Saturday, February 27, 2021

Youtube streaming of NT police officer Zachary Rolfe's murder trial raised as concern in court


<b></b>

<i>The cop is in court because the deceased is black. No other reason</i>

The murder trial of Constable Zachary Rolfe could be streamed on YouTube to Alice Springs and the remote community of Yuendumu, where 19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker died in November 2019.

At a pre-trial hearing in the Northern Territory Supreme Court today, Chief Justice Michael Grant said the court's administration was hoping to allow the broadcast of proceedings. He said it would be streamed to the courthouse in Alice Springs and at the school in the community of Yuendumu, about 300 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs.

"There would be a facilitator [in Darwin] who would close down the broadcast whenever court is closed, whenever arguments are being made in the absence of the jury and otherwise, whenever the trial judge ordered," he said.

Crown Prosecutor Sophie Callan said the prosecution would not oppose the streaming of the trial to Yuendumu, but questioned whether other members of the public could access it.

"I think the question, your Honour, is whether it's some form of private YouTube channel or access to which others could, would be restricted," she said.

Constable Rolfe's defence lawyer, David Edwardson QC, said he had concerns about whether this would mean witnesses could potentially access the proceedings.

"We'd be most concerned if the public — the wider public — could access it outside of the hall," he said.

"How would the court envisage ensuring that nobody who accessed the hall, for example, at Yuendumu, was in fact a witness or potential witness in the proceedings?" he asked the court.

Justice Grant acknowledged the concerns but reminded lawyers that any member of the public would be entitled to come to court and watch the proceedings.

"I imagine it will be possible to have a police officer located in the school hall at Yuendumu, able to give effect to any order the trial judge makes for witnesses to remove themselves from the premises," Justice Grant said.

He said he would raise the matter with court staff.

The matter will return to court at the end of March.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-23/nt-zachary-rolfe-pre-trial-kumanjayi-walker-youtube-streaming/13183214

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Geelong police officer Sergeant David Magher found guilty on two counts of assault


A Geelong police officer has been found guilty of assault after kicking a man in custody three times to the side of his body.

Sergeant David Phillip Magher was charged with three counts of assault and suspended in 2018 by Professional Standards Command after kicking Andrew Birch as he was being transferred from a divisional van to a holding cell at Corio Police Station.

After a six-day contested hearing in the Geelong Magistrates' Court, Magistrate John Lesser found Sergeant Magher guilty of two counts of assault and dismissed a third count.

Magistrate Lesser said while in his view the first kick was "unnecessary", he could "not be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt the kicking action was not proportionate and reasonable".

"The second and third kicks stand out as of a completely different character to the first," Magistrate Lesser told the court.

"The level of force inflicted on Mr Birch [was] entirely inconsistent with the other members at the time, who had apparently obtained a measure of control of Mr Birch.

"They stood out as gratuitous and unnecessary and could not be justified as reasonable and proportionate use of force. As a result, there can be no justification for the use of force in those two kicks … which were delivered with considerable force.

"In the heat of the moment, Sergeant Magher crossed the line from the reasonable and proportionate … to the excessive and disproportionate and unjustifiable and therefore unlawful use of force on Mr Birch."

On September 21, 2018, then 36-year-old Mr Birch was arrested outside Corio Village Shopping Centre over a suspected armed robbery involving a knife and taken to Corio Police Station.

Security footage from the police station, played to the court, showed Mr Birch lunging towards Senior Sergeant Ian Kerin as he exited a police divisional van.

Sergeant Magher, who has been a police officer for more than 20 years, then kicked Mr Birch as he and Senior Sergeant Kerin pulled Mr Birch to the ground.

Mr Birch received two more kicks from Sergeant Magher as he was lying on the ground on his stomach with his handcuffed wrists pulled straight out in front of him and legs straight out behind him.

Magistrate Lesser dismissed the first kick on the grounds it could have been used as a tactic to make Mr Birch comply but ruled the two other kicks were excessive and unjustified.

Ten police witnesses were cross-examined during the hearing. All officers involved in Mr Birch's arrest agreed he resisted arrest, spat at officers, and screamed profanities.

Defence lawyer Stewart Bayles argued the kicks were "reasonable" and "proportionate" and were used by Sergeant Magher to protect the officers and himself from Mr Birch kicking out and spitting and to stop him from escaping.

In his closing remarks, Mr Bayles told the court a reasonable use of force "should not be equated with perfect or even best practice".

Crown prosecutor Sarah Thomas argued the kicks were an "excessive use of force that was not needed to seek compliance" and were instead used to punish Mr Birch for resisting arrest.

"When you view the video the inescapable conclusion is that these were three acts of gratuitous violence … toward someone who had given the police officers arresting him a hard time," she told the court.

Ms Thomas argued Mr Birch had stopped struggling "many seconds before" Sergeant Magher kicked him the second and third time.

She said all the officers, including Sergeant Magher, appeared relaxed on the CCTV as they prepared to move Mr Birch to a cell.

"The suggestion Mr Birch was on the ground for a lengthy period of time because he continued to be non-compliant, the suggestion by Mr Magher [Mr Birch] was kicking throughout, that was simply not correct," she said.

The court was told Superintendent Craig Gillard and Acting Inspector Michael Ryan reported Sergeant Magher to Professional Standards Command after Sergeant Magher admitted he used capsicum spray on Mr Birch twice during the arrest and told Acting Inspector Ryan: "I just wish I could delete the CCTV."

