Apology over unlawful Ashley detention

THE State Government has apologised for unlawfully detaining a young person in Ashley Detention Centre after an ombudsman's report found the youth's release order had been revoked without following proper process.

Ombudsman Leon Atkinson-MacEwen said the 14-year-old had been held in custody for 81 days in 2012 after he was deemed to have breached his supervised release order.

Mr Atkinson-MacEwen said the Department of Health and Human Services failed to follow proper process in the youth's arrest, making his arrest and subsequent detention unlawful.

"In my view, the numerous and significant issues that have arisen from (the young person's) complaint are a compelling argument that the power to return a young person to detention should be actively overseen by a magistrate or independent tribunal,'' he said.

"Independent oversight is required to ensure that a young persons personal liberty is only restricted when there is lawful authority for doing so; when other possibilities have been explored and exhausted, and to ensure the process, when it is necessary, is fair.''

Department secretary Mathew Daly apologised for the unlawful detention

"The DHHS accepts that the youth was detained for longer than they should have been and has apologised unreservedly,'' he said.

Mr Daly said he had accepted the ombudsman's recommendations with regard to its process, and said a further proposal to give a magistrate or legal tribunal the power to cancel a suspended release order was subject to cabinet approval.

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