The need for prisoners to access computers in cells is at last being recognised by the law. In a groundbreaking decision in Liristis v State of New South Wales, Tony Liristis, an inmate of Long Bay Correctional Centre, was successfully granted access to a laptop and printer/scanner to prepare his case whilst in custody.

Justice Schmidt presented the following decision:

“Mr Liristis forthwith be given access to his printer/scanner and laptop in custody and that he be permitted to use that equipment in the preparation and conduct of his case, both in custody prior to the commencement of the hearing and in the District Court, during the course of the trial.”

Tony Liristis was originally denied access to a computer that was needed to prepare and present his own case, research the law, and view evidence on CDs. In consequence, his trial had to be postponed the legal process was frustrated.

Access to a fair trial is a common law right, and depriving a prisoner of technology can amount to gross miscarriage of justice. Mr Liristis’ victory proves the need for the Computer in Cells campaign and has set an important precedent for greater access to technology in custody.

Unfortunately, Corrective Services NSW appealed Justice Schmidt’s decision. The case went before the Supreme Court (Court of Appeal) on 7 and 8 May 2018. We are awaiting the result.

Below are three documents consisting of:

  1. Judgement of Justice Schmidt in Mr Liristis’ favour
  2. Transcript from the 30th of January 2018
  3. Transcript from the 31st of January 2018

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