Thursday, March 31, 2011


Former Labor MP and former Queensland police sergeant Peter Pyke today slammed police commissioner Bob Atkinson over his piss-ant policy on police pursuits which he says has demonstrably stripped the police of their ability to fight crime in Queensland.
Pyke says street cops are fuming and he calls on the cops’ union to get off their lazy bums and to tell the Bligh government it is time for Atkinson to go and sit on a beach somewhere and let police do their jobs which – incidentally commissioner - includes catching criminals.

The story so far: Pyke says that around midnight on Monday 28 March 2011, this week, a white Nissan 1999 utility was stolen from Torrington, West Toowoomba. Through the good work of alert uniformed police who were nearby police quickly located the stolen vehicle driving around in Wilsonton not far from where it was stolen. This first police unit to sight the stolen ute was a marked police mobile patrol which attempted to stop the Nissan utility using their lights and sirens, that’s their job. When the stolen car accelerated away and attempted to evade police, the officers were forced to pull over and stop their marked police vehicle whilst the stolen vehicle was allowed to drive off.

Yup, that’s right, in accordance with commissioner Atkinson’s instructions, despite it being late at night and other traffic virtually non-existent, police are not allowed to pursue stolen vehicles. Full stop.

Pyke says that what followed is enough to make any Queensland citizen wonder. He says that
all police in Toowoomba were then advised directly by the Toowoomba Communications Controller that they were to ‘observe’ the stolen vehicle only but were not – repeat – not allowed to chase it.

Pyke, who monitors police radio transmissions, says that for the next 45 minutes, every police mobile unit in Toowoomba, Helidon and Gatton districts were forced to sit on their hands and watch as the stolen vehicle drove past several police cars and off into the night. He says an unmarked detective’s unit was the second police vehicle to get behind the stolen car and activate it’s lights and sirens to try to stop it but was forced to pull over when the stolen ute kept driving. A marked Dog Squad unit also got behind the stolen car but was also directed not to attempt to stop but to ‘observe’ the Nissan utility only.

Pyke says there were more than enough police units in the immediate area to have quickly detained the utility at around midnight on a Monday night when only cops, baddies and taxis are to be found driving around and the risks of a member of the public being harmed by a responsible pursuit would have been minimal.

“For the sake of a short sharp chase, the stolen Nissan utility and its offending occupants could have been stopped on Monday night within minutes of it being stolen at a time when there was no traffic about and it would have been safest for police to attempt to do that. And isn’t that what we train, equip and pay police to do?” asks Pyke.

Pyke says as if this isn’t bad enough, days later the stolen Nissan ute is still being driven around Toowoomba’s streets with impunity and has been used to commit other crimes.

“The Nissan ute now has false plates CJR-61 screwed onto it and twice on Wednesday 30 March 2011 the stolen vehicle drove into the bottle-shop of the Southern Hotel in Kearneys Spring, Toowoomba where it’s occupants happily loaded up with slabs of Jim Beam bourbon and drove off without paying. Twice, once in the afternoon and the second time at about 10.00 PM,” Pyke says.

Pyke says all this proves that Queensland cops have lost control of the streets because of their inept, incompetent and politically-compromised commissioner.

“Now what happens?” asks Pyke. “It’s a stolen car, it has stolen false plates on it, it keeps driving into bottle-shops and stealing alcohol. What are police supposed to do next time they see it driving past? Wave?”

Pyke says the Bligh government is at fault for extending Atkinson’s contract way past his use-by-date. He is calling on Queenslanders to make their own judgements about whether he is right and police have been forced by Atkinson to hand over control of Queensland streets to the criminals. He says Queenslanders who support street cops doing their jobs should voice their anger at this situation.

But Pyke says there is a twist to this matter, “In our system, all sworn police officers hold the ‘office of constable’ under the rule of law,” says Pyke. “I say no-one can tell a sworn officer he or she may not arrest a person they suspect of committing a criminal offence. In fact, anyone who prevents a sworn police officer from doing so might be arrested for obstruction or as a party to the offence.” Pyke urges cops to look it up.

Pyke says cops should ignore Atkinson and do their jobs which is to catch criminals and put them behind bars.

“I call also on Premier Bligh to explain why her government extended police commissioner Bob Atkinson’s contract when he has reduced police to mere ‘observers’ of crime,” Pyke says.


