Friday, April 24, 2009
CONVICTED murderer Bassam Hamzy, accused of masterminding a drug ring from jail, has won the right to sue the New South Wales Commissioner of Corrective Services over his solitary confinement.
After the decision was handed down, Hamzy - who appeared by videolink from jail - shouted: "I just f..cked the commissioner, I just f..ed the commissioner.''
Justice Michael Adams had already left the courtroom in the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney, but the link was immediately turned off after the outburst.
The judge had given Hamzy and another convicted murderer Emad Sleiman permission to sue Commissioner Ron Woodham and the State of NSW over their segregation.
Both prisoners are seeking damages.
Hamzy was charged with supplying drugs last December, after police alleged he made more than 19,000 calls from jail as he coordinated a $250,000-a-week drug operation.
In 2007, he was accused of converting fellow prisoners to Islam in order to form a gang labelled the "Super Max Jihadists''.
In 2001, he was convicted of murder, malicious wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm, maliciously discharging loaded arms with intent to do grievous bodily harm, threatening to use a firearm with intent to prevent or hinder lawful apprehension and conspiracy to murder.
His non-parole period will expire in December 2023.
Sleiman was jailed in 1999 for at least 16 years and three months for murder and contempt.
Both claim their solitary confinement is unlawful due to the absence of a "segregation direction'' which is required under the Crimes (Administration of Sentences) Act.
Sleiman's lawyers say if it was lawful, it was void as it was made for "an improper purpose''.
Justice Adams dismissed an application by lawyers for the commissioner and state who wanted the cases thrown out.
"The case is about what the law will do to require obedience to and redress departures from the obligations it imposes,'' he said.
"It has nothing to do with the personal merits, or lack of them for that matter, of the prisoner.''
The judge said it was self-evident the isolation of a person from communication with others was a "severe and possibly dangerous step''.
"It must be done with considerable care and only when it is truly necessary,'' he said.
The judge ruled the commissioner and the State should pay the costs of the prisoners for the latest proceedings.
Posted by lucy at 6:51 PM