Friday, December 13, 2013

Australian Police to be charged over Taser death of Brazilian

Four police officers who were involved in the violent and lethal arrest of a young Brazilian student will have criminal assault charges laid against them.

Roberto Laudisio Curti, 21, died on Pitt Street in the early hours of March 18, 2012, following a chase by, and violent struggle with, 11 police officers, many of whom were acting on incorrect reports of an armed robbery.

He had earlier jumped the counter of a convenience store in an LSD-induced psychotic state and left with two packets of biscuits.

The talented football player had been out in Kings Cross celebrating a win with friends but ended up roaming the city's streets on his own in a paranoid, sweaty state.

Two police officers spotted him wandering down Pitt Street and tried to speak to him before he ran off. More officers joined the chase and eventual restraint.

Tasers were fired up to 14 times - nine of which hit Mr Curti - and he was restrained by seven officers using three cans of OC spray, two sets of handcuffs, a police baton and "half a tonne" of officers, an inquest heard last October.

State Coroner Mary Jerram stopped short of recommending criminal charges and instead referred the matter to the Police Integrity Commission when she handed down scathing findings.

The Police Integrity Commission referred an extensive brief of evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions in May, recommending that some of the officers be charged.

On Friday, the DPP advised the PIC that there was sufficient evidence to charge four of the officers.

It is expected that Senior Constable Scott Edmondson and Constable Daniel Barling will be charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm and Senior Constable Eric Lim and Senior Constable Damien Ralph will be charged with the lesser offence of common assault.

Senior Constable Edmondson Tasered Mr Curti twice in the back as he lay on the ground resisting arrest and was one of five officers picked out by Ms Jerram for their "reckless, careless, dangerous and excessively forceful" actions.

Constable Barling was also chastised for Tasering Mr Curti five times in "drive stun" mode whereby the Taser is pressed against the skin rather than shot from afar.

Senior Constable Ralph used three partial cans of capsicum spray on Mr Curti, possibly as close as 10 centimetres from his face, while several police officers were on top of him.

Senior Constable Lim told the inquest that he tried to tackle Mr Curti twice but, considering he weighed just 55 kilograms, fired his Taser once to bring Mr Curti to the ground and another time when Mr Curti was on the ground in handcuffs.

Ms Jerram found that the police officers acted "like schoolboys in Lord of the Flies" and their "thuggish" actions contributed to the death of Mr Curti.

It is expected that the DPP will lay the charges in the next week and the four officers will appear before a court in the new year.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Global porn ring: W.A. detective jailed over child images

A WA police detective caught up in a worldwide operation combating child pornography has been jailed for more than two years by a judge in Perth.

Lynton John Moore, 30, was one of hundreds of men arrested after a global operation to track down the client list of a Canadian-hosted website which allowed customers to trade and purchase child sex images and videos.

In June, Moore was raided by his WA police colleagues who found more than 20,000 images and videos featuring boys as young as seven being exploited.

He also refused to hand over the password to the hard disks containing the images - which Judge Ronald Birmingham said were "vile and degrading".

Moore, who briefly worked as a teacher before joining the police, was a decorated detective when he was arrested, having received a commendation for attempting to revive a murder victim, and being involved in church activities.

But lawyer Mark Andrews said his client also had deep underlying emotional and psychological issues including a lack of strategies to cope with job stresses.

He had lost his job as a result of the charges, Perth District Court was told, and as a former detective he will have to serve his sentence in a segregated special handling unit.

Moore pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing the material found in his home, and was sentenced to two years and six months in prison. He will be eligible for parole.

In all, more than 60 men and over 400 charges have been laid as part of Operation Thunderer, the Australian arm of the global operation emanating out of Canada.

That operation, codenamed Project Spade, was launched three years ago by Toronto police and is believed to have disbanded a global child abuse ring, and led to the arrest of almost 350 suspects worldwide.

Seven men from WA - including priests and teachers - were last week charged with various offences related to their alleged involvement.

Friday, November 22, 2013

W.A. cop threatens cyclist with rape -- but that's OK says Police commissioner

WESTERN Australia's top cop has backed the Perth policeman who has become an internet viral hit after being filmed swearing at a cyclist during a confrontation over a ticket.

Video footage of the confrontation posted on Facebook by John Martin attracted more than 21,300 likes in 24 hours, and was shared nearly 6000 times.

In the clip, the man argumentatively asks what crime he has committed and tells the officer to go "stop some criminals".

The policeman then walks close to the man and says: "If you swear one more time I will put you in the lock up for disorderly, just like last time".

"I will deny your bail and some big fella is going to play with your a....... during the night.  "If that's what you want, say one more swear word."

The police revealed the officer had admitted to overreacting, and Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan said he would be counselled.

But an outpouring of public support for the officer also prompted the commissioner to back his man.

"He was under pressure from someone who is extremely cocky, had a very bad attitude ... the policeman was trying to do his job and he gets this tirade back. He lost his cool," the Commissioner told 6PR.

"This guy has accepted no blame for the escalation of the situation whatsoever. His total view of the world is it is somebody else's problem, they did the wrong thing and I was OK.

"The public have had enough of this general lack of respect for people in authority, and not just police."

The commissioner also said he would be asking investigators to inspect the Facebook page where the video was posted.  "Maybe he wants to run home from work and pull it down before we see it," Mr O'Callaghan said.

The incident occurred on Fyfe St, Forrestfield at about 2.30pm on Tuesday afternoon.

Yesterday, Mr Martin, 24, told Nine News he was considering pressing charges against the officer.  "It's unacceptable, police shouldn't be allowed to treat the public like that," he said.  "You shouldn't threaten anyone with rape, especially if you're a police officer."

Yesterday police Inspector Dominic Wood said the officer had admitted he acted inappropriately, but that the snippet of footage does not show the whole event.

"We have thousands of interactions every day with police officers talking to members of the public. This is rare," Insp Wood said.

"It's a tough job and that officer has come across somebody that's obviously pushed his buttons and tried to get a reaction.

"The officer wouldn't have known he was being recorded under those circumstances."

Police union president George Tilbury said officers dealt with the public 24 hours a day and were often involved in "frustrating and stressful situations."

"As the full video has not been uploaded and the entirety of the circumstances are unknown, it is very difficult to comment on the actions of the officer," Mr Tilbury said.

"However, police officers should always do their utmost to portray a professional image, which can be difficult given that they are under more scrutiny than any other profession.

"Our members need to be aware that in this modern age of technology their actions and interactions with the public will be filmed, often without their knowledge or permission."

Police Minister Liza Harvey indicated to reporters that using foul language was inappropriate but she would leave the matter to police to investigate internally.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Perth cop's anger goes viral in video

WA Police have confirmed they are investigating a video showing a heated confrontation between a traffic officer and a member of the public which has gone viral on Facebook.

The 45-second video shows an officer responding aggressively to comments made by the member of the public filming the incident.

The man was stopped by the first-class constable for riding a bike without a helmet in Forrestfield about 2.30pm on Tuesday.

At a press conference in Perth on Wednesday morning police confirmed they were investigating a video posted on Facebook by 'John Gds Martin' and that the constable had been spoken to by his direct supervisor.

The video, shared through the Facebook page "50 shades of straya", has been liked more than 15,000 times, shared more than 500 times and has received more than 4000 comments in the 14 hours since it was posted.

Inspector Dom Wood said the officer could have dealt with the situation in a more appropriate manner.

"The officer has admitted he could have dealt with things more appropriately and he is going to be spoken to about that," he said.

"We have to make it quite clear that this is a small snippet we saw on Facebook, we haven't seen the entirety of the incident so we have to look into it further.  "This is extremely rare, we don't get these incidents too often.

"This officer has come across someone who has pushed his buttons and tried to get a reaction.  "The officer wouldn't have known he was being recorded in those circumstances."

Inspector Wood would not rule out WA Police taking disciplinary action against the officer.

WA Police Union president George Tilbury said the work of a police officer could sometimes be stressful and agreed that the full circumstances of this particular incident were not yet known.

"Our members interact with the public 24 hours a day, seven days a week and on some of these occasions the situation can be quite frustrating and stressful," he said.

"As the full video has not been uploaded and the entirety of the circumstances are unknown, it is very difficult to comment on the actions of the officer.

"However, police officers should always do their utmost to portray a professional image, which can be difficult given that they are under more scrutiny than any other profession.

"Our members need to be aware that in this modern age of technology their actions and interactions with the public will be filmed, often without their knowledge or permission.”