The above is a Press Release from Peter Pyke, 0427 388 598, -- of today's date

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Ex-model sues police over harassment

A FORMER swimsuit model is suing the Queensland Police Service for $200,000 in damages, claiming she was repeatedly harassed by a traffic policeman and wrongfully arrested.

Gold Coast mum Renee Eaves, 34, is claiming a former Brisbane constable intercepted her 15 to 20 times between 2004 and 2006 and was known to regularly park outside the Brisbane unit she lived in at the time.

In a statement of claim lodged in the Brisbane District Court, the former Miss Bikini World said the officer often pulled her over for minor traffic infringements and once fined her for being a car passenger with a twisted seatbelt.

Police "investigating" police again

Police can act as judge and jury and that's OK, apparently

HUMAN rights crusader Terry O'Gorman is furious that the Sippy Downs police officers who forced a teenager to deflate his bike tyres and walk three kilometres home will not be disciplined.

Josh Maday was caught without a helmet while riding a BMX on Claymore Rd. Instead of issuing the then 15-year-old with a warning or fine, officers took the unusual step of deflating the bike tyres to ensure he did not reoffend.

Mr O'Gorman, the Queensland Council of Civil Liberties vice-pres-ident, made a complaint to the Crime and Misconduct Commission, asking whether the officers could be charged with wilful damage.

BUT the matter was directed back to the Sippy Downs station. The officer in charge ruled no further action was necessary after interviewing his colleagues, Josh and Josh's mother, Anne Dyer.

Mr O'Gorman said the internal investigation was “ludicrous”. He has written to the Premier about the police complaints system and saddled this example alongside the Palm Island controversies. “It is absurd the complaint against the police concerned would be investigated by the senior sergeant of the station at which they were based,” Mr O'Gorman said. “It is this council's view that it is well overdue for an independent review to be undertaken of the police complaints process in Queensland.”

Mr O'Gorman said the whole system had become “tortuous”. “We contend the end result of that review should be a splitting of the Crime and Misconduct Commission into two bodies – a Crime Commission and a Police Integrity Commission.”

He said his other concern with the Sippy Downs investigation was the interpretation of the Police Powers Act. He believes it was designed only for public acts like riots.

Ms Dyer said her son's life was put at risk. “Despite what police say it was not a busy road and while he did have a mobile phone, he had no credit,” she said. “With the whole Daniel Morcombe case in the air you'd think they would not just leave him.”

A spokesman for the police union said they had no concerns. “Our business is keeping young people safe when they might not be able to themselves,” he said. “The officers involved acted lawfully and it (letting tyres down) is widespread practice.”

He said every police investigation was overseen by the Ethical Standards Commission and the Crime and Misconduct Commission.


Monday, March 21, 2011


The events surrounding the suppression by the Queensland Police Service (QPS) of official footage of the Tasering of a highly-disturbed 17 year old girl in a Toowoomba fish and chip shop last week amounts to a propaganda-like distortion of public information, says former Queensland MP and QPS Academy law lecturer and training sergeant Peter Pyke.

Pyke says the Bligh government is attempting every trick in the book to positively spin the Tasering incident, evidenced by the initial coverup of the incident, the later selective management of who might see the vision of the incident, the quick rush to commend the conduct of the police involved and the continued concealment from public scrutiny of the video footage which he says cannot be supported legally.

“This attempt to put a positive spin on behaviour most might regard as inhumane would make the Former Nazi Information Minister Herman Goebels, who coined the term “propaganda” proud,” Pyke says.

Pyke says that he shares the concerns of former Queensland Corruption Commissioner and Federal Court Judge Tony Fitzgerald QC who found fault with the political process last year in the introduction to a book “The Fitzgerald Legacy: Reforming Public Life in Australia and Beyond”, saying voters are only called on to participate at elections every three years. "Beyond that, the electorate is little more than an audience to a substantially rule-free political contest. "The rights of citizens are largely unprotected by legal constraints on official power which elsewhere are considered a hallmark of democracy."

For a democracy to function, Pyke says, the Media and Civil Society both play an essential and vital function which is to ‘monitor’ the other three branches of government namely; the parliament, the executive and the judiciary. Pyke suggests this monitory function is so important that it should be labelled and elevated to another branch of government namely: ‘The Fourth Branch’.

