Thursday, December 29, 2011

Victorian police involved in deadly car chase admit speeding at almost 180km/h

POLICE involved in the deadly car chase of a teenager have been forced to admit they were speeding at almost 180km/h through suburban streets. Their admission came after hi-tech data proved their original statements were false.

In a Victorian first, investigators and international experts took GPS data from the officers' vehicle to prove they were going much faster than they told several inquiries - including an internal ESD inquiry, an OPI probe and a coronial hearing. Two officers could now be referred to the DPP, with the crash killing the young driver and leaving an innocent driver maimed.

Only after being presented with GPS evidence in the Coroner's Court case did the officers admit statements regarding the chase were wrong.

There are now calls for high-speed chases to be reviewed following the death of 19-year-old father of one Shane Bennett.

Mr Bennett's family said while he "absolutely" should have pulled over, he paid the "highest penalty for his stupid decision" and the "dangerous chase" contributed to his death in 2008.

The two officers leading the chase, Senior Constables Cameron Orr and Michael Bednarczyk, are awaiting Coroner Peter White's findings.

The Herald Sun can reveal Sen-Constable Orr was not licensed by Victoria Police to drive more than 150km/h, but admitted in court to reaching 177km/h before Mr Bennett crashed.

The chase began after a police car sighted Mr Bennett's unregistered car, sporting cardboard licence plates, in Frankston, the court heard. He was not wanted for any other reason.

The chase wove through the back streets of Seaford, with Mr Bennett running at least two red lights at more than 100km/h.

The officers were ordered to cease the chase about 15 seconds before Mr Bennett went through another red light - this time crashing into Diane McCready, leaving her with critical injuries. Mr Bennett died in hospital after suffering head and internal injuries.

Ms McCready and Mr Bennett's mother have called for a review of police chase protocols.

The officers originally said they pulled over after hearing command calls for them to stop, the court heard. But after being shown GPS data, they later admitted in court they were still "moving" 15 seconds after the abandon-chase call.

A witness originally complained to the OPI, claiming police were still chasing Mr Bennett when he hit Ms McCready, but that claim was not proved.

Under questioning from counsel assisting the coroner, Tony Burns, the officers denied they ignored important safety measures.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Qld. police politics ruin murder investigation

This looks very much like a coverup of police links with criminals

THE investigation of a brutal double murder on the Gold Coast was compromised by internal police politics, a former detective who worked the case claims.

A jury took just three hours in September to acquit two men of the 1999 murders in Springbrook of Ann-Maree Kropp and Christopher Nancarrow after a month-long trial - the culmination of 12 years of police work and two separate investigations - leaving the victims' families in despair.

Paddy Fenely, a former Gold Coast CIB detective sergeant, said he and a colleague were just weeks away from making arrests in January 2007 when they were "raided" by officers from homicide, who ordered them to drop the case and have no further contact with the victims' families.

Two men were arrested nine months later, leading to their trial and acquittal this year. "As far as I'm concerned they've just blown it," Mr Fenely told The Courier-Mail.

DNA alleged to be from the suspects was found at the scene, but no motive was established.

However, Mr Fenely said promising lines of inquiry suggesting the murdered couple had been recruited by a drug ring linked to Nomads bikies planning to supply methamphetamine to truck drivers in Murwillumbah appeared not to have been pursued by the officers who took over the case. "I had four people independently tell me the same story," Mr Fenely said. "We were never given the chance to look at that."

Mr Fenely said that, on January 23, 2007, a group of homicide officers "raided our office, with a direction that the investigation had been determined to be a cold case and files were to be handed over to homicide and we were to have no further involvement".

Mr Fenely claims there had been no grounds to declare a cold case and the move was driven by a push to use a controversial strategy in which police directly befriend criminals and get them to admit to former crimes. This is instead of the traditional method of using informants to introduce undercover police to existing criminal networks.

"I said 'righto, we'll go along with your system'," Mr Fenely said. "[But] I was against it. "Their system wasn't working after about six months, it got nowhere, so we said 'righto, let's wrap it up, we know who our two suspects are, work towards going and locking them up'.

"We argued that 'you've had your time, the families need closure, we know who the suspects are, we've identified them', and they wanted to continue to run, which they still did - continue their covert strategies - after we got the boot.

"I said 'these families have waited long enough and they don't need to wait any longer' and they said 'well they've waited this long and they can wait longer again'."

One of the officers who took over the case, Detective Sergeant David Nicoll, told the Brisbane Magistrates Court in 2008 that Gold Coast CIB had been removed from the investigation because of concerns they may have failed to fully probe the possible involvement of a former colleague who lived next door to the murdered couple.

The man, an ex-Gold Coast CIB detective, pleaded guilty to corruption charges and was jailed less than a month after the Springbrook murders.

Calls made on the day the couple are thought to have been killed from the former officer's house to the home and business of one of the men accused of the murders have never been explained.

One highly placed police source said homicide had taken over the investigation because of "sensitive issues that remain within the service". "There was a whole range of reasons, (the corrupt officer) was one of them," the source said.

