Thursday, April 28, 2016

Police close down Facebook page exposing Police bullying and suicides

NSW Police have abused their power and in effect directed Facebook to take down a support page for police, former police and their families who are dealing with mental health problems such as stress, depression and to help with suicide prevention. Posts on the page were broad and allowed people with mental health issues to reach out for support while other posts gave families and friends the opportunity to pay tribute to deceased officers.

It seems the only reason that the Facebook page (The Forgotten 300) was taken down is that a few posts criticized some serving officers and other posts were critical of the lack of support within the police force for officers and former officers suffering mental health issues.

The police have admitted that they had Facebook take down the page (18th March 2016) yet there was no allegation that any crime had been committed or anyone had been defamed. There was no legal basis given to have the page taken down so one has to assume there is none.

The NSW police say they did not like the fact that a number of serving officers were criticised on the page:

"With regards to the Forgotten 300 Facebook page, I can confirm that the NSW Police Force did contact Facebook regarding concerns over numerous posts considered offensive and detrimental to the wellbeing of particular serving officers."

"My understanding is that Facebook independently reviewed those posts and has taken action in accordance with their own terms and conditions."

"The NSW Police Force respects the privacy and wellbeing of all its employees. If content appears on social media channels that is offensive and causing distress to current officers, we have an obligation and responsibility to ensure these officer’s wellbeing and will act to provide advice and support."

They say "posts considered offensive and detrimental to the wellbeing of particular serving officers". Where is the evidence supporting that statement? And where is the concern, when the page was deleted, for the stress and duress suffered by people who used the Ther Forgotten 300 page for support?

You can’t close down the internet

The Forgotten 300 Facebook page had over 54,000 followers and was started in 2012 when the NSW state government capped compensation claims for injured police. The 300 related to the number of officers that were short-changed the compensation they would have been previously entitled to. The page was started by the wife of a former police officer.

Forgotten 000's

In 2013 the administration of the page was handed to former police officer Berrick Boland. The Forgotten 300 page was deleted by Facebook on the 18th March 2016 and while it did get some media coverage (Click here to read) it should have been a lot more.

Berrick Boland has not sat idle since the page was taken down and another page has been set up called The Forgotten 000’s which has been broadened to cover all emergency services people such as Firefighters and Ambulance Drivers etc. Mr Boland has also set up a website which is still under construction awaiting a first post but will be up and running soon.

<a href="">SOURCE</a>

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Queensland police officer charged with rape, assault

A POLICE constable charged with rape met his alleged victim through online dating site Plenty of Fish, a court has been told.  The 23-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was granted bail in the Brisbane Magistrates Court this morning despite police objecting to his release.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Scott Pearson said the man met up with a woman through Plenty of Fish over the weekend.  He said the woman "stipulated... there would be no sexual contact", but the man allegedly digitally raped her twice. It is then alleged he tried to choke her and after she told him to stop he replied "shut up, c**t". He has been charged with two counts of rape and one of common assault.

The man is not required to enter a plea to those charges at this stage of proceedings. Bail was granted because he has no criminal history and no weapons are alleged to have been used.  The case returns to court on May 16.

It is alleged the officer from the northern police region sexually assaulted the woman before grabbing her by the throat.
The police prosecutor, Sgt Scott Pearson, said the victim told him she did not want to be choked, to which the accused replied: "Shut up, c*nt."

He then allegedly told her she looked like the kind of girl who "liked to be choked in bed".

The woman then dialled triple-zero, showed the man and threatened to call the police, the court heard.

It is alleged he then swore at her again before leaving.

The court also heard the man has no previous criminal history and has strong ties to the community.

There was no suggestion he used a weapon or caused significant injuries, his lawyer said.

His parents attended the court hearing.

He has been suspended since being arrested by members of the ethical standards command. The magistrate, Tina Previtera, granted bail on the condition the man live with his parents

<a href="">SOURCE</a>

Monday, April 18, 2016

Victoria Police is about beating you 'sensless'. Corinna Horvath case still requires action

In 1996, 21-year-old Corinna Horvath was assaulted by police during an unlawful raid on her Melbourne home. Her nose was broken and a tooth chipped. She was hospitalised for 5 days.

