Tony V. Wright, known as "Riot" back when he contributed to 2000AD, has updated his blog with another post about the recent health and legal troubles of artist Brett Ewins, who's charged with grievous bodily harm with intent stemming from a January incident in which he allegedly stabbed a police officer. Wright has known Ewins since the pair were at art college in the mid-1970s. His first entry on the subject, from March, detailed a Kafkaesque scenario in which a very sick man was hastily imprisoned when it was probably obvious to anyone that what was really needed was medical and psychiatric care.
This second post relates how Ewins' case has been developing as it finally reached a court of law, with Wright making heartbreaking hints at the full extent of Ewins' mental health issues in recent times. Wright points out how, due to Ewins' complete amnesia about the incident, the trial has been decidedly unbalanced, with some aspects of the prosecution's case seemingly highly unlikely but completely unchallenged. In Wright's account of the proceedings, there's a suggestion that police officers may have entered Ewins' home illegally and used excessive force. A neighbor of Ewins has since contacted me via Twitter to also dispute the officers' claim that they found his door open.
Wright's blog entry is at pains to remain fair and balanced and empathetic to all involved, which can only be praised. He makes pains to end the post on a conciliatory note, when it would have easy to leave it on a much more indignant one:
But I’m not satisfied. This case should never have come to court. Brett has been denied his freedom for over seven months, has a criminal record for something that he never should have been held culpable for and denied the sort of treatment or therapy he might have expected on the outside, all because two rather inept young policemen walked, uninvited, into the house of a mentally ill man and didn’t know how to get out again without beating him nearly to death.
Brett will be sentenced on October 26th. We hope it’s a probationary sentence and that some professional help and support will be made available to him.
The young officer received some nerve damage to his left hand. It leaves him with some loss of sensation, a pins and needles-like feeling and some restricted movement to his little finger. The nerves may yet grow back. We hope they do.