A NSW police officer has been found guilty of brutally assaulting a woman and then falsifying evidence to “mislead a judicial tribunal”.
On Thursday, a magistrate at Sydney’s Downing Centre court complex said Senior Constable Mark Follington had “no reason” to arrest Anya Bradford at the Golden Fleece Hotel in Liverpool.
“The defendant had no reason to arrest her … or had no reason to suspect she committed any offence, it was unlawful,” Magistrate Michael Crompton said.
Follington and Constable Mark Brown were checking IDs in the gaming room as part of an anti-drug operation in May 2019.
Ms Bradford, who is transgender, was playing the pokies to “kill time” before she was due to meet with her parole officer down the street.
When she was asked for ID, she told police she didn’t have any, and then told them to f— off, before walking towards the exit.
CCTV shows Follington first grabbed her arm before a brawl broke out and he slammed her head into an ATM.
Ms Bradford was not subject to an arrest warrant.
She managed to leave the hotel before the two officers chased her down the street and into the parole office.
Constable Brown tasered and pepper-sprayed Ms Bradford before Follington continued to attack her in the foyer.
Despite pleading not guilty to all charges, Follington admitted falsifying police records, which are a crucial part of judicial proceedings.
“He charged the complainant with a series of offences to protect himself,” Magistrate Crompton said.
The charges, which included assaulting a police officer, were dropped the next day.
“The narrative was intentionally created by him, knowing it was false … it was a deliberate act to pervert the course of justice,” Magistrate Crompton said.
“He did so with the intent … to mislead a judicial tribunal.”
In one report, Follington falsely claimed Ms Bradford knocked him off balance before pushing past him in the gaming room.
The CCTV footage shows otherwise, and Follington previously admitted it was “false”.
“That piece of evidence is implausible and flimsy and I do not accept it,” Magistrate Crompton said.
Despite tasering and pepper-spraying Ms Bradford during an “unlawful arrest”, Constable Brown was never charged and continues working as a police officer.
Ms Bradford did not attend court on Thursday, but her mother Elizabeth Bradford said her daughter would celebrate with friends later.
“I mainly want to say not all police are bad – that’s not what we want to put out there – but the ones who are not doing what they should be doing should be held accountable, so we are very pleased with the result,” she said.
Elizabeth Bradford said her daughter believed she was unfairly targeted because she is transgender.
“It was devastating – no parent wants to see their son or daughter treated in that way, but like I said, that’s why today’s outcome means a lot,” she said.
“I hope that all the other police officers take note and maybe be re-trained in being a bit more sensitive to mental health and transgender people out there, and colour and race, and treat everyone the same.”
Follington, 60, will find out if he will face jail time when he is sentenced on July 26.