Don Dale Detention Centre Use of Tear Gas – High Court of Australia Ruling
The Law Society Northern Territory (the Society) welcomes yesterday’s High Court decision that the use of tear gas at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in 2014 was unlawful.
This decision emphasises and highlights the need for change within the youth justice system in the Northern Territory and in particular reinforces the need for the Northern Territory Government to implement the recommendations made in the 2017 Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory Report.
Regrettably, the Northern Territory Government has delayed or failed to implement many of the sound and evidence based recommendations made by the Royal Commission. The Government’s failure to address the current framework for dealing with youth in detention is a continuing sign that it is not serious in its intent to address the issues in the Northern Territory’s youth justice system. The decision of the High Court serves as yet another reminder of the important and urgent need for the NT Government to implement all 227 Royal Commission recommendations as promised.
The Society’s President, Maria Savvas said “The youth justice system in the Northern Territory continues to deteriorate, as does the confidence that this Government is serious about adopting targeted reforms that balance the human rights of children being treated with dignity and the safe operation of youth justice centres. The decision of the High Court should trigger a change in policy and remind the NT Government that its continued delays on this issue are recognised by the Courts and the community”.