Our client is a constable in the NSW Police Force.
On a Thursday night, the complainant was ejected by security officers from a hotel in Lidcombe due to his level of intoxication.
Our client and another police officer attended the hotel and gave the complainant a ‘move on direction’, requiring him to leave the vicinity of the premises.
The intoxicated man initially refused to leave, but eventually agreed to a lift from police to his nearby home.
After being dropped off, the drunk man returned to the hotel in breach of the move on direction.
Our client and his partner were once again called to the hotel, and ultimately arrested and placed the man in the back of their police van.
Our client then drove the vehicle along a major road to the local police station.
After receiving a report from our client’s partner officer, police commenced an investigation and approximately 18 months later, charged our client with ‘drive motor vehicle furiously and cause bodily harm’ under section 53 of the Crimes Act, as well as the offences of ‘reckless driving’ and ‘negligent driving’ under the Road Transport Act.
The prosecution alleged that our client drove “furiously and dangerously” during the trip to the police station, intentionally speeding to over 100 km/h and twice coming to a rapid stop, which caused the complainant to hit his head on the side of the van causing a gash.
Our client was suspended from employment pending the outcome of the criminal proceedings.
He maintained his innocence throughout the course of the case, vehemently denying that he drove in the manner alleged.
He instructed that his colleague had an ulterior motive and had fabricated the allegations. According to our client, he had been privy to certain misconduct by his colleague and intended to make a formal complaint.
He further instructed that the intoxicated man had been violent and aggressive throughout the course of the night and had likely sustained the injury as a result.
As part of its case, the prosecution presented statements by the attending officer (who made the initial report), the intoxicated man (who initially refused to give a statement and only did so at a later stage after being ‘spoken to’ by police), as well as a number of senior officers including an Inspector who was tasked with conducting the investigation.
The material appeared on first glance to support the prosecution case.
However, upon obtaining data from the police van’s computer and GPS tracking data, it became evident that the van had not been driven as alleged, and that the colleague had therefore been untruthful.
We systematically dismantled the prosecution case during extensive cross-examination of the attending officer and complainant during the defended hearing in Burwood Local court using our instructions regarding the pending complaint and computer data.
The presiding magistrate ultimately found our client not guilty of all 3 charges, noting that the evidence of the partner officer and complainant were “unreliable”.
Our client is expected to make a prompt return to the police force.