NSW police use of stun guns under renewed scrutiny after CCTV shows teenager being tasered

Police use of stun guns to subdue suspects is under renewed scrutiny after an unarmed Sudanese-Australian student was tasered while handcuffed and surrounded by six officers in Sydney.

The altercation at Sydney's Blacktown train station occurred on June 20, when 17-year-old Einpwi Amom allegedly swore at police and ran off.

Mr Amom, who fled war-torn Sudan with his family in 2003 and settled in Sydney's west, had been out with a cousin on the night and decided to meet with friends at the station, where they often hung out.

The HSC student had been drinking, and earlier in the night had been asked by police to move along.

CCTV footage from the station shows a police officer approaching Mr Amom, who runs, fearing arrest.

An officer chases him to the other side of the station where the teenager falls and hits his head, knocking himself unconscious on the stairs.

"I started running and then they chased me," Mr Amom recalls.  "I was running, I was drunk and then I slipped - boom! Stacked it and hit my head."

The teenager was handcuffed and dragged down the stairs, where footage shows him lying motionless for nearly two minutes, only coming around as more officers arrive.

"I woke up again, I was like 'What the hell is going on?', and then I see coppers holding me, twisting my arm, my leg," he said.

"I was like, why are you doing this? It was like a gang just attacking me."

The footage shows Mr Amom struggling with police while a female friend of his begins filming the struggle on her mobile phone.

When officers bring the teenager to his feet he resists and, as commuters look on, an officer fires his Taser at the handcuffed teenager.

As Mr Amom writhes in pain, an officer says: "If you resist again, you'll be tasered again."

Although visibly weak, Mr Amom is hauled to his feet and forced to walk down stairs, with an officer saying, "Stand up and walk or you'll be tasered again."

Officers say their use of force was justified, however the teenager still struggles to understand his treatment.  "When I was tasered, I was already handcuffed," he said.

"There was six police officers and I still got tasered."

Ultimately, Mr Amom was charged with six offences: failing to comply with a direction, offensive language, resisting police officer in the course of duty and three counts of assaulting a police officer.

However, last week - after viewing the CCTV footage, as well as the mobile phone and Taser camera vision, the Parramatta Children's Court magistrate dismissed all six charges against Mr Amom.

He ruled that the officers acted outside the lawful execution of duty when placing him under arrest.

Usually minors before the Children's Court cannot be identified, however Mr Amom, now 18, and his mother consented to appear on 7.30 in order to tell his story.

The teenager's mother, Achol Amom, says her son was treated like an animal, adding: "I'm not happy with this."

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NSW: Police change defence after video turns up

A group of police officers who allegedly broke the leg of an arts student and told her ''we don't care if it's legal'' have been allowed to change their defence at the eleventh hour after CCTV footage of the assault emerged.

Rachel Gardner is suing the NSW police force claiming she was kicked, sat on, handcuffed, pushed against a fence, loaded into a paddy wagon and then dumped at a nearby train station without charge after being caught without a train ticket on March 13, 2011.

Police initially denied the kick occurred but sought to amend their defence in the Sydney District Court on Monday, minutes before the beginning of a five-day trial, after Ms Gardner's legal team revealed they had obtained CCTV footage from Cronulla station.

On Tuesday, Judge Sharron Norton lambasted the force's barrister Matthew Hutchings for presenting an "entirely different" defence document on the morning of the trial but she allowed it and deferred the trial to November.

Ms Gardner, 36, was at Cronulla station with two tourist friends just before midnight when they were approached by transit officers and found to be without tickets.

An altercation ensued when the tourists couldn't produce identification and police attended. Ms Gardner claims that when she protested that one of the tourists was being pinned to the ground by a transit officer, Acting Sergeant Craig Sands kicked both her legs out from under her, breaking her right leg.

In her statement of claim, it is alleged Sergeant Sands then directed a transit officer to sit on her while she was lying face down on the platform before she was handcuffed, told she was under arrest and put in a paddy wagon.

When she objected to what she believed was an unlawful arrest, an officer said ''we don't care if this is legal'', the statement said. Ms Gardner was not taken to a police station and charged. Instead, she was driven to Sutherland railway station and ''left to fend for herself in a seriously injured condition''.

She is seeking damages of up to $750,000 for the injuries as well as the humiliation, disgrace, mental suffering, emotional distress, fear and anxiety, loss of social status and inconvenience caused by assault, false arrest and false imprisonment. A doctor's report says she will likely develop osteoarthritis within five to 10 years.

Her aspirations to become a filmmaker would also be hindered as well as attempts to get casual work while studying at the University of NSW College of Fine Arts, the court heard. Barrister Geoffrey Petty, SC, said the only record of the incident was a standard internal log that was ''brief in the extreme''. He said CCTV footage showed the kick ''as plain as daylight'' and also showed the officers chatting on the station as Ms Gardner limped away.

The police initially denied all Ms Gardner's claims and said she bit and kicked officers.

Mr Hutchings said this was because Ms Gardner's statement of claim was so vague and void of detail that it prevented them investigating the claims and preparing a proper response.

The trial will begin in November.

Monday, November 11, 2013

ACT: David Eastman murder case reopened

There has long been an odour about this case -- JR

Information suggesting David Harold Eastman might have been planning a ‘‘homicidal attack’’ on his trial judge was circulated to court staff in the lead up to the convicted murder's trial, an inquiry has heard.

The inquiry is trying to determine whether then chief justice Ken Carruthers had seen mental health reports on Eastman, and whether this could have created a perception of bias. A former registrar told the court on Monday that while the information had been circulated among staff, he had been careful not to tell Justice Carruthers.

Eastman was found guilty in 1995 of the 1989 murder of Assistant Australian Federal Police Commissioner Colin Winchester.

Mr Winchester was shot as he sat in his car in his neighbour’s driveway in Deakin one January night in 1989.

Eastman was found guilty of murder by a jury in 1995, and is serving life in the Alexander Maconochie Centre.

But the conviction of Eastman, who has maintained his innocence, is the subject of an inquiry that formally began hearing evidence on Monday.

That inquiry was ordered by judge Shane Marshall last year because he was satisfied there was ’’fresh doubt’’ about Eastman’s guilt.

The inquiry has begun by looking at the existence of a number of mental health reports on Eastman, compiled by Dr Rod Milton, and whether they may have been given to the judge overseeing his trial, chief justice Carruthers, without being formally tendered in court.

One of those reports detailed alleged threats by Eastman, and the risk he may have posed to court staff.

Former Supreme Court registrar Alan Towell was the first witness to give evidence to the inquiry on Monday.

Mr Towell said the contents of the reports were disseminated to various members of the court, but he had been careful not to give the reports to the trial judge.

The inquiry heard that Dr Milton’s reports contained information suggesting that Eastman was a ‘‘significant risk’’ to chief justice Carruthers.

It heard the reports contained information suggesting he may have planned a ‘‘homicidal attack’’ on his trial judge.

Earlier on Monday morning, counsel assisting the inquiry, Liesl Chapman, SC, gave an opening submission outlining the questions expected to be addressed in the proceedings.

She identified nine categories of evidence in the Crown’s case against Eastman that were expected to be examined in the inquiry.

Those included questions about the evidence of his alleged purchase of the .22 rifle used to shoot Winchester, as well as issues with the forensic evidence linking gunshot residue and particles found in Eastman’s car boot, to that found at the crime scene.

The inquiry would also look at the Crown’s claims about Eastman’s motives for the killing.

These had revolved around his expulsion from the public service and anger over a pending assault charge.

There were questions over the threats Eastman was alleged to have made concerning Mr Winchester to others, and his alleged searching of electoral records for the Assistant Commissioner’s home address.

It would look at issues with the supposed confessions made by Eastman, which were recorded by potentially illegal bugs placed in his home at a time when he may have been suffering severe mental health issues. The inquiry would examine whether other hypotheses for the killing, including the possible involvement of the Calabrian mafia, had been dismissed.

It would also look at questions around Eastman’s fitness to plead, given his mental illness, and whether it was properly considered by the court.

Further evidence from the then Supreme Court registrar and an AFP Assistant Commissioner is expected to be heard on Monday afternoon.

Chinese man 'crawled from Victoria police cell, found in puddle'

A man released from custody who later died in hospital had asked police for medical help twice before he was found by paramedics lying in a puddle outside the station, the Coroners Court has heard.

Chinese national Gong Ling Tang, 53, died in hospital from a gastrointestinal haemorrhage in May 2010, hours after being released from custody at the Dandenong police station.

Counsel assisting the coroner, Rachel Ellyard, said on the first day of the inquest into Mr Tang's death that he had been arrested after breaching an intervention order by visiting his wife at her house in Oakleigh.