The parents of Ann-Maree Kropp wrote to Commissioner Bob Atkinson in 2007 demanding to know why the Gold Coast officers had been removed. Then-Deputy Commissioner Dick Conder replied simply: "Members of the Homicide Investigation Unit have carriage of this investigation following previous extensive inquiries conducted by (the Gold Coast detectives)."

Changes to Queensland's double-jeopardy rules in 2007 mean people acquitted of murder can be retried if "fresh and compelling" evidence emerges.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

A case that should worry all Queenslanders

THE tacky, disturbing and totally unnecessary case of Bruce Rowe versus misplaced authority came to an end in the District Court on Monday. Well, it could have, although Constable Benjamin Arndt, who was found guilty of assaulting Rowe in 2006 in Brisbane's Queen Street Mall, could appeal to the Supreme Court or, conceivably, beyond.

The immovable Rowe, who turned 71 on Sunday, was a comparative stripling of 65 when he crossed paths with Arndt and a bunch of other police about 9 o'clock on the night of July 9, five-and-a-half years ago.

In an incident that was widely seen on TV (and is still out there on YouTube), Rowe was arrested, charged and convicted of obstructing police and failing to obey a police order after a disagreement that began in the public toilets and ended with him being held down by four officers and kneed by another.

It dragged through the Magistrates Court, the District Court and the Court of Appeal. The first court convicted Rowe, the second confirmed the conviction but the third overturned it.

The rematch came in the Magistrates Court in February when Rowe launched a private prosecution resulting in Arndt being found guilty of assaulting Rowe, fined $1000 and ordered to pay him $2250 court costs, although no conviction was recorded.

The established forces of investigation or law and order were conspicuous by their absence.

Then Arndt disputed the magistrate's findings but this week Judge Brian Devereaux tossed out the appeal. Watch this space.

The appeal largely revolved around claims that magistrate Linda Bradford-Morgan had relied on information extraneous to the case.

Arndt argued that the wrongful consideration of extraneous materials constituted a substantial miscarriage of the Magistrates Court trial, justice was not seen to be done and the trial was not conducted according to law.

Judge Devereaux was sympathetic to a point but decided it was open to the magistrate to convict Arndt on the original evidence without the distraction of the extraneous material.

He watched the distasteful video "many times" and declared: "It is unnecessary to say I reach precisely the same conclusions ... having due regard to the findings and conclusions of the magistrate but mindful of the errors I have found in her honour's reasoning, I have formed my own conclusion that the force used in the application of the four knee strikes was not authorised or justified or excused by law. "It was unlawful because it was not reasonably necessary and was unjustified in the circumstances."

How did it all come to this and why did it take so long to resolve?

Had Rowe been just another homeless, friendless and vulnerable man it might have been a simple issue resolved in court just after the morning drunks' parade.

In nine cases out of 10, that might have happened. However Rowe, although grieving and troubled, was also a stubborn and courageous man who refused to take a step backwards in the face of what he perceived as injustice.

He ultimately turned out to be more than capable of looking after himself and seeking justice. Perhaps, it is the other nine out of 10 cases we should be worried about.

At the time of Arndt's assault case, Police Union president Ian Leavers expressed concern that the conviction had "dire consequences for all police officers doing their job". "I am very, very concerned now that police officers across the state will be reluctant to do their job and the community will suffer," Leavers said.

It is a seductive sentiment for those who haven't the wit or the humility to ever imagine themselves in Rowe's shoes. However, it is ultimately even more harmful to the community to pretend that police cannot do their job without breaking the law.

And it is an affront to the thousands of police who do manage to do their difficult jobs without breaking the letter or the spirit of the law and apply the police motto of "With honour we serve" to all citizens, regardless of their station or their situation.

Equally worrying is that justice was delivered despite, not because of, the Police Ethical Standards Command and the Crime and Misconduct Commission, which found there was insufficient evidence to charge any of the police officers over the incident.

Subsequent court findings that Rowe was not only innocent but had been unlawfully roughed up must raise questions about the quality and diligence of both investigations.

Had it not been for the toughness and pigheadedness of Rowe, whose "age and slight frame" were noted by the magistrate, a serious wrong would have gone unpunished.

Had it not been for the video evidence, his might have been the feeble voice of an ordinary man who had fallen on hard times against that of police.

The inadequacies of the investigations into this event - and similar failings and inconsistencies in many others - are hardly likely to inspire confidence among the public or the police, who have an equal entitlement to justice.

The Roman poet Juvenal is credited with asking "Who will guard the guardians?" We are yet to adequately answer that, but surely it is not a 71-year-old man.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hopelessly corrupt Victoria Police face further brutality claims

And, as in Queensland, people have to file civil claims in order to bring goons to justice

FURTHER allegations of police brutality have emerged in the state's north-east, with civil claims filed over the alleged bashing of two women, including a disabled woman who was allegedly knocked to the ground and capsicum-sprayed, and a man who says police kicked him in the testicles.

The allegations are the latest in a series of police brutality cases that lawyers and community workers say is a problem in the region and which, they say, the Victoria Police watchdog, the Ethical Standards Department, fails to properly investigate.

