Appeals Court judge condemns police violence in Australia Day arrest of Aboriginal man

| 11.06,19. 04:53 PM |

Appeals Court judge condemns police violence in Australia Day arrest of Aboriginal man

CCTV footage of Toronto police station on Australia Day 2018 when Carl Hoppner alleges he was punched and kicked by police officers (ABC News)

A New South Wales Appeals Court judge has condemned violence at the hands of up to seven police officers in relation to the Australia Day arrest of an Aboriginal man.

Carl Hoppner's treatment at Toronto Police Station, near Newcastle, was caught on CCTV footage exclusively obtained by the ABC.

The footage showed him being kicked and punched after his arrest.

Hoppner pleaded guilty to headbutting and elbowing arresting officers and spitting blood-filled saliva on another, after being arrested for intimidating his wife, and drunken and aggressive behaviour.

When taken to the police lockup, the vision showed a group of officers were waiting.

From there Hoppner was dragged into the charge area where the 28-year-old alleged police used a racial slur.

"They said, 'Happy invasion day you black c***'," Mr Hoppner said.

That claim was not disputed by police prosecutors during court proceedings.

Judge says police actions made things worse

In February, Toronto Local Court Magistrate Alan Railton sentenced Mr Hoppner to a 10-month jail term.

But Hoppner appealed and said extra curial punishment, or the blows and kicks he suffered, served as extra punishment.

His appeal was upheld in Newcastle District Court, with the sentence to be converted to an Intensive Correction Order to be served in community.

Judge Roy Ellis took aim at police.

"Police have a difficult job, but it does not mean they should be conducting themselves in the way in which they did," Judge Ellis said.

"There are alternatives to using violence and it applies to the police, just as much as anybody else.

"What it does mean is they maybe need some education about the best way to deal with people who are angry and intoxicated.

"Certainly, the way they dealt with you (Hoppner) from what I have seen, just worsened the whole situation."

Hoppner will need to be on good behaviour for 12 months and attend rehabilitation courses.

His case is being investigated internally by police and has been referred to the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission.


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