Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Mass detention of persons

From Schurr, Criminal Procedure NSW

[6.1620] Mass detention of persons

Sometimes search warrants are executed on clubs or hotels, where hundreds of people may be present. The requirement for reasonable suspicion applies in those situations. The probability is also that many charges for hindering will be laid and many allegations of false imprisonment made. The NSW Ombudsman in his 1986 report on the execution of a search warrant on "Club 80", a gay nightclub in Oxford Street, Sydney, found that between 150 and 300 people were detained in the club. Police said that patrons remained in the premises to assist police, and the complainants said that they were forcibly detained until they supplied their name and address. The Ombudsman found that this behaviour was "unreasonable" in that it breached the Commissioner's Instructions that police had no power to detain and question prior to arrest. The Ombudsman found that the police suggestion that the patrons voluntarily waited two or three hours to give their names and address, particularly at a time when homosexual activities were still illegal in New South Wales, was ludicrous.

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