EXPERT WITNESS

EXPERT WITNESS
Peter Norden AO

Norden Directions has been engaged in four recent presentations as an expert witness:

The most recent task was in relation to the murder of Mr Carl Williams in Barwon Prison on 19th April 2010.  Spicer Lawyers contracted Norden Directions to present an Expert Witness Statement in relation to legal proceedings brought by the family of Carl Williams against the State of Victoria.  The report submitted was in relation to the procedures in place at Barwon Prison at the time of Carl Williams’ death, procedures after the death and circumstances related to the death.  The matter was successful prosecuted by Spicer Lawyers and a private settlement was reached in favour of Williams’ daughter, Dhakota Williams.

The second involved a case being heard in VCAT (The Victorian Administration Appeals Tribunal) in relation to a planning application.  VCAT heard an appeal from a property developer whose proposal had been rejected by the City of Casey in Melbourne’s outer east.  The developer proposed to establish a 96 bed rooming house within the locality close to Narren Warren South railway station.  Peter Norden provided evidence as an expert witness with experience in providing housing for low income persons and in the management of housing options for persons with multiple needs.  His evidence suggested that the proposed rooming house was of such size (96 single bedsitters) that the likely residents would be persons with complex needs such that it presence would have a negative impact on the local residential community.  His evidence was instrumental in strengthening the case of the local community in opposition to the proposed development of the site.  The project will not proceed as proposed.

The third presentation as an expert witness was in the Supreme Court of Tasmania, in support of an application of a high security prisoner in Risdon Prison.  The person serving a period of imprisonment was being held in an isolation unit with the maximum security section of Risdon Prison.  The regime of isolation involved 23 hours a day cell lock down and only one hour’s period outside of cell each day, during which time the prisoner was handcuffed, and had, on occasions, also been placed in leg restraints, during his time of exercise.  Peter Norden submitted an Expert Witness Statement, based on his widespread experience of work with maximum security prisoners in Victoria and his extensive studies of maximum security regimes in other parts of the world.  The matter was settled in favour of the inmate in a pre-court settlement.

The fourth involved the preparation of an Expert Witness Statement in relation a former inmate of the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Facility in Brisbane who was seeking damages in relation to three incidents in which he was assaulted in custody.  The Arthur Gorrie Correctional Facility is a privately run prison and the said former inmate is claiming damages in relation to that facility not fulfilling its duty of care to protect him from assault from other inmates.  The matter is still proceeding through the Queensland Supreme Court, as of October 2015