“The health of a democracy can be measured by how well a government assists or prevents the media and civil society to function,” says Pyke. “Under ‘Weather Girl’ Premier Anna Bligh in Queensland, I say we are witnessing a disturbing control of information about police and other state government agencies far worse than anything I saw during the dark days of the Joh era,” he says.

Pyke says the Toowoomba Taser incident has caught the Bligh Queensland government and top cops out attempting through the Police Service’s Media Unit to suppress and manipulate information about a matter of considerable community disquiet where a highly-agitated 17 year old Toowoomba girl could have been Tasered to death but instead suffered a substantial head injury.

In a communication to selected media last Friday, at 1.00 PM some Brisbane journalists were invited by Police Media to a carefully controlled screening at Police HQ of the video footage shot by one of the three police who initially attended Bernie’s Fish and Chip Shop in Herries Street, Toowoomba CBD on Wednesday night.

The Police Media Unit advised:

“Deputy Commissioner Ross Barnett will brief media this afternoon about a Taser deployment in Toowoomba on Wednesday night. At this briefing, media will be shown body worn camera footage of this incident.

Note: Media will be shown this footage for background purposes. For legal reasons, it cannot be broadcast or released to media at this time.

Pyke says although he has not seen the vision himself, senior Queensland journalists who have spoken to him since the Media Unit showed the vision to them on Friday say the footage is highly confronting and appears to be prima facie evidence that the three male police officers who attended the incident involving the highly-agitated girl attempting ‘suicide-by-cop’ over-reacted.

Pyke says he believes the video footage records that the girl was shot in the chest with the Taser electrodes, which is a direct contravention of manufacturer Taser International’s guidelines.

As reported by Sky News (Source AAP) the vision shows:

“From the moment the three officers arrived, the tension was high and police instantly began shouting at the girl to drop the knife. She was warned more than 10 times and was told she would be shot with a Taser stun gun if she did not do as told. The girl kept on shouting: 'Real gun, real gun. Shoot me with a real gun'. Less than 40 seconds after police arrived, the girl was Tasered. She fell to the floor with a thud and a pool of blood formed around her head. She was later treated by ambulance officers for a head injury. Even when on the ground, the girl kept on pleading to be shot, the footage showed.

[Newly-appointed Deputy Commissioner Ross] Barnett defended the officers and said they followed protocol. Although the girl only appeared to be within a few metres of the officers, Mr Barnett said she was out of pepper-spray range. [Barnett] did not answer questions as to why a baton was not used. He said the officers were acting within police guidelines to use the Taser.”

Pyke says it is his understanding that although the Queensland Police Service Media Unit has refused to release the vision filmed by police at the scene of the Tasering incident to the media and the community - claiming ‘legal reasons’ - he has been told by police the footage has already ‘gone viral’ within police networks and has been available since Friday internally for QPS employees and Police Union members to access and download.

“It is my belief that cops and their networks all over Australia have been selectively granted access to the restricted video footage, while such access to public information is being denied to our most senior academics, citizens, journalists, jurists and legal people,” Pyke says. “That’s clearly wrong.”

As a former police on-street training officer and police academy law lecturer, Pyke says he believes the girl who was Tasered could not possibly be charged with any offence. He says the police video evidence confirms she was suicidal and in a highly disturbed state at the time so is therefore not criminally liable under Queensland law.

Pyke says the Bligh government’s claim that legal reasons require the police footage to be withheld is a lie.

Pyke says the Bligh government is employing concerning double standards, concealment, suppression, spin and lies in it’s attempts to manage the Tasering matter.

Pyke says the Queensland government has nowhere to hide and must now fully release the video footage of the Toowoomba Taser incident to all interested media and to the community.

“I call on premier Anna Bligh, police minister Neil Roberts and police commissioner Bob Atkinson to stop hiding the truth and to come clean by immediately releasing the video footage of the Toowoomba Taser incident last week,” requests Pyke.

“Even in the Joh era when a Rat Pack of corrupt senior former and serving Queensland cops installed their most junior member as commissioner, had a senior cabinet minister amongst their number as well as a ‘killer cop’ operative who murdered at least 20 people did we see such sophisticated and sinister information manipulation and propaganda as we have seen in this last week,” claims Pyke.