Mr Bayles argued his client never said that and accused Acting Inspector Ryan of lying.

Sergeant Magher will return to court later this week for sentencing.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-02-23/geelong-police-officer-found-guilty-of-assault/13183434

Friday, February 5, 2021

Corrections officer charged over shooting death of Indigenous man


<i>Why?  It was part of an officer's duty to fire on a fleeing offender to prevent him escaping.  The Aboriginality of the offender explains the charge.  Blacks are innocent, don't you know?  All shootings of blacks are therefore suspect

It is true that shooting a fleeing felon in the back is disallowed for police -- with some justification.  But prison officers have their own rules and they are allowed to shoot at a fleeing felon if the felon would otherswise escape.  

And the guy fleeing in this case was a real bad egg who had previously got away with heaps.  So there was no call for mercy </i>


A NSW Corrective Services Officer has been charged with the manslaughter of an Indigenous prisoner who was fatally shot while handcuffed outside a hospital in northern NSW.

Wiradjuri man Dwayne Johnstone, 43, was shackled and running away from two corrections officers at Lismore Base Hospital when he was shot in the back on March 15, 2019. He was immediately treated in hospital but died a short time later.

Richmond Police District established Strike Force Degance to investigate.

Mr Johnstone’s death was the subject of an inquest before State Coroner Teresa O’Sullivan, who on the third day of proceedings referred the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Police say that, following extensive inquiries, a 57-year-old man attended Lismore police station on Friday and was issued with a court attendance notice for an allegation of manslaughter.

He is due to face Lismore Local Court on March 29.

The inquest heard Mr Johnstone, who had a history of escaping custody, had been taken to hospital while on remand after having an epileptic seizure in the cells of Lismore Court House, where he had been denied bail on assault charges.

As he was escorted back to the van by two corrections officers – one of whom was armed with a revolver – he “elbowed” the unarmed officer who had a grip of his pants, throwing him off balance, and started running. The officers cannot be named for legal reasons.

The inquest heard the armed officer fired three shots, and the third shot hit Mr Johnstone in the mid-back, going through his aorta, liver and diaphragm.

Counsel assisting the coroner Peggy Dwyer told the inquest in October that armed corrections officers carry guns but, unlike police, are not equipped with non-lethal weapons, such as Tasers, extendable batons or capsicum spray.

She said corrections officers might legally discharge firearms in a number of circumstances, including “to prevent the escape of an inmate” – with a number of provisos, including that a warning must be given and there cannot be reasonable grounds to believe the shot could hit another person.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/corrections-officer-charged-over-shooting-death-of-indigenous-man-20210205-p56zy9.html

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Australia Day Arrests as police clash with Invasion Day protesters


Peaceful protests calling for a change to the January 26 Australia Day holiday turned ugly as police clashed with protesters and, on one occasion, a protester was forcefully removed by bikies.

Thousands gathered for Invasion Day protests in Australia’s capital cities and in regional centres.

After hours of speeches at the Domain in the Sydney CBD, where police told protesters they could gather but not march, a number of protesters were arrested.

In Canberra, a man wearing a Make America Great Again cap and waving an Australian flag was forcibly removed from an Invasion Day rally by three men in bikie colours.

As he drove away, the assembled crowd cheered.

In Melbourne, thousands marched from Parliament House down Bourke Street after a peaceful protest in which police refused to remove their hats, a stance in line with police procedure.

The clash between police and protesters at the Domain in Sydney followed a warning from police. “If you do the right thing, I’ll do the right thing,” an officer told an organiser as 3000 people gathered.

NSW Police said five people were arrested including an 18-year-old man who was not part of the gathering.

One man was charged with assaulting police and one woman was charged with hindering police in the execution of duty.

Two other men were each fined $1000 and released.

Earlier, in the Sydney suburb of Newtown, a fresh mural painted by acclaimed street artist Scott Marsh emerged at first light.

It shows Scott Morrison dressed as Captain James Cook next to two words, “Captain Cooked”, and the hashtag #ChangeTheDate.

A speaker at the Sydney event, Gwenda Stanley, told a crowd of more than 500 people that it was time Indigenous Australians were given proper reparations. “A million dollars for each black person,” she said.

“Don’t be fooled by the Uluru statement from the arse. Let’s do reparations before treaty. A million dollars for each black person and than we can talk treaty.”

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mick Willing yesterday warned officers would not hesitate to ensure crowd numbers stayed under 500. “Do not come in and be part of that public gathering. Find another way to express your views and opinions,” he said.

“We are all aware that these are sensitive issues and they are very important issues to a lot of people, but we are still in the middle of a global pandemic and we’re asking people to abide by those health orders.”

Police will be able to issue on-the-spot fines upwards of $1000 but the penalty for breaching public health orders comes with a fine up to $11,000 and a six-month jail term.

The coronavirus pandemic this year saw Victorians unable to gather for an Australia Day rally because it was deemed a public health risk by the state government. But Melbourne City Council did approve an Invasion Day Dawn Service.

Melbourne Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the seated, 250-capacity service at Kings Domain was “a way of supporting an event that reflects that ancient Australian history”.

The January 26 public holiday has in recent years seen thousands of Australians take to the streets to protest against Australia’s national holiday.

