Thug Qld. Cop loses appeal against finding that he used excessive force in arrest of boy, 15
A FORMER police officer has lost an appeal against a finding he used unauthorised and unjustified excessive force in the arrest of a 15-year-old boy almost five years ago.
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal has dismissed an appeal by former police sergeant Damien Chapman to overturn a tribunal finding that he used excessive force while arresting the teen at Clontarf, north of Brisbane, on May 18, 2007.
Chapman was initially cleared after an internal Queensland Police Service investigation by then QPS deputy commissioner Kathy Rynders. [Dear Kathy again]
However, that resulted in the matter being referred to QCAT by Queensland's criminal watchdog the Crime and Misconduct Commission. The CMC asked QCAT to review commissioner Rynders' findings and last November the tribunal overturned her decision and found that Chapman had used excessive force.
The 15-year-old, who was not responsible for the offence for which he was arrested, suffered a severely ruptured spleen, which doctors found was the result of blunt force to the area underneath his ribs.
At the original QCAT hearing, Chapman's defence argued the medical report was too inconclusive to say without doubt how the injury occurred. QCAT members James Thomas and Susan Booth disagreed, saying they were satisfied Chapman struck the boy without "authorisation, justification or excuse by law".
They were also critical of the internal police investigation, which they likened to "a relic of earlier armed service orderly room procedure".
QCAT president Alan Wilson, in a just-published 10-page decision, rejected Chapman's appeal, saying it "must be dismissed".
Justice Wilson, presiding in the tribunal's appeals jurisdiction, said the original finding was proper in all of the circumstances.
He said Chapman's appeal had focused on "numerous questions of law", but mainly argued the tribunal's decision was "contrary to, and against, the weight of evidence". "None of (Chapman's) grounds of appeal are made out," he said.
Chapman resigned in the wake of the QCAT ruling. Justice Wilson said during a follow-up hearing the tribunal found it would have ordered he be dismissed had he not already resigned.