PHOTOS: 'Take turns sleeping': Trapped Boyne man's horror life

OVERCROWDED: Inmates, such as Troy, are often living in squalor and overcrowded conditions, with lasting impacts to their mental health.
OVERCROWDED: Inmates, such as Troy, are often living in squalor and overcrowded conditions, with lasting impacts to their mental health. AFP

A LAW expert, who spent 10 years in the industry in the Philippines, has shed light on the cancelled hearings and over-crowded cells that dominate prisons in his home country.

Former Boyne Island man Troy Birthisel has been at the Lapu Lapu City Jail in Cebu since October 2013.

CQUniversity law lecturer Manuel Jose Oyson said Mr Birthisel's ongoing wait for a trial after three years was not uncommon.

Mr Oyson described the prison Mr Birthisel remains in as "substandard and overcrowded".

He said Mr Birthisel was likely in a cell, "two metres by two metres" which could be used by more than 20 prisoners.

"Given a small available space for prisoners, they sometimes take turns sleeping on the floor while the others stand up because there just isn't any space," Mr Oyson said.

"Part of the problem too is there is no access to good food."

But the Queensland and Philippine lawyer said the former Boyne Island man's saving grace could be the Australian government's intervention.

A campaign has begun, organised by Mr Birthisel's family and friends, calling for the Australian Government to plea for a "speedy trial". A letter, right, has been sent to the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

"With any intervention by a foreign government, especially Australia which is well-respected by the Philippines, makes an impact," Mr Oyson said.

Mr Oyson, who studied law in 1998, was not surprised by Mr Birthisel's three-year wait without a trial.

"That is quite typical in the Philippines unfortunately," he said.

"There are a shortage of judges in the system and there are just too many cases, both civil and criminal," he said.

He said the added "economic sabotage" charge on top of the illegal recruitment was considered "large scale" which by law is defined by three or more individuals involved.

Ms Bishop's office was contacted for a response to the letter but had not replied at time of print.

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