Thousands have gathered outside Parliament House in Melbourne for a demonstration where a minute of silence was observed. Huge crowds are also peacefully protesting in Brisbane.

Organisers of the Sydney protest told news.com.au 3000 people turned up. “They allowed us to occupy the Domain and for the event to go ahead so long as there was a no marching so that wasn’t the compromise,” Ian Brown said.

Mr Brown, a Gomeroi man from Moree, said the Uluru Statement from the Heart which proposed a voice to parliament, was not the answer. “The statement doesn’t do enough. They have this idea the statement is a grassroots movement. There was no consultation done on my homelands.

The Invasion Day rallies call for, among other things, a changing of the date to reflect the fact that for some it represents more than the beginning of British colonialism when the First Fleet arrived at Sydney Cove in 1788.

They want it to be moved because that same date represents the “continued genocide of Aboriginal people”.

One of the key figures in the NSW Black Lives Matter movement has told news.com.au changing the date of Australia Day from January 26 will not be enough.

Paul Silva is the nephew of David Dungay Jr, a Dunghutti man from Kempsey, who died in prison custody in 2015.

“I’m here to demand the abolishment of Australia Day. It’s not significant to us as First Nations people. Over 250 years ago the First Fleet come in and murdered, raped and stole children of our ancestors.”

Mr Silva said the whole day needed to be abolished. “Changing the date is not going to make a difference in my view.  “That we allow Australia to celebrate a day when murders and criminal activity took place is just appalling.”

Mr Silva also hit out at Prime Minister Scott Morrison who last week stoked controversy by suggesting that those who arrived on the First Fleet didn’t have a “flash day” either. “Him making comments like that is just appalling. He basically condones what happened when the First Fleet come here.”

Lidia Thorpe, the first Indigenous woman in Victorian parliament, is using her platform to call for change. On Twitter, she wrote: “Too many Australians still think January 26 is a day of celebration, but for Aboriginal people across this country, it’s a Day of Mourning.

“That’s why I’m inviting communities, councils and organisations to fly the Aboriginal flag at half-mast on #InvasionDay.”

Invasion Day protests have been planned for Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Adelaide, Darwin, Hobart, Newcastle, Rockhampton, Lismore, Albury and Lithgow

https://www.news.com.au/national/australia-day-police-vow-crackdown-on-invasion-day-protests-across-the-country/news-story/7c1abc3c0672086fdeae0c57a6f0fc83


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Three cops violently restrain an Aborigine who hit them while resisting arrest


<i>"Disturbing"?  Hardly.  What do you expect when a known crook hits a cop?

This is typical of the problems cops face when someone refuses to go quietly.  They have to use force but what exactly they do depends of what the crook does.  It all has to be done in seconds, leaving little room for making ideal judgments.  The cops do what they perceive as  needed in the moment even though armchair critics might think differently

And this guy was no innocent.  He had clearly heard of the George Floyd case and thought he could bluff the cops with his knowledge of it. His claim "I can't breathe" appears to have had no substance as he came to no lasting harm -- unlike George Floyd who really could not breathe and promptly died of his situation.</i>


A disturbing video has captured the moment police officers repeatedly punched and kicked an indigenous elder before pinning him to the ground and leaving him gasping for air during a violent arrest.

'I can't breathe' the man screams while lying on the narrow footpath in Campbelltown in south west Sydney. 

The ugly footage shows the 47-year-old being restrained by three male officers from the Campbelltown City Police Area Command at about 2.40pm on Tuesday.

The man, identified by a witness as Uncle Bud of Campbelltown, resists arrest and begins trading blows with police who react with force.

The video clip the shows the arrest taking a frightening when officers begin laying into the victim.  

One officer knees the victim while another throws a wild punch at his stomach. 

The indigenous man lashes out with his fist sparking a vicious response from the officers.

One policeman punches the victim in the face before he is wrestled to the ground and kicked once more for good measure. 

While pinned down the man repeatedly shouts 'I can't breathe' as witnesses berate the officers for their heavy-handedness.

The person who posted the clip to Facebook said the man received the 'royalty treatment' by New South Wales police.

But police have denied claims the officers involved did anything wrong.

NSW Police told Daily Mail Australia the man was seen riding a bike on Peppin Crescent in Airds when officers attempted to stop him.

He was wanted for breaching his bail conditions. 

NSW Police said he allegedly failed to comply with the order to stop and tried to flee but officers caught up with him when he lost control and crashed the bike.  

'It's alleged the man resisted the officers and punched a constable and senior constable multiple times to the head,' NSW Police said. 

'The man was subdued and during a search of him police located and seized an amount of methamphetamine.' 

The was later taken to Campbelltown Police Station and charged with the breach of bail, as well as three counts of assault police, resist arrest and possess prohibited drug. 

His bail was refused bail when he appeared at Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday December, 30.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9105811/Shocking-video-captures-moment-three-cops-trade-blows-man-screams-breathe.html

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Adelaide man who suffered broken leg during SA Police arrest secures $854,000 compensation


The Supreme Court of South Australia has upheld an $854,000 compensation payment for a man whose leg was broken as police arrested him more than seven years ago.

SA Police officers used capsicum spray and a "figure four leg lock" as they tried to arrest Matthew Charles Crossley on Bank Street in the Adelaide CBD in March 2013.

