Australia Tas police admits assault charge mistake
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Tasmanian police have dropped an assault charge against a young man jailed for three days after protesting against a dam in the Tarkine rainforest.
Billy Rodwell, 23, was arrested on 28 May after he joined a rally against majority Chinese government-owned company Minerals and Metals Group over its proposed tailings dam in the state's northwest.
In a letter from the police force's principal legal officer to Mr Rodwell's lawyers, Tasmania Police says the young man was wrongfully denied bail and "spent three days in custody when he should not have".
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"Tasmania Police regrets the stress and inconvenience that would have undoubtedly caused Mr Rodwell," Principal Legal Officer Mark Miller wrote.
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"After reviewing the file relating to the charges laid against Mr Rodwell, I have determined that the assault charge and the charge alleging a breach...of the Mineral Resources Development Act 1995 will not be pursued."
The Bob Brown Foundation, which is leading protests against the Tarkine dam issue, said the organisation was "shocked and outraged that Billy was held in jail...on such an ill-founded assault charge".
Mr Rodwell, a Victorian resident, has been unable to leave Tasmania since he was arrested, because of his bail conditions, however they will soon be lifted and Mr Rodwell will be free to return to his home state.
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