Assault charges against Ashley Youth Detention Centre worker dismissed

Ashley Youth Detention Centre worker Shaun Bartlett says he is looking forward to getting back to work, after assault charges against him were dismissed. Picture: Neil Richardson
Ashley Youth Detention Centre worker Shaun Bartlett says he is looking forward to getting back to work, after assault charges against him were dismissed. Picture: Neil Richardson

Ashley Youth Detention Centre worker Shaun Bartlett says he is looking forward to going back to work, after assault charges against him were dismissed.

The youth worker was accused of using excessive force on two detainees at the centre in July last year, following a stand-off between staff and youths the previous night.

He faced a two-day hearing at the Launceston Magistrates Court this week. Magistrate Sharon Cure dismissed the charges on Friday, saying Mr Bartlett’s actions were “reasonable”.

Mr Bartlett, who has been suspended from work since the charges were laid, said he was “happy with the result”.

“I’m looking forward to putting this behind me and going back to work,” he said. “It’s been a bit of a hectic situation but I’m glad the way it’s turned out.”

RELATED: Ashley Youth Detention Centre assault allegations heard in Launceston Magistrates Court

The court heard detainees had smashed windows, damaged property and threatened staff the night before the alleged assaults.

CCTV footage showed Mr Bartlett grabbing one detainee to the upper body, pulling him off a table, and forcing him into his room. The second charge related to him grabbing another youth around the upper body and neck and throwing him into his room.

Ms Cure said people watching the footage alone might conclude the force used to restrain the youths was excessive.

However, she said, in the context of the stand-off the night before and the detainees being in a “heightened state”, potentially with shards of glass in their possession, the force used was “reasonable”.

“As such, the charges must be dismissed,” she said.

Acting Human Services Minister Rene Hidding welcomed the resolution of the matter.

“The safety of all staff and residents at [Ashley] is of utmost priority and must remain at the centre of everything we do,” he said.

“It was important that due process was followed… The department will continue to work with staff to ensure they are aware of their responsibilities under the act and ensure they have the appropriate training and support to fulfill their duties.”