File picture: Constable Lee Walmsley at the Police Integrity Commission in Sydney, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013.
File picture: Constable Lee Walmsley at the Police Integrity Commission in Sydney, Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. DEAN LEWINS

Phone taps played in trial of officers accused of bashing

JURORS at the trial of six Ballina police accused of bashing a man in custody and lying to the court have heard recordings of the officers discussing the case on their phones.

Sydney District Court Judge Leonie Flannery heard warrants to intercept the officers' phone calls were put in place after Corey Barker was allegedly assaulted at Ballina police station in January 2011.

A recording from February 21, 2013 taken from Senior Constable David Ryan Hill's phone included a short conversation with another officer appearing to discuss Snr Const Hill giving a police statement about the incident.

"Yeah mate, I can't exactly talk about it because I'll get in trouble," the recording stated.

"I don't know whether to be upbeat or not.

"I've got people gunning for my job and my freedom and I didn't think I was doing anything wrong."

A second recording from Snr Const Mark Woolven included another officer laughing while telling him "You were on the radio again today" about "cops beating those c***s up in Ballina".

"I got away with it mate," Snr Const Woolven jested.

"No, I was actually not there. I mean I was there... they keep on saying it was assault, there was no assault.

"You saw the video footage. There was no assault."

Snr Const Hill, 36, Constables Luke Christopher Mewing, 30, and Ryan Charles Eckersley, 36, and Probationary Constable Lee David Walmsley, 26, have been charged with assault, trying to pervert the course of justice and lying in court.

Snr Const Woolven 45, and Sergeant Robert Campbell McCubben, 49, are charged with trying to pervert the course of justice.

The court also heard audio recordings of several of the officers being questioned in court.

They included a 37-minute recording of evidence Const Walmsley gave at Ballina Local Court, in which he said he had not seen CCTV footage of the incident and made his original statement without using police facts or any "contemporaneous notes".

He said he had access to the police notes but did not use them.

In the recording Const Walmsley, the youngest of the officers, said he was under the impression there was some problem with the CCTV but he could not recall who had told him or when.

The court was played video of the alleged assault on Tuesday which did not appear to show Mr Barker punching Snr Const Hill, as the officers claimed in their statements.

But Snr Const Hill's defence barrister, Emmanuel Kerkyasharian​, told the court on Monday the CCTV footage was a time-lapse video and captured only about one-third of what actually occurred.

"Are you 100% sure that it is the case that you have not discussed the particulars of this case with Snr Const Hill, or is it the case that you are not sure, you cannot recollect..." the audio recording showed Const Walmsley being asked.

"I'm sure," he responded.

Const Walmsley was asked if he had received any other document relating to the incident.

"I'm not sure... I don't believe I did," the recording showed him responding.

The court was yesterday read an email sent on March 21, 2011 from fellow officer Greg Ryan to Const Walmsley, Const Eckersley and Snr Const Woolven.

It referred to Mr Barker as "the fellow that threw the bottle then carried on" and "carried on back at the police station and attacked Hilly".

It also said the witness statements from Snr Const Hill and the email's sender, Greg Ryan, were attached.

The case continues.


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