The leg lock manoeuvre, designed to restrain someone thrashing or kicking, left Mr Crossley's femur so badly broken that a 40-centimetre rod was inserted during surgery hours after the incident.

In February, the District Court ruled that the police officers had committed three acts of battery during the arrest and, in May, awarded Mr Crossley $700,000 in compensation for the "egregious" and "violent" arrest.

At the time, District Court Judge Sydney Tilmouth found the use of the leg lock to handcuff Mr Crossley was "unnecessary and excessive" because he was already restrained.

He added that Mr Crossley was entitled to resist the arrest because the officers' failure to explain their reasoning rendered it "unlawful".

More damages were added in July to bring the total to $854,313.

In an appeal to the Supreme Court, the State Government argued the officers had lawfully arrested Mr Crossley for disorderly behaviour.

Lawyers for the government argued that using pepper spray and the leg lock was lawful and justified in the circumstances.

But the court dismissed the appeal, on all grounds, in a judgement handed down this week.

In the reasons for the unanimous decision, Justice David Peek said the officers' actions "were unjustified and unlawful, irrespective of whether or not [Mr Crossley] had been properly informed as to the reason for his arrest".

"The judge was correct in finding that [Senior Constable] Lovell attempted to carry out a 'figure four leg lock' manoeuvre by applying his full body weight across the respondent's legs while bending and twisting his left leg at the knee and that this was inherently dangerous and unjustified," Justice Peek wrote.

An SA Police spokeswoman said it was "assessing the outcomes of the appeal and have no further comment to make".

In a hearing earlier this year, Mr Crossley said he used crutches for six months and a walking stick for a further three-to-four months after the injury but was otherwise left "basically bed-bound" most of the time.

He has suffered complications with the rod, walks with a limp and will require continued rehabilitation as part of his ongoing recovery.

Additionally, his treating psychiatrist said he experiences symptoms of PTSD, anxiety and depression.

Mr Crossley told the court he had not worked since the incident because he was "not physically capable".

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-25/man-secures-compensation-854000-broken-leg-police-arrest/13012778

Saturday, December 26, 2020

NSW Police create a deadly incident


<i>News report below followed by some comments from a reader.  My reader did the smart thing.  He didn't run</i>

The family of an apprentice tradesman killed by a senior constable in Western Sydney has called for a royal commission into policing in New South Wales.

Bradley Balzan, 20, was walking to the shops at St Marys when four plain-clothed officers pulled up next to him in an unmarked car two days ago.

His grandmother Nola Balzan said one of the undercover officers asked, "What are you doing?" but failed to disclose he was with the police force.

"He ignored them, which, if you didn't know a person, you would ignore them — then they kept following him and he said something like 'I am sick of this, f-off' and he ran because he was scared," she said.

Assistant Commissioner Mark Jones said on Wednesday he was acting "suspiciously" but would not elaborate on his behaviour.

With four officers chasing after him, Bradley Balzan sprinted only a few hundred metres home and into his backyard on Acacia Street.

Nola Balzan said she believes he grabbed a shovel to defend himself before his pet dog bit one of the officers, sending him to hospital with minor injuries.

Police claim Bradley Balzan snatched the gun from one of two senior constables and fired "at least one shot" before one of them fired the deadly shot.

"Bradley has no criminal record — I think it was police brutality because everything that happened to him was terrifying," Nola Balzan said.

Bradley Balzan was treated by paramedics but died shortly after going into cardiac arrest while his father, Adam, was told to stay inside. "Even at that stage, the officers hadn't identified themselves as police," Nola Balzan said.

"Adam said, 'Is that my son?' and they said, 'We don't know' — Bradley doesn't drive so he doesn't have a licence with photo ID." "They ended up taking a photo and showing him, and it was Bradley's face with blood all over it so that's how he knew it was his son, which is absolutely crazy … it was traumatising."

Adam Balzan hasn't been able to return home since the tragedy on his backdoor step but told the ABC "police must be held accountable for their actions".

Nola Balzan said her son was "devastated". "They have only one child and now they have none," she said. "[Bradley] was handsome, he was cheeky, he made us laugh, he loved his family, he loved his pets, his friends and mountain biking."

An internal police investigation which will be carried out by homicide detectives promises to scrutinise the actions of the two senior constables before the findings are independently reviewed.

But Nola Balzan is calling for a royal commission style of inquiry into the state's police force following the shooting.

"Think before you shoot. There's pepper spray, which was used on Bradley, there's tasers that they are allowed to use which would have been a deterrent," she said.

"Shooting someone in the stomach is not shooting to stop, that's shooting to kill," she said.

Nola Balzan said Christmas used to be the one time of the year she looked forward to and when all eight of her grandchildren would come together under one roof.

"Christmas is now dead to us — I have cancelled our lunch, it doesn't feel right with Bradley not here — I don't know how we are going to come back from this," she said. "A good deal of people are going to be missing him."

Bradley Balzan was only a year into his apprenticeship as a tradesman and had recently started taking a course to become a barman.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-25/nsw-family-of-bradley-balzan-speak-for-the-first-time/13013146

<i>A reader writes:</i>

I too was once stopped by two out of uniform police who did not identify themselves as police. It frightened me too. 

I was in the bush on crown land up the back of where I lived, just sitting, contemplating things, which as you know, contemplation is a pastime of mine. 

