SYDNEY — A new report by Melbourne academics has documented the brutality of police forces around Australia and successful legal actions in response.
The 148-page report, Civil Litigation by Citizens Against Australian Police between 1994 and 2002, is by Melbourne academics Dr Jude McCulloch and Darren Palmer. It states that there is increasing resort to civil litigation against police, combined with larger compensation payments to victims.
The Victoria Police report one new civil action a fortnight, while NSW has about 600 files on the go. Many large pay-outs are made without publicity because of confidentiality clauses in the settlements.
One lawyer, expressing her frustration with the police complaints ombudsman, is quoted as saying that in the context of political protests, "as far as the ombudsman is concerned, if you were Gandhi you can be mowed down in the middle of the street, just for sitting down, just for blocking some pathway".
A copy of the report can be found at <http://www.aic.gov.au/crc/reports/200102-19.html>
From Green Left Weekly, May 4, 2005.
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