BOUND BY THE LAW: The Shocking Case of Garth Daniels

Victorian man Garth Daniels hasn’t seen his father in a long time. The reason is his doctors have taken away his visitation rights. For Garth’s parents, the news is worse: since September 2015, their 40 year-old son has endured 90 electric shock treatments and now resides in a locked psychiatric ward in Dandenong, Victoria.

Later this month, Dr Suzanne Covich, a WA author, award-winning teacher and human rights advocate, is setting out on a journey across the Nullabor to support Garth and his family. A red sign attached to the roof of her car announces her intention: “Free Garth Daniels”.

It is hard to imagine this happening in 2016 to an Australian family,” Dr Covich said. “Garth’s treatment is almost medieval and his doctors appear both arrogant and inflexible in their attitude. The family’s suffering is immeasurable. It is cruel, unusual, sinister and unspeakably sad.”


At a Melbourne Supreme Court hearing on March 22 this year, Garth stated: “I’m not allowed out of hospital, I’m not allowed to go home, I have no leave, I can’t have lunch with my dad and I don’t know when they are going to stop shocking me. I’m scared they are going to shock me to death.” Garth has lodged a Writ of Assault, Battery and False Imprisonment against two psychiatrists, Dr. Sarah Mackay and Jose Segal, the doctors who started the shock treatment.


Australian psychiatrist Dr Niall McLaren who has recently assessed Garth, said: “They need to realise that 20 years of conventional treatment has abjectly failed and if they continue on the present course, this man could die.”


Garth’s medical story began when, as a young man, he had an alarming reaction to marijuana. The real nightmare however began when pharmaceutical drugs prescribed by a doctor induced full-blown psychosis. He has, say his family, been held hostage to the vagaries of a brutal mental health system ever since. While his mother and brother are able to see him under conditions, his father has been disallowed any contact with his son.


Today (Thursday, April 28th) a finding handed down in Melbourne’s Supreme Court has again failed to support the family in their bid to stop the ECT treatments being given to Garth. Garth’s parents have been told that the treatment is in accordance with Victoria’s 2014 Mental Health Act and will continue.


Amnesty International has been alerted about Garth’s case.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dr Suzanne Covich: 0434 825 912

Mr Bernard Daniels: 0404 987 507.  

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