Man reveals how he came close to taking his own life in jail after a judge locked him up for a YEAR because he didn’t bring the right documents to a property settlement hearing
- A man described jail as ‘the worst possible place on Earth’ after seven days
- He was sent behind bars for failing to bring documents to a settlement hearing
- During the seven days he almost took his life but stopped when he heard a song
- The man was sentenced to jail after a judge found he was in contempt of court
A man has described jail as ‘the worst possible place on Earth’ after he was put behind bars for not bringing all his documents to a property settlement hearing.
The father, who cannot be named due to legal reasons, was sentenced to 12 months behind bars for contempt of court on December 6, 2018, at the Federal Circuit Court in Brisbane.
He was sentenced after he failed to provide documents he was ordered to bring to a property settlement hearing, and was taken immediately to prison.
The father, who cannot be named due to legal reasons, was sentenced to 12 months behind bars for contempt of court on December 6
The man told ABC’s Background Briefing he immediately felt terrified during his first night in custody, saying it is the ‘worst place on Earth’.
‘Being fed through a hatch with my roommate who is an ice and heroin addict, who was sh**ting and vomiting and we have no toilet paper and realising that there’s no way I’m getting out,’ he said.
When he and his wife decided to divorce, he believed the property settlement would result in an easy division of assets.
He was asked to bring documents to the hearing stating what he owned, his earning and his investments so the court could divide assets equally.
But when he walked into the property hearing without the documents needed because he couldn’t access them, the judge told him he hoped the man ‘brought his toothbrush’.
The judge told the father not bringing his documents put him in contempt of court, and he was sent straight to jail.
When he realised he wasn’t going to be leaving jail for 12 months it took a major toll on his mental health.
It only took three nights for him to decide he had enough and was considering taking his own life.
‘It was lunch time and one particular watch-house staff, when he opened the hatch to feed us our Red Rooster, he’s supposed to put it in the hatch and close it back up, but he left it open which gave me the opportunity to do what I needed to do,’ he said.
Just as he was about to do it, the man’s cell-mate had a ‘moment of clarity’ and told him he couldn’t take his own life.
A man has described jail as ‘the worst possible place on Earth’ after he was put behind bars for not bringing all his documents to a property settlement hearing
As he continued contemplating the decision he heard a radio playing George Ezra’s Shotgun, his daughter’s favourite song.
‘If it wasn’t for the Shotgun song on the radio at that moment… that’s what stopped me from doing it and that’s the only reason,’ he said through tears.
The father spent seven days in custody, three of those in a maximum security prison, before his conviction was overturned.
The full bench of the Family Court has described what happened to the man as ‘an affront to justice’ and called it a ‘disturbing example of prejudgement’.
It has since been found that the judge involved took on the role of a prosecutor rather than a judge, prejudged the man’s case and decided he would be going to jail.