• Don Dale youth detention centre (AAP)Source: AAP
A class action against the Northern Territory Government could see hundreds of former inmates seeking compensation over alleged abuse in youth detention centre.
Source:
AAP
11 Jan 2017 - 10:24 AM  UPDATED 11 Jan 2017 - 10:29 AM

The Northern Territory government could be facing hundreds of compensation claims over alleged abuse in youth detention centres after a class action was launched by former Don Dale detainees.

Legal firm Maurice Blackburn is encouraging all former inmates who were assaulted by guards or subjected to unreasonable periods of isolation or restraint over the past decade to join.

The lawsuit is being led by Aaron Hyde, 20, and Dylan Jenkings, 18, who claims he was tear gassed in custody as recently as last April.

Royal Commission hears tales of alleged abuse

A teenager who was tear-gassed, spit hooded and shackled to a restraint chair in the Northern Territory's youth prison system says he was regularly "punished" by not being given access to food, water and toilets.

Dylan Voller, whose treatment sparked the NT's royal commission into juvenile justice, came out of adult jail to give evidence on Monday.

The 19-year-old said he was forced to defecate in his pillow slip after an Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre officer refused to take him to the toilet.

"I had been asking for at least four or five hours ... I was busting," he told the NT Supreme Court.

Voller described the regular practice of strip searching boys as young as 11 or 12, without explaination, he said.

"Only when I got older I realised why it was happening but the first year of me going in and out, I didn't really know what it was for, why," he said.

"They would come in, tell you to strip all your clothes off, take all your clothes off, then they wouldn't let you cover your private parts, they'd tell you you have to put your arms up in the air, turn your arms up and down, show under your armpits, like pull your ears back, put your finger in your mouth and run your finger around your gums and poke your tongue out. 

"Then run your fingers through your hair and then turn around, lift one foot up, lift the other foot up, then squat and cough."

He recalled one night when he was left "with no clothes, no mattress, no sheets, no nothing, for the period of the whole night" in a cell with the air conditioning turned up.

"I was freezing all night," Voller said.

"I was pressing the button, actually crying asking for a blanket, asking for a sheet. I was that cold, my skin was going all wrinkly and shivering.

"I remember one more clearly where they left me with just the mattress, nothing else. No clothes, no jocks.

"I ended up trying to wrap myself up in the foam mattress, because it was a foam mattress, I was trying to wrap myself up with the mattress."

Voller told the commission it was not uncommon for him to be deprived of food and water as a punishment.