Hallucinating teen left alone before alleged police assault
UPDATE, 5.25pm: A TEEN has given evidence in the hearing of a police officer charged with assaulting him with a baton.
Senior Constable Michial Luke Greenhalgh, 39, is this week defending a charge of common assault in a hearing before Lismore Local Court.
The prosecution has alleged he used unnecessary force during the detention of a boy, aged 16 at the time, in Lateen Lane, Byron Bay in the early hours of January 11, 2018.
The DPP has alleged Sen-Constable Greenhalgh struck the teen with his baton at least 18 times.
The prosecution case relies upon the final six alleged strikes.
When the alleged victim, now 19, faced court via video link on Monday afternoon, he recalled having been on holidays in Byron Bay with his family.
After dinner on January 10, he left his family with his mother's permission and met a group of boys previously unknown to him on the Main Beach foreshore, the court heard.
The court heard the boys offered him a bottle of Corona beer, which he accepted.
He could not recall whether it had already been opened.
Soon afterwards, he began experiencing unusual feelings and went to buy a bottle of water.
"I started feeling strange, like everything was getting bright," he said.
"My heart started racing and I started to sweat.
"Everything seemed really colourful."
He told the court he returned to the group with his water and the boys were "giggling and looking at each other".
"They just said, you're alright," he said.
The court heard the group walked together through the town and spent a short time together in a car park, before the others left the alleged victim alone and disoriented.
The teen told the court of his unsuccessful attempts to find his hotel.
"I was feeling very dehydrated," he said.
"I'd already finished my water. I was trying to find a shop ... but from what I recall they were all closed."
He said he recalled telling strangers he needed water.
"I remember sweating profusely," he said.
When the police arrived in Lateen Lane, after he had removed his clothes, he did not know who they were, the court heard.
The teen recalled a "pinch" on his stomach area, and then another; the court earlier heard he was Tasered after OC spray had no effect.
He then felt "pressure" on his body and a "big black thing moving".
At the time, he did not understand he was being struck by a police baton.
"I felt like I was being hit by something ... but I didn't know what it was," he said.
He recalled other parts of the struggle, told the court he repeatedly asked for water.
He remembered being told to stop resisting and replying "I'm not resisting".
There was a gap in his memory before he woke up in an ambulance, on route to The Tweed Hospital.
Upon being cross examined, the teen said he had watched footage of the alleged incident five times, all via an A Current Affair report. He had not viewed the raw footage, the court heard.
The court heard he made a statement about the incident in March, 2019, during which he included limited details of the incident.
The teen said he had only viewed the footage after he made that statement.
The hearing is expected to run until Thursday.
UPDATE, 2.30pm: The mother of a teen who was allegedly assaulted by a police officer in Byron Bay has given evidence in a hearing.
Michial Luke Greenhalgh, 39, is facing a hearing before Lismore Local Court to defend one charge of common assault.
The prosecution has alleged he used "unreasonable" force in six particular baton strikes inflicted upon a teen in Lateen Lane in the early hours of January 11, 2018.
The court has heard the teen, who later said he had taken LSD, was handcuffed and restrained on the ground at the time.
The 16-year-old's mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has told the court her family was holidaying in Byron Bay at the time of the alleged incident.
The court heard her son was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome at a young age.
On the night if January 10, 2018, her son left the family after dinner to explore the vicinity while there was an under-18s silent disco on the beachfront.
After several hours, the family lost contact with the teen, until she received a call in the early hours on January 11, informing her the boy was at The Tweed Hospital.
When she arrived, he was sedated and when he woke, he was "not in a good place... physically or mentally", she told the court.
"I was in shock," she said.
She told the court the family has "never had a problem" with her son's behaviour and she was not aware of him having ever taken drugs prior to the incident.
The court has been played footage of part of the incident, recorded on a mobile phone camera from a nearby balcony.
The hearing is expected to run until Thursday.
Original story: SIX particular baton strikes will be relied upon in the case against a police officer charged with assaulting a teen in Byron Bay, a court has heard.
Senior Constable Michial Luke Greenhalgh, 39, has appeared in Lismore Local Court for the first day of a four-day hearing, during which he will defend one charge of common assault.
He was charged after a Law Enforcement Conduct Commission inquiry into the arrest of a 16-year-old boy in Lateen Lane, Byron Bay in the early hours of January 11, 2018.
In her opening submissions, the DPP prosecutor said she would rely upon six particular baton strikes allegedly inflicted by Sen-Constable Greenhalgh upon the alleged victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
She said the teen was observed by passers-by "repeatedly calling out for water and for help".
The court heard the night manager of Nomads Backpackers asked the teen to move on, but he did not understand this instruction and proceeded to remove his clothes.
A call to a private security company went unanswered and the manager phoned Byron Bay Police Station.
Sen-Constable Greenhalgh and his partner were the first on scene, followed by two other officers.
The court heard the teen was OC sprayed and Tasered several times before being restrained on the ground by all four officers.
The teen swung at one of the officers during this exchange, the court heard.
The prosecution will allege the final six strikes inflicted by the accused "were an unreasonable use of force" and constitute common assault.
Sen-Constable Greenhalgh's barrister Brent Haverfield said the defence case would focus on two sections of LEPRA legislation, as well as self-defence provisions of the Crimes Act.
The hearing continues.