#australia crazy #law forces judges to jail people with #mentalhealth issues – Mandatory sentencing still a problem: Greens

Mandatory sentencing still a problem: Greens

1 December 2011

Mandatory sentencing of the mentally ill is still a problem despite the Governments claims that it is no longer occurring, the Greens said today.

The comments came following the tabling of the 2010/11 Annual report of the Council of Official Visitors in Parliament.

“During debate on my Private Members Bill seeking to ensure mandatory sentencing for those who suffer from profound mental impairment who had committed an assault against a public officer did not apply, the Government made numerous statements that any amendments to the Act were not necessary as people with profound mental impairment were not being affected.

“Yet the latest independent report from the Council of Official Visitors has made it clear that mandatory sentencing is still very much a problem. In fact the report says that not only are carers of people with profound mental illness still very fearful of contacting the police or ambulance for assistance, of deeper concern is that the Council of Official Visitors is starting to hear of cases where people with a mental illness are being charged under these laws.

“Clearly then all the Government’s posturing that there were sufficient safeguards to prevent people with mental impairment being captured was a load of bunkum. There was much said about the development of ‘Prosecutorial Guidelines’ but judging by the report these are not worth the paper they are printed on.

“This Government has liked to talk up its credentials on mental health, but at the same time they have never been unable to reconcile this with their desire to be seen to be tough on crime. It is a disgrace that they are prepared to continue to allow some of our most vulnerable citizens to continue to get caught up in their populist and punitive agenda.

“I call on the Government to have the courage to admit they got this one wrong and to immediately ensure judicial discretion is available for those people who have been charged with offences who can demonstrate that they were significantly mentally impaired at the time,” Ms Xamon concluded.

For further comment contact Alison

Hon Alison Xamon MLC

Member for the East Metropolitan Region

Office: 62 Eighth Ave Maylands WA 6051

Postal Address: PO Box 104 Maylands WA 6931

Phone: (08) 9272 1718

Fax: (08) 9272 1719

Portfolios: Water, Urban Bushland, Mental Health, Education, Training, Industrial Relations, Employment, Occupational Health & Safety, Disabilities, Women, Children & Youth, Public Service, Community Services,Electoral Affairs, Consumer Protection, Vet Affairs, Volunteering

#australia #indigenous #mining Fwd: Lawyer’s Conduct Outrages Yindjibarndi Community

Conduct Of Native Title Lawyer Ron Bower Outrages Yindjibarndi Community

FULL STATEMENTATTACHED

The WA Supreme Court heard on Monday that veteran native title lawyer, Ron William Bower, of Perth legal firm Corser & Corser, and one of his clients, “pressured” an elderly Yindjibarndi woman into signing an Interlocutory Injunction Application seeking to stop the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC) AGM going ahead this week.
[…]
When Mavis Pat’s statement condemning Mr Bower and Monday’s Interlocutory Injunction Application was presented in the Court, lawyers for Wirlu-Murra immediately struck her off as a plaintiff, then pressed ahead with the action on behalf of the remaining two plaintiffs, Aileen Sandy and Sylvia Allen.
[…]
Maisie Pat said that her family, and especially her mother Mavis, had been through a lot since the tragic death of their 17 year-old son and brother, John Pat, in the cells of the Roebourne lock-up in 1983, and that the actions of FMG and Andrew Forrest in splitting the community, were re-opening unhealed trauma: “Where is the justice in this system for our people? There is none. All we get is these white fellas come into our community and tell us what to do all the time. We are sick of it. We are entitled to be respected.”

Maisie Pat said, “I would like to meet face to face with Andrew Forrest. I would like to give him a piece of my mind. He is doing the wrong thing – ‘you are dividing our family that was once close’.”

Mr Michael Woodley, CEO of the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation, confirmed that a YAC director’s meeting today unanimously resolved to lodge a complaint against Mr Bowers’ unprofessional conduct to the WA Legal Profession Complaints Committee, and to support Mavis Pat in seeking a restraining order against Mr Ron Bower and all agents of Corser & Corser.

Mr Woodley said, “We are outraged by Mr Bower’s harassment of Aunty Mavis. We also condemn Andrew Forrest and his Fortescue Metals Group for openly backing such unethical practice through their financial support and their never-ending divide and conquer campaign against the Yindjibarndi People. There is something rotten in the house of FMG, and we want their gang of bullies, particularly Mr Bower and other Corser & Corser lawyers, to get out of our community and leave us in peace.”

FULL STATEMENTATTACHED

For further information
CONTACT
Michael Woodley – CEO YAC – 0419 097 130 mwoodley

Phil Davies YAC Anthropologist/Public Officer – 0429 110 451 pdavies

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