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Author Topic: Former cop Chris Hurley's penalty for assaulting a motorist reduced  (Read 140 times)

Prickle

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Former cop Chris Hurley's penalty for assaulting a motorist reduced

Controversial former cop Chris Hurley’s penalty for assaulting a motorist he thought called him a “c---” has been reduced after a judge accepted a “direct link” between the offence and his post-traumatic stress disorder.

The former officer, who was acquitted of manslaughter over the 2004 death in custody of Palm Island man Mulrunji Doomadgee, failed to have the guilty findings on two charges of common assault overturned completely.

But District Court Judge Catherine Muir agreed the sentencing magistrate made a mistake in recording convictions for the crime, after taking into account Mr Hurley’s PTSD and potential difficulties finding work.

The guilty verdict stood but the convictions were no longer recorded.

On November 15, 2013, Luke Cole was in the back passenger seat of his housemate’s car when they drove past a crash on the Gold Coast’s Robina Parkway involving a Mercedes-Benz Kompressor.

“She’s compressed that,” the man said.

But then-Senior-Sergeant Hurley, standing at the accident, thought he heard the word “c---” coming from the car, according to agreed facts.

Mr Hurley jumped in a police car to give chase, driving “fairly quickly”, “changing lanes in and out of the heavy traffic” and driving closely behind the Falcon Mr Cole was in before he pulled over.

“The appellant’s behaviour in leaving a car accident because he thought someone had called him a 'c---', and pursuing the Falcon in the way that he did, was both irrational and erratic,” Judge Muir wrote.

“The entire situation was of the appellant’s own doing.

“It was unacceptable behaviour and revealed a lack of insight and measure by the appellant.

“His conduct was not fitting of a police officer of his long standing. He was an angry man.”

Consultant psychiatrist James Dodd gave uncontested evidence of a “direct causal link” between Mr Hurley’s behaviour and his PTSD, which Dr Dodd submitted was “contributed to” by the death in custody inquiry and subsequent legal cases.

The officer, weighing some 24 kilograms more than Mr Cole, asked the man to get out of the car, which he eventually did.

It was agreed Mr Hurley grabbed him by the throat, later telling a trial the man was “coming at me in the manner that made me feel unsafe” and he saw “aggression and anger in his face”.

But Mr Cole’s friends said the officer was at the car door, shoving the man up against the vehicle, as soon as he got out, evidence which the originally magistrate preferred, although he did not support allegations Mr Hurley kicked and punched the other man.

On appeal, Judge Muir rejected arguments from the former officer’s defence, including that that he may himself have been assaulted or thought he was assaulted.

But she did take into account a “direct causal link” between the assault and the PTSD, Mr Hurley’s seeking of treatment for the disorder and the difficulty the former officer would have finding a job with convictions recorded.

“The relevant features in this case are the appellant’s lack of criminal history, his long service as a police officer and that there is at least a real possibility that the recording of convictions may have an impact on his prospects of finding employment,” she wrote in a judgment published on Friday.

“In all of the circumstances of this case, I consider that convictions ought not to be recorded.”

A $900 fine remained.

Mr Hurley is also appealing a guilty finding made against him in July for dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, which saw an $800 fine and six-month licence suspension but no conviction recorded.

Hurley was fined $500 earlier this year for assaulting a former female colleague while she was on patrol at a Gold Coast shopping centre.

https://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/former-cop-chris-hurley-s-penalty-for-assaulting-a-motorist-reduced-20171211-p4yxls.html
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