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Release of report on LECC Operation Tambora

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission has found that a NSW Police Force officer who inflicted multiple baton strikes on a naked 16 year old male in Byron Bay on 11 January 2018 used excessive force and should be considered for prosecution for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

20 September 2018 

Media Release 

RELEASE OF REPORT ON LECC OPERATION TAMBORA 

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission has found that a NSW Police Force officer who inflicted multiple baton strikes on a naked 16 year old male in Byron Bay on 11 January 2018 used excessive force and should be considered for prosecution for assault occasioning actual bodily harm. 

The Commission’s Operation Tambora arose out of events involving the apprehension of a 16-year old male by four police officers at Lateen Lane, Byron Bay on 11 January 2018.  

On 6 February 2018, Channel 9 program ‘A Current Affair’ aired mobile phone footage showing four police officers apprehending the male in Byron Bay in the early hours of 11 January 2018.  The footage showed at least one police officer using a baton repeatedly to subdue him. The young male was later identified as a sixteen-year old who had been holidaying with his family in Byron Bay at the time of the incident. The young male is referred to as ‘AO’ in the Commission’s report*.  

The investigation was primarily concerned with the conduct of the police officers when attempting to take AO into custody.  This involved consideration of whether the decisions by the police officers to use OC spray (Officer D) and a taser (Officer E) were justified in the circumstances.  There was also a significant issue as to the need for the use of a baton on AO (by Officers B and E) and in particular the number and force of baton strikes that were administered to AO, particularly those administered by Officer E at a time when AO appeared to be under restraint. 

The Commission’s recommendations, outlined in its Operation Tambora report presented to Parliament today, include the obtaining of advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions with respect to the prosecution of Officer E for assault occasioning actual bodily harm pursuant to section 59 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), and that consideration should be given to the taking of action against Officer E under section 181D of the Police Act 1990 or, alternatively, under section 173 of the Police Act 1990

The Commission held private and public examinations during Operation Tambora, in both Sydney and Byron Bay. The Operation Tambora report, and associated footage, can be found on the Commission website

Background

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission is an independent statutory body. The principal functions of the Commission are to detect, investigate and expose serious misconduct and serious maladministration within the NSW Police Force and the NSW Crime Commission. 

The Commission is separate from and completely independent of the NSW Police Force and NSW Crime Commission. The Commission will treat all information confidentially and has powers to protect persons who provide information to it. 

* Codenames have been used in the report to protect the identities of the involved persons. 

MEDIA: Louisa Dear, 0425 317 535