A police constable accused of beating and kicking a driver at
a cordon he was policing alone denies any assault and says
the complainant is anti-authority and overly-dramatic.
The officer has interim name suppression for the defended
hearing before a judge in Gisborne District Court.
He faces two counts of assault, one with intent to injure,
arising out of an alleged attack near the intersection of Wi
Pere Street and Ormond Road in the early hours of March 14.
He says the complainant, Aaron Leslie Newdick, was unduly
non-compliant with his request to wait inside a cordon, where
a police dog handler was tracking two suspected burglars.
In trying to drive off, Mr Newdick nearly ran over his foot.
But Mr Newdick says the constable is lying and became
volatile when he asserted there were no grounds to prevent
him leaving a cordoned area.
He had been working for 21 hours and wanted to get home to
Mr Newdick alleges the constable punched him with a closed
fist three times inside his vehicle, handcuffed him by one of
his wrists and dragged him out of the car on to the road
surface, where he cuffed both his hands then kicked him in
the head as he lay on the ground.
Throughout the incident, the constable verbally abused him
and said he should have complied, the court heard.
The incident left him close to unconscious, with blood
pouring out of a wound to the corner of his eye, Mr Newdick
said in evidence.
He was taken to the police station and charged with resisting
and obstructing police - charges that were later withdrawn.
His memory had been affected by the alleged attack and he now
found it difficult to recall some of the occurrences that
night and other past events, Mr Newdick said.
During cross-examination, defence counsel Doug Rishworth said
Mr Newdick had an anti-authority attitude and a particular
disdain for the police.
He had at one point made an inquiry to the police about the
diversion programme, saying he would plead guilty to the
resisting and obstruction charges in exchange for diversion.
He had a propensity for obstructing police, as demonstrated
last year when he was stopped while driving and questioned
about a domestic incident. On that occasion he had been
unco-operative, had challenged being stopped, had got out of
his vehicle and waved his arms around - just as he had at the
Mr Rishworth submitted Mr Newdick was hysterical, emotional
and had overdramatised the whole thing. He had behaved at the
cordon as if he was drunk, yet he was not.
Later, at the police station, he had whimpered and cried,
walked with a limp and collapsed on the floor.
Mr Newdick denied his actions were exaggerated, saying his
behaviour had been due to his ordeal.
"I didn't do the damage to myself, if that's what you're
implying," he said.
He accepted Mr Rishworth's assertion that he had punched a
wall while later laying his complaint at the police station.
Senior Sergeant Grant Pigott, who organised the cordon, said
in evidence he went to check on the constable who had
reported having difficulty with a car. He was conscious that
due to staffing constraints, the constable was working alone.
"Newdick was very worked up and excitable - crying almost and
hyperventilating. The constable was as lucid and calm as can
be, using colourful language and swearing. It was obvious
there'd been a conflict but he wasn't out of control. He was
still composed. I had no concerns about him."
The constable told him the complainant's injuries were caused
by the road surface.
"I checked (the constable's) hands and clothing. I noted
nothing alarming to me," Sergeant Pigott said.
A witness who lived near the scene said he heard the
constable repeatedly swearing at the complainant and telling
him to get out of the vehicle.
He did not have a full view of the incident when it continued
outside the car but, from what he saw, it looked as if the
constable's arm was "going up and down on him . . . as if he
was hitting something", the witness said. The complainant was
screaming for help.
- Gisborne Herald