Wednesday, January 28, 2015

South Australia: Police Complaints Authority report found Constable Norman Hoy was unprofessional bully who was rude, arrogant and harsh to drivers

Nasty old goat got let off a charge because his form was not revealed

CONSTABLE Norman Hoy was a threatening, harsh, unfair, arrogant and rude bully whose insulting, unprofessional behaviour breached regulations, according to a damning Police Complaints Authority report.

The Advertiser today can reveal details of 11 Police Complaints Authority inquiries into Const Hoy, who was acquitted by a District Court jury last Friday of assaulting millionaire Yasser Shahin.

Within hours of the not guilty verdict being handed down by a jury, Const Hoy’s legal team, accompanied by SA Police Association President Mark Carroll, served an injunction on The Advertiser banning publication of the complaints.

That gag order was to remain in force until a hearing in the District Court today — however Const Hoy’s lawyers advised, just after 8am, they would not be pursuing their action.

Judge Paul Slattery formally dismissed the injunction just after 11am. He ordered Const Hoy, through the Police Association, to pay The Advertiser’s legal costs.

The injunction temporarily stopped The Advertiser from publishing details of a 2009 Police Complaints Authority report which concluded the "common theme" of complaints from members of the public against the 59-year-old traffic cop were descriptions of him as:

THREATENING, harsh, unfair and unfriendly.

ARROGANT and rude, someone who looked down on drivers.

A POLICE officer who made drivers feel like second-class citizens.

A QUITE aggressive, frightening bully.

ANGRY, confronting and intimidating while yelling at and embarrassing drivers.

One complaint, in 2008, arose from Const Hoy pulling over and defecting a luxury car because its front passenger window’s tint was too dark — two years before his clash with Mr Shahin over the tinting of his Rolls Royce.

In a sequence of events similar to those involving Mr Shahin, Const Hoy told the driver to "shut your mouth" and "don’t have a hissy fit".

Last week, a District Court jury cleared Const Hoy - described by SA Police Association President Mark Carroll as a "hero cop" for preventing a serious crash on the South Eastern Freeway - of assaulting Mr Shahin, one of South Australia’s most successful business figures.

Prosecutors had alleged he exceeded his lawful authority by grabbing Mr Shahin while defecting his 2008 Rolls Royce for apparently having windows which were too dark.

Mr Shahin’s family company, Peregrine Corporation, owns several of the state’s most profitable retail businesses, including On the Run, Smoke Mart and Krispy Kreme.

During the trial, Mr Shahin told jurors Const Hoy was "hostile" and "hellbent" on bullying him, and had "shoved and grabbed" him during the traffic stop in the Adelaide CBD in September, 2010.

Mr Shahin denied he did "everything in his power" to ensure he was charged.

In his evidence, Const Hoy said he had "no choice" but to grab Mr Shahin because the "intimidating, threatening" businessman would not obey his directions. He denied he engaged in "a power play" with Mr Shahin to show that he "was the boss".

After 75 minutes’ deliberation, the jury found Const Hoy not guilty.

It can now be reported Mr Shahin’s complaint, to the Police Complaints Authority, was the 12th matter filed against Const Hoy.

The PCA report did not form part of the evidence against Const Hoy in his trial.

According to the report, another driver recalled an encounter with Const Hoy in 2008 where he felt the "rudeness and aggression" displayed toward him was "totally unacceptable".

"Const Hoy said ‘look, do you want me to explain this to you or not?’ and when the driver said ‘no, I don’t’, he replied ‘well shut up then!’".

The PCA report, written in 2009, says that when Const Hoy felt the driver was showing "further agitation he said words to the effect of ‘don’t have a hissy fit, let me finish what I was saying, will you?’"

Const Hoy told the authority he was merely seeking to "control" the driver, who was "verbally bullying me". He said he "made a deliberate choice" of those words to "have him (the driver) comply". "I believe (the driver) was rude to me and verbally trying to bully me," the report quotes Const Hoy as saying. "He showed no respect for my position and I believe he was trying to influence my decision by his actions."

The PCA disagreed.

"I find it ironic that Const Hoy should accuse (the driver) of using bullying tactics," its report says.

"This is the very thing that (the driver) and numerous other, quite separate independent members of the public have accused Const Hoy of over the past 18 months.

"I recognise that not all of these complaints have been substantiated, but I also recognise that SA Police management have concerns that there may be a performance problem underlying this series of complaints. "I share those concerns.

"In the past 18 months, Const Hoy has been complained about on 11 occasions ... most, if not all, of these complaints (describe him) as rude, threatening and/or aggressive."

The report is critical of Const Hoy’s handling of the 2008 matter.

"Having considered the evidence, I have formed the view that Const Hoy handled this situation poorly and that his use of the words ‘shut up’ and ‘shut your mouth’ were both unnecessary and unprofessional," it says. "In my assessment, (his) conduct breached Police Regulation 17 in that it was both insulting and disrespectful to this complainant."

The report notes SA Police management had advised Const Hoy would be counselled and receive further training.

"I propose to simply reinforce and support the need for the speedy development and implementation of an appropriate intervention strategy," it says. "In the event he continues to generate complaints of this kind, then any future recommendations I make will be more punitive in nature."

The report seen by The Advertiser was obtained from a complainant to the Authority, not from Mr Shahin, his family nor anyone connected with them or their business interests.

When Const Hoy was approached for comment last week - through the Police Association - his lawyers responded with a letter warning they would sue for defamation. Const Hoy’s legal team then applied for the interim injunction, which prevented publication of the story until today.

The Advertiser has again approached Const Hoy, through his lawyers, requesting his comment on the 2009 PCA report.

In a statement his afternoon, Police Association president Mark Carroll said it was "quite common" for police to receive complaints from motorists. "Drivers who commit traffic offences hardly relish receiving fines for their transgressions ... high emotion often accompanies their reactions," he said.

"For this reason, and in the interests of full transparency, many traffic officers like Const Hoy purchase and use their own body-worn video or audio devices - as he did after he was the subject of complaints to the PCA."

Mr Carroll said the evidence gathered by such devices was "usually compelling", as "was the case" in Const Hoy’s trial. "It was surely a huge reason for the jury’s not guilty verdict," he said.

"Cases like this illustrate why the Police Association has, for many years, lobbied strongly for body-worn video to be standard issue for all frontline police. "We shudder to think what the outcome of this case would have been without Const Hoy’s audio evidence."

Mr Carroll also urged the public keep "perspective" about the matter. "Let’s remember that Const Hoy was shown by the unanimous decision of a District Court jury - and the subsequent comments of Judge Paul Rice - to have conducted himself entirely lawfully in his interaction with Mr Shahin," he said.

Original report here. (Via Australian Politics)

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