Territory Stories

Annual Report 2004-2005 Ombudsman 27th Report



Annual Report 2004-2005 Ombudsman 27th Report

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Tabled paper 283


Tabled papers for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled By Claire Martin


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_________________________________________________________ Ombudsmans Annual Report 2004/05 56 In this offices report to the complainant, it was noted, among other things, the variation between the complainants account and that of the prison staff, advising that nothing significant turned upon the different recollections. The complainant was also provided with general information relating to the management of mental health issues by Corrections and advised that this office did not propose taking any further action regarding the matter. The prisoner subsequently wrote back to this office disputing the outcome of the inquiries and effectively stated that this office had accepted NT Correctional Services version over that of his own. After further consideration of this correspondence, the complainant was advised that it was decided to further investigate his complaint. This office made further inquiries of NT Corrections with a view to properly determining the scope of the investigation. This involved obtaining and reviewing a broad range of documentation from NT Correctional Services relevant to the complaint, including, block journal records, NT Corrections internal memorandums and the assailants Initial Security Assessment. The complainants version of events was measured against the background of NT Corrections responses and documentary material. On the whole, this office reached the conclusion that further inquiries by this office would not change NT Corrections position and was also of the view that it would have to be accepted that there were conflicting accounts in regards to the complainants specific allegations. This office was unable to reach a firm opinion, on the balance of probabilities, as to which version was the most accurate. It was stressed to the complainant that this finding did not mean that this office disbelieved his account, or indeed any account; it simply meant that on the available evidence this office could not determine the matter one way of another. The factors which led to this office believing that this was a reasonable conclusion were as follows: In support of NT Corrections version of events NT Corrections documentation tended to suggest that prison officers had previously taken action when the prisoner in question had exhibited problematic behaviour or when that behaviour had been drawn to their attention. This office observed that the Officers responses had appeared to have been appropriate within the context of the process adopted by NT Corrections for dealing with prisoners suffering mental health issues. The assailants formal security assessment did not indicate that he was unsuitable for placement in the general population; Comments by senior NT Corrections staff in the incident report relating to the assault (which was complained about) were to the effect that there were no references from the Psychiatric Nurse which would have alerted or warned officers of an impending assault. In support of the complainants version of events the complainants allegation that he warned a prison officer about the assailants behaviour two days before the assault, could not be entirely dismissed in light of the fact that a block journal for the relevant period could not be located and might have contained relevant information; an incident report regarding the assault (prepared by a senior NT Corrections staff member shortly after the incident in question) noted that the complainant had stated to that

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