Both men were armed with rifles. I presumed them to be deer hunters. One demanded of me, "What are you doing here?" I replied, "Nothing, just sitting." He repeated his demand several times, to which I made the same reply each time. 

His question was was not asked as an enquiring question, but as a demand for an answer. His eyes were piecing and his manner was very very assertive. And he gave no explanation of why he was challenging me; no introduction, no identification that he was police, nothing; he was just aggressive man with a rifle repeating a demand that I tell him what I am doing there. 

The second armed man stood several steps back, as if ready to back up his mate. I was very frightened. I thought I was going to be murdered. I felt that if I fled I would be shot, and if I moved I would be shot. 

Eventually they turned and left, both giving me a parting look as if they could kill me if they wanted to. 

At the time I frequently swam at a local pool, and one of the local policemen swam there too. While we both took a rest at the shallow end from swimming laps, I mentioned the incident to him. He told me not to worry about it, that they were just two off duty police doing some deer shooting up the back. 

That was no reassurance to me. Some men should not become police. If the story in this linked article is as described, that plain clothes police bailed up the young man without identifying themselves as police, then I can well appreciate his fear, and can understand why he ran. To then be chased, grappled and shot is tragic and criminal -- if that is the case.


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Greenie exhibitionists let off lightly


<i>These egotists imposed huge costs and frustrations  on other people.  Time is money, among other things, and people who were forced to sit in their cars for extended periods were out of the productive workforce during that time.  They lost various sorts of productivity for no good reason and making up for that lost  productivity would often not be possible.

And that is not to take account of the stresses which were no doubt imposed on many busy people. Many drivers would have been working to tight time deadlines and being blocked from meeting those deadlines would have been very stressful.

It is surely the job of the police to remove such deliberate obstructions expeditiously and it is surely the job of the magistracy to impose on the offenders a penalty that reflects to some degree the frustrations they deliberately imposed on many innocent people.  As it was, both the police and the magistracy failed to do what was their bounden duty</i>


Two Extinction Rebellion protesters who held up inner-city Brisbane traffic for more than two hours earlier this month have been fined hundreds of dollars each.

However, serial protester Eric Serge Herbert, 21, and Wenzel Auch, 28, will not have to pay $917 restitution to the State fire service and their convictions have not been recorded.

The pair blocked traffic at the intersection of Edward and Queen Sts on December 7, from 7.15am to 9.25am, while protesting on top of a truck, Brisbane Magistrates Court heard.

Police, including the Special Emergency Response Team, Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and Queensland Ambulance Service, were called to the scene.

Herbert has just spent seven days in Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre, after he refused to sign a bail condition agreeing not to participate in any illegal protests while on bail.

Wenzel Auch, 28, who also refused to sign the bail condition, spent four days in custody, before being released on Friday.

The court heard the protesters appeared to have their arms locked in a metal pipe “sleeping dragon’’ device, while they stood on the truck during the protest.

However, after fire officers brought them to the ground and sawed through the pipe, it was revealed the pair were only held together with bulldog clips.

Herbert pleaded guilty to obstructing the path of a driver, contravening a police direction to move off the road, obstructing a police officer and refusing to state his full and correct name.

Police prosecutors asked for each man to be ordered to pay $917 restitution to QFRS.

Herbert objected, saying it should only be ordered if there was damage to property or injury to people.

“My conscience dictates that it is my duty to follow our ancestors and do peaceful civil disobedience when our lives are threatened by the government or its laws,’’ he said.

Magistrate Mark Nolan said he took into account Herbert’s early pleas of guilty and that he had voluntarily spent several days in custody.

Mr Nolan said everyone had the right to protest and make statements about their beliefs, but the law required everyone to abide by it.

He fined Herbert $600, and did not record a conviction. Mr Nolan refused to order restitution to QFRS, saying the paperwork was insufficient.

Auch pleaded guilty to causing an obstruction to drivers, contravening a police direction and obstructing police and was fined $500, with no conviction recorded.

When Auch told Magistrate Terry Quinn that he had not enjoyed making people angry by disrupting traffic, Mr Quinn said: “I disagree.’’ Mr Quinn said he had seen Auch looking around the court, looking very happy with himself.  “I have formed the opinion you are enjoying the limelight,’’ the magistrate told him.

Auch, who recently graduated with an environmental science degree, said he felt such a protest was a small impact on people’s lives compared to a catastrophic climate emergency.

Mr Quinn told Auch his protest could have prevented people, including pregnant women or doctors, from going to hospital.

While Herbert and Auch were in custody Extinction Rebellion staged a city protest on Thursday, which resulted in several arrests.

Auch said outside court he was released from prison at 1am the following day.

https://www.couriermail.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts/eric-herbert-and-wenzel-auch-fined-for-brisbane-cbd-protest-but-avoid-paying-compensation-to-fireys/news-story/db2dd9606bfe0da6574a69335a2693ed


Sunday, December 13, 2020

Seven teens arrested after spate of armed robberies in Sydney



<i>No ethnicity given.  Had they been whites that would almost certainly have been said.  As it is, the group retreated to Redfern Station, a notorious  Aboriginal hangout. There is a high rate of criminality among young Aborigines</i>

Eight people, including two 13-year-olds and five other teens, have been charged after a spate of armed robberies in Sydney's CBD on Saturday morning.

"We're alleging they followed three people after they left Maccas on George Street and chased one of them down to Town Hall Station and robbed them there," a NSW Police spokeswoman said.

