weekend detention) so I was glad to have a letter from the hospital to at least explain my eyes.

On my attendance the officer told me to "piss off, you have one AWOL away without leave." He told me that my eyes aren't usually that red. I tried to tell him about the letter in my bag, but I was told to go away. I then no longer even tried to attend - so the Order was cancelled and I did it as full time prison.

While doing the Order full-time, I was raped in gaol in March 1998, 2.5 weeks later I was taken to a Rape Clinic at Westmead. The Police attended and were to meet me 2 days after to take my statement. This second meeting never happened. I lodged a victim's compensation claim over this incident only to have it refused, as I was a convicted inmate at the time of the alleged offence? That is discrimination as far as I'm concerned.

All this is also un-just and unfair and I am very frustrated about what has happened to me!

I will write a quick rundown of answers from various government departments so far.

The ICAC investigated after some accusations I made against the NSW Police. They found that the police didn't issue the 3 fake warrants, which I was arrested and put in prison for.

The Ombudsman office gave me no answer or advice.

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission wrote to me and said sorry they only deal with Federal matters and I am a state prisoner not a federal prisoner.

The NSW Law Society answered and stated. "Sorry Mr Annesley but the Pro-Bono scheme of the Law Society does not deal with Professional Negligence cases and in my case, there does seem to be 'some degree' of professional negligence.

The Innocence Project had my case but I've heard nothing...

In February 2005, it will be 7 years and I'm told too late to do anything?

God knows I've tried and tried and tried to get help with all this - noone is listening.

Justice Action may or may not be interested. The NSW Council for Civil Liberties may help if I can get past the (Secretaries), if you know what I mean.

Any assistance or advice you can give me would be sincerely appreciated.

Ed: I am not a lawyer so I cannot give you legal advice.

Your concerns about limitation periods in relation to and action have a couple of conditions that I am aware of.

It is my undersanding that the time period to sue starts when one realises they have an action. And the the time period starts when one is in a position to be able to take an action.

That's if you're writing in relation to the Statute of Limitations. So the period starts actually when you're in a position to sue. Check with your lawyer!

I will post your article for two reasons; one is that I hope you can get some help from a qualified lawyer, who has some time to spare?

The second is to warn all the other citizens including the politicians in this country of the dangers of the NSW Police Force and the NSW Department of Corrective Services when they get it so terribly wrong!

By JusticeACTION 14 March 2005


Punishment By Imprisonment Is A Medieval Concept [258]

Although this is the 21st century, the societies of the Level 3 Civilization have not yet abandoned the medieval notion of prisons being places of punishment. Today's institutions of incarceration are called 'Correctional Centres' and other sanitised terms, but they remain vehicles for revenge and punishment exacted by courts under the Rule of Law.

Author's Note:
Some readers might find the following content offensive, since it deals specifically with sexual acts. If you wish to skip this section STOP HERE .

This space is intentionally blank.

- Fight or Fuck -

The following accounts of prison rape are taken from various human rights sites on the WWW that deal with this abuse, which seems to be in epidemic proportions in the US, Australia, and many other countries.

* "I had no choice but to submit to being inmate B's prison wife. Out of fear for my life. I submitted to sucking his dick, being fucked in my ass, and performing other duties as a woman, such as making his bed. In all reality, I was his slave, as the officials of the Arkansas Department of Corrections under the 'color of law' did absolutely nothing."
- M.P., Arkansas Pro Se federal civil rights complaint filed 8/2/96.

* "... I probably have AIDS now, I have great difficulty raising food to my mouth from shaking after nightmares or thinking too hard on all this ... I've laid down without physical fight to be sodomised. To prevent so much damage in struggles ripping and tearing. Though in not fighting, it caused my heart and spirit to be raped as well. Something I don't know if I'll ever forgive myself for." - A.H., Indiana, 8/30/96.

* "I was raped in prison from February 1991 through November 1991. From that it left me HIV positive." - T.B., Texas, 9/3/96.

* "The rapes seem to be for two main reasons. 1. They hurt, someone must pay. 2. Being deprived of consensual sex, and self-centred, any hole will do. Power, control, revenge, seem to top the 'reasons' for rape. The person assaulted is either seen as weaker, or gang banged if seen as a stuck up kind of person. You know, refuses to swear, actually admits he is guilty, is seeking help etc. ..." - D.A., Nebraska, 9/6/96

* "I can tell you that whenever a mother calls me whose son has been sentenced to prison, the first question she inevitably asks is, 'What can I tell him so he can keep himself safe?" said Donna Hamm, of the advocacy group Middle Ground Prison Reform. For the very weak, or the very young, or for homosexuals or females, coerced sexual activity is a very real concern, she said. - Arizona Daily Star, January 25, 2004.The ACLU lawsuit details the story.

