“Two Walking Sticks to Get Around”: NSW Police Has Done a Serious Job on Danny Lim

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Danny Lim

Danny Lim continues to suffer injury two weeks after a couple of NSW police officers approached the 78-year-old iconic Sydney rights activist and threw him face first onto the titled floor in the QVB Building in front of morning shoppers in November, as if it was just par for the course.

Sydney lawyer Chris Murphy announced on Monday that his client, Lim, “needs two walking sticks to get around”, and that he “requires specialist medical help that will continue in two areas of damaged health”.

Lim is famous across the city for wearing sandwich boards containing activist messages. When he was set upon by two NSW police officers a fortnight ago, he was wearing a sign that reads “SMILE CVN’T! WHY CVN’T?”, which a NSW court has ruled isn’t illegal but merely “cheeky” in its impact.

The 22 November police attack on Lim was captured on camera. It clearly shows two officers, who were evidently responding to a complaint about his presence in the shopping mall, approach the older man, lift him slightly, kick his legs out from under him and smash his face into the floor.

“Badly brutalised”

“Outstanding witnesses have come forward utterly destroying any suggestion Danny Lim did anything wrong. A victim of NSW police,” Murphy tweeted on Monday. And the lawyer has vowed to take court action against the officers involved in the assault to avoid police sweeping it under the carpet.

As per usual, NSW police is conducting its own inquiry into whether two of its officers hurling a much-loved Sydney identity, who wasn’t bothering anybody, head first into a tiled floor was overstepping the mark, with the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) providing oversight.

The forceful arrest, which Lim suggested on the day could have killed him, was discontinued after the officers realised how badly beaten they’d left the elderly man. And Danny was then taken to St Vincent’s Hospital, where he was found to have bleeding on the brain and neck injuries.

Murphy has further pointed out that under section 197 of the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW), the two officers involved in the violent assault had no right to issue Danny with a direction to move on, prior to smashing his face into the ground over the matter.

Right to protest revoked

Lim is clearly associated with the social justice and climate protest movement in Sydney. And his brutalisation to the point that he will suffer ongoing physical conditions comes as the Perrottet government is clamping down on expressions of anti-fossil fuel sentiment in this state.

NSW police had already been pulled up on its behaviour towards Danny in January 2019, after two officers forcefully arrested him over wearing the same sign at Barangaroo. But NSW Magistrate Jacqueline Milledge found Lim did nothing wrong, but she was critical of the police response.

The general public has been shocked by the attack on Lim, and how it reflects on the operations of NSW police. His supporters are gathering at Camperdown Memorial Park on Saturday morning to join him for a picnic to mark the International Day of Human Rights.

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Paul Gregoire

Paul Gregoire is a Sydney-based journalist and writer. He's the winner of the 2021 NSW Council for Civil Liberties Award For Excellence In Civil Liberties Journalism. Prior to Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, Paul wrote for VICE and was the news editor at Sydney’s City Hub.

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