News

Ex-policeman ‘vindicated’, awarded interest on PTSD payout

A FORMER Grafton policeman says a court decision to award him interest on some disputed benefits he was paid following his medical discharge from the force, is vindication for his stance.

Last week the NSW Industrial Court decided to award Stephen Bell, who left the NSW Police in August 2012, interest on the difference between the benefits he was paid since then.

It is his third win in the courts since he left the police.

After Mr Bell left the force, police paid him at the injured off-duty rate, pegged at double an officer's annual salary.

However, in a simultaneous case in the Workers Compensation Commission, Mr Bell won a decision to have his benefit increased to the injured on-duty rate of four times his annual salary.

Mr Bell said the police had agreed to pay him the increase amount, but disputed his claim for interest on the money.

"Basically the commissioner agreed that the police had withheld my money," he said.

However, the court decided Mr Bell would only receive about 40% of the interest the money would have accrued because the solicitors representing both parties had agreed to a series of adjournments in the case between the end of 2012 and March 2014.

It has been a long struggle for Mr Bell, who left the force facing assault charges, which led to him developing post traumatic stress disorder.

"Those charges were dismissed in court and the Workers Compensation Commission agreed I had to be paid the on duty rate," he said.

"Basically the police and the insurance companies try to delay and delay you, hoping you will give up and go away."

He said no amount of money could compensate him for what he has lost in his career and health.

"I would rather have my job and mental health back than deal with the constant nightmares, flashbacks and problems of PTSD, but it is good to be vindicated again," Mr Bell said.

"They might start listening after continually being beaten in front of independent judges."

The dispute is not over yet, Mr Bell said.

"I'm suing the NSW Police Commissioner for negligence," he said.

"We've put in our paperwork and they've got 30 days to reply."

Topics:  court, ptsd



Letter to the Editor: Premier stuff-ups

NSW Premier Mike Baird speaks during the press conference announcing the government would close down the state's greyhound racing industry as of 1 July 2017.

It's time to dump the Premier

Letter to the Editor: Privatisation myth

What public assets remain to be sold?

Ride to Newcastle a nice change of pace

ON YOUR BIKE: Principal of First National Real Estate Yamba, David Lovell, is preparing to jump on his bicycle and head down to Newscastle as part of the 2016 Ride for Sick Kids.

THE 2016 Ride for Sick Kids

Local Partners

Band promises satisfaction for Stones fans

FRONT MAN: John van Zyl leads the way for the Rolling Stone Experience which will play at the GDSC on Saturday.

Start them up and they'll never stop

All the Valley's weekend gigs

Comedian Arj Barker is at the Saraton Theatre on Saturday night.

25 gigs on stage this weekend

What's on the big screen this week

Mel Gibson and Diego Luna in a scene from the movie Blood Father.

THREE new thrillers open in cinemas today.

Love is in the air on The Bachelor, but not for Kiki

The Bachelor Australia contestant Kirralee 'Kiki' Morris.

BACHELORETTE bows out gracefully as show enters its final weeks.

A $65,000 bathroom? The Block's incredible budget blow-outs

The Block contestants Julia and Sasha spent a whopping $65,000 on their first renovated room.

TEAMS deliver most expensive en-suites in reno show's history.

How high? Twin 20-storey high-rises plan for "over 50s"

A development application has been lodged with the Fraser Coast Regional Council to build two skyscrapers in Hervey Bay.

Developer says Bay needs to move with the times.

Australia's most expensive balcony and it hasn't been built

Viridian Noosa.

How Noosa millionares' squabble could affect body corporates

Receivers move in on Springfield's 'Tower of Power'

The 10-storey tower at Springfield is up for sale with interest high in the iconic structure.

Interest high in iconic 10-storey office building

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia