by Mary W Maxwell
The case brought against Martin in 1996 is called R v Martin Bryant, so of course Her Maj and Martin have in common that their names are on that case. But another very obvious similarity is that both the queen and this particular prisoner are sequestered from the Australian public.
Occasionally the monarch of Australia visits Australia and then some people, carefully chosen and closely monitored, may get to exchange a few words with her. For instance, R attended a garden party in Sydney in 1954.
Other visits were in: 1963, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1977, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1992, 2000, 2002, 2006 and 2011. My late husband got to meet the royal person in the ’80s when she ribbon-cut a new clock at Adelaide Children’s Hospital, where he was a ‘personage,’ albeit on a small scale.
If you want to write to the queen you can do so and feel assured that some member of her staff, however lowly, will see it and post a reply to you. Phone calls or text messages to Her Maj are not encouraged.
Seeing Martin Bryant
No member of the public, has seen Martin Bryant, as far as I know, since his sentencing day, November 22, 1996. His mother has visited him. Photos were taken of him in the cages, from a distance, by the Murdoch press last September.
Gumshoe has already reported that Cherri Bonney went to Risdon Prison twice recently in hope of seeing Martin Bryant. She was turned away on the grounds that she would need Martin’s permission for a visit. The Federal (?) police trailed her from the campus out onto the road. She brave girl.
Cherri has a bee in her bonnet so I’ll bet there will be further attempts at seeing the unseeable MB. I’ll print here some of the things you must do, per the Tasmanian Prison Service, when you go to see any Risdon inmate.
Honor the Rules
For starters (according to their website): “Lewd, inappropriate, offensive or disruptive behaviour will result in the termination of the visit.” In other words don’t say “Darn” or “Crikey,” much lass “Bloody ’ell.
(Speaking of language, the prison visits to Risdon don’t require you to converse in English, after all Oz is multi-cultural, but poor old Jahar Tsarnaev in the US — under the SAMs rules for terrorists — is not allowed to speak Russian, as the FBI needs to monitor his mind type thing).
Physical contact at Risdon? “Prisoners and visitors may hold hands during the course of the visit.” But as far as hugging and kissing goes, you are entitled to only an “appropriate hug or kiss at the beginning and end of the visit.”
I suppose they clock it, with a 4-second hug being OK, but not a 6-second one, and a 5-second hug would call for arbitration. A kiss that could be heard on the other side of the room could be, perhaps, a cause for arrest of the visitor. (Based on perverting the course of justice, which is indeed a crime, and who would know that better than the said Martin Bryant?)
Legal Telephone Calls
Risdon has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tasmanian Law Society about contacts between prisoners and their solicitors:
“Prisoners may initiate contact with their legal representatives via the Arunta telephone system during their normal out-of-cell hours. Calls from prisoners are limited to 10 minutes duration to ensure equitable access to the telephone system by all prisoners. Where a lawyer is required to place a legal call to their client, a booking will be required. Each legal call placed to an inmate is limited to 20 minutes duration…. Calls between legal representatives and their clients will not be monitored or recorded.” [See? I told you we are civilized.]
It thus appears that solicitors are allowed to say “piss’ and so forth, as who would dob them in? Certainly not the prisoner. But note that Alexandr Solzhenitsyn said, in The Gulag Archipelago, that just about 100% of prisoners were rooked into becoming snitches.
Writing to Martin
A few weeks ago I sent Martin Bryant a one-page, very neutral letter, in care of: Tasmanian Prison Service, 29 Liverpool St, Hobart TAS 7000. How did I know to do that? From a letter sent to me by Dr Vanessa Goodwin, the Attorney-General of Tasmania. I give her full marks for prompt reply to my (and Cherri’s) questions.
I don’t know if Bryant actually received my missive. May I ask you, the reader, to please send him a greeting card? If several such cards arrive, I imagine the warden could find no excuse to hold them back. Just purchase one with a ready-made printed message — so you can’t be “accused” of sending, say, instructions on how to escape.
A belated birthday card should be all right. Martin turned 49 on May 7 (his year of birth: 1967). The Queen was born 21 April, 1926. I don’t know if she received cards on her birthday for each of the last 20 years, but most likely she did.
And now back to the celebrations. The concert below was held for the anniversary of Her Maj’s reign rather than of her birth but it contains the all-important Music for the Royal Fireworks. Its composer, George Frideric Handel, (1685-1759) was, of course, German, but lived mostly in London and is buried in Westminster Abbey, along with Ned Kelly.
Oh wait, sorry, that’s not true (about Ned). Anyway the queen herself is partly German, via Albert. Recall that Victoria married Albert, in order to found the Victoria & Albert Museum and Albert Hall.
Their grandchild, Geroge V, our monarch’s grandfather – note: he was our monarch, too – changed the name of the royal house of Britain from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor.
On a later occasion we will play Handel’s “Sheeple May Safely Graze.” Or maybe that’s by Bach.
Until I saw this particular rendition of the Fireworks, I did not know that Buckingham Palace even had a backyard. And no, these fireworks are not related to Jahar’s putative visit to New Hampshire in 2012 to buy (illegal in Massachusetts) firecrackers – all of which featured bigly at his “trial.”
Photo credit: mexicoinstitute.files.wordpress.com