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Saeed Dezfouli

Update Saeed High Court of Australia Appeal

Saeed's case is now before the High Court of Australia, in the latest thrust to expose the structural abuse of people in mental hospitals, and the lack of accountability to standards of respect.

The High Court has to consider whether there is a valid Public Interest to protect individuals like Saeed who come under the jurisdiction of the NSW Mental Health Act, and whether the UN Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities should be considered. Additionally whether the NSW Attorney General should be permitted to claim court costs based upon an exposed lie.

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Landmark Public Interest Battle Looming

Justice Action has a case around "A", before the Mental Health Review Tribunal. It will define the rights of people and their carers to challenge their treatment in mental hospitals.
 
Although the language of government responses to mental health support is changing rapidly to the “person-centred approach of recovery”, the reality on the ground is still authoritarian with coercion and forced medication the standard treatment. It is easy, cheap, and certain.

Justice Action has been asking the Tribunal to assert its power over the hospital since 2009. JA appealed to the Supreme Court over its refusal, and is arguing before the High Court of Australia the Public Interest to protect people in mental hospitals and support the UN Convention of the Rights of People with Disabilities. Now the Tribunal has squarely before it psychiatric evidence that the hospital has damaged A’s health by its forced treatment. 

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Saeed: Report on $36,000 Costs Hearing in Court of Appeal

 Costs appeal 28 June 2013

The Justice Action team outside the Court of Appeal on Friday 28 June 2013

Report on $36,000 Costs Hearing in Court of Appeal

On Friday 28 June 2013, Justices Ruth McColl and Fabian Gleeson heard Saeed Dezfouli’s application for leave to appeal. Appeal is sought against the cost order of $36,000 made by Justice Johnson in the Supreme Court against Saeed and his primary carer. The decision has been reserved until a later date to be determined. If the court grants leave, a further hearing will be heard in front of three judges to determine the appeal itself.

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Report on A's Hearing with the Mental Health Review Tribunal

Due to a request from the Mental Health Review Tribunal, the Justice Action team was forced to remove the names of persons related to the proceedings. Our plaintiff’s name has been replaced with ‘A’. This occurs despite the clear wishes of A to have his name publicised and the basic entitlement to freely and publicly criticise the abuses of justice done to him.

On Thursday, 27 July 2013, the Mental Health Review Tribunal chaired by an ex-Supreme Court Justice conducted a hearing for the case of A with A’s psychiatrists. Representing for the hospital was the head of the treating team, a nurse, a registrar and others. Solicitor Peter O’Brien and 2 members of Justice Action were also there to support A. Justice Action’s publication of Mad in Australia was distributed to the hearing’s attendees.

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Saeed Dezfouli

Untitled-2Brett, Saeed, Geoff and Kassia at the Mental Health Open Day 2012

 


LATEST NEWS ON SAEED'S CASE

Overview

Saeed Dezfouli is a forensic patient who has been in detention since 19 January 2002 and could be held indefinitely despite doing an act normally punished with a short sentence. During this time, his rights have constantly been abused, he has been forcibly medicated and is under the Health Department's total control. 

He is still being held in the highest security facilities, despite being a non-violent person who never intended the harm he caused. Saeed’s battle represents the universal struggle of mental health patients against the state’s attacks on their personal integrity. It concerns the right to not be assaulted, the right to education, and the right to person-centred health care - all of which are breached in Saeed’s case. The State’s callous indifference and abuse of mental patients rather than fulfilling their duty of care is the worst expression of community responsibility in a system costing over $200,000 a person a year.

Saeed brought proceedings in the Supreme Court, regarding a review of his treatment, back in February 2010. He sought the following orders:

-     That the forensic hospital cease forcibly medicating him against his will;
-     That he be given access to a computer donated to the hospital by the students of the University of NSW for educational purposes
-     To cease psychiatric treatment from his then-current psychiatrist to be replaced with treatment from a psychiatrist of his choice. 

To this day, despite our support, Saeed has not been able to achieve any of those aims even though they are basic to publicly stated person-centered health care.

Force and the abuse of power over vulnerable people is central to the mental health culture, and the medicalisation of social problems is basic to it. Tribunal support for a consumer worker allocation and computer access has been ignored by the hospital.

He has appealed to the Supreme Court three times to force assistance from the Mental Health Review Tribunal. Justice Action incurred a $60,000 court costs order with an arrest warrant and garnishee order issued until it was withdrawn in February 2015.

Justice Action stands beside Saeed as a focus person and his primary carer in this battle for human rights. 

Read more about Saeed's story here.

To view the timeline for Saeed's case, click here. 

Listen to ABCs 'The Man without a Name' here.

 

MAJOR ISSUES

Here is a list of major issues relevant to Saeed Dezfouli's case:

INSTITUTIONALISED ABUSE

FORCED MEDICATION

EDUCATION RIGHTS

SOCIAL SUPPORT RIGHTS

IDENTITY RIGHTS

Legal Proceedings & MHRT Hearings

Attorney-General: bloodied from mental health case

“The ongoing saga of Saeed Dezfouli developed into farce yesterday when an investigator sent to interview Justice Action regarding material on its website refused to ask his questions in front of witnesses. He left saying that his right to privacy was being violated. He said that he was protecting Saeed’s rights under the Mental Health Act to not be named, although Saeed says he has the right to his name in criticising his forced treatment. It all seems unhealthy secrecy wielding immense power” said Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins.

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Why Saeed's Battle Must Be Won

 

Due to a request from the Mental Health Review Tribunal, the Justice Action team was forced to remove the names of persons related to the proceedings. Our plaintiff’s name has been replaced with ‘A’. This occurs despite the clear wishes of A to have his name publicised and the basic entitlement to freely and publicly criticise the abuses of justice done to him.

 

On Thursday, 27 July 2013, the Mental Health Review Tribunal chaired by an ex-Supreme Court Justice conducted a hearing for the case of A with A’s psychiatrists. Representing for the hospital was the head of the treating team, a nurse, a registrar and others. Solicitor Peter O’Brien and 2 members of Justice Action were also there to support A. Justice Action’s publication of Mad in Australia was distributed to the hearing’s attendees.

A’s battle represents a determined struggle against threats to the integrity of the human person. It concerns the right to not be assaulted, the right to education, and the right to health care – all of which are being breached in A’s case. The forensic hospital is assaulting 'A' by medicating him against his will; it is denying him access to a computer that was donated to the hospital for A's educational use, and refusing to allow A’s psychiatric treatment to be conducted by the psychiatrist of A’s choice.

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Crisis Confrontation

Saeed's primary carer was refused entry at Saeed's Tribunal on Thursday December 6 2012. The Attorney General has said he will be seeking a warrant for Saeed's primary carer's arrest if he/she does not surrender all their financial documents.

 

To access the history of Saeed's tribunal click here

 

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