A legal ‘loophole’ that led a judge to slash the sentence of a guard-bashing prisoner will be closed after a prison staff walkout.
Brothers 4 Life founder Bassam Hamzy had his jail sentence cut, leading prison officers to walk off the job across the state on Friday afternoon.
Hamzy’s 30 month sentence was quashed by a District Court judge after the court ruled he had been punished twice for the bashing – once in jail and once by a court.
The snap strike caused chaos in the cells and led ministers to seek urgent advice from prosecutors over whether they will appeal the sentence.
Bassam Hamzy’s sentence for bashing a prison guard was slashed after a court found he had been wrongly punished twice for his 2017 attack on a prison officer – first by losing his jail privileges and secondly through the extension to his already lengthy sentence
Some of the nation’s worst criminals were left under minimal supervision after guards at prisons across New South Wales walked off the job on Friday (Goulburn Supermax above)
Staff walked off the job just before midday, with all prisoners placed in lockdown and only a skeleton staff left in place at the jail (Stock image)
Attorney General Mark Speakman and Prisons Minister David Elliott said that they stood with ‘hardworking correctional officers’ in a letter to the union.
Corrective Services minister David Elliott said the Coalition will address any ‘loophole’ in the law if it is re-elected
‘Their safety is our priority,’ the pair said.
The pair then announced if there is no appeal, or the appeal fails, the government will ‘address … any loophole’ if it wins re-election.
Public Service Association of NSW general secretary Stewart Little said: ‘We welcome this.
‘But why do prison officers have to strike, across the state for 24 hours, to have their safety concerns heard?’
The strike comes at a critical time for the government as it faces voters in less than two weeks’ time in what is expected to be a tight election.
Daily Mail Australia understands state Labor will soon release its own policy on the issue.
A Labor spokesman was contacted for comment.
The decision by prison officers came after Daily Mail Australia revealed the District Court ruling over Hamzy, who assaulted a guard in 2017
Last week’s walkout even included the nation’s toughest prison, Goulburn Supermax.
Sources from inside the prison told the Goulburn Post the move had come because of a perceived lack of support for guards.
‘We are tired of being punching bags,’ one source said. ‘What if it had been a shiv?’
Hamzy was originally jailed for the 1998 shooting murder of a teenager outside a Sydney nightclub and has been a menace since entering custody.
He founded the Brothers 4 Life gang from behind bars and ran a drug ring from his jail cell.
The ISIS sympathiser grinned as Acting Judge Geoffrey Graham told the New South Wales District Court last week that he was quashing the additional sentence.
Acting Judge Graham told the court Hamzy had been wrongly punished twice for his 2017 attack on a prison officer, first by losing his jail privileges and secondly through the extension to his already lengthy sentence.
‘Restriction of prison privileges make existence and a quality of living intolerable (for prisoners),’ Judge Graham said.
‘It is a form of punishment and it can be real punishment.’
Hamzy, who can not apply for release from prison until 2035, represented himself in the matter after studying the appropriate legislation behind bars.
He argued that the ‘parallel punishment’ he received through his sentencing and the loss of privileges was an ‘extreme injustice’.
‘If an inmate is punished externally he is not to be charged internally your honour,’ he told the court in November last year.
‘It is not for the commissioner to create a parallel punishment system – the Behaviour Management Plan (BPM) – by simply giving it another name.’
Acting Judge Graham said the way prisoners were punished within the four walls of the Goulburn Supermax (highlighted on the map), as well as in the courts ‘constituted an extreme case of oppression’
Inside one of the austere cells at the High Risk Management Correctional Centre at Goulburn, which is 197km south-west of Sydney. All inmates in ‘Supermax’ sleep just one to a cell
Acting Judge Graham agreed with the inmate in overturning the NSW Local Court’s sentence on Thursday.
He said the way Goulburn Supermax punished prisoners within their own four walls, as well as in the courts, ‘constituted an extreme case of oppression’.
‘The appellant (Hamzy) has been subjected to what he describes as a “compounding injustice” after the decision to regress him on the Behaviour Management Plan,’ he said.
‘It’s a breach of the statuatory regime set up to govern the way correctional facilities operate.’
Acting Judge Graham granted Hamzy a stay in proceedings and set aside the added jail time he received from the local court in 2018.