Launceston Reception Prison officer allegedly used inmate’s clothes to mop up urine, then returned the clothes to him | The Examiner

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A prison officer at Launceston Reception Jail has been investigated for allegedly using the clothes of a homeless inmate to mop up urine and then returning the clothes to the inmate to wear at home. his release. Details of the incident were included in a workplace compensation claim submitted by another watch officer at the time, who alleged that she had been subjected to 12 months of “intimidation, undermining and harassment” from several colleagues. The incident happened on August 29, 2020, when a homeless man who had just been released from a mental institution was taken into police custody in Launceston, to be released on bail while sober. READ MORE: Former Labor chairman ends legal action after receiving apology In officer’s statement, man urinated under door, creating a slip hazard, and she asked for a towel to be placed at the door. Instead, she alleged another officer suggested using the man’s own clothes. This officer was then allegedly seen on camera mopping up the urine with the clothes and pushing the clothes against the door, before – hours later – putting them back in a bag for the inmate to get dressed at its output. The matter was brought to the superintendent’s attention three weeks later, but the female officer was unwilling to make a formal report for fear of reprisals from her colleagues. She finally participated in the drafting of a report, as required by the superintendent. “This event, and knowing that I had to report, made me feel very vulnerable. I was sick with worry,” his statement read. An “incident file” was forwarded to Tasmania Prison Service management, and the officer was investigated by ED5 to determine whether he had breached the state service’s code of conduct. A Department of Justice spokesperson said the matter was “under investigation and ongoing,” in accordance with the ruling in the workers’ compensation case. READ MORE: North West and Launceston areas desperate for rentals “The department takes all allegations of employee misconduct seriously and the State Services Act contains processes for investigating allegations of misconduct,” the spokesperson said. “We cannot provide further details as these processes are confidential and the department does not comment publicly on individual staffing matters.” The results of ED5 investigations are generally not made public, and the department did not respond to a question regarding action taken against the male officer. The female officer who witnessed the incident continued to work until November last year, when she was deemed medically unable to work due to anxiety. She then filed for compensation on November 29, due to an increase in bullying after reporting the incident more than 12 months ago. The Department of Justice challenged the compensation claim and took the case to the Tasmanian Civil and Administrative Court. READ MORE: Emergency ID Australia considered world leader in medical alerts The department presented evidence from a psychiatrist that the cause of the injury was the stress of having to press charges against the co-worker. He also argued that the officer first suffered the injury in October 2020, rather than 12 months later when she sought compensation. This meant she was not required to notify the injury “as soon as possible” and submit the claim within six months. The police officer argued that her injury occurred in November 2021, as that was when she was deemed unable to work and had been working normally until then. She also maintained that it was not the result of the need to press charges, but of the bullying behavior she experienced. In her ruling, TASCAT Vice President Alison Clunes said the officer’s own evidence indicated she had suffered the injury at the time the complaint was filed. Accordingly, this was due to the need to report. “It is arguable that if the administrative action had not been taken, the worker would not have sustained the injury,” Ms Clunes said. She ruled that there was a reasonably arguable case for the Department of Justice, and the workplace compensation claim was therefore dismissed. Our reporters work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can continue to access our trusted content:


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