Three police officers return to duty after being cleared over Hamilton Hill arrest

Three police officers return to duty after being cleared over Hamilton Hill arrest

THREE police officers will return to duty after an internal investigation cleared them of using excessive force in an incident in Hamilton Hill in 2016.

The officers were stood down in November 2017 after Magistrate Malley was critical of their testimony during a criminal trial and said the officers used excessive force.

The incident occurred in Hobbs Park in December 2016 when officers arrested a man and a woman.

Footage was realised by a bystander of the struggle.

Commissioner Chris Dawson ordered examination of court transcripts, prosecution case, vision of the incident and the initial investigation by the District.

The Internal Affairs Unit (IAU) found that significant evidence was not presented in the prosecution case.

Police Operations Centre transmission recorded the struggle which supported police testimony that the woman had attempted to remove an officer’s firearm from the holster.

The IAU found that the transmission provided critical evidence about this element of the case that was not captured by the mobile phone footage.

Post-trial enhancement of the footage supported the officers that one of the accused offered strong resistance and required significant effort to restrain him.

The IAU also found that prosecution failed to call a key witness who assisted police during the struggle and had not produced a medical report which supported the claim that one officer was bitten.

The report concluded that inconsistencies in the officers’ testimony were most likely because of their inexperience in giving evidence and poor court preparation.

Commissioner Dawson said the combined factors had given him comfort the officers had not attempted to mislead the court and use of force to gain control had be legally justified.

“The report is not a criticism of Magistrate Malley’s decision which was quite rightly made based on the evidence presented to the court, evidence we now concede was incomplete,” he said.

The IAU investigation findings were given to the Corruption and Crime Commission on March 28.

Mr Dawson said the matter was now finalised and the investigation had indentified broader issues with policies and procedures that were being addressed.

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