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Disability pensioner feared he would die during alleged assault by police

John on Thursday told a contested hearing at Heidelberg Magistrates Court he was ill and inside his house as he withdrew from opioids following treatment from cancer and spinal fusions. He described his symptoms as having the flu but multiplied by 10.

He said he saw the officers outside his house on a CCTV monitor in his lounge, and then went to the front door to tell them to leave him alone.

In the following minutes one officer told him to come outside, and when John opened the door “out of fear”, he said he was grabbed as he moved his arms when sprayed with capsicum spray. He was then hauled onto the lawn and pinned down.

“The next minute I was on the ground and I sort of went unconscious. I wasn’t in a good way, put it that way,” he told the court.

“I was punched. I remember something was stuck in my nostril, I think it was mace.

“I was handcuffed. They were all on top of me. I was pretty much assaulted.

An image from CCTV showing police pinning pensioner John to the ground.

An image from CCTV showing police pinning pensioner John to the ground.

“I remember one of them got a hose. He was wetting me like he would a dog. I was in a lot of pain. I couldn’t breathe because the mace got stuck in my lungs.”

John said he was in shock during the incident and remembered a “fear of dying, drowning”.

Prosecutors allege the three charged officers’ use of force was excessive and unjustified.

In a prosecution summary, they allege that as Senior Constable McLeod used the capsicum spray he said to John: “Do you like that?”

He also allegedly said: “Smells good, doesn’t it?”

Senior Constable Brad McLeod, after an earlier appearance at Melbourne Magistrates Court.

Senior Constable Brad McLeod, after an earlier appearance at Melbourne Magistrates Court.Credit:Eddie Jim

Senior Constable McLeod is also seen using his mobile phone to film Senior Constable Hilgart use the hose.

The footage recorded by the two CCTV cameras at the front of his house was played in court, and it captures John yelling to police: “F— off, get off my f—ing property.”

When told to open the door, he says: “I don’t want to. I am going through withdrawals. Please leave me alone.”

When he opens the door and is pulled out onto the lawn he screams as an officer orders: “Get your f—ing hands behind your f—ing back.”

Over the following minutes he is sat up, with his hands handcuffed behind him, and then has a hose sprayed in his face. John complains he is in pain and says: “Why are you doing this to me? I am not a f—ing criminal.”

Constable John Edney is contesting assault charges.

Constable John Edney is contesting assault charges.Credit:Eddie Jim

As the footage was played to court, John looked down in the witness stand and away from the monitor. Constable Edney and a woman seated next to him watched the footage but the other two officers didn’t, instead looking down.

John told the court paramedics took him to hospital. After two or three hours he was sent home in a taxi, humiliated because he was in a gown.

The first thing he did when home, he said, was check the footage.

IBAC investigators allege Senior Constable McLeod punched John in the stomach, used capsicum spray on him and encouraged Senior Constable Hilgart to use the high-pressure hose.

Senior Constable Hilgart faces one charge, for allegedly using the hose.

Constable Edney is accused of hitting the disability pensioner with an extendable baton and stepping on his head.

Their contested hearing continues on Friday.

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