In 2014 a cop approached a 17-year old skater while he was waiting for a lift home from a Blue Mountains house party. The teen, who the Sydney Morning Herald reports was "moderately affected" by alcohol, told a Constable to “f--- off dog, c---. The Constable responded by arresting him for assault, resisting arrest, using offensive language in public, and failing to obey a move on direction. During the arrest the teen was grabbed by the shirt and swung to the ground.
So far this is a lame, but familiar, situation. Except that after the charges were dismissed in court, the skater sued the state for battery, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. During the trial judge Garry Neilson said the cop’s actions against a kid—who apparently looked much younger than his 17 years—was an overreaction. He also added that it should have been obvious that the plaintiff was a minor.
A little over four years later, the now 21-year old has been awarded a $124,000 payout from the state government.
The judge noted that even if the teen had sworn at the cop, the arrest wasn’t justified and the confrontation could have been dealt with differently. He didn’t believed the Constable was “entitled to arrest in such circumstances unless the plaintiff refused to identify himself or produce some form of identification.” He also reflected: ”Drinking alcoholic beverages whilst under 18 years of age in a public place is not a crime of violence.”
If he didn’t already sound like a pretty cool judge, he later called the State’s written submissions, that referred to “large numbers of irrational, intoxicated youths,” was indulging in “stereo-typification.”
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