Kevin Spratt. Picture: The West Australian/Megan Powell

Kevin Spratt kicked two police officers who were struggling to arrest him before he was taken to Perth Watch House in August 2008, one of the officers told court this morning.

Det-Sen. Const Brett Fowler was giving evidence on the second day of the trial of two officers charged with assault over their use of Tasers on Mr Spratt at the watch house.

The prosecution case is that there was no legal basis for the use of the weapons by Sgt Aaron Grant Strahan and police auxiliary officer Troy Gregory Tomlin on August 31, 2008, because Mr Spratt was unarmed, alone and not aggressive prior to the tasering.

Police witnesses present at the watch house during the incident, which made world headlines when CCTV footage of it was released in October 2010, have told the trial they were prepared to confront a violent, aggressive and unpredictable prisoner because that was how he had been described by his arresting officers.

Today, Sen. Const. Fowler said he and Sgt Strahan had responded to reports of a man trespassing on properties near King William Street in Bayswater and attempting to take the fuel cap off vehicles.

Sen. Const. Fowler said the officers spotted a man matching the description given by the complainant and approached Mr Spratt.

While Sen. Const. Fowler was in a police vehicle conducting background checks and Sgt Strahan remained with Mr Spratt, the suspect ran off and was intercepted by plain clothes officers around the corner on Guildford Road, he said.

Sen. Const. Fowler told the court that Mr Spratt began acting aggressively by trying to leave again, and a struggle began.

"He was kicking out at us," Sen. Const. Fowler said.

"It took a lot of effort to restrain him. It wasn't easy. He was strong."

Sen. Const. Fowler said both he and Sgt Strahan were kicked in the hand by Mr Spratt.

Later, Mr Spratt was "saying funny things like 'I am the devil'" and "he was maybe mumbling something and grinding his teeth", Sen. Const. Fowler said.

A secure van from Morley Police Station arrived to take Mr Spratt to the watch house and Sen. Const. Fowler and Sgt Strahan followed to help process the prisoner.

Sen. Const. Fowler said he removed handcuffs that he had placed on Mr Spratt and replaced them with handcuffs used to shackle prisoners to a bench seat at the watch house reception area.

Sen. Const. Fowler said he had left the reception area to do paperwork on the prisoner when he heard "a commotion and the sound of a Taser".

Another officer stationed at the watch house, Sen. Const. Ronald Moore said Mr Spratt was "really quiet" and "not moving, just sitting there" in the reception area before officers unshackled him and asked him to go for a strip search, which he refused.

Sen. Const. Moore said he tried to prise Mr Spratt's fingers off the bench armrest, which he was holding on to, but was unable to.

He then kicked the rail above Mr Spratt's fingers to startle him into letting go, which also failed.

After that, Mr Tomlin used his Taser on Mr Spratt and he fell to the floor, he said.

Sen. Const. Moore said he spent a great deal of time working with Mr Tomlin, whom he described "non-confrontational".

"He would use negotiation as his first and foremost tool," he said.

The trial continues.

The West Australian

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