The first of the three robberies occurred at about 4am when a man was approached by a group, one of whom was allegedly armed with a knife. A man from the group demanded his phone before hitting him over the head with a bottle.

The injured man was treated by paramedics at the scene before being transferred to St Vincent's Hospital in a serious condition. The police spokeswoman said the man received stitches and was kept in hospital overnight for observation and was expected to be released on Sunday.

Shortly afterwards, a second man was allegedly threatened by the same group while travelling on a train from Town Hall to Central before his phone was stolen.

Then, a third man had his headphones stolen by the group at Central Station.

The robberies occurred over about 45 minutes.

Police from a high-visibility operation targeting street crime in the CBD found and arrested the group at Redfern Station about 6am. The group consisted of a 13-year-old boy and girl, two 14-year-old boys, a 16-year-old boy and girl, a 17-year-old boy and an 18-year-old woman.

Members of the group were charged with a range of crimes, including armed robbery, assault and theft. They were refused bail and will appear in Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/seven-teens-arrested-after-spate-of-armed-robberies-in-sydney-s-cbd-20201213-p56mzn.html

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Shameful police crookedness in the Northern Territory



<i>Concealing exculpatory evidence is a serious offence.  The cop concerned should be fired</i>

Indigenous man bailed after Darwin Local Court shown CCTV footage police said did not exist

An Indigenous man who spent more than 100 days in prison has been released on bail after a Darwin court heard CCTV footage shows he is not responsible for an assault he was charged over.

Police and prosecutors had both denied the footage existed, prompting the man's lawyer, Patrick McNally, to subpoena a copy from the casino.

Zarak Bolga, 44, was charged with aggravated assault and breaching a domestic violence order and then jailed on August 25 after his partner was assaulted outside Darwin's Mindil Beach Casino.

At a bail hearing on Thursday, Mr McNally tendered CCTV to the Darwin Local Court that he says shows an unidentified woman carried out the attack.

But in a November 23 email read to the court, prosecutor Lee Campbell told Mr McNally the incident was not captured on camera.   "There is no casino CCTV available. Their CCTV does not cover the area outside the casino and they wipe their footage every two weeks," the email read.

The court heard there had been two previous court orders, issued by Judge Greg Macdonald and Chief Judge Elizabeth Morris, compelling police to produce the footage.

"Numerous attempts were made to get the police to, I say, do their job and obtain this material — including orders by Judge Macdonald — which haven't been complied with, and further orders by Her Honour the Chief Judge as well," Mr McNally said.

"This is a matter where orders of the court have not been complied with and there's been attempts made by members of the police to, I say, defy orders of the court," Mr McNally said.

Constable summonsed to court

The court heard Mr Bolga went to Royal Darwin Hospital with the victim after the incident and was later arrested. He initially applied for bail in August but was refused.

Before CCTV of the assault was played to the court, Local Court Judge Michael Carey asked: "Does this footage show females attacking the victim?"

"It does, Your Honour," Mr McNally replied.

The court also heard that during his arrest, Mr Bolga told police: "I didn't do it. Get the CCTV at the casino; it'll show what happened".

Mr McNally requested the police officer in charge of the investigation, Constable Jessica Speckman, be summoned to the court on Monday to "explain how this matter has come so far, such that this man has been remanded since the 25th of August".

"I have very, very serious issues with the conduct of the investigation and the prosecution in this matter," Mr McNally said.

"The question is: is [Constable Speckman] lazy and did she not ask [for CCTV], or is she lying?"

Judge Carey suggested Constable Speckman may have been told by staff members at the casino that the CCTV did not exist.

Prosecutors did not speak at Mr Bolga's bail hearing on Thursday.

"Looks like the Crown case is in very serious trouble," Judge Carey said.

Constable Speckman was ordered to attend court to give evidence.

The case will return to court on Monday, December 7.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-12-04/man-bailed-after-darwin-court-shown-cctv-police-refused/12949660

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Many Aborigines are their own worst enemy



<i>A case in point.  He paid the ultimate price for his foolishness.  

If you want the police to be civil to you, you have to be civil and co-operative with them.  And running away is the extreme of non co-operation

The police have an important job to do and we must expect them to do what it takes.  And in this case they clearly followed their rules</i>


Dwayne Johnstone was handcuffed, shackled and running away when he was shot in the back and killed by a corrections officer outside Lismore Base Hospital, an inquest has heard.

State Coroner Teresa O'Sullivan will take submissions on Wednesday on whether the threshold has been met for her to refer the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The inquest into Mr Johnstone's 2019 death, which began on Tuesday at Lismore Court House, heard the 43-year-old Aboriginal man had been taken to hospital while on remand after suffering an epileptic seizure in the cells of Lismore Court House, where he'd been denied bail on assault charges.

Counsel assisting the inquest, Peggy Dwyer, said Mr Johnstone had a history of drug addiction and involvement in the criminal justice system – mostly over property theft, minor assaults and possession or trafficking of drugs. He had twice been convicted of escaping lawful custody.

Because of his history of escape, Ms Dwyer said he was classified E1, meaning "an inmate in those circumstances was to be handcuffed and ankle cuffed and treated as high risk at all times".

Ms Dwyer told the inquest Mr Johnstone, described as "a much-loved partner, son and stepson", had been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and had been sexually abused as a child by the principal of his primary school, and again at the Burnside boys home.

