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July 15, 2024

Ballina police face assault, perjury trial

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Corey Barker outside Ballina court house. (file pic)
Corey Barker outside Ballina court house. (file pic)

Four police officers bashed a man at the Ballina station before they and colleagues lied about him striking first, a court has been told.

But defence lawyers say CCTV footage only captured one-third of the incidents at Ballina station because the cameras were operating on delayed capture mode.

Senior Constables David Ryan Hill, 36, and Mark Woolven 45, Constables Ryan Charles Eckersley, 36, and Luke Christopher Mewing, 30, Probationary Constable Lee David Walmsley, 26, and Sergeant Robert Campbell McCubben, 49, appeared in Downing Centre District Court on Monday.

They’re all are accused of trying to pervert the course of justice, while four are accused of lying in court after Mr Corey Barker was charged with punching Sen Const Hill in January 2011.

In his opening submission, crown prosecutor Craig Patrick SC said Mr Barker was not shown punching anyone in CCTV footage.

But barristers acting for some of the officers expect expert evidence to reveal about two-thirds of the time was not captured on the VHS system.

‘You’ll hear evidence the Crown did not discover there were these issues…until after the accused were charged,’ Mr Mewing’s defence barrister Brett Eurell said.

The court heard Mr Barker, then 22, was drunk, hitting the Perspex in the dock of the police station and threatening to “smash” officers before a decision was made to move him to a cell.

It’s alleged the officers accused of lying in court – Sen Const Hill, Const Eckersley, Const Mewing and Prob Const Walmsley – also assaulted Mr Barker after removing him from the dock.

Mr Patrick said Sen Const Hill punched Mr Barker, who then fell to the floor, was kicked and then dragged to the cell.

Defence barristers said it had to be proven their clients had been dishonest rather than mistaken when making their statements, sometimes many months after the incident.

The court heard Mr Barker had been arrested after approaching officers responding to a domestic argument involving his friend.

There was some evidence he had thrown a bottle at them, Mr Patrick said.

The jury is expected to be shown the CCTV footage at the trial.


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