Wednesday, March 28, 2012

W.A. Police crooks again

A LAW professor and his female companion, who were arrested and tasered in Fremantle, have launched a civil lawsuit against three police officers and the State over the incident.

Charges against University of WA assistant professor of law Robert Cunningham and the women, Catherine Atoms, were dismissed on April 29 last year.

As first revealed on PerthNow's iPad app tonight, they are now claiming unspecified damages for what they describe as police brutality.

A magistrate previously ruled their arrest on November 2, 2008, was unjustified and unlawful, and accused police witnesses of collusion.

Fremantle-based police officers Simon Traynor, Peter James Clark and Glenn Alexander Caldwell have been named in a District Court writ, which was lodged in October.

Mr Cunningham and Ms Atoms are claiming damages for personal injuries sustained at the time of the incident and afterwards.

They claim the officers:

*Breached a duty of care owed to them.

*Breached their statutory duty.

*Assaulted them.

*Falsely imprisoned them.

They are also claiming interest at a rate of six per cent per year.

Three police inquiries found no wrongdoing but the Corruption and Crime Commission’s Parliamentary Inspector Christopher Steytler found evidence of police misconduct.

In the lead up to his trial, CCTV footage of police tasering the pair was stolen from Mr Cunningham’s university office before police presented edited footage of the incident in court.

The chain of events raised suggestions police had tampered with the evidence, Mr Steytler found.

In September, Labor MP Tony Buti alleged police were trying to put pressure on Ms Atoms by claiming officers went to her house in 2009 and tried to intimidate her.

“The police officer tells her ‘your car has been involved in a hit and run accident’, she had no idea what he was talking about,” he said at the time.

Mr Buti called for the officer’s actions to be investigated.

The same month, Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan referred the matter back to the CCC.


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