Two New South Wales police officers in the strike force targeting outlaw motorcycle gangs harassed and intimidated a solicitor representing a man involved in a motorcycle gang after being instructed to do so by a third officer, the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission has found.
The LECC reported on Friday the solicitor had represented a man involved in the Gladiators motorcycle gang in court in May 2019 who had received five charges of animal cruelty from Strike Force Raptor.
The report states that police had requested to appear by videolink but the solicitor denied it because he said they needed to be in court “because the case involved evidence regarding directions and measurements”.
The next morning, on his way to take his girlfriend to Beaurepaires to help her pick up some tyres, the report states he was pulled over by police, who identified themselves as being from Strike Force Raptor. Realising he did not have his licence on him, the solicitor drove home, but on his way home he was pulled over again for a vehicle roadworthiness check.
He said police claimed, among other issues, the car had an oil leak and he was issued with a defect notice and was forced to walk home.
“He felt embarrassed as he was wearing socks and thongs,” the report stated.
He reported the police following the taxi he took to work. He later had the hearing for the client vacated, citing how shaken up he was by the incidents, and advised his client to find another solicitor, the report states.
When he later rode his unmodified Harley-Davidson motorcycle to work the following day, police left a a Department of Environment and Climate Change (DECC) notice on it.
The LECC report states one of the officers involved, who resigned from the force in mid-2020, had been tasked to “target” the solicitor by another officer because he was told the solicitor was “in with the bikies”.
The LECC found two of the officers involved and their supervising officer who issued them with the instructions to target the solicitor engaged in serious police misconduct, and has recommended reviewable action be taken against the officers.
Such action can include demotion, or delay in advancement in pay grade.
In a separate report released on Friday, the LECC also found a police officer striking and restraining a woman arrested in December 2020 by putting his hands on her neck was an unreasonable use of force. The LECC has recommended non-reviewable action be taken against the officer, which can include counselling, a warning, or training.
Location: New Zealand