CUSTODY & COVID: ‘I’ve been locked in iso for three weeks’
AS the coronavirus conundrum continues to pave new rules and regulations across Queensland, it appears regional corrective facilities are also having to adopt new restrictions in order to contain the threat.
But what does this mean for those awaiting trial in custody?
Earlier this week Brendin Luke Dodd told the Kingaroy Magistrates Court he had been unable to obtain legal representation due to being in isolation all hours of the day and night.
“I haven’t had an opportunity to do anything, I’ve been locked in isolation 24 hours a day for the last three weeks,” he said.
“I haven’t had an opportunity to speak to anybody, nobody (sic) has been speaking to me, no advice has been given to me … I’ve literally been sitting inside a cell for 24 hours a day by myself.”
“Since the third of April?” Magistrate Louisa Pink asked.
“Since the time of my arrest,” Mr Dodd replied.
“I haven’t been able to make a phone call, I haven’t … just, yeah. I’m sorry.”
Mr Dodd appeared in the Kingaroy Court via video link from the Maryborough Correctional Centre on Tuesday, April 21.
He is facing six charges including assault occasioning bodily harm, burglary, deprivation of liberty and stealing.
The Gold Coast man was arrested in the South Burnett region early this month.
It is believed he was attempting to flee the Gold Coast region to escape authorities.
The Times reached out to Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) to confirm whether Mr Dodd’s allegations were a result of new coronavirus restrictions.
A spokesman from QCS said in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Commissioner Peter Martin APM announced on March 27 all prisons would move to Stage 3 visitor restrictions.
“These restrictions apply to all but essential QCS personnel and approved Queensland Health officers and others, such as contractors required for business critical operations,” he said.
“Prisoners in isolation at Maryborough Correctional Centre have access to mobile technologies for legal and personal calls to approved contacts.
“QCS continue to work with prisoners, legal representatives and contract service providers to facilitate access to legal services through video link and other telecommunication systems.”
For safety and security reasons QCS does not comment on the movement or accommodation arrangements of individual prisoners.
“All correctional centres remain vigilant and are employing robust infection control procedures to minimise the risks of a COVID-19 outbreak,” the spokesman said.
“The safety and security of our prisons is an absolute priority, and we have put significant effort into developing contingency planning to support this level of barrier control.”
Ms Pink told Mr Dodd he would need to seek legal representation in his own time
Mr Dodd requested a bail application saying he would be able to live at his sister’s house, which was the place of arrest.
Police prosecutor Pepe Gangemi acknowledged Mr Dodd had been in custody for three weeks, but told the court he would be “putting himself behind the Eight ball” with a bail application.
Ms Pink denied bail on the grounds that Mr Dodd was unable to show cause due to a lack of legal representation and his matter was relisted for later in the week.