The notorious Don Dale youth detention centre will be shut.
The notorious Don Dale youth detention centre will be shut.

NT Police mull new probe into former Don Dale guards

Northern Territory police are considering fresh investigations into former Don Dale guards, who the Royal Commission found may have committed crimes by daring and bribing inmates to fight each other.

A police spokesman said the force was "assessing the need for investigation" into the four guards, whose alleged actions were the subject of an adverse finding.

Former detainees - most of whose names are suppressed - told the commission they were bribed to start fights by guard-turned professional kickboxer Ben Kelleher, admitted steroid user Conan Zamolo and their colleagues Jesse Palu, Jon Walton and Gavin Johns.

All of the guards denied the allegations.

One teen inmate said Mr Kelleher and Mr Zamolo asked him to bash others in exchange for chocolate, while another said he was set upon and told his bashing was done at the request of Mr Kelleher in exchange for chips and soft drink.

A third said Mr Kelleher offered to pay others in chocolates and money if they bashed him.

One of the fights, allegedly instigated by Mr Palu, took place in Don Dale's G-block, which, like the showers where other fights allegedly took place, had no security cameras.

A fourth witness said: "When I was at Don Dale, the guards would sometimes offer one inmate some food or something like that for bashing another inmate."

In a police interview tendered in evidence at the commission, Mr Zamolo said: "I know I took heaps of videos."

"I've never, ever played any part of setting up fights ... I've never played any part of any - I've heard - I heard about it, but I never played any part of any of it," he said.

The commission, which handed down its findings two weeks ago, found Mr Zamolo likely made a recording of a teen masturbating in the shower, a claim which police previously investigated but did not lay charges over after determining there was too little evidence.

Mr Zamolo said in a statement to the commission: "I have heard that certain guards would allow detainees to 'sort out their differences' by fighting in the showers, there were no CCTV cameras."

Despite finding "some youth justice officers" - who were not named - committed offences under the aiding and abetting provisions of the Criminal Code Act, Commissioners Margaret White and Mick Gooda stopped short of formally referring any matters to police.

Among reams of other findings, the commissioners also found NT Police had not properly investigated guards in the past.



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