Police officers guilty of leaving child in paddy wagon

Senior constable Michael writer outside court
Senior constable Michael writer outside court Hamish Broome

Update, noon: TWO police officers who left a boy in the back of a paddy wagon for more than an hour have been granted a good behaviour bond for the offence, with no conviction recorded.

Magistrate Jeff Linden concluded his verdict about 10am today, finding the men guilty of leaving a child in a motor vehicle, but not guilty of neglecting their lawful duty.

Under a Section 10 bond, the two men are formally convicted of the first offence, but no conviction is recorded on their criminal record.

Update 10.15am: A MAGISTRATE has found two Coraki police officers guilty of leaving a child in a motor vehicle causing emotional distress over the events on April 13 last year when an Aboriginal boy was accidentally left in the back of a police paddy wagon.

However, Lismore Local Court Magistrate Jeff Linden dismissed a second charge brought against Senior Constables Michael Writer and Brian Quinn they had neglected or refused to carry out their lawful duty.

Magistrate Linden handed down his findings shortly after 9.30am this morning.

Senior constable Brian Quinn outside court
Senior constable Brian Quinn outside court Hamish Broome

He noted that he found the first charge proven "only on the basis" that the child was in distress, suggesting there was no malice on the part of the officers.

He also invited the Department of Public Prosecutions solicitor to argue why the two men should not be granted a Section 10 good behaviour bond over the incident, with no conviction recorded.

Magistrate Linden adjourned the matter until later today.

If the two officers are granted a Section 10, they will still face an automatic review of their suitability as police officers under Section 181D of the Police Act.


Original story, 9.40am: A MAGISTRATE is expected to deliver his verdict today on whether two police officers who locked an eight-year-old boy in a police paddy wagon for over an hour are guilty of neglecting their duty as police officers.

Senior Constables Brian Michael Quinn, 33, and Michael John Writer, 44, were charged last October over the incident which allegedly occurred at Coraki on April 13, 2016.

The two officers had picked up the eight-year-old boy and his cousins after the children were reported throwing rocks and eggs at a car outside the Coraki sewage treatment plant.

The boy's cousins were taken home by police but because his mother was at work the two officers returned to Coraki police station and allegedly left him locked up in the paddy wagon for more than 90 minutes.

He was found to be unharmed after being released.

The two police were charged with leaving a child in a motor vehicle causing emotional distress, and police officer neglect/refuse/carry out any lawful order.

Writer and Quinn pleaded not guilty to the charges at a court appearance on January 17 this year and a two day hearing which went ahead on June 22 and 23 was later adjourned until today.

Magistrate Jeff Linden indicated then he would "very likely" deliver his verdict today.

Topics:  coraki editors picks lismore court northern rivers court paddy wagon

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