Sacked: police officer accused of brutality


Sacked: police officer accused of brutality

A constable who was accused of brutality and cover up has failed to have his dismissal overturned.

A policeman accused of brutality and cover up has failed to have his dismissal overturned in the NSW Industrial Relations Commission tribunal.

The constable was charged with police brutality and cover up in March 2016 – and later found not guilty in court in May 2017. Yet the decision to have his subsequent sacking overturned was dismissed in the IRC by Commissioner John Murphy who found that he had fabricated evidence and lied under oath, because he was guilty of the charges.

The incident in question took place at the Lidcombe Hotel in Sydney on 2 October 2015. The constable had attended the scene with a junior officer and detained a drunk man for being aggressive with security staff. The constable then violently pushed the man’s head into the police vehicle while he was being searched and, after making an assumption that the man was a child sex offender based on a comment by the junior officer, drove “like a maniac” back to Burwood Police Station, deliberately braking at high speed, in order to cause further harm.

The man sustained head injuries and suffered substantial blood loss.

After hearing evidence from both the man in question and the junior police officer, the IRC Commissioner found that the constable had then fabricated evidence in his police notebook and on offical records, and lied about the incident in court, as well as during an investigation in September 2017.

Insufficient evidence

At the local court case that followed the incident in 2017, the magistrate had become “sceptical” about the junior police officer’s evidence, and the injured man was treated as an unfavourable witness – denying any recollection of events or the statement he made subsequently. The criminal charges were therefore dismissed.

The constable was sacked by the NSW Police Force anyway, post the September 2017 investigation, for contravening safety procedures.

Different ruling

Conversely, Commissioner Murphy found the evidence of both the junior police officer and the injured man “credible” compared to the evidence of the constable, stating: “From my observation of [the junior police officer] in the witness box, I formed the opinion that he was an honest… witness who gave truthful evidence to the best of his ability. I formed a similar opinion of [the man], who had nothing to gain from fabricating evidence against the applicant. I did not form such an opinion of the applicant who, at times, appeared to be evasive in his responses to questions asked.”

The junior police officer and the man’s version of events were deemed to align “much more closely”, and the constable “failed to establish that the removal order made by the respondent is harsh, unreasonable or unjust.”

Read the judgment

Guru v Commissioner of Police [2019] NSWIRComm 1080 (31 October 2019)

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