Territory Stories

Annual Report 2004-2005 Ombudsman 27th Report



Annual Report 2004-2005 Ombudsman 27th Report

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Tabled paper 283


Tabled papers for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT




Tabled By Claire Martin


Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.




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___________________________________________________________ Ombudsmans Annual Report 2004/05 73 complainants detention during the search was reasonable. The JRC found that the complaint about swearing was unsubstantiated, based on the complainants own confession that he could have been wrong about this, together with the denials by the relevant TRG members and the evidence of the independent civilian witnesses that no swearing occurred. The JRC concluded that the complainant did have a weapon pointed directly at him and that this was reasonably justified in the circumstances and in accordance with procedures for such operations. The JRC found that the flexi-cuffs were certainly applied firmly, but there was no evidence to suggest that the TRG member used unreasonable force or knowingly used the flexicuffs to restrict circulation. There was also no evidence to support the allegation that the complainant was slammed against the side of the fence. On the evidence available, the JRC concluded that the complainant was offered an explanation as to the reason for him being detained. The JRC also concluded that there was no evidence to suggest police damaged the complainants property. The JRC found that it was lawful and reasonable for police to remove his phone and wallet during the search, but that police had no lawful authority to obtain information form his phone or take photographs of him. The JRC recommended to the Commissioner of Police that any such information and photographs be returned or destroyed, that the complainant receive a written apology, that the members involved be counselled as to the law around searches. The JRC was concerned that, in such high risk-situations, the treatment of persons in company with a person at the time of his arrest seemed unclear, and that there appeared to be something of a grey area in relation to what police can lawfully do in respect of persons caught up in a high-risk apprehension. The JRC recommended that the Commissioner of Police review the TRGs Standard Operating Procedures to clarify the powers of police in respect of persons caught up in a high-risk apprehension, particularly as they relate to detention, searching and restraint. This has now been incorporated into future Territory Response Section training programs and the Standard Operating Procedures. 12. Mistaken identity The complainant in this matter advised this office that while he was driving to a friends house, he was stopped by police. However, at that time the complainant did not know that it was the police who had pulled him over. A man got out of the vehicle and approached the complainant but he did not show him any identification. The complainant also stated that the police car was unmarked and without proper police lights. The complainant drove off before the man could speak to him. A pursuit then took place and the complainant stopped his vehicle when he saw properly marked police cars. The complainant said that police dragged him out of his vehicle, causing his car window to shatter and, as a result, he injured his arm. It was alleged that the police then pushed the complainants face down into the dirt and handcuffed him. It was further alleged that the complainant was charged for possessing a weapon because the police found a steak knife in his car. The complainant was taken to the cells and charged. When asked about the charges, that complainant alleged that police intimidated him by saying, do you want to stay here.

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