Arrest gone wrong costs local cops more than $50k

Coffs-Clarence Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson. Coffs Harbour, July 28, 2017.
Coffs-Clarence Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson. Coffs Harbour, July 28, 2017. Trevor Veale

ONE OF the most senior police officers in the Coffs Clarence Local Area Command was at the centre of a court case which concluded this week, costing NSW Police more than $50,000.

Coffs Clarence LAC crime manager Detective Inspector Darren Jameson was under cross-examination in a civil case in District Court in Coffs Harbour examining claims of assault, wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution when both parties agreed to halt proceedings.

After negotiations both parties agreed to a $50,000 payout for Coffs Harbour woman Amanda Strudwick and an undisclosed amount for a 17-year-old girl.

The young girl sought damages for assault, wrongful arrest and false imprisonment, and Strudwick also received compensation for malicious prosecution.

The case arose from an incident in which the women were arrested and charged in 2014.

The solicitor instructing the barristers engaged by the women, leading civil rights lawyer Joe Fahey, said the women sued police after a local court magistrate dismissed charges brought against them by Det Insp Jameson in 2014.

The magistrate ordered police to pay costs for that matter and the girl was found guilty of swearing.

He said Det Insp Jameson had charged Ms Strudwick with hindering police, claiming she attempted to stop him arresting the younger girl.

"Both the woman and the girl, who was 14 at the time, had been charged in relation to an incident with Det Insp Jameson in 2014," Mr Fahey said. "In particular, Jameson made allegations that the 26-year-old had hindered the arrest of the girl.

"Subsequent to the charges being laid, CCTV footage was obtained by NSW Legal Aid which showed the incident that occurred was vastly different to that alleged by the detective inspector."

Mr Fahey said barristers Dominic Toomey SC and Dean Woodbury were cross examining Det Insp Jameson at length about the failure to obtain the CCTV footage and why he had not complied with protocols in the Police Handbook, when the case was halted.

Mr Fahey described the outcome as "pleasing".

"It's always pleasing to get a good result for the battler, they deserve a fair go."

NSW Police were tight-lipped about the outcome.

"The matter was resolved by consent agreement between the parties," a police spokesperson said.

"NSW Police will not comment further on the matter."

Topics:  arrest coffs clarence local area command editors picks payout litigation

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