Australian Aboriginal News & Current Affairs


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Wrong man imprisoned in mix-up

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online Friday, July 12, 2002.

Wrong man imprisoned in mix-up

The Katherine Regional Aboriginal Legal Aid Service says an identity mix-up that resulted in the overnight imprisonment of the wrong man highlights how indigenous clients do not understand the court process.

The service's principal lawyer David Lewis says the man appeared in the Katherine Magistrate's Court in The Northern Territory yesterday - ostensibly on another charge.

But he was wrongly identified as a person with the same name and was given a one week custodial sentence.

Mr Lewis says he was not correctly identified until he arrived at the jail and Correctional Services ran fingerprint checks.

He was released this morning.

He says most indigenous clients leave the court confused.

"They don't necessarily understand at first instance the charges that have been laid against them and quite often they leave court, despite the best endeavours of police and the court and the lawyers involved," Mr Lewis said.



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