EXTREME FORCE-how VicPol behaved during a storage inspection

EXTREME FORCE: Officers give 79 year old shooter whalloping

28/04/2021

Liberal MP, Beverley McArthur with gun storage inspection victim, Stuart

  • A pensioner has been savagely beaten by two plain clothed VicPol cops, who rolled up to his property to conduct an inspection of his gun storage.
  • Liberal MP, Bev McArthur, has taken up the matter and helped Stuart get free legal advice. She wants answers as to how this could happen to one of her own constituents.
  • The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission has been asked to investigate the matter.

79 YEAR OLD Stuart lives alone in Central Victoria. He has served with the Country Fire Authority for nearly 30 years and was a councillor on his local council for 12 years. From everything we’ve seen and know, there is no reason to suggest Stuart is anything but an upstanding citizen.

In March this year, Stuart was getting ready to help a friend with vermin control cull shooting when he heard a voice call out from the other side of his side fence.

Start opened the side gate. Two plain clothed VICPOL officers carrying pistols on their belts and body cameras, pushed the gate open into him.

For reasons unknown they grabbed Stuart’s wrists, threw him to the ground, jumped onto him and handcuffed him after forcibly twisting his arms behind his back.

Stuart has no criminal record. At 5’5”, around 60 kilos and 40 or so years older than the officers – he was also clearly no threat to the officers.

It was only during this – not before they entered – that they said they were from Victoria Police. At no stage did they give their names or say which part of Victoria Police they were from.

The reason they were there?

The officers said they were there to inspect his gun safe.

Stuart was stunned, so they searched his house for the gun safe keys but didn’t find them. After interrogating him, Stuart told them where the keys were. The police opened the safe – and seized his firearms and ammunition and suspended his licence. Whether the ‘search’ for the keys without a warrant was legal is a matter that the NSC is receiving legal advice on, and may come out in legal actions that we anticipate will follow.

Stuart continued in pain for some time. VICPOL officers eventually called an ambulance – before leaving him at home, injured. The ambulance arrived around 40 minutes later and took him to Colac hospital.

You can see what the police did in these photographs. All from a gun storage inspection.

Facial injuries

Heavy bruising on back and sides of legs

Stuart’s mobility has since been impaired, and he has had to rely on friends to help him attend doctors for medical treatment, cook for him and for daily chores. He is recovering slowly but at Stuart’s age, takes time. All of this could have been avoided with a simple phone call or knock on the front door.

NSC helps Stuart

Stuart contacted the NSC for help, and we immediately swung into action.

The NSC drove out to see Stuart (a 3 hour drive) and immediately put Stuart in touch with his local member, Bev McArthur MP (pictured above in the title image).

Bev is a friend of the NSC and supports shooters. She visited Stuart at his home to see how she could assist and to her absolute credit, immediately organised legal assistance for Stuart “pro bono” (for free) as she was as shocked at what had occurred as we were.

On her advice and with help from the NSC, Stuart has written to the Victorian police watchdog, the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission – IBAC – to lodge a formal complaint against the VicPol officers.

Reason for licence suspension

The reason given for Stuart’s licence suspension (and ‘proposal to cancel’) by Victoria Police are that:

No further information has been provided.

If there is anything else to this story we don’t know, then it is yet to come out. Stuart has no criminal record and his guns were safely locked away. The police couldn’t even find the keys without his help. He was simply at his own house when the officers arrived and no other charges or allegations were made.

Instead, it seems obvious to us that the police don’t have anything on him.

It will be interesting to see what the VICPOL body camera footage shows.

Stuart responds

Helped by the NSC, Stuart made a submission to the Victorian firearms registry on why his licence should be returned.

Victoria Police responded by saying that if he provides a medical and or psychological report as evidence that he is suitable to hold a firearms licence, they will not cancel his licence.

From this distance, it looks like Victoria Police don’t have a reason to suspend his licence and decided to ‘reverse the onus of proof’ on him to make him prove that he is fit to have the licence.

VicPol’s motto is “Uphold the Right”. Stuart has rights as well. We hope IBAC will uphold them for him.

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1 Like

This is heavy.

When I read the article I am wanting more information. ie It says he was about to help in Vermin control cull shooting (does this mean he was carrying a gun?) It sounds like he was outside so more possible he was carrying a gun given his prior statement. If that is so I can see why the police may have taken such drastic action. If they were just the other side of a fence. They did not come specifically for Stuart so were somewhat surprised to be confronted by a man with a firearm.
It does seem that excessive force was used considering the stature and age of the man.
Poor or selective reporting goes both ways all the facts should be told not just ones that support a particular agenda.

3 Likes

Out of curiosity, has anyone been inspected by plain clothed officers before? I’ve only been inspected once, and that was by uniformed officers from the local cop shop.

It’s fucked that this amount of violence was even considered necessary, though I suppose VicPol has a history of beating up disabled people and pensioners.

2 Likes

Stuart was NOT carrying a gun and nor has he been charged with anything so your speculation is NOT helpful.

As we said in the story he has received written confirmation from LRD that his licence suspension will be lifted and his firearms returned pending satisfactory medical reports!

The NSC has met with Stuart and looked at all the known facts as has his local MP, Bev McArthur and that is why he is receiving our support.

We are taught that Police are the “Good guys” as Children so it may be hard to accept that Police have done the wrong thing for some on this forum but I point out that over the last two years or so VicPol have had numerous well documented cases of excessive and unwarranted “use of force” and even shot innocent people. These cases have cost Victorian taxpayers millions of $ in out of court settlements by the way…

1 Like

Yes, and we are aware of cases where up to 6 plain clothes police in multiple cars arrived to do a “storage inspection”!

I’ve had an inspection by plain clothes officers here in NSW, but, I had a prior phone call to arrange a time, they arrived on time in an unmarked car, identified themselves and we did the inspection. No problems. I actually didn’t mind it at all. Better than having a visit by a marked car and having the neighbours wondering what’s going on.

1 Like

I’d actually prefer plain clothes too, so long as they had made an appointment as per the normal procedure. Here in Qld i believe you can refuse them entry for an inspection if they haven’t made an appointment (perhaps @ShootersUnion or @NationalShootingCouncil could kindly confirm/clarify this for us) so if they just turned up i’d tell them it was a bad time and i was heading out, if they took it nicely and were happy to leave i’d do a quick backflip and let them through for an inspection, if they got narky they’d have no chance of getting in.

Stories like this one in Vic don’t do them any favours and unfortunately the shit cops ruin it for the decent ones as they all get the tarred with the same brush.