He was drunk and had soiled himself when police found him a short distance from the house.

Police arrested Mr Tang for being drunk in a public place and planned to interview him about the alleged breach of the order when he was sober enough.

About 7.20pm, four hours after being placed in the cells, Mr Tang was interviewed through the metal flap in the cell door because of his soiled condition.

Ms Ellyard said there was blood in the cell and Mr Tang, speaking through a Mandarin interpreter, complained of abdominal pain and said he wanted to go home or to the hospital.

Mr Tang was released on bail but could not walk and crawled out of his cell before using the wall to help him stand.

Ms Ellyard said there was a "conflict" about whether arrangements had been made to transfer Mr Tang from the station.

Mr Tang was unable to leave the station by himself so was placed outside, barefoot, by two police about 8pm. He complained again of abdominal pain shortly afterward and an ambulance was called at 8.13pm.

Another call to the ambulance was made about 8.46pm by a police officer to report that Mr Tang's condition had deteriorated and the ambulance arrived nine minutes later.

Paramedics found Mr Tang drenched in water and lying unprotected in a puddle.

At hospital he was found to be suffering from hypothermia and had severe liver failure. He died at 11.30am the next day.

Deputy State Coroner Iain West heard from a lawyer representing one of the officers that Mr Tang's death should not be considered a death in custody, which is the basis for the inquest, because it was due to an existing condition. An application was also made for some officers not to give evidence.

Mr Tang had been admitted to hospital four or five times in the three years before his death because of the state of his liver, Deputy State Coroner West heard.

He also heard that Deputy Commissioner Tim Cartwright, who was in court, had submitted a letter from Victoria Police expressing "great regret about the circumstances" in which Mr Tang had died.

Deputy State Coroner West has adjourned the inquest to consider the application.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Rough justice for 'whistleblower' cop in Surfers Paradise police station bashing

A POLICE sergeant accused of leaking video footage of fellow officers bashing a prisoner has been charged with misconduct - while the ­alleged perpetrators are yet to face action 20 months on.

Chef Noa Begic was allegedly bashed by a group of officers in the basement of Surfers Paradise police station in January 2012.

Video footage obtained exclusively by The Courier-Mail captured the shocking attack in full, but while two officers have been stood down over the incident awaiting an internal affairs investigation, the alleged whistleblower has been charged with police misconduct and will face a disciplinary hearing headed by Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski.

After an investigation by ethical standards, police will allege Sergeant Rick Flori "inappropriately obtained" official and confidential surveillance footage from the CCTV room of the Surfers Paradise police station and supplied it to the newspaper.

Sgt Flori's house was raided by police a few weeks later and he was transferred from the Surfers Paradise station.

He has now been charged with improper conduct and will face a hearing at a date to be fixed when he could face action including demotion.

In stark contrast, the two officers stood down over their alleged involvement in the shocking attack are yet to face any serious disciplinary action.

They were pulled from the front line after the newspaper broke the story and stood down from duty several months later, but they have not been formally charged.

The Courier-Mail yesterday asked the office of Police Commissioner Ian Stewart for comment on why the investigation into their conduct had dragged on so long, but only received a brief statement in response.

The statement says disciplinary allegations were "being considered by the Deputy Commissioner".

Mr Begic was enjoying a few drinks after work when he was arrested by a group of officers in the heart of the Surfers Paradise nightclub strip in January 2012.

He was charged with public nuisance and obstructing police, but the charges were eventually dropped.

Mr Begic has now engaged lawyers and plans to sue the Queensland Police Service.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Officer guilty of assault over police baton use

A South Australian police officer has been found guilty of aggravated assault for repeatedly striking a man with his baton during an arrest.

The Police Ombudsman has ruled the officer fabricated evidence about the case with the intention of influencing legal proceedings.

The case was revealed in the Police Ombudsman's annual report, which said the officer was reported by colleagues who witnessed the assault on closed-circuit TV and saw no threat to the officer from a man who was face down on the ground.

The officer resigned from the force before the Police Disciplinary Tribunal could finalise the charges against him.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Police allegedly break student's leg over ticket

A group of police officers broke the leg of an arts student and told her "we don't care if it's legal" after she was caught without a train ticket, a court has been told.

Rachel Gardner is suing the NSW police force claiming she was assaulted, sat on, handcuffed, pushed against a fence, loaded into a paddy wagon and then dumped at a nearby train station without charge on March 13, 2011.

Police initially denied the kick occurred but sought to amend their defence in the Sydney District Court on Monday after it emerged Ms Gardner's legal team had obtained CCTV footage from Cronulla station.

Ms Gardner, 36, was at the station with two tourist friends just before midnight when they were approached by transit officers and found to be without tickets.

An altercation ensued when the tourists couldn't produce identification and police attended. Ms Gardner claims that when she protested that one of the tourists was being pinned to the ground by a transit officer, Acting Sergeant Craig Sands kicked both her legs out from under her, breaking her right leg.

In her statement of claim, it is alleged Sergeant Sands then directed a transit officer to sit on her while she was lying face down on the platform before she was handcuffed, told she was under arrest and put in a paddy wagon.

When she objected to what she believed was an unlawful arrest, an officer said "we don't care if this is legal", the statement said. Ms Gardner was not taken to a police station and charged. Instead, she was driven to Sutherland railway station and "left to fend for herself in a seriously injured condition".

She is seeking damages of up to $750,000 for the injuries as well as the humiliation, disgrace, mental suffering, emotional distress, fear and anxiety, loss of social status and inconvenience caused by assault, false arrest and false imprisonment. A doctor's report says she will likely develop osteoarthritis within five to 10 years.

Her aspirations to become a filmmaker would also be hindered as well as attempts to get casual work while studying fine arts at the University of NSW College of Fine Arts, the court heard. Barrister Geoffrey Petty, SC, said the only record of the incident was a standard internal log that was "brief in the extreme". He said CCTV footage showed the kick "as plain as daylight" and also showed the officers chatting on the station as Ms Gardner limped away.

The police initially denied all Ms Gardner's claims and said she bit and kicked officers, however barrister Matthew Hastings sought to file a new defence document that Judge Sharron Norton noted was "entirely different" to the one submitted before the footage emerged.

Mr Hastings said Ms Gardner's statement of claim was so vague it hindered their initial investigation. The hearing resumes on Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Qld. cyclist hit by car alleges "imaginary" police interview

The video starts off like any other typical workday ride.

A cyclist is riding along the road, glancing over his shoulder to check on other vehicles, when a white jeep flashes past.

Suddenly, the car's side mirror knocks him from his bike, sending him tumbling to the ground at high speed. As the camera comes to rest, you can hear the cyclist's screams of agony. His upper leg has been shattered.

This video is gaining traction on social media after being posted by the Brisbane cyclist who claims Queensland police fabricated his testimony on the official crash report, in the course of fining the driver of the car one demerit point for "following too closely".

It comes to light at a time when cycling advocacy groups are renewing a national campaign for a minimum passing distance law, following the death of cyclist Richard Pollett in similar circumstances.

Craig Cowled, 38, who lost 1.5 litres of blood while spending seven hours in surgery, remembers the events leading up to the incident clearly, including an early premonition of danger.
Brisbane cyclist Craig Cowled, whose leg was shattered when he was hit by a car.

Brisbane cyclist Craig Cowled, whose leg was shattered when he was hit by a car. Photo: Fairfax Media

"As I was approaching a set of lights ... a white car came very close to me," Mr Cowled said. "It unnerved me a little but sometimes you shrug off these close passes and move on."

Mr Cowled said he started off again, "really putting my head down", taking a legal position in the middle of the left lane and staying out of a turning lane while constantly doing "head checks" over his shoulder for following cars.

"It came as a real surprise to me when this [white] car moved into my field of vision and suddenly I was hit. The bike went out from underneath and I slammed down onto the road."
A detail from an X-ray following surgery to repair Mr Cowled's shattered femur.

A detail from an X-ray following surgery to repair Mr Cowled's shattered femur.

Although he was in tremendous pain at the time of the incident, he clearly recalls passers-by creating a safe space around him and the speedy arrival of an ambulance. The police arrived and took a statement from the driver of the vehicle that had hit him, but Mr Cowled says he was rushed to hospital without speaking to them.

"I had a compound fracture right through my femur - the thigh bone, the biggest bone in your body - it was fractured clean through," he says.

He praised the "amazing" skills of the medical staff at the Royal Brisbane Hospital who inserted a titanium rod through the length of the bone, and reattached his leg to his hip joint.

