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Buddhist inmate sues jailers to prove he’s not a snitch

He has taken the unprecedented step of asking to compare handwriting to prove the letters were not written by him and force the Department of Justice to accede to his demands.

Sloan has been in prison since 2011 for false imprisonment and sex offences. He is due to be released in 2020.

The notes include reports of planned violence allegedly commissioned by inmates.

Sloan, who is representing himself, is using freedom of information laws to push for their release.

Corrections Victoria deputy commissioner Roderick Wise told the tribunal he refused Sloan’s July 2018 request over concerns releasing the notes would “create a risk of retribution impacting on the safety of the applicant, other prisoners and prison officers”.

But, Sloan argued at the tribunal, since attending an intensive anger management course and a later-life conversion to Buddhism, he no longer poses a threat to other inmates and can be trusted to examine the notes.

A jailed bikie accused of informing on other inmates by dropping letters in prison 'dob boxes' is in a court fight to prove he's not a snitch.

A jailed bikie accused of informing on other inmates by dropping letters in prison ‘dob boxes’ is in a court fight to prove he’s not a snitch.Credit:The Age

One of the notes makes a threat on Sloan’s life directly: “If Ronny Sloan is in the unit any longer we will kill him” it says.

Sloan told the tribunal’s acting president Judge Felicity Hampel that his reputation had been damaged and his safety threatened by prison authorities’ claims that he wrote the notes.

The remaining notes, which threaten both Sloan and other prisoners read: “We no [sic] [redacted name] is the note dropper”, “[redacted] is going to take out [redacted] for $2000”, and “[redacted] and [redacted] will be killed if yas [sic] don’t move them”.

Mr Wise, who was cross-examined by Sloan, told the tribunal while the dob boxes were a useful tool, disclosing the handwriting and content could be dangerous.

“The writer of [Note C] would be considered a “dog” … and would be at risk of harm from the applicant and other prisoners for providing information to prison officers.”

Judge Hampel dismissed Sloan’s claim on April 18, saying there are ways he can analyse the notes without them being released to him directly.

The department offered Sloan a tranfer to different prisons, or to have copies of the notes typed out, both of which he declined.

David Estcourt works for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald.

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