You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Voller makes bid for freedom through rehab

AAP logoAAP 20/12/2016 Lucy Hughes Jones

The Aboriginal teen inmate at the centre of the Northern Territory's royal commission into juvenile justice has made a bid for freedom through a sentence reconsideration application.

The inquiry was sparked when footage of Dylan Voller being tear-gassed, spit-hooded and shackled in the youth prison system was aired on national television earlier this year.

The 19-year-old was jailed in 2014 for a violent ice-fuelled crime spree and isn't due for release until October next year but on Tuesday Voller's defence team made the case for him to be released into the Alice Springs-based Bush Mob rehabilitation program under "strict supervision."

Defence barrister David Dalton SC told the NT Supreme Court Voller had endured "onerous conditions" in custody and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Voller came out of an adult jail last week to give evidence at the royal commission, painting a disturbing picture of mental and physical torment while locked up.

Voller claimed he was starved, regularly strip-searched and forced to defecate in a pillowcase after being denied access to toilets.

"These incidents have been terribly traumatic," Mr Dalton said.

Voller is serving a sentence of three years and eight months for bashing and robbing two men and attempting to run over a police officer in Alice Springs.

The former Don Dale Detention Centre detainee was eligible for parole in October 2015 but his past applications have been repeatedly rejected.

Mr Dalton said there's no way Voller's high risk classification in the prison's behaviour management system will be downgraded to allow for parole.

The matter is likely to be stood over until late January next year, and Voller's defence team also intends to apply for bail in the interim.

Voller could begin a four-month stint at the residential treatment facility and then serve out the remainder of his sentence in the community living with his family, Mr Dalton said.

"If your honour would grant bail he can start that program immediately," he said.

Mr Dalton said Voller has made strong rehabilitative progress in jail despite a lack of therapeutic support services.

He raised concerns about Voller being released into the community at the end of his maximum term without any period of supervision.

Bush Mob provides 24-hour care and requires at risk young people aged 12 to 25 to undertake drug and alcohol assessments along with counselling, education and training.

Justice Peter Barr said he'll consider security conditions at Bush Mob and whether corrections staff would need to be involved.

"I need to know about the stringency of the supervision in the interests of the community," he said.

Justice Barr warned that if he varies the sentence it might render the parole board's function obsolete.

"It may result in the parole board coming to an end," he said.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon