Fear and loathing crosses blue line

AN INCIDENT involving police resulted in a Gympie officer being reprimanded by the Ethical Standards Command and criminal charges laid against a disabled man.

Gympie Magistrates Court heard this week that a deaf Andrew Sean Gillan could speak only a few words, one of which he used to insult a policeman on two occasions.

Gillan, 40, needed a signer to interpret between him and the court this week when he pleaded guilty to two charges of committing a public nuisance.

Speaking for the defendant, solicitor Corey Jenkins said the charges came about because of what happened between his client and the police officer about a year ago.

He told the court his client had an issue with the police officer ever since he was pepper sprayed and taken into custody for an unrelated matter.

“It relates to the last (and only) entry in my client’s criminal history (for which) he has been dealt with already by the court,” Mr Jenkins said.

“(Gillan) was given no water to wash his eyes and was left in the watchouse cells without an interpreter. The Ethical Standards Command was notified and (the officer) has been dealt with.

“(However), every time my client comes in contact with (this officer), comments are made. My client is a good lip reader... He’s lost faith with police and becomes quite nervous when they’re around.”

The court heard Gillan was seated in the outside area of McDonald’s restaurant in December when the police officer walked past with his fiancé and two children. Gillan swore at the off-duty officer and gave him “the bird”, then took photos of the officer and his family while they were leaving.

On a second occasion in February, Gillan was accused of staring at the police officer while he was off duty with his fiancé at Goldfield’s Plaza. Gillan took photos of the couple shopping, which “alarmed and upset” the fiancé, prompting the officer to make an official complaint.

In defence, Mr Jenkins said he was instructed that every time the two foes would come into contact, the officer would smirk at Gillan.

“When (the officer) walked past he said something to my client (who) pulled out his finger because of what he said. He was taking photos for his own evidence because he felt he had been victimised. However, he accepts the charges and will submit to a good behaviour bond.”

Magistrate Baldwin said she would have preferred if there had been some attempt at mediation between Gillan and the police officer.

“It’s a small town. If you think a policeman’s got it in for you it can blow up (out of control),” she said.

In sing language, Gillan said he was “not interested in being with police in Gympie because he had seen what happened in the past” but agreed to comply with whatever the magistrate ordered.

“While I won’t order mediation, you need to...understand police face a very difficult job. Unfortunately for them they’re actually human beings and sometimes their patience is not what it should be. Just because a policeman dealt with things the wrong way does not make him a bad policeman.”

Gillan, of Channon Street, Gympie, was placed on a bond to be of good behaviour for six months with no conviction recorded.

Gympie Times

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