A convicted murder and rapist has won damages after a tribunal found than an Australian jail had racially discriminated against him – for being British.
The Australian Daily Telegraph reports that Barry Whiteoak won 500 Australian dollars (£277, US$464) as compensation after six-year tribunal, costing up to AU$100,000 (£55,348, US$92,990) of taxpayer money. The case prompted the state of New South Wales to review its legal aid for similar tribunals.
Mr Whiteoak was awarded the compensation after prison authorities stripped him of his perks, such as opportunities for day release, for being a British “lawful non-citizen”. His compensation automatically goes to the Victims Support Fund for people whose lives have been affected by crime.
The 66-year-old, who was born in the UK, murdered 25-year-old Noreen Hannon in western Sydney in 1983.
He is currently serving a life sentence in an Australian jail for forcing his way into Miss Hannon’s flat after she rejected his sexual advances, stabbing her to death and leaving her naked, bloodied body in the building’s elevator.
He was already on parole for a rape he had committed in 1980, while on parole for another incident where he had indecently assaulted a woman in 1978.
Whiteoak arrived in Australian at the age of 20, and by 27 was already in prison for his first indecent assault where he held a woman at knifepoint and told her: “It would be easy to carve you up.”
He then received an 18-month sentence for his second rape, the judge describing him as an inadequate, socially inept man.
Although sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Miss Hannon, his sentenced was reconsidered in 1994 after the then Labor government passed a law reviewing all life sentences. His jail term was cut to 15 years and he was due for release in 2003, but a public outcry kept him behind bars.
Miss Hannon’s then-boyfriend told the Telegraph that “the whole thing is crazy.”
“It is an absolute disgrace when people who have genuine cases can’t get Legal Aid but these guys can,” he said.
“He is a serial rapist and murderer who should have no rights in prison, never mind the right to bring this case and we have had to pay for it.”