Saturday, February 18, 2012

Top defender for bashing defendant

ALLEGED police bashing victim Noa Begic will be represented by the lawyer who defended wrongly accused terror suspect Mohamed Haneef.

The 21-year-old chef is facing minor charges of public nuisance and obstructing police over his arrest in the early hours of January 29 in Surfers Paradise.

But he is also considering launching a civil action against the police officers who allegedly left him bashed and bloodied in the basement of the Surfers Paradise police station - an incident made public when The Courier-Mail revealed the CCTV footage.

Peter Russo, who helped Dr Haneef beat terror charges, met Mr Begic yesterday and confirmed he would represent him in court, but was reluctant to comment further. "It's very early days," he said.

Mr Begic also has another white knight in his corner - a former model who took on the police and won after five years of harassment and intimidation.

Renee Eaves leapt to Mr Begic's defence and said she would use her experience to help the young dad if he took on the police service in court. She arranged for him to meet Mr Russo, one of Queensland's highest-profile lawyers.

"Police can use what they call 'reasonable force', but how much force is needed when someone is handcuffed and locked in the back of a wagon?" she asked. "I would say none."

Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson has stood by his comment that officers can be justified in punching aggressive offenders, but insisted his words were not in support of those involved in the bashing.

He asked Queenslanders not to lose faith in their police service after footage emerged of a handcuffed man being bashed by officers.

The incident is now subject to a joint investigation by Queensland police and the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

One officer has been removed from operational duties.

"Nothing I said on Wednesday in any way suggested I was supporting the officer who is the subject of the investigation," Mr Atkinson said.


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