The Age last week revealed details of an incident on May 2 in which two Mansfield officers, Senior Constable Paul Bell and former senior constable David Eric Farrell kicked, punched and hit with batons two men who had been caught doing burnouts outside the police station. They pleaded guilty to offences including intentionally causing injury after an Ethical Standards investigation uncovered a video of the incident, captured on the dashboard camera of a patrol car.

Mansfield officers Sergeant Cameron McPherson and Senior Constable Paul Storey also face allegations, accused of unlawfully entering a property in Merton, where the elderly mother of two alleged victims lives, on June 13, 2009. It is understood the officers were responding to a complaint by neighbours.

The officers allegedly came through the gate with batons drawn and tried to enter the house without authority, at which point an argument broke out and they are accused of assaulting the alleged victims with batons and capsicum spray.

Martyn Cooper, then 39, who was living at the address and was known to police, alleges he was kicked in the testicles and beaten. His sister, Catherine Louise Alexiadis, also known to police, alleges she was hit with a baton, capsicum-sprayed and suffered extensive injuries, including bruising to her breast, neck, head, legs and buttock and psychological trauma.

Susan Lesley, in her 50s, alleges she received injuries to her shoulder, hip, back and exacerbation of psychological trauma. She is partially wheelchair-bound and uses a walking frame. The three, and another man who was present, were charged with offences including assaulting police, resisting arrest and hindering police, but the charges were struck out in November 2010.

Mr Cooper's mother, 83, was inside the house at the time on oxygen, but said she was not involved in the altercation. The incident was reported to Ethical Standards, which did not find evidence of wrongdoing. But the claims will be tested in a civil court.

In a writ filed in the County Court at Wangaratta on December 13, the plaintiffs claim damages, interest and costs incurred.

A Victoria Police spokesman said an investigation had found the claims "completely unsubstantiated" and the result had been routinely reviewed by the Office of Police Integrity. He said neither Victoria Police nor the members had received any notification of civil action and Victoria Police was not aware of any writs being lodged in the County Court.

Senior counsel Dyson Hore-Lacy previously told The Age that in dozens of cases he had handled over many years involving serious claims of wrongful conduct against police, nearly all were substantiated by the civil courts or settled in the complainants' favour. But he could recall only one of these cases being substantiated by Ethical Standards, and that was when a police officer unexpectedly confessed.

Other parties, including one of the victims bashed on video on May 2, are understood to be considering civil action in relation to three alleged incidents of police brutality within the past two years.

No ethics evident in W.A. dickless Tracy

A FORMER police officer who pleaded guilty to trying to cover up a speeding offence has been fined $300. Kim Vary Rainier, 38, who was a police officer for four years, appeared in the District Court charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.

She admitted to falsifying paperwork in a bid to cover up doing 72km/h in a 60km/h zone in a police car in South Perth in September last year. After being caught by a speed camera, the officer fabricated her report, saying she had been catching up with a car being driven erratically.

While sentencing her in the District Court today, Judge John Staude noted it was unfortunate the minor traffic offence had cost her her career and said he believed she had been treated unfairly.

The judge fined Rainier $300 but entered a spent conviction.

A spokesman for Police Comissioner Karl O'Callaghan said Ms Rainer had resigned from the WA Police. "It is the Commissioner of Police and not the Judge that is accountable for the conduct of WA Police and must have confidence in the officer," he said. "It is not disputed that the officer was dishonest and falsified evidence (not just paperwork) for her own benefit.

"These were deliberate and calculated acts to which she pleaded guilty and the personal remarks of the sentencing judge do not detract from the facts.

"The removal process considered the officer’s overall conduct and the calculated and deliberate acts of dishonesty to avoid personal accountability and gain a benefit were such that the Commissioner could no longer have confidence in her."

The spokesman said there would not be a review, albeit the officer could appeal to the WA Industrial Relations Commission. He denied there was a culture of covering up speeding fines in WA Police.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Judge upholds cop's conviction for assault

Why was no criminal conviction recorded against this scum? It is a sad day when citizens (such as Mr Rowe and Miss Eaves) have to launch private prosecutions to prove police misbehaviour. The police brass obviously believe there is a degree of assault by police that should be permitted. That is however an entirely extra-legal view.

The Commissioner himself is tainted by his inaction in these cases -- even more so since he used taxpayer funds to defend the erring officers and take their cases to appeal

One can only hope that there will now be disciplinary action against Arndt after the failure of his appeal confirms what garbage he is

A policeman who was found guilty of assaulting a homeless man in a Brisbane mall has had his appeal against the verdict dismissed.

Constable Benjamin Arndt was fined $1000 in February, with no conviction recorded, for assaulting 65-year-old Bruce Rowe in Brisbane's Queen St Mall in 2006.

He was one of four officers who restrained Mr Rowe after he failed to obey a cleaner's request to leave a public toilet in Brisbane's Queen St Mall where he was getting changed.

