Annual Report 2004-2005 Ombudsman 27th Report
Tabled paper 283
Tabled papers for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled By Claire Martin
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.
_________________________________________________________ Ombudsmans Annual Report 2004/05 76 adjourned. As a result of the charges against the complainant, he was withdrawn as a witness in the fraud case. In October 2002, the complainants legal representative brought an action in the Supreme Court seeking a declaration that the charges brought against him in 2001 were an abuse of process. The charges were dropped in around April 2003. The complainant believed that the police had no new evidence or reason to reactivate the 1996 matter and that the charges were only re-activated in order to discredit him as a witness in the fraud case against his friend. A detailed investigation of the complaint was conducted by the Professional Responsibility Command of the Northern Territory Police on behalf of the Ombudsman, under the supervision of the Joint Review Committee (JRC). It was noted that the evidence contained on the Police file in question certainly supported the charges as originally laid and that the complainants had not absconded, or been charged with any offences. The matter was therefore forwarded to the Director of Prosecutions. Eventually, the Director of Public Prosecutions dropped all charges for the 1996 matter because of the length of time that had elapsed since the incident occurred. The JRC was of the view that there was insufficient evidence to support the complaint that the investigating officer resurrected the assault and trespass charges against the complainant in order to discredit him as a witness in the fraud trial. Indeed, the evidence suggested that the assault and trespass charges languished because the court was initially provided with incorrect information as to the status of the witnesses. The evidence further suggested that there were entirely proper reasons why the charges were reinstigated and they were only dropped ultimately because of the passage of time and after due consideration by the Director of Public Prosecutions in the exercise of his prosecutorial discretion. 15. Handle with Care The complainant stated that he was stopped by police in his car on a major Darwin road at approximately 2 am. He had two passengers with him in the car who were witnesses to his arrest. The complainant alleged that police grabbed him, unnecessarily tied his hands, pushed him to the ground and then threw him into the police car. He said police swore at him when he was arrested. He also claimed that he was bleeding when he arrived at the watch house but was provided with no medical attention. A detailed investigation of the complaint was conducted by the Professional Responsibility Command of the Northern Territory Police on behalf of the Ombudsman, under the supervision of the Joint Review Committee (JRC). The investigation involved interviews with the complainant, his passengers, all police officers involved, the watch house video and various other police records.