This report was made before the trial which was supposed to determine Martin Bryant's guilt
or innocence. Since it was predetermined that Bryant would plead guilty it appears that not
only the media had already tried and convicted him but the very people who, in my opinion,
should have impartially defended him were also biased in their assessments. As you read
this report you will come across the words "in my opinion" which seems to compensate for
any bias assumption. So I will also cover myself by saying that in my opinion Paul E. Mullen
had clearly decided that Martin Bryant was guilty of the Port Arthur massacre before this report
was ever presented to the court. In my opinion, it distinctly shows his prejudice against
Martin Bryant with passages like " the enormity of Mr Bryant's crimes call for some
explanation" or "... left a terrible gap in his sensibilities which enable him not only to
contemplate mass destruction but to carry it through". The assumption that one is innocent
until proven guilty has never once applied to Martin Bryant from the very first day of his
arrest. In fact, in my opinion, a lot of people have gone to a hell of a lot of trouble to bend
the rule book backwards in order to send Bryant into oblivion.|
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Martin Bryant, Date of Birth 7/5/66
I have prepared this report at the request of Mr Bryant's legal representative, Mr John Avery. It is based on interviews conducted on the 4 May 1996 at the Royal Hobart Hospital, lasting in total some 3½ hours. In addition I had access to extensive documentation which included:
This report is intended to clarify for the court why an insanity plea was not considered appropriate and to at least outline some of the factors which contributed to the dreadful actions of My Bryant.
In my interview with Mr Bryant, although he was initially anxious and somewhat reticient, he gradually relaxed as the interview progressed. He was receiving medication for pain but this did not produce any disorientation or obvious disorganisation in his state of mind. He gave the impression of attempting within his capacities to respond to my enquiries. As will be noted later in the report he initially denied memories of the offences but subsequently gave a fuller account.
Mr Bryant gives the initial impression of being a normal young man. Superficially his conversation is coherent, though his vocabularly is limited. It is only when you attempt to test Mr Bryant's comprehension skills and numeracy that the extent of his intellectual limitation becomes clear. He functions in the borderline range between intellectual disability and the dull normal individual. Mr Bryant's intelligence has been tested on a number of occasions between 1973 and 1996. The extensive testing carried out by Mr Ian Joblin revealed a full scalle IQ of 66 with his attainments on the so called performance scales being somewhat higher than on the verbal tests. A range of other tests of intellectual function performed by Mr Joblin confirmed that Mr Bryant was functioning intellectually in the lowest 1 to 2 per cent of the population. A measure of intelligence is of less practical significance than functional capacities. In this regard Mr Bryant has functioned in the community, lived independently, albeit with assistance and financial constraints provided by a guardian. He can manage not only to function in his everyday and routine environment but also to cope with trips interstate and overseas, though as will be noted later these represent limited excursions. Mr Bryant, like many intellectually limited people, has problems with the temporal relationships and the sequencing of events. Thus he brings together occurrences which in fact were separated by considerable lengths of time and he will alter the order of events without being aware of the distortion. The good physical appearance of Mr Bryant paradoxically may have added to his interpersonal difficulties as it raised expectations of a level of interpersonal competence which in fact he does not possess and the disappointed expectations may have tended to make others withdraw from him.
Past Medical and Psychiatric History
Mr Bryant reports two previous hospitalisations. The first was when he was about 10 years old and required treatment for burns sustained while playing with fireworks. The second in October 1992 was following a road traffic accident in which he sustained a fracture of his cervical vertebrae, fractures of the ribs and a head injury. He is recorded as having remained unconscious for approximately an hour. He described severe headaches for some weeks afterwards. He was not aware of greater problems with memory or concentration following the accident nor of any change in his behavior. He has subsequently had a CAT scan to visualise his brain and an electroencephalogram to record the electrical activity in the brain and these do not suggest any brain damage.
In his childhood Mr Bryant was assessed on a number of occasions by psychologists and psychiatrists. He was noted soon after starting school to have both behavioral problems and learning difficulties. He was referred from the Friends School in September 1973 for assessment. He was noted to be aggressive, destructive and very difficult with other children. He was transferred to the New Town Primary School where again his behavior led to referral to a child guidance clinic. At this time he was thought to be hyperactive and placed both on medication and subsequently on a special diet which was then fashionable for the treatment of this condition. Mr Bryant's behavior at school and at home remained troublesome. He is noted in the records from New Town Primary School to lack friends, to be struggling scholastically and to be persistently disruptive in class. There are references to him stealing, to him having violent outbursts and to tormenting vulnerable children. There are also descriptions in this material of him taking delight in the discomfort and failure of other children in the class situation. In August 1977 he was suspended from the New Town Primary School and soon after was assessed at the Hobart Diagnostic Centre. In this assessment there are records of Mr Bryant torturing and harassing animals and tormenting his sister. He was still apparently having speech problems at this time. Considerable work was attempted to remedy Mr Bryant's problems and when in 1978 he returned to school there was noted to be a decrease in his aggressive and distruptive behavior, though he was apparently still teasing younger children. In 1980 on transfer to the New Town High school he was placed in the special education unit where at least initially he coped better both academically and behaviorally. There is however clear indications of deterioration in all aspects of his performance toowards the end of his school career. Again in the material from this period are references to tormenting animals.
