CBD arrest after police assault ‘absolutely lawful’
THE actions of police who arrested a man alleged to have caused malicious damage to an ambulance then allegedly assaulted two officers have been described as "lawful" by a police prosecutor.
Mitchell Murry entered pleas of not guilty to two charges of assault officer in execution of duty occasioning actual bodily harm in Grafton Local Court when the matter was first heard last month.
Police alleged that on January 20 this year Mr Murry was being transported to Grafton Base Hospital by NSW Ambulance paramedics when he began to abuse them and caused malicious damage to the vehicle in Prince St, Grafton.
Mr Murry is then accused of assaulting two police officers who tried to arrest him following the incident.
Mr Murry has plead guilty to the malicious damage and intimidation of the NSW Ambulance paramedics.
In court on Tuesday the police prosecutor submitted to magistrate Kathy Crittenden that the arresting officer, Senior Constable Colin Hadley, had attempted to investigate the matter and engage with Mr Murry without enforcing any powers, but when Mr Murry tried to leave the scene without identifying himself or speaking to officers Snr Constable Hadley was within his rights to place him under arrest.
The prosecution submitted Mr Murry matched the description of the offender given to police and at that time Mr Murry was the only person in the vicinity in Grafton's CBD, and as a result police had formed reasonable grounds of suspicion of Mr Murry's involvement in the malicious damage.
The court heard police attempted three times to get Mr Murry to stop and speak to them, but as Mr Murry continued to leave police had limited options and as a result an arrest was "absolutely lawful".
Mr Murry's lawyer Barbara Lu submitted that there was no announcement from police as to the reason for the arrest before the arrest was made, which made the arrest was unlawful.
Ms Lu submitted for an arrest to be lawful officers had to correctly identify themselves, including their rank and station, as well as tell Mr Murry the reasons why they were arresting him.
Ms Crittenden adjourned the matter to Friday to make her decision.