FORMER detective, Paul Dale, will use a bail hearing in 2009 as key evidence when suing the State of Victoria for mistreatment during his seven months of solitary confinement at Barwon Prison.
Mr Dale’s lawyers lodged a statement of claim with the Supreme Court this week, claiming the state “acted in a humiliating inhumane and insulting manner”.
He was in prison on charges of murdering police informer Terence Hodson and his wife, Christine, but the case was later dismissed.
The claim states Mr Dale spent about six weeks in the Loss of Privileges Unit, where he was put in a 2.5×3 metre cell with no natural light.
The Wangaratta businessman was allegedly kept there for three days before he was permitted to enter a 2x8m yard with a steel mesh roof.
When Mr Dale was finally allowed contact with other prisoners, they did not speak English, and when he was rarely allowed a visitor, his wrists were handcuffed to a belt.
Solicitor, John Suta, said the prison conditions were extremely onerous
and involved strip searches and wearing leg irons when out of the unit.
By the time Mr Dale was granted bail in September 2009, he was suffering depression, anxiety and post traumatic stress disorder.
“The Court of Appeal made comments in regard to the conditions in which Dale had been held while he served time on remand . . . the court accepted that these conditions had led to him developing psychiatric problems,” Mr Suta said.
“That evidence from 2009 is going to be crucial in this case.”
He said the court, without drawing any final conclusions, questioned whether the treatment might amount to a breach of The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act, which requires that “all persons deprived of liberty must be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person”.