While he was in hospital, a police officer visited but he was in treatment. He was later told the officer had merely come to tell him the location of his bicycle, which had been damaged in the crash.

When he was released from hospital almost a week later, Mr Cowled called police to give a statement and show them his video footage of the incident.

In a letter he delivered on Friday to the office of the Queensland Commissioner of Police, Ian Stewart, Mr Cowled details what happened next.

After leaving several messages and getting no reply, he eventually made contact.

"The officer advised me that I was not required to make a statement as the matter had been finalised," he writes. "I was very surprised and asked several times, why not?"

Mr Cowled said he was told that the driver been charged with a traffic offence. The officer would not tell him what the charge was, but told him that he should be happy that police had found 100 per cent in his favour, which would help to facilitate his personal injury claim.

A few weeks later Mr Cowled received a copy of the police report via his solicitor.

He was amazed to find that a statement had been filled in on his behalf, in first person speech. Inaccuracies included an entry that he had been cycling for recreation - he was in fact en route to work. Much of the statement attributed to him contains the same information as the statement given by the motorist who hit him. It ends by saying: "I have been struck by a vehicle on my right. I have then hit the bitumen and was instantly in pain."

The driver’s statement in the report said he had seen the cyclist up ahead, and had noticed him when nearly overtaking him at the earlier intersection. The driver said he was "trying to go around [the cyclist] in the lane" and "his bike has clipped the car".

The report concludes that the driver of the vehicle "has seen a bicycle up ahead and attempted to overtake ... and not left enough space", thereby causing a collision. This was judged as requiring a fine of "follow too closely", with the recommendation that "no further action be taken".

"In all honesty, I feel I have been brushed aside on this issue," said Mr Cowled, a PhD candidate with three sons under the age of six. "It’s galling."

He has sought legal advice, and hopes that his letter to the Commissioner will spark an investigation into police handling of the matter.

Police told Fairfax Media on Monday afternoon the matter was the subject of an internal inquiry.

"The Queensland Police Service is currently making inquiries in relation to allegations that have been raised to the police handling of an investigation where a cyclist was injured on Kingsford Smith Drive," police said in a statement.

"Those allegations have been forwarded to the Ethical Standards Command and this matter is now the subject of an internal inquiry."

Mr Cowled has been told it may take a year for him to recover full mobility, and there is a chance he will need a hip replacement. Six weeks later, he is still taking strong medication to manage constant pain.

The incident has come at a time when cycling advocacy organisations are campaigning for states to adopt laws that enforce a minimum distance for cars passing bicycles.

Sean Sampson of the Amy Gillett Foundation, which is campaigning under the slogan "a metre matters", said: "This incident highlights the need for change to create a safer environment for bicycle riders, the type of behavioural and legislative change that can be delivered through the introduction of minimum passing distance laws."

After months of public hearings and requests for submissions, a government inquiry into cycling in Queensland was completed last week. It is due to deliver its findings on November 29.

The inquiry follows a court case over the death of Mr Pollett, a virtuoso violinist, who was run over by a truck while cycling on Brisbane's Moggill Road in September 2011. In May this year, a jury found the truck driver was not guilty of any offence under the available laws.

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.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

NSW policeman Marc Osborn found guilty of filming sex with women without their permission

NSW policeman Marc Osborn was today convicted of three counts of filming a person engaged in a private act without their permission for sexual gratification as some of his victims applauded in court.

Magistrate Janet Wahlquist in Downing Centre Local Court said he had secretly filmed three women, who he met on the internet, having sex in his bedroom using a clock which contained a pinhole camera.

He then downloaded the most explicit parts of the film onto his iPad and showed it to other police officers, who gave evidence to the court.

The magistrate said he had told the women he was a police officer and they said they trusted him because of this.

Osborn, 42, had told the court he filmed himself having sex to show his younger colleagues: "The old man's still got it."  On one film, he even winked at the camera.

Magistrate Wahlquist adjourned the case to September 26 for sentence.

The women said outside court that they were relieved at the verdict.

The court verdict follows today's Daily Telegraph report about a NSW Police internal affairs investigation uncovering evidence Osborn allegedly saw up to 33 women at the same time, meeting four of them on any one day as far apart as Sydney and Newcastle.

One woman has alleged to officers with the Professional Standards Command in a statement that she once had sex with the father-of-two in a fully-marked Nissan patrol police vehicle and that he spent up to four hours a shift with her in her house.

"When he was on a four-day block, I would see him and have sexual intercourse with him on three out of the four shifts,'' the woman, 31, known as Ms BB, claimed in her statement.

"Even the neighbours were commenting to me that it appeared I had personal security with the number of times that a fully marked police vehicle was in front of my house.''

She told internal affairs officers that most of the time Osborn was alone but on a few occasions he told her there was someone sleeping in the car as it was parked outside the house.

NSW Police are now facing a claim for damages from Ms BB, a single mother of two, possibly more of his lovers for failing to protect the vulnerable women.

Her lawyer Greg Walsh yesterday filed a summons in the District Court seeking details including the names of all of the officers who accompanied Osborn on duty between December 31 2010 - when he met Ms BB - and September 9, 2012 when they last saw each other.

Osborn, 42, who has been suspended without pay, let her two children play in his police car.

"I feel very betrayed that he used his position as a trusted member of the NSW Police to gain access to my home and my children,'' she told police in her statement.  "I am completely bewildered.''

The Professional Standards Command allegedly found the details of the 33 women on Osborn's mobile phone which had been seized. They allegedly also found the officer sent group text messages to some of the women.

When they spoke to Ms BB in November last year at Chatswood Police Station, they showed her a photograph of her naked which she did not know had been taken. She was also shown a 20-minute film of them having sex which she said he had secretly filmed.

She said the only photographs of her that he should have were those she had professionally taken of her topless on a bed and gave to him.

"I am completely ashamed that he took such degrading photographs of me ... and I didn't give him permission to do that,' Ms BB claimed in her statement to police.

She has told internal affairs officers that she met Osborn when he was an acting sergeant at Chatswood and he answered a radio call about "two girls fighting in a spa'' on New Year's Eve 2009. She was one of the "girls'', drunk at a neighbour's house.

She said Osborn gave her a lift home and took her inside and they began to kiss.

He contacted her a few days later and they saw each other between January and April 2010 "but only when he was working''.

They got back together in January 2011 when he had moved to Gladesville police station and she told police she saw him more on his days off when he came to her house for sex.

A police spokesman confirmed yesterday that Osborn was the subject of an internal affairs investigation.

"This is an anomaly in policing culture and one which is not tolerated by the NSW Police Force,'' a police spokesman said yesterday.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

NSW Police Integrity Commission recommends charges over police shooting of Adam Salter

A POLICE sergeant who shot dead a mentally ill man should be prosecuted for lying to the Police Integrity Commission about the incident, the commission recommended yesterday.

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione should also consider sacking Sergeant Sherree Bissett or taking disciplinary action against her, the PIC said.  Sgt Bissett, with more than 21 years on the force, shot dead Adam Salter at his Lakemba house in November, 2009.

She later claimed she believed a fellow officer, Aaron Abela, had been in grave danger from Mr Salter, who was suicidal and armed with a carving knife with which he had already stabbed himself.

Sgt Bissett and two fellow officers said Probationary Constable Abela had been trying to restrain Mr Salter at the time.

But PIC Commissioner Bruce James rejected almost all of the police evidence in favour of the paramedics, who said Constable Abela was at the other side of the kitchen and not in danger.

Mr James also rejected independent ambulance briefing notes that supported the police version of events of what happened in the Lakemba house Mr Salter shared with his father Adrian in November, 2009. The briefing notes, prepared by an independent senior ambulance officer after she spoke to the paramedics, stated: "The only police officer in kitchen at the time, being possibly junior, attempted to restrain the patient."

Mr James also rejected an Ambulance Service file note that supported the evidence given by police.  The file note stated: "Police on scene trying to restrain (patient)."

Lawyers for the police had argued the paramedics had changed their evidence because they were angry with the police, but that was rejected by the PIC.

Mr James found Sgt Bissett, Constable Abela and the two other officers, Leading Senior-Constable Leah Wilson and Senior-Constable Emily Metcalf, had lied to the PIC about Constable Abela being close to Mr Salter and in danger.

The Commissioner also recommended disciplinary action be considered against three other officers, including respected homicide detective Inspector Russell Oxford, who conducted the internal police investigation into the shooting.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Battle to get Qld police thug Arndt punished still ongoing

<i>The Police service is protecting him.  It's only a very persistent victim that is giving hope of justice</i>

A POLICE officer who assaulted an elderly homeless man in a mall seven years ago has failed to stop the Crime and Misconduct Commission trying to have him disciplined.

