Two Victorian police officers accused of misconduct over the treatment of a woman in custody have lost a High Court bid to avoid giving evidence at a public anti-corruption watchdog hearing.
The Victorian Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) wants to examine the pair over allegations they used unreasonable force on a woman brought into the Ballarat lockup last year.
They are of accused of kicking and stomping on the 51-year-old woman who was intoxicated and had mental health issues and was allegedly left semi-naked on the ground while handcuffed.
IBAC began pursuing the matter when one of its officers viewed CCTV footage of the alleged incident.
Lawyers for the officers challenged IBAC’s plan to take evidence from the pair at a public hearing because of concerns about the fairness of any possible future trial.
But the court agreed with the State Government that since they had not been charged with an offence, nor were any prosecutions pending, there was not a risk to any future trial.
The court found there was no reason to extend the principle to cover the current case, and if it did it would “fetter the pursuit and exposure of a lack of probity within the force contrary to the object of the IBAC Act”.
It also found the IBAC Act lawfully removed the privilege against self-incrimination.
That question was central to the case in the High Court challenging whether IBAC could examine the pair in public.
The hearings had initially been scheduled for April 2015, but a new date has yet to be set.