Police investigate claims that an officer assaulted a woman

ALLEGATIONS that a woman was assaulted by a police officer at Oberon police station are being investigated internally by police.

The extraordinary allegations were revealed in Bathurst Local Court on Tuesday when police were ordered to pay $18,000 in costs after formally withdrawing charges against the woman.

Her barrister, Bill Walsh, said the charges should have never been laid.

Chifley local area command’s highest ranking officer, Acting Superintendent Luke Rankin, confirmed an internal investigation was under way and said the officer involved had been placed on restricted duties pending the outcome. 

The allegations came to light when police were ordered to pay costs in a matter where a 50-year-old woman was charged with assaulting police and resisting an officer.

Mr Walsh asked the court to award costs in the matter, saying his client was in fact the victim of a vicious and unprovoked attack at the hands of police.

Mr Walsh told the court his client had made an official complaint to both the local area command and the ombudsman, citing police misconduct, but the commander at the time did not investigate the matter and denied the complaint.

Mr Walsh said the charges against his client should never have been initiated.

He also said it was extraordinary that the LAC had received a misconduct complaint – including photographs of the significant injuries his client had received – but denied the complaint.

Awarding costs, magistrate Michael Allen said what made the case exceptional was the fact that a defendant had raised very serious allegations of a police assault with the local area command and the ombudsman [which has an overarching authority to investigate allegations of this nature]; that there was an 18-year-old witness to the incident; that another police officer was there; and that a woman had suffered injuries which were not inconsistent with the allegation made; and yet police continued to charge the defendant.