Police to pay $18,000 in costs after charges against woman withdrawn

NSW Police have been ordered to pay almost $18,000 in costs after charges against an Oberon woman were withdrawn and dismissed in Bathurst Local Court.

In extraordinary circumstances, the woman’s barrister Bill Walsh told the court how his client was allegedly assaulted by a police officer in an unprovoked attack after she went to Oberon police station about a matter involving her 18-year-old son.

But instead of investigating the matter after an official complaint was made, police charged the woman with assaulting police and resisting an officer.

Mr Walsh said his client, a 50-year-old woman, suffered significant injuries in the alleged assault including bruising, cuts and abrasions. She submitted a formal complaint of police misconduct to both the local area commander and the Ombudsman which was not investigated by police at the time.

Mr Walsh said his client, who had no prior criminal history and had served 20 years in the Royal Australian Airforce, went to Oberon police station on July 28, 2016 where she was subjected to an unprovoked, vicious assault by the police officer.

Police called for an ambulance and she was taken to Oberon Health Service where, according to medical documents handed to the court, she told doctors the officer grabbed her by her jumper, threw her to the ground and attempted to handcuff her, before lifting her off the ground by her collar and slamming her headfirst into a cupboard.

The court heard a complaint was made to the command and Ombudsman but was not investigated by police, who later denied the complaint.

Mr Walsh said the complaint was now the subject of an investigation by the command, which led to the withdrawal of proceedings against his client in the court.

Mr Walsh submitted proceedings against his client should never have been initiated and said it was extraordinary that the local area command had received a complaint which included photos of the significant injuries she had received, but denied the complaint.

Magistrate Michael Allen said it appeared to him that had the local area commander investigated the complaint and circumstances of the facts, it was questionable that police initiated proceedings against her.

Chifley local area command’s Acting Superintendent Luke Rankin confirmed an internal investigation was under way and said the officer involved had been placed on restricted duties pending the outcome.