Security video of the incident, which attracted national media attention, formed the basis of Mr Rowe's assault complaint. He had originally been found guilty of obstructing police and disobeying a lawful direction, but the decision was overturned on a second appeal. Mr Rowe then launched a successful private prosecution for common assault against Const Arndt.

In documents lodged in the Brisbane District Court, Const Arndt argued the magistrate erred by considering the previous court cases between Mr Rowe and Const Arndt when making her decision in the latest case.

Const Arndt also alleged evidence was improperly led during the private prosecution and claimed the magistrate had failed to make sufficient rulings on a number of pertinent issues including the lawfulness of a "move on" direction given to Mr Rowe before the incident.

Judge Brian Devereaux dismissed these claims in Brisbane's Court of Appeal on Monday. He found the magistrate had erred by considering previous court cases but that the guilty verdict stood.

"Mindful of the errors I have found in her Honour's reasoning, I have formed my own conclusion that the force used in the application of the four knee strikes was not authorised or justified or excused by law," the judge said.

The Police Ethical Standards Command and Crime and Misconduct Commission had found there was insufficient evidence to charge any of the police officers over the incident.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Crooked NSW police watchdog

They think they are a law unto themselves

THE former Kings Cross police officer Wendy Hatfield was indignant when she was falsely portrayed having sex with the nightclub boss John Ibrahim in the Nine Network's hit series Underbelly. She sued the network for defamation and won.

Now Ms Hatfield is planning to take on the police watchdog for giving Nine information during the defamation case that she provided to the Wood royal commission into NSW police in 1994, which she says should never have been released.

A Police Integrity Commission spokeswoman confirmed documents were released to Channel 9, but said they were already on the public record.

However, in a previous case in the NSW Court of Appeal, Ms Hatfield was told her commission statements could not be used in any court, as she was an unwilling witness during proceedings. She says the commission breached her privacy by releasing a statement which detailed a sexual assault committed against her. Another document released was an interview she gave while under sedation as an inpatient at the Northside Psychiatric Hospital.

Ms Hatfield has made a complaint to the office of the Inspector of the PIC, as well as the Attorney-General, Greg Smith. She is now seeking legal advice about suing the commission. ''Public humiliation is the worst torture society can inflict on a person,'' she said. ''I just don't want this to ever happen to anybody else.''

Ms Hatfield said she learnt that three statements were given to the network by the PIC during her defamation claim. One was a transcript of an interview she gave in 1995 while she was in the psychiatric hospital and on suicide watch.

''I was heavily sedated and was an inpatient for approximately three weeks. In this timeframe, I was forced to get out of my bed, and go to a patient waiting room with two male investigators and a male legal representative. They compelled me to give answers to their questions,'' Ms Hatfield said.

She was also concerned that she was never given the chance to see and sign the statutory declarations she gave to the royal commission. ''In one of these statutory declarations, I had been asked about a sexual assault that occurred against me in the line of duty in 1993 where the offender was never caught. This had nothing to do with the commission, and now I don't know who has seen it.''

The Royal Commission Act states that any evidence given in a royal commission cannot be used in any other civil or criminal proceedings.

Ms Hatfield said she was desperate to show the government that the legislation governing the PIC was failing. ''Through three civil court proceedings I have earned my credibility back and I am going to do whatever I can to highlight to the NSW government that the current legislation governing the PIC is ineffective and dangerous,'' she said.

Since 2006, the former inspector of the PIC Peter Moss, QC, has published 13 critical reports against the PIC.

Lazy Qld. cops give embezzler a pass

FAKE Tahitian prince Joel Morehu-Barlow fled to Australia after a complaint was made to New Zealand police about an alleged criminal offence seven years ago. The revelation will embarrass the Crime and Misconduct Commission, police and Queensland Health, which last year dismissed a complaint about Barlow without a proper investigation.

The Sunday Mail has discovered Barlow's childhood "castle" was really an ageing weatherboard home with a tin roof in Thames, on New Zealand's North Island. His mother the "Queen", Andre Barlow, was last year convicted in the Wellington District Court of stealing almost $25,000 from her lesbian partner's inheritance funds to pay her bills.

Barlow, who was charged last week with embezzling $11 million from Queensland Health, was a child when he began lying about his links to royalty, schoolmates said. "He went on a bit about how he was famous," former Thames High School pupil Michael Barrett said. "He would carry around a staff."

Further details of the criminal allegations against Barlow cannot be published due to legal reasons, but it can be revealed he was a cross-dressing chameleon obsessed with his appearance.

He was a frequent customer in Brisbane spas and beauty clinics where he would get spray tans, eyebrow shaping and Botox. He was often seen in drag at The Sportsman Hotel in Spring Hill, patrons said. "When he was dressed as a man he shouted everyone, but when he was in drag everyone shouted him," one said.

He was fond of throwing lavish parties, including a massive $130,000 bash for his birthday.

Barlow had lived in a Vernon Tce apartment in the inner-Brisbane suburb of Teneriffe since about 2004 and in the early days was often seen dressed as a woman.

He worked for the Children's Commissioner in NZ and also for the NZ Inland Revenue.

