Adam Giles Admits He Knew Of Gassing, Restraint Chairs, Spit Hoods

And he "thinks" restraint chairs are still in use in adult prisons.

28/07/2016 8:22 PM AEST | Updated 28/07/2016 10:12 PM AEST
ABC Four Corners

Northern Territory Chief Minister Adam Giles has admitted that he knew of the use of spit hoods and restraint chairs in juvenile detention -- as well as the gassing of six children at the Don Dale Detention Centre -- before Four Corners' explosive revelations on Monday night.

Giles had earlier expressed his "horror" following the Four Corners report.

"I sat and watched that footage and recognised horror through my eyes," he said on Tuesday.

However, speaking to Sky News on Thursday evening, the Chief Minister acknowledged he had read a report into the gassing incident last September, which detailed the use of spit hoods and restraint chairs, the lack of drinking water, the long periods of solitary confinement and a lack of training for guards on when to use force.

"It came into Cabinet and we had a discussion about it," he told David Speers on Sky News.

"One of the things we did almost immediately was close the old Don Dale facility."

He told Speers that his "horror" on Monday night was from seeing excessive force used on the children in detention.

"When staff were striking children, when they had their hands around their throat, when they were throwing kids around, jumping on their backs -- I hadn't seen any of that footage and to me it alarmed me because I don't support hitting children."

He also acknowledged that seeing Dylan Voller strapped to a restraint chair and left alone for two hours was "a very distressing thing to watch" and, "on reflection", had decided that restraint chairs were not the right approach -- despite his Government legalising them for use on children as young as 10 years old just two months earlier.

On Tuesday, Giles had announced that 'spit hoods' and restraint chairs were henceforth banned in juvenile detention centres. However, on Thursday night he was unable to say whether or not they were still being used in adult prisons -- where the now 19-year-old Dylan Voller is currently being held.

"I'm not going to say yes or no on that until I take advice," he told David Speers.

He also acknowledged full responsibility for the incident, while at the same time blaming the Corrections Commissioner for misleading his Cabinet over the gassing incident at Don Dale.

"As Chief Minister you take ultimate responsibility, whether something has happened in the last week, happened in the last year, or the last ten years."

The Chief Minister has also defended NT Attorney-General John Elferink's legacy as Corrections Minister, despite stripping him of the portfolio following the Four Corners investigation.

"No one has fought harder for kids in detention," Giles told Sky News.

However, he also confirmed that Elferink would not be consulted on the Royal Commission into the abuse, the terms of which were detailed by Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday.

"I've taken over responsibility for that and I'm having direct negotiations with Nigel Scullion and Malcolm Turnbull," he told Sky News.

On Thursday, Giles downplayed calls for his resignation as Chief Minister from former leaders of his party, saying he'd "like to think that the system is a whole lot better now than it was in the past."

This comes as former Country Liberal party heavyweights lambasted the Chief Minister for "blaming other people" for the abuse of children under his watch, with former Country Liberal party Chief Minister Ian Tuxworth calling Giles' conduct "plain sheer arrogance".

"I wanted to ask [the Administrator of the Northern Territory] to withdraw the commission of the Giles government -- I felt that strongly about it," he is reported to have said

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