Pensioner John Bennett will get compensation and an apology
from police for the way he was roughed up by armed officers
at his home more than two years ago.
An Independent Police Conduct Authority report found police
used "excessive force'' during an "unjustifiable and
unreasonable'' arrest at Mr Bennett's Burwood home in
Mr Bennett was carrying an old air pistol and a toy baseball
bat while investigating suspicious noises at his
earthquake-damaged home when he was wrestled to the ground by
aggressive armed police and had a rifle pressed against his
The retired engineer, aged 65 at the time, was arrested and
thrown in the cells wearing only his underpants and a T-shirt
and charged with unlawfully carrying a firearm and possessing
an offensive weapon.
It took three court appearances before police dropped the
The IPCA report found the armed officers, who were looking
for a fugitive believed to be in the area, used excessive
force and acted prematurely without an adequate appreciation
of Mr Bennett's situation.
Mr Bennett's solicitor, Graeme Riach, of Harmans Lawyers,
confirmed yesterday police had agreed to make "a payment of
compensation and to apologise to him''.
But Canterbury police district commander Superintendent Gary
Knowles declined to comment.
"The matter remains under discussion between the parties,'' a
police spokesman said.
Mr Riach said the amount of compensation would remain
confidential "at this stage''.
"We haven't been able to sight the documentation yet,'' he
"There will be a satisfactory outcome. We're just awaiting
documentation from police and that is due in the next few
Mr Riach said he was unable to confirm whether the
compensation would cover all the legal fees and medical
expenses that Mr Bennett was seeking.
"There is an agreement that some compensation will be paid
and an apology given. The details have yet to be confirmed in
Mr Bennett said he and wife, Iris, were looking forward to
putting the incident behind them after both had been
"stressed out'' over the last two years.
"I've been waiting for an apology for over two years now.
It's been a long time coming.
It will be nice to have an apology. They just wouldn't admit
it though it was clear they were in the wrong.''
Mr Bennett said the police case against him should never have
got to court.
"I don't think it should have gone to court in the first
place. The charges were absolutely ridiculous. They should
have dropped them at the first opportunity.''
The Bennetts expect to still be out of pocket at least for
some of their medical expenses.
Mr Bennett said the compensation offer was "not much, but it
will cover our solicitor's bill''.
"We're pleased with that. It's a positive outcome and we can
now get on with our lives.
"There's some satisfaction knowing the police were wrong and
they're admitting it,'' he said.
"We're not going to forget all about it, but it's some
Mr Bennett said he was grateful for the media coverage that
had forced an outcome.
"If The Star hadn't published those articles, everything
would have been pushed under the table.''
Now 67, Mr Bennett said he and his wife were enjoying
retirement at Leithfield Beach, where they moved following