Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Austrailian Judge Rules Out Bail Despite Full Prisons

A remand centre prisoner's bid to be released on bail because of record overcrowding in Canberra's detention system failed in the Supreme Court yesterday.

Chris Merritt, who is facing charges that include assault and property damage, had applied to the court for bail, arguing he could not be held humanely in the ACT's overflowing system.

He also argued that Corrections authorities could not provide adequate medical treatment for an injury to his hand.

The system has been under increasing pressure since the ACT's new jail, the $123million Alexander Maconochie Centre in Hume, failed to open on time last week, throwing into chaos plans to transfer detainees from Belconnen and Symonston remand centres, and sentenced prisoners from NSW.

Glitches with the new jail's electronic security system have forced the opening to be delayed at least until January and security contractor Chubb is paying the ACT Government $44,000 a day in compensation.

Merritt had argued through his lawyers that the system was not providing him with adequate treatment for a broken hand which he suffered in an altercation with another detainee.

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