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Below is the formal response submitted to the Mental Health Review Tribunal
The JA media release is here.

Formal Primary Carer/Justice Action Proposals and Response to Justice Health Report
Submitted to Saeed Dezfouli Mental Health Review Tribunal Hearing, 28 April 2016

The Justice Health’s Report is clearly and demonstrably unfair. It has a negative slant toward all of Mr. Dezfouli’s behaviour, even when other interpretations of his behaviour are equally viable. This negative bias undermines the value judgments the Hospital makes where their expertise and discretions are officially adopted. Justice Health was required to provide Mr. Dezfouli with this Report two weeks before the Hearing. We would like to draw attention to the Tribunal that the Report was a week late and disadvantaged Saeed.

The former Mental Tribunal President Professor Dan Howard previously expressed his disappointment in the Health Department’s failure to implement Tribunal recommendations for Saeed, stating that “sometimes the system needs a kicking.” Nevertheless, despite the Tribunal’s recommendations, the Report has dismissed Mr. Dezfouli’s lack of access to a consumer worker and a stand-alone computer as insignificant. This conduct by Justice Health is further evidence of an unfair and corrupt system, which misleads the people it is supposed to protect as well as the Tribunal itself.

Our Proposal

In response to the Report, Justice Action proposes that the Tribunal grants Mr. Dezfouli escorted leave from the Hospital; support for repatriation to Iran; access to a stand-alone computer; and access to a consumer worker.

1. Support from the Tribunal for Repatriation to Iran
Mr. Dezfouli expresses a strong desire to be repatriated to Iran. Mr. Dezfouli has already been detained within the forensic system for longer than he would have been detained following conviction. Mr. Dezfouli believes that being detained indefinitely is unfair and inhumane and that repatriation is his only solution (see NSW Law Reform Commission Report 138 pg xx states his situation as being unfair, and the current Senate Inquiry examining the same issue, ‘Indefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment in Australia’). Support from the Tribunal is required to facilitate the repatriation of Mr. Dezfouli to Iran.

2. Escorted Leave from the Hospital
The Justice Health Nursing Report refers to a request made by Mr. Douglas Holmes to grant escorted leave for Mr. Dezfouli from the Hospital (see p. 24.4 of the Justice Health Report). We propose Mr. Dezfouli is granted escorted leave with Mr. Holmes in the next period.

3. Access to Stand-Alone Computer
Justice Action has requested a stand-alone computer without Internet access for Mr. Dezfouli’s educational use (see email from Brett Collins to Tobias Mackinnon, 15 September 2014 6:42pm, Re: Saeed – computer access). The Tribunal provided that “Mr. Dezfouli’s said treating team give every due consideration to facilitating, as soon as practicable, Mr. Dezfouli’s reasonable access to a computer, without internet access, for the purpose of study in the context of any appropriate educational courses that he undertakes” (see 20 March 2014, Tribunal’s Reasons for Decision, at p.55). Justice Health has not reported back to the Tribunal as to why Mr. Dezfouli should not be given computer access. We propose Mr. Dezfouli is granted access to this computer in the next period.

4. Access to Consumer Worker
The Tribunal saw considerable merit in allowing support from a consumer worker, recommending that “support from a suitably qualified mental health consumer worker or workers as the treating team may think fit for the purpose of assisting and supporting Mr. Dezfouli’s recovery and rehabilitation” (see 20 March 2014, Tribunal’s Reasons for Decision, at p. 55). Mr. Dezfouli has not seen a consumer worker in his capacity as a consumer. We propose the Tribunal makes a recommendation that Mr. Dezfouli has access to a consumer worker to facilitate his recovery and rehabilitation.


Justice Health’s Report

The Report provides a very negative portrayal of Mr. Dezfouli and does not support his return to Iran. Justice Health has discredited itself through the slanted, misleading and dishonest information it has presented to the Tribunal, which is addressed below.

1) Determination to justify violent concerns
a. Heavy emphasis is made on Mr. Dezfouli’s violent threats on repeated occasions, however, at no time has Mr. Dezfouli been violent towards the staff or other patients (see pp. 2.6; 16.8; 18.1).
i. “Feels like Volcano Mountain which is calm outside but boiling inside” (p. 5.2).
ii. Reference to throwing a chair as an example of unprovoked aggression (see p. 6.9).
b. Hostility toward Dr. Sinclair by refusing to speak with her and regarding her in a hostile manner.
iii. In a phone call, Mr. Dezfouli stated that he does not talk to Dr. Sinclair, so she could not know what amount of time he is spending thinking about his perceived mistreatment by the Australian government and the Forensic Hospital.
c. Mr. Dezfouli is angry and frustrated but he is not violent.

