Sunday, October 31, 2021

Police officer Mark Follington jailed over assault of trannie in Liverpool pub

Bigotry against trannies highly likely to have been involved.  Cops do it hard in jail so big efforts will be made to get him off

A NSW police officer who violently assaulted a woman and then falsified evidence related to the event will spend at least 18 months behind bars.  

Senior Constable Mark Follington unlawfully arrested Anya Bradford at a pub in Liverpool in Sydney's west in May 2019 while he and another officer were checking IDs as part of an anti-drug crackdown.

Ms Bradford, who was sitting in the gaming room, declined to show her identification and attempted to leave the premises.

CCTV footage played in court showed Follington grabbing Ms Bradford's arm and slamming her head into an ATM, before following her into the lobby of a parole office and continuing to attack her.

Another officer, Constable Mark Brown, used a pepper spray and taser on her. 

Later that day, Follington lied in a police report, claiming that Ms Bradford had assaulted him. The CCTV footage contradicted his story.

He pleaded not guilty to two charges of common assault, one count of tampering with evidence with intent to mislead a judicial tribunal, acting with intent to pervert the course of justice and modifying restricted data, but was found guilty in May this year.

At the sentencing hearing at Sydney's Downing Centre on Wednesday, Magistrate Michael Crompton sentenced Follington to 30 months behind bars with a non-parole period of 18 months.

He said the crime of falsifying information "struck at the very heart of the criminal justice system" and warranted a sentence that would significantly deter others.

He described the assaults as "quite violent" and "in the mid-to-high range of objective seriousness for assault of that kind".

He said the crime was aggravated by Follington abusing his position of trust and authority and noted his not guilty pleas. "On the evidence before me there is no evidence of remorse," he said.

Ms Bradford was not present in court but In a victim impact statement said the assaults had left her mentally and emotionally scarred. "I spent a night in pain in a jail cell," the statement said, adding that she regularly experienced traumatic flashbacks and no longer trusted police.

His lawyer argued that Follington, who had been suspended from his role without pay, was likely to have a more arduous time behind bars than an ordinary citizen.

"Once a police officer goes into the four walls of any institution… history has shown that police officers, because of their position, are the subject of assaults, serious assaults", he said. 

Follington's legal team confirmed he will appeal against the verdict

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Family of Aboriginal woman shot dead by WA police officer speak out after acquittal

<i>Mentally ill people can be very troublesome, very dangerous to themselves and others

The family of a Geraldton woman shot dead by a Western Australian police officer has said there is “no equality” and “no justice” for Aboriginal people after the constable was acquitted of her murder on Friday.

“In terms of Aboriginal people, we don’t get no fairness, there’s no equality and this is evidence with what’s happened here,” Bernadette Clarke, the sister of the victim, known as JC for cultural reasons, said on the steps outside Perth’s district court.

The 29-year-old Yamatji woman JC was fatally shot by a WA police first-class constable in a suburban Geraldton street in 2019. The constable, the first police officer to be charged with murder in WA for nearly a century, and who is still a serving officer, cannot be named for legal reasons.

JC was shot and killed after police responded to a welfare call from JC’s sister, who had told them she was concerned JC was walking down a street holding a knife and pair of scissors.

JC had experienced significant mental health and drug problems and recently been released from prison.

The defence lawyer, Linda Black SC, told the court JC had ignored repeated requests to drop the knife from the officers at the scene.

The jury was shown CCTV footage, taken from a home about 65 metres away, of JC being shot while surrounded by police vehicles.

The director of public prosecutions, Amanda Forrester SC, argued the footage showed JC did not move towards the officers.

Black said her client had acted correctly by drawing his gun, rather than a Taser, when confronting a person armed with a knife.

She said the officer had never fired his gun while on duty and had less than a second to decide whether to pull the trigger given his proximity to JC.

“He was not some trigger-happy constable ... he was a brave and careful officer who took pride in his job,” Black said.

“[JC] was never, ever going to drop the weapons. She needed to be taken down; she was never going to surrender.”

After a three-week trial in the Perth district court, a jury deliberated for just over three hours on Friday before returning not guilty verdicts to both murder and manslaughter charges.

