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UN condemns Aust for jailing impaired man

AAP logoAAP 23/09/2016

The United Nations has condemned Australia for violating the rights of a man with an intellectual disability after he was imprisoned for 10 years without ever being convicted of a crime.

Indigenous man Marlon Noble spent a decade behind bars in Western Australia over child sex abuse charges before he was released on parole-like conditions in 2012.

In findings handed down on Friday, UN experts said Mr Noble wasn't given enough support to defend himself against the charges or to stand trial.

Meningitis left Mr Noble intellectually impaired as a child, leaving the courts to rule him unfit to submit a plea on charges of sexually assaulting two minors when he was 19.

He took his complaint to the Geneva-based Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, whose members found he was never given the chance to plead not guilty and test the evidence submitted against him.

"He therefore never had the opportunity to have the criminal charges against him determined and his status as an alleged sexual offender cleared," the committee said in a statement on Friday evening.

He was detained without knowing when he would be released and subjected to "inhuman and degrading treatment" through the indefinite detention, according to the findings.

The UN has called on Australia to revoke the 10 conditions of his release, which constitute a violation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

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