In 2001, Ms Horvath won a civil case at the County Court. After 40 days of evidence, the judge found police had committed trespass, assault, unlawful arrest and false imprisonment and awarded Ms Horvath $143,525 in compensation. This amount was reduced on appeal and Ms Horvath was denied leave to appeal to the High Court.

In Victoria, individual police officers, rather than the State, are liable to pay damages for unlawful conduct. Where a police officer is unable to pay, the victim can go uncompensated. Further, none of the police involved has been disciplined or prosecuted by the State. Ms Horvath seeks adequate compensation and effective discipline of the police officers involved.

In 2014, the UN Human Rights Committee found that Ms Horvath's right to an effective remedy was violated, in relation to the cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, arbitrary arrest and detention to which she was subjected, and the interference with her home and privacy. The Committee recommended legislative reform in Victoria and adequate compensation for Ms Horvath.

Partial remedy in record time!

On 19 September 2014, Corinna Horvath obtained an individual remedy some 5 months after the UN found her rights had been violated and that she should be compensated. Ms Horvath received a written apology from the Victorian Police Commissioner and an ex gratia payment as compensation for the violent assault on her by police in 1996.

Congratulations to Ms Horvath and her legal team. Thank you to everyone who campaigned for her right to an effective remedy.

However, there is more to be done. The UN Human Rights Committee found that Australia "is also under an obligation to take steps to prevent similar violations occurring in future" by means of law reform "to ensure its conformity with the requirements of the Covenant."

The events in question:

Corinna Horvath and her partner, Craig Love, had friends David and Colleen and their two boys over for a barbecue one Saturday afternoon in 1996. At about 9:40pm, two police officers knocked on the door wanting to inspect her unroadworthy car for evidence it had recently been driven, contrary to police instruction. Ms Horvath refused and asked them to leave. A scuffle ensued, in which the police claim they were assaulted by Horvath and Love, but a County Court judge found that Horvath and Love had 'used no more force than was necessary' to prevent the police trespassing on their property. The police left and called for reinforcements.

At 10:30pm, 5 police cars arrived and 8 policemen got out and surrounded the house. One of the police ‘yelled … in a loud and aggressive voice’ that the occupants should open the door, as they intended to make an arrest. The occupants refused, asking for evidence of a warrant. The officer replied that they did not need one. One of the officers then kicked open the front door ‘with great and sudden force’, striking Ms Horvath's friend David in the face with the door, causing injury and constituting an assault.

This same officer then entered the house, ‘pursued David … brought him to the floor and, in the course of so doing, struck him on the right side of the head and hit him at least once with a baton across his lower back.’ Another police officer then informed the first that David was not the man they sought to arrest.

The first officer then entered the lounge room where he tackled Ms Horvath to the floor, then 'brutally and unnecessarily' punched her in the face up to a dozen times, thereby 'rendering her senseless'. Ms Horvath has no recollection of this assault. She suffered a broken nose and chipped tooth, bruising and scratches to her face and body. Two officers then handcuffed her 'in a manner that restricted her from reducing the pain and blood flow from her nose or otherwise relieving her injuries' and dragged her to their divvy van. Meanwhile, her friend Colleen was forced to the floor and held there with a knee in her back. Ms Horvath and Mr Love were both arrested and taken away by police.

Ms Horvath was 'not provided with immediate medical treatment' in police custody, but instead 'left screaming in pain in [a] cell'. She was 'eventually discovered by a police doctor who contacted her parents', who called an ambulance. She was released from custody at about 12:20am and taken to hospital for emergency treatment.

A week later, Ms Horvath returned to hospital and was admitted for 5 days, requiring surgery to repair her facial injuries. She is left with scars on her nose and has been treated for anxiety and depression arising from the assault.

