Inquest into death during police pursuit

·1-min read

The death of a man who crashed his motorcycle as police responded to complaints of hooning in a central Queensland city will be the subject of an inquest.

Damian John Lawton died when he crashed his motorcycle into a vehicle on May 30, 2020 in Maryborough.

At the time of the 26-year-old's death the Maryborough Road Policing Unit were patrolling in response to complaints of vehicles, particularly motorcycles, hooning, a pre-inquest conference was told on Tuesday.

An officer, also on a motorbike, activated his lights and sirens when he saw Mr Lawton.

The senior constable captured his pursuit of one minute and 11 seconds over about 1.3 kilometres on his body worn camera.

The officer reached a top speed of about 152km/h, but slowed down and rode in the left shoulder when Mr Lawton went through a stop sign without slowing.

Mr Lawton crashed into the passenger side of a white Holden Barina.

He was obviously deceased, while the car driver was not injured.

The officer - who was on scene about 20 minutes after the crash - was taken to hospital for shock.

The Queensland Police's Ethical Standards Command found Mr Lawton was actively avoiding being stopped by the officer.

Investigators concluded Mr Lawton must be held primarily responsible for his riding actions, but the death may have been avoided if the officer had ceased his attempt to stop the motorcyclist.

A two-to-three day inquest to be held in Maryborough from November 1 will consider whether it was appropriate for the officer to follow Mr Lawton including whether the actions were contrary to the interests of community safety.

Coroner Terry Ryan will also consider what could be done to prevent a similar incident.

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