A former Northern Territory youth prison guard who was on duty when some boys were tear gassed at a youth detention centre has told an inquiry he was used as a scapegoat.
Ben Kelleher worked at Darwin's Don Dale facility in 2014 when boys were shackled, spit hooded and tear gassed after one escaped from solitary confinement and began trashing an exercise yard.
The youth had been held in isolation for 17 days straight, for up to 23 hours per day, and had complained of being treated "like a dog", the royal commission was told.
Mr Kelleher described the Don Dale Behavioural Management Unit where the youth was held as a "s***hole" that was used as a punishment.
The ex-guard also said he had warned his superiors youths were being kept in stiflingly hot and oppressive conditions.
The escaped youth, known as AD, had been demanding to know when he would be released from isolation.
Mr Kelleher said there were scenes of "complete chaos" with guards armed with shields, batons, helmets and a police dog all "running around like headless chooks."
When the dog scared AD enough to for him to tell officers he had given up and wanted to speak to Mr Kelleher, an officer - according to CCTV footage - responded with "no, you've had your chance."
Mr Kelleher told the hearing he could have gotten the AD to calm down but the youth and others in the isolation unit were tear gassed shortly after.
He said Don Dale management had unfairly blamed him for the incident and he resigned two months later, claiming he'd received no support or training.
"I never really said anything about how difficult the job was because I didn't want to lose my job," he told the juvenile justice royal commission sitting in Darwin on Tuesday.
Mr Kelleher said guards should be taught how to verbally de-escalate conflict situations.
He has been accused of attempting to cover a CCTV camera and swearing at former Don Dale inmate Dylan Voller while standing over the boy as he cowered on his bed.
Earlier, Mr Kelleher told the hearing about his contact with former Voller, including taking him to kickboxing bouts, offering it as an alternative path to crime.
"The sport also teaches that there is no pride taken in the ability to hurt someone weaker than you," he said.
"Dylan is a boy who had a bad start and I believe he needs strong male role models in his life."
The hearing continues.
Child told to eat faeces and boy filmed urinating
On Monday, former Don Dale Detention Centre Youth justice officer Conan Zamolo said he also urged a child to eat feces and filmed a boy urinating.
But he denied allegations from three separate detainees that he recorded a child masturbating in the shower.
A youth prison inmate also gave evidence, stating guards bribed kids to fight each other for junk food.
All levels of the chain of command, from guards to ex politicians, will face questioning during the inquiry's two-week hearing in Darwin.
Next up is former Don Dale guard Ben Kelleher, who is accused of attempting to cover a camera and swearing at former inmate Dylan Voller while standing over the cowering boy on his bed.
Previous Country Liberals Party government corrections minister John Elferink, who was sacked after footage of boys being tear-gassed was aired on national television, is expected to take the stand.
And former corrections commissioner Ken Middlebrook, who resigned after approving the gassing that sparked the inquiry, will also front the inquiry.
More past and present detainees, police, health experts and Aboriginal elders are also due to testify.