Youth sues NSW govt over police IT

Youth sues NSW govt over police IT

Summary: A 19-year-old man has revealed that he will lead a class action suit against the NSW Government, alleging that the NSW Police Service held him unlawfully due to out-of-date information provided by a computer system.

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A 19-year-old man has revealed that he will lead a class action suit against the NSW Government, alleging that the NSW Police Service held him unlawfully due to out-of-date information provided by a computer system.

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The man at the centre of the class action, Musa Konneh, will be represented in the NSW Supreme Court by law firm Maurice Blackburn and the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).

Konneh alleges that he was imprisoned unlawfully in August 2010 after NSW Police acted on outdated bail information provided by its systems.

Maurice Blackburn managing principal for NSW, Ben Slade, believes that hundreds of others could have faced similar circumstances as a result of the outdated computer system.

"We believe that there are over 200 children and young people who have been falsely imprisoned in NSW because of a long-standing problem with the NSW police computer system," said Slade.

"These young people are being unjustly deprived of their liberty because police are acting on out-of-date information."

Acting principal solicitor of the PIAC, Vavaa Mawuli, pointed a finger squarely at the previous NSW Labor Government, adding that the problem had subsequently carried over following March's Coalition landslide election.

"This problem began under the previous NSW Government. It has led to the unlawful detention of far too many children and young people, with devastating consequences," said Mawuli.

"It is fundamental to our justice system that the police rely on accurate information. But the police computer system has been unreliable for some time, and vulnerable young people are paying the price."

ZDNet Australia sought comment from NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister Michael Gallacher and the NSW Police Service; however, neither had responded at the time of publication.

NSW Police isn't the only law enforcement body with IT problems. Victoria's police database came under fire in April for letting parole violators slip under the system's radar.

A report obtained by the Herald Sun said that if the Law Enforcement Assistance Program (LEAP) database had been functioning properly, the parolees would have been behind bars when instead they were roaming the streets, committing murder.

Victoria Police flagged issues with LEAP's replacement, LINK, saying that it would need to put a business case for the replacement to the Victorian Government as the project was going to cost more than expected.

Konneh is urging any who feel that they have been treated similarly to join the class action.

Topics: Government, Government AU, Legal

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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