Cellphone captures woman's screams

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 13:16 25/01/2013

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Cellphone video has recorded a woman screaming off-camera at a time she alleges she was indecently assaulted by police, a court has heard.

The cellphone video was taken by the woman's friend during a fracas between police and patrons outside the Woolston Tavern in July.

The footage - played today on the third day of a Christchurch District Court trial - does not show the woman's arrest, in which police acknowledge that her upper clothing became dislodged.

The woman, 21, is charged with assaulting, obstructing and resisting police.

Her 23-year-old friend is charged with obstructing and resisting police.

Both women deny the charges at a judge-alone defended hearing before Judge Robert Murfitt.

The hearing was set down for three days ending today but will have to be adjourned part-heard, with many of the 21 witnesses still to give evidence.

Defence counsel for the women, Chris Persson, told Judge Murfitt it was distressing for the woman to sit in court and listen to the sound of her screaming in the background of the cellphone footage.

Police say the 21-year-old woman - both their names are suppressed - confronted a police officer in the pub car park as they were clearing the area.

A police witness described seeing her "flailing" her arms at the officer who arrested her, and later lying on her back kicking out.

The defence says witnesses will be called to say that she was shoved from behind. 

The cellphone video was taken by another woman in the car park. 

Persson suggested the footage showed that the timing of part of the incident - only two or three seconds - meant there was not enough time for the woman to turn towards the policeman and flail her arms at him several times.

He contended that when listened to with earphones, the video contained the sound of someone being shoved, rather than hit.

Judge Murfitt asked: "What does a shove sound like?"

Persson replied: "Hitting somebody will have a different sound to a shove.''

The video records the sound of people abusing the police after their decision to close the tavern and car park on July 8 because of concerns about intoxication and disorder.

It records the sound of police instructions to move, and then a distressed woman protesting that the woman being arrested was coming along, and then she says, "It's disgusting," and wants someone to check that her friend is all right.

Screaming can be heard in the background as the video continues.

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- The Press

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