Bruce Rowe was assaulted in Brisbane's Queen Street Mall in 2006 when some police officers pinned him to the ground and Constable Benjamin Arndt kneed him.

Constable Arndt was found guilty of assaulting Mr Rowe and fined $1000, with no conviction recorded, after a private prosecution.

After the CMC referred a complaint from Mr Rowe to the Queensland Police Service, an assistant commissioner decided Constable Arndt needed only "managerial guidance'', and there was no disciplinary action.

The CMC has applied to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal for that decision to be reviewed, on the ground that Constable Arndt should have been disciplined for misconduct.

Constable Arndt tried to strike out the CMC application, saying it lacked substance and the tribunal did not have jurisdiction to deal with it.

The tribunal heard when the CMC first investigated Mr Rowe's complaint, it found there had been an illegal assault and referred a report to the QPS for any disciplinary action.

In February, the QPS told the CMC that managerial guidance had been provided to Constable Arndt.

The officer was told no further action would be taken in relation to the complaint and no adverse reference would be put on his personal file, the tribunal heard.

Tribunal member Michelle Howard said the CMC Act allowed the tribunal to review specified decisions made about police officers if the CMC applied.

While Constable Arndt argued there had been no reviewable decision, Ms Howard found there had been a decision in relation to an allegation of misconduct regarding the unlawful assault.

On May 10, she found that it was a reviewable decision that was made within the appropriate time and dismissed Constable Arndt's application.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fat-arsed Victoria police couldn't even be bothered by a DEATH

A Victoria Police investigation into the violent death of a patient at a state-run psychiatric hospital was ''manifestly inadequate'', with crucial physical evidence not collected and potential witnesses not questioned, a scathing report by the homicide squad has found.

Detective Senior Sergeant Sol Solomon described ''catastrophic failures'' of basic police investigatory procedures as he presented his report to the Coroners Court on Monday as part of the inquest into the death of Fred Williamson at the Austin Hospital's psychiatric unit in Heidelberg in March 2008.

''The deceased and his devoted family deserved far better service than they have received in this situation. Quality control processes … failed on all levels,'' Senior Sergeant Solomon said.
Fred and Roma Williamson with their son Fred.

Fred and Roma Williamson with their late son Fred, centre. Photo: Jason South

Mr Williamson, 52, was found in a pool of blood on the bathroom floor inside the locked room of another patient. He was found with a plastic bag covering part of his head and had suffered several injuries indicating a possible assault.

Despite Mr Williamson's injuries and the bizarre nature of his death, Heidelberg detectives and uniformed officers attending the scene determined on the day that it was not suspicious, concluding that suicide or misadventure was the most likely cause.

Their conclusion meant that neither the homicide squad nor forensic crime scene investigators were called to attend and potential witnesses, including staff and patients, were not interviewed. The room was cleaned soon after the incident, destroying any forensic evidence.

In 2011, Fairfax Media reported the Williamson family's disappointment with the police investigation and coroner Paresa Spanos's request that Senior Sergeant Solomon, then a 19-year veteran of the homicide squad, review the case.

Senior Sergeant Solomon told the inquest that his review had identified a ''number of aspects'' that did not support the suicide scenario. These included an assessment by Mr Williamson's treating psychiatrists that his risk of self-harm was extremely low, extensive blood spatter patterns at the scene, the fact that Mr Williamson had been recently assaulted twice by other patients and an autopsy report that showed injuries indicating possible assault.

He said important evidence, such as the plastic bag found over Mr Williamson's head, had not been collected or examined by forensic experts and had since been lost. A cloth towel reportedly found near or inside the plastic bag was also not examined and its whereabouts were unknown.

Senior Sergeant Solomon also found anomalies in statements by uniformed police regarding their claim that no footprints were at the scene when photographs suggested otherwise.

''I cannot reconcile or understand how the attending members could have come to the conclusion they came to [so quickly],'' he said. ''I have attended hundreds of crime scenes and deaths and I've never seen anything like this.''

Senior Sergeant Solomon said senior police attending the scene had failed to show leadership and that Mr Williamson's family had received a ''manifestly inadequate'' investigation.

Two senior plain-clothes detectives who were called out on the afternoon of Mr Williamson's death were also strongly criticised by Senior Sergeant Solomon, who found they should have taken control and treated it as a potential crime scene. Police records indicate the detectives spent less than 40 minutes at the scene before leaving it to uniformed officers.

A uniformed junior constable was left with the task of preparing the brief for the coroner with very little or no supervision.

Ms Spanos said the inquest had heard evidence that a junior constable was given the job of preparing the coronial brief - her first- on the basis of a local police convention that deemed the officer who drove the car to the scene also did the paperwork. Senior Sergeant Solomon said he had not heard of such a convention and described it as ''absolutely outrageous''.

''With a shoplifting it might be OK, but you're talking about a man's death,'' he said.

Monday, June 10, 2013

W.A.: Watch-house bashing revealed on CCTV

FOOTAGE of a police officer repeatedly punching a prisoner and dragging another through a watch-house by his neck has been shown to a public hearing held by Western Australia's corruption watchdog.

The footage, taken by CCTV cameras at the Broome watchhouse in WA's Kimberley region, shows the same senior constable involved in two separate incidents less than three weeks apart earlier this year.

After viewing the footage, Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan served a loss of confidence notice on the 31-year-old constable, who has since resigned from the force.

In the first incident on March 29, the officer appears to place a teenager arrested for obstructing police in a neck hold before dragging him inside after he refused to leave a police van.

As the hysterical girlfriend of the teenager looks on, the youngster is placed in a padded cell and stripped - as numerous other officers watch.

In the second incident captured by CCTV, a man is seen swinging a punch in the Broome watch-house after being arrested for public drinking.

The senior constable reacts by swinging several hard punches. Then, as the prisoner lies on the floor, the officer appears to drop his knee twice on the head of the man, who goes limp.

The prisoner is then dragged inside where another camera shows him flying forward through a doorway onto the hard floor with his hands cuffed behind him.

As other police look on, another officer removes the man's shorts and searches them.

Some time later, when the detainee is back on his feet, the 31-year-old constable is alleged to have said to him: “Nice face, ****.”  He then added: “Nothing wrong with mine. You punch like a faggot.”

The detainee suffered a broken finger and swelling to his eye, according to Gail Archer SC, counsel assisting the Commissioner Roger Macknay of the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC).

The public hearings into the incidents, beginning today, were ordered by the CCC.

Ms Archer said the hearings would investigate the use of force by the officers, and what other officers at the station could - and should - have done.

Two other officers were stood down over the incidents, although one of them, a 38-year-old female, has since returned to her duties.

Commissioner Macknay ruled that the identity of the two arrested men and the former officer should be suppressed during the hearing, while the CCTV footage would not immediately be released to media.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Deadhead W.A. cops

SERIOUS criminal cases including murder, rape and assault could be going unsolved because police have failed to do basic forensic work.

The Sunday Times can reveal that police will overhaul how cases are handled after an internal audit of more than 100,000 arrests found more than two-thirds of people charged for serious offences did not have their "identifying particulars" such as DNA or fingerprints recorded.

In 30 per cent of the cases, in which particulars were taken, they weren't properly recorded.

Deputy Police Commissioner Chris Dawson said it was clearly not good enough. "WA Police is concerned about any gaps in the collection of identifying particulars and we are working to correct this," he said.

"It is unclear what the underlying causes have been, but we have set out to educate, better train and supervise our people about the absolute importance of this process to solving current, historical and future serious crimes."

Mr Dawson said systems were being sought that would ensure prosecution briefs and detention processes could not be completed until all offenders have been sampled, fingerprinted and photographed.

Details of the police audit were recently highlighted in an internal weekly police publication sent to every WA officer.
It found that of more than 100,000 arrests made in WA in 2011 only 31.5 per cent of people charged with a serious offence had their identifying particulars recorded.

WA police forensic division superintendent Tony Flack said getting identifying particulars from charged people was essential in cracking outstanding cases and preventing crime.

"Taking IP (identifying particulars) is not an optional extra and we continue to lose investigative opportunities every time we don't take a sample," he wrote in the weekly publication.

Mr Flack said it had been suggested that officers might not be taking IP because they did not fully understand their rights.

Legislation introduced in 2002 allows police to take DNA samples from people charged with or suspected of committing a serious offence that carries a penalty of 12 months or more.

That can range from shop-lifting, to assault, or more serious crimes such as rape and murder.

