Defence solicitor Sally McPherson (left) and another police officer outside Byron Bay Local Court on Monday. An officer accused of assaulting a teen in Byron Bay did not appear before the court when the case against him was mentioned for the first time.
Defence solicitor Sally McPherson (left) and another police officer outside Byron Bay Local Court on Monday. An officer accused of assaulting a teen in Byron Bay did not appear before the court when the case against him was mentioned for the first time.

Officer to defend allegation he assaulted teen during arrest

A POLICE officer charged over the alleged assault of a teen in Byron Bay will defend the allegation against him.

Senior Constable Michial Luke Greenhalgh, 38, did not appear before Byron Bay Local Court when his matter was first mentioned on Monday.

Sen-Constable Greenhalgh, now based in Lismore, is facing one charge of common assault over the arrest of a boy who was aged 16 at the time in Lateen Lane between 2 and 3am January 11, 2018.

He was working under the Tweed Byron Police District and NSW Police confirmed he "remains on duty" but had relocated.

He was charged in October this year, following a recommendation from the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission's Operation Tambora, which considered his actions and those of four other officers involved in the teen's arrest and detention.

The boy had been visiting the town with family at the time.

Solicitor Sally McPherson, who appeared for Mr Greenhalgh on behalf of lawyer Kenneth Madden, asked the court to impose a non-publication order to prohibit the publication of Sen-Constable Greenhalgh's name after lodging a not guilty plea on his behalf.

Ms McPherson told the court this was to protect the defendant's wife, who holds the same rank, works at Byron Bay Police Station and had been subject to abuse over the phone and in the field.

She said a Chief Inspector stationed in Byron Bay had noted a recent "escalation" of such behaviour toward her.

Magistrate Karen Stafford pointed out this occurred prior to the defendant's name having been made public.

Throughout the LECC inquiry, the names of all officers involved in the arrest were suppressed. The alleged victim cannot be named for legal reasons.

The DPP prosecutor opposed the order and Ms Stafford cited a Court of Criminal Appeal decision in refusing the application.

"It's extremely unfortunate, I agree, and I have a lot of sympathy for his wife who is not charged with any offence and is doing an important job in the community that obviously she wants to continue," Ms Stafford said.

But she highlighted the "overriding principle" of justice being metered out "in an open way".

Ms Stafford said she was not satisfied the defendant's wife would be specifically put at risk in the absence of a non-publication order.

A brief of evidence is due to be served upon the defence by January 13 and the matter will return to court on February 3.

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