In February 1984 Mr Bryant was assessed by a very experienced clinical psychiatrist, Dr Cunningham-Dax. This assessment was initiated to consider Mr Bryant's eligibility for a disability pension. Dr Cunningham-Dax stated that Mr Bryant was intellectually handicapped and personality disordered. He also raised the possibility that he might be developing an illness of a schizophrenic type. On the basis of this report and subsequent assessments which relied upon it, Mr Bryant was granted a disability pension. There are subsequent references to Mr Bryant having a schizophrenic illness and of being a paranoid schizophrenic in the records of Dr Mather (December 1991) and Dr PM McCartney (December 1991). These diagnostic formulations, it transpired, were not the results of the doctors own conclusions, but based on the report of Mr Bryant's mother that he had been diagnosed by Dr Cunningham-Dax as suffering from this illness. This was a misunderstanding on Mrs Bryant's part and it is this misunderstanding which lead to an opinion by Dr Cunningham-Dax that Mr Bryant might develop schizophrenia being transmuted into a diagnosis of this severe mental illness.
Mr Bryant has had no contact with the psychiatric services since this time. He did, however consult his general practitioner, Dr Mather, with compliants of anxiety and problems sleeping. He was prescribed tranquilisers in January 1993 and August 1993. He took these tables on three or four occasions per week. He denied using these medications in greater than the prescribed dosage.
Mr Bryant is the eldest of two children. Mr Bryant's father died three years ago and was described by the accused as a nice, quiet friendly man with whom he had a good relationship. He was aware that his father had killed himself and agreed that his father had been ``down'' before the suicide. Other information available to me suggests that Mr Bryant's father had had a depressive disorder for some time and had been receiving psychiatric treatment. Mr Bryant was not able to give a description of his mother other than as someone who washed his clothes and cooked him food. Despite this he considered himself to have a good relationship with her. Mr Bryant was more forthcoming about his younger sister, now aged 23. He said that as children he found her difficult because she was much brighter than he and seemed to have lots of friends, whereas he was painfully aware of the lack of such companions. He said though he was jealous of her as a kid, but their relationship greatly improved when she did so much to look after him following his road traffic accident in 1990. He knows of no history of mental disorder in his sister or his mother.
It was difficult to obtain any sense of the family environment from Mr Bryant's account other than his bland assurances that it was good, OK and nice. There are suggestions of problems in the family both when Mr Bryant was a young child and in the years prior to Mr Bryant Senior's suicide. The extent to which Mr Bryant's parents were a couple struggling to cope with an inherently difficult child and the extent to which they contributed to his distribued development cannot retrospectively be ascertained. It is questionable that weight should be placed on the negative opinions expressed, particularly about Mrs Bryant, in some of the earlier records from the child assessment and guidance clinics.
Mr Bryant appears to have shown abnormalities in development from infancy and early childhood. He was slow both in attaining his motor milestones and in speech development. The extensive behavioral and social problems shhown by Mr Bryant during his early school years have already been described. In summary his physical, emotional and intellectual development were slow. He had considerable difficulties relating to other children. His behavior was often aggressive and disruptive. The intellectual limitations impaired his capacity to learn and his behavioral difficulties alientated him from his peers and made him difficult to manage, both at school and at home.
Mr Bryant's memories of school are that he found it an unpleasant and distressing experience for virtually the whole of this attendance. He recalls frequently being bullied. He said ``I was hazed and knocked around all the time, no-one wanted to be my friend''. He only recalls one companion at school and this for a relatively brief period during his childhood. The predominant memory is of being by himself, ignored by the other children, or attended to in a bullying and frightening manner. Mr Bryant remembers both refusing to go to school because he was afraid and pretending to have various minor maladies to persuade his mother to keep him away from school. He described himself as having been ``terrified'' of going to school and of facing his tormentors.
Mr Bryant was a slow learner at school and was placed in special classes. Despite his learning difficulties he has acquired adequate literacy skills. He was able to read aloud from an article in a woman's magazine without making any errors. His difficulties were far more obvious when it came to simple calculations which were quite beyond his capacities. Mr Bryant's intellectual limitations were recognised both at school and when he finished school. He never entered regular employment and only managed to make a little money be odds jobs gardening and tidying up.
It was while engaged in odd jobs of this kind that he met Miss Harvey. He describes Miss Harvey as having been his only real friend. He said from the outset they got on well together. He enjoyed being with her. They shared an interest in animals. This concern with dogs and cats does not appear to have extended to the effective care of these animals as the RSPCA removed large numbers of cats and dogs from Miss Harvey's care at various times. The relationship with Miss Harvey appears to have been that of a helpful and affectionate child. It was not a sexual relationship. It does, however, appear to have provided for Mr Bryant the one experience of effective human contact outside of his family. Mr Bryant said that he was surprised after Miss Harvey's death to learn that she had left him her money. He is still uncertain as to extent of his various inheritances having only the vaguest notions of his financial situation.
