Court of Appeal to rule on legality of transfer of children to Barwon adult jail


The Victorian Court of Appeal will tomorrow hear the appeal against last week’s Supreme Court ruling that the Victorian Government acted unlawfully in transferring children to the Barwon adult jail. The Court of Appeal is expected to make its decision on the appeal at the end of tomorrow’s hearing.

Fitzroy Legal Service and the Human Rights Law Centre launched the legal challenge after the government settled an earlier case by agreeing not to transfer any Aboriginal children to the adult jail.

Hugh de Kretser, Executive Director at the Human Rights Law Centre, said, “Jailing children in an adult prison is wrong. There’s no doubt the government has a policy challenge on its hands, but cruelty to children can never be the answer.”

Claudia Fatone, Executive Officer at the Fitzroy Legal Service, said, “Children have a right to be housed in a safe environment with proper schooling to give them a chance to reach their potential. Putting children in an adult prison is bad for the children and bad for community safety.”

Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled that the government acted unlawfully in transferring the children to the adult jail.

“It would have been good if the government responded to the ruling with a plan to get the children out of the illegal custody at Barwon. Instead, the children spent Christmas in inappropriate and unlawful conditions and we’re fighting an appeal,” said Mr de Kretser.

There are currently around 12 children held at the Barwon adult prison. Most are on remand - detained prior to their trial. 

More information

Hugh de Kretser, Human Rights Law Centre, 0403 965 340

Claudia Fatone, Fitzroy Legal Service, 0403 234 156