nswccl condemns introduction of capsicum spray for court security

Tuesday, 18 February 2003 NSWCCL media release: 1/2003


NSW Council for Civil Liberties President, Mr Cameron Murphy, said that the plan announced today by Premier Carr was unnecessary and foolish as many of the dangers of capsicum spray are just becoming apparent. 

Mr Murphy said -- 

"Allowing sheriffs to use dangerous capsicum spray in courts is unnecessary and foolish. We still do not know the full extent of the health dangers posed by these sprays." 

“Just today, we have seen the use of capsicum spray in a confined environment in Chicago lead to the tragic deaths of many innocent bystanders. I just hope that similar tragedies won’t occur here.” 

“The government should not be extending the use of these sprays in any way until a comprehensive study of their effects is completed.” 

“The more people who have capsicum spray the greater the chance there is of innocent people being harmed when it is used.” 

Mr Murphy also criticised the granting of exemptions for sheriffs by Police Minister Michael Costa: - 

“By granting this exemption for sheriffs, the Police Minister has broken an important commitment that only police would be allowed to carry capsicum spray.” 

“We were promised that only police would be allowed to have this dangerous capsicum spray. Now this promise has been broken and sheriffs will also be allowed to use it – who knows how many others are next.” 

For further information contact: 

Cameron Murphy -- NSWCCL, President on 0411-769-769