A still from camera phone footage taken of the January 11, 2018 arrest.
A still from camera phone footage taken of the January 11, 2018 arrest.

Police officer accused of assault gets new hearing date

A TEEN who alleges he was assaulted by a police officer in Byron Bay will be allowed to give evidence by video link, a court has heard.

The defence previously told Byron Bay Local Court they planned to oppose an application for the boy to give his evidence from a remote witness room.

But the barrister representing Senior Constable Michial Luke Greenhalgh, 38, has now indicated he won't oppose the alleged victim or five other prosecution witnesses from giving their evidence by video link, from a distant location.

A new hearing date is yet to be set for Sen Const Greenhalgh, who is expected to defend one charge of common assault.

The allegation arose from an alleged January 11, 2018 incident during which a boy, then aged 16, was arrested in Lateen Lane.

When footage of the incident circulated online, police said they were called to the scene after reports of a naked male acting erratically.

The boy's arrest and subsequent detention were the subject of a Law Enforcement Conduct Commission inquiry prior to Sen Const Greenhalgh being formally charged late last year.

Byron Bay Local Court heard on Tuesday the prosecution and defence had agreed a four day hearing would be required.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, a hearing had been scheduled for May.

At that time, a visiting Magistrate was slated to travel from Sydney to preside over the case.

But many matters have been delayed due to the pandemic.

"We've made some enquiries and there will be some assistance offered, but it will be locally rather than flying someone up from Sydney," Magistrate Karen Stafford said.

Ms Stafford said she could not allocate a hearing date immediately, as more enquiries were required.

Solicitor Sally McPherson, acting as agent for lawyer Kenneth Madden, initially confirmed they planned to oppose the alleged victim's appearance by video from a remote witness room.

"Can you remind Mr Madden we're coming out of a pandemic," Ms Stafford said.

"We're urging members of the law society to give real consideration to these applications, not just (say) 'it's a complainant, no'."

After the matter was stood down, the parties resolves six prosecution witnesses, including the alleged victim, could appear by video link rather than being required to travel to Byron Bay for the hearing.

The case will be mentioned before Byron Bay Local Court later this month to confirm the new hearing date.

The hearing may ultimately be held at another courthouse on the Northern Rivers, the court heard.

Sen Const Greenhalgh is yet to face court since being charged.



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