Malcolm Baker: Letter to Commissioner

Dear Mr Severin,

We are following up on the ruling made by the Mental Health Review Tribunal on July 14, 2016 regarding Malcolm George Baker min 221029. The Tribunal rejected the application by Justice Health for an order to retain Mr Baker in the mental health facility at Long Bay. We now ask that you facilitate Mr Baker to be transferred back to his designated placement, South Coast Correctional Centre at Nowra. This man has been treated appallingly in the past, once again exposed as being wrong when properly examined.

The hearing was attended by the Directors of Custodial Services Mental Health Drs Perry and Chew as well as the acting head of the treating team Dr Eugene Ho. Justice Health said that if he were on forced medication, he would become less vocal, it would improve his interaction with others and not disturb others at night. The Tribunal heard arguments from Malcolm’s barrister Ben Fogarty, as well as evidence from psychiatrist Dr Yola Lucire and me as designated carer. 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. His family and Justice Action are beside him.

After a similar hearing by the Tribunal on April 30 last year the Tribunal similarly refused to order his retention in the Long Bay hospital. But subsequently he was held in the mental health pod of the MRRC for 15 months, with a series of unstable people in transition around him, no job, education and no chance for settling down. It wasn’t fair to him as it was destabilising, especially he has already suffered 15 years in solitary confinement. He wanted to be mainstreamed, do something useful, and create relationships as he should be entitled to after serving 24 years. We counselled him to be patient, speaking with him every few days, believing his return to Nowra to be imminent. Despite this destabilising situation he behaved very well, not being accused of breaching any rules.

In light of the Tribunal’s second decision, we seek support from Corrective Services NSW to resettle Malcolm as early as possible back in Nowra with a job and people around him with whom he can relate. He also needs hearing aids – a matter that was exposed during the latest hearing as the reason for him shouting at night to his friends. We are in a mentoring relationship with him and are prepared to negotiate with him and management if a problem does arise.

Please acknowledge upon receipt,

Kind regards,

Brett Collins


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