Saturday, March 24, 2012

Two Victoria Police officers could face criminal charges following coroner's investigation into deadly chase

TWO police constables face possible criminal charges after a coroner found they lied to a series of investigations about their involvement in a deadly police chase. The coroner, Peter White, also called for mandatory real-time video and "live" feed recording of all police vehicle pursuits.

Shane Bennett, 19, died after being chased by police through Seaford in 2008.

As first revealed by the Herald Sun, crucial elements of sworn statements of the two officers chasing Mr Bennett, Sen-Constables Michael Bednarczyk and Cameron Orr, were proved false through the use of GPS data.

In a Victorian first, investigators and international experts took the data from the officers' vehicle to prove they were going much faster than they told several inquiries - including an ESD inquiry, an OPI probe and a coronial hearing.

Data proved they were travelling at 177km/h in a 60km/h zone through Seaford streets before Mr Bennett later ran a red light and hit another car - killing him and leaving an innocent driver maimed.

The coroner:

ACCUSED the constables of turning a "blind eye" to their dangerous speeds before Mr Bennett crashed and died.

DID not believe the constables' evidence and referred them to the DPP.

ACCUSED them of deliberately ignoring command calls to stop chasing Mr Bennett.

MADE four recommendations that call for greater independence of internal police investigations.

CALLED for GPS terminals to be placed in every police car to feed live data back to command centres.

Sen-Constables Bednarczyk and Orr could face serious criminal charges, possibly including endangering life causing death and reckless driving.

Mr White rejected their statements that they were not aware of the speeds they were travelling, which were also not told to the chase controller, who ended the chase when he learned the speeds were over 120km/h.

"At all relevant times both officers were broadly aware of the speeds they were travelling and deliberately turned a blind eye to this issue," he said.

Mr White said the ESD's original investigation was unsatisfactory and that Mr Bennett's death was a devastating loss.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Spammers: Don't bother. Irrelevant comments won't be published