NT Government won't sue tear gassed juveniles

WARNING: Video contains graphic scenes and explicit language.

UPDATE: THE Northern Territory Government has withdrawn counter claims against two boys who were  tear-gassed in the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.

The ABC reported earlier today that the government had lodged a law suit against the detainees for damages

However, the government has withdrawn its counter claims against the detainees who were shown in a special report by ABC's Four Corners program. The claims were lodged before the program aired.

The Government lodged claims for damages from an escape attempt in Don Dale against two of the detainees involved in the tear-gassing incident shown on Four Corners. Follow the story on ABC about the government's counter claims here: NT Government withdraws counter claims


MONDAY: THE gassing of six children held in isolation at a juvenile detention centre in Darwin has been revealed, after graphic video of the incident was obtained by Four Corners.

The tear-gassing was described as a "riot" at the time, according to the ABC, with reports that boys had escaped their cells and were threatening staff with weapons.

In fact, some of the boys exposed to the tear gas were playing cards inside their cells, when the gas began to seep in.

The one boy who did leave his cell - after the door was left unlocked by staff - is heard asking how long he had been in isolation and asking to talk to staff.

Four Corners reports that prison staff can be heard calling the boy an "idiot" and a "little f----er".

The footage has been pulled from CCTV from within the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre and handy-cam recordings made by staff.

Last year, former NT corrections commissioner Ken Middlebrook spoke to the claims saying there were "two sprays from an aerosol in the area", which "wasn't an overuse of gas".

The footage to be aired on Four Corners shows 10 bursts of tear gas being sprayed into an enclosed area in 90 seconds.

Tear gas works by targeting the eyes, nose, mouth and lungs, which can cause difficulty in breathing and temporary blindness.

Mr Middlebrook described the situation facing the guards at the centre as "out of control".

"I was there on that night, I was the one who authorised the use of (tear) gas because I had an obligation to bring that to an end and bring it to an end quickly," he told ABC Darwin in 2015.

"We had to move out of that facility, so don't get carried away with the fact that this was some incident that we just used gas," he said.

Human Rights Lawyer Ruth Barson said the isolation of the children on its own violated the United Nations Convention against Torture.

"The UN's expert on torture has said there are no circumstances that justify young people being held in solitary confinement, let alone prolonged solitary confinement," Ms Barson told Four Corners.

The Don Dale centre has since been closed, with children moved to the old adult prison in Berrmiah.

Topics:  abc editors picks four corners investigation

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