Australian man not convicted, jailed nine years!

March 17th, 2011 - 6:14 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, March 17 (IANS) West Australia’s attorney-general has defended a decision to keep an intellectually disabled man in prison for over nine years, without being convicted or standing trial.

Marlon Noble was arrested in 2001, at the age of 19, for allegedly sexually assaulting two minors in Carnarvon, 900 km north of Perth. As he was deemed mentally unfit to stand trial, he was detained until the Mentally Impaired Accused Review Board could examine his situation, AAP reported.

Noble, who is now aged 29, is being held at Greenough Regional Prison near Geraldton, a city and port in West Australia, despite the director of public prosecutions deciding in Aug 2010 not to prosecute him.

Noble’s lawyer, Matthew Holgate, says he does not know when his client might be released.

Speaking in Parliament, Attorney-General Christian Porter Thursday said that for less serious offences, a person deemed mentally unfit for trial could be released, or in serious cases, a custody order would be made.

“When the custody order takes effect, the indictment is quashed,” he said, adding “My understanding is that the existence or otherwise of an indictment, or even the contemplation of the existence of the indictment, does not make unlawful the custody order.”

WA Greens disabilities and mental health spokeswoman Alison Xamon said, Noble’s case highlighted the appalling way people who are mentally unfit to stand trial are treated in the justice system.

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