A second hearing has been held into the violent arrest of a 16-year-old boy at Byron Bay.
A second hearing has been held into the violent arrest of a 16-year-old boy at Byron Bay. Contributed Channel 9

Police officer could face criminal charges over arrest

UPDATE, 1pm: A NORTH Coast police officer could face criminal charges over the violent arrest of a teen in Byron Bay.

The final public hearing of a Law Enforcement Conduct Commission investigation into the arrest and related treatment of the 16-year-old boy has concluded in Byron Bay.

Lawyers representing three of the police officers involved arrest, which took place at 2.26am on January 11 in Lateen Lane, have today spoken before the commission.

The full version of footage shot on a mobile phone from a nearby balcony was screened at the hearing in Byron Community Centre today.

The arrest followed reports of a naked male acting inappropriately in the lane.

None of the police officers or other witnesses have yet been identified.

Michael Taylor was representing Officer E, who the commission heard struck the teen 18 times with his baton.

Medical staff at the Tweed Hospital later found the teen had a fractured rib.

Counsel Assisting the Commission Terence Rowles said while there were other possible causes of this injury, it was "more probable than not that the strike or strikes inflicted by Officer E caused this fracture, although unintentionally".

The teen, known only as AO, also suffered bruising after the arrest.

Mr Rowles said while the actions of Officers A, B, C and D, three of whom were involved in the arrest and another being the Custody Manager at Byron Bay Police Station at the time, did not warrant further action.

But he told the commission Officer E's behaviour "falls into a different category".

Mr Taylor said the measure of "reasonable use of force" was "not black and white".

"There's a very large grey area," he said.

He argued Officer E's actions fell inside that grey area.

He initially asked for his submissions about Officer E to be made confidential, but Michael Adams QC - who was presiding over the hearing - said this would not be necessary.

"I do not believe your submissions should remain confidential," Mr Adams said.

"For the present, I'll not publish his name, but that can be reconsidered."

Mr Adams said they would consider whether publishing any names would be appropriate in the commission's final report.

The commission heard Officers D and E arrived first at the scene, followed shortly afterwards by Officers B and C, the latter of which had been about to sign off from a 12-hour shift.

Mr Rowles also submitted there was no evidence of AO acting violently toward police, or that police made sufficient efforts to reason with him before deploying OC spray, a Taser and then using batons.

It is not yet known when the commission will hand down its findings.

 

UPDATE, 11.20am: COUNSEL assisting the commission into the arrest of a boy in Byron Bay have submitted action should be taken against one of the four police officers involved.

Terence Rowles gave submissions from a 13-page summary at the commission's hearing in Byron Bay this morning.

Mr Rowles told the commission the actions of the police officer known as Officer E, who made 18 baton strikes to the boy, warrants disciplinary action.

"It is submitted the Commission should find that he unjustifiably used grossly unnecessary force on AO (the boy), hitting him as hard as was physically able," Mr Rowles said.

He said Officer E "attempted to mislead the Commission as to the circumstances" in his evidence.

Mr Rowles recommended the Commission to find legal action should be taken against Officer E.

He submitted no action be taken against the other officers involved.

Lawyers representing the police officers are now giving evidence to the commission.

No officers will be named at this stage but that could change in the LECC's final report.

 

Original story: A FURTHER hearing into the arrest of a young person in Byron Bay will be held today.

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission will continue its public hearings attached to Operation Tambora at Byron Community Centre this morning.

Operation Tambora was established to investigate the arrest and treatment of a boy by Tweed Byron Police District officers in Byron Bay on January 11.

Today's hearing, which follows a series held in Sydney, will be run by Michael Adams QC and will see legal a host of legal representatives make submissions to the Commission.

Counsel assisting the commission will be Terence Rowles.



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