Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Police guilty of misconduct, now facing criminal charges

Hill and Mewing

Six northern NSW police officers are facing possible criminal charges and dismissal from the force after the Police Integrity Commission found they used excessive force against a young Aboriginal man at Ballina police station and then falsely claimed he had assaulted them.

In scathing findings tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the commission criticised the officers involved in the January 2011 incident, finding them guilty of serious police misconduct and recommending a range of charges including assault, perjury and giving false evidence.

The incident began when Aboriginal man, Corey Barker, then 21, was arrested on Tamar Street, Ballina, for trying to obstruct police, and taken to the local police station.

The police officers involved claimed that when they attempted to move Mr Barker to a different cell he assaulted Senior Constable David Hill, punching him in the face.

However, the commission found that CCTV footage revealed there was no assault.

Rather, the commission found, the footage showed Mr Barker being slammed into a wall and a large metal object in the station's charge room by the officers, before they dragged him backwards by the arms along the ground into a cell.

Six of the officers who were either involved in the altercation or witnessed it, subsequently signed sworn statements accusing Mr Barker of assaulting police, statements which they then backed up with sworn evidence in court.

The case was thrown out by Ballina Local Court Magistrate David Heilpern, who referred the police's actions to the commission.

All of the officers – Senior Constable Hill, Constable Lee Walmsley, Constable Ryan Eckersley, Constable Luke Mewing, Senior Constable Mark Woolvern, and Robert McCubbin (now discharged) – conceded in the commission that the footage did not show any punch by Mr Barker.

Senior Constable Hill continued to maintain he was struck, a claim which the commission found "cannot be given any credence".

"Barker did not assault Hill in the Ballina Police Station on the night of 14 January 2011 and, in particular, did not punch, or even attempt to punch, Hill on the nose or face," the Commissioner, Bruce James, QC, said.

He found there was "no justification for the degree of force to which Barker was subjected".

"The police treatment of Barker can fairly be described as violent ... [the] method of taking Barker to the cell would have been acutely painful and was brutal."

Previous allegations that two of the officers kicked Mr Barker were not upheld.

The commissioner found that Senior Constable Hill was a witness "of little credibility", and he and the other five officers had lied in their statements and in court.

The commission recommended Senior Constable Hill, Constable Walmsley, Constable Mewing, Senior Constable Mark Woolvern, and Constable Eckersley be considered for charges of assault, and that all but Constable Eckersley also be considered for charges of perjury.

It recommended that the NSW Police Commissioner consider dismissing or alternatively demoting all six officers.

The officer in charge of investigating the fabricated assault on Senior Constable Hill, Senior Constable Gregory Ryan was cleared of any wrongdoing, as was another officer involved in the arrest, Senior Constable Kelly Haines.


  1. Would be very dissappointed to hear that these officers are only demoted..Its clear they should be removed from the police force!

  2. And yet IT continues.
    Watch your backs you violent, racist GERMS.
    Thanks to the net & people who you went to school with your home addresses and hang outs ARE known. .... Be afraid !
    ..... Me - Not in the slightest.

    1. This statement should not of been published!

  3. Hill should b thanking Corey for saving him from himself..had Officer Hill got away with this then god knows what he would of been capable of, the people that could of been further hurt and the serious trouble officer Hill could of got himself in..Nobody is above the law..not even Hill and his sidekicks..


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