News June 12, 2018

Report: six people refused entry to Above and Beyond, sniffer dog backlash continues

Martin Heyman
Report: six people refused entry to Above and Beyond, sniffer dog backlash continues

Up to six people were denied entry to Saturday night’s Above & Beyond EDM festival, according to Greens NSW.

They have been banned from the Olympic Park precinct for six months after being tagged by sniffer dogs, despite no drugs being found.

Greens MP and justice spokesperson David Shoebridge said: “This is a serious abuse of police powers and has caused substantial distress to those who were unfairly excluded.

“As well as the more than $100 for the ticket many attendees have also paid for flights and accommodation, meaning the denial of entry has put them substantially out of pocket.

“Members of the public shouldn’t have to pay for the inaccuracy of the drug dog program, and we shouldn’t have to rely on the courts to defend our rights – but we will if we have to.

“The dogs get it wrong more often than not, and that’s a problem the police should be dealing with, instead they’re just doubling down.”

The Greens stated: “It is now official NSW police policy that justice is delivered by dogs. This is a policy that will be challenged in public, in parliament and the courts.

“We have people willing to join in legal action to defend their rights, and video footage of many encounters and this will be closely reviewed by the lawyers this week.”

The Greens had gone to Supreme Court last Friday to put an injunction on the new NSW police policy.

The party claims sniffer dogs get it wrong as high as 75% of the time.

But the judge refused, saying the plaintiffs didn’t have cause to complain about alleged injustices in advance “as it is just a hypothetical”.

However, it does not seem to be hypothetical now.

Additionally, police told News.com.au that one of the six who were banned had been expelled for “bad behaviour” and claimed he did not have a ticket.

But the man told the Greens’ Sniff Off division that he and four friends were arguing with police after being searched, and he had been given the suspension order as a result.

The festival has promised to refund the $130 ticket price to those denied entry.

Meantime, Reclaim the Streets is holding a protest rally outside the Downing Centre Courts in Sydney on July 21 to stop the use of all sniffer dogs.

A spokesperson said: “These dogs are wrong almost 80% of the time. After a humiliating strip search, four out of five of us will be barred entry through no fault of our own.”

“The war on drugs has clearly failed and is in its death throes if the police are getting desperate enough to ban people who don’t even have any drugs”

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