Territory Stories

Annual Report 2017-2018 OmbudsmanNT



Annual Report 2017-2018 OmbudsmanNT

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Tabled paper 934


Tabled Papers for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT






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70 Case 4 - Use of force NT Police received a report that Student X was armed with a knife was threatening another person on an educational campus. They investigated and ultimately located Student X, who was with one of his parents. Police had a discussion with Student X and his parent in a class room but Student X then left the classroom and headed down a hallway towards an exit door. Officer A followed Student X with the stated purpose of ensuring that Student X left the campus and informing him that he could not return. Officer A called out to Student X who was, by this time, at the exit door. Student X stopped and turned around and Officer A approached him. There was then a brief discussion after which Officer A attempted to restrain Student X. Student X broke free and moved away from Officer A. A short time later he quickly approached Officer A in an aggressive manner. By this time, the parent and another officer were in the hallway and Officer A had drawn his Taser. As Student X drew near him, Officer A fired the Taser at Student X who fell to the floor. Student X was then taken to a police station. The complaint of Student X was initially investigated by PSC and considered by my Office without the benefit of CCTV footage. Its existence was later advised by his lawyers and my Office directed reinvestigation of the matter. The failures of Officer A to record and investigators to discern the existence of the CCTV footage have been addressed as ancillary issues. The investigation concluded that the complaint regarding the initial attempt to restrain Student X was sustained. Although it was reasonable to approach Student X to warn him to leave the premises and not re-attend, there was no apparent justification for the use of force in attempting to restrain him. Student X did not appear to be showing signs of aggression and was simply moving to exit the building. However, the complaint regarding Taser use was not sustained. While the situation that gave rise to its use was contributed to by Officer As attempt to restrain Student X, in the face of an impending attack, Officer As action in deploying the Taser was not found to be unreasonable. Remedial advice was given to Officer A regarding the use of force, including discussion of the Taser use in order to allow him to appreciate the consequences of his initial wrongful conduct, specifically that it contributed to the need to use greater force, and the impact this departure could then have had on the admissibility of evidence obtained after that use of initial force. A complaint about failure to provide appropriate aftercare following Taser use was also sustained. Student X was taken to the police station where he waited two hours to be checked by a Custody Nurse. The investigator considered that it would have been appropriate to check with the police station to establish when a nurse might be available and if there was to be any delay, make a decision to call an ambulance or attend an appropriate medical facility. The investigator recommended remedial advice be given to the two arresting officers and an officer at the police station. Case 5 - Escalation At around 10:30pm one evening, two police officers noticed a group of people who they considered were engaging in anti-social behaviour by way of public drunkenness. After confiscating liquor from some of them, the group were asked to leave the area. One (the complainant) took exception to the interaction with police as she was leaving the area and swore at Police as she stumbled in front of oncoming traffic requiring motorists to take evasive action to avoid hitting her.