Sunday, November 22, 2015

Police officer involved in fatal shooting defamed by trial lawyer

Trial lawyer thought he was judge and jury

A JURY has found a Queensland barrister defamed a police officer involved in the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Tyler Cassidy.  Tyler was shot dead in 2008 after an armed confrontation with police in a skate park near Northcote Plaza.

Sergeant Colin Dods says he was defamed by Queensland barrister Michael McDonald in articles written about Tyler’s death on a website.

This morning a six member jury agreed, finding the articles defamed Sgt Dods by saying he executed the teen, was guilty of manslaughter, had used excessive force and had “gunned him down like he was a monster and dangerous mangy dog”.

“I was doing everything in my power to avoid a fatal outcome for Tyler Cassidy,” Sgt Dods earlier told the jury. Sgt Dods said he was devastated by the shooting and had two dates “seared” in to his memory: the date of the tragedy and Cassidy's birthday: April 20, 1993.  “I'm forced to consider every year what the impact might be on that family,” Sgt Dods said.

In 2011 Coroner Jennifer Coates was unable to identify which of the four officers present when Cassidy was killed fired the fatal shot.

Sgt Dods is a former Scotch College student who worked as a teacher before joining the police force in 2000.

Sgt Dods said in evidence Mr McDonald had endangered his two young children by publishing his off-duty movements.

Sgt Dods tried to contact Mr McDonald several times and complained to various Queensland law bodies before launching defamation proceedings.

The matter returns before Justice Kevin Bell for further legal argument and submissions on damages.

Original report here

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