NT detention centre likened to Guantanamo Bay after footage shows boys gassed, stripped and shackled

Footage showing a teenage boy hooded and strapped to a chair half naked in a juvenile detention centre in the Northern Territory has been described by shocked viewers as “Guantanamo Bay” style treatment.

The video was uncovered by a Four Corners investigation at the Don Dale Detention Centre showing 17-year-old Dylan Voller being restrained in 2014.

With a spit hood over his head, the boy has his ankles, wrists and neck shackled after he threatened to hurt himself.

Dylan Voller was strapped to a restraint chair, shackled and hooded. Photo: ABC
Four guards restrain the teenager at the Don Dale Detention Centre. Photo: ABC

Voller had allegedly chewed his mattress and thrown toilet paper around his room and, as a result, was left sitting in the chair for two hours.

The video is one of several that have been released by the ABC showing evidence of abuse and violence towards children inside the detention centre.


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has since announced a Royal Commission will be held into juvenile detention.

The prime minister said on ABC radio this morning that he was "deeply shocked" by the footage.

“This needs a thorough enquiry, and we need to move quickly on that," he told ABC AM.

"We need to expose what occurred and expose the culture that allowed it occur and remain unrevealed for so low."

Mr Turnbull said he had met with the Northern Territory chief minister Adam Giles, and federal Attorney-General George Brandis, and decided a royal commission was necessary.

The Four Corners investigation revealed horrific footage of abuse and aggression towards the teenagers. Photo: ABC

Mr Giles said he was "shocked" and "disgusted" by the Four Corners.

Earlier, AAP reported he had also asked the Commissioner of NT Police to consider whether or not the incidents highlighted by Four Corners were in accordance with the powers afforded to custodial officers.

Last night the Four Corners investigation prompted President of the Australian Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs to begin the call for an inquiry into juvenile detention centres.

"We need a proper inquiry," Professor Triggs said. "If one of us were to have been found to have treated our children in this way we would probably be charged with a criminal offence and the children taken away from us.

"I certainly think we need some kind of government-based independent commission, whether it's a full Royal Commission or not I don't know.”

"They're being shackled to chairs a la Guantanamo Bay," barrister John Lawrence said of the footage, speaking to ABC.

"This is actually happening in Australia in 2016."

Another video taken last year in Darwin’s adult prison shows the same inmate being forcefully stripped naked while in isolation.

Three guards were filmed rushing into the room and removing Voller’s singlet, shorts and shoes, leaving him to sit on the floor with his arms wrapped around his knees.

The teenager’s lawyer said his client is a victim of repeated assaults and aggression.

A third video taken in 2014 shows six boys being tear-gassed after one teen escaped from his cell in the prison’s isolation wing.

A still taken from the 2014 video of six teens being gassed in the centre's isolation wing. Photo: ABC
The boys were taken outside and hosed off after being gassed. Photo: ABC

A guard had left the door unlocked, and after the youth began to throw various objects at the wall, officers unloaded round after round of tear gas into the wing.

The five boys still in their cells, some calmly playing cards, were left crying and gasping for air before being dragged outside and hosed down.

One boy was left in his cell for eight minutes, according to the ABC.