Five Refused Entry At Music Festival Weren’t Carrying Drugs

The Greens say now that the police have carried out their threat, they plan to fight the policy in court again.

What you need to know
  • Five people were refused entry to the Above and Beyond music festival under a controversial sniffer dog policy
  • The ticket holders were singled out by sniffer dogs even though no drugs were found on them
  • Last week, a Greens-led bid for an injunction failed to get off the ground in the Supreme Court
  • The Greens say they will again fight the policy in court 'now that police have carried out their threat'

Five people were refused entry to a music festival in Sydney on Saturday night even though no drugs were found on them after being singled out by sniffer dogs.

Ticket holders to the Above and Beyond festival were on notice after NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Peter Thurtell warned police “will exclude any person from the venue that the drug dog indicates has or who has recently had drugs on them, regardless of whether drugs are located”.

The controversial sniffer dog operation comes after a Greens-led bid for an injunction failed to get off the ground in the Supreme Court.

Five people were refused entry at the Sydney music festival despite no drugs being found on them. Source: Ten News

The Sniff-Off campaign, an initiative between Greens NSW MP David Shoebridge and the NSW Young Greens, aimed to stop police undergoing a ‘blanket refusal’ policy.

But the proceeding was labelled “misconceived”, with Justice Pembroke not granting leave to file it in court.

The position has since drawn widespread condemnation.

"It’s good that they're trying but it's just the wrong way of doing it,” one festival goer, Toby Wilson, told Ten News.

“Especially in this crowded environment if someone has a bit of drugs on their fingers and then brushes past you in the crowd, that's your night done."

Police did have some success weeding out bad behaviour, charging two men with supplying prohibited drugs after more than 100 MDMA capsules were seized.

Thirteen people were kicked out for intoxication and four people will be fronting court for drug possession.

The five people who were denied entry even though they weren't carrying drugs had their tickets refunded.

Anti-drug dog campaigner Tom Raue told Ten News more money should be spent on pill testing. Source: Ten News

While police say their hardline stance is about saving lives and cracking down on drugs, others say it's an attack on civil rights and overreach of police powers.

"What we should be doing is investing money into pill testing and other measures that actually save lives,” Anti-drug dog campaigner Tom Raue said.

He argues not only is the drug dog program unfair, it's also ineffective with research showing the dogs get it wrong most of the time.

The Greens say now that the police have carried out their threat, they plan to fight the policy in court again as early as this week.