The Human Rights Alliance
URGENT: Media Release:
WE BEG THE MEDIA TO DO THE RESEARCH THAT THE PROSECUTION (CDPP) and DEFENCE TEAMS HAVE NOT DONE. MISCARRIAGE OF JUSTICE UNDERWAY - and everyone else please CIRCULATE this WIDELY.
On Friday 3rd June Gerry Georgatos, along with a colleague and a West Australian newspaper senior reporter attended Perth Magistrates Court to hear matters relating to a young Indonesian who is charged with being a crew member on a SIEV. Gerry Georgatos believes this youth may only be 16 years of charge and therefore it is unlawful for him to be remanded in an adult prison.
However at the Perth Magistrates Court Gerry Georgatos was surprised to witness that this youth was clumped together with to two others and that all three were committed to trial on the same charges and would be tried together, August 26. How is this possible?!
Gerry Georgatos has visited in Hakea prison two of the three respondents. Gerry knows that they were not on the same SIEV and therefore he could not understand why they were being charged alongside each other and tried together - committed to the 'same' trial. Gerry approached the Defence Counsels and asked them why are they being tried together when they do not share the same circumstances. To Gerry's surprise and in front of two independent witnesses the Defence Counsels advised that they were part of the same crew and the same SIEV. Gerry corrected them and described that one of them arrived by a SIEV directly from Sri Lanka, 27 days by sea, and is a Tamil and was arrested after time at Christmas Island Detention Centre, and charged and remanded to Hakea Prison. The SIEV he was on board had three Sinhalese/Tamil crew and 29 Sinhalese Asylum Seekers. Gerry has visited him on a number of occasions in Hakea Prison. In April of last year when this Tamil person was brought to Hakea he attempted suicide and then a hunger strike. Gerry has spent hours talking to this person, and other advocates are aware of his personal circumstances.
Gerry described that the youth whom he believes to be 16 and whose age has been thus far determined by a non-failsafe wrist bone scan arrived by a SIEV from Indonesia and was met by the RRAN at Ashmore Reef. This lad spent ten months in detention, Darwin, Christmas Island, Perth Detention Centre (where Gerry first met him in January, 2011) and who endured tuberculosis, and in February was charged by the AFP as crew on board a SIEV. Gerry visited him twice in March in Hakea after being stunned by the possibility that he is 19.
The Defence Counsel were stunned by Gerry's corrections however Gerry was stunned that they could make such an error, and wondered what research had they done and how much communication had they had with the respondents.
Gerry, in front of two independent witnesses, talked to the CDP Prosecutor and laid the same questions, and she stated that they were from the same SIEV. However Gerry corrected her and she was stunned. She was asked for the SIEVX number that she believes they arrived on. She stated that this is Privileged information however even though we are not lawyers this cannot be right, it would be inclusive of the charges.
The mistakes are lazy, horrific, more than keystone and deplorable. The Court does not have the facts.
Furthermore the young lad maybe 16. The Court is relying only on one piece of evidence and that is that the bone scan, which is not failsafe. Gerry asked the Prosecutor why has not the Commonwealth or the State taken upon itself an onus to ensure reasonable doubt is satisfied and hence pursued an age determination hearing. Gerry posed this same question to the Defence Counsel. Gerry has talked for two hours with the lad who insists his DOB is 1995. The Perth Indonesian Vice Consul has affirmed to Gerry that she contact the youth's impoverished family in Indonesia and that confirmed to her that he indeed was born in 1995.
We have an unbelievable situation here, inexcusable mistakes, people being committed to trial together who have nothing to do with each other! more time in remand for them, the issue of age... And this backgrounded against the fact that others had been found to be under age while in an Australian adult jail and against the case where a writ has been served in the Supreme Court, in the case of 'AJ' (I have chosen not to include his full name) where the Commonwealth will be required to satisfy the Court of his age by working with Indonesian authorities. How many people are slipping through the crack? Is the AHRC and UN Chief Navi Pillay correct?
PLEASE SOMEONE URGENTLY UNDERTAKE REPORTING, AND WITH THROUGHCARE TO OUTCOMES, THE PREDICAMENT OF THE YOUNG LAD AND IMPORTANTLY THE EXTRAORDINARY PREDICAMENT OF THESE THREE HUMAN BEINGS. IT IS UNBELIEVABLE.
Gerry Georgatos is happy to be proven wrong, he is prepared to put his reputation and neck on the line. He is has been kept up at nights thinking about what he could not believe would be possible in Australia.
THE HUMAN RIGHTS ALLIANCE
Convenor, Human Rights Alliance,
PhD Law Researcher, Australian Deaths in Custody
Working towards a Better Future
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