Police officers, all around the world often have a difficult job to do, sometimes dealing with low-lifes who would kill, rape and maim, without a second thought. Often though, stories get told about police brutality… giving rise to serious, sometimes permanent and crippling injuries, and in some cases leading to the deaths of unarmed and quite innocent people.
Recently a young woman had her leg broken in an incident at a train station where she was found to be without a valid ticket. On the surface that would seem to be “excessive force” used in the extreme. However even more distressing is that this incident has brought to light that it is, apparently, official NSW Police Force practice, to lie in their submissions to court. Note the short quote from the following article. (Note this isn’t some kooky website for UFO buffs, the Sydney Morning Herald is the main daily newspaper from New South Wales state in Australia. The SMH is part of the Fairfax publishing empire).
(Quote Begins) “Police initially denied the kick occurred but sought to amend their defence in the Sydney District Court on Monday, minutes before the beginning of a five-day trial, after Ms Gardner’s legal team revealed they had obtained CCTV footage from Cronulla station.
On Tuesday, Judge Sharron Norton lambasted the force’s barrister Matthew Hutchings for presenting an “entirely different” defence document on the morning of the trial but she allowed it and deferred the trial to November. “(Quote ends)
Quite why the judge gave the Police, more than one full month extra, before proceeding with the trial. I don’t know. This can’t be in the interests of justice. Another month for the police to “get their story straight” (ie to think up new lies, bribe or intimidate witnesses, destroy evidence etc). There may be some legal issue I don’t understand, but to me, it seems as if the judge is going soft on the police and giving them a free ride.
Yes defendants, whether they are police officers or ‘ordinary criminals’ can and do sometimes change their story just before, or during a trial. But why give the coppers a chance to go away for a month and fine tune their latest pack of lies. The trial was due to start that day, and it should have gone ahead. The 2 different defence documents should both be part of the official court record. It goes to showing the “character” of the defendant. The jury, or judge if sitting alone, can then consider how the defendant’s character may affect the veracity of their testimony.) ie, are they usually a truthful person, or are the a lying sack of shite).
Separately, I am very glad to say, that both in New Zealand and Australia, senior police officers have previously come out publically and said that they actually WANT the public to make video recordings when they see fights or illegal activities going on, including when police are involved. Compare this to the situation in many USA states where people videoing in public are often forced to stop recording by police, under threat of 16 years in jail under an obscure Federal “wire-tapping” law. This seems to indicate, that, in America at least, if the cops break your bones, Taser or shoot you to death, they DON’T want any video recordings of that coming to the light of public or judicial scrutiny.
(Side note, the figures from about 5 years ago, were about 3,000 people dead, after being Tasered. Coroners found the death to be a DIRECT result of being Tasered in about 300 cases. Sometimes people being Tasered have consumed large amounts of drugs and might well have died soon anyway)