Peter Pyke says last week Queensland’s top cops and their Media Unit are operating in a way which damages democracy and says that for the Australian media and civil society to stand by and permit the Bligh government to act as it has and – particularly – to show the Taser video footage in-house and only to selected members of the media must not be tolerated.

Pyke says “The way the Bligh government is handling this incident is a sinister manipulation of public information which – it seems to me - strikes at the heart of our very democracy. I believe such conduct by an Australian state government is so troubling and grave, I call on Academia, Civil Society, the Media, Media Watch, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission, the Human Rights Commission, the Queensland Ombudsman and the Australian Senate to thoroughly investigate all aspects of this matter,” Pyke asks.

“It has overtones which take us right back to Nazi Germany in its most scary mode,” he says.

“I call on all Australians who hold democracy dear to carefully analyse these events and to make public comment about them,” he said today.

Above is a press release from Peter Pyke, 0427 388 598,

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Crooked Queensland cops escaping justice

A new "Fitzgerald" enquiry needed?

ONE definition of a pattern is "a consistent, characteristic form, style, or method" ... but anyone - police officer or civilian - looking for a discernible pattern in recent high-profile disciplinary cases in Queensland is entitled to feel disappointed and confused.

Consider two cases.

Five cops reportedly a sergeant and constables pose with a woman who flashes her breasts during the Valley Fiesta. Common element: Stupidity. Time for resolution: Six months. Penalty: Fines or pay cuts ranging from $5000 to $15,000 a year.

Six senior police, ranging from sergeant up to inspector, are accused of a cover-up at worst or procedural bumbling at best during investigations into an explosive death in custody on Palm Island. Common elements: Alleged unprofessionalism, lack of judgment and arrogance. Time for resolution: seven years. Penalty: None.

It is difficult not to wonder whether the worse the offence, the greater the potential for embarrassment and the more highly ranked the participants, the lighter the penalty in the police service.

This is the sort of hole in which the Queensland Police Service finds itself after its failure to take action against those officers whose performance helped ensure that the sorry death of Cameron (Mulrunji) Doomadgee turned into an endless saga of unresolved questions and broken trust.

That the investigation into Mulrunji's death (and the subsequent review) was so badly run and the case has taken so long to come to such a miserable conclusion is bad enough.

That the QPS is under suspicion because its own investigation into its own people revealed nothing actionable is predictable.

That there are growing doubts about the Crime and Misconduct Commission's ability to play a meaningful, constructive and timely oversight role is appalling.

That there is a breakdown between the CMC and the QPS is disturbing.

That five junior cops who demonstrated little more than naivety when confronted with an exhibitionist should be financially savaged while six experienced and relatively high-ranking officers facing infinitely more serious allegations should suffer nothing more than the indignity of "managerial guidance" is an affront to fair play.

The conflicting opinions of retiring Deputy Commissioner Kathy Rynders and CMC chairman Martin Moynihan available online will kill an hour or two but resolve little.

If it weren't so serious, it would be laughable. Moynihan and Rynders are still lobbing insults over the net. Moynihan remains astounded that no charges were laid; Rynders could find none to lay.

However, the police performance following Mulrunji's death was not what reasonable people would expect from experienced and streetwise officers. Events speak for themselves.

For some to claim that their behaviour (and perceptions of cosiness with those under investigation) was the harmless result of logistical realities is fairly rich given the same people saw bias in the fact that original coroner Michael Barnes had a beer with a lawyer.

Leaving aside Mulrunji and senior sergeant (now Acting Inspector) Chris Hurley, who was cleared of responsibility for his death, this case is indelibly marked by the serial failure of police and the CMC to bring any sort of closure or to deliver what most people would see as justice.

Half the world has probably given up on anything approaching justice in the Palm Island affair and the other half has joined Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson in wanting to "move on".

But it is difficult to move on when a dilatory investigation and a feeble response by the police service and a petulant CMC role leave us with the feeling the disciplinary procedure is slow to react, inconsistent and verging on the out of control.

That uneasy suspicion seems confirmed by inconsistency in several other cases: The nude runners from the Special Emergency Response Team, who copped Magistrate's Court and police service fines, suspensions and demotions; the lack of recorded action against police involved in a Queen St fracas that led to one officer receiving a court fine for assault; and the lack of public accountability for officers who remained silent while Senior Constable Benjamin Price was bashing people at Airlie Beach.

