Judge says brother killer’s wait for hospital place ‘unsatisfactory’
A man found not guilty of murdering his brother, by way of mental impairment, will spend another six months in prison because there are no beds available in a secure mental health hospital.
Jonathan Dick stabbed and killed his brother David Dick with a samurai sword at a Doncaster shopping centre on February 3, 2017 after waiting for him to walk out of a lift near a car park.
Jonathan Dick, with his face covered in blood after his arrest in Melbourne’s CBD last yearCredit:Nine
Jonathan Dick spent the next 2½ years as a fugitive and in August 2018 attacked former school friend David Cammarata outside his home. A year later, Mr Cammarata and another man saw Mr Dick watching them and subdued him until police arrived.
Mr Dick was in September found not guilty of murder, attempted murder and stalking after Supreme Court Justice Lex Lasry was satisfied the 42-year was suffering the effects of a severe mental illness when he killed his brother and attacked Mr Cammarata.
That ruling means Mr Dick faces the prospect of spending years in a secure mental health facility for treatment.
But on Monday, Justice Lasry told the court the Thomas Embling Hospital had reported there would be no beds available for the next six months and that Mr Dick would spend that time waiting in prison.
Thomas Embling hospital in Fairfield.Credit:Eddie Jim
Justice Lasry said the shortage of beds showed how much pressure the system was under.
"It's obviously unsatisfactory, but there is nothing we can do about it," the judge told Mr Dick's lawyers and prosecutors.
Mr Dick's case makes him the latest high-profile killer found not guilty due to mental impairment to have spent months after a verdict in prison because of a shortage of beds at Thomas Embling. Others include Stephen Bailey, who killed his mother Penny, during a psychotic delusion in 2015, and Easton Woodhead, who stabbed and killed homeless man Wayne Perry in 2014.
The number of beds has increased at Thomas Embling in recent years, but The Age has previously reported the hospital warned the state government in 2013 of the pressure it faced in managing its numbers given the number of people sent there by the courts.
David DickCredit:Victoria Police
Mr Dick's lawyer, Pardeep Tiwana, told the court on Monday there was no other option for his client but to stay in prison while he waited for a bed at Thomas Embling. While in jail he was in a unit managed by Forensicare, which manages the hospital and provides mental health services in Victoria's justice system.
Justice Lasry adjourned Mr Dick's case to another administrative hearing on May 28. His case will return earlier if a bed becomes available sooner.
This year, two forensic psychiatrists told the Supreme Court Mr Dick had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and it was clear he was delusional and mentally unwell when he killed David Dick and attacked Mr Cammarata.
One of the psychiatrists gave evidence that Jonathan Dick believed his brother and his former friend had committed past "misdeeds" and that it was his destiny to harm them.
Justice Lasry found it was likely Mr Dick developed schizophrenia from 2010 or 2011, and there were at least three attempts to get him treatment in 2012, 2013 and 2015, over his delusions and behaviour.
The court heard in September that there had been a reduction in Mr Dick's delusions and he had developed an insight into his illness since his arrest.
If you or anyone you know needs support call Lifeline on 131 114, or Beyond Blue's coronavirus mental wellbeing support service on 1800 512 348.
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