Vic police arrest shooting preventable

Victorian police must create a better system to ensure officers are fit for duty both mentally and physically after a man was shot dead during an arrest, a coroner has recommended.

Coroner Audrey Jamieson on Tuesday handed down her findings into the 2013 death of Vlado Micetic, 44, who was pulled over and shot three times in the stomach by then-leading senior constable Timothy Baker at Windsor.

Following the shooting, Mr Baker was suspended from duties before resigning and was later cleared of murder by a jury.

The inquest, which began in 2019, heard Mr Baker claimed he was acting in self-defence as Mr Micetic pulled out a spring-loaded knife.

However, Evelina Niedzwiecki, a passenger in the car when Mr Micetic was shot, told the inquest she did not see a knife in his possession.

Ms Jamieson said she could not make a definitive finding on the evidence that Mr Micetic produced a knife and threatened Mr Baker.

"Similarly, on the available evidence, I am unable to make a definitive finding that Leading Senior Constable Timothy Howard Baker shot Vlado Tomislav Micetic to ward off an imminent attack," she said.

She could also not decisively rule on whether Mr Baker was unfit for duty, physically or psychologically, on the day he shot Mr Micetic, nor whether his medication had altered his mood or functioning.

She found Mr Micetic's death was preventable and criticised Victoria Police for allowing single officer police patrols at the time, saying this had contributed to the Mr Micetic's death.

Additionally, Victoria Police's failure to change this practice after a 2010 coronial recommendation to abolish single officer patrols had contributed to the manner in which the events unfolded.

Ms Jamieson recommended the Chief Commissioner of Police develop and maintain a system to ensure Victoria Police "remains adequately informed about their members' fitness for duty" to prevent similar deaths.