• Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner says there has been a clear failure of the system. (AAP/Lucy Hughes Jones)Source: AAP/Lucy Hughes Jones
Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner fronted the royal commission today and questioned its ability to make detailed findings, with the same level of scrutiny as a court would.

23 Mar 2017 - 5:01 PM  UPDATED 23 Mar 2017 - 5:04 PM

The Northern Territory's chief minister admits he wasn't aware a boy was hospitalised after Don Dale Detention Centre guards violently wrestled him to the ground last December.

CCTV camera footage taken three months ago was tendered to the juvenile justice royal commission on Thursday, showing an inmate being tackled and stripped by two guards as three other officers watched.

Michael Gunner said he was never briefed as the matter wasn't pursued after the teen's lawyers, the Children's Commissioner and the department responsible for youth corrections examined the footage.

"The complaint was dropped," he said. "There's always going to be moments of tension at youth justice facilities ... that's why you want to have independent scrutiny.

'He grabbed me by the throat and choked me up against the wall,' NT royal commission hears
A young offender has told the NT juvenile justice royal commission in Alice Springs today he was choked, intimidated and assaulted by youth prison guards who regularly took their anger out on kids.
Response to Don Dale failings inadequate, NT royal commission hears.
The man who wrote a scathing report into the Northern Territory's corrections system earlier this year, has told the royal commission past failings are set to be repeated, as official response to criticism and recommendations has been disappointing.

While Mr Gunner said the commission must make broad recommendations, he questioned its ability to make detailed findings about what happened behind bars.

Lawyers for the government have vented frustration that the inquiry is preventing them from cross-examining controversial abuse claims from current and former inmates.

"There have been some very broad accusations made," Mr Gunner said.

"Our concerns would be if they try to make court level findings when they haven't gone through the same scrutiny or evidence testing as they would in a court."

Don Dale was 'spiralling out of control'
The Northern Territory juvenile justice royal commission has heard Don Dale Staff were untrained to deal with emergency situations.
NT guard describes 'complete chaos', and inmate treated 'like a dog'
More guards have been grilled by the Northern Territory juvenile justice royal commission, after a former youth justice officer yesterday admitted to jokingly asking detainees to perform oral sex on him.

The youth, identified as BH, said he was pacing around an internal courtyard, upset and crying, when two guards approached him in December 2016. CCTV footage shows the boy then try to push one officer away, before they both grab the youngster.

"The next thing I remember, I was being forced down onto the concrete floor. I blacked out," BH said.

"When I came to, the guards were on my back holding me down, pushing my face into the concrete.

"I wasn't resisting and they kept pushing me back down. I was swearing because I was in a big mob of pain."

Vomiting and with blurred vision, BH was taken to hospital in an ambulance. He was taken back to Don Dale later that night where he was put into a high security unit cell with no fan, a blocked toilet and little ventilation, he

"I remember sweating all night and not being able to sleep," BH said.

"I got really thirsty and had a headache. I didn't bother asking for more water as I knew it was a lockdown and they wouldn't open the hatch."

It was the same day former inmate Dylan Voller, who was tear-gassed, shackled and put in a spit-hood in August 2014, was giving evidence to the commission in Darwin.

Voller leads protest outside NT royal commission into juvenile justice
The former NT teen inmate whose treatment behind bars sparked a royal commission says he wants to support other young offenders telling their story.
Commission 'disturbed' by Voller leak
Royal commission 'disturbed' by leak intended to damage Dylan Voller.
Dylan Voller to front NT detention inquiry
The teenager whose treatment at the Darwin's Don Dale Youth Detention Centre sparked the NT child detention royal commission is due to give evidence on Monday.


One month after the gassing, the head of the professional standards unit David Ferguson published a scathing report into operational failures at Don Dale. Appearing before the inquiry, Mr Ferguson said most of the recent assaults and escapes were "entirely preventable".

"It should be obvious to anyone that if you treat youths like animals by not communicating, threatening, belittling them, withholding food and other entitlements, they will react in an aggressive way," Mr Ferguson wrote. 

The report detailed inmate overcrowding and increased lockdowns, along with dismal training, staff shortages, drug dealing and a culture of bullying. It referred to a "boys club" mentality among certain guards involved in martial arts fighting who flouted rules with impunity, teasing detainees and assuming the "enforcer role".

Young Aboriginal girl hospitalised for weeks after Don Dale ‘incident’
EXCLUSIVE: A Northern Territory family says the system has failed in its duty of care after their child was hospitalised and held for more than three weeks following an incident in Darwin's Don Dale Youth Detention Centre.
Former Don Dale detainee claims he received 'death threats'
Northern Territory police are investigating alleged death threats against a former Don Dale youth detainee, who is due to give evidence at the Royal Commission when it resumes in March.
Kids in Don Dale feel like "caged animals", says National Children's Commissioner
Megan Mitchell has told the NT Royal Commission she is concerned about several things she saw and heard when she visited Don Dale earlier this year.