A SENIOR policeman joked to friends about "discrepancies" in a statement he made following allegations a young Aboriginal man had been bashed in the Ballina watchhouse, the Police Integrity Commission has heard.
Senior Constable Mark Woolven, an officer with more than 18 years experience, originally said in a statement that he had seen the prisoner, Corey Barker, 23, assault Senior Constable Hill during a violent struggle captured on CCTV footage.
Sen Cnst Woolven never ended up having to rely on his statement in court as the case was dismissed and referred to PIC.
Telephone intercepts played in the hearing yesterday revealed Sen Const Woolven told a friend that after having the chance to review the footage of the struggle, he realised that if asked, he would have to say "now thinking back on it I, yeah, I didn't actually see the old mate hitting him, you know?"
In a later conversation he says he's "got PIC crawling all over me arse in relation to that Ballina s*** fight".
Referring to the night Barker was arrested, Sen Const Woolven tells his friend that he had told some one else "mate, 10 years ago I would've just ... snotted him".
He describes PIC as "the most powerful ... watchdog in Australia" and brags he will treat them with contempt and thank them for providing an "all expenses paid" trip to Sydney.
Yesterday, Sen Const Woolven admitted he had been mistaken about seeing Barker hit Sen Const Hill.
He did, however, remember someone saying "he hit me...I got hit...or something like that" and explained the night was so hard to remember that it wasn't until he had viewed the footage he realised he had reached for his "OC spay" during the struggle.
He said officers only produced the spray when dealing with situations where the prisoner was violent and a struggle was likely to occur.
He described Barker's behaviour before he was moved to the back cells as "unbearable" and said that the "screaming and kicking" coming from the dock where he was held was so loud it made it impossible for officers at the station to hear people on the other end of the phone.
Sergeant Greg Ryan was called to the stand late yesterday and will continue to give evidence this morning.
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