A nurse who treated Mr Johnstone at the hospital described him as "compliant" and "appreciative of hospital care", Ms Dwyer told the court.

But as he was escorted back to the van on March 15, 2019 by two corrections officers – one of whom was armed with a revolver – he "elbowed" the unarmed officer who had a grip of his pants, throwing him off balance, and started running. The officers cannot be named for legal reasons.

Ms Dwyer said the inquest would hear multiple accounts, including from the corrections officers, that Mr Johnstone was moving fast despite being shackled and handcuffed.

The officer carrying a revolver told police in an interview that he called out "stop, stop, or I'll shoot" before firing a warning shot into the bushes, Ms Dwyer said. Mr Johnstone kept running, so he said "f---ing stop" and fired again.

The officer told police he aimed a second shot "in Dwayne's direction but not at him". When he still didn't stop, the officer aimed a third shot "at the centre of mass". The bullet entered the middle of Mr Johnstone's back and went through his aorta, liver, and diaphragm, Ms Dwyer said.

The officer who fired the shots told police he was surprised at how fast Mr Johnstone could run, and didn't think he or the second officer would be able to catch him.

But Ms Dwyer said the second officer told police his partner had told him to "get out of the road", and asked if he thought he could have caught up, he said he "didn't know" and hadn't been given the chance.

Ms Dwyer told the inquest that armed corrections officers carry guns but unlike police, are not equipped with non-lethal weapons, such as Tasers, extendable batons, or capsicum spray.

She said corrections officers may legally discharge firearms in a number of circumstances, including "to prevent the escape of an inmate" – with a number of provisos, including that a warning must be given and there cannot be reasonable grounds to believe the shot could hit another person.

However, she said the use of force must be the "option of last resort" and officers "may use no more force than is reasonably necessary in the circumstances".

Ms O'Sullivan said the question of whether the threshold for the matter to be referred for criminal prosecution had been met "is certainly a live issue".

She adjourned the inquest until Wednesday, when she will hear submissions from the parties before making a decision as to whether to continue or have the matter referred to the DPP.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/dwayne-was-fatally-shot-in-the-back-while-running-away-inquest-hears-20201027-p568xk.html


Sunday, November 1, 2020

The African problem comes to Darwin


<b></b>

<i>The video clearly depicts Africans</i>

A group of out-of-control youths have been terrorising Darwin, leaving residents feeling like prisoners in their own homes. 

Armed with knives and rocks, the group of children - some just eight years old - have been wreaking havoc across this city every night this week.  

Over the past 24 hours cars, cafes and homes have been broken into by the same group.

Blue Taxi Company has been posting images of the carnage they've experienced at the hands of the group. Their latest post shows glass scattered across the backseat of a taxi after a window was smashed. 'And another day in the war zone,' the post read. 

Blue Taxi Company owner Helen Pachos told Daily Mail Australia the crime was so bad residents felt like prisoners in their own homes. 'It's just getting more and more out of control,' she said. 'During lockdown it quietened down, I'm not sure what changed in the last week but they are out and about. 

'We get told by the police that it's just a group of youths - they call them youths, I call them thugs - that are repeatedly doing it. 

'What is really concerning is they've got 10 and eight-year-olds tagging along, I call them ''crims in training''.'

She said she had put additional security measures in place to deter criminals but it had't stopped them from being targeted.

'We now have cameras everywhere. 'It doesn't stop them, it just gets the evidence that it's happening, that's not what I want, I want to feel safe. 'It's very scary. We're prisoners in our own home.' 

Rick Hall shared a picture on Facebook on Thursday showing his car which had the window smashed in. 'That lovely little, but growing band from Karama just smashed my car with rocks as I was going past Casaurina Square,' he said. 

'When I stopped and got out about ten kids pelted me with rocks and two threw their scooters at me.'

Another horrified homeowner discovered a knife left behind in a car after it was broken into this week. 'To the people of McMinns Lagoon, the little terds are armed,' the post read. 'They raided our cars and got cash. They left their knife in there so it's now in the hands of the police for fingerprints.'

Fresh Point Co cafe was also targeted by the group, with CCTV footage capturing the brazen thief in the act. The popular cafe was broken into at 2.45am on Friday after crooks smashed in the front door. The group made off with 10 bottles of alcohol. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8895853/Residents-claim-Darwin-overrun-control-youths-armed-knives.html


Thursday, October 29, 2020

Queensland police say officer acted appropriately in incident that injured Brisbane refugee protester


<b></b>

<i>The cops were trying to get him away from a fence he was trying to pull down</i>

Queensland police say a video in which an officer appears to hit a refugee protester in the head at a Brisbane rally on Sunday makes the incident "appear far worse than it is".

But Jeff Rickertt, the man who was injured in the incident, rejected the police assessment of the incident as "complete nonsense".

"I felt the force of the blow. My initial reaction was that I'd been hit by a fist," Mr Rickertt said after being released from hospital on Monday afternoon.

He said a CT scan had found no serious head injury, and that he had a laceration on his ear and a dull headache but "otherwise I'm fine".

Tensions between police and activists had been building over a series of protests against the ongoing detention of refugees and asylum seekers at a hotel in the Brisbane suburb of Kangaroo Point.

Protesters provided the ABC with video of what some activists believed was a police officer hitting Mr Rickertt without provocation.