In November 1993 Mr Bryant was made subject to a guardianship order which placed the management of his money and property in the hands of the Perpetual Trustees, Tasmania Limited. This Order was made on the application of his mother and on the recommendations of Dr Tereance Craven and Dr Bernard Mather who both expressed themselves of the opinion that Mr Bryan was mentally impaired as the result of a low level of intelligence which rendered him incapable of managing his affairs and property. This arrangement ensured some order in Mr Bryant's financial affairs and though he apparently objected on occasion that he was not provided with even more funds, he accepted this arrangement. He also developed a trusting relationship with the Administrator of his estate who provided considrerable additional support and advice to him.
Mr Bryant clearly had difficulty maintaining the property which he now owned, but did manage a semblance of an independent existence. In the last few years he has taken a number of trips overseas and interstate. The first of these occurred prior to Miss Harvey's death when he and his father accompanied Miss Harvey to New Zealand. In the last two years he has taken a number of trips usually alone, although on two occasions a 16-year-old girlfriend, Janetta Hoani, accompanied him. He described his various attempts at national and international travel as disappointing. He said he usually undertook these trips because ``I wanted to meet up with normal people'' but apparently ``it didn't work''. He travelled to such places as London, Los Angeles, Amsterdam and Bangkok and in these various cities tried to strike up conversations with people that he encountered. He said that he would to to, what he referred to as cafeterias, and sit down next to someone and try and engage them in conversation. He was distressed and enraged by the frequency with which people would move away from him or in ohter ways reject what he saw as his friendly advances. Mr Bryant stated that the best part of his international trips was the long plane jounney. It transpired that the attraction of the long aeroplane journey was that he could speak to the people next to him, who presumably being strapped to their seats had no choice but to at least appear friendly. Mr Bryant became quite animated in describing some of what he regarded as the more successful interactions with fellow travellers on the journeys to and from Europe and the United States. This account is confirmed by statements obtained by the police from passengers who found themselves seated next to Mr Bryant. Next to the journeys themselves, Mr Bryant listed the sex video shops in Amsterdam as the greatest pleasure he had derived from world travel. He denied using brothels and prostitutes while overseas. Mr Bryant made the majority of this trips to Melbourne where he was fond of riding on the trams and of going to the Zoo.
Mr Bryant's first sexual encounters were with prostitutes and escorts. He
apparently paid for an escort every month or so in the years prior to obtaining
his inheritance. His first girlfriend was Ms Megiriam. Subsequently he had a
relationship with Ms Hoani. This relationship which was a sexual one
appearently was allowed to continue with the knowledge and support of this
young girl's family but ended when the young lady began to tire of the
arrangements. Mr Bryant's only other girlfriend was Ms Willmot, a young
woman of 20 with whom he was having a relationship at the time of the
offences. He describes her as far brighter than himself and as someone who is
currently pursuing a course in horticulture having failed to be able to find
regular employment. They met several times a week and would go to
restaurants and the pictures. The relationship was a sexual one and he claimed
they had intercourse on a regular basis, the last being on the Friday night prior
to the offences. Mr Bryant firmly rejected any suggestion that his relationship
with Ms Willmot was becoming strained or in danger of ending at the time of
Mr Bryant has never been involved in competitive sports though when his father was alive they would regularly go scuba diving together. He has acquired a number of guns by private purchase. He apparently had no difficulty obtaining ammuniation for these weapons. He has never acquired a gun license, partly because he was afraid of difficulty answering questions about safe gun usage. He acknowledged a fasination with weapons and demonstrated an extensive knowledge of guns. This interest in guns has been more intense in the last year or so. His access to large amounts of cash enabled him to purchase automatic and semi automatic weapons designed for military use.
Alcohol and Drug History
Mr Bryant drank alcohol occasionally until the last year or so. During the 12 months prior to the offences his alcohol consumption rapidly increased. He reports that in the six months prior to the tragedy he typically drank every day. He would have his first drink in the morning and then drink more heavily in the afternoon and evening. He was uncertain of the exact quantities that he consumed, but estimated that he would drink half a bottle of sambuca, a considerable part of a bottle of Bailey Irish Cream and would sometimes add to this port and other sweet alcoholic drinks. Mr Bryant reported disturbed sleep in association with his alcohol consumption and occasional intense sense of dehydration. He did not, however, describe early morning shakes, marked amnesias for the the previous day's drinking or particularly intrusive hangovers. He did not report any gastro-intestinal disturbances of the kind often found in alcohol abusers. He said that he drank to fill in the time and to relieve his loneliness. Mr Bryant was not intoxicated at the time of the killings.Mr Bryant reports no use of illicit drugs, specifically denying using cannabis, opiates and amphetamines.
PORT ARTHUR INDEX