Sunday, March 15, 2009

Australian jury recognizes excessive use of force by police goons

Australian police goons often hurt others by their reckless use of force (See here and here and here and here, for instance) so it is good to see them getting hurt back. It might help restrain future goonery from them. In view of the systematic corruption at all levels of the Western Australian force revealed by the Mallard case, it is about time something gave them a jolt. Thank goodness for the jury system

A father and his two sons have been found not guilty of assaulting policeman Matthew Butcher, left partly paralysed after he was head-butted in a brawl. A District Court jury yesterday found Robert McLeod, 56, and his two sons Barry McLeod, 29, and Scott James McLeod, 35, not guilty of eight charges laid after the fight at Joondalup's Old Bailey Tavern in February last year. The verdict has sparked concerns from the police union that officers are no longer protected when carrying out their duties.

Barry McLeod faced the most serious count, of doing an act with intent to cause harm, admitting to a ``flying head butt'' in which he struck Constable Butcher, 33, to the head from behind after the policeman shot his father with a Taser gun. Robert McLeod later collapsed from a heart attack - his third in three years.

Defence lawyers argued he and the other two members of his family acted in self defence when confronted by police, who they said acted with excessive force as they attempted to arrest them.

Ushered from court in his wheelchair, supported by uniformed police, Constable Butcher told reporters: ``I'm disgusted.'' His weeping wife Katrina said she was ``utterly disgusted'' by the verdict.

Neither Barry McLeod nor Scott McLeod - who smiled and laughed with supporters as he walked free - commented to waiting media. Their father was not in court as he has been recovering in hospital after suffering blood clots on the brain over the weekend.

Despite acquitting the men of assaulting police, the jury of eight men and four women convicted Scott McLeod of a lesser charge of threatening to kill a member of the public who videotaped the brawl on his mobile phone.

During the six week trial, the court was told the fight began between the McLeods and a group of painters, spilled onto the street and then escalated when police arrived. By their verdict, which was returned after a day and half of deliberations, the jury found prosecutors had failed to prove that Barry McLeod did not act in self defence, or did not come to the defence of his father when he assaulted Constable Butcher.

More here

A pre-trial account of the facts of the matter

A 56-year-old man on trial for assaulting a police officer during a brawl outside a Perth tavern says he punched the officer to protect his son.

Robert Mcleod is on trial in the District Court with his sons Scott Mcleod and Barry Mcleod. He told the court the three men were attempting to break up a fight outside the Joondalup Tavern in February last year when Barry McLeod was attacked by police. He said Constable Matthew Butcher pulled Barry McLeod's t-shirt over his head while another officer struck him.

He said he punched Constable Butcher to the stomach two or three times in order to free his son. Moments later Constable Butcher fired a Taser at Robert McLeod, who then suffered a heart attack.

Mr McLeod has conceded that at the time he was very annoyed at the police, who he claims assaulted his son for no reason.

Original report here. (Via Australian Politics)

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today)

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