Gladys Berejiklian’s announcement of measures to prevent drug deaths at festivals has been furiously interrupted by an independent reporter.
An independent reporter has sensationally hijacked a media conference by Gladys Berejiklian on drug deaths at music festivals by accusing her of condoning child abuse.
The NSW Premier was announcing the Government’s response to a coronial inquest into six fatal overdoses at music events in the state when a man identifying himself as Julian Evans from an outlet called Focus News Channel began berating her.
Ms Berejiklian had just concluded her opening remarks and was throwing to the first of four other speakers when the man peppered her with fiery questions about police strip-searching minors at public events.
Evans accused the Government and NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller of condoning “child abuse” by not banning the controversial practice.
“When will you end the strip-searching of children by your NSW police force?” he said.
Evans then sensationally accused Commissioner Fuller of “protecting paedophile police officers”.
A flustered Ms Berejiklian attempted to brush off the interruption, explaining questions would be taken after other ministers and authorities had spoken, but Evans continued.
EVANS: Do you support – Premier, do you support the Commissioner who says that policing requires a little bit of fear. There are child protection groups today, Premier, that say the stripsearching of minors is child abuse. Do you condemn the Commissioner and what do you say to people who say the Commissioner is protecting paedophile police officers within the New South Wales Police force? When will you stop the stripsearching of children by New South Wales Police, Premier?
PREMIER: Look, thank you for your question. I don't know who you are. What normally happens in these events is I ask my …
EVANS: I’m not here to be educated by you, Premier. I’m here to ask questions. I would like you to answer the question, the abuse of children within New South Wales and the stripsearching of children, including 300 schoolboys, over the last 12 months. When will you end the stripsearching of children by your New South Wales Police force, Premier?
PREMIER: Thank you, I will answer that question after I’ve asked my colleagues to comment on the press conference, thank you.
When Commissioner Fuller eventually addressed the press pack, he confirmed that a review into more than 300 instances of underage people being stripsearched was under way.
“I welcome that debate and we’re certainly not hiding from that,” he said.
“I’m personally overseeing a review into stripsearches of young people. I need to make sure young people … and the safeguards there for them are being used by police.”
There were strict guidelines to be followed but Commissioner Fuller said there was “evidence that hadn’t happened”.
“I couldn’t take it more seriously.”