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Tasered gran’s children edge closer to seeing cop video

Clare Nowland's family has discontinued civil proceedings against the state government.

Clare Nowland's family has discontinued civil proceedings against the state government. Photo: AAP/Supplied

The children of an elderly woman with dementia who died after being tasered by police at an aged care home are a step closer to being allowed to view footage of the incident.

Clare Nowland’s family is suing the State of NSW following the May incident at an aged-care home in Cooma, where she was confronted by police while using a walking frame and holding a steak knife.

The lawyer for Michael Nowland and Leslie Lloyd would be permitted to show them bodycam footage of the incident after a judge on Thursday overturned an earlier court decision.

However, the NSW government and other interested parties could still seek to block the decision with an appeal or stay application within 28 days, which could lead to further delay.

Mrs Lloyd will not be permitted to view the footage until at least December to allow time for police to take a statement from her, which has not yet been done despite a police officer being charged over the incident in May.

The delay was to prevent contamination of any statement Mrs Lloyd might give after she watched the footage with her lawyer and brother.

Senior Constable Kristian White has been charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm over the incident and returns to court in December.

The Nowland family’s lawyer, Peter Tierney, told the NSW District Court that Mrs Lloyd had a clear interest in being able to see body-worn video of the incident.

“We have some difficulty understanding why the police are here in such a strident opposition to a daughter of the deceased being able to view something that related to the death of her mother,” he said.

The civil case is running concurrently with a criminal case against White and Judge Matthew Dicker had to balance that fact when deciding to overturn a court registrar’s September decision that prevented Mrs Nowland’s children seeing the footage.

“There were legitimate matters raised concerning the crucial importance in our society of a fair criminal trial,” Judge Dicker said after making the orders.

He ordered the state pay Mrs Lloyd’s costs after it unsuccessfully opposed her motion to see the footage.

Her 95-year-old mother, a great-grandmother who had dementia, was tasered and fell, hitting her head on the ground in the incident.

She spent a week in hospital after sustaining critical injuries, including a fractured skull, before she died.

Mr Nowland, her eldest son and executor of her estate, is suing NSW in proceedings launched while his mother was still receiving end-of-life care in hospital.

Mediation is due to take place between the parties before late December.

Police allege Sen Con White’s actions were “grossly disproportionate” and constituted an excessive use of force considering Mrs Nowland’s age and frailty.

He has been suspended with pay.

Mrs Nowland was repeatedly asked to drop the serrated knife she was holding before she was tasered, but she said “no” or did not respond, court documents from the criminal proceedings said.

White confronted her with his Taser drawn and told her to stop moving before allegedly saying “nah bugger it” and firing the weapon.

Mrs Nowland’s family has described the allegations as “extremely confronting and shocking”.

– AAP

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