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February 28, 2021

Ballina cops face corruption probe

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Staff reporters

Three Ballina police officers have escaped prosecution for perjury but only because there is a Police Integrity Commission (PIC) corruption investigation proceeding into their actions.

On making the announcement yesterday, magistrate David Heilpern also released to the media graphic CCTV footage clearly showing three officers bashing then-22-year-old Corey Barker in a cell at Ballina police station in January last year.

The officers subsequently sought to charge Barker, claiming he had attempted to attack them.

At the trial, one of them said that CCTV footage of the incident was damaged and couldn’t be played. But when the tape was restored it showed a very different set of events than was claimed in the officers’ evidence.

The horrifying tape appears to show senior constable David Hill punching Mr Barker in the face, senior constable Ryan Eckersley kicking him in the head while he was on the ground, and constable Lee Walmsley kneeing him in the side, also while on the ground.

The PIC will investigate allegations of assault, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, perjury and tampering with evidence against the three officers.

Magistrate Heilpern said in his judgment it was ‘crystal clear that the defendant at no time punched Senior Constable Hill in the nose as described’.

He said that Hill and Eckersley had colluded before giving evidence, described the damage to the CCTV footage as ‘suspicious’ and said the officers had ‘debased the administration of justice’.

‘It was as though there were two parallel universes in court: the imaginary one of Senior Constable Hill, and the real one that the rest of us – including the prosecutor – could see,’ the magistrate is reported as saying by smh.com.au.

Despite the apparently unprovoked attack and the serious nature of the investigation, Echonetdaily understands two of the three were still working on limited duties at Ballina up until last month, when the magistrate accused them of lying under oath.

 


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7 COMMENTS

  1. It was common assault, and the cops involved should face criminal charges go to jail and be sacked.
    It is disgraceful. I hope Corey sues them. It should be dealt with by the courts not the PIC

  2. What about the fourth officer present who did no assaulting. Does he get away scot-free for his failure to report the seemingly obvious criminal police assault ?

  3. This sort of conduct on the part of police is unfortunately not as uncommon as we would like to think.

    Very often, this sort of conduct goes unchallenged, simply because there is no video footage to prove what really happened.

    And in most cases, the Court will readily accept police testimony as prima facie evidence.

    The take home message is that if you want to protect yourself from this sort of police conduct, carry a concealed camera at all times.

  4. I find it very hard to believe that an officer of the law would attempt to pervert the course of justice… I also believe gravity is a lie and the Easter Bunny poops chocolate eggs. Why is it that violent thugs without testicles are so attracted to becoming law enforcers? They are an outlaw gang protected by even worse criminals. Bravo to this magistrate for poking this dangerous beast with a stick!

    What we really need are Peace Officers who understand the law, human decency, and trained in the ability to defuse violence rather than provoke it. I’m not alone in having copped horrendous beatings from the police force, yet they are usually more careful about what witnesses can record events. All those officers involved should be gaoled without bail immediately until this matter is brought to its conclusion. Abusing their position of power makes this incident far worse than any random violent attack on the streets!

  5. Does Corey Barker know that the N.S.W. Police Force settled 20 million dollars in out of court compensation settlements last year alone. These officers should be terminated immediately with no accrued benefits. I am amazed he wasn’t shot. Bring back Peter Ryan.

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