Lawyer wants change after teen spends six days in cell

Drive 14/03/2018

A teenager spent six nights locked in a police cell and now his lawyer wants a law change so it doesn’t happen again.

Barrister John Sandston joins Ryan Bridge and Lisa Owen on Drive.

The 15-year-old boy had been picked up for alleged burglary. The court initially denied him bail, but as there was no room at Oranga Tamariki, a youth residence, he was instead put into a cell at a police station.

The teenager had been seeing psychiatrist and, like a lot of the people that end up in the youth court, he has major mental health issues.

Mr Sandston says that the teenager is getting good support now.

When asked if this could be a good wake up call for the teenager, Mr Sandston said that he’s spent time in a police station before as well as a residence sentence at Te Puna Wai, a youth justice facility in Christchurch.

“It’s not a wakeup call; all it’s going to do is probably make his mental health worse and more likely to offend."

Mr Sandston isn’t asking for an all-out ban, but wants a limitation put on the amount of time youths can spend in custody.

Listen to the full interview with John Sandston above.

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