Mr DAVID WAINSTEIN
(Gordon) [6.49 p.m.]: I speak on behalf of a constituent, David Wainstein, who has serious concerns about his treatment at the hands of the police, a law firm, a real estate firm or property company for whom he previously acted and a number of other agencies, including the Office of the Legal Services Commissioner. Mr Wainstein is present in the gallery. His treatment was the subject of press coverage in the Daily Telegraph
on Wednesday, 27 August, 1997 and he was honoured with citizenship coverage on the front page of my local paper, the North Shore Times
, on Friday, 24 January, 1997, just before the annual citizenship ceremony at the Bicentennial Park in my electorate. The article stated, "Time to celebrate, family forges future". However, Mr Wainstein’s future was anything but happy.
Mr Wainstein has contacted me and my office on many occasions and has outlined a number of concerns about his treatment, which he has best described as "corporate violence". I will not traverse the details because they already appear in the public media, other than to say that they relate to the acquittal of Mr Wainstein on a charge relating to an alleged bomb threat. It is no easy task to thoroughly deal with the voluminous material that he has provided in the limited time available to me. Mr Wainstein was suffering from clinical depression at the time of the charge. His employment with DTZ Bayleys was terminated, and concerns were also raised by a number of employees.
It is not my task to decide the merits of the charge other than to say I am impressed by Mr Wainstein’s forthrightness, articulateness, clarity and determination. Although he was acquitted of the charge he did not receive legal costs. As an example of the true altruism of the man, Mr Wainstein is not here because of grievances against the parties I previously mentioned. He is here so that others do not encounter the same misfortune that he did. His misfortune relates to a number of issues. Section 81 of the Justices Act, an issue that Mr Wainstein did not directly raise with me, provides that an informant and the prosecution having lost their case and having it dismissed can have costs awarded against them.
I ask the Minister for Fisheries to ask the Attorney General to review section 81 of the Justices Act so that as an unsuccessful party to a case the police prosecution should pay the successful party’s costs. No costs were awarded in this case. Under the tight regime of section 81 an application must be made at the time of the hearing. Subsequent to the court case there was an attempt at mediation. To be fair to the other party, this morning I spoke to the solicitors for DTZ Bayleys. One of the legal practitioners suggested that we would lay charges against a parliamentary employee who acted in the same manner as Mr Wainstein had. I think not.
People who suffer from clinical depression need understanding. Mental illness should not be treated as a crime. Accordingly, we should be vigilant about the way we consider such matters. If the police had considered the statements given by Mr Wainstein and tested the motives of the other employees to establish the bona fides of their statements, probably no charges would have been laid. In any event the charges were dismissed. [Time expired