<a href="">SOURCE</a>

Friday, April 8, 2016

NSW cop who 'blew almost three times the legal alcohol limit while driving a police car without a valid licence' has kept his job

A senior police officer who allegedly blew almost three times over the legal alcohol limit has kept his job despite being caught drink driving with an expired licence.

Senior Constable Craig Andrew Sear was driving to a detectives training course in an unmarked police car from Nowra, south west of Sydney, when police claim he recorded a blood alcohol concentration of 0.138 in March, the Daily Telegraph reported.
It was also discovered that the 41-year-old's drivers licence had expired a month earlier in February.

He did not make an appearance at Nowra Local Court on Monday when his case was mentioned, but according to court documents he did attend a serious traffic offenders course on Saturday.

According to the South Coast Register, Senior Constable Sear was previously in the Navy and had spent eight years in the fire brigade.

His case will be heard again in court on May 3.

Senior Constable Sear, who has been in the force for eight years, has continued to perform 'restricted duties' for the Shoalhaven local area command, despite his active criminal proceedings

<a href="">SOURCE</a>

Monday, April 4, 2016

Still no closure in murder of schoolgirl Leanne Holland

<i>The refusal to take this case further is a shocking case of police petulance.  <a href="">Here is</a> what may lie behind that:

"The Crime and Misconduct Commission continues to probe Detective Senior-Sergeant Graham Richards, the officer who arrested and charged Stafford for the brutal slaying. Sgt Richards was last month identified as one of four officers at the centre of an investigation by the CMC over alleged improper relationships between prisoners and police. Sgt Richards, the officer in charge of Rockhampton CIB, has been stood down pending the outcome of that investigation"

And there's <a href="">this</a>:

"A PETITION seeking to pardon convicted killer Graham Stafford will point the finger at three men suspected of Leanne Holland's murder. Stafford's legal team is preparing documents containing new evidence to present to the Governor, Quentin Bryce, in a bid to clear Stafford, 43, of the killing of the 12-year-old in 1991. The petition will focus on three men. Two are serving life sentences for unrelated murders. The third was released from jail in 2003 after serving seven years for rape"

So the police claim that a wrongfully convicted man is the only suspect is just wrong.  What seems to be driving them is embarrassment about how badly the initial investigation that led to the wrongful conviction was carried out.  There was shocking negligence in both the investigation and the prosecution.

If the matter were taken further and the real culprit were identified they would face huge criticism.  Interstate police should be brought in to mount a new investigation</i>

THE man who went to trial over the murder of schoolgirl Leanne Holland has called for a coronial inquest into her death, despite police saying he is the only suspect.

Graham Stafford, 52, told The Sunday Mail an inquest would give answers into the death of the 12-year-old Goodna girl who was murdered in 1991.

Leanne’s body was found partly naked and dumped in bushland in Redbank Plains, about 10km from her home.

Mr Stafford, who at the time was dating Leanne’s sister Melissa, served 14 years’ jail before his 1992 murder conviction was quashed. He has always maintained his innocence.

"I have no fears what would be dug up in a coroner’s inquest," Mr Stafford told The Sunday Mail.

"Unfortunately, Terry (Leanne’s father) is no longer with us and I don’t think Melissa has ever given a response so I don’t know what her feelings are (about an inquest)."

After Mr Stafford’s conviction was quashed in 2009, the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial but the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions refused.

A 2012 police report found there was enough evidence to send him back to trial. However, the DPP ruled it out and said it was not in the public interest.

Former attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie then sought independent legal advice which found there was basis for prosecution but it was not worth pursuing charges.

Mr Stafford said police had refused to release the 2012 report through a Right to Information request, stating it was legally privileged, and he had since lodged an appeal.

"They have what they claim is the opportunity to take me back to court and bolster the case, and they don’t even want to discuss it," Mr Stafford said.

"The taxpayers paid for this report. It took them close to three years for them to come up with it and now it just conveniently passes away."

A spokeswoman for Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said any request for an inquest should comply with the Coroners Act 1958 and detail the reasons to justify holding it.

"I understand no such request has been made," she said.

<a href="">SOURCE</a>