Media Releases

Media Release 2/4/15

Media Release April 2, 2015

“Make Orders!” says Saeed

“The Mental Health Review Tribunal is a dysfunctional and corrupt organisation and a waste of the taxpayer’s money. This disgraceful Tribunal hides behind the NSW Mental Health Department. Make orders as you are required!”
– Saeed Dezfouli (9 March 2015)


On the 26th March, the Mental Health Review Tribunal reasserted its unwillingness to intervene by reviewing and authorising medication changes made by Justice Health. Saeed Dezfouli is currently being forcibly injected with 200mg of clopixol.

Saeed was attacked on Monday the 8th of December 2014 at 2:15pm. Dr Barbara Sinclair wished to talk with him for a minute, however Saeed stated that he did not want to talk unless Brett Collins (his primary carer) was present. Upon refusing to enter the treatment room, Saeed was dragged to his own room instead. His face was pushed down onto the floor and someone sat on him to hold him down, which results in Saeed feeling as though he “couldn’t breathe.” He was screaming and his pants were removed so he could be forcibly injected in the buttocks. At 3:45pm the same day, Saeed phoned Brett about the assault: “Brett, I am shocked; they just attacked me.”

However, while the MHRT Tribunal President Howard SC had previously provided a non-authoritative recommendation that “the paliperidone (not clopixol) will continue”, the inaction of the Tribunal has allowed Saeed’s doctors to issue a change in medication to clopixol, which causes Saeed a number of painful side effects, without notice. Due to the lack of a binding order mandating use of peliperidone and a history of failure in enforcing decisions against Justice Health, Dr Sinclair is free to administer possibly harmful drugs with no fear of reprimand.

The MHRT has claimed that they did not have authority to make orders relating to Saeed’s medication. However, Justice Action believes that these actions do not satisfy the MHRT’s supervisory obligations. We have been working tirelessly to compel the MHRT to effectively exercise their jurisdiction to hold Justice Health doctors accountable. The MHRT’s complete lack of action is in contradiction with their clearly stated objectives.

The provision of a consumer worker to Saeed, an outstanding recommendation by the Tribunal, still stands and was reaffirmed by the Tribunal on the 26th March. Delays in providing this service have been attributed to slow processing and objections to providing Saeed with an ‘advocate’, however, Justice Action is merely seeking a NSW Health consumer worker.

Justice Action has repeatedly sought legal injunctions that would require the MHRT to act in accordance with their ethical and legal responsibilities. In the process of this campaign, Justice Action has been hit with a $60,000 debt for court fees. The government however, has since withdrawn this debt and Justice Action will continue its fight to protect the most vulnerable members of our justice system.

-Ends -

More information on website: www.justiceaction.org.au

Comments: Brett Collins 0438 705003

Trades Hall, Suite 204, 4 Goulburn St
Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
PO Box 386 Broadway NSW 2007, Australia
Ph: 612 9283 0123 fax: 612 92830112
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United Nations Urges Mental Law Changes

"Local cases challenging forced medication of vulnerable patients in Australia, now have backing from the UN" said Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins. 

"The UN Committee for Disability condemned Australia for forcibly medicating and detaining people affected by mental illness. Australia was the only country of the 79 that have ratified UNCRPD to reserve its right to forcibly medicate the disabled. It directly urged Australia to rethink its policies and to comply with international human rights standards" said Mr Collins.

“The Committee recommends that Australia should repeal all legislation that authorises medical interventions without free and informed consent of the persons with disabilities concerned…” - Concluding Observations on the initial report on Australia, adopted by the Committee at its tenth session (2-13 September 2013), para 34.

"The media has successfully challenged the secrecy of the area, with the ABC applying for the right to report on Saeed Dezfouli's hearings before the Mental Tribunal, Supreme Court and High Court of Australia, as well as Sydney City News investigative report pursuing it. After psychiatrists conflicted on whether it was "healthy" for Saeed to be able to use his name in his challenges, the Tribunal accepted on September 12 that it would cause damage to him and make him feel discriminated against to not retain his identity, and ordered the secrecy under s.162 to be lifted" said Mr Collins.              

"Other people in the community have now come out. Michael Riley for instance, is someone who is not afraid to reveal his story involving forced medication and compulsory detainment by health authorities. In a recent interview, Michael revealed that since being labeled as 'mentally ill' he has suffered constant abuse and has been treated as a criminal by the health system rather than have the support he deserves" said Mr Collins.

"Psychiatrists are also starting to speak up about the dangerous effects of forced medication. In an affidavit to the Supreme Court, psychiatrist Dr David Bell, said that the antipsychotic medication could, at the dosage recommended by the treating team, “damage the brain as well as producing the metabolic syndrome” (p 4) and “at that level it produces effects that can resemble mental illness such as schizophrenic psychosis” (p 4)" said Mr Collins.

