What happened to Gary Hayes?

Issue 

PERTH — On June 9, 1987, Gary Hayes was questioned by police in suburban Scarborough. He was taken to the nearby Wembley CIB. During a night and day in police custody, Gary was beaten and strangled and whipped across the face with handcuffs. He names five detectives as involved.

He was charged for a break-in of a City Beach deli. The window found broken at the kiosk was too small for Gary to have climbed through, and despite blood on a fridge at the kiosk, Gary had no cuts on him.

Gary says that shards of glass from the kiosk window were put into his jumper by the police. He was then released on bail.

The doctor he saw at the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital minimised the extent of his injuries. Understandably upset, Gary visited a psychiatrist, who said he was OK.

Four days later, early one morning, after collaboration with the psychiatrist, police arrived with a warrant. Gary was taken to Graylands Psychiatric Hospital for a week-long assessment.

The psychiatrists told Gary that he was suffering from "paranoid delusions" and that he had not been bashed or framed by the police. Gary was held in Graylands maximum security for a month, during which time he was injected with Chlorpromazine, a drug used for acute schizophrenia.

When Gary went to court later in 1987 on the breaking and entering charge, his lawyer recommended he plead guilty "in order to stay out of prison". Gary was convicted. His subsequent appeal failed. To pay the $6500 fine, he had to sell everything he owned.

In early 1988 Gary was sitting in a friend's car when approached by police. One of the officers had also arrested him in June 1987. He was pulled from the car, dragged and "elbowed" in the jaw repeatedly.

On August 13, 1991, as he was walking into town, a police car began following him. Gary was questioned before being kneed in the groin. Then he was kicked in the head and back and punched by several police, sustaining a cracked rib, bruising and a severe lump on his head.

Gary began to speak out publicly. He contacted the media, approached parliamentarians, complained to the ombudsman, contacted civil liberties and human rights groups.

The treatment he had received made him fear for his life. In order to defend himself from the police, he got a gun. When the police raided his house, he was charged with possession of that firearm and was due to appear in court on April 28, 1993.

Gary knew he had to bring wider attention to his plight. On the night of April 27, he took an 11-tonne armoured personnel carrier from the Irwin Army Barracks in suburban Karrakatta, driving through streets to Wembley CIB, where he used the tank to ram a police car through the wall of the police station he had been bashed in.

Pushing a second police van into a light pole, he drove on to city police headquarters, smashing the heavy metal gates and ramming police vehicles. He then drove to the central law courts, smashing the front of building.

In court, Gary attempted to speak of the injustices he had endured. He was unable to put his case and was remanded to Casuarina prison, being held in isolation. His bail application was delayed by "lost paperwork".

On August 25, prison doctors and a Graylands psychiatrist authorised a dozen prison guards to forcibly inject him with the neuroleptic drug Fluphenazine.

Neuroleptics are the most potent of all psychiatric drugs and can cause permanent brain damage. Fluphenazine acts on the central nervous system, causing loss of control and uncontrollable jerking and shaking.

The effects on Gary so far have been memory loss, jaw crunching, muscle spasms, restricted motor movements, dribbling, compliancy, complacency, minimal attention span, speech impairment, excessive drowsiness, incapacity to think clearly or concentrate.

Becoming more compliant and complacent is judged by the doctors and the legal system as his condition "improving". It is intended to keep Gary on the medication for 12 months without review.

On November 1, a solicitor entered a guilty plea on Gary's behalf. Judge Viol is withholding sentence until December 17.

The danger is that the psychiatric report will carry a lot of weight, and that Gary's evidence will not even be heard. This could result in Gary being legally classified as insane for speaking out about police violence.

If you want to show support for Gary, you can write to judge Viol, c/- District Court, 30 St Georges Terrace, Perth, 6000. [This article was prepared by the Coalition Against Police Violence, Box 3056, Canberra 2601.]