Mr Dawson said some of the 68 per cent of people who did not have their identifying particulars taken in the 2011 audit period might have already supplied them to police because they were repeat offenders.

But The Sunday Times understands the confidential police audit found most of those 68 per cent had no DNA police record prior to 2011.

WA Police Union president George Tilbury said officers were being pressured to deal with offenders quickly and as a result were not taking DNA samples or fingerprints as often as they should be.

"Sufficient resources will ensure that all (identifying) particulars can be taken and investigations can be extensively concluded," he said.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Second man accuses Victoria police officer of assaulting him

A POLICE officer accused of bashing a suspect with a torch pepper-sprayed a handcuffed man less than two months earlier.

Internal investigations cleared Leading Senior Constable Nathan Warrick of wrongdoing in both incidents, although the use of the spray was deemed "a poor option".

Leigh Harnden contacted the Herald Sun after reading a report about Geoffrey Craig Barnes' claim that his cheek was torn open by the torch-wielding officer and he was humiliated by being paraded in his underwear.

Mr Barnes is suing the state and Sen-Constable Warrick and another officer, claiming he was repeatedly assaulted, falsely imprisoned, humiliated, threatened, and locked in a cell for more than five hours, and then freed without being questioned about any offence or being legally arrested.

Mr Harnden said he was arrested after a disagreement with his ex-partner about his children's housing but was not charged. He is seeking legal advice about launching his own action.

Mr Harnden complained at the time to Victoria Police's ethical standards division about his treatment by police at Wyndham Vale in February 2010, saying Sen-Constable Warrick sprayed him in the face while he was handcuffed and under arrest; deliberately pushed him backwards into the rear of the divisional van, causing to him to hit his face on the door; and injured his left thumb and wrist while handcuffing him.

Mr Harnden's complaint was forwarded to local detectives, who found none of the allegations to be substantiated. They said Sen-Constable Warrick "acted in accordance with the law and accepted police practices, with the exception of (his) use of the OC spray".

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Steve Daniliuk found Mr Harnden's injures were the result of his lawful arrest, with no evidence they were due to deliberate acts.

"The use of OC spray on this occasion was in response to a perceived threat of violence. However, its use would appear to be a poor option and one that I have recommended should be addressed through workplace guidance and training," he said.

Sen-Constable Warrick remains on active duty and will defend any case brought by Mr Barnes.

Police spokeswoman Natalie Webster said police managers had given the officer guidance about the use of OC spray.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Broome cop quits over assault claims

A 31-YEAR-OLD policeman accused of bashing a man in custody has resigned from the West Australian police force.

The assault on a 30-year-old man allegedly happened in the Broome Watch House on April 19 and was reported by a senior officer.

The policeman was given 21 days to explain why he should not lose his job but on Monday police said the man had quit the force.

The Corruption and Crime Commission has launched its own investigation into the matter and will hold public hearings next month.

Another officer implicated in the incident remains stood down from duty pending further investigation.

Police may be charged over the death of Brazilian student Roberto Laudisio Curti

A NUMBER of police officers who chased, restrained or tasered Brazilian student Roberto Laudisio Curti could be prosecuted for their role in the fatal confrontation.

The Police Integrity Commission (PIC) yesterday announced it had given a brief of evidence to the Director of Public Prosecutions recommending that the DPP give "consideration" to prosecuting possibly as many as five police officers.

The PIC did not reveal the nature of the charges that could be laid or the identity of the officers who had been singled out for possible charges.

The brief of evidence was believed to contain witness statements including those from medical specialists, some of whom gave evidence at last year's two-week inquest into the death.

Mr Curti, 21, nicknamed Beto, died early on March 18 last year after he was chased by up to 11 police officers through Sydney's CBD for stealing, while high on LSD, two packets of biscuits from a convenience store. Once he was captured he was tasered nine times and up to three cans of capsicum spray were used.

The struggle ended when Mr Curti was found to be not breathing and with no pulse. Police then began CPR.

Mr Curti's family said last night they hoped the DPP would give it "proper consideration" as they were still dealing with the "awful images of Beto being repeatedly tasered and capsicum sprayed on the ground".

The family said they were disturbed by the fact the officers were still patrolling the streets "despite the Coroner's findings of recklessness and the Ombudsman's criticism of the critical incident investigation".

In November, State Coroner Mary Jerram delivered a series of scathing findings but stopped short of recommending charges be laid, instead recommending five officers face disciplinary charges. The inquest raised questions about the dangers of use of Tasers and Mr Curti's family blamed the police for taking his life.

The PIC said it would announce whether charges would be laid when the DPP has responded to the brief.Curti died while he was in Sydney to learn English. He was staying with his sister who is married to an Australian man.

It was the morning after a night out with friends celebrating St Patrick's Day.

Gold Coast surf shop worker claims to be second man brutally bashed at Surfers Paradise police station

A GOLD Coast surf shop worker claims to be the second man brutally bashed while handcuffed in the bowels of Surfers Paradise police station.

Josh Gowdie, 21, is suing the Queensland Police Service for tens of thousands of dollars in damages.

He claims he was assaulted and thrown into a brick wall inside the Orchid Ave police station in December, 2011.

CCTV footage of the incident, obtained by Mr Gowdie's lawyers, was broadcast last night by Channel 9.

Mr Gowdie was allegedly bashed a month before chef Noah Begic claims to have been subjected to similar police brutality in the basement of the Surfers police station. He, too, is suing the police service for a six-figure sum.

"The police can't be allowed to get away with this sort of thing," Mr Gowdie told The Courier-Mail last night. "The two officers who did this to me are not fit to be in the police service."

Mr Gowdie said the incident happened in Surfers in the early hours of December 5, 2011, when he was "standing up for a female who got arrested".

He said police pushed, shoved and punched him in the street before hurling him against a brick wall in a passageway inside the police station.  "I didn't do a single thing to deserve it," he said.

"I told them I'd had shoulder surgery and they (police) said they'd dislocate my shoulder again.  "I suffered multiple injuries including cuts and bruising, grazes, claw marks and a chipped tooth and I still get flashbacks."

Mr Gowdie said he was speaking out now because he was frustrated at the slow pace of the police investigation.

A QPS spokeswoman said the investigation was ongoing.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Man bashed by Qld police to sue

A MAN allegedly bashed by police under the Surfers Paradise police station has launched legal action against the state of Queensland.

Noa Begic was arrested after a night out in Surfers Paradise in January last year and taken to the basement of the local police station, where CCTV footage appeared to show him being punched and thrown to the ground by officers.

The Courier-Mail posted exclusive footage of the incident on its website and all charges against Mr Begic were later dropped.

However, he has now taken legal action, engaging high-profile law firm Maurice Blackburn to sue the state of Queensland in a civil suit.  He is believed to be seeking a six-figure settlement.

A close friend of Mr Begic said it was taking a long time for the mental scars to heal after the ordeal.  "He was very anxious about police for a long while as you can imagine," said the friend. "He is trying to get on with his life and sees this as a chance to close the door on that chapter."

Two of the four officers allegedly involved in the incident remain suspended from duty while the Queensland Police Service's Ethical Standards Command runs its own investigation.

Mr Begic had been drinking with friends after finishing his shift at a Surfers Paradise restaurant when he was approached by police officers.  He was arrested and taken to the basement of the nearby police station.

CCTV then appears to show a handcuffed Mr Begic being flung to the ground before being punched several times in the head by one of the officers as he is pushed into the back of a police wagon.

One of the officers is then shown pouring a bucket of water over what looks to be a puddle of blood on the basement floor.

Mr Begic was charged with being a public nuisance and obstructing police after he allegedly directed numerous loud and abusive comments towards officers patrolling the Surfers nightclub strip.

The charges against Mr Begic were thrown out last June. Mr Begic has also asked the Queensland Police Service to pay his legal costs from that court action.

The ethical standards investigation into the affair continues, while an investigation is also under way into an officer accused of leaking the CCTV footage to the newspaper.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Software pirates: An Australian police force

NSW Police incurred a $1.8 million legal bill defending itself against a multinational software company that sued for wide-scale copyright piracy, figures obtained under government information access laws show.

Software company Micro Focus alleged in 2011 that the NSW Police Force, Ombudsman, Police Integrity Commission, Corrective Services and other government agencies illegally used its ViewNow software, which is used to access the intelligence database known as COPS.

The company alleged police and other agencies were using 16,500 copies of its software on various computers when police were only ever entitled to 6500 licences. The group initially alleged $10 million in damages but later increased this to $12 million after reviewing the results of a court-ordered, $120,000 KPMG audit of the NSW Police Force's computer systems.

