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Police pursuits involving motorbike riders [SA]

Discussion in 'Politics, Laws, Government & Insurance' started by 99sydrd, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. Check this out;

    A South Australian cop who chased a motorcyclist at high speed through a busy shopping precinct posed as much danger to the public as did his quarry, a court has heard.
    Prosecutors today said Constable Timothy Mark Hughes acted unreasonably during a chase that led to the death of Adam McNamara.
    Hughes' counsel, however, said police must sometimes break the law to uphold it – and should not be under threat of prosecution for doing so.
    Hughes, 35, has pleaded not guilty, in the Elizabeth Magistrates Court, to driving in a dangerous manner.
    In November 2005, he charged Mr McNamara (a former police cadet) for riding his motorcycle without a licence.
    Two hours later, while driving an unmarked police car, he saw Mr McNamara on the road again.
    When he activated his lights and sirens, the motorcyclist sped away past Elizabeth City Centre.
    Hughes gave up pursuit just before Mr McNamara crashed fatally into a signpost.
    Today, prosecutor Leigh Simpson said Hughes drove through the 20km/h zone, in front of the centre, at 87km/h.
    He said police were only exempt from road laws when exercising "reasonable care".
    "Hughes was faced with nothing more than an offence of unlicensed driving," he said.
    "But he chose to accelerate considerably in the vicinity of a shopping centre.
    "If Mr McNamara had robbed a bank or murdered someone, the situation would be different.
    "The same risk to the public, posed by the motorcyclist, was posed by the police car."
    Joana Fuller, for Hughes, said Mr McNamara's driving justifed her client's "split-second" decision.
    "Mr McNamara posed a serious risk to the public, the sort of risk a police officer has a duty to stop," she said.
    She said it was the first time an officer had faced court for the lawful execution of their duty.
    "The verdict in this matter has wider ramifications than just consequences for Mr Hughes," she said.
    "Public safety could be compromised if police have their own concerns about being prosecuted.
    "Mr Hughes' situation is not a one-off – the prosecution of other officers is pending, potentially, on this outcome."
    Magistrate Sue O'Connor will announce her verdict in December.

    I hope the copper gets a kick in the arse. Pursuits against motorbike riders need to be BANNED or engage a helicopter . Sure if its in pursuit of a murderer chase them and sit back and wait til he kills himself, but for mistermeaners and traffic violations come on. A bloke at Bathurst recently was chased by the zealous hwy patrol car and the motorbike rider crashed on a bend just out of town and died for what 'rolling through a stop sign'.
  2. What would you say would be a good way to get the rider to stop? Yes I agree it is pretty crazy for a cop in a car to try and catch a bike but how do they know he is not a murderer as you put it? They try to stop a bike and it takes off. At what stage do they stop chasing? These are questions that need to be answered.

    You argue that all pursuits involving bikes should be banned. How about WA when they banned pursuits full stop a few years ago? The stolen car stats shot up. Arseholes out there were stealing cars and doing burn-outs out the front of the police stations knowing the cops can't catch them.

    I know I would be shitty if my bike was stolen because of a dumb law prohibiting pursuits. Who was at fault here? The wanker who took off from the cops and killed himself.

    Yes a cop should be accountable for his actions but so should the rider who chose to give it a blat. Look at other threads here about running from cops. It is happening. And for no real good reason other than for someone trying not to get a ticket? Is your life worth beating a ticket? does the cop know that your not a murderer?

    Just another view.

    PS. Also re the helicopter. When the government decides to throw money in and by a shit load that may be a viable option but the choppers down here seem to always be tied up with going to accidents and transporting the victims to the Alfred. I wouldn't expect much difference from WA. That and the fact that the pursuit would have been over before they got airborne had they been available.
  3. Clearly this case is overkill,He knew who it was so he could have just gone to his place and arrested him.It also amazes me that every cop chase that gets attention the standard line is we just stopped the pursuit and then he crashed and is dead
  4. It's a case of "damned if you do, damned if you don't".

    Thing is, I've seen some really stupid driving by police when chasing down other motorists for what are probably standard traffic infringements.

    You gotta wonder too, what powers that these guys have that allows them to disregard the same laws of physics that apply to us and which road rules are allegedly based on.