Police believe they are victimised and hamstrung by unrealistic expectations and petty oversight, while other citizens see their concerns ignored in an unedifying and legalistic spat between the police service and the CMC.

This is rapidly turning from an administrative dogfight into a pressing issue demanding a political response.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Queensland's police whitewash tribunal lives on

Queensland's police complaints whitewash tribunal of the Joh era was notorious and was finally closed down by the Fitzgerald enquiry -- but the cops have found a way to re-create it

THE failure of police to conduct a proper investigation into the 2004 death of Palm Islander Mulrunji Doomadgee at the hand of a veteran policeman will not lead to disciplinary charges, with Queensland's anti-corruption watchdog powerless to take court action against any of the officers involved.

Crime and Misconduct commissioner Martin Moynihan QC will today announce he is unable to challenge a decision by the Queensland Police Service to reject the watchdog's recommendation for disciplinary action against six officers involved in the now discredited investigations.

The decision of police Deputy Commissioner Kathy Rynders to reject the CMC's recommendations and instead find that the officers face only "managerial guidance" is understood to have created a legal loophole that prevents a court appeal. The CMC can seek to overturn the decision only if it is in the formal police disciplinary process.

Civil liberties lawyers last night called for an independent review of the police disciplinary process in Queensland. "The police complaints system has broken down," Australian Council of Civil Liberties president Terry O'Gorman said. "The need is exemplified by the fact that it has taken six years and still it is unresolved as to whether the circumstances of Mr Doomadgee's death was properly investigated."

Mr Moynihan last year warned charges would be filed directly in Queensland's Civil and Administrative Tribunal against the six officers if he was unsatisfied with the response of Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson to a CMC report into the watchhouse death. The damning report echoed the findings of Deputy State Coroner Christine Clements in slamming the initial investigation as lacking "transparency, objectivity and independence".

The CMC said Mr Atkinson needed to take responsibility for a "corrosive culture" that led to the "seriously flawed" Doomadgee investigation, and several other high-profile misconduct cases.

It recommended four officers -- who led the investigation -- face disciplinary action for alleged misconduct, with the two senior officers -- handpicked by Mr Atkinson to review the initial investigation -- also face disciplinary action.

After a series of court challenges about the report, Ms Rynders reported to the CMC in January rejecting the disciplinary recommendations and finding that the officers should only receive "managerial guidance". That decision cannot be challenged.

Doomadgee's violent death, within an hour of being arrested for public nuisance by Palm Island police boss Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, sparked riots during which the police station servicing the Aboriginal community off Townsville was burnt down. Sergeant Hurley was acquitted in 2007 of Doomadgee's manslaughter.


Monday, March 14, 2011

A disturbing video about the Queensland police

Monday, March 7, 2011

More police aggression during S.E. Queensland floods

Ask Atum Weber what happened to his face and he replies, "I was mugged by the Queensland Police". Mr Weber, 40, a resident of Bardon, and another friend, Scott Cooper, 38, a Sunshine Coast father of three, said they were surprised by a group of police officers while taking a late-night stroll through the flood affected area of Rosalie in the early hours of Thursday 13 January.

Mr Weber claimed police choked him to the point of unconsciousness, punched him in the kidneys repeatedly and slammed his face into the concrete footpath more than seven times during a half hour ordeal before being taken to the Brisbane City Watchhouse and being charged with 'resisting arrest' and 'assaulting a police officer'.

Mr Cooper said he was punched in the face by a senior officer after calling out for assistance. He was later charged with two counts of 'obstructing police'.

The two men and another female friend had driven to the area to check out the floodwaters after an evening spent socialising with friends. They had decided like hundreds of other 'rubberneckers' to take a look at the large pool of floodwater which inundated Nash St, the main shopping strip in the inner-western suburb of Rosalie. "We, weren't drunk, we were sober, calm – just having a good time," Mr Weber said.

"We looked at the water and talked to the cop (stationed near the flood water). It was all good, no problem, so we thought let's go home now. As I was walking along the footpath I came to a treed area (at the corner of Nash and Beck Streets) and then out of the shadows, because it was all dark, somebody grabs me," he said.

