Cops escape pensioner bashing conviction


Three police officers who bashed a Melbourne pensioner during an arrest in September 2018 have escaped conviction and been hit with fines.







Three police officers who beat a "vulnerable" Melbourne pensioner with a baton, punched and pepper-sprayed him have avoided jail and a criminal record.

Senior Constables Brad McLeod and Florian Hilgart and Constable John Edney were found guilty of unlawful assault during an arrest in September 2018.


Their victim is still haunted by what happened to him, but each avoided a jail term and were instead fined and ordered to a 12-month adjourned undertaking by magistrate Cathy Lamble on Wednesday.

"They did not acknowledge the pain, discomfort and indignity he suffered," she said of the officers.

The trio was called to the pensioner's Preston home after his psychologist became concerned about his mental health.

The men were among six officers who dragged the "aggressive and volatile" man from his front door.

But it was when he was pinned down in his front yard that magistrate Cathy Lamble found the trio used unjustified force.


"They treated me like a dog at the weakest moment of my life," the pensioner, identified only as John, said after the verdict last week.


Edney, 30, used his police-issue baton to strike John's leg repeatedly and stepped on the victim's head.

McLeod, 35, pepper-sprayed the pensioner and punched him in the stomach.

"Did you like that? Did you like that? Smells good, doesn't it?" the officer said after he sprayed John.

The officer then directed his 42-year-old colleague, Hilgart, to spray the pensioner with a high-pressure hose so McLeod could record it on his phone.

"There is no apology from the accused of this horror," Ms Lamble said of the assaults.


It was "terrible to watch" and there was no consideration about what happened, other than to blame the victim, she said.

The crimes were more serious because they were serving police officers, their victim was vulnerable, had a disability and they had shown no remorse.

The magistrate also criticised the officers' "confrontational" strategy for dealing with the pensioner, who was mentally and physically unwell.


"They wasted an opportunity to discuss the tactics they might have used to protect their safety and the safety of the victim."

"They were intent on relying on the strength of their numbers," she said.

McLeod was ordered to pay $3500, while Edney and Hilgart must pay $1000.

They must be of good behaviour for 12 months.

The officers were charged by the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission following an investigation.


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