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March 3, 2024

Byron Bay police bashing – still no resolution

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The year-long delay in deciding whether or not to charge a local police officer involved in the violent arrest of a distressed youth in Byron Bay is ‘unacceptable’, the state’s leading civil liberties organisation says.

In a strongly worded letter to NSW attorney-general, Mark Speakman, the NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSWCCL) expressed serious concern about the delay in dealing with the incident, in which the officer struck the youth 18 times with a baton in the early hours of January 11 last year.

‘The NSWCCL is of the view that this delay is unacceptable,’ the secretary of the NSWCCL Therese Cochrane said.

The young person, who was seriously injured in this incident, and the community are entitled to know, in a timely manner, where the accountability lies in relation to this incident of excessive force and whether the officer involved will be prosecuted.

‘We expect this matter would be weighing heavily upon the young person involved.’

Footage of the officer, known as Officer E, repeatedly hitting the youth was aired on national television, bringing an outraged response from many locals and the wider community.

The teenager suffered broken ribs and multiple bruises and abrasions during the incident, which also took a severe psychological toll.

The arrest became the subject of a public inquiry by the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC), which ultimately found that the senior constable known as ‘Officer E’ struck the teenager 19 times with his baton, including a number of times while the youth was handcuffed.

The LECC found that this constituted ‘an inappropriate use of excessive force’ and referred the matter to the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW DPP) seeking advice as to whether Officer E should be charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

But the LECC, the community, the youth, and his family are still waiting for the NSW DPP to provide this advice.

Meanwhile, NSW Police have confirmed that Officer E has now left the Tweed-Byron region.

‘He is now performing duties at another command,’ a NSW Police spokesperson said.

‘He is no longer stationed within Tweed Byron Police District.’

The spokesperson also said Officer E was ‘subject to an interim risk management plan’.

‘We are still awaiting the DPP review of this matter. As that review is ongoing no further comment is possible.’

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  1. ‘A mentally disturbed person managed to get accepted to the department via the extremely lax and loose assessment process, and was made responsible for ‘law and order’ in public community spaces. After restraining a vulnerable and confused person, the mentally disturbed person in their position of authority and while at no risk themselves, demonstrated excessive force occasioning grevious bodily harm for no discernable reason. The department did not dismiss the mentally disturbed person. They have continued on the payroll, responsible for duties pertaining to quote justice law and order endquote. Their name was not made known to the public, it was considered the public had no right to be protected. They have not been charged with any crime, as any other person would be subject to. They have not been subject to psychiatric treatment and restraint. The community continues to be at risk from this anonymous, mentally disturbed person and has received no assurances of their rehabilitation. Angels wept.’

    • I fail to see why so many are surprised at this circumstance,
      This is exactly why people are attracted to the police force , it’s the same as why arsonists join the RFS and psychopaths line up for the armed forces. These sick sociopaths make up the bulk of these organisations where they are encouraged to commit their atrocities with guaranteed immunity and maximum opportunity.
      Have you wondered why so many paedophiles are drawn to the catholic schools and orphanages.
      There is nothing to be surprised about that NSW police (the rum corps) are acting in violent abusive ways ,
      that is their job.

      • The inquiry found one individual was responsible for the actions performed. None of the police I have know fit your description. I worked for several years with Department of Defence and was a Civilian Peace Monitor in Bougainville. All of the Australian, NZ, and Fiji military, and the Vanuatu police I worked with, were well trained, professional and displayed a discipline lacking in the case in Byron Bay. None again were in any way as you suggest.

        Police and military are large organisations. Occasionally some individuals do not deal with violent situations well ss the inquiry found. The matter should be brought to a prompt conclusion and other uniformed officers supported in their work.

  2. He should be jailed and the key thrown away what was he slap happy. And used the privilege of abusing a boy. We do neec cops like him. Dpp aking to long the police have a badge to hold and half of them abuse the badge

  3. So we must assume that Police Officers in NSW can bash people with impunity and face no consequences apart from the frowns of some of their fellow officers…….just not bloody good enough.
    In fact it’s a bloody disgrace!

  4. If four security guards held down a policeman’s son while a fifth guard hit him with a baton breaking their ribs, all five guards would be charged and found guilty.

  5. If an ordinary citizen had inflicted one-twentieth of this sort of violence on a policeperson, that citizen would be IMPRISONED FOR YEARS. Yet this copper will get off scot free.
    Fascism anyone?

  6. No letters to the editor or comments from the Byron police. You’d expect they feel more responsiblity to their community, to apologise, to feedback, to reassure. No. Nothing. Silence. Nothing to see here, move along.


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