Lawyers picket over watch-house scandal


Lawyers picket over watch-house scandal

By Bill Mason

BRISBANE — "If these men in the City Watch-house were dogs, the RSPCA would close it in 12 hours", commented Salvation Army courts chaplain Major Bruce Buckmaster on June 10. "The conditions are disgusting."

Around 150 solicitors, barristers, civil libertarians, Aboriginal leaders and church groups attended a picket outside the Brisbane City Watch-house that day to protest against the "inhumane" treatment of prisoners in the state's watch-houses.

Buckmaster called on prisons minister Paul Braddy to take "the bit between his teeth" and reopen H Block at Boggo Road Jail.

"This would give quite a large number of prisoners access to sunlight, which they don't have now, access to their family, which they don't have now, and access to exercise, which they don't have now."

Police Union secretary Bob Brummell said prisoners should be compensated for being treated like animals. The protest followed months of criticism of watch-house conditions by lawyers and judges.