Investigators from Redfern Legal Centre and Slater and Gordon Lawyers are looking into unlawful Police searches at the Splendour in the Grass music festival.
As part of a class action investigation, the lawyers have suggested that any and all patrons who were unlawfully searched by NSW Police could be entitled to substantial compensation. And by substantial compensation, they’re talking in the realm of tens of thousands of dollars each.
The investigation isn’t centred on one rogue officer or a particularly bad year at Splendour. Rather, according to a media release, hundreds of people are believed to have been unlawfully searched at the Byron Bay music festival between 2016 and 2019.
Slater and Gordon are urging people who were searched by police at Splendour to get in touch. Specifically, they encourage anyone who was “asked to lift or remove clothing during a search, or who had police peer into their trousers or look under their tops,” to register at slatergordon.com.au/splendour to find out how this potential case might affect them. Registration is free and all information shared will be kept confidential.
Senior associate at Slater and Gordon, Dr Ebony Birchall, explained why unlawful Police searches are such a serious matter. “An unlawful police search is classified by law as an assault and gives rise to compensation,” said Dr Birchall.
“This ground-breaking class action will seek redress for the many people subjected to invasive and traumatic searches,” said Redfern Legal Centre’s principal solicitor, Alexis Goodstone. “We also hope this test case will pave the way for a series of cases focusing on other locations or music festivals, and importantly, help stop unlawful police searches in NSW.”
The media release alleges that some Splendour punters were asked to “lift or remove items of clothing, strip naked and squat and cough, or lift their genitals so officers could visually inspect body cavities,” including people under the age of 18.