Teen claims police heavy-handed

ROBIN RAYMOND
Last updated 11:30 05/11/2012

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A Blenheim teenager has taken a complaint to the Police Complaints Authority, saying he was bitten by a police dog and locked in the cells for a night without being charged.

The teenager, 15, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claims he was bitten by the dog and locked up at the Blenheim station for 11 hours after police accused him of breaching Youth Court bail conditions by going to a party with his mother on August 25 to look for his brother.

A youth advocate says keeping the boy in police cells for a night without any charges was unlawful detention and a breach of his rights.

Senior police could not be contacted in Blenheim last week for comment about the complaint.

Under the boy's bail conditions he was allowed out with his mother, but he claims they were separated in the dark before police turned up and arrested him.

The boy says when he heard the police, he ran and hid at the back of the house and was on the ground when he was bitten on the leg by the police dog.

He was taken with two others to the Blenheim police station about 11pm where he was treated for the bite and locked up, he said.

He was released without charge at 10.30am the next day. His leg later swelled up and he still had the bite marks, he said.

Both the teenager and his mother said he had not been drinking and they were at the party for only about five minutes before police arrived.

His mother said she was at the front of the house when police turned up.

"It was dark, I couldn't see anything. I heard him screaming out for help and the dog just let loose."

Police refused to let her take her son home, she said.

"Before they threw him in the paddy wagon I said he was with with me and they said ‘No he wasn't'. I said ‘Can I come and pick him up in an hour' they said ‘No, you can get him in the morning'.

"Keeping these young people in the cells overnight is not on. If your kids got into trouble, the cops used to ring and say come down in an hour and pick them up."

When she went to pick him up about 7am she was told police were not prepared to release him as they were "having a difference of opinion", she said.

The boy's youth advocate, lawyer Philip Watson said the night in the cells was unlawful detention and a breach of his rights.

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- The Marlborough Express

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