The acquitted officer – cleared of all criminal wrongdoing – remains a serving member of the WA police force, but was stood down after the shooting. A decision has not yet been made on his future.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Extraordinary story of how a mother and daughter spent months in jail for 'importing drugs' – but it was actually TEA

A mother and daughter got themselves into hot water when they were thrown in the  slammer for six months due to a botched police investigation which wrongfully determined they were smuggling drugs when in reality it was just ginger tea.

Connie Chong and her daughter Melanie Lim imported the exotic brew from China so they could sell it in Australia online, but in January two of their shipments were seized by Border Force agents at Sydney Airport.

The preliminary indicator tests on the cargo wrongfully found the presence of a rare banned stimulant was known as phenmetrazine, leading investigators to suspect the tea pushers were really major drug queens.

Heavily-armed police officers then raided their Greenacre home in southwest Sydney slapping cuffs on the pair and discovering more of the substance. The terrified women were then charged with the commercial supply of drugs, refused bail and told they could be facing life behind bars.

But in August more thorough laboratory testing uncovered the shocking realisation that Chong and Lim were completely innocent and that the original presumptive colour test indicators detected a false positive.

All charges against the women have now been dropped but police prosecutors are refusing to pay for their legal bills despite their obvious blunder.

Defence barrister Steve Boland said the case was one of the most extraordinary police 'stuff-ups' in modern memory which has caused tremendous trauma for the pair.

'It is a gross injustice,' defence lawyer Benjamin Goh told 7News outside court on Tuesday. 'Two innocent women that have served their time as a result of the police not doing the investigations properly. 'It is open to the Crown to say 'sorry'. We stuffed up and two women went to prison for our dodgy prosecution.'

The women are now taking legal action against the NSW Police who say the delay in receiving adequate test results was due to a lack of lab equipment.

Their case seeking damages will continue before the court next year.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Punchard gone at last: He got off lightly


A senior constable convicted of leaking personal information about a friend’s ex-wife and her new partner, including their address, after accessing a police database has resigned from the Queensland Police Service following years of legal battles.

Neil Glen Punchard, 55, had a suspended prison sentence reinstated in August, following a successful appeal by the QPS.

His resignation from the QPS was effective from September 17, according to official police documents viewed by the Courier Mail.

The road policing officer from the South Brisbane District was charged in December 2018 with nine counts of accessing the Queensland Police Records and Information Management Exchange computer program – known as QPrime – and leaking personal information about the woman, including her address, to her ex-husband over a one-year period from 2013.

The mother of three told the Courier Mail in 2019 that she had moved her family twice in three years – after first making sure the removalists were not being followed – after the officer passed her address along to her ex-husband, Punchard’s childhood friend.

Punchard pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court in 2019 to nine counts of using a restricted computer without consent, gaining the benefit of knowledge, in 2013 and 2014.

He received two-month jail sentence, wholly suspended for 18 months, with a conviction recorded, but remained a serving police officer, on full-pay “administrative duties” at the time but was later suspended on full pay.

A back-and-forth lengthy court process ensued, with Senior Constable Punchard first winning an appeal against the jail sentence in 2020 with District Court Judge Craig Chowdhury instead re-sentencing the officer to 140 hours of community service with no conviction recorded.

On August 13 this year, the Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by the Commissioner of Police and set aside Judge Chowdhury’s orders.

The appeal court heard that Punchard had already completed the 140 hours of community service, but the appeal court judges said that fact “did not cause such an injustice” to the officer to be an impediment to their orders that would effectively reinstate the Magistrate’s sentence.

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll has been under pressure by both the victim and members of the community to sack Punchard and has previously said she would consider his suitability to remain employed by QPS after the appeal process was finalised.

An online petition calling for Punchard’s dismissal from the police service has reached 67,352 signatures to date.

The woman filed a breach of privacy case against the QPS in Brisbane’s Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) in 2018.

Her complaint about the privacy breach was passed around between the QPS, the Crime and Corruption Commission, Ethical Standards Command and politicians for years, before QPS “substantiated” the complaint.

The QPS always denied the agency was liable for breaching the woman’s privacy.

Access to QPrime was tightened by the QPS in 2016, with members of the public now even prevented from accessing their own files.