Victorian police shootings

Issue 

Victorian police shootings

By Sean Lennon

MELBOURNE — A coroner's inquest into the 1988 shooting of Graeme Jensen concluded on August 11 with the release of a report which found that the police operation was incompetently handled.

The report also said that the facts of the shooting appeared to be inconsistent with accounts given by police. According to the report, "Jensen would have had insufficient space to point a gun at the police, as alleged by police, if he was seated in an upright position with the driver's window closed". Jensen was shot in a car park in suburban Narre Warren.

The findings have vindicated the decision by the then director of public prosecutions, Bernard Bongiorno, to lay charges against police, according to the Federation of Community Legal Centres, even though the one police officer to end up standing trial was acquitted.

The coroner's findings were released on the same day as police bullets claimed their 24th victim since 1988. The victim had earlier escaped from a mental institution.

Federation of Community Legal Centres spokesperson Gary Sullivan asked "How many more deaths must occur before the force command reviews its strategy [of dealing with mentally ill people]? Perhaps the government ought to examine the leadership of the police force."