Teen held in adult jail

14-year-old’s prison stay

Mercury (Hobart) - - FRONT PAGE - BLAIR RICHARDS

A “RE­GRET­TABLE” in­ci­dent where a 14-yearold girl was kept overnight in an adult prison has been re­vealed.

The lock-up sparked a re­view of af­ter-hours and on-call pro­to­cols, with im­prove­ments needed.

A GIRL spent a night in an adult prison be­cause Tas­ma­nia Po­lice was un­able to con­tact an af­ter hours youth jus­tice worker, Tas­ma­nia’s Om­buds­man has re­vealed.

The in­ci­dent where a 14year-old girl named “Miss P” was kept overnight in the Ho­bart Re­cep­tion Prison was high­lighted by Om­buds­man Richard Con­nock in his an­nual re­port.

Mr Con­nock said Miss P’s in­car­cer­a­tion oc­curred when a Jus­tice of the Peace re­fused to con­duct an af­ter hours bail hear­ing for the girl with­out a youth jus­tice worker present.

How­ever, when po­lice pros­e­cu­tors were un­able to reach an on-call com­mu­nity youth jus­tice worker the girl was placed in the Ho­bart Re­cep­tion Cen­tre. She was trans­ported to Ash­ley Youth De­ten­tion Cen­tre the fol­low­ing day where she ap­peared in court by video link.

Miss P com­plained to the Om­buds­man, who asked for an ex­pla­na­tion from both Chil­dren and Youth Services and Tas­ma­nia Po­lice.

“A re­sponse was re­ceived from the Depart­ment of Health and Hu­man Services which was then re­spon­si­ble for CYS, in which it advised that it was not com­mon prac­tice to hold young people at the HRP and the in­ci­dent had been a re­gret­table one. It ex­plained that Com­mu­nity Youth Jus­tice had two af­ter-hours con­tacts who could be reached when services were re­quired by Tas­ma­nia Po­lice or the courts.

It ex­plained that al­though the Po­lice Pros­e­cu­tion Services had at­tempted to call the first on call CYJ staff mem­ber, it did not at­tempt to call the CYJ area man­ager,” Mr Con­nock said in his an­nual re­port.

“Tas­ma­nia Po­lice ex­plained that it made sev­eral at­tempts by tele­phone and by text mes­sage to con­tact the CYJ on-call staff mem­ber and also the Child Safety Services man­ager prior to the sched­uled court ap­pear­ance with­out success.

“A se­cond prose­cu­tor, with more ex­pe­ri­ence in youth jus­tice mat­ters, was able to con­tact the CYJ area man­ager to be present for the se­cond court ap­pear­ance.”

Mr Con­nock said fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent, Tas­ma­nia Po­lice had up­dated its con­tact list used by south­ern af­ter-hours pros­e­cu­tors.

“It was noted that the af­ter­hours court times are de­ter­mined by the Mag­is­trates Court with Miss P pre­sented to court at the ear­li­est op­por­tu­nity. The Om­buds­man was sat­is­fied that the process for af­ter-hours con­tact be­tween Tas­ma­nia Po­lice Pros­e­cu­tions and CYJ has been ad­e­quately re­viewed,” he said.

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