No criminal action to be taken by CCC against QPS officers - 30 June 2016
The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has completed its investigation into a complaint alleging excessive use of force by Queensland Police Service (QPS) officers determining there are no prospects of a successful criminal prosecution.
However, the CCC will be making recommendations to the QPS Ethical Standards Command that the conduct of some officers involved in this incident warrants disciplinary action.
The CCC has determined it is in the public interest to outline the reasons for its decision in this matter.
The CCC received a complaint on 8 September 2015 relating to the arrest of a 51-year-old man on the Gold Coast in January 2015. The CCC assessed this complaint and determined to investigate allegations that officers used excessive force during the arrest.
The CCC has formally interviewed relevant witnesses who were present during the arrest and carefully reviewed CCTV footage and video footage taken by onlookers. The CCC has also carefully reviewed the footage from one of the officer’s body worn camera that captured interactions between police and the complainant.
Allegations from two interactions between the complainant and the police were investigated by the CCC. The first related to allegations of excessive use of force by police after the complainant interfered in the arresting of another person. The second related to allegations of excessive use of force by police whilst arresting the complainant.
CCC Chairperson Alan MacSporran QC said the CCC has independently and objectively considered all of the evidence available including statements from the complainant, other people present, police officers involved, audio and video footage.
The CCC has determined the actions of police in the first interaction did not amount to criminal conduct and therefore criminal charges will not be brought against any officer.
“The evidence showed police only applied force after the complainant refused to stop interfering in the other arrest despite a number of requests to move away,” Mr MacSporran said.
“The CCC accepts prior to this he had appeared to be attempting to move everyone out of the area as had been requested by police.”
The CCC has determined the force used in the second interaction was significant but the officer involved raised a legal defence to his actions.
“Although the force used was significant, video and other evidence reveals the complainant’s arm was wrapped around the police officer’s thigh where his firearm was holstered when they fell to the ground,” Mr MacSporran said.
“The officer was of the view his firearm may have been taken from him. This clearly raises a defence of self-defence for the police officer which the prosecution would not be able to disprove as required for a successful prosecution.”
On that basis, there are no reasonable prospects of a successful criminal prosecution of the police officers involved and the CCC will be taking no criminal action against the officers.
“The CCC categorically accepts the complainant had no intention of removing or using the police officer’s firearm. However, it is still a defence if the police officer at that time honestly and reasonably, but mistakenly, believed he was in danger of having his firearm taken from him,” Mr MacSporran said.
The conduct of a number of police officers involved in the arrest, transportation of the man to the watchhouse and other interactions that do not amount to criminal conduct will be referred to the Ethical Standards Command with a recommendation they consider disciplinary action.
The complainant was advised yesterday afternoon (29 June 2016) of the outcome of the CCC’s investigation.