Senior Constable Michial Luke Greenhalgh, 39, has pleaded not guilty to one charge of common assault over the 2018 detention of a 16-year-old boy in Byron Bay. He is defending the allegation before a hearing this week. Picture: Liana Boss
Senior Constable Michial Luke Greenhalgh, 39, has pleaded not guilty to one charge of common assault over the 2018 detention of a 16-year-old boy in Byron Bay. He is defending the allegation before a hearing this week. Picture: Liana Boss

Tragic reason cop can't give evidence at assault hearing

LATEST: ONE of four police officers who was present at an incident during which a colleague is alleged to have assaulted a teen cannot give evidence because of a serious medical condition, a court has heard.

Senior Constable Michial Luke Greenhalgh, 39, is defending a charge of common assault in a hearing this week.

The prosecution has argued he used unreasonable force in six final blows inflicted with his baton, while the alleged victim, a then 16-year-old boy, was restrained on the ground.

Sen-Constable Greenhalgh is disputing this.

Police were called to Lateen Lane in Byron Bay in the early hours of January 11, 2018 in response to the apparently drug-affected teen, who cannot be named acting erratically outside the entrance to a backpackers' hostel.

DPP prosecutor Brittany Parker has told Lismore District Court one of the four officers who attended the scene cannot attend to give evidence or to be cross-examined as he had "suffered a significant brain injury".

Ms Parker has instead tendered a 100-page transcript of evidence the officer gave on two occasions during a Law Enforcement Conduct Commission inquiry into the alleged assault.

Defence barrister Brent Haverfield has flagged a reservation with the context of that evidence but did not object to it being tendered.

Another officer who attended the incident, Senior Constable Matthew Roach, told the court during his cross-examination of the strength of the teen while they tried to control him.

When asked by Mr Haverfield if he had ever dealt with someone who displayed "so much strength" throughout his career, Sen-Constable Roach replied: "We've had other difficult arrests before that have required a number of police to control but he was, quite particularly, quite strong".

Mr Haverfield further asked him if detaining the teen was "the hardest" detention he had experienced in his policing career.

Sen-Constable Roach replied: "oh, definitely".

During cross-examination Sen-Constable Roach agreed the teen was under control and only gave an intelligible response to police after the final six baton strikes allegedly inflicted by Sen-Constable Greenhalgh.

Those six strikes, said to have been inflicted while the teen was handcuffed on the ground and restrained, make up the prosecution case of assault.

Ms Parker has argued the teen was under the control of the officers once he was successfully handcuffed.

In further questioning the witness, Ms Parker pointed out earlier on, when a police officer says "stop resisting", the boy makes the intelligible response: "I'm not resisting".

Sen-Constable Roach agreed this could be heard on a video of this incident, but he had no independent memory of these words being spoken.

The court heard the video had been shown to him "30 odd times" throughout the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission process.

"It was quite stressful, watching it," he said.

Mr Haverfield asked whether it would be "natural", then, for his memory to have been "impacted" by watching the mobile phone footage so many times.

"I'd suggest to you your evidence has been coloured in some way because of the way the investigation's been carried out," Mr Haverfield asked.

Sen-Constable Roach agreed.

The hearing continues. 

 

Original story: A TEEN at the centre of a case in which a police officer is defending an assault allegation showed "extreme strength" during a struggle with officers, a court has heard.

Senior Constable Michial Luke Greenhalgh, 39, is facing a hearing before Lismore Local Court over the alleged January 11, 2018 assault of a 16-year-old boy,

The DPP has alleged the final six of 18 baton strikes the accused inflicted upon the teen constitute an unreasonable use of force.

Senior Constable Matthew Roach, who was working with the defendant during the alleged incident, has agreed during cross-examination the teen exhibited "extreme strength" as police tried to control him in Lateen Lane, in Byron Bay.

Officers were called to the laneway after reports of the teen, who had taken off his clothes and was severely drug-affected, acting erratically and yelling.

When asked by defence barrister Brent Haverfield if the teen exhibited "extreme strength", Sen-Constable Roach agreed.

He also agree the teen had a very high body temperature and was "very sweaty".

In a report Sen-Constable Roach authored in order to have the teen sent to The Tweed Hospital because of his drug-affected state, he said the boy had "resisted with extreme strength", appeared affected by LSD and "didn't comply with police directions to get on the ground".

The court has heard the first words spoken to the teen when Sen-Constables Roach and Greenhalgh - the first officers to the scene - arrived, indicated they were there to help.

But at this time, the teen didn't respond in an intelligible way and continually yelled for help and water, the court heard.

Sen-Constable Roach told the court the boy was never placed under arrest, but rather under detention because of his state.

He earlier told the court the teen took a "haymaker-like swing" toward him.

He used his OC spray twice and the defendant used his Taser before Sen-Constable Roach saw the two other officers arrive.

During Sen-Constable Roach's evidence in chief, the court heard the "profusely sweating" boy had nearly slipped out of a first pair of handcuffs.

A second pair was successfully applied and Sen-Constable Roach was standing on these to help secure the teen on the ground when he heard, but did not see, a number of baton strikes, the court heard.

Sen-Constable Roach's cross-examination is ongoing.

The hearing is expected to run until tomorrow.


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