A magistrate has released a Canberra man on bail despite believing he is a danger to the community, saying she was left "in an impossible position" because the man was not being given his medication in jail, in an apparent violation of his human rights.
When Daniel James Clayton applied for bail on Tuesday, Magistrate Bernadette Boss questioned whether there needed to be a death in custody at the Alexander Maconochie Centre before inmates were given their prescribed medications in a timely way.
Dr Boss said it was "outrageous" that Clayton, who suffers from autism and Tourette's, had spent the previous three days inside Canberra's only jail on remand without his prescribed medication, despite her having noted its necessity on his file when he was locked up.
Clayton, who faces eight charges including robbery and aggravated burglary, took the witness stand when his bail application resumed in the ACT Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
He said he had still not received his medication or any explanation as to why, and that past experiences on remand led him to believe the process leading to staff providing his medicine was "obviously a lengthy one".
Dr Boss had hoped to have the relevant ACT authorities subpoenaed to compel them to appear in court on Wednesday and explain the situation, but the court heard this had not been possible in the time available.
Instead, the Justice and Community Safety Directorate's director-general was invited to give evidence. The invitation was referred to Justice Health Services operational director Dannielle Nagle, who declined to appear unless subpoenaed.
Dr Boss said given the limited information available to the court, it was unclear where the buck stopped in terms of responsibility for Clayton's treatment in custody, but there had been "a complete and utter failure and abrogation of [authorities'] lawful obligations" to provide Clayton with his medication.
She said she was "in an impossible position", having to choose between releasing a man she believed was a danger to the community because of a drug addiction that appeared to be the cause of his offending, or leaving him in jail where his health would be "significantly compromised".
Dr Boss said Clayton ought to be in custody until the risks associated with his drug addiction were addressed, but she was not comfortable keeping him at the Alexander Maconochie Centre.
"I'm not going to leave someone in custody where their human rights are being violated," Dr Boss said.
"It's not right. If we had pubs anymore, it would not pass the pub test, let alone every test of human decency.
"We've got to a point now where the needs of the defendant outweigh the risks to the community."
Dr Boss said she could not understand how, in a place like Canberra, the detention of a person involved that person being deprived of their prescribed medication.
"Abhorrent as it is in this community, we're here [in this situation]," she said.
Dr Boss granted Clayton bail with conditions including that he attend residential drug rehabilitation as soon as a place became available. In the interim, he must only leave a Griffith address if accompanied by a nominated family member.
Clayton's case returns to court next month.