27.4 C
Byron Shire
February 25, 2021

Byron police assault trial could attract human rights law analysis

Latest News

‘Hollywood’ drug squads over the top

I guess we have to thank Hollywood for the enduring myth that a black-clad squad of elite 'blokes', preferably with cool helicopters, from the capital are needed to crack down on really serious crime in hick parts of the country like Mullumbimby.

Other News

Historical Museum shows off its knickers

There is plenty to find out about our ancestors’ ‘intimate apparel’ while you visit the museum and its monthly market, which will be taking place on Saturday.

Council’s power

Matthew O’Reilly I refer to Ian Pickles’ letter, titled ‘Developers’ power’ (Letters, 10 February). Generally, I must agree with most of...

Editorial – A personal take on politics and media

Since its inception in 1986 by a bunch of ratbag hippy locals, The Echo has championed the voice of the afflicted, not the comfortable. That should be the aim of every media organisation.

Cult Covid

John Scrivener, Main Arm A careful analysis of Cult Covid must clearly distinguish between four separate and distinct yet interconnected...

‘Hollywood’ drug squads over the top

I guess we have to thank Hollywood for the enduring myth that a black-clad squad of elite 'blokes', preferably with cool helicopters, from the capital are needed to crack down on really serious crime in hick parts of the country like Mullumbimby.

Research takes the vegan option to a new level

A project by Flinders University will see their Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development fishing for new vegan ideas.

DPP Prosecutor Brittany Parker (far right). Photo Kate Payne.

Mia Armitage

The family of a youth allegedly assaulted by a former Byron-based police officer say they will pursue human rights law if the senior constable is found not guilty.

Forty-year-old Senior-Constable Michial Luke Greenhalgh told court on Tuesday he ‘only ever’ struck the boy, who was sixteen at the time, with a baton to ‘get control’.

Video footage of the altercation between the youth and four Byron Bay senior constables was shared in both a Law Enforcement Conduct Commission [LECC] inquiry and in the subsequent criminal trial of Sen-Constable Greenhalgh.

It reveals the boy received 19 baton blows, 18 of them from the accused, in the early morning hours of January 11, 2018, in Byron Bay’s Lateen Lane.

Senior constable denies entering ‘red mist’

It’s the final six blows that are under scrutiny in court, where the Department of Public Prosecutions put it to Sen-Constable Greenhalgh on day five of hearings that he had entered a state known as ‘red mist’.

People experiencing ‘red mist’, the court heard, become fixated on a target to the point where they exercise poor judgment.

Sen-Constable Greenhalgh said his tone of voice was aggressive when he called out at various times during the encounter with the boy but denied calling him a ‘wog cunt’.

‘I disagree,’ he said when the prosecution put it to him that he was frustrated and had ‘lashed out’ at the boy, earlier reported as wandering naked in Lateen Lane.

‘You lost your cool, you were angry, frustrated, you had lost control by the time you administered the final six strikes,’ prosecutor Brittany Parker said, ‘it was completely unnecessary and unreasonable’.

‘I disagree,’ Sen-Constable Greenhalgh replied.

boy could have ‘overpowered’ police, accused officer says

The officer, who worked at Byron Bay police station for eight years until 2019, said he had been constantly assessing and re-assessing the situation as it unfolded in accordance with his training.

He said he agreed the boy was ‘under control’ by the time he ordered another officer to get a police vehicle but said the remaining three officers then lost control of the boy and risked being ‘over-powered’.

The time between one officer leaving the boy to fetch a police truck and officers putting the boy in the truck is when Sen-Constable Greenhalgh is accused of using unreasonable force as he hit the youth another six times with his baton.

The Department of Public Prosecutions [DPP] said given the naked and unarmed teenager was at that point lying motionless on the ground in handcuffs with three officers pinning him down, he was unlikely to overpower them.

The senior constable agreed the boy hadn’t attacked anyone, after earlier describing him as making a ‘hay-maker’ swing at his colleague.

But Sen-Constable Greenhalgh said imminent violence was a risk.

‘You assumed there would be violence?’ Brittany Parker for the DPP suggested.

‘I didn’t assume anything,’ the senior constable replied as the day’s hearings drew to a close.

Alleged victim’s family prepared to take ‘long road’

Speaking outside Lismore courthouse, the boy’s step-father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told The Echo and Bay FM if the trial didn’t end to the family’s satisfaction, they would pursue human rights law.

‘We’re prepared to take this road as long as it goes,’ the alleged victim’s step-father said.

Sen-Constable Michial Luke Greenhalgh was transferred to Lismore police station in 2019.

He is charged with one count of common assault.

Byron Bay police defend accused former colleague

Defence barrister Brent Haverfield presented four former colleagues of Sen-Constable Greenhalgh from Byron Bay police station and a former football club friend to the court on Tuesday.

The five men, including current Byron Bay Chief Inspector Matt Kehoe, variously described the accused as empathetic, dedicated and professional, an officer who put the concerns of his colleagues above his own.

Sen-Constable Greenhalgh appeared in the witness box in a dark suit and black-framed glasses, without the hat covers his hairless head in the  video footage of the Lateen Lane incident.

He blinked frequently at various times throughout his testimony and spoke in a husky voice at first, before using a clearer tone as he repeated ‘I disagree’.

Closing statements for the trial due are due to be heard in Lismore courthouse on Wednesday.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

5 COMMENTS

  1. “Red mist” sounds like it comes from the same dimension the Greens believe future energy should be produced from – fresh air & fairy farts

  2. Long standing history of assault or unnecessary over use of force through the years by some Byron Bay police officers. I know because iv’e been witness to it. This time they were unlucky enough to get recorded on video otherwise there would have been no prosecution

  3. I remember [a local police officer] saying policing is a contact sport to my ex girlfriend who was having a mental health episode.
    I am very concerned about the standard at the highest levels in Byron Bay.
    It’s luck in this occasion that someone actually got their behaviour on the record.
    Otherwise it would be a case of the police backing each other up and this poor minor being dragged through the courts on charges he didn’t do.
    And he would have these “expert” witnesses convince a magistrate that “beyond reasonable doubt” he is guilty.
    I think on this occasion the ball is on the other foot.
    Let’s see what the powers that be do with it hey!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Local fisherfolk caught in the parking fine net

FIsherfolk have been caught in the net of parking fines designed to stop travellers parking up for the night on the Tweed Coast Road and they are seeking help to access their beaches at night without fines.

Family Court scrapped

Despite overwhelming opposition from Australia’s family law specialists and advocates, the federal Liberal-Nationals government and cross benchers scrapped the Family Law Court and subsumed it into the circuit courts last week.

Cavanbah centre gets a taste of 3×3 basketball

The Byron Beez basketball team in collaboration with the U League hosted a 3x3 tournament at the Cavanbah centre at the end of January that attracted 30 teams.

Northern Rivers policeman accused of youth assault acquitted

Magistrate Michael Dakin has ordered a common assault charge against a former Byron-based policeman be dropped after an altercation involving a naked youth in Byron Bay three years ago.