Mr Weber said he wasn't aware that the figures were police until after they had begun the alleged attack. "I was just freaked out. People were grabbing me and I say 'Can you remove your hands from me, you are assaulting me', and they go 'This isn't assault mate.' By this time I saw they were police, but I didn't really believe they were doing this without introducing themselves or without questioning us or anything else," he said.

“I moved towards a tree or a post or something, and I grabbed it because I didn't want to be hurt, so we could negotiate. I'm going 'What's going on? What do you want?'

"They kept saying 'Shut up' and 'Stop resisting'. Then this male officer pulls my hair back from behind, a big guy, and puts this forearm choke-hold straight across (points to throat) and I could tell right away he had effectively applied a choke, because it cut off blood supply to my brain, I could feel it right away, and within a few short seconds I lost consciousness."

Mr Cooper also said he didn't know who the figures shining torches who emerged from the shadow of the trees were. "There were torches and there were people and I couldn't honestly say whether they said police or not but the next thing I know they had Atum on the ground and were beating him," Mr Cooper said.

Mr Weber described coming to face first on the concrete with his hands cuffed behind his back with several officers pinning him down, with one punching him repeatedly in the kidneys.

He said he tried instinctively to stand up, which caused the officers to bend his wrists back and pull his arms upwards, causing him "extreme pain", before grabbing by the hair and pummelling his face into the ground.

"Somebody pulled my head back, while they had their knee on my back, then smashed my head into the concrete, pulling it back and smashing it repeatedly. There was also a continued rain of blows to my kidneys," he said.

Mr Weber said he had his head smashed into the ground between seven and ten times in two lots of blows by a female officer, once after trying to get up and the other when he failed to supply his name. "When she asked my name and I said 'Please, just remove the pain and I'll be able to tell you my name, I'll tell you anything you want' she goes 'Your wasting my time, tell me your fucking name!' and then she started smashing my head into the pavement some more," he said.

Mr Weber said he was kept on the ground for around 15 to 20 minutes before eventually being thrown roughly into a paddy wagon along with Mr Cooper.

Mr Weber said he plead constantly during his ordeal with the officers to stop hurting him, even asking his friend Mr Cooper, who had by this time been detained with his hands cuffed, for help. "I was sitting on the ground with my hands cuffed behind my back while Atum's being assaulted. I counted at least nine police in the group," Mr Cooper said.

"He's saying 'Scott, they're hurting me.' I told him 'I can't help you Atum, they've got me in cuffs...' I wanted to do something so I started yelling out 'Help, help, we're being assaulted!' "They told me to shut up or I'd wake the neighbours. I said 'Yeah exactly...' and yelled twice as loud 'Help, help, we're being assaulted by the Queensland Police!'"

Mr Cooper said that after yelling this that a senior officer leant down and punched him "right in the face."

Both the men said they were astonished by how agressive and "amped up" the police were, with Mr Weber speculating the alleged beatings may have been some sort of "vengeance deal" for him asking an officer they encountered earlier to show his ID.

Mr Weber said they first encountered a police officer as they turned the corner of the sidestreet they had parked on and heading towards the flooded area. "When we had gotten out of the car and turned the corner there was a man shining his torch, it turns out he was a police officer but we couldn't see anything because it was completely dark," Mr Weber said.

"I think my friend (Mr Cooper) said, 'Can you show me your ID?' It might be an unusual thing to say to the police, but that's what he said. Then the guy showed him his ID and walked off."

"Someone was shining a torch into our eyes and as far as I remember he said 'Police'. It was very dark as the streetlights were out so I asked him to show me some ID. He flashed his torch at his ID on his belt, then there was a strange pause and he walked off," Mr Cooper said. "Later on after I'd been punched one (police officer) came up shining his torch in my face and said 'Remember me dickhead?' "Then he shone his torch on his face and said something like 'I'm the officer you saw before. Not so smart now are you?'"

Queensland Police released a statement on Tuesday saying that the trio were "behaving aggressively" towards the "lone police officer". "Additional police attended and consequently two men were arrested for obstructing police. Whilst one of the men was handcuffed he assaulted a female police officer," the statement said. [Very likely!]

Mr Cooper posted a note on Facebook last Thursday detailing the allegations of abuse. He said since then a lot of people have raised the possibility that the police mistook them for looters, one he denies. "At no stage did anyone mention anything about looting. We were carrying no bags, we didn't have torches and the police found nothing illegal on us," he said.

The pair will face court in February.