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Justice Down Under ?

It is not just in the UK where Police Officers can face assault and not see the offenders convicted.

The West Australian Police Union says it is considering taking civil action against three members of a family acquitted of an attack which left a police officer brain-damaged.

Robert Mcleod and his two sons Barry and Scott walked free from the Perth District Court yesterday after a jury took one and a half days to find them not guilty of assulting four police officers.

They were accused of assaulting the officers outside a tavern in the northern Perth suburb of Joondalup in February, 2008.

The attack included a flying headbutt which left 32-year-old Constable Matthew Butcher with brain damage. He is paralysed down his left side and his sight is damaged.

Constable Butcher shook his head at the verdict, and told the media he was ‘absolutely disgusted’ as he left court.

A spokesman for the West Australian Police Union, Chris Cassidy, says the verdict will have a devastating impact on morale and recruiting and warned civil action against the men is a real possibility.

“Because the balance of proof in not beyond reasonable doubt, but in fact on the balance of probabilities,” he said.

Mr Cassidy also wants video footage of the brawl to be released to the public.

“Who can see for themselves the incidents that police deal with on a day to day basis and unfortunately in this case Matt Butcher has been paralysed.”

The Minister for Police, Rob Johnson, says he would back any such move.

“We will not sit back and let these devastating attacks on our police officers go unpunished,” he said.

“The outcome of this case will have a terrible effect on police morale and I can understand that.

“What I fear will happen is that you will see police officers reluctant to go in and do their duty and try and stop a fight for fear of becoming the victim.


5 Responses

  1. How can they find them/him not guilty?
    That police officer was seriously hurt.
    What the matter with people???

  2. Ah, shades of OJ but applied here to a son defending (in his view and the view of a Jury) a father with a bad heart, against a terrifying weapon. The pressure on the equivalent of our police federation must be overwhelming, when every police officer will expect and back this action. The prospects of winning may also look good. And wouldn’t you just love to be in the shoes of the poor civilian judge and the second and the third?

    For arguments sake, say the civil case is ultimately won and a family acquitted by jury is bankrupted. It would be a great result or a great disaster. Say the civil case is lost, the consequences for police PR do not bear thinking about.

  3. never mind police ‘PR’ what about police morale!
    i really dont understand how a jury could find them not guilty, i just hope if the same things ever happens here we’d at least manage to find them guilty.

  4. Having delved into the Facebook group re this, it seems the jury were ultimately convinced the son was ‘protecting’ his father. The question then becomes; is a jury system the best way to try a case. Unfortunately in this case, the answer seems no, but I would suggest a judge only system would not be welcomed.

  5. You must have shlarg sight to come up with that one Noddy.

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