Dylan Voller

Dylan Voller is an Aboriginal-Australian man who came to public attention after his detainment in a youth detention center in the Northern Territory was documented on a July 2016 episode of the ABC TV program Four Corners.[1]

Early lifeEdit

As of 2016, Voller had a troubled early life, and had been expelled and or excluded from primary schools in Alice Springs due to assaulting others, including breaking another child's arm in kindergarten. Dylan was in and out of juvenile detention since he was 11 years old, for car theft, robbery and assault.[2] He spent time at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin,[2] Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre[3] and, aged 17, at Alice Springs adult prison. During that time he has been involved in more than 300 prison incidents of, self harm, assault on staff and others (some requiring hospitalisation of victims) since he was jailed for aggravated robbery and endangering a police officer in 2014. Voller has served two of the three sentences given to him over a drug-fuelled crime spree in which he attacked a man and tried to run down a policeman. He spent time in Alice Springs Youth Detention Centre and the behavioral management unit at Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in Darwin. Dylan has a long history of self harm and suicidal actions requiring intervention by staff in juvenile facilities. During that time he was restrained by the neck, was at eleven years physically thrown into his cell, isolated, stripped naked and tear gassed.[2]

Royal CommissionEdit

Footage of Voller shackled to a restraining chair within the adult Alice Springs correctional center was featured on the ABC TV program Four Corners' episode "Australia's Shame" in July 2016.[4] It prompted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to announce a royal commission into the treatment of youth in the child protection and youth detention systems in the Northern Territory.[5] Mistreatment in youth detention had been widely reported prior to the Four Corners report.[6][7][8]

He has publicly apologised for his crimes.[1]

Voller gave limited evidence at the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory in December 2016.[9]

He was released from prison in February 2017[10] and has been advocating for improved conditions for youth in detention.[11]

Footage of Voller was posted on Facebook on a Fairfax media account, derogatory comments were made on the post by others.[12][13] Voller subsequently sued Fairfax media for defamation.[14][13] Social Media Consultant Ryan Shelley testified as an expert witness and illustrated that it was within Fairfax media's power to remove the derogatory comments.[12][15] The Judge ruled that Fairfax media's failure to remove the comments was grounds to hold Fairfax liable for defamation.[13][16]

In September 2021, the Australian High Court ruled that media companies could be held liable for allegedly defamatory material posted to their social media pages.[17] Voller's case returned to the lower court for determination. This area of law is currently being reviewed by the Attorneys-General of the Federal government and each State and Territory.[18] It is possible that legislation will be introduced to overturn the High Court's decision.

Later lifeEdit

In 2019, the 21 year old Voller plead guilty to staging a bomb hoax at the Commonwealth Games marathon in Gold Coast.[19] On 1 February 2020 Voller was sentenced to a 10-month prison sentence due to an incident in which he jumped on railway tracks, exposed his penis and assaulted a transit guard in Western Australia.[20] Voller also had a warrant issued for his arrest by the Deniliquin Local Court in NSW on 19 June 2020 in relation to an armed robbery that occurred in Moama, NSW in May 2019.[21]


  1. ^ a b "Four Corners: Dylan Voller releases letter apologising for crimes, thanking community for support". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ABC News. 27 July 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Dylan Voller: Timeline of teenager's mistreatment in NT youth detention". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ABC News. 27 July 2016. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  3. ^ Doran, Matthew; Anderson, Stephanie (28 July 2016). "Possible human rights breaches to be in NT royal commission's sights". ABC News. Retrieved 25 January 2019.
  4. ^ Meldrum-Hanna, Caro; Fallon, Mary; Worthington, Elise (26 July 2016). "AUSTRALIA'S He had been restrained to prevent assaults on prison officers. SHAME". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Four Corners. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  5. ^ Karp, Paul (26 July 2016). "Malcolm Turnbull announces royal commission into Northern Territory detention". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  6. ^ Wild, Kate (27 July 2016). "The NT has known about mistreatment of juveniles for years. So why has nothing happened?". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ABC News. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  7. ^ Wild, Kate. "Cable ties, restraint chairs to be used on children in custody if new NT laws pass". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ABC News. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  8. ^ Wild, Kate (13 November 2015). "NT prisons 'aren't necessarily pleasant places', Minister says, as human rights lawyer condemns hooding of 17yo detainee". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ABC News. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  9. ^ Vanovac, Neda (12 December 2016). "Dylan Voller gives evidence before NT royal commission, says he felt like he was 'going to die'". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ABC News. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  10. ^ Bardon, Jane (2 February 2017). "Dylan Voller, former Don Dale youth detainee, granted early release from prison". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ABC News. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  11. ^ Aikman, Amos (13 March 2017). "Dylan Voller leads protest at juvenile justice royal commission". The Australian. Retrieved 7 July 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Dylan Voller has court win over media giants". www.abc.net.au. 24 June 2019. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  13. ^ a b c "Media giants lose key appeal in Dylan Voller defamation case". www.abc.net.au. 1 June 2020. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  14. ^ Schofield, Samantha (11 July 2019). "Voller defamation case highlights law's struggle to keep pace in digital age, says ANU Law expert". ANU College of Law. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  15. ^ "Ryan Shelley | Expert witness in Social Media defamation court case". pepperit. Retrieved 11 May 2021.
  16. ^ Ricardo Goncalves. Former Northern Territory Youth Detainee Dylan Voller Has Won the First Round of His Defamation Case after a Judge Ruled Media Companies Are Liable for Postings Made on Their Facebook Pages. N.p., 2019. Film.
  17. ^ Karp, Paul (8 September 2021). "High court rules Australian media companies can be liable for defamatory comments posted on Facebook pages". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. ABC News. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  18. ^ "Review of Model Defamation Provisions". www.justice.nsw.gov.au/. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  19. ^ "Dylan Voller pleads guilty to making Commonwealth Games marathon bomb hoax - ABC News". www.abc.net.au. 22 May 2019. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
  20. ^ https://thewest.com.au/news/court-justice/wa-magistrate-tells-dylan-voller-to-stop-blaming-others-for-offending-after-sentencing-him-to-10-months-in-prison-for-rail-station-offences-ng-b881447906z[bare URL]
  21. ^ https://www.riverineherald.com.au/news/2020/06/19/1240919/dylan-voller-still-wanted-over-moama-armed-robbery