Malcolm was institutionalised as a child in the now infamous Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital where, to date, the people behind crimes committed against children who were institutionalised at Lake Alice have gone unprosecuted. The most high profile of these people being Dr Selwyn Leeks who regularly used Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT) on children entrusted in his care.
A report on Lake Alice by retired High Court judge Sir Rodney Gallen said that Lake Alice patients had been subjected to a behaviour modification programme which he labelled a regime of “terror”.
More than 30 victims made complaints to the police against Dr Leeks and other former staff members. But the police decided they had no evidence of criminal offending.
Dr. Leeks left New Zealand for Australia in 1977 after two government inquiries, one of which found a 15-year old boy was given ECT six times against his will, without his consent and without the knowledge and consent of his parents or welfare officers.
Another inquiry, by a magistrate, rejected claims that ECT was used as a punishment against a troublesome 13-year-old boy from a Polynesian island, but found there was no express authority for the treatment. In a letter about the case at the time, Dr. Leeks said the boy behaved like an “uncontrollable animal.”
Dr Leeks had written is his case notes:
“He was to be a living memorial to the inadequacies of the immigration system in New Zealand. He behaved very much like an uncontrollable animal and immediately stole a considerable amount of staff money and stuffed it into his rectum. He was faecal smearing, attacking and biting all who came near him.”
So not only was Leeks a malpracticing sadist but also a racist piece of shite.
Dr Leeks was barred from practising psychiatry in Australia in 2006 after he escaped scrutiny of his use of electric shocks on New Zealand children by promising not to practise again on the eve of a long-awaited investigation by the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria.
The board had spent eight years investigating Leeks’ treatment of children at Lake Alice where he ran the child and adolescent unit. As well as electric shocks, the children were punished with pain-inducing injections.
In August 2006, Judge Jim Duggan awarded $55,000 in damages to a onetime Australian patient of Dr Selwyn Leeks after finding that he had taken advantage of her for his sexual gratification. He said the psychiatrist’s behaviour was reprehensible and a gross dereliction of duty.
The woman who made the allegations of sexual misconduct told the press that Dr Leeks had complained to her that he had been hounded by authorities in NZ. He said the children he had treated were feral and psychotic and were future murderers and thieves. “Society will realise one day that I was ahead of my time.”
In 2012 the UN Committee Against Torture asked New Zealand to “please explain” over their failure to adequately investigate and prosecute those behind the crimes committed against onetime Lake Alice patients.
Following are excerpts from a book Malcolm is currently writing.
I was talked into writing this well book I suppose as therapy to help me get over past events in my life now in my view and no doctor is willing to do any tests to prove other wise. Having ECT has wrecked my memory past present and future as I can be sitting down talking to you and I will lose track of what we were talking about. I would have to make notes of what my boss wanted done or if I was going to Mitre 10 I would have to make the note out to say Mitre10 for 6 bolts with washers and nuts 1 can of CRC etc then drop in at Jesses my oldest daughter for a cup-a and a chat. I know what you are thinking but no I don’t have Alzheimer’s – been tested and tested for that. Proponents as well as opponents of ECT have long recognised it as a form of head injury. There is currently no research which addresses the question of how best to meet the rehabilitative and vocational needs of ECT survivors. The research which exists shows that sensitive psychometric testing always reveals cognitive deficits in E.C.T survivors. The following are some of the things I forget: the names of people and places. When the title of a film is mentioned I may have a vague idea that I have seen it, but cannot remember what it is about. I don’t like reading much as by page 2 or 3 I start to lose what is happening in the book and have to reread it just gets to frustrating. My family tells me the outlines and I am able to remember other things at the same time 70 % of the time and the rest just can’t recall any of what they are saying. I forget to post letters and to buy small things such as toothpaste, I put things away in such safe places that when they are needed it takes hours to find them. It did seem that after the ECT there was only the present, and the past had to be recalled a little at a time. There are many faces I see that I know I should know quite a lot about, but only in a few cases can I recall incidents connected with them. I find I can adjust myself to these circumstances by being very careful in making strong denials, as fresh personal incidents constantly crop up. Some of the things I tried to study was like trying to read a book written in Japanese no matter how hard I tried I could not get the sense of what the words and diagrams meant. I forced myself to concentrate but I couldn’t understand what I read or put ideas together analyse, draw conclusions, make comparisons. Things continued to appear gibberish, and if i kept it up for to long it felt like my head would explode and i would get very short tempered even driving from A to B if the radio was on the kids and wife all talking I couldn’t work out where I was or where I was supposed to be going and would get confused and yell please shut up so I can think or would come close to running someone over or running a red light sometimes i had to pull over have a walk around the car a few times drawing deeply on my cigarette to settle down and regain my bearings. The psychiatrists and GPs alike have been insisting that my problem is not ECT related but is a side effect of my post traumatic stress disorder. I have yet to see a severely depressed person fight so hard to regain their ability to think clearly, and at work I get told you are an AIR-BRAIN! How can I explain that my struggles are due to ECT? The essential psychological effect of trauma is a shattering of innocence. Trauma creates a loss of faith that there is any safety, predictability, or meaning in the world, or any safe place in which to retreat. It involves utter disillusionment. Because traumatic events are often unable to be processed by the mind and body as other experiences are, due to their overwhelming and shocking nature, they are not integrated or digested. The trauma then takes on a life of its own and through its continued effects haunt the survivor and prevents normal life from continuing until the person gets help. But to get help you need to have trust. How can you trust the people that have hurt you this always made it so hard to get help when I really needed it also when you tell police the people that are supposed to protect you, that you have been abused and you are not believed that’s a huge set back.