The case of a former Byron Bay police officer found not guilty of assaulting a teenager five years ago in a CBD laneway is to be reheard in Lismore today.
Footage of the violent incident made national headlines in early 2018, leading to a Law Enforcement Conduct Commission investigation.
The viral video showed four officers deployed at the time at Byron Bay Police Station working to restrain a naked sixteen-year-old boy.
The state’s police watchdog later recommended the state consider charging one of the officers with common assault.
Michial Luke Greenhalgh was found to have hit the boy with his baton eighteen times of a total nineteen strikes delivered.
It was the final six blows that played a crucial role for Magistrate Michael Dakin in determining the former senior constable’s use of reasonable force.
Magistrate Dakin found the former senior constable not guilty after a prolonged trial in Lismore Local Court two years ago with pandemic restrictions still in place and public access curtailed.
But the NSW Supreme Court has since found an error of judgment in Magistrate Dakin’s verdict concerning the law around reasonable force and objectivity, leading to today’s rehearing.
It’s understood Magistrate Dakin, also a former police officer, has the option of recusing himself from the case and that the parties involved can also object.
Either scenario could lead to the case being trialled again.
How many other Magistrates are former Police Officers ?
Could this finally be real justice?
Parents of teenagers need to be aware it could be their son an out of control “”courageous custodian of the peace ” beats up next
Classic case of jail the magistrate for being complicit in the makeover arent these people ever accountable? Cops trying the cops…classic colonialism riddled with rum corps corruption.
Hardly surprised by this police behaviour in Byron after having been almostvrun down by a speeding Bay policeman in an unmarked car and subsequently been violently threatened for verbally objecting to his reckless driving….amongst other unsavpury incidents from that crowd.
“What error of judgment” did the Supreme Court find in Magistrate Dakin’s verdict for why the Byron Bay Police Officers were all found to be not guilty for what was seen on the video evidence of the beating ?
Thanks Neville: the DPP appealed to the NSW Supreme Court against Magistrate Dakin’s original decision, and the Supreme Court found that Dakin’s original judgment contained an ‘error of law’ (so it was an error in the legal reasoning contained in the judgment – more strictly speaking it was an error ‘in the judgment’, rather than an error ‘of’ judgment). As I understand it, Dakin in his judgment merely considered whether the police officer Greenhalgh considered his own actions necessary, whereas the correct legal test was that Dakin should have considered whether a ‘reasonable person’ would have considered Greenhalgh’s actions necessary. We’ve updated the story now to make that issue clearer.