2) Determination to justify mental illness
a. Cited that he was laughing to himself and covering his face with his shirt (see p. 14.3)
i. Mr. Dezfouli cites that the medication he was taking makes him gassy and he was amused by the noise and proceeded to cover his nose. The nurses made no attempt to communicate with him about the incident or allow him to explain himself; they immediately and erroneously attributed the incident to a mental illness and psychosis.
b. Dr. Keller’s provided a second opinion in a letter emphasising that Mr. Dezfouli had (see p. 9.5):
i. Ongoing delusions of persecution; and
ii. A negative, dismissive and disparaging attitude towards the psychiatrist.
c. Interpretation of his determination to be repatriated as a sign of Mr. Dezfouli’s lack of insight into his mental illness (see p. 14.6).
d. Treating Mr. Dezfouli’s belief that he can control the government and how they will treat him through his actions as acts of delusion (see p. 15.2).

3) Physical side effects
a. Evidence of forced medication side effects (see pp. 5.3; 7.9; 23.2).
b. Refusal to accept medication is evidence of self-harm (see p. 3.5).
c. In refusing to accept medication, Mr. Dezfouli is manifesting his own side effects (see p. 3.5).

4) Iranian repatriation (see pp. 10.7; 14.8; 18.6)
a. Mr. Dezfouli’s desire to be repatriated into Iran has been used as evidence of mental illness by:
i. unfairly using repatriation to effect indefinite incarceration as an NGMI patient; and
ii. unfairly using repatriation to show that he has a “lack of insight” into his mental illness because he does not understand the state of Iranian conditions in Iran (see p. 11.3).
b. Mr. Dezfouli believes that going to Iran is better than staying in Australia and being treated unfairly (see NSW Law Reform Commission Report 138 and Senate Inquiry on this issue).
i. In a phone call, Mr. Dezfouli stated that repatriation is his only solution
ii. Repatriation will require the assistance of the Tribunal. There is nothing in the report that indicates that the hospital will support his repatriation.
iii. In a phone call, Mr. Dezfouli stated that Australia does not want him to go to Iran because they would have one less “guinea pig” to test their medications on.
iv. Mr. Dezfouli does not want to comply with the Tribunal because he claims the Tribunal won’t fix the problem, as the problem is the whole system itself.

5) Consumer workers (see pp. 15.5; 9.2; 19.5)
a. Consumer workers are wrongly described as consumer advocates.
b. There is no reference to Tribunal recommendations.
c. This discredits the fairness and legitimacy of the Report because it is dishonest.

6) Computer access (see pgs. 7.2; 9.3; 15.5; 19.5)
a. The Report refers to Mr. Dezfouli having access to the Internet. We have not proposed for him to have access to the Internet, but rather that he have computer access for educational purposes.
b. There is no reference to Tribunal recommendations.
c. This discredits the fairness and legitimacy of the Report because it is dishonest.

Moving Forward
a. During the Tribunal hearing on 28 April, Mr. Dezfouli must discuss his personal history, which he has been avoiding thus far.
b. Mr. Dezfouli must work with the “system” in order to be released. If he continues to refuse to comply with his nurses he will not move forward with this Tribunal hearing. The Report shows that Justice Health wants the Tribunal to treat Mr. Dezfouli unfavourably.
d. Mr. Dezfouli must not lose his temper.
e. Mr. Dezfouli must be willing to discuss his personal history and index offence.

Mr. Dezfouli’s Opinions
Mr. Dezfouli opines that:
a. his psychiatrist is out to get him;
b. his psychiatrists distort the truth about what he says and falsely equate his thoughts with “delusions;”
c. the Tribunal will appeal to emotions rather than objective facts in order to keep him, as a “guinea pig” within the system;
d. he feels helpless in his situation;
e. he purposely inflames situations due to his frustrations; and
f. he will not accept that he must comply with ‘the system’ that he so hates.

Other Observations
a. The Hospital heavily relies on medication in order to treat Mr. Dezfouli and refuses to acknowledge his concerns about the side effects of the forced medication.
b. By not establishing good rapport with Mr. Dezfouli and by consistently undermining his lucidity, the Hospital is contributing to Mr. Dezfouli’s frustrations and setting back the treatment process. The Hospital sees these frustrations as validations of his mental illness and a reason to keep him there indefinitely, which is unfair.

 

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