An off-duty police officer who stoned a wombat to death in South Australia's west will not face charges.
Video of the incident earlier this year caused outrage as it showed the Senior Community Constable Waylon Johncock following a wombat along a dirt road while throwing rocks at it as he is cheered on by a friend in a car.
Police have conducted an internal investigation and have taken advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions over the incident and say as an Aboriginal man the officer had the appropriate permit to hunt wombats for food.
Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said in a statement the video is “confronting” and “disturbing”.
“I take personal displeasure in seeing any animal distressed, or being killed as the wombat was killed,” Comm Stevens said.
“I know many shared in my shock and dismay. I gave a public undertaking there would be a robust and thorough investigation, and that I would provide advice regarding the outcome of that investigation.”
Comm Stevens added SA Police were told the wombat in the video was killed and eaten. The officer in the video also has an “appropriate permit” to hunt wombats for food and his “actions were not inconsistent with traditional hunting practices”.
The officer in the video was interviewed and evidence was also collected from other witnesses from South Australian government agencies and animal welfare bodies, Comm Stevens said.
He said the video which was shared online was part of a longer video which has not been released.
“It is clear from the outpouring of emotions that some may question the outcome of this investigation. I can reassure everyone that the most thorough of investigations has been undertaken in this matter,” Comm Stevens said.
”The Senior Community Constable is well regarded and respected by his colleagues, peers, supervisors, managers and the local community in which he serves. I have confidence in his abilities to perform his current role as a Community Constable.”
Police were also told by the Director of Public Prosecutions “there would be no reasonable prospect of a conviction for any criminal offence”.
“It was particularly important to do so in this case due to the complexity of issues surrounding indigenous hunting activities as permitted under legislation,” Comm Stevens said.
- with AAP
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