The CMC is investigating Queensland Health and police over the fiasco, but a spokeswoman confirmed the watchdog also would look at its own role, amid serious questions about its handling of complaints.

The CMC referred last year's complaint to Queensland Health, but retained oversight and accepted an inadequate investigation that did not even question Barlow.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Victorian police busted bashing hoon driver in Mansfield

What the cops did was of course improper but I am rather glad they knocked the defiance out of these louts. They would have done a lot more good for the community than the pissweak sentences handed down by our legal system. I think that the sentences imposed were appropriately lenient

VIDEO footage has revealed the ferocity of a police attack on a hoon driver who did burnouts in front of a town cop shop. The images, captured by a dashboard camera in a police car, show an officer kicking and bashing the driver with a baton.

David Bray, 32, and his passenger, Ryan Boyd, 19, left smoking rubber outside Mansfield police station on May 2. A court hearing was told police later stopped them on a back road and said: "Do you think you run this town? We do."

Senior Constables Paul Bell and David Farrell are then alleged to have attacked the men.

One was kicked and hit with the baton and the other was punched and slapped.

Sen-Constable Bell, who is suspended without pay, was found guilty in Wangaratta Magistrates' Court yesterday of charges including intentionally causing injury and unlawful assault. He was given a 12-month supervised community-based order and told to perform 60 hours of unpaid community service.

Farrell, who resigned from the police force in October, pleaded guilty last month to intentionally causing injury and was put on a 12-month community-based order, without conviction.

Sen-Constable Bell's solicitor, Bernie Balmer, said the officers had been frustrated at the road antics of the men they intercepted.

"People will be in two camps." he said. "Some will say they got their right whack; some will say people can't be treated like that. Out of frustration, they've acted the way they have."

Mr Balmer said one of the officers had previously been shot at, and they had attended road deaths and suicides.

Victoria Police declined to comment because of the 28-day appeal period available to Sen-Constable Bell.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NSW Police arrest suspects who were angry at failed dog searches

They should cop it sweet when they have wrongly detained people. But instead of apologizing they arrest their victims. The failure rate of the sniffer dogs is so great that the whole project would be abandoned by any police force with respect for the innocent

AN INCREASING number of people searched for drugs but not found to be carrying them after being identified by police sniffer dogs are being charged or cautioned for angry outbursts against police.

The failure of a record 80 per cent of sniffer dog searches this year has also raised questions about the potential for legal challenges against police by people not found to be carrying drugs.

Official government figures provided in response to questions on notice show that in the nine months to September more than 300 people were charged for offences relating to their interaction with police while being searched for drugs.

All 307 people were among the 11,248 people found not to be carrying drugs after they were identified by sniffer dogs and searched by police. Last year 305 people were charged for similar offences; in 2009 it was 264, in 2008 it was 85 and in 2007 it was two.

The NSW Greens MP David Shoebridge, who requested the government figures, said there was no excuse for poor behaviour towards police, but questioned the value of intrusive body searches on people suspected of carrying drugs, where in the vast majority of cases no drugs were found.

The Police Minister, Mike Gallacher, said yesterday he supported the use of sniffer dogs, which had a highly acute sense of smell and could detect on people traces of drugs or explosives even after they had been discarded.

Aggressive Gold Coast cop harasses tennis champion

This is very reminscent of the Renee Eaves case on the Gold Coast. The cop had better watch out that he doesn't end up the same way

GOLD Coast tennis star Bernard Tomic is claiming police harassment after being pulled over for allegedly hooning in his $150,000 high-powered sports car.

Tomic, Australia's top-ranked male tennis player, says he is being victimised by a 'jealous' Coast traffic cop who has pulled him up several times while out and about in his distinctive bright orange BMW M3. The 19-year-old P-plater has a special Department of Transport exemption allowing him to drive the V8-powered vehicle.

Tomic alleged he was being targeted by the officer, who he refused to name, and said he was 'scared'. "He doesn't like me for some reason ... he's always on my tail," the teenager said. "I think it's really bad. I haven't done a thing wrong - I just go about my business as a tennis player."

Tomic said he was pulled up on Sunday night in Surfers Paradise after he was allegedly seen hooning on the Southport Spit. He said he was pulled up at traffic lights and denied he had broken the law. "I didn't speed, I didn't do any of that stuff," he said.

"The car's very loud but I don't know what he (the police officer) defines as hooning.

"It (being pulled over) scared me a bit, to be honest. He's pulled me over a few times but now it's starting to get a little bit more aggressive."

Police said the special licence exemption allowed Tomic to drive the BMW to and from training at Southport's Queens Park tennis centre. But Tomic, who this year became the youngest man to make the Wimbledon quarter-finals, said he understood he was entitled to drive at any time in the course of his professional duties.

"I've got training, gym, massages and meetings I have to go to ... my days are very busy getting ready for the summer (tennis season)," he said.

"I don't know what it is - jealousy or whatever - but this policeman seems to have it in for me. If I did the wrong thing, he would charge me, but he hasn't. "I know he has a job to do but so do I."

