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Byron Shire
April 19, 2024

Police assault charge heads back to local court

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The NSW Supreme Court found that a local magistrate’s decision to dismiss assault charges for Michial Greenhalgh was an ‘error of law’. Photo supplied.

The NSW Supreme Court has found that a decision by local magistrate and former police officer, Michael Dakin, was an ‘error of law’.

Dakin had dismissed the charge of common assault for the police officer who allegedly assaulted a 16-year-old boy on January 11, 2018 in Lateen Lane, Byron Bay.

Police were filmed aggressively restraining and severely beating the naked and drug-affected boy, and the story made national news at the time. 

The Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) subsequently appealed to the NSW Supreme Court after Dakin dismissed the charge of common assault for Sen-Constable Michial Greenhalgh.

Greenhalgh had worked at Byron Bay police station for eight years, until 2019.

Judge Joseph Ierace wrote in his judgment that during the 2018 incident, ‘Police were notified of the disturbance and four officers attended in two police vans’.

Under the influence of a drug

‘[The boy] was naked, pacing up and down and yelling out for help and for water. It was not in dispute that he was under the influence of a drug, that he later claimed he had consumed unwittingly.

‘There was a physical interaction between the complainant and the four officers, during which police attached two sets of handcuffs on his wrists and carried him into one of the police vans.

‘SC Roach applied oleoresin capsicum spray (“OC spray”) to the complainant and the defendant discharged at least two bursts from a taser into his body and struck him multiple times with a police baton. He was also struck twice with a baton by SC Mates’.

‘Police did not arrest the complainant and he was not charged with any offence.

‘It was accepted by the parties that during the course of the incident, the defendant struck the complainant with his baton at least 18 times’.

Force as is reasonably necessary

The issue of common assault was addressed by Judge Ierace, given police officers ‘may use such force as is reasonably necessary to make the arrest or to prevent the escape of the person after arrest.’

He wrote in part, ‘Although the Magistrate referred to the meaning of the “reasonably necessary” test and Woodley v Boyd, he did not articulate the objective aspect of it’.

‘Nor did his Honour expressly turn his mind to a consideration of the evidence advanced by each of the parties as to whether, objectively, the contested baton strikes were disproportionate to the level of threat posed by the complainant. No mention was made of what a reasonable person in the defendant’s position would think of the proportionality of the contested baton strikes to the level of threat posed at that point in time by the complainant.’

Judge Ierace has ordered the case be ‘remitted to the local court to be dealt with according to law’, and ‘each party to pay their own costs of these proceedings’.

The case name is Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW) v Greenhalgh [2022] NSWSC 980 (29 July 2022).

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  1. The bludgeoning of a naked child begging for help, could only be condoned by a “Magistrate” working for the police force.
    The oleoresin capsicum spray, handcuffs and tasering are merely torture for the benefit of the sick ‘officers’.
    All ‘officers’ and Magistrate should be gaoled and given a dose of their own evil treatment
    Cheers, G”)

    • If you send them to prison, they are likely to get into trouble with the other inmates.
      When they call for help, it’s on the record what their definition of the word ‘Help’ is.
      Aim low.

  2. Years ago now Deakin ruled against me regarding a matter with the police.
    It started a decade or so of interaction with them that’s let’s just say didn’t go in my favour.
    He’s an ex cop locking after other cops.
    It’s blatantly obvious.
    Video in this case didn’t seem to help.
    I was particularly discouraged.
    Only to find out there IS hope in our legal system after all.
    I guess we will have to wait and see though.

  3. So you drop this major news at the bottom of your internet edition.
    Not even mentioned if I’m correct on your opening page in the email.
    And then won’t publish a comment.
    That was as benign as possible.
    And your an editor
    Off to news watch with the lot of you

  4. I’m reporting you guys for this b.s
    I knew Byron had been influenced by the right but this is a wow moment
    You tell the community about this this way.
    A little article at the bottom that isn’t even on the opening page of your edition.
    Shame on you
    Supporting these crooks in power.
    I’m going to see to it that perhaps you might at least print this.
    But I doubt it.
    Someone has their fingers in the pie.

    • I’m the resident ‘far right’ guy here. If you have more instances of this ‘judge’ making more ‘mistakes’ we are keen to hear. Submit a letter to the editor about it. It’s hard to figure out the publishing standards the editor and moderators use, a lot of my stuff is censored, but they will publish unpopular views. Comment moderation can take up to two days. One day you say something and it’s censored, say the same thing a week later and it’s approved. Don’t take it personally. It’s better than nothing.

      Please trying submitting a letter. I suspect what you have to say is important.

      • Please keep rewriting it until it’s accepted. Try to use adjectives like purportedly, allegedly ,seemly , apparently, were ever you can stomach to do so. Definitive statements make them itchy, but we will know what you mean. Writing with a ‘moderate voice’ opens more ears anyway, just really hard to do when you are reporting something that actually is sensational and alarming. Hard to stop your inner Buddhist Monk from going ‘Kung Fu with a stick’ on people to wake them up. How do you know when you are the ‘Good Guy’? When it’s uncomfortable and difficult, but you do it anyway, because someone has too, and your already standing here anyway. Good Luck.


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