Sunday, February 7, 2010

Court finds Qld. police goons guilty of thuggery and corruption

What charmers they are!

POLICE crash tackled, kneed and punched an Aboriginal man with excessive force before falsely charging him and trying to cover it up, a judge ruled.

The Crime and Misconduct Commission have been asked to investigate alleged police misconduct and brutality in Cape York after the damning court judgment.

The family of Patrick Darren Gibson, 36, of Hope Vale, yesterday said the ruling by a District Court judge, upholding a magistrate's finding of excessive force, was "a win for the little man". "Police can't get away with bashing and bullying our people", Mr Gibson's parents Victor and Priscilla Gibson said. "But worse, they lied about it, slapped false charges on him, and tried to cover it up."

A heavily intoxicated Mr Gibson, celebrating his birthday in Cooktown, was a passenger in a car stopped at an alcohol road block on November 30, 2006. The slightly built man got out of the car and allegedly became abusive before he was crash tackled into a ditch by an officer.

Witnesses claimed police exaggerated the level of abuse heaped upon them and accused them of overreacting. They said one officer crash tackled Mr Gibson, punched him in the stomach, then put his knee into Mr Gibson's back and pulled his head up by the hair while another officer punched him twice in the face.

Mr Gibson was arrested and later taken to hospital by his father, suffering cuts, bruises and grazes to his face and arms. He was charged with public nuisance, assaulting police and obstructing an officer.

In 2008, Cooktown Magistrate Alan Comans handed down a finding of excessive force and ruled that Gibson had no case to answer. He ordered the police pay costs. Yesterday, Cairns District Court Judge Sarah Bradley dismissed two appeals by the QPS. She upheld the earlier ruling to acquit the victim and award costs.

Defence lawyer Stephen O'Reilly, of O'Reilly Stevens Bovey, said the CMC could now move on a complaint and investigation into alleged police brutality and misconduct.

The Queensland Police union did not want to comment but said it had not funded the legal action.


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