After the video showing a minor inmate hooded and strapped to a restraint chair went viral, the Australian government sprang into action to finally address the issue of alleged torture in juvenile prisons in the Northern Territory.
Distressing footage first reported by ABC’s Four Corners revealed how 17-year-old Dylan Voller was interrogated with his neck, ankles and wrists tied to a mechanical restraint device for nearly two hours.
It prompted Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to announce a Royal Commission into the purported abuse occurring at the NT detention centers.
NT Chief Minister Adam Giles welcomed Trunbull’s decision and also removed John Elferink as NT Corrections Minister, taking over the position himself.
Giles said he saw the video for the first time on July 25, adding he didn’t know anything about the kind of abuse occurring in his own federal territory. But his claim is rather odd considering several different human rights groups previously reported the issue to no avail.
In fact, it’s even stranger that Giles would profess ignorance over the interrogation tactics used in the video when just three months ago the NT government legalized the use of mechanical restraint chairs to be used on minors.
Elferink introduced the “Youth Justice Amendment Bill” in May, which, primarily sought to "clarify the definition of ‘mechanical devices," at least on the surface of it.
But what it actually did was expand the usage of the mechanical devices, including the restraining chair, to be used on children.
The 13 politicians who voted “yes” to pass the motion were: Nathan Barrett, Peter Chandler, John Elferink, Lia Finocchiaro, Adam Giles, Gary Higgins, Francis Xavier Kurrupuwu, Larisa Lee, Bess Price, Peter Styles, Dave Tollner, Willem Westra van Holthe and Gerry Wood.
Alex Tighe, a member of Voller’s legal team, expressed disbelief over Giles' ignorance over the usage of restraint chairs: “If they’re passing legislation and not inquiring why they’re passing that legislation, it’s either incompetence or something much much worse than that.”