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Don Dale ‘survivor’ fighting charges of drug possession, common assault on mental health basis

Troubled high-profile Don Dale youth detention centre detainee Dylan Voller will fight charges of drug possession and common assault on mental health grounds.

The 25-year-old was due to face Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday where he was set to be sentenced for drug possession.

He pleaded guilty to the charge of drug possession in May but failed to turn up to court on Wednesday, where his lawyer Jane Sanders told the court Mr Voller will be fighting the charge on a mental health basis.

Ms Sanders told the court the former detainee will also fight the domestic violence common assault charge on the same basis, with Mr Voller due to undergo a psych assessment in the coming weeks.

Magistrate Lisa Stapleton set the mental health application down for October 19.

DOWNING CENTRE
Camera IconDylan Voller did not appear at Downing Centre Local Court where he was due for sentence. NCA NewsWire Credit: News Corp Australia

The 25-year-old will also seek to have an AVO revoked on the same date.

According to court documents, Mr Voller was caught with marijuana during a meeting in his lawyer’s office.

He came to the attention of police after he began to act aggressively at the O’Brien solicitors office in Sydney’s CBD.

Court documents reveal he had been holding scissors when he confronted police who were called to the office, as the door to the elevator they arrived in opened up.

Social Pics Leighton Strawbridge and Dylan Voller enjoy the rugby grandfinal
Camera IconIn 2012, Dylan Voller was photographed on the grass at a rugby grand final in Alice Springs. Charlie Lowson Credit: News Limited

Police said Voller held the scissors to his throat and repeatedly told officers to pull out their guns.

“Shoot me,” he said.

“Shoot me or I’ll run at youse.”

Court documents state police pulled out a taser, but did not need to use it after officers successfully calmed Voller down.

“I’ve got one stick of marijuana,” he later told officers, who charged Voller with one count of possess prohibited drug.

The stick weighed 0.83 grams and Voller pleaded guilty in May.

Dylan Voller pictured at Don Dale detention centre when he was a teenager. Four Corners/ABC
Camera IconDylan Voller pictured at Don Dale detention centre when he was a teenager. Four Corners/ABC Credit: News Corp Australia

In April he was charged with assaulting a woman, with the court previously hearing Mr Voller was struggling with mental ill health at the time.

Voller attracted national media attention in 2016 after footage of him being restrained at the Don Dale centre in the NT aired on the ABC and triggered a Royal Commission into the abuse of children in detention.

In an opinion piece published by SBS in November 2021, Voller said he did not “want to just be known as the boy in a restraint chair”.

“I want to be known as a young man, a survivor, that broke out of a system like that and continues to fight,” he said.

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