However, Tomic said he did not plan to lodge an official complaint about the officer. "If he wants to keep pulling me over, there's nothing I can do about it," he said.
"I just hope it stops."

Police riot at charity function in Sydney

A HEAVILY pregnant woman who copped a face full of capsicum spray after the riot squad closed a charity function at the Avalon Beach RSL Club on Saturday night is concerned for the welfare of her unborn child.

Miranda Minter, 35, was at the club for a cancer fundraiser when police entered the function room about 11.15pm.

She claims to have been sitting about 1m from a man who was subdued by police after he was allegedly found in possession of cannabis. “I just got all the pepper spray in my throat and my nose and I actually vomited,” she said.

“I tried to get out but they locked the entrance - I was locked inside and my fiancee was locked outside. I have never ever seen such police brutality in my life.”

Video footage obtained by the Manly Daily shows Ms Minter’s fiancee pleading with police for her to be let out of the function room, telling them she is eight months pregnant, to which an officer replies: “Well she shouldn’t be here then - she should be at home”.

The video also reveals patrons loudly and repeatedly abusing the police.

Local police said the riot squad had to be called after the crowd became unruly when the man was arrested, but staff and patrons at the club have accused the riot squad of brutality and said innocent people were sprayed with capsicum spray, punched and hit with batons.

The function, which attracted about 150 people and featured several bands, was being held to raise money for a cancer patient hospice at North Sydney.

The man who organised the fundraiser, Hung Donkey bass player Clay MacDonald, said “it was devastating to watch this crazy violence unfold on what should have been a peaceful night. Not for 18 years have I seen such a hyper-display of police brutality and aggression,” he said.

“They had a few officers amongst them that held their composure and did the right thing but for the most part these police officers lost control of themselves and the situation.”

Northern Beaches duty officer Insp Sam Bartlett said the drug dog and several officers entered the club and the dog indicated one of the patrons was in possession of a drug. He said the Newport man, 35, objected to being searched, resisted arrest and had to be subdued with capsicum spray.

Insp Bartlett said other people took exception to the man’s arrest and became unruly, leading to five being charged with offensive conduct or offensive language. He said the riot squad was called in to quell the disturbance. “The man objected to being arrested and the situation deteriorated when he played up and others got involved,” he said.

A staff member who asked not to be named said the police ordered the doors to the auditorium to be closed.

“The manner in which the officers behaved with their unprovoked assaulting of young adults and threatening behaviour completely escalated the situation despite the security, duty managers and staff members’ best efforts to calm the situation and prevent injury to patrons,” he said. A police spokesman said the allegations raised would be treated as a complaint and investigated.

NT: Year in jail before teen walked free

There were apparently at least four people present at the approximate time of death so police at no time had any basis for singling just one out for prosecution. Their informant could have been the guilty party

A TEENAGER suspected of murder was interviewed by police against his will and kept in a cell without a mattress or running water, an inquest has heard.

Jordan Danny Thompson, 17, spent a year in jail on remand accused of fatally stabbing a retired teacher who paid young Aboriginal men for sex. He was freed when the case against him collapsed at trial. No one else has been charged with the murder.

Counsel assisting the Coroner, Elisabeth Armitage, told the inquest yesterday the bungled murder case had prompted an internal police investigation. NT Police Commander Peter Bravos is set to give evidence into the botched investigation.

The inquest heard yesterday that Michael Condrick, 50, died of a "catastrophic haemorrhage" after being stabbed in the neck in his Katherine unit about midnight on June 21 last year. Clothing, an Xbox, iPad, phone and a backpack were stolen from the unit.

The inquest heard Mr Condrick's former students from nearby communities regularly visited his house to drink and smoke cannabis. "It appears he engaged in sexual relationships with some young men that came to his house," Ms Armitage said. None of those men were known to be under age.

Mr Thompson and Mr Condrick's lover, Samuel Wesan, 27, were in his unit on the night of the retired teacher's death. Ms Armitage told the inquest the men accused each other of murder, but the victim's blood was found on both of the men's clothing. Two days after Mr Condrick's death Mr Wesan told police Mr Thompson committed the murder and the teen was arrested.

Ms Armitage said during the investigation Mr Thompson was kept in custody for a significant period and housed in an inappropriate cell.

"There was no mattress and his water was turned off. That was initially to allow for forensic procedures but people forgot to turn it back on. Police received clear advice that he did not want to participate in interviews but interviews occurred." Some were not recorded.

Ms Armitage said it was unclear why Katherine police took charge of the murder investigation instead of the Major Crime unit. She said at the time the Major Crime unit's resources were focused on other cases.

The inquest also heard evidence from two people who discovered Mr Condrick's body. Mark Runyu and Leighton McCartney had gone to Mr Condrick's house to drink alcohol and smoke cannabis. Mr Runyu said he did not report the murder to police because he was "too scared".