    And how a speeding motorcylists poses the SAME level of risk as a 2 tonne car does in the same situation is beyond me.

    Anyway, even if this guy is convicted it won't matter squat. It's only a magistrate's court and the ruling won't be binding on any other court as far as precedent goes (it won't even affect other magistrates' decisions).
  5. Maybe that is because the only police pursuit stories you hear in the media are when someone dies. You dont hear about the others which either end in the person being arrested, or the pursuit being called off and the guy gets away.
  6. In this case it was stupid to have chased him, as he could have easily just turned up at his house and hour later to book him over being unlicensed. This bloke did not use his brain, well neither of them did, but no one should be dead as a result of such a minor infraction.
  7. Yep. That's what I thought that rego plates were for.

    Like 3 guys at work who were having a bit of a go on their way home from work one night. Cop grabs one. Another of the guys was home waiting for his ordered pizza to arrive. Doorbell rings, it's the copper who had a quiet chat to him about speeding, the evils of it all and leaving him with a TIN to consider his actions...
  8. Yeah, I missed the bit about the cop knowing him. It doesn't sound good. I hope the reporter put all the relevant details in his report. I will wait for the Magistrate's decision before jumping to conclusions. My comments on pursuits as a whole stand though.
  9. Easy fix. Don't break the f&*^ing law and don't try to outrun the cops. Very, very simple to do.

    And another hot tip - don't expect any sympathy when you are totally f^&*ing stupid, you decide to run from the cops and end up killing yourself.

    As for the "He shouldn't have chased at all because he knew who he was" - the guy was seen doing 87 in a 20. So what happens if the cop doesn't chase and this speeding d1ckhead continues to speed in a similar fashion, even without a cop chasing, and hits a pedestrian or another vehicle and kills someone. Then everyone would want the cop's head because he did nothing to try to stop someone who, just moments before, he witnessed riding in a very dangerous manner. It is just hindsight running roughshod over common sense.
  10. If he "only rolled through a Stop Sign" why did he roll the dice and make a run for it.

    He rolled the dice and lost.
  11. Agreed, but there has to be a modicum of common sense shown by the Police as well.
    No he wasn't. It was the COP who was doing 87 in a 20 zone.

    Too many variables mate. There has to be some common sense shown by the copper surely? What if this? What if that? The police have got better things to do than chase down an unlicensed rider FFS. How about go and catch some real criminals?

    I'm not condoning unlicensed riding but the way I see it the guy wasn't doing any real harm before the police got involved.
  12. And therein lies the problem. How the hell can you say the Police must have better things to do than chase down unlicensed riders. That is their job FFS! And like I said, if the rider is riding unlawfully and then proceeds to kill an innocent bystander, the Police get f%^ked over for not doing anything. You have applied an uninformed judgement call to an operational Police decision made at the time of witnessing an offence. And unless you are a cop you are not trained or qualified to make such a decision. Which is hindsight running roughshod over common sense. Stop making excuses for the unlawful maggots in society and give the blokes who are trying to keep you and your family safe a break. Because they sure as hell don't do it for the pay!
  13. Their job? Their job is to protect the community. I don't think a Constable driving a two tonne pursuit vehicle at 87kph in a 20kph zone outside a shopping centre is keeping me and my family safe, and that is the reason he was pulled in front of a Magistrate. Any officers who deem this behaviour acceptable need to have a serious think about the amount of risk they are incurring for the sake of issuing a statutory offence.

    Rather than worrying about the reputational problems police would encounter if they failed to give chase to an unlicensed motorcyclist who collided with someone, you should be worried about the public outcry and torrents of abuse that would be levelled at police all around the country if this Constable was forced to swerve for one person and subsequently slammed into a family of four waiting to cross the road. It was a 20 zone for a reason.

    Furthermore, issuing a fine to a motorcyclist for riding unlicensed is an absolute joke when you consider the abysmal level of skill and roadcraft required to get a learner permit in the first place. Why that justifies a pursuit at all, let alone a high speed pursuit, is completely beyond me. Compound that with the fact that the Constable already had the details of the now deceased motorcyclist, and you have an extremely poor 'operational decision' indeed. I didn't need to be a police officer to determine that.