The police force maintained during the court proceedings that it had paid for a site licence that entitled it to unlimited installations of the software for all of its officers.

Despite this, it settled the matter out of court last year for an undisclosed sum. The other agencies previously settled the matter out of court, also for undisclosed sums.

No internal documents were handed over to Fairfax Media as part of its government information access request.

Darren Brand, Senior Sergeant co-ordinator at the NSW Police information access and subpoena unit, denied a request for documents relating to how much was paid to Micro Focus as part of the settlement, and why the matter was settled out of court.

Mr Brand did however divulge that no one was sacked as a result of the legal action by Micro Focus and the legal costs for the case totalled $1,829,709.29.

''To put these costs in context, Micro Focus has claimed as much as $12 million in damages,'' he said.

Mr Brand said there was a stronger public interest against releasing all of the information requested. He said it would ''breach'' the NSW Police Force's obligation to maintain the confidential terms of the settlement.

Mr Brand also believed the release of that information ''could result in further legal action against [the police force], which would incur further expenditure of government funds''.

But Sydney piracy investigator Michael Speck said it "beggars belief" that the NSW Police Force had continued to pursue the case even after all other government agencies had settled.

"One can only assume [the police force's settlement] was motivated by ready access to the public purse," Mr Speck said.

"They have settled the case after fiercely resisting it on commercial terms that include the settlement being confidential. You'd have to wonder how the confidential settlement sits with the obligation that police have to properly investigate and report on alleged misconduct."

Mr Speck said the public deserved to know if police had properly investigated the matter internally, if they had taken steps to ensure something like the matter never happened again, and if action would be taken against the individual who allegedly set it on the path of software piracy

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Australian woman says police assaulted her at home after call to counselling service

A 60-YEAR-OLD woman who claims police officers burst into her Erindale home and assaulted her after she rang a counselling service has lodged an official complaint with the Police Ombudsman.

Denyse, who did not want her surname published, alleges she was physically assaulted, verbally abused and forced to urinate on the floor when five officers attended her eastern-suburbs house on the morning of April 9.

Police confirmed that officers had attended the home and the Ombudsman was now investigating Denyse's complaint.

"SAPOL cannot, and will not, make comment on the nature of the investigation or allegations," an SA Police statement said.

Denyse said the "nightmare" incident happened after she rang a sexual assault counselling service and an apparent misunderstanding led to police being dispatched to check on her welfare.

She alleged she was sexually assaulted more than a month ago, but has provided The Advertiser with written consent to identify her so she can seek justice.

Denyse said she had never before spoken with the counsellor she dealt with on April 9 and believed the person may have misinterpreted her distress as a threat to harm herself.

She alleged she was doing housework when two male police officers burst through her front door and jumped on her without identifying themselves or explaining why they were there.

"I was washing the floors and the next minute someone jumped on me. I thought it was a home invasion," she said. "They started beating me up, they started belting me. I screamed and I screamed."

Over the next two hours, during which five police officers - four males and one female - were in her house, Denyse alleged police:

TOLD her she was not allowed to phone her husband and had no rights.

PREVENTED her from going to the toilet and forced her to urinate where she lay.

KICKED her in the hip, hit her in the face, twisted her arms and pushed her to the floor.

CONFISCATED her mobile phone, which was only made apparent when her husband Andrew recognised its ringtone and an officer took it out of his pocket.

Andrew said he arrived home about 90 minutes after police entered the home. "I'm not sure why it takes so many people to subdue a 60-year-old woman," he said.

Royal Adelaide Hospital notes provided to The Advertiser detail bruising on Denyse's arms and determined there was no evidence of psychosis.

Victims' Rights Commissioner Michael O'Connell said police management of cases such as this could be complex, but "all citizens have fundamental rights that should be at the forefront of police interventions".

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Vic. police hiding behind secrecy to cover up their failings

TRIPLE-0 emergency call data used to help expose under-reporting of violent crimes by Victoria Police is now being hidden from the public.

The Herald Sun revealed last year that police were sent to 25,000 more assaults in Melbourne and Geelong by triple-0 dispatchers in 2010-11 than were recorded in Victoria Police crime figures.

When fresh data was sought by the Herald Sun, the Emergency Services Telecommunication Authority, which operates the system, said information on incidents that police were sent to, including assaults, brawls, domestic arguments and neighbourhood disputes, could no longer be released.

Police Minister Kim Wells promised new laws to end the secrecy after being contacted by the Herald Sun.

The State Ombudsman had repeatedly urged the force to make greater use of triple-0 data since finding in 2009 that police had abused recording procedures to improve crime clearance rates.

CEO Ken Shymanski said ESTA recognised the legitimacy of the public interest in the information and "would prefer to have a capacity to share generalised information about call-taking and dispatch", but had been advised this was no longer possible.

Mr Shymanski said ESTA had sought legal guidance as to its obligations late last year following an information request from a member of the public. He said that advice cast doubt on the legality of past releases.

"In short, ESTA must not publicly release 'any information' relating to calls received or messages communicated by the authority in the course of providing emergency services."

ESTA declined to release the legal advice.

Mr Wells said the secrecy was an unintended consequence of strict privacy provisions included in the ESTA Act when it was introduced by the former Labor government in 2004. "We will amend the legislation to strike a better balance between the public's right to know how the service is performing and the need to protect the privacy of Victorians who have used the ESTA service."

In February, Victoria Police said it would launch an external review of the way it collected data on assaults after the Herald Sun revealed the Australian Bureau of Statistics' victim survey had put the number of assaults in Victoria in 2011-12 at 588,600 - 14 times the 42,076 recorded by police.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Officer who failed to issue alert on sinking boat set to be demoted

A POLICE officer who failed to alert authorities that a boat was sinking in the Torres Strait before five people died is likely to be demoted, after a successful Crime and Misconduct Commission appeal.

A girl, four, and four other people drowned when the Malu Sara went down on the way from Saibai to Badu Island in October 2005.

Thursday Island Sergeant Warren Flegg was told the vessel was taking on water but did not tell rescue authorities that the boat was in distress until hours later.

After a disciplinary hearing an Assistant Commissioner found Sgt Flegg should be demoted to Senior Constable for two years, but suspended the order, subject to him completing training.

In February last year a Queensland Civil and Administrative Appeal Tribunal senior member dismissed the CMC's appeal against that decision, finding that the sanction was appropriate.

But the CMC brought a fresh appeal, on the basis that a reasonable tribunal would have found the sanction "unreasonable or plainly unjust". The Commission no longer asked for Sgt Flegg to be dismissed.

On February 20 QCAT appeal tribunal members Justice Alan Wilson and Dr Bridget Cullen said a suspended sentence did not reflect the seriousness of Sgt Flegg's misconduct and it was "surprising".

"His failure to pass on critical information as soon as practicable was a very serious omission, particularly when he was a trained search and rescue co-ordinator," Justice Wilson said.   "The failure to discharge that duty persisted for some hours, compounding its seriousness."

Justice Wilson said in his view Sgt Flegg should be demoted to Senior Constable for two years from a date to be decided and be allowed to apply for a sergeant's position only after two years, under certain conditions.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Judge says NSW police wrong to strip search black kid

A District Court judge has found police in Broken Hill were wrong to strip search a 17-year-old intellectually disabled boy by the side of the road.

A magistrate found the boy, who cannot be named because of his age, guilty of possessing a small amount of cannabis after he was arrested and strip-searched in July 2011.

But his lawyers appealed against that, arguing the evidence was not admissible because the strip search was improper.

Judge Jennifer English agreed.  She found police had no reasonable grounds for arresting the boy and searching in his underpants.

He was stopped and searched by police unlawfully, because the police simply had no reasonable suspicion.

Stephen Lawrence from the Aboriginal Legal Service, which represents the boy, says there was no valid reason to stop the boy.

"He was stopped and searched by police unlawfully, because the police simply had no reasonable suspicion.  "So this is a case of a young person simply being stopped for no reason. For no valid reason."

Mr Lawrence says the boy had been stopped by police 26 times in the previous two-and-a-half years and he had never once been found with drugs.

He says there should be an investigation.  "Any citizen in the community would find that to be an unusual circumstance and certainly one that would call for an investigation," he said.

Mr Lawrence says the boy's family has requested the state ombudsman launch an inquiry into the case.

A police spokesman says it is reviewing the court's decision to see whether any action will be taken.

Ombudsman criticizes killer NSW cops

For no good reason they piled onto the student after he was down

The family of a Brazilian student who died in Sydney after being tasered and sprayed with capsicum spray say they are disgusted at what they say is a complete lack of accountability for police officers.