Comments: Brett Collins 0438 705003

Court Stops Forced Medication

The campaign for the rights of people detained in hospitals has achieved major victories! On Friday 4th October 2013, the Supreme Court confirmed its injunction stopping the forced injection of Saeed Dezfouli until a hearing on December 12. This has now become an appeal from the Mental Health Review Tribunal's (MHRT) decision on September 12 to allow the hospital to inject Saeed. But it did decide for the first time that it had the legal power to stop it. And the Tribunal gave permission to the ABC to use Saeed’s name in their reports on his case.

These developments represent important wins in the fight for Saeed to have a say in his treatment and his right to his identity. The battle lines are well defined. The health system is exposed as a merciless and expensive abuse of power cloaked as "care".

Media Release: doc  pdf

Read more

Media release: Victory! Line in Sand

Media release: September 25, 2008 download pdf


“Finally the government has acknowledged the right of mental patients to treatment that respects their special needs. To cause vulnerable citizens to suffer for administrative purposes is essentially torture and diminishes us as a community” said JA spokesperson Brett Collins.

Read more

Prisons and Hospital Votes are Muted


"Following an Australian national campaign to ensure the enrolment of people in prisons and in hospitals, the result shows that many were blocked from doing so" said Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins.

Read more

Saeed Dezfouli: Media Releases and Resources

Media Release Tuesday October 18, 2011
Mental Hospital blocked ‘Celebration Day’ visits

"Despite an official invitation to the Forensic Hospital Celebration Day at the start of Mental Health Month, seven visitors were refused access to the Hospital. This was despite the intervention of the head of a major consumer organisation personally to Justice Health Chief Executive Julie Babineau and a plea directly to the Clinical Director Dr Adrian Keller by the visitors. That open rejection of families and friends of patients waiting outside clearly shows the contemptuous culture of the organisation led from the top" said Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins.

Read more

Death in Custody Action Plan: Ministerial Callous Indifference


“Prisoners join prison officers and the Opposition spokesperson for Justice, Paul Lynch, in calling for a Public Inquiry into the recent sequence of deaths. We now launch the Tracy Brannigan Action Plan,” said Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins.


“The Minister for Justice, Greg Smith, and Justice Health CEO, Julie Babineau have ignored the Action Plan, designed to prevent such deaths. If this Action Plan had been implemented and lessons in the Brannigan case acknowledged, the Silverwater murder-suicide deaths, a mere month later, would not have occurred,” said Mr. Collins.

Read more

Mental Tribunal Permits Torture

Media Release on Monday, 17 September 2012:

"In a shocking revelation at a Mental Health Review Tribunal hearing last Thursday, a Justice Health psychiatrist admitted under cross examination that a prisoner is being forcibly medicated because he is “annoying” and may provoke other prisoners to attack him.  The doctor argued that by putting himself in danger he could be defined as a mentally ill person. Our lawyer demanded that he be left alone and treated as a non-violent elderly person entitled to dignity and humanity, and that he gets the 'care‘ as the Act directs” said Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins.


"The Tribunal refused to allow us to give evidence or listen to the proceedings by phone although the law requires the hearings to be public. As his only community support, the prisoner named us as his primary carer, having mentored him for ten years. We are in daily contact with him and have reconnected him with his family. The man said yesterday: 'I'm not the only one they're doing this to. Doctors used to help you if you asked them, but now I fear them more than the guards.' Under the Act, he cannot use his own name to protest about his treatment." said Mr Collins.


"This elderly man's treatment by Justice Health and Corrective Services undoubtedly amounts to torture. For 15 of his 20 years in jail, the prisoner has been held in effective solitary confinement in super maximum security despite his non-violent prison history. He is moved from cell to cell every four weeks, which denies him the stability of a home. When out of his unit, he is put in leg irons and handcuffs. He is assaulted and his possessions smashed while guards watch. He is told he is mentally ill and forcibly medicated despite his requests that he be left in peace, have a job and mix with others" said Mr Collins. 


"In a Justice Health Report to the Tribunal, factual errors show their lack of care. They have no idea who is or isn’t contacting him. They didn't disclose to him their concerns of a heart condition as a side effect of their medication, and censured him as demanding when he asked for a toothbrush to clean his teeth. In the past month, even with our intervention, he has only been allowed to brush his teeth 8 times. Unbelievably the report claims that the man 'has no insight into his mental illness' but 'We are hoping to build a therapeutic alliance with him and increase his antipsychotic medication if needed'. He is locked for 23 hours a day in a bare cell. ” said Mr Collins.

"The Minister for Justice Greg Smith and current Commissioner Peter Severin haven’t intervened despite receiving full information, and all other agencies with oversight responsibilities accept this treatment as normal. The prisoner has requested that Justice Action help him appeal to the Supreme Court. We have undertaken to stand beside him, holding a line for our community. We have prepared a case study and our lawyer tendered it to the Tribunal" said Mr Collins.



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