RLC in the Media: Splendour In The Grass attendees in push for compensation over ‘unlawful’ strip searches

Redfern Legal Centre and Slater & Gordon Lawyers have today announced that they’ll be launching a class action investigation into unlawful strip searching by police at Splendour In The Grass in recent years.

Jackson Langford reports for The Music Network.

The investigation will look into the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 iterations of the festival, where representatives for S&G say that hundreds of people were believed to be unlawfully strip searched. It’s also believed that those impacted could be entitled to “substantial compensation”, with serious cases potentially being eligible for remuneration of five figures.

Slater & Gordon senior associate Dr. Ebony Birchall said that an unlawful strip search as “classified by law as an assault and gives rise to compensation”.

The law firm said that some punters searched by police, including some who were underage, were allegedly “directed to lift or remove items of clothing, strip naked and squat and cough, or lift their genitals so officers could visually inspect body cavities”.

Redfern Legal Centre and Slater & Gordon have shared an alleged case of unlawful strip searching by ‘Ruby’, whose name was changed for privacy reasons, and their experience at the festival in 2017.

Ruby, who was 23 at the time, said the officers involved were “condescending” and “unprofessional”, as a female officer told them that she was “positive [they] have drugs on [their] person” when they didn’t, and only had their insulin due to being diabetic.

Ruby said that a male officer peered into the tent when they were being strip searched.

“I felt violated because the male officer stared at me while I was naked.”

Later that day, Ruby was searched once again, after a male officer told her there was no limit on how many times someone could be strip searched in one day. When Ruby asked for the same officer to conduct the search as before, the male officer said that “she’s busy” and continued to conduct the search.

“I shouldn’t have been treated like this, no one should be treated like this,” Ruby said.

Redfern Legal Centre and Slater & Gordon are urging anyone who believes they were unlawfully strip searched at Splendour between 2016 and 2019 to come forward and confidentially register their story to see how they might be impacted by the findings of the investigation.

Read the full article here. (The Music News, 16 November 2021)