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Senior cops ‘needed to step in’, last day of Bourke St inquest told

“Others needed to step in.”

Mr Lawrie said further training for frontline officers on the force’s new hostile vehicle policy should also be considered.

Police made a mistake on paperwork before James Gargasoulas was freed on bail in the days before the Bourke Street massacre.

Police made a mistake on paperwork before James Gargasoulas was freed on bail in the days before the Bourke Street massacre.

“We say that the Chief Commissioner should be looking beyond the simple presentation of eLearning packages to properly provide members with skills,” he said.

Legal representatives for those swept up in the horrors of the Bourke Street tragedy, including police and a bail justice, came out in defence of their clients during the final day of inquest submissions.

Barrister Rachel Ellyard, representing more than 20 police officers involved in the attempts to apprehend Gargasoulas, said officers higher up the chain of command played less active roles as it was part of their jobs to “receive briefings” rather than to instruct frontline police.

She also disputed suggestions there was a lack of co-ordination and leadership during the hunt for Gargasoulas in the hours before he reached the CBD.

The lawyer for Mr Caridi, who tried to get the critical incident response team to intervene in the arrest plan for Gargasoulas in the hours after he attacked his brother at Windsor, suggested her client had not been afforded the same “sympathetic understanding” as other police because he was no longer a serving officer.

Dr Kristine Hanscombe, QC, said Mr Caridi, who was working “one-up” in a marked car during the early hours of January 20, 2017, couldn’t even get CIRT to come out and discuss the plan, suggesting there was little more he could have done.

She also disputed claims Mr Caridi has sought to make himself the “centre of attention” in the aftermath of the tragedy and had suffered greatly as a result.

Ian Hill, QC, representing bail justice Christos Pantelios, who freed Gargasoulas on bail in the days before the tragedy, reminded the coroner that his client’s work on the night of January 14, 2017, was unpaid community service.

Frank Caridi, who tried unsuccessfully to get elite police to arrest James Gargasoulas before the Bourke Street massacre.

Frank Caridi, who tried unsuccessfully to get elite police to arrest James Gargasoulas before the Bourke Street massacre.Credit:Jason South

“He was entitled to expect the police to give him all the assistance in the task that he had. It’s clear in this case …that at the very least that assistance was “imperfect”,” Mr Hill said.

The inquiry also heard the state government had since moved to investigate whether it would be feasible to record all out-of-session bail and remand hearings.

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An inquest into the events leading up to the tragedy was heard over six weeks during December and February as the coroner investigates possible recommendations from the incident.

Gargasoulas was jailed in February 2019 for at least 46 years.

Coroner Jacqui Hawkins is expected to hand down her findings in the coming months.

If you or anyone you know needs support call Lifeline 131 114, or beyondblue 1300 224 636.

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