SOURCE (Via Strange Justice)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

A thin white line in NSW

Two senior policemen found doing cocaine at big party at a Paddington pub

TWO senior policemen who tested positive for cocaine the day after a work bash at a Sydney pub will be sacked. Shane Diehm, a detective inspector, and Inspector Matthew Dennis will be dealt a "loss of confidence" motion by Commissioner Andrew Scipione and stood down.

A third officer, Australian Federal Police sky marshal Darren Kolosque also faced the sack after a separate investigation by the AFP. He has resigned.

The three were at a party on August 5 for the retirement of former detective superintendent John Alt, a respected commander who left the force last year.

Among more than 100 guests were officers from the force's Professional Standards Command which investigates police misconduct, such as drug and alcohol abuse.

Tipped off about the trio's activities a day after the function, NSW Police and the AFP arranged for drug tests. Inspectors Diehm and Dennis were investigated but refused to "make admissions" on where they acquired the cocaine or how much they had consumed.

The test on Insp Diehm, who was crime manager at Tweed-Byron Local Area Command, returned higher traces of the drug. The Sunday Telegraph understands neither Insp Dennis, who was at Hunter Valley Local Area Command, nor Insp Diehm will face criminal charges.

A senior police source told The Sunday Telegraph this was because the drugs had been consumed and there was no criminal charge that could be applied.

A separate inquiry by the Police Integrity Commission is investigating an alleged conversation about securing a medical payout through the police death and disability scheme instead of being sacked.

The scheme is currently the subject of controversy after changes were made by the NSW Government preventing officers from manipulating the system.

Days after the Paddington function, Insp Diehm was called to a meeting with PSC officers and suspended on full pay. And Insp Dennis, who was driving to the Snowy Mountains for a holiday, was called and asked to pull into Queanbeyan police station for a drug-test.

Agent Kolosque, a former NSW policeman and recipient of a bravery award, is understood to have confessed when quizzed by AFP investigators.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Top NSW cop gets 16 years for drugs plot


DISGRACED crime fighter Mark Standen will spend at least 16 years behind bars for his role in a drug importation conspiracy plot.

The former assistant director of investigations at the NSW Crime Commission was in August found guilty by a Supreme Court jury of plotting to import 300kg of pseudoepherine. He will not be eligible for parole until June 2024, with Justice Bruce James taking into account that Standen has been in custody since his arrest in June 2008.

He was also convicted of taking part in the supply of the supply of 300kg of the substance, used in the manufacture of the illicit drugs speed and ice.

Justice Bruce James said in his sentencing remarks this morning that Standen had conspired with his informant, drug trafficker James Kinch and food wholesaler Bakhos "Bill" Jalalaty from between January 2006 and June 2008 to import the substance.

The court heard the drugs were to be placed inside a shipping container filled with rice that would travel to Australia from Pakistan.

Justice James said that Standen "used his personal contacts (including those working at Customs) to make enquiries for the purpose of ascertaining whether the shipment of rice had come to the attention of authorities."

The court heard it was an "abuse" of his role at the NSW Crime Commission. "One of his duties (at work) was to investigate drug trafficking, the criminal conduct of the very sort in which he engaged," Justice James.

Standen's two brothers were at Darlinghurst courthouse to hear his fate this morning.

The Judge described Standen's relationship his informant Kinch as one which "irretrievably" corrupted him. His sentence followed a five-month trial that began in March this year.

Wife-bashing W.A. cop quits the force

They've got some choice ones in the W.A. force

DISGRACED policeman Niko Westergerling has resigned from WA Police - three weeks after he allegedly fired shots from his police-issue gun at a car in Nollamara.

Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan revealed during today's live Q and A with PerthNow readers that he had accepted Sen-Constable's Westergerling's resignation, effective immediately.

Sen-Constable Westergerling, 39, has been criminally charged with unlawfully firing a gun at a car of four women and a toddler during a traffic stop in Nollamara on Monday, November 14. He will appear in the Perth Magistrates Court on December 16.

In the wake of the incident, the officer was immediately stood aside from duties as it emerged he had been convicted of bashing his wife and was also facing an Internal Affairs Unit probe, amid claims he had unlawfully accessed the WA Police database.

At the time, it was revealed the senior constable had been convicted and fined $2000 for a brutal attack on his wife during a heated argument at their Innaloo home in February.

Subsequent claims then arose that he had misused the secure police database to access information unrelated to his police work. That investigation by Internal Affairs Unit officers continues.

In March, Sen-Constable Westergerling narrowly avoided jail and was fined $2000 after admitting to repeatedly punching and kicking his wife during a heated argument on February 14 while he was off duty.

The court heard that the couple, who have been married for 10 years and have two young children, were arguing at their Innaloo home about a planned trip to the movies to celebrate Valentine's Day. After his wife threw a pile of his clothes onto their driveway from a balcony, Westergerling pushed her to the floor, punched her in the eye and kicked her to the body and legs.

At the time the court heard Sen-Constable Westergerling only stopped the assault when his wife threatened to call the police. She sustained a swollen and bruised right eye and cheek and bruises to her body.

