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March 22, 2023

PIC wants Ballina cops charged

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The Police Integrity Commission (PIC) yesterday recommended charges be laid against six Ballina police officers over the assault of Aboriginal man Corey Barker at Ballina Police Station in January 2011.

The PIC recommended charges including assault, perjury, perverting the course of justice and fabricating evidence against Senior Constable David Hill, Constable Lee Walmsley, Constable Ryan Eckersley, Constable Luke Mewing, Senior Constable Mark Woolven and Robert McCubben.

It recommended no charges be laid against the original arresting officers, Senior Constable Gregory Ryan and Senior Constable Kelly Haines.

The commission found the degree of forced used against Barker was excessive.

Senior constable David Hill arriving at the Police Integrity Commission hearings during which, the PIC found, he gave fabricated evidence.
Senior constable David Hill arriving at the Police Integrity Commission hearings during which, the PIC found, he gave fabricated evidence.

It concluded Barker was dragged to a cell in the police station by police officers holding the handcuffs on Barker’s hands, head first, on his stomach, ‘with his arms forced high above his head against the natural inclination of his arms’.

‘This method of taking Barker to a cell involved excessive force,’ the report said.

The PIC concluded that Barker did not attempt to break free from Walmsley as was maintained by the officers in hearings at Ballina Local Court.

It also said that Barker did not assault Hill as was repeatedly alleged and, in particular, did not punch or even attempt to punch Hill on the nose or face, as was claimed by all six of the charged officers in their testimony.

The commission concluded Hill had lied in his evidence at the PIC public hearing in claiming that he was hit by Barker.

It also said Mewing had disclosed the contents of a closed session of the PIC against instructions.

It continued that Eckersley, Woolven, McCubben, Walmsley and Mewing lifted their evidence regarding Barker’s alleged assault from Hill’s statement, evidence which they knew at the time to be untrue.

It said McCubben, who was the custody manager on the night, did not open a custody record for Barker until more than an hour after his arrival at Ballina Police Station, did not correctly record the names of the arresting officers or the original grounds for Barker’s detention, and failed to make any inspection of the handcuffed man in his cell.

It found Walmsley, Mewing, Eckersley, Woolven and McCubben did not make any notes of their own and had used Hill’s statement without reference and adopted his assertions about matters of which they had no recollection.

The Commission found that Hill, Walmsley, Mewing and Eckersley were guilty of police misconduct and should be prosecuted for assault. It also recommended they be charged with fabricating false evidence, perverting the course of justice and perjury.

In Mewing’s case, it said, consideration should also be given to charges over disclosing the contents of his evidence to a PIC private session.

Woolven and McCubben should be charged with fabricating false evidence and perverting the course of justice, it found, adding possible additional charges for McCubben over failing to keep proper records.

Mr Barker’s mother, Angelique, said this morning she hoped the officers realised what they had done.

‘I hope they are able to acknowledge they’ve done the wrong thing and we get justice, finally,’ she told ABC radio.

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  1. Unlike TV media reports this article hasn’t mentioned the word ‘aboriginal’ this time to drive up the usual emotional reactions from all sides. In earlier reports every media article had to get in the fact that he was aboriginal instead of just ‘a man’. Would an assault on me be described as ‘an attack on a white man….’ etc? I doubt it, no shock or anger value there.

  2. Prosecuting these officers is an appropriate first step but it won’t address the root cause of police brutality, which lies in police culture and a lack of independent oversight and accountability. Until there is an adequate, independent mechanism for handling complaints against police, the resort to perjury, excessive force and contempt for human rights will remain the modus operandi of the NSW police force.

  3. wow all this talk about the police How is Corey Barker?
    This is not the first complaint about unacceptable bulling and violence from our police participants in the Northern Rivers region. I have also heard stories of aggression from women driving alone and with young children, being pulled of and picked on .So please be aware and be ready everyone for the warmongers who are apparently paid wages from Washinton DC. Whatever happened to our good old ozzie gentle police who drove holdens and showed in the TV series of Blue Heelers and Division 4??

  4. Unfortunately, this is what the majority of australian police are like these days. These thugs were just unlucky enough to get caught…

  5. They should be sued, sacked and replaced by better trained cops all over this shire. Disgusting that Corey had to be put through all this when they are the ones that should be behind bars. Throw the book at them I say!!


    Sonny it’s wrong to steal that car..
    but it’s allright to steal all the oil to fire it.

    Sonny it’s wrong to steal that car..
    but its allright to steal a whole country to drive on.

    Sonny it’s wrong to steal that car..
    but it’s right for the rum corps to persue you to death.
    Some cops are just criminals,
    who knows what is good for them
    like subordinate soldiers, they must do others’ bidding

    They want be’lated medals
    for saving some country..
    and to stop them rememembering
    all the napalm burned children:

  7. There will always be corrupt police ,the police commission should get tougher with these renegade ones that spoil it for the good police out there.

  8. Police around the world have a hard job…. and we should value the job they do. If the world were perfect they would be redundant. In my case (Sydney Supreme Court) currently, without video evidence to assist, I am claiming perjury, perverting the course of justice, malicious prosecution, breaches of the Police and Crimes Acts and vicarious liability. Some of us have the resolve to protect ourselves. My claim was made endeavouring to protect others… An Aboriginal family attempting to enrol their children and an Italian friend attempting to have his wife properly cared for in a Taree nursing home. The sagas are to be made into the film: Snow in The Pocket… yes The Pocket near Mullumbimby!!!!

  9. Corrupt police and other public servants (Ian McDonald etc) should have their superannuation stripped and then jailed….why do we put up with these thugs and other idiots?

    I can name police from the Byron station who have acted as idiots….should I devulge this …no, do I want to get crusified?


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