Ashley Youth Detention Centre assault case decision still pending

Ashley Youth Detention Centre.
Ashley Youth Detention Centre.

A decision over alleged assaults at Ashley Youth Detention Centre is expected to be handed down on Friday.

Further details of the allegations against youth worker Shaun Bartlett were heard in the Launceston Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning.

It was the second day of a hearing into the case, which saw nine witnesses called to the stand over the two days.

Two detainees are at the centre of the allegations, with Mr Bartlett accused of assaulting them in July last year.

He is accused of using “excessive force” on both youths when relocating them to a room after a “stand-off” between detainees and staff members the night before. 

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Throughout the hearing, the court was shown footage from the detention centre which depicted the alleged assaults. The first incident involved a detainee in the centre’s Franklin unit. 

Footage showed the detainee sitting on a table in the common room with two other youths.

The court heard the youths had been behaving in a “hostile manner” with the alleged assault victim described as the “ring-leader”.

It was when Mr Bartlett attempted to remove the “ring-leader” from the room the assault allegedly took place. The Crown Prosecutor submitted that the defendant had “forcibly removed” the youth from the table and did not give him an opportunity to go voluntarily.

The second incident involved a detainee being relocated to a room after he had broken windows in the Huon unit and displayed “threatening” and “violent” behaviour in the days and weeks prior.

Footage showed Mr Bartlett grabbing the detainee under his arms, holding his neck and lifting him off the ground in an effort to move him – he then threw him into the room.

The Crown Prosecutor submitted the force used on the youth was “neither necessary or reasonable” and suggested other staff members present could have assisted in restraining him with “minimal force”.

Defence counsel Chris Bartlett submitted there was no evidence Mr Bartlett acted unreasonably.

“It was a dangerous situation … it’s accepted the boys were in an agitated state … that isolation needed to happen,” he said.

Magistrate Sharon Cure adjourned the matter in order to review the footage further.

Ms Cure is expected to deliver her decision in the Launceston Magistrates Court on Friday at 2.15pm.