Amanda Winters.
Amanda Winters.

Woman chose to go to jail rather than sign bail form

THE woman who chose to go to jail rather than sign a bail form after being arrested for failing to leave a licensed premises has had her day in court.

Amanda Nell Winters walked free with no penalty and the charge was dropped.

She took the opportunity to speak with the Daily Mercury about her experiences and that of other women at the Townsville Women's Correctional Centre.

Ms Winters spent about six weeks in custody from June 15 to July 29 this year.

She said she had to go thought about five strip searches and was housed in the correctional centre's high security section.

Yesterday she faced the Mackay Magistrates Court prepared to fight her case but there was no need.

Prosecutor Michael Ball offered no evidence and Ms Winters was discharged absolutely.

"I was quite disappointed in some ways ... I prepared a 12-minute speech, I downloaded all 445 pages of the 1992 Liquor Act and applied every brain cell that I have to becoming my own lawyer," she said.

"I worked really hard ... so it was a bit of a shock to go in there and find out that (the charge has) been dismissed, but obviously I'm very happy."

When asked what she thought of her jail time costing taxpayers $189.87 a day, Ms Winters stood by her decision in not signing the bail form.

"I stand by my refusal to leave the bowls club, I stand by the fact that I didn't do anything wrong," she said.

"When my name and my reputation is damaged in that way I think I have a right to stand up for myself and say no I'm not going along with that, that's not correct."

It was only after she said she was persecuted for speaking with an ombudsman about certain health conditions that she signed the bail form.

Ms Winters, who said she was a former journalist, interviewed four other women about their own health experiences inside the jail.

"And I wrote a 15-page letter to the ombudsman," she said.

On July 29 she was told her hearing would be moved to August 26.

"My fear was if I stayed in there I would lose the ability to cope," she said. "I found it a very isolating experience."


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