Mr Rickertt was standing by a fence that been erected around the hotel exterior. He was taken to the Mater Hospital after the incident.

"I was struck on the side of the head and for about two hours thereafter the side of my head and my ear were numb with the force of that impact," Mr Rickertt said.

On Monday, Acting Assistant Commissioner Brian Conners told a media conference he believed the actions of the officer were "appropriate".

He said the officer did not strike Mr Rickertt in the video and that the camera angle of the video made the incident "appear far worse than it is".

"The officer didn't strike the male person directly, he reached out with an open hand and grabbed the male person on the back of his clothing to pull him back from the fence," Assistant Commissioner Conners said.

He said other footage available online showed the incident from different angles and he encouraged people to review it. "The circumstances are what they are — review the footage."

One protester, Ruby Thorburn, said she was among the crowd on Sunday afternoon, standing one person away from Mr Rickertt.

Protesters told the ABC a group of 15 to 20 people were slapping their hands against the fence to make noise the men inside the hotel could hear.

"The man who had been targeted by the police officer wasn't actually touching the fence at the time, he had stepped back, and that's when I saw an extremely charged officer who sprinted up and hit him with full force on the left side of his head," Ms Thorburn said.

She said she stayed with Mr Rickertt while he was on the ground. "He looked really hurt. It was a terrifying few seconds when he hit the floor, because it was a really big thud.

"He was quite slow in responding. When he started to respond, we noticed that there was blood coming out of his ear and he was sweating and shaking a lot."

'Directions of police were ignored'

Superintendent Andrew Pilotto said the protest was unauthorised and that many in attendance "were not cooperating with police".

"Prior to the police moving in to safeguard that fence, quite a number of directions were given to protesters to release the fence, step back stand down and re-join the group, and those directions of police were ignored over a considerable period," Superintendent Pilotto said.

"A lot of these people are in police officers' faces for long periods of time, yelling at police officers, throwing things in their faces."

Mr Rickertt said he was not grabbed by the shirt or the neck, and was not near the fence when he was targeted. "I was also conscious throughout the whole process," he said. "I was very aware that I fell to the ground and I'm also very aware that I did not strike my head on the ground.

"The force of the blow to my head by the police officer was what caused the injury that I have."

Police are reviewing the matter internally.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/queensland-police-say-officer-acted-appropriately-in-incident-that-injured-brisbane-refugee-protester/ar-BB1ao0Jt

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Police camera ruling 'denies courts critical evidence'


Victoria Police officers cannot be compelled to release footage from body-worn cameras in civil proceedings following a County Court decision last month which has prompted calls for urgent reform of the laws that regulate their use.

The court ruling is expected to deny crucial evidence being tendered during civil trials that could prove an abuse of power or potentially exonerate a police officer against such an allegation.

It could also have significant implications for other civil cases, including Transport Accident Commission claims, where a law enforcement officer or paramedic was present and equipped with a camera.

Lawyers and civil libertarians have urged Attorney-General Jill Hennessy to amend legislation from 2017, when the cameras were first trialled in Victoria in response to recommendations by the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

Robinson Gill lawyer Jeremy King warned of a serious miscarriage of justice without government intervention.

"It is in the interest of plaintiffs, police and the TAC that this gets fixed straight away," he said.

"There is a massive black hole in the legislation regarding courts being able to access and utilise body-worn camera footage in any civil proceeding. Courts are being denied critical evidence that may determine the outcome of a case."

Mr King is representing former prisoner Konstantin German, who claims in court documents to have been bashed by prison guards and bitten by a dog during riots at the Melbourne Remand Centre in 2015.

Two of the guards were wearing body-worn cameras, but lawyers for the Victorian Government Solicitor's Office opposed the release of the footage to the plaintiff.

In her judgment on September 25, County Court judge Sandra Davis found there were no specific provisions in the Surveillance Devices Act for the footage to be handed over in civil proceedings.

Liberty Victoria president Julian Burnside, QC, called on the government to change the legislation.

"If this is the law, then it's wrong. Video footage from these body cameras is precisely the type of evidence that should be available during civil litigation," Mr Burnside said.

Ms Hennessey said body-worn cameras were an important way to ensure greater accountability and create a safer environment for officers, staff and the community.

"I am aware of this case and will consider the legal implications of the ruling," she said.

More than 8000 frontline police and protective services officers are now fitted with cameras, which are also worn by some prison guards and Ambulance Victoria paramedics.

Police claimed the technology helped provide "better and more efficient justice outcomes by streamlining evidence gathering and corroboration" at a a briefing to IBAC in February 2020.

It was also claimed the cameras would encourage "more transparent interactions between police and the community while enhancing member safety," according to the briefing by Superintendent Jason Kelly.

However, The Age revealed last year that police officers could deactivate their body-worn cameras at their discretion and edit footage before court cases, while the Andrews government had given police the power to deal "in-house" with any potential breaches.

Gregor Husper, principal solicitor at the Police Accountability Project, said the use of body-worn cameras had failed to make police more accountable.

"It's completely useless to members of the public wanting to allege misconduct by police. You can't get the footage under freedom of information laws. And now the footage can't be obtained during discovery in civil cases," Mr Husper said.

<a href="https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/melbourne/police-camera-ruling-denies-courts-critical-evidence/ar-BB19GM8R">SOURCE</a>