A convicted man has been awarded more than $100,000 in damages after it was found that he had been wrongly held in solitary confinement for months.
Aaron Daniele, 34, successfully sued the South Australian Department of Correctional Services just before Christmas last year for time spent nearly seven years earlier in the notorious maximum security ward of Yatala Prison in Northfield, northern Adelaide.
Daniele, who suffers from PTSD, anxiety, panic attacks and depression, was transferred to prison without a formal report or risk assessment, in violation of state law.
He would then spend 66 days in the prison’s infamous G Division, where he was found to have to deal with mental anguish from the claustrophobic prison cell and prison guards.
Daniele was awarded $107,500 in damages, $2,000 more than he asked for, which will remain in a safe fund for 12 months and 45 days to give victims of his crimes a chance to sue him for damages.
A convicted burglar, Aaron Daniele (pictured, 2017) has been awarded more than $100,000 in damages after being wrongfully placed in maximum security for 66 days in 2016
Daniele was at the time serving a four-year sentence at Port Augusta Prison, just east of the regional South Australian city, after pleading guilty to aggravated burglary in northern Adelaide in October 2010.
However, a prison riot in October 2016 involving 17 other inmates set off a chain of events that landed Daniele in maximum security at Yatala Prison.
Daniele was not involved in or charged in relation to the riot, but had “breathing difficulties” after guards used paprika spray to subdue another inmate in connection with the Boxing Day riot later that year.
A prison doctor released Daniele the next day, but he was subsequently transferred 300 km south to Yatala Labor Prison without a formal report.
Daniele would spend 66 days in maximum security isolation until March 17 The advertiser.
While in maximum security, Daniele claims that prison guards would knowingly torment him mentally.
“One or more G Division officers deliberately inflicted mental harm on him by deliberately giving false information about the time he had left,” Daniele’s allegation read.
“Such mental damage stemmed from the stress and anxiety caused by G Division’s extremely claustrophobic, confined and oppressive environment.
“(The officers) should have foreseen that a person of normal fortitude in (his) position could suffer psychiatric injury or aggravation.”
Daniele, now 34, was transferred from Port Augusta Prison to the notorious Maximum Security G Division of Yatala Prison (pictured)
Daniele’s claim against the Department of Correctional Services SA alleged that guards would mentally torment him during his 66 days in isolation in G Division (pictured)
The Department of Correctional Services has not filed a defense, and shortly before Christmas 2022, Magistrate Michael Fotheringham oversaw settlement orders of $107,500.
The settlement will be placed in a secured fund until March 2024 to give the victims of Daniele’s crimes time to file a private suit for damages.
“Notice is given that damages have been awarded to Aaron Daniele in a claim against the state,” the department’s website reads.
Award funds have been deposited into the Prisoner Compensation Quarantine Fund, where it will be held until the legal proceedings are finally decided, initially 12 months.
“Victims related to the criminal acts of Aaron Daniele are invited to seek further information from the Chief Executive, Department for Correctional Services, South Australia.”
The South Australian Department of Correctional Services has been approached for comment by Daily Mail Australia.