Three police officers filmed beating a disability pensioner during a welfare check have been let off with fines and no conviction.
Senior Constables Brad McLeod and Florian Hilgart, and Constable John Edney were found guilty of unlawful assault during an arrest in Melbourne in September 2018.
The trio were called to the pensioner’s home in Preston after his psychologist called triple zero because of serious concerns about his mental health.
The pensioner, known only as John, was beaten with a baton, capsicum sprayed, punched, had his head stepped on and was sprayed with a high-pressure hose while handcuffed with six officers involved in the arrest.
McLeod was fined $3,500 as the main offender.
The court heard how he sprayed John in the face with capsicum spray, punched him in the stomach.
He also told Hilgart to spray the victim in the face with the hose so he could video it.
‘Did you like that? Did you like that? Smells good, doesn’t it?’ McLeod said after he sprayed John.
Hilgart was fined $1,000 for spraying John with the hose, while Edney also copped a $1,000 fine for stepping on the victim’s head and hitting him six times with a baton.
The trio promised Heidelberg Magistrates Court they would be on good behaviour for a year.
They escaped a jail term and no conviction was recorded, meaning they will be able to keep their jobs on the police force.
John had previously told the court after the officer’s guilty verdict that ‘they treated me like a dog at the weakest moment of my life.’
Herald Sun reported magistrate Cathy Lamble on Wednesday said the footage of the arrest was damning.
‘It is not because it is criminal behaviour, but it is terrible to watch,’ she said.
Magistrate Lamble said the officers’ reaction in the arrest was a breach of their job to keep the community safe.
‘They committed crimes that they are entrusted, by the community, to detect and control,’ she said.
Magistrate Lamble found the trio were unlikely to re-offend based on character references and gave no convictions.
‘Their behaviour was unexpected but their previous good character suggests that they are unlikely to behave in this way again,’ she said.