Woman claims police 'brutal' after arrest

DAVID CLARKSON
Last updated 12:49 08/02/2013

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Police have detailed the arrest of a woman who claims she was the victim of brutality at the Christchurch Police Station.

The woman's arrest followed police clearing the Woolston Tavern and its nightclub and being confronted by patrons outside, on July 8.

The hearing of evidence before Judge Robert Murfitt in the Christchurch District Court has resumed for a fourth day with two women facing charges, but alleging that their clothing was dislodged - exposing their breasts - as they were arrested.

One woman, aged 21, is charged with assaulting, obstructing and resisting the police. Her 23-year-old friend is charged with obstructing and resisting the police. They deny the charges.

Sergeant Anna Lloyd told the trial that the 23-year-old refused to get out of the police van at the station. She smelt strongly of alcohol, was slurring her speech and was very emotional.

She got the woman out of the van and used force to get her moving up the steps into the search area. Lloyd said she was using one hand to keep the woman's dress up and the other to keep her under control.

She said she fixed the woman's dress as she came out of the van. "Her breasts were not exposed but her dress was riding low."

At one point, the woman stopped pushing backwards and as a result she fell forward through an open doorway. She had a scrape on her head, but the sergeant did not believe it was serious.

Because of her state, the woman was put into a tear-resistant suicide gown. She was still refusing to walk and had to be dragged the last few metres to the cell.

Defence counsel Chris Persson said the woman would deny refusing to get out of the van and he accused the sergeant of making that evidence up to bolster criticism her of the woman.

He alleged: "She felt violated and abused by her treatment at the police station, and before."

Lloyd replied: "I say she was treated just fine."

Persson said the woman had been emotional and upset because after her arrest outside the tavern she had been left inside the police van, handcuffed and with her breasts exposed.

Lloyd said the woman had not been aggressive, nor made threats, nor struck or hit anyone. She had not attempted to escape and had not indicated she wanted to commit suicide.

Minimal force had been used to put the woman into the suicide gown, she said.

Persson alleged that the woman's rights under the Bill of Rights Act had been breached because she had been arrested at 1.20am but not read her rights until about 2.55am.

Lloyd said there had been a delay because of the woman's behaviour at the station, and because she was intoxicated and emotional. She was then formally assessed by a psychiatric nurse, after being put in a cell where she could be monitored.

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The trial, before a judge alone, is continuing.

- The Press

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