Letter sent to the Community Reference Group

To Community Reference Group Members,

Apologise for the mistype in the subject line of the earlier email, this is the finalised correspondence.

We want to draw your attention to the case of Mr Malcolm George Baker min 221029 and what occurred at his recent Mental Health Review Tribunal Hearing on 14/7/16. We ask you individually, and as representatives of your organisations to confront the culture and abuse of power by health personnel.

The Tribunal rejected the application by Justice Health for an order to retain Mr Baker in the mental health facility at Long Bay as the Tribunal found no justification for holding him in the hospital and being forcibly medicated. It agreed that Mr Baker presents no risk of serious harm to himself or others. It heard that he needed a job and an interest with social support. He was accused of being delusional as he had alleged corruption between the pharmaceutical industry and the government and said that he was being prosecuted. This was the third time the Tribunal rejected his forced medication after our intervention, which in our opinion indicates a serious cultural problem.
The hospital "obstructed the defence at all stages”, it refused the independent psychiatrist access to the medical records and didn’t release the Review documents until the hearing. The Tribunal claimed that it didn’t have the power to intervene. Dr Lucire pointed out that the tribunal could not deliver justice if one side was prevented from giving proper evidence. “That alone makes the legislation a sham” she said.

The top two Directors of Mental Health in Custodial Services attended the hearing as well as the psychiatrist leading the treating team. The defence was pro bono and privately funded. “There were at least 10 people in the room and the costs of such careless diagnoses need to be sheeted back to those who make them” said Dr Lucire.

Please find our media release below the email.

Again, we ask you individually, and as representatives of your organisations to confront the culture and abuse of power by health personnel. The intention of helping prisoners has been lost within the Community Reference Group (CRG). Many meetings haven’t happened, have been postponed or have become irrelevant. In the past prisoners were able to attend meetings as equal participants and call matters to your attention in order for the CRG to respond adequately and efficiently. This no longer occurs and signifies an abandonment of your organisation’s original constitution.

What has been your response to the findings in The Full House Report? What actions have you insisted be taken to address the worsening conditions of Prisoner Health Services where less than 50% of appointments happen.

We believe any conflicts of interest, be they in the form of financial support from Corrective Services NSW, the Health Department or otherwise should be disclosed and those compromised should reconsider their positions on the CRG.

It is clear that there are structural problems within the CRG. We once again ask for Justice Action to be on the CRG or explain why you do not support our involvement. We were part of the originating team and were told we were essential to its operation.
Please acknowledge upon receipt either confidentially or openly.


Brett Collins
Justice Action Team


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