On 22 October 2021 Justice Glenn Martin in the Brisbane Supreme Court found that the Maximum Security Order (MSO) imposed against Michael Stephen Owen-D’arcy was not compatible with human rights. Owen-D’arcy was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2010 over the stabbing, mutilation and murder of David John Easton which occurred in July 2007.
In January of 2011, Owen-D’arcy was classified as a maximum-security prisoner and in the three years following he was further convicted of a number of other offences, one being an attempted murder of a corrective officer. In 2013 he was issued with a MSO which meant that he was to be held in solitary confinement. This meant no interaction with other inmates and very limited contact with prison staff. Approximately every six months thereinafter he was issued with a new order, this has occurred over the last eight years.
Since 2013 Owen-D’arcy has been inside a cell that is 3.8metres long and 2.2 metres wide in solitary confinement, if Owen-D’arcy goes outside then he is required to wear a body belt, handcuffs and leg irons.
The Corrective Services executive director made a further order being a No Association Decision (NAD) in 2020 which prevents Owen-D’arcy any contact with other prisoners without approval.
Owen-D’arcy applied to the Court for a review after the further MSO from 18 June 2020 to 16 December 2020.
Justice Martin found that the NAD failed to take into account Owen-D’arcy’s human rights. Under Section 30 of the Human Rights Act it indicates that all persons deprived of liberty must be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.
Justice Martin stated “The NAD is as much a part of solitary confinement or segregation as the MSO,” and further “It is not a physical isolation, but it works to prevent (Owen-D’Arcy) from engaging in any meaningful conversations or exchanges. It places him in a cocoon of isolation from all but the slightest interaction with other human beings.”
As a result of Justice Martin’s findings Queensland’s Attorney-General, Chief Executive of Queensland Corrective Services and Queensland Human Rights Commission have been provided a short period of time until November to make submissions regarding what Orders should be made to remedy Owen-D’arcy’s situation.
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