Cop assault victim posed 'no threat'

·2-min read

A pensioner pepper-sprayed and punched by police during a welfare check says he posed no threat to authorities and was too weak to belt up his own pants.

Three officers were last year fined and handed good-behaviour orders after assaulting the then 45-year-old man, known as John, at his Preston home in September 2017.

While the man was initially "aggressive and volatile", a magistrate found the officers' use of force was unjustified. All three officers were spared a conviction.

John had been withdrawing "cold turkey" from pain medications at home and told his psychologist "if I see police and they don't comply, I'll give them a reason to shoot me".

She called triple-zero after he said he was vomiting blood.

John on Tuesday told the Victorian County Court he was at the time "irritable", "despondent", "very irrational" and "violently ill".

The pensioner said he swore at police that day but never posed a physical threat to them and just wanted to be left alone.

"I couldn't even belt up my pants," John told the court.

"I was no threat. I was like a jellyfish.

"I would never, ever put my hands on a police officer because I know ... you would be arrested and charged."

John also said despite the communication with his psychologist, he did not actually plan to provoke the police to shoot him.

"I said some stupid things but that was in fear of leaving the house - I was violently ill and needed to be near a toilet."

Senior Constable Brad McLeod, who pepper-sprayed John and punched him in the stomach, is now appealing the guilty verdict alongside Senior Constable Florian Hilgart.

One of the six officers at the scene, David Messenger, said John had attempted to provoke the police.

"He said we were going to have to shoot him," Mr Messenger told the court.

Another officer at the scene, Stephen Little, on Monday said John appeared to "swipe" at McLeod after the man's front door was opened.

Neither Mr Messenger nor Mr Little were charged over the assault.

McLeod was fined $3500 for unlawful assault, while Hilgart was fined $1000.

The hearing is due to continue on Wednesday.

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