A judge has ordered ongoing detention for a prisoner, repeating concerns that two decades of government “policy failure” to provide adequate secure post-prison housing for dangerous sex offenders may breach human rights laws.
Brisbane Court of Appeal Justice Peter Applegarth on Wednesday 16 November made a 10-year order ensuring the ongoing detention of 78-year-old Desmond Ronald Grant under Queensland’s Dangerous Prisoner (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003. Grant’s full-time release date after serving a five-year sentence for sexual offences was 22 September 2022.
When making the order, Justice Applegarth took the opportunity to question whether Grant’s ongoing detention – rather than release back into the community under a supervised release order – was compatible with Queensland’s Human Rights Act 2019 (HRA).
In his 33-page decision, Justice Applegarth spoke about the Department of Corrective Services’ (QCS) decades of failure to provide appropriate accommodation for dangerous sexual offenders once they completed court-imposed prison terms.
“A question remains whether QCS’s practices and policies in relation to a person with (Lang’s) medical conditions are compatible with the HRA,” Justice Applegarth said. “They are questions for another day and possibly for another court. It may even be the Coroners Court.
“In such a forum, QCS may have to justify its inertia in response to Chief Justice Holmes’ 2017 judgment in (the matter of Edwin Arthur) Guy. It may have to justify the inflexible application of policies that may be reasonable and justifiable for many other individuals who are accommodated at the precinct but distinctly inappropriate for an individual with acute medical and mobility problems.”
Read the decision.