Two WA Police officers charged with assault over the tasering of Kevin Spratt at the Perth Watch House in August 2008 have pleaded not guilty.
Police auxiliary officer Troy Gregory Tomlin faces three counts of unlawful assault and Sgt Aaron Grant Strahan faces four.
Their trial began in Perth Magistrates Court this morning.
Both officers deployed Tasers on Mr Spratt at the watch house during a fracas captured on CCTV footage.
The incident made world headlines in October 2010 when released as part of a Corruption and Crime Commission investigation into WA Police’s use of the weapons.
Prosecutor James Mactaggart this morning told the court it was accepted that Mr Spratt had been under the influence of alcohol or drugs or both when he came to the attention of police in Bayswater, prompting his arrest and transfer to the watch house.
In his opening address, Mr Mactaggart said officer Tomlin, who was stationed at the watch house, told Mr Spratt if he did not get off a chair and move to a padded cell to be strip searched, he could be tasered.
This was “patently in breach of police guidelines”, which stipulated that Tasers were not to be used to gain compliance with orders, Mr Mactaggart said.
Officer Tomlin, then a senior constable, deployed his Taser in drive stun mode when Mr Spratt did not comply, and again when he fell to the ground.
“He was on the floor and did not constitute such a threat to warrant this,” Mr Mactaggart said.
Sgt Strahan, who arrested Mr Spratt in Bayswater, deployed his Taser when Mr Spratt was “either on the floor or struggling”, the prosecutor said.
“There was no lawful basis whatsoever for the use of the weapon,” Mr Mactaggart said.
Sgt Gary Thwaites, who was the officer in charge of the watch house on August 31, 2008, told the court that officer Tomlin approached him to seek permission to arm himself with a Taser when the senior officer told staff a violent prisoner was coming in from Bayswater.
Sgt Thwaites described this as “prudent under the circumstances” and gave permission.
Sgt Thwaites said Mr Spratt had not been displaying any violent tendencies while sitting on the bench, but once the fracas broke out he appeared to be very strong.
“He seemed impervious to pain,” Sgt Thwaites said.
“He was extremely hyper.”
Another officer present at the time, Sen-Const. Emanuel Bakovic, who at one point grabbed hold of Mr Spratt’s right arm before it broke free, described Mr Spratt as “the strongest person I have ever come across in my whole life”.
The trial continues.