Defence lawyer, Gabrielle Clarke, said her client accepted full responsibility for his behaviour, which he had described as "unacceptable and disgusting''.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Bungling NSW cops shoot one of their own and try to blame it on a Vietnamese guy

And why weren't they in uniform? The Viet guy had no way of knowing they were cops. He has a good self-defence case. The whole operation reeks of overconfidence and incompetence

WHEN the screaming stops, all that can be heard is anguish in the voices of police as they realise Constable William Crews cannot be saved. "I don't know who shot him, him or me. He's dead," the officer who fired the fatal round is heard to say. Another officer is recorded saying: "Mate, he's dead."

The graphic police-recorded video that captured Constable Crews' final moments was played yesterday at a committal hearing for Phillip Nguyen, the man accused of the young officer's manslaughter.

The 26-year-old officer's family were in court to watch the footage, which also shows the trainee detective lying motionless on the floor of a Bankstown garage.

Nguyen, 56, accused of firing the first shot during the shootout that erupted as officers carried out a search warrant on September 8, 2010, is charged with Constable Crews' manslaughter on the grounds of excessive self defence.

Burwood Local Court was told the police operation, conducted by the Middle Eastern organised crime squad after receiving information that drug deals were being done from within the garage, was deemed to be "low-risk", with Constable Crews among officers dressed in plain clothes.

The search warrant video was the first piece of evidence tendered during the two-week committal hearing for Nguyen that will determine if the case can proceed to a Supreme Court trial.

Gunfire is heard soon after the tape begins, followed quickly by screams of "officer down".

Police can be heard screaming at Nguyen to "drop your gun it's the police, there's a police officer down with a gunshot to the head" before pleading with him to "throw the gun out, we will not hurt you".

The screaming stops soon after and is replaced by the distressed voices of officers as they try to save their dying colleague.

The court heard Nguyen believed officers were "fake police" because they weren't in uniform and thought they may have been robbers.

Crown prosecutor Sevinch Morkaya told Magistrate Brian Maloney that the shot fired by Constable Crews' colleague "was not a careful, well-aimed shot". "His intention was to shoot the accused, but that was the shot that ultimately killed the deceased."


Friday, December 2, 2011

Another thug cop gets off lightly

Why wasn't he charged with assault?

A QUEENSLAND police officer demoted for the wrongful arrest of a female officer, with whom he was romantically linked, has won an application to have his disciplinary period halved.

The Queensland Court and Administrative Tribunal has allowed serving police officer Mark McKenzie's appeal to reduce his demotion, from sergeant to senior constable, from two years to one year.

QCAT president Justice Alan Wilson and judicial member James Thomas, QC, in a just published 10-page decision, allowed Constable McKenzie's appeal against disciplinary action taken against him by acting Queensland Police Commissioner Tony Wright.

Commissioner Wright found Constable McKenzie, a sergeant at the time of the incident, had "inappropriately and forcibly detained" fellow Mount Isa officer Constable Jane Moran on March 1, 2008.

Justice Wilson and Mr Thomas’s decision means Constable McKenzie would not have to incur an expected impost of $23,000 lost in wages.

In February this year The Courier-Mail revealed Constable McKenzie lost an application to overturn an early 2009 decision to demote him after an internal disciplinary investigation and hearing.

QCAT member Joanne Browne, in a 21-page decision released in November last year, said: "Investigations have identified that whilst off duty you (McKenzie) became involved in an incident at police accommodations at Stanley Street, Mount Isa, where you detained Ms Moran."

She said he grabbed Ms Moran, forced her face-down on to a bed, handcuffed her and told her that she was being detained for domestic violence.

"Your actions resulted in Jane Sonya Moran sustaining injuries, including a fracture of the right eye socket," Ms Browne said.

"The QPS having found the charge (of inappropriately and forcibly detaining Ms Moran) to be substantiated, ordered McKenzie be reduced in rank from sergeant . . . to senior constable for a period of two years, effective from February 2010."

Constable McKenzie applied to QCAT to review the QPS findings and his demotion, on the grounds that it was manifestly excessive.

QCAT was told both officers became involved in a romantic relationship while living in separate QPS units at Mount Isa.

The tribunal heard conflicting versions of the March, 2008, incident, in which it was alleged Constable McKenzie feared Ms Moran might stab him after being awoken by her while he was asleep in his unit.

He said he then tried to subdue Ms Moran using police handcuffs to restrain her.

But Ms Browne, in her findings, said she agreed with the QPS determination and sanction, with his conduct not meeting community standards.

"The tribunal finds . . . the conduct of SC McKenzie is of such a nature as to erode public confidence in the police service and the sanction imposed was therefore appropriate," she said.

In September Justice Wilson and Mr Thomas, in reducing Constable McKenzie’s disciplinary period, said the original "penalty was too harsh."

"Regard should ... (have been given) to the fact that the (Constable McKenzie) has performed good service both before and after the incidents," he said.

"There does not seem to be any realistic chance, or discernible risk, of any repetition of the incident in question.

"All things considered we are persuaded that the present penalty was too heavy and that, in the interests of consistency, it should be replaced with a reduction in rank from Sergeant … to Senior Constable … for a period of one year."