Roberto Laudisio Curti died on March 18 last year in Sydney's central business district while being restrained by New South Wales police officers.

The state's ombudsman, Bruce Barbour, has criticised the force's own investigation into the incident, describing some aspects of it as farcical.

In a report that was released yesterday, Mr Barbour called for his office to be able to monitor any internal police investigations into incidents involving a death.

Mr Curti had been living in Sydney with his sister Ana Laudisio de Lucca and her husband Mike Reynolds.

The couple spoke exclusively to the ABC's AM program after the ombudsman's report was released.

Ana Laudisio de Lucca says her family is still struggling with the shock of her brother's death.  "He left this world and nothing came out of this for the better, so that's why waiting for answers is very frustrating," she said.

On the night of his death Mr Curti had taken LSD, making him paranoid and delusional, and stole a packet of biscuits from a convenience store.

Police pursued the 21-year-old, firing Tasers at him 14 times and also blasting him with capsicum spray.

Last year Coroner Mary Jerram made an open finding on Mr Curti's death.  But she also said, "It's impossible to believe that he would have died, but for the actions of police."

Ombudsman Bruce Barbour says the internal police investigation into the death was lacking.  "The police investigation into the death of Mr Laudisio Curti failed to adequately identify and deal with the question of whether there was any police misconduct," his report says.

Mr Curti's brother-in-law, Mike Reynolds, welcomes Mr Barbour's findings.  "Look, I think it's incredible. Unfortunately it is not entirely surprising," he said.

"I just think that throughout this process we have kind of had the feeling that the police have been trying hard not to admit that they've done anything wrong and that's really tough for us to deal with."

In his report Mr Barbour says that, despite collecting evidence, it appears no-one in the New South Wales Police Force wanted to address difficult questions about the conduct of officers.

He says leaving the four officers under investigation armed with their Tasers for eight months after Mr Curti's death ignored the risk those officers posed to the community.

Mr Barbour says there was a "farcical situation" where the internal investigation team and the Taser Review Panel each assumed the other would review the use of Tasers by the officers.

Mr Curti's sister and her family still live in Sydney, but no longer have any trust in the state's police.

"Following closely the case, you can see that a lot of these officers are really young, they barely have any training and they're just giving arms that look like toys to go out there," Ana Laudisio de Lucca said.

"When you really think about it, the fact that this could go wrong and the fact that they can be promoted and they are even still police officers is, I think, quite scary," Mr Reynolds said.

"So unfortunately you don't have a degree of confidence in the police as a result of that."

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Court awards almost $130,000 to man punched by Victoria cop

A BONSAI gardener who was punched in the head by an officer after being arrested has been awarded almost $130,000 from Victoria Police.

Tim Vivoda, 42, launched civil action against Victoria Police after he was punched by Leading Sen-Constable David Kealy as he was being processed to go into Ringwood station's cells in 2008.

Today he was awarded $129,304.50 after a court ruled the “insulting” attack had violated Mr Vivoda’s rights and breached the public’s trust of the police force.

Mr Vivoda had been arrested for being drunk in a public place and claimed he was punched after trying to escape custody to seek medical attention.

During the County Court civil trial, Sen-Constable Kealy, an officer with 17 years' experience, said he punched Mr Vivoda as hard as he could because he feared he had tried to grab his police firearm.

Sen-Constable Kealy said it hadn’t occurred to him that he had already checked the weapon in and instinct had kicked in, in line with Victoria Police training.

Surveillance footage of the incident played in court showed the moment Sen-Constable Kealy stepped back and landed the blow on Mr Vivoda's left cheek, as several other officers looked on.

Delivering his judgment today, County Court judge Chris O’Neill had reservations about the credibility of evidence given by both Sen-Constable Kealy and Mr Vivoda, saying at time it beggared belief.

He rejected claims by Sen-Constable Kealy that he had not discussed the incident with other officers after the event.  “That evidence beggars belief,” he said.

“The incident was dramatic, both in terms of the lunge by Mr Vivoda and even more so, the punch by Mr Kealy.

“To sugest that it was not the subject of any discussion subsequently, particularly with his (police) partner, is incomprehensible.”

Judge O’Neill also rejected claims Sen-Constable Kealy had acted in self defence, believing that Mr Vivoda had lunged at his gun.

“I am satisfied Mr Kealy did not have an honest belief, upon reasonable grounds, that Mr Vivoda was attempting to grab his pistol.

“While Mr Kealy had little time to consider and react, his actions were out of proportion to the threat, and constituted a breach of the trust the public places in the police force.

“The manner in which Mr Vivoda was treated in the custody area of the police station in the aftermath of the punch does, and the force by which the blow was delivered, in my view, constitute conduct of an insulting nature and in contumelious disregard of Mr Vivoda’s rights,” he said.

Mr Vivoda claimed he had been left with thousands of dollars in medical bills, had developed suicidal tendencies, and had been left with permanent injuries.

An application made by lawyers for Mr Vivoda for interest and costs will be heard next month.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Judge's blast for Tasmania police

A SUPREME Court judge has criticised police misconduct in an investigation into the theft of more than $80,000 in cash and cheques from a North-West Coast car dealer.

Kathryn Anne Woodberry, 39, was found guilty in November of stealing the money from her Devonport employer Gowans Motors and was jailed for nine months.

It can now be revealed that in a pre-trial hearing, Supreme Court Justice Alan Blow ruled critical evidence to be inadmissible because investigating officers had broken the law.

Justice Blow found the sergeant conducting the investigation failed to inform Woodberry she was under arrest, did not allow her to phone a lawyer and unlawfully compelled her to submit to a search of her home.

The judge also found the officer obtained evidence unlawfully by questioning her at work without making a video recording.

He was so unimpressed by some of the evidence given by the officer he said he was unable to place any reliance on it and said that it did not reflect well on the officer's credibility or that of another officer who testified in the case.

"The evidence of the two detectives and that of the accused is so different that it is clear that at least one witness has told lies ... it may be that all three have done so."

Justice Blow ruled the evidence could not be used.

"Police officers need to be made aware of the importance of conducting their investigations properly and in accordance with the law," he said.

"One sure way of doing that is to exclude evidence obtained by improper and unlawful means, and evidence obtained in consequence of improper and unlawful conduct."

Justice Blow said he did not expect Tasmania Police would take action against the officer for breaching the law and police procedures.

In 2007, Justice Blow made similar findings against the same officer over his dealings with a suspect when questioned in a drugs case.

Woodberry was convicted on the basis of other evidence.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

'I was capsicum sprayed and fined after going to woman's rescue'

He's lucky he didn't get shot.  The Vic cops are good at that.  Their tiny egos need a lot of propping up

A GOOD Samaritan who rushed to the aid of a woman "having her lights punched out" was gobsmacked to get a $553 fine from police in the post.

Aaryn Hayes, 25, was with friends in Brunswick St, Fitzroy, on Sunday morning when he saw a man grab a woman by the throat and throw her to the ground.

Mr Hayes grabbed the man towering over her and pinned him against a wall.  Seconds later, police arrived and doused both men with capsicum spray.

"The guy was punching the hell out of this lady," Mr Hayes said.  "I didn't punch him or hurt him. I simply grabbed him and moved him away from her to stop the violence.

"She was having her lights punched out - he was getting really stuck in - and people were just walking past. I had to help," he said.

Mr Hayes said while one police officer dealt with "the yelling and screaming offender", he explained to the other what had happened, and they helped him clear the spray from his eyes.

"Then the other officer came over and said I was disturbing the peace and acting in a riotous way.

"I was bewildered. I was just trying to stop a woman being beaten to a pulp and police were saying I was in the wrong for helping.

"I was with seven friends and my girlfriend, who were all witnesses. But when they spoke to the officer he threatened to arrest me and take me back to the station.

"Meanwhile the guy who attacked the woman was let go because the woman didn't want to press charges."

Mr Hayes said his shock was compounded on Tuesday when he received in the post a $600 penalty notice for "riotous behaviour".  "I feel like a criminal for trying to help police," he said.

"I keep thinking, 'What if it was my girlfriend or mum who was being attacked, and no one helped?'.  "It's not in my personality to walk by, but the fine has made me think twice."

Mr Hayes said he was seeking legal advice and would contest the penalty in court.

A Victoria Police spokesman, Belle Nolan, said: "It's believed a man in his 20s intervened in a verbal dispute between a man and a woman. It's alleged the man assaulted the victim, aged in his 50s, and refused to comply with police instructions to stop.

"He was sprayed with capsicum spray and received an infringement notice for riotous behaviour."