Police officers have been accused of deliberately intimidating and frightening a lawyer on their way to court that he fled through the magistrate’s exit.
The attorney was on his way to represent an outlaw biker gang member in a case against NSW Police Strike Force Raptor – the elite bikie fighting unit. The lawyer was so shocked that the hearing was adjourned.
The abuse of power was detailed in the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission report, released late Friday.
The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission dismissed the Strike Force Raptor (photo, stock image), an elite NSW police unit, for harassing a lawyer and deterring him from taking a case against them
The attorney, a director of his own criminal law office, first saw a police car drive past his house at 6:30 a.m. on May 28, 2019 – the day he would appear in court to represent the cyclist against Strike Force Raptor, the report said. .
Being on good terms with the local police in his town, he waved – but they didn’t wave back.
At 7am he backed up the driveway into the empty street and saw the police following him.
They pulled him to a nearby Beaurepaires tire shop less than 10 minutes away and identified themselves as coming from Strike Force Raptor.
The Raptor officers asked for his driver’s license – he forgot.
On the way home to retrieve his ID, the Raptor officers again stopped him from conducting a “technical check” of his vehicle.
They repeatedly pulled the front seat belt before claiming it wouldn’t retract.
They then opened the hood and told him they could see an oil leak, then ran him over for oil spills, seat belt malfunctions and window shades, forcing him to walk home in his socks and thongs.
The attorney’s client was an outlaw biker gang member, and he represented him in a case against Strike Force Raptor, an elite NSW police force set up to deal with the scourge of bikie crime. Pictured: Rebels bikies in Sydney, 2009 (stock image)
He rattled a cab to work – but police followed his cab and checked him after he arrived at work with their flashing lights on, the report said.
At 8:30 am, his client arrived and told him that the police were “doing rounds” outside his office.
This worried the lawyer so much that he took a step back from his office to a friend of a lawyer who called the regular police – but they said there was nothing they could do.
He was so shocked that when he appeared before the Magistrate to represent his client against Strike Force Raptor, she suspended the case.
As he left the courtroom, five to ten Strike Force Raptor officers waited.
This intimidated the lawyer so much that he fled the court with her permission through the magistrate’s private exit.
A group of between five and ten Strike Force Raptor police waited outside the court, so frightened the attorney that he left the magistrate’s private exit with her permission
He then told his client he could no longer represent him – and the client hired another attorney, the report said.
Integrity Commissioner Lea Drake found that a senior Strike Force Raptor officer had instructed two other officers to “ target, communicate and harass ” the attorney so he wouldn’t face trial, as well as intimidate his girlfriend.
The commissioner found that the officers’ behavior towards the attorney was “disgraceful” and made up violations to attack him.
“When abused, targeting can create a hostile relationship between the police and civilians who would otherwise have no hostility to the police,” the commissioner wrote.
The Commission is concerned about the sense of entitlement that can develop in an elite attacking force and was demonstrated by this behavior.
Such limited strategies can become uninhibited and illegal. If you are an elite, are you bound by the rule of law and the policies of the NSW Police Department or do you have bigger, better, tougher and more law?
Outraged Greens MP David Shoebridge (pictured) wrote a summary of the entire report on Twitter Friday night, pledging not to let the matter rest
“The job of these officers is to enforce the law. If the unlawful conduct of these officers is continued and condoned for some imagined higher purpose, nothing good can come of it for the people of New South Wales. ‘
The commissioner wrote that although Strike Force Raptor had managed to disrupt criminal activity, it should not be allowed to harass people.
“Illegal behavior, however, should not be condoned or glossed over.”
Greens MP David Shoebridge was beside himself at reading the report, condemning its behavior late on Friday, summarizing the story in an outraged Twitter thread.
“Lawless,” he wrote.
‘This is seriously lawless behavior on the part of a number of police officers acting in concert and it is almost unbelievable … We (will) not leave it here, I can assure you. Really unbelievable. ‘
Daily Mail Australia has contacted NSW Police for comment.
Greens MP David Shoebridge took to Twitter on Friday evening