Annual Report 2004-2005 Ombudsman 27th Report
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.
_________________________________________________________ Ombudsmans Annual Report 2004/05 80 ceremony. The complainant swore at the officers who then returned to the scene and conducted a search of the complainant. The complainant alleged that during the search one of the police officers pulled his hand with a lighted cigarette in it up behind his ear and burned him with it. A detailed investigation of the complaint was conducted by the Professional Responsibility Command (PRC) of the Northern Territory Police on behalf of the Ombudsman, under the supervision of the Joint Review Committee (JRC). Since the complainant had been unable to identify the officers concerned, much of these enquiries involved establishing which officers had had dealings with the complainant on the night in question. Once the officers were identified, they admitted apprehending and searching the complainant but denied the assault. After interviewing all possible witnesses, and even compiling a photo ID board in an attempt to have the complainant positively identify the officer involved, there was insufficient evidence to substantiate the allegation. The enquiries did, however, highlight areas of deficiency in the officers record keeping concerning the incident and also found the search conducted to be unlawful in the circumstances. The police officers were ultimately charged with disciplinary offences under the Police Administration Act. 20. Change to General Orders Police were called out by neighbours reporting juveniles acting suspiciously in a suburban area. A juvenile was apprehended and subsequently searched in the police paddy wagon and jewellery was found in his underpants and shoe. He was conveyed to the police station and interviewed in the presence of his grandmother, who then made a complaint to police on behalf of her grandson alleging, among other things, that police had assaulted him in the paddy wagon and strip-searched him in a public place. A detailed investigation of the complaint was conducted by the Professional Responsibility Command (PRC) of the Northern Territory Police on behalf of the Ombudsman, under the supervision of the Joint Review Committee (JRC). The JRC considered both the legality of the search of the juvenile and the manner in which the search was conducted. It found that the search was conducted in the rear of the paddy wagon, with the male officer the only person able to see the juvenile in a state of undress, which in any case did not expose his naked body as he retained his long shirt. The search was conducted after the officers were advised by a home owner of the theft of jewellery. A pat down search of the juvenile revealed a bulge in his shorts and the strip search was conducted when the juvenile refused to hand over the property subsequently found to have been concealed in his shorts. In relation to the manner in which the search was conducted, the JRC found that while the search was conducted in a public place, sufficient consideration was given to the juveniles privacy.
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