Patients 'locked in cages' at Bribie Island care facility

Warning: do not read on if you are at all sensitive to distressing news.

Tristan Swanwick, September 01, 2009 12:00am

INTELLECTUALLY impaired residents of a Queensland care home were locked in cages, tied to toilets and struck with fly swatters by staff, a court heard yesterday.

Susan Beryl Lister, 60, yesterday pleaded not guilty in the Brisbane District Court to charges of deprivation of liberty and assault.

The former care worker is accused of mistreating intellectually impaired patients at the Care Independent Living facility on Bribie Island, north of Brisbane.

The court heard between 2000 and 2003 Lister, along with other staff, would routinely lock residents as young as five in an outdoor cage.

Prosecutor David Nardone said the residents would sometimes be hosed down and one was confined for so long he suffered severe sunburn. Mr Nardone said the woman's alleged victims, ranging in ages from five to 48, suffered from severe intellectual disabilities and conditions including autism and Down syndrome.

The jury were told they had been psychologically assessed and determined unfit to give testimony.

The court was told of incidents where Lister held down a resident while another carer rubbed chilli in his mouth and that she showed another carer how to control residents by "boxing their ears".

Lister allegedly tied one five-year-old male to a toilet with strips of bedding and left him struggling to free himself.

She punched and bit other residents and struck a 12-year-old boy's genitals repeatedly with a fly swatter, the court was told.

The trial continues.