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Watch-house assault officer to be re-sentenced

By johnboy - 30 September 2008 122

The ABC reports that John Arthur Birch, the former police officer who was found guilty of nine counts of administering a substance to cause pain and discomfort in the Civic watch-house has had his three month suspended sentence overturned on the ground that it was “manifestly inadequate” according to the visiting Justice Steven Rares who heard the appeal.

Birch will now be re-sentenced.

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122 Responses to
Watch-house assault officer to be re-sentenced
Deadmandrinking 3:13 pm 30 Sep 08

jakez said :

Society entrusts the police with a great deal of power in order to protect us from the use of force by others, and to maintain peace and order.

The role of police is not easy. However, because of the power that is entrusted to police, society cannot and should not tolerate any abuse of that trust. Because of the role the police play in our society, they must be brought to account for any violation, and the punishment needs to be proportionate.

Mr Burch has done the equivalent of nine counts of significant battery. A three month suspended sentence would not be acceptable for the lay man. For someone in Mr Burch’s position, it is a disgrace.

Well said Jake.

jakez 3:07 pm 30 Sep 08

Society entrusts the police with a great deal of power in order to protect us from the use of force by others, and to maintain peace and order.

The role of police is not easy. However, because of the power that is entrusted to police, society cannot and should not tolerate any abuse of that trust. Because of the role the police play in our society, they must be brought to account for any violation, and the punishment needs to be proportionate.

Mr Burch has done the equivalent of nine counts of significant battery. A three month suspended sentence would not be acceptable for the lay man. For someone in Mr Burch’s position, it is a disgrace.

Granny 2:47 pm 30 Sep 08

The cameras must have imagined the whole thing.

PsydFX 2:46 pm 30 Sep 08

I’d love to read the court transcripts to see what Birch’s defense was, the photo in the ABC report certainly didn’t look like the detainee was being very threatening.

Granny 2:37 pm 30 Sep 08

He’s a bully. Unfortunately you find them in every sphere of life.

Sammy 2:35 pm 30 Sep 08

That cop must be mentally disturbed. The way he just opens up a can of capsicum spray into the face of a detainee, with seemingly no provocation, continues to shock me. Talk about abuse of authority.

ant 2:17 pm 30 Sep 08

“administering a substance to cause pain and discomfort”. when I read that, I figured he was feeding them fourex beer. Or Lamb’s Fry.

tylersmayhem 1:47 pm 30 Sep 08

@farq: all very good and indeed quite worrying points you made.

farq 1:31 pm 30 Sep 08

I wonder if any of the other officers present raised concerns about Birch’s actions before a complaint was lodged?

The pessimist in me thinks that his colleagues supported his behaviour, that Birch’s actions are the product of the culture within the AFP. If he is a just a bad egg, why did no one else stop him? How did he rise to the rank of sergeant if his actions were not condoned?

Birch was only caught out because of the CCTV cameras in the watch house, otherwise he could of just made up any old story to justify his actions (“she attacked me!”).

If Birch (and his colleagues) are that spray happy in the controlled environment of a watch house, imagine what they think is acceptable out there in the big bad world? It’s fortunate for them they are not covered by CCTV the entire shift.

peterh 1:25 pm 30 Sep 08

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy said :

Visiting Justice, eh? Sounds like this guy could be shit outta luck!

as long as the visiting justice is presiding for sentencing…

PBO 12:51 pm 30 Sep 08

Throw the book at him and make him an example that no one is above the law. If i were him and i did not get sentenced, i would change my name and move out of the area. This is Canberra not Guantanamo Bay.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_ 12:49 pm 30 Sep 08

Visiting Justice, eh? Sounds like this guy could be shit outta luck!

tylersmayhem 12:46 pm 30 Sep 08

Good – now maybe he might get charged adequately. That said, my understanding is that he has since retired from the Force? Would that make him at all able to avoid re-sentencing?

I have an idea. Perhaps tickets could be sold to a “special event” in Garema place where they string this guy up, and spray him 9 times over…say 9 hours, then let him go? Perhaps the combination of feeling some of the pain, and the public humiliation might sink in to his sick brain.

Deadmandrinking 12:46 pm 30 Sep 08

I agree duke. It’s the betrayal of trust that really sickens me.

Duke 12:31 pm 30 Sep 08

…….and glad to hear it. Sure the cops have to put up with some pretty ugly customers, but hosing a person down with mace the way he did, grinning like an idiot as his minions looked on, I found quite sickening.

This is not the type of person fit to hold a position of authority.

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