Using FOI laws to ensure accountability

Our client Ben* was detained under COVID-19 public health orders in 20021, in an apartment designated ‘Special Health Accomodation’. Ben has a history of mental illness and his family provide critical, regular support. After being held for nearly two weeks and in distress, Ben attempted to escape by jumping off a balcony, breaking his ankle.

We sought information from the government departments involved in Ben’s detention to determine its lawfulness. The documents provided were so heavily redacted that they gave little useful information about Ben’s detainment. So we sought a review of the decision to heavily redact the documents in the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT).

Just minutes before the hearing, the government provided an updated version of the documents with significant additional information revealed. We can now properly scrutinise Ben’s detention and help him understand his rights.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

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