RSL Push for Laws Recognising Former Diggers’ PTSD In Police Matters

RSL state secretary and Afghanistan veteran Glenn Kolomeitz with wife Dr Emma Gilchrist and their children Nicholas, 5, and Lara, 3 at the Hyde Park war memorial, Sydney. Picture: Jonathan Ng
RSL state secretary and Afghanistan veteran Glenn Kolomeitz with wife Dr Emma Gilchrist and their children Nicholas, 5, and Lara, 3 at the Hyde Park war memorial, Sydney. Picture: Jonathan Ng

The RSL has called for new laws to help stressed war veterans in trouble with the police, arguing they need hospital rather than jail.

The RSL’s NSW CEO Glenn Kolomeitz, who as a lawyer dealt with hundreds of veterans suffering post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mainly over drug and alcohol-fuelled violence, said not one of them should have been in the criminal justice system.

Mr Kolomeitz, an Afghanistan War veteran, said he was having talks with state Justice Minister David Elliott to press for laws giving troubled vets the same rights in legal matters as other segments of the community, including Aborigines, children and people with mental illnesses.

As authorities struggle to deal with an estimated 3000 homeless veterans sleeping rough, many suffering PTSD, Mr Kolomeitz said not one of the hundreds of vets he had dealt with in his law practice had reoffended.

“That zero recidivism rate tells me none of them should have been in the criminal justice system,” he said.

“It’s my view that when they are being interviewed by police, the police should identify them as a suspect potentially with PTSD, cease the interview and arrange for them to have some sort of legal advice. Other sectors of the population have that same entitlement.”

Read more in The Daily Telegraph.

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