A sixth police officer has been cleared of charges stemming from the alleged bashing in custody of an Aboriginal man in a northern NSW station almost six years ago.
Supporters in the public gallery said “yes” as Senior Constable David Hill, 36, was on Wednesday cleared of charges, including perjury and trying to pervert the course of justice, after Corey Barker was taken to Ballina police station in January 2011.
His acquittal comes after the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) found the officers had lied about the January 2011 incident, during which they alleged Mr Barker punched Mr Hill in the face.
The other officers, then-Senior Constable Mark Woolven, 45, Constables Ryan Charles Eckersley, 36, and Luke Christopher Mewing, 31, along with Probationary Constable Lee David Walmsley, 26, and Sergeant Robert Campbell McCubben, 49, were found not guilty of their various charges, including assault, on Tuesday.
The District Court jury had been shown CCTV footage that appeared to show Mr Barker being assaulted by officers as he was moved from a dock to a cell.
The footage, which the defence claimed did not show all of the events because it had been recorded on a delayed-capture mode, did not show Mr Barker punching Mr Hill.
Mr Barker was charged with assaulting the officer in 2011 but the case was thrown out.
The PIC later found he had never attempted to punch Mr Hill.
The jury also heard that Mr Hill’s statement about the incident, sworn on January 19, 2011, was emailed to some of the other officers to help them prepare their own statements for the court case against Mr Barker.
Each officer’s statement, read to the court, said Mr Barker had been yelling abuse and threats, and punching and kicking the walls of the perspex dock where he was initially held.
The statements were backed by CCTV footage showing Mr Barker beating and kicking out at the walls of the holding dock.
Mr Hill’s statement said Mr Barker pulled free while being taken by police to the cells and “punched me with a closed right fist to the nose” in a blow that left no physical injury.
The other officers gave similar accounts of what happened.
Mr Hill did not comment as he left the Sydney Downing Centre on Wednesday.
Mr Mewing and Mr McCubben are no longer police officers.