Protest on Trial: Day 11

Thursday 17 May

Constable Payne continued his testimony under cross examination.

A section of the briefing conducted by Senior Sergeant Falconer prior to the demonstration was read to Constable Payne: “But again, when they have more numbers they tend to bunch up around the entrances.” Falconer made the point that police moving with numbers and decisiveness could remedy this. Falconer continued: “importantly, don’t use pressure point tactics on or above the neck. We don’t want headlocks… Anything around the neck area or head area is extremely dangerous. And with the numbers we have tonight, we should be able to avoid that.”

Explaining his arrest of Vashti Kenway, Constable Payne testified: “I attempted to restrain her, and as her level of resistance decreased, or as I deemed that she was not actively resisting, my level of force decreased.”
Under re-examination by the prosecution, Constable Payne repeated the standard procedure for a crowd control arrest outlined in POM training: One police officer at the front of the formation grabs the arrestee’s shoulders, the next two grab the arms, and the other two police officers perform crowd control. “That’s what I was trying to do, Constable Rodwell pointed out my wrong grip [on Ms Kenway] and I corrected it.”

Senior Constable Contarino testified that at one stage about 30 protestors were sitting on the ground of QV Square. He was tasked with arresting Corey Oakley, who “appeared to be a ringleader at the time”.

Prior to Mr Oakley’s arrest, Senior Constable Contarino had seen Senior Sergeant Falconer approach a protestor [Vashti Kenway] and take her arm. A protestor (a “quite large balding guy”) had put his arm out between Senior Sergeant Falconer and Ms Kenway. Senior Constable Contarino believed that the protestor [Jerome Small] was about to use his other arm to grab Senior Sergeant Falconer, and decided to grab the protestor, pull him away, and arrest him.

Senior Constable McKinnon testified regarding the arrest of Damien Ridgewell. Senior Sergeant Falconer had told the arrest team they were going to arrest some of the leadership figures.

Under cross examination, Senior Constable McKinnon testified that Mr Ridgewell was conscious when brought into the loading bay. The court was shown a video of Mr Ridgewell being brought in. Just over two minutes passed before Mr Ridgewell can be seen to move his head.

Senior Constable McKinnon testified that, if Mr Ridgewell had been unconscious, he would have been put in a recovery position. When it was put to Senior Constable McKinnon that the video showed Mr Ridgewell being put into the recovery position, he agreed that Mr Ridgewell was certainly placed on his side.

Senior Constable agreed that, during Mr Ridgewell’s arrest, force at shoulder level and above had been used.

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