• The UN hears that an Indigenous disabled man was wrongfully jailed (NITV News)
An Indigenous man with disabilities, who was wrongfully jailed in WA for 10 years, has had his story told to the United Nations in an effort to improve Australia's justice system.
By
Malarndirri McCarthy

18 Nov 2015 - 5:13 PM  UPDATED 19 Nov 2015 - 1:14 PM

TRANSCRIPT

Natalie Ahmat: An Indigenous man with disabilities, who was wrongfully jailed in WA for 10 years, has had his story told to the United Nations in an effort to improve Australia's justice system.

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The First Nations Disability Network has been lobbying the UN and the Australian Government for legislative change to improve the lives for those mentally unfit to plead.

Malarndirri McCarthy reports.

Malarndirri McCarthy: Stories of unjust imprisonment, such as that of Marlon Noble have reached the international arena.

In 2012 Marlon was jailed for 10 years, even though he never went to court or was convicted of any crime.

Marlon Noble: I don't like it in jail, I don't like it in there. Scary place. You got no families in there. No brothers or sisters to talk to, you on your own.

"I don't like it in jail, I don't like it in there. Scary place. You got no families in there. No brothers or sisters to talk to, you on your own"

Malarndirri McCarthy: Now three years on, Marlon lives in Geraldton, Western Australia and he still lives under prison-like conditions.

He still wants to clear his name for the sexual assault allegations made against him by the WA justice system.

Allegations of crimes that even the alleged victims say, never took place.

Ida Coutier, carer: The mother didn't even know that they were complainants to any charges and she vehemently says nothing happened and they still say nothing happened."

Marlon Noble: I'm not guilty, I didnt do anything with that girl, I done nothing with that girl.

Malarndirri McCarthy: Marlon's story is just one of many raised at the recent Universal Periodic Review at the United Nations in Geneva.

Damian Griffis: One of the things that we're most concerned about is the indefinite detention of our people with disabilities in prisons around Australia. This is an area of major concern to us, in fact it's quite extraordinary to think that there are some of our people with disability in jails without being convicted. So that was of great concern to the human rights system within the United Nations.

"It's quite extraordinary to think that there are some of our people with disability in jails without being convicted"

The First Nations Disability Network estimates there are around 30 cases in the Northern Territory and WA of Indigenous people with disabilities, unfairly treated.

Damian Griffis: For the purposes of indefinite detention we are actually quite encouraged, because the Australian government made what's called a voluntary commitment to look into the issue of indefinite detention of our people with disability.

That's actually a very positive thing in the sense the Australian government has recognised is an issue that it needs to look into. It's really about what happens next.

"That's actually a very positive thing in the sense the Australian government has recognised is an issue that it needs to look into"

Malarndirri McCarthy: Now with the international community aware of these stories, Damian Griffis hopes that the Australian Government can coordinate legislative change to assist all people mentally unfit to plead, at the next gathering of the Council of Australian Governments in Sydney next month .