Autism sent him to Prison - Attorney General PLEASE stop denying his Appeal !!!

Autism sent him to Prison - Attorney General PLEASE stop denying his Appeal !!!

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Autism Appeal started this petition to Shannon Fentiman (Attorney-General of QLD and Minister for Justice)

To The Queensland Attorney General and Minister For Justice, The Honourable Shannon Fentiman:

We ask you to restore the Right of Appeal of an Autistic Man, where there is clear evidence that he has been denied an Appeal and has been tried solely on the basis of Autistic traits and mannerisms that he has no control over.

His story was featured in The Morning Bulletin newspaper on January 29th, 2019 (cover image used by permission).

If you have any doubt that Autism was front and center in this case, take note of the following direct quote from his own Defense Lawyer in their closing address to the Court:

"You imagine living with [this] character.  You heard the record of interview.  It went for almost two hours.  There were the diatribes of soul searching, over-analysing, analysis paralysis.  Imagine living with him.  It’d be like watching paint dry. He was a human irritant..."

"You heard him.  It was an irritation to listen to him in the record of interview.  Please don’t hold that against him.  His boring monologue and his soul searching and his insights into this family dynamic, you would have found them quite boring."

"and we had to sit – listen to that boring diatribe of a record of interview"

If you have Autism, have Family or Friends with Autism, or knowledge of Autism, you should see the problem here right away.

Could you imagine what it is like for someone who is Autistic to go through a Police interview / interrogation without even a support person or Lawyer present?

The Autistic person will, by their very nature, strive to tell the absolute truth.

But the Police are not looking for the truth - they are simply looking for something, anything, that will support the case they are trying to put together.

Autistic traits and mannerisms, such as oversharing and excessive candour (which the autistic person has absolutely NO control over), will effectively fill in the blanks for the Police. Their "law enforcement instincts being rightfully aroused", and their generally suspicious nature having been triggered by the unusual responses, they may attempt to use things said in the course of the Autistic person's interview to launch a prosecution.

An inexperienced officer, or one who is not trained to recognize the signs of Autism, may unknowingly make a grave error in judgement.

The Autistic person is then thrust into an adversarial system where his or her Autistic traits are not recognized, culminating in a Judge or even a Jury deciding the matter, with little to no understanding of the effects the Autism may have had on the testimony.

Imagine if you will, a vulnerable and highly sensitive Autistic person being incarcerated with dangerous criminals, in fear for their life, struggling to understand the bewildering and brutal world around them - in a situation where even getting to the front desk is taking your life in your own hands ....

The Autistic man went to the desk and asked for his Lawyer's Phone Number, but they were unable to provide it to him. A second time he requested to see a Sentence Management Officer in relation to an Appeal. Finally, he asked to speak to a Legal Advice Lawyer, again in relation to an Appeal.

This is all documented in the form of letters. 3 requests, made specifically for the purpose of pursuing an Appeal, all within the permissible 30 day window. None of these requests were effectively followed through on. He was told the response from Sentence Management "unfortunately did not include him". The Legal Advice Lawyer attended without notice on an afternoon when he was out at the oval, but did not return.

Is that it? Has his right of Appeal been lost for good? According to the Attorney General of Queensland, YES. He has been told that the combined powers of the Attorney General AND Minister for Justice are insufficient to restore his right of Appeal.

His Career having been destroyed by the Criminal Conviction, he does not have any other legal avenues to turn to. He cannot access Legal Aid as his appeal period has expired. He has made repeated submissions to the Attorney General to prove that a failure of justice has occurred and to request his matter be referred to the Appeals Court.

So far the Attorney General has been unable to provide any assistance whatsoever.

Is "Trial by Autism" acceptable in Queensland? Does nobody in the State of Queensland have the power to correct a failure of justice and denial of appeal?

For further details on the story, please refer to page 6 onwards of the following Human Rights submission to Parliament. It contains the Autistic Man's own story of his journey through the Queensland Criminal Justice system (see page 6):

We ask all concerned parties to add their voice and help achieve better justice outcomes for Autistic people in Queensland.


* The Morning Bulletin Article of 29th January, 2019 used by permission (c) News Corp AU





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