Protest on Trial: Day 10

Weds 16 May

Sergeant Nash of Victoria Police testified that he attended the beginning of the rally on July 1 last year at the State Library, and handed a letter prepared by Victoria Police to several of the protestors. Sgt Nash testified that “certain expectations” were printed on the notice, along with an indication that if these expectations were breached the police may take action.

At Max Brenner in QV, Sgt Nash testified that some protestors were pushing against the police line. Under cross examination he agreed that there was “a bit of give both ways” between protestors and police, but no significant movement of either line – “I’d say 2 or 3 feet”.

Under further cross examination, Sgt Nash was shown footage of Shane Anderson approaching the police line and speaking to police. Sgt Nash said: “I can see I spoke to the gentleman, but can’t recall what was said”. When it was put to Sgt Nash that Mr Anderson “was looking at ways to resolve this peacefully and he was rebuffed by you”, Sergeant Nash replied “no”.

Senior Constable Lynch gave evidence of his arrest of Elizabeth Walsh.

Senior Constable Bray gave detailed testimony relating to the arrest of James Crafti. Protestors had moved out of QV Square and were moving up Russell St, with police following at some distance. Senior Constable Bray testified that a male “broke through” the police line. Senior Constable Bray had asked the man to move on, but he had responded by “chanting slogans in my face” and had refused to move.

Senior Constable Bray testified that the man had taken a few steps down Jane Bell Lane, which runs into QV. Bray had told the man he was behaving in a riotous manner. When he refused to give his details, Bray had arrested the man and later confirmed his identity as James Crafti.

Under cross examination, Senior Constable Bray viewed footage taken by constable Campbell as police moved up Russell St. He agreed that Mr Crafti was seen in this footage standing peacefully on the side of the footpath, but stated again that Mr Crafti was “chanting slogans at me when I spoke to him near Jane Bell Lane”. Senior Constable Bray testified that he had arrested Mr Crafti because he had refused to give his name and address.

When asked why Mr Crafti had been asked for his name and address, Senior Constable Bray replied that Mr Crafti had been acting in a riotous manner, committing the offence of riotous behaviour. When asked what behaviour from Mr Crafti constituted this offence, Senior Constable Bray replied that Mr Crafti was “chanting slogans at us, generally getting in the police’s face”.

The charge of riotous behaviour against Mr Crafti was dropped at the outset of the court case.

Sergeant Robinson gave evidence relating to the arrest of Sebastian Evans. Robinson testified that he was tasked to make an arrest of a protestor in QV Square. While performing his duties he had seen a man with a goatee beard running through the crowd. The man looked angry and appeared to be yelling. Sgt Robinson testified that he had looked back at the man as he came upon Robinson. The man had his right fist up, which had grazed but not hurt Sergeant Robinson’s jaw.

Under cross examination, Sergeant Robinson viewed three pieces of video footage showing the incident. He agreed that both himself and Mr Evans had their hands out at the point of contact, and that Mr Evans’ hands rise to chest height as a result of Robinson’s hands rising under Mr Evans’. It was put to Sergeant Robinson that “your comment is that he punched you in the face. We can’t see that punch. You accept that you can’t see it either.” Sergeant Robinson replied: “yes”.

Constable Hall also testified on the charges against Mr Evans.

Constable Payne gave testimony. He was part of the team that arrested Vashti Kenway. Under cross examination he agreed that video evidence appeared to show that he had his right arm around Ms Kenway’s neck. He testified that “within seconds” Constable Rodwell had reminded him that his arm was too high and he had corrected his grip on Ms Kenway.

Under further cross examination, Constable Payne testified that he remembered a protestor grabbing either Constable Rodwell or Vashti Kenway as Ms Kenway was being escorted to the processing area in the QV loading dock. Constable Rodwell had responded by knocking the protestor’s arm away. Payne had not made any notes of this incident at the time, nor included it in his statement.

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