QLD sued over teen treatment
A man who was restrained in a spit mask as a teenager in a Brisbane prison is suing the Queensland Government.
The man says he was “treated like an animal” and now suffers post-traumatic stress disorder.
He was 17 years old in 2013 when the alleged events occurred and cannot be identified for legal reasons.
He says that while being held on remand in the Brisbane Correctional Centre at Wacol (reportedly for offences including break and enters, and robbery), he suffered “cruel and degrading treatment” by correctional officers.
Court documents contain allegations that on February 13, 2013, the teenager pressed a call button in his cell to get more toilet paper, before six corrective services officers entered and ordered the young prisoner to kneel facing the wall with his hands on his head.
He alleges that he was told by one officer: “Today's the day”.
“The plaintiff was placed into a body-belt to which his hands were cuffed,” the claim states.
“A hood or helmet device was then placed over the plaintiff's head and face by another corrective services officer.
“The plaintiff was given no explanation or reason [and] was left alone in the cell for over one hour.”
The documents state the 17-year-old was “terrified”.
There are further allegations that he was separately confined to a small cell for up to 23 hours a day, limited to one weekly phone call, denied a mattress and bedding during the day and had no access to reading material, television, paper or pens.
He claims he was not offered any form of activity or education and was allowed into a small exercise yard for just an hour per day.
“During the separate confinement, the plaintiff was subject to daily strip searches … was limited to eight toilet flushes per 24 hour period [and] was required to get on his knees and place his hands behind his head in order to receive food,” the claim states.
“After about a month [he] had his window papered over so that he could not see out at all.”
The court documents allege the facility used a series of management plans called “red plans” and “intensive management plans”, which were unlawful.
“[It] amounted to punishment wholly disproportionate to the behaviour and attitude demonstrated by the plaintiff, involved cruel and degrading treatment [and] amounted to cruel and unusual punishment contrary to the Bill of Rights 1688.”
The plaintiff lodged a $750,000 damages claim on the grounds of battery, false imprisonment, misfeasance in public office, negligence and breach of statutory duty.
He says he suffered psychological injuries, including post-traumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder.
“The plaintiff suffered feelings that he was being treated like an animal and of terror, hurt and humiliation, outrage, insult, embarrassment and anxiety, distress and emotional harm,” the claim says.
Queensland Corrective Services says it will not comment on a matter that is before the court.