Police assault victim says he wanted help

·2-min read

Melbourne pensioner John says he wanted help. But when police arrived, they pepper-sprayed and punched him.

Two of those officers, senior constables Florian Hilgart and Brad McLeod, are appealing the guilty verdicts against them.

They avoided conviction and were fined over the 2017 assault at John's Preston home, in Melbourne's north.

"I've never wanted to take my own life - I wanted help," John on Wednesday told the officers' appeal in Victoria's County Court.

"I wanted a doctor with a magic wand who could make everything go away and give me my life back."

McLeod's barrister, Rahmin de Kretser, said John had shown "aggression, hostility and animus" toward the police and told them they would have to shoot him.

The court was told John had earlier called Lifeline, said he was taking painkillers and would attack police with knives if they attended his property.

In a text to his psychologist, John said "if I see police and they don't comply, I'll give them a reason to shoot me".

A magistrate last year said while John was initially aggressive and volatile, the use of force by Hilgart, McLeod and a third officer, John Edney, was unjustified and constituted unlawful assault.

Edney, who is not appealing the finding, struck the pensioner's leg with a baton and stepped on his head.

McLeod pepper-sprayed the man and punched him in the stomach, saying: "Did you like that? Did you like that? Smells good, doesn't it?"

He then directed Hilgart to spray the man with a high-pressure hose and filmed it.

John previously told the court that despite yelling and swearing at police, he posed no threat to authorities and was "too weak" even to belt up his own pants.

The appeal is due to continue on Thursday

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