* "For eighteen months ... Mr Johnson was subjected to a system of gang-run sexual slavery. ... Gang members routinely bought and sold Mr Johnson as chattel, raped and degraded him on a virtually daily basis, and threatened him with death if he resisted. ... (Prison officials) were well aware of his plight, but ... made clear by words and deeds that they took sadistic pleasure in his victimisation. They also repeatedly expressed contempt for non-aggressive gay men, and made it explicit that it was their practice to refuse to protect such inmates from sexual assault, at least until such inmates were savagely beaten or 'guffed."

"We don't protect punks on this farm" Johnson says he was told. "Fight or fuck."

Raped first by a member of the Gangster Disciples gang, the first of seven gangs that would assert their ownership of him at Alfred. Johnson was assaulted again and again - in cells, stairwells, and showers - sometimes by as many as eight convicts at once. Gang members sold Johnson among themselves for $5 and $10 which convicts paid for with commissary items, at one point fighting among themselves over who owned him. - Austin American-Statesman, January 11, 2004.

* Gardesani's willingness to gather evidence on Anderson sparked an investigation by the Colorado Department of Corrections into numerous allegations of sexual misconduct by male staff at the Pueblo women's prison. ... A native of Brazil who speaks four languages but is less than fluent in English, she admits she was reluctant to come forward at first. She was too shocked she says - and then too afraid of what the officer could do to her.

"Sergeant Anderson was such a cop - go by the book and everything," she says. "People were kind of scared of him because he was mean with inmates. He write you up for anything. I was real surprised it happened because he was the last person I expect it from."

According to Gardesani, she was reading in her cell one day when Anderson came in and "started running his hands over me. I couldn't believe what was going on." He then left as abruptly as he arrived, she says.

On three subsequent visits over the next few weeks, Gardesani says, Anderson took her to the one area of the room not visible from the cell door, bent her over a chair, and had intercourse with her. "I didn't say a word" she says, "I was thinking, If I scream he's going to tell them I'm crazy and they're going to put me in the hole, put me in special needs, like happen with other inmates. So I let him do it. I was almost paralysed. He didn't say too much. He just pulled me to the chair. Then he had sex with me without no protection at all."

... Throughout it all Gardesani says, she believed any complaint she might make would lead to retaliation. "He told me several times, 'I can't lose my job, so you don't say nothing." she says. "But he has the power, right? He can tell things that I done, and I didn't do it, you know what I mean?" - Westword, May 6, 2004.

That was the US, now for Australia.

* There is something seriously wrong when the NSW prisons are too dangerous even for those convicted of violent crime. Yet that is how the prison system appears to no less a figure than the District Court's acting Judge Donald Stewart (former chairman of the National Crime Authority, former royal commissioner and former Supreme Court judge). Judge Stewart has decided not to send a young carjacker to jail to await sentencing because "what might and probably will face this young man ... does not bear speaking about." And so Ali El Etri will remain on bail after pleading guilty to charges including aggravated carjacking which carries a penalty of up to 14 years in jail. El Etri and a 30-year-old accomplice had lain in wait for a Sydney solicitor then stolen her Porsche Boxter at gunpoint.

The community may well feel that those who terrorise others in this fashion should be off the streets. However, Judge Stewart was clearly apprehensive about what might befall a good-looking 20-year-old in a NSW jail. Judge Stewart said he wanted to dispel "any romantic ideas people have about jail. It is not a cushy number", and noted there had been a weekend newspaper report on rape in prisons.

His Honour may well have been referring to the Good Weekend cover story which painted a horrifying picture of jails where the rape of prisoners by other prisoners had become routine. A NSW magistrate, David Heilpern, told the magazine that up to 25 percent of young men in NSW jails had been raped, some every day. Other experts interviewed by the Good Weekend thought Mr Heilpern's figure was conservative. Yet those who were sexually assaulted are reluctant to complain to authorities for fear of retribution from other prisoners. And all this in a state which jails more than 15,000 people a year - almost twice the per capita rate of Victoria, for example.

"People are not sent to jail to be punished, they are sent to jail as punishment," Judge Stewart said on Monday when continuing El Etri's bail. It is not clear what the Judge may do when the time comes to sentence El Etri on December 13. Meanwhile, he has made a valid point. While governments may introduce tough laws against crime, respect for the law also means that they must accept full responsibility to protect criminals from punishment beyond what the law prescribes.

While Judge Stewart is to be commended for taking his lonely stand against the inhuman conditions in NSW jails and the failure of Correctional Services officials to provide full protection for prisoners, he clearly states the principle that "People are .... sent to jail as punishment". This is the flaw in present-day justice systems, prisons are still intended to punish offenders, just as they were in the Dark Ages. Nothing has changed.

Given that this is the case, it is misleading and erroneous to label prisons as 'Correctional Centres'. These facilities are not designed or operated to 'correct' or rehabilitate the unfortunates who are incarcerated within them. The aim is to punish people for their perceived sins.

