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Police officers charged with assaulting 92-year-old man

Commissioner Karen Webb said NSW Police were treating the assault allegations "very seriously".

Commissioner Karen Webb said NSW Police were treating the assault allegations "very seriously". Photo: AAP

Two police officers have been charged with the assault of a 92-year-old man after being called to a Sydney home earlier this year.

The man was taken to hospital with a fracture to his right elbow and significant bruising to his head and arms after the incident at the house in Campbell Street, Picton, on the night of January 21.

NSW Police said on Thursday the injuries were allegedly the result of an interaction with the officers.

Commissioner Karen Webb said police had received two triple-zero calls to the address in Sydney’s south-west.

She said it “appears to be the case” that at least one person in the house, believed to be the man’s wife, had dementia.

“Police were called by 000 on two occasions about seven minutes apart [by] a resident, and that person may or may not have dementia. I think it’s likely that that person has dementia,” she said.

“It’s obviously a complex matter when you’ve got someone elderly, someone who has mental decline through dementia or through something else that can actually articulate any concerns to police properly. And that will all form part of the investigation and the police response.”

Webb said the 92-year-0ld was arrested and handcuffed. During that process, he was injured and then taken to hospital, where he was admitted.

“The very next day an internal investigation was commenced and as a result of that investigation, it’s culminated in those charges last night,” Webb said.

Two male officers – a constable and a senior constable – have been charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The constable also faces a further charge of assault.

Both officers are attached to the South West Metropolitan Region. They were served court attendance notices on Wednesday.

Webb said police were wearing body cameras. She watched the camera footage on Thursday.

“I have watched that video within the last hour. I have my own thoughts and feelings about that; I can’t comment about that, because I don’t want to prejudice any court matter,” she said.

Webb said it would be up to the court to determine if the officers had used excessive force. She said the community should have confidence that police were taking the matter “very seriously”.

January’s incident follows the May 2023 death of great-grandmother Clare Nowland, who had dementia and used a walking frame. She died after she was tasered by an officer at her nursing home while holding a knife.

A senior constable has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter after being charged over her death.

Police have also launched a probe into the case of another constable who admitted to giving a fake breath test to the son of a senior officer.

On Thursday, police said the officer was charged with neglecting his duty and perverting the course of justice.

The second, more serious allegation was later dropped. The officer pleaded guilty to the first charge and will be sentenced in Griffith Local Court on Friday.

Webb conceded she was disappointed by the breath-test incident while defending the actions of officers when dealing with a “complex matter” like a dementia case.

Deputy Commissioner Paul Pisanos admitted such incidents eroded community confidence.

“There’s definitely been some breakdown in terms of communication up the line,” he told Sydney radio 2GB.

The charges follow another incident in which a high-ranking officer was accused of crashing a work car in a tunnel while driving drunk in May 2023.

No public statement was issued on that incident, which Webb later put down to it being something that “slipped through the cracks”.

One of the officers in the Picton incident will appear at Campbelltown Local Court on July 30. The other will appear in the same court on August 6.

Both officers will be suspended with pay.

-with AAP

Topics: Crime, NSW
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