Sunday, October 17, 2010

Inexcusable failure to prosecute accomplices of thug Queensland cop

There is plenty of precedent for the prosecution of all cops present at the attacks -- e.g. R v Dytham [1979] Q.B. 722

THE Crime and Misconduct Commission has been urged to re-investigate the Airlie Beach police bashings following the release of disturbing video footage of assaults by jailed former officer Benjamin Price.

The videos show other officers watching and in one case assisting Price during his assaults on handcuffed offenders, but the police service has said there is not enough evidence to charge them.

In a letter sent to the CMC, Queensland Council of Civil Liberties vice-president Terry O'Gorman said there were indications the police handling of the case had been "less than rigorous". "It is submitted there are a number of unaddressed issues in relation to the Airlie Beach matter, which bear an unfortunate similarity to the steps engaged in by various police in relation to the cover-up of the Palm Island affair," the letter reads.

Mr O'Gorman said there were "unsatisfactory aspects" to the Price case that warranted a thorough investigation.

"Why have criminal charges not been laid against the other officers who were present when a fire hose was shoved down the complainant's throat?" Mr O'Gorman said. "Why was Mr Price charged with the lesser offence of assault occasioning bodily harm when on the facts publicly known a charge of torture was clearly open?"

He said other senior criminal lawyers were of the opinion that under the law, the other officers who were present during the assaults could be charged. "Presence in something like that is regarded as encouragement," Mr O'Gorman said. "Secondly, the bloke who hands the police officer the hose is an alleged accomplice. That's criminal law 101."

A CMC spokeswoman said the investigation into officers who observed the assaults was "ongoing". "The CMC will be provided with a report from the QPS Ethical Standards Command. This report will outline the action the ESC is recommending against the officers," she said.

The videos posted by Queensland Police on YouTube have now been viewed by almost 200,000 people and have also been uploaded to other websites in India, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

Mr O'Gorman also criticised the "doctoring" of the footage including the lack of audio, but the CMC spokeswoman said the release of the video was a matter for the QPS.


For more background on the above, see my Queensland cops blog

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