Colonial Australia was founded as a penal colony, to get felons who were crammed into prison hulks on the Thames out of the sight of genteel Londoners. Those unfortunates who were transported to Australia, often for petty thefts, were worked hard and treated with extreme brutality. Today, federal and state governments, and the majority of the judiciary who administer the rule of law in Australia, are inclined to perpetuate this principle, while giving only lip service to notions of reform and rehabilitation in the public rhetoric of the justice system.

As things stand, police who arrest offenders such as El Etri, lawyers who prosecute them, and judges or magistrates who sentence them are knowingly sending these people into situations in which they have every chance of being routinely subjected to sexual abuse and physical assault. No valid defence can be afforded by claiming that the end responsibility for the protection of prison inmates lies with Correctional Services authorities.

The Nuremberg trials of 1945-6 rejected similar arguments from those who were part of the chain that arrested, transported and finally exterminated hordes of innocent people whom the Nazis disapproved of.

At Nuremberg it was not accepted that the soldiers and guards were 'only following orders'. If they had forced people into cattle trucks bound for Auschwitz, Belsen, Dachau or similar destinations, the officials, police and military were judged to have been as guilty of crimes against humanity as those who planned and directed the holocaust.

A very strong argument can be made that the abuses that are being allowed to happen in jails in Australia, the US, and other places, are nothing less than crimes against humanity - a justice holocaust. Thus, when a judge sentences an offender to prison the true punishment is far greater than a number of years of loss of liberty. It is repeated rape and, in all probability, a lingering death from AIDS.

Most of the people in NSW jails don't even need to be confined for the safety of the general society. They are in prison for drug use offences, minor breaches such as not paying traffic fines, or for defrauding the social security system of quite small amounts of money. Certainly, there are violent rapists and armed robbers who do need to be confined until such time as they can be rehabilitated, if that is possible. However, there is absolutely no justification for allowing even these people to be subjected to additional, unofficial, punishments of the most vile and brutal kind.

Without wishing to be crude about it, the justice system sucks. And the faults trace back to medieval notions of revenge and punishment that have no place in a truly just society. Again, without wishing to labour the comparison, it is a fact that tribal peoples dwelt in Australia for tens of thousands of years without constructing any jails or severely punishing or abusing wrongdoers. The emphasis in many tribal systems of justice is on rectification of the harm done to victims, rather than torturing the perpetrators of the crimes.

The appalling failures in the systems of justice and imprisonment within the old order cry out to be discussed Us-2-Us. Wide awareness and indignation in the public arena will be significant factors in decisions relating to secession and the establishment of a Level 4 Civilization that is free of such flaws.

Related Links:

Tough line on crime fills jails
The tough law-and-order policies of governments around the nation are behind an explosion in the prison population by almost 80 per cent in the past two decades.

I am a prisoner in NSW and I am currently held in Parklea Prison. I am concerned about what is going on in NSW prisons and this is my story.

Parklea Prison: No calls for six days
The last calls that were made out of Parklea Correctional Complex by my partner, an inmate in remand at Parklea, was on Wednesday 2 February. The phone lines for the inmates have been out of service to this date.

Prison visits in crisis in NSW
The reason I am writing today is to address a difficult situation that my husband and my family are going through. My husband is currently serving a sentence at Lithgow Correctional Centre in NSW.

Prison boom will prove a social bust
Hardened criminals are not filling NSW's prisons - the mentally ill and socially disadvantaged are, writes Eileen Baldry.

The prison system requires assiduous oversight
As NSW Attorney General Bob Debus noted in 1996: "The kinds of complaints which occur in the system may seem trivial to outsiders but in the superheated world of the prison, such issues can produce explosive results."

Crime and Punishment
Mark Findlay argues that the present psychological approach to prison programs is increasing the likelihood of re-offending and the threat to community safety.

Justice Denied In NSW Corrective Services
There used to be a (VJ) or Visiting Justice who would go into the prison and judge any claim or accusation that was made by any prisoner or prison guard. If it were found that a prisoner had offended then punishment was metered out.

Prison guards test positive for drugs
NSW prison visitors banned from using the toilet The visit is only for about one hour and any thing less than that is an insult. If it's proved that a visitor has broken the rules the punishment should apply to them. But collective punishment on all visitors should not be made general when others haven't broken the rules especially if it restricts all visitors from normal human needs like using a toilet.

NSW prison visitors banned from using the toilet
The New South Wales Government has introduced several initiatives to stop contraband getting into prisons they said last Friday. But under the guise of "stricter rules" the department had also introduced banning all visitors including children from using the toilet unless they terminate their visit at any NSW prison after using the toilet.

Watchdogs slaughtered in NSW
On Tuesday the Carr Government reduced transparency and accountability yet again and New South Wales is in danger of becoming entrenched with cronyism and intimidations with the Carr Labor Government that continues to slaughter the watchdogs.