Can Alice Springs Legally Bring in a Youth Curfew?

Many in the legal world are questioning the legality of the recent youth curfew imposed in Alice Springs, NT. Officials have imposed a two-week curfew last week following serious civil unrest in the town.

What is going on in Alice Springs?

Last week, violent brawls broke out following a funeral in the town. A group attacked a local pub, Todd Tavern, and videos of this incident have trended online. In recent weeks, the town has also witnessed other violent acts. For examples, a few weeks a group of 10 women attacked and stripped a 16 year old girl.

Following the situation after the funeral, Chief Minister Eva Lawler gave officers special powers to enable a curfew under the Emergency Act. The new rule states that those under 18 can’t go into the CBD between 6pm and 6am without a legitimate reason. However, the Northern Territory Police Association’s (NTPA) president, Nathan Finn, questions if the curfew is lawful.

Alice Springs Curfew – Is it legal?

On the other hand, Northern Territory Police Commissioner, Michael Murphy, does not agree with the concerns. He claims that the government used the act correctly. Murphy stated that they can use the act in any event that could result in ‘the loss or damage of property, the loss of life, or injury, or distress to people.’

Murphy stated:

“We saw the senseless attack and violent attack of a 16-year-old girl, who was bashed and stripped. We saw an 18-year-old male die in a stolen motor vehicle, right in the heart of the CBD.”

“So, what we’re doing is using all the government assets, we’ve declared the emergency situation, to make sure there’s a coordinated effort over the next 14 days to remedy the situation.

“If there’s violence occurring or those community concerns have existed, or they can exist into the future, that’s when we can apply the act.”

Lawyers weigh in on Alice Springs curfew

Many lawyers and legal experts believe that people could challenge the curfew in court. Some think that the situation did not warrant the power to declare an emergency situation. Therefore, if an officer arrested or charged someone because they resisted an officer removing them, they might have a claim. Also, civil claims might stem from the curfew for discrimination. This is because officers most likely targeted Aboriginal young people and children.

Civil lawyers for claims against the state and police

No other firm in Australia has filed more successful claims against the police. It is what we do. We believe in justice. So if you have been wrongfully arrested or imprisoned, get in contact with our civil lawyers today.

This year, our lawyers have provided pro bono legal assistance to Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory by way of secondments with the North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA) in Alice Springs.

Call O’Brien Criminal and Civil Solicitors on (02) 9261 4281. Then, we can also set up a free appointment with a criminal lawyer in our Sydney office.

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Nicole Byrne

Content Creator | Media Coordinator
O'Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors

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