  14. Hmm... I suppose it's easy to use hindsight to carefully decode someone's actions from the couch.

    The Advertiser is a poor source of information at the best of times, and it is unlikely to offer a balanced opinion in this matter.

    The ABC website says the motorcyclist had an expired license.

    It's probably best to wait for the magistrate's decision in December before getting all upset.
  15. Right - so the Police should be taking tips on how to do their job from someone with the username speed_demon. You are clearly part of the problem, not the solution. Half of your post is about refuting the laws in place and the other half is about upholding them for being right. You're a hypocrite. You either trust the law implicitly(which the officer did as he was operating within the legal powers that he possessed) otherwise you can't parade it around picking and choosing which laws you abide by. Which is what you are doing.
  16. Firstly, I don't speed where there are people, or other vehicles for that matter. If you were to come on a ride with me, you'd figure that out pretty quickly. I didn't choose the username speed_god or speed_angel, I chose the username speed_demon which reflects the inherent wrong in the act. I know its wrong. No need to remind me.

    Secondly, you are right, the officer cannot pick and chose which laws he is going to enforce. Its just that the decision to pursue at extremely high speed someone who was robbing the state of the sum of $15 per annum (in Victoria, don't know about SA) seemed questionable (yeah, I've got hindsight, he hasn't).

    He was right to pursue. But 87 in a 20 zone through a shopping area? I'll tell you why he was travelling so fast: because he was pursuing a vehicle with double the power to weight ratio than his (on average), and couldn't afford to slow down or he'd lose him. THAT'S THE ERROR, not the decision to pursue. (Yeah I know, we all think we're experts.)
  17. That's not what you said in your last post. And I'm sure the majority of people associate the name "speed demon" with someone who is against speeding. :shock: You had to qualify where and when you speed. Implying that you do it if you think it is "safe" That just proves you don't implicitly trust or abide by the law. And yes, I do! I don't speed, I stop at stop signs and I haven't even had a parking fine in over a decade!
  18. OK, to be honest, I have contradicted myself. Apologies.

    But to be a nitwit and continue arguing with you, I don't think doing 104 in a 100 zone justifies a pursuit, but I'd still think that a police officer is right to pull me over and ask me to explain myself, and depending on the answer, fine me, because its his job.

    I don't trust the law any further than I can throw the Road Traffic Act. It was made by a whole lot of self serving politicians who spout the rheutoric of creating a fair and just society but are really concerned with increasing their revenue base in order to increase their salary, and winning the next election.

    I abide by the law in spirit and substance but not always form. But I respect an officer of the law's jurisdiction and authority to enforce the law in good faith upon me. But if he puts my and other people's lives at risk in order to enforce it, that is not in good faith. And it diminishes the respect I have for the Police. Which is a really sad thing since I have met several excellent cops who don't deserve it.
  19. OK. So where do you draw the line? 40 in a 20? 60 in a 20? At what point do you say that it is appropriate for a police vehicle with lights and sirens on, with a driver who has undergone advanced driver training for just such a situation, to speed through a shopping centre in pursuit of a rider who was clearly breaking the law and endangering the public? That decision is up to the officer at the time because he is the only one with the full perception of the situation.

    Yet now, because this idiot rider killed himself while running, and there happened to be some CCTV of the chase, they want to hang this guy and set a precedent that is going to make it a lot harder for Police to stop these unlawful assholes. SA has these sorts of chases at a rate of about 2 a day. Now if you are a cop and it is now possible to be charged with the sorts of offences this cop is faced with, are you going to put your future, and your family's future, on the line to chase anyone? Chances are you aren't going to push the pursuits at all. And that means more people willing to run because you just have to up the speed and head for a shopping centre and you will get away. Great outcome for the community!
  20. Do you know if this driver was an advanced driver or just a local plod who was in command of a standard police car? You make all manner of assumptions. You assumed the rider was doing 87 in a 20, when it was the police car doing the speeding.

    There is research that shows that coppers, just like you and me, are normal people. They respond to adrenalin in the same way that you and I do. Unless they are the elite of the elite, they are no more capable of resisting an overreaction than you and I.

    Police are granted extraordinary powers to enable them to perform their job. The agreement we have with them is that they exercise these powers carefully and within the law. And just because something is lawful does not make it right.