Ballina: Police Integrity Commission Inquiry P2

NSW Police Integrity Commission Inquiry

Corey Barker

NSW cop stands by Aboriginal punch story

Vincent Morello The Australian 27 February 2013

The police officer who accused an Aboriginal man of punching him says his original version of events was true, even though other officers now concede the attack never happened.

Senior Constable David Hill acknowledges that CCTV footage of the incident shows no punch was thrown, but he stands by his original statement and previous court evidence.

At a Police Integrity Commission (PIC) inquiry on Wednesday, Sen Const Hill gave his account of the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Aboriginal man Corey Barker in January 2011 at Ballina, on the NSW north coast.

Five officers, including Sen Const Hill, accused Mr Barker of punching officer Hill in the face as they walked him from a holding cage to a cell at Ballina police station.

The other officers have given evidence to the PIC acknowledging that footage of the scuffle contradicted their written statements that he broke free of their grip, punched officer Hill and tried to punch him again.

"I still remember being hit by him," Sen Const Hill told the inquiry.

Counsel assisting the inquiry Stephen Rushton SC repeatedly accused the officer of giving false evidence in Ballina Local Court in 2011 during Mr Barker's prosecution.

"I suggest to you that evidence is false," he said.

"I disagree," Snr Const Hill replied.

"I suggest at the time you gave that evidence you knew it was false," Mr Rushton said.

"No, it wasn't," the officer replied.

Sen Const Hill could not explain why written statements from him and his fellow officers were nearly identical in regards to the abusive language Mr Barker used just before the alleged incident.

Mr Barker was arrested after attempting to help two friends who were in a violent street confrontation with police in Ballina.

While in custody, he was also charged with punching Sen Const Hill in the face while being walked from a holding cage to a cell at the back of the police station.

All the charges were eventually dropped.

The CCTV footage showed the officers slamming him into a wall, forcing him to the ground before he was kicked in the head and kneed to his side.

He was then handcuffed and dragged along the floor to a cell where he was left in handcuffs for more than 90 minutes.

Sen Const Ryan Eckersley, Sen Const Mark Woolven, Const Luke Mewing and Const Lee Walmsley all made statements in 2011 that Mr Barker punched Sen Const Hill.

Former sergeant Robert McCubben said he saw Mr Barker break free and throw his arms around during the incident.

All of the officers have told the PIC that the CCTV footage does not show any of that behaviour before Mr Barker is slammed into a wall.

The inquiry continues on Thursday.

NSW Police Integrity Commission Inquiry

NITV VIDEO - 19/03/13

'Flaws' emerge in Barker arrest

NITV News 25 February 2013

Former Sergent Robert McCubbin gave evidence today and said he used other police officers statements to make his own and he doesn't recall seeing Corey Barker assault another officer.

The Inquiry into the alleged bashing of a young man on the New South Wales north coast continued today at the Police Integrity Commission in Sydney.

Former Sergeant Robert McCubbin gave evidence today and said he used other police officers statements to make his own and he doesn't recall seeing Mr Barker assault Officer Hill.

This man was on duty the night Corey Barker was allegedly bashed by police in the Ballina station.

In the witness box today Robert McCubbin said another police officer's statement was emailed to him and he wasn't relying on his memory to give his version of the events.

Robert McCubbin was a sergeant at Ballina police station at the time of the incident.

He was also in charge of keeping records for custody management.

In questioning today he said he didn't think he could do his job effectively because there weren't enough staff.

He admitted that he didn't record a number of key facts, he said he should've recorded something about a scuffle and he should have checked on the prisoner as part of his duties.

Which lead to the next line of questioning, prosecutor Stephen Rushton asked former Sergeant McCubbin why Corey Barker was left hand cuffed for two hours when the practice is against police policy unless there are extraordinary circumstances.

The Crown Prosecutor asked: is there anything you can think of that would be a reason to keep Corey Barker in the cell with handcuffs on?

Robert McCubbin replied that he did not recall.

Mr McCubbin recorded in the paperwork that Mr Barker was an Aboriginal man but admitted that he didn't call the Aboriginal Legal Service, also a requirement of Police policy.

The former sergeant has been medically discharged from the New South Wales Police Force.