‘Torture’ used on protester

Protesters watch as protester Gareth Devenish of Mullumbimby lies locked under a truck at Doubtful Creek.
Protesters watch as protester Gareth Devenish of Mullumbimby lies locked under a truck at Doubtful Creek.

"TORTURE" is how a civil liberties solicitor has labelled the use of "pain compliance" techniques by police on a protester at Metgasco's Doubtful Creek drill site.

NSW Council of Civil Liberties secretary Stephen Blanks said he had seen photos of Gareth Devenish protesting and believed police used unnecessary force.

"It is completely inappropriate for police to use weapons like that on people who are locked on to vehicles and using what the police call applying pain compliance techniques to someone's feet is just torture," he said.

"There is no justification for using capsicum spray or pain compliance techniques on someone who isn't being violent and can't go anywhere."

A two-day internal investigation was conducted within the Richmond Local Area Command and this found no officer had a case to answer over the incident.

But Mr Blanks said the NSW Ombudsman should investigate whether the actions of police on the day and the subsequent two-day investigation on the use of capsicum spray by the Richmond LAC were correctly handled.

"It is very unsatisfactory that it was done from within the same command in a situation like this when it is a police-initiated investigation," he said.

"The public has to have confidence in the outcome of the investigation... it should have taken more than two days.

"The most important thing is for the public to have confidence that the police are doing their job properly and if a police officer is not doing their job properly they should be held accountable."

Police media confirmed late yesterday Mr Devenish would not be charged with assaulting officers as police previously said.

A police media spokesman said a court attendance notice had been prepared by Richmond Local Area Command and would be issued to Mr Devenish of Mullumbimby.

The spokesman said Mr Devenish would be served with a notice to attend Casino Local Court to answer charges of resisting or hindering police in the execution of their duty and obstructing the path of vehicles and other pedestrians.

He said he would not comment on the charges Mr Devenish would face.

Topics:  coal seam gas metgasco police protest torture

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