Barrister Brent Haverfield, who represented Senior Constable Michial Greenhalgh, leaves Lismore Courthouse after his client was found not guilty of common assault on February 24, 2021. Picture: Liana Boss
Barrister Brent Haverfield, who represented Senior Constable Michial Greenhalgh, leaves Lismore Courthouse after his client was found not guilty of common assault on February 24, 2021. Picture: Liana Boss

REVEALED: The key evidence that helped to clear cop’s name

CCTV footage from inside Byron Bay Police Station was among the pieces of evidence that contributed to a police officer being cleared of an assault allegation.

Senior Constable Michial Luke Greenhalgh, 39, faced a six-day hearing before Lismore Local Court after he pleaded not guilty to a charge of common assault.

The prosecution had alleged the officer's actions in striking a naked, handcuffed and drug-affected 16-year-old boy six times with a baton while he was held on the ground in Lateen Lane in Byron Bay amounted to an unreasonable use of force.

Magistrate Michael Dakin found Sen-Constable Greenhalgh not guilty of the charge of common assault on Wednesday afternoon.

Senior Constable Michial Luke Greenhalgh, 39, has been cleared of a common assault charge. Picture: Liana Boss
Senior Constable Michial Luke Greenhalgh, 39, has been cleared of a common assault charge. Picture: Liana Boss

Sen-Constable Greenhalgh was one of four officers who attended the laneway in the early hours of January 11, 2018 after reports of the male behaving erratically.

The officers ultimately detained him under the Mental Health Act.

Mr Dakin asked for CCTV footage from the custody area of the police station to be replayed to the court, after final submissions were heard on both sides and before he gave his decision.

The prosecution argued there was evidence police had control of the teen prior to Sen-Constable Greenhalgh's final six strikes in the laneway.

Mr Dakin found, based on CCTV showing numerous police officers holding the teen while he was being sedated by paramedics and having Taser barbs removed in the police station later on, they never had full control of him.

 

The prosecution team outside court. Picture: Liana Boss
The prosecution team outside court. Picture: Liana Boss

The court heard an ambulance officer wrote in official records the teen was "being combative" on the trip to The Tweed Hospital.

"That's after he was sedated," Mr Dakin said.

"What occurred at the police station is significant.

"The footage in the charge area, where the ambulance officers are in attendance, indicates a number of police were still, at that juncture, required to hold him down to control him.

"The footage is self-evident.

"He's held down for quite a number of minutes."

He said the prosecution assertion that the teen "had become compliant" was at odds with "such interaction on the floor of the police station".

Mr Dakin said he accepted the officer's account that the laneway interaction was a "very fluid situation where he believed control was not absolute, compliance was not absolute and indeed that necessitated six strikes".

Mr Dakin took a range of other factors into account in dismissing the charge.


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