Sport NSW Police ordered to pay $100,000 in costs to NRL star Curtis Scott after 'terrifying' Sydney arrest
Fewer virus cases keep Melbourne on track
Victoria's daily infection rate is on track towards the planned easing of coronavirus restrictions come September 28, with more anti-lockdown protests expected.The state recorded 21 new cases in the 24 hours to Saturday morning, its lowest figure since June 24.
A Sydney magistrate has hit NSW Police with a $100,000 legal bill over the "terrifying" arrest of NRL player Curtis Scott in January.
Scott, who plays for Canberra Raiders, was charged with multiple offences including assaulting police and resisting arrest after he was found sleeping at Moore Park early on January 27.
But all charges were withdrawn or dismissed earlier this month after the court was shown footage from the officers' body-worn cameras.
Why NRL's ridiculous ref problem is out of control
MARK LEVY: Rugby league has long been regarded as the 'greatest game of all' but the NRL faces a big question.Rugby league has long been regarded as the 'greatest game of all' but the question needs to be asked of the people running the NRL.
Scott, who had been drinking on Australia Day prior to his arrest, appeared disoriented and was handcuffed, pepper sprayed and shot with a taser during the arrest.
His lawyer, Sam Macedone, sought $100,792.30 in costs, arguing the investigation was unreasonable and the prosecution never should have dragged on for eight months.
Magistrate Jennifer Giles today said the actions of Senior Constable Christopher Bucknell, who used the taser, were "terrifying".
He said the officer became "offended and frustrated" from arguing with a drunk man who was blinded by pepper spray and lying on the ground.
Magistrate Giles also criticised police statements which claimed Scott was "thrashing" and "lunged", which contradicted the footage.
NRL Round 20 teams: Storm, Panthers and Raiders rest stars, but Roosters bulk up
The NRL Round 20 teams have been revealed. There’s a difference in tactics at the top of the NRL ladder, with the Penrith Panthers, Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders all electing to rest several stars ahead of their final home-and-away matches, whereas the Parramatta Eels go in relatively unchanged and the Sydney Roosters have brought in reinforcements. The Chooks will welcome back James Tedesco, Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend ahead of their Friday night clash with archrivals South Sydney, in stark contrast to some of their fellow top four sides.
"That's not an investigation," she said.
"That's a shoring up, seemingly with a consciousness of not having done things properly, one might think."
Police prosecutor Rebecca Beecroft was "at pains to plead that case of the hapless police", the magistrate said.
The prosecutor had argued police did the best they could in the circumstances and were worried Scott might have wandered onto the road and been hit by a car.
Magistrate Giles dismissed that as "absurd".
"I genuinely think Mr Scott might have been safer if he had wandered onto the roadway and been hit by a car," she said.
"Try to watch the bodycam footage without flinching, and not through your fingers, and try to remember that you're not watching gratuitous violence off the dark web."
The magistrate questioned why the prosecution was pressed for eight months, including a two-day hearing the Local Court, where there is in excess of 82,000 cases waiting to be heard.
Mr Macedone had repeatedly attempted to warn police of flaws in their case, all the while making his costs clear, she said.
"It seems to me extraordinary that with no real prospect of success, in the face of all the matters and problems raised by Mr Macedone in his correspondence with the police hierarchy, the prosecution still elected to run this matter," Magistrate Giles said.
Outside court, Mr Macedone welcomed the decision and said he hoped police received better training, including about the appropriate use of pepper spray.
The NRL has recently recommended a $15,000 fine for Scott, but it may be suspended if he attends counselling and education programs.
COVID-19 takes a toll on public transport, speed camera revenue in Qld .
The lockdown in March dragged annual revenue down as people stayed home and avoided public transport.Queensland's public transport network recorded a drop in patronage of almost 20 per cent over the past year, costing more than $71 million in fare revenue.