How Australia's defamation laws reignited the Chelmsford Deep Sleep scandal - 2018-12-02
The Chelmsford hospital and its "deep sleep" therapy became a byword for medical arrogance and malpractice in the 1980s. Twenty-four deaths were attributed to the treatment of psychiatric patients at the Sydney private hospital between 1963 and 1979, where people were put into deep sleep using drugs and were treated with electro-convulsive therapy.
In the royal commission's 1990 report, Justice John Slattery referred the hospital's three surviving doctors, including Dr Herron and Dr Gill, for professional and possibly criminal prosecution.
All this was published widely at the time, tried and tested in a royal commission. But Justice Jagot's October 5 ruling suggests that, under Australia's defamation law, history is never really settled, and things thought to be facts must be proved afresh.