Shack­led teen says ‘sorry’ for crimes

The Myanmar Times - - World -

A TEENAGE boy shown hooded and shack­led in images from a ju­ve­nile de­ten­tion cen­tre that shocked Aus­tralia has apol­o­gised for his crimes as anger mounted over the scan­dal yes­ter­day.

The treat­ment of Dy­lan Voller has be­come the fo­cus of out­rage after graphic ev­i­dence was broad­cast of prison guards as­sault­ing mostly in­dige­nous boys in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory, in­clud­ing strip­ping them naked and us­ing tear gas.

It prompted an ap­palled Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull to or­der an in­quiry into the treat­ment of young in­mates.

In one video from last year, Mr Voller, then 17, is shown hooded and shack­led to a me­chan­i­cal re­straint chair and left alone for two hours.

A for­mer guard at the Don Dale Cen­tre in Dar­win told the Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion, whose Four Corners pro­gram ex­posed the abuse on July 25, he had seen the boy put in the chair at least three times.

Mr Voller, who has been in and out of cus­tody since he was 11 and is now in an adult prison, thanked the ABC for “get­ting the truth out there” in a hand-writ­ten let­ter re­leased by his lawyer.

“I would just like to thank the whole Aus­tralian com­mu­nity for the sup­port you have showed for us boys as well as our fam­i­lies,” said Mr Voller, who has pre­vi­ously been con­victed of crimes, in­clud­ing car theft and rob­bery.

“I would also like to take the op­por­tu­nity to apol­o­gise to the com­mu­nity for my wrongs and I can’t wait to get out and make up for them.”

North­ern Ter­ri­tory Chief Min­is­ter Adam Giles has in­sisted he was not aware of the ex­tent of the abuse, as calls mounted for him to re­sign after com­ments he made in 2010 urg­ing crim­i­nals to be put “in a big con­crete hole” resur­faced yes­ter­day.

The North­ern Ter­ri­tory News head­lined its front-page “Sack the lot of them”, while The Aus­tralian broad­sheet said in an ed­i­to­rial “Ju­ve­nile de­ten­tion hor­ror a win­dow on our shame”.

Rights groups have called for the royal com­mis­sion to be Aus­trali­aw­ide, but Mr Turn­bull ruled this out, say­ing it risked be­com­ing too cum­ber­some. –

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