Friday, March 25, 2016

SA Police settle homeless man’s $100,000 brutality lawsuit out of court, second man now missing

ONE of two homeless men who were bashed by a baton-wielding SA Police officer in the city has received an out-of-court settlement — while the other has gone missing.

On Thursday, the Adelaide Magistrates Court heard Christopher John Mackie had been offered a settlement in his $100,000 lawsuit.

All that remains is for Mr Mackie — who left SA and has refused to return, still fearful after his ordeal — to sign off on the offer.

However his friend, Shaun Robert Jones, will receive no money after the court dismissed his claim for want of prosecution.  The court was told Mr Jones went missing in Alice Springs last October, and the search for him had since been called off.

Last year, Mr Jones and Mr Mackie filed excessive force and assault compensation claims against SA Police and Constable Matthew Schwarz.

The lawsuits arose from an incident at Whitmore Square in
December 2012, which was filmed by Channel 7 and, when shown on television and, caused a public furore.

Mr Jones and Mr Mackie were charged over the incident and, at trial, Const Schwarz admitted striking them repeatedly because he feared his weapon "wasn’t working".

The court condemned his evidence, threw out the charges and ordered SA Police pay $35,000 in court costs.

On Thursday Andrew Carpenter, for the men, said Mr Mackie’s claim was close to being resolved.  "We have reached an in-principle settlement and need only for the terms to be finalised," he said.

"We have the difficulty of trying to get instructions from our client, who has since last year moved to a remote part of Australia.  "He’s quite scared of returning to the state based on the assault."

Mr Carpenter asked for six weeks to obtain his client’s signature, and said he could "neither reject nor agree to" SA Police’s application to dismiss Mr Jones’ claim.

"We’ve had no instructions ... I was advised by Mr Mackie in October last year that Mr Jones was missing," he said. "I’ve been in contact with missing persons in the NT, multiple times, and of late they had called off the search."

Magistrate Brionny Kennewell granted the adjournment, dismissed Mr Jones’ claim and refused SA Police’s application for costs.

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