Chelmsford royal commission

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The Chelmsford Royal Commission (1988-1990, chaired by Justice John Patrick Slattery, was established by the New South Wales state government to investigate "Mental Health Services" in NSW. It came about only after prominent Sydney radio and TV shows, along with the Church of Scientology's advocacy group Citizens Commission on Human Rights, pressured the newly-elected Health Minister to make good his promises for a Royal Commission. Its prime focus had originally been promised as psychosurgery at the NSW Neuropsychiatric Institute. Following media pressure it focused more on the "Deep sleep therapy" of Dr. Harry R. Bailey, who was director from 1963 to 1979 of the Neuropsychiatric Institute and later the Chelmsford Private Hospital, a private psychiatric institution in Sydney.

Such was the shift of public attention that the Royal Commission changed its title from "Royal Commission into Mental Health Services" to "Royal Commission into Deep Sleep Therapy".

Dr Bailey committed suicide in September 1985, in response to the ongoing investigations into his practices. In his suicide note, he said: "Let it be known that the Scientologists and the forces of madness have won". [1]


  1. The Melbourne Age, April 22, 1991. [1]