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I’m from Geraldton. I went to prison for the rest of my life. Been there for ten years of my life. Marlon Noble. Yamatji man

He was charged with the sexual abuse and assault of two girls. And because he had an intellectual disability he was found unfit to plead. And therefore his charges were never ever put before a court. In the last few years I got him reassessed by a forensic psychologist, and that forensic psychologist said that he was fit to plead. The Department of Public Prosecutions refused to re-indict him, because the girls were saying that nothing ever happened. He has never had his day in court. Ida Curtis, 2013 - Legal Guardian

No ... I am not free. I am out of prison, but I am not free yet. Marlon Noble

Photography by Belinda Mason.

As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, along with Graeme Innes, the former Disability Discrimination Commissioner, we welcomed Marlon Noble’s release after 10 years behind bars without a trial. There is still a need for the criminal justice system and the mental health system to be more flexible in the way they deal with people with disabilities. We have also called for the removal of the onerous conditions placed on Mr Noble’s release. Despite being found unfit to stand trial in 2003 and never actually being convicted of anything, Mr Noble has remained in prison after being accused of sexually assaulting two girls in WA in 2001. Even though Mr Noble was never convicted, the conditions attached to his release treat him like a convicted criminal. Mr Noble needs to be given an opportunity to clear his name and he needs to be able to return to the life he was robbed of 10 years ago. The conditions attached to his release read like a lifetime punishment, but they are for someone who has never been found guilty of anything. For example, he is not allowed to stay anywhere other than his own place without the permission of the WA Mentally Impaired Accused Review Board, something which will prevent him from travelling to visit the grave of his mother, who was murdered while he was in jail, unless he has the Board’s permission. The law needs to be reformed so that what happened to Marlon never happens to anyone else ever again.

Mick Gooda, Gangulu people

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner

Australian Human Rights Commission