When being disabled gets you many more years in prison than if you weren’t

Another win for Western Australia’s system of justice: the sad case of a mentally-impaired Aboriginal man named Marlon Noble.

After ten years without a trial for a crime he may well not have committed, he’s finally been released from prison – with onerous conditions.

For a bit of background, the ABC’s Law Report reported on Marlon’s sad story back in March last year. Here’s Marlon’s lawyer describing his plight:

He is in custody, now going into his tenth year, because he’s intellectually impaired. This whole process was designed initially to protect an intellectually impaired person from an unfair trial, and I think, to put it bluntly, you’d rather have an unfair trial and be convicted and sentenced to five years, than be protected from an unfair trial and be kept in prison for ten years.

Marlon’s eventual release does not square the books. He was not in a mental health facility – he was in prison. For a crime for which he was never found guilty and of which he may well have been innocent, and for which if he had been guilty it seems very likely he would have received a vastly shorter sentence in prison.

And it doesn’t appear that WA has any intention of actually changing the system that led to this massive injustice.

2 responses to “When being disabled gets you many more years in prison than if you weren’t

  1. Happens here to.

    Note to any defense lawyer – if your client is offered the ‘unfit to plead’ option- fight it.

  2. The case of Marlon Noble is just another case of ingrained racism in the history of the state of Western Australia. It is no coincidence many serving Aboriginal police officers have resigned in this state, due to racism.

    I could give you the names of the so offended officers, but do your own research. It is a matter of record the Aboriginals of this state have been treated on par with the worse days of apartheid in South Africa. Of course the wingnuttery will have you believe it is all an exaggeration, gilding the ol Lilly, suburban myth, but I know better.

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