A couple shot by officers at a private swingers party in Melbourne earlier this month will take legal action, seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages from Victoria Police.
Dale Ewins, 35, and Zita Sukys, 37, were attending the Saints and Sinners ball at Inflation nightclub when police received calls of a male with a firearm inside the venue on July 8.
Heavily-armed Critical Incident Response Team members stormed the King Street event soon after, shooting Mr Ewins in the back and Ms Sukys twice in the leg.
However, according to lawyers acting on couple’s behalf, police were made aware Mr Ewins was in possession of a toy gun before entering the building.
“We understand that prior to the attack, staff at the venue repeatedly told Victoria Police that the ‘gun’ was a toy. We understand some staff offered to simply obtain the toy themselves to safely resolve the situation,” Arnold Thomas & Becker partner Kim Price told Fairfax Media.
“In response, it appears Victoria Police believed it was appropriate to storm the venue with a team of about 10 Critical Incident Response Team members and within 32 seconds, start shooting our clients.”
The toy gun was part of a costume worn by Mr Ewins, who was dressed as Marvel character the Joker, while Ms Sukys came as Harley Quinn.
Mr Price said Mr Ewins and Ms Sukys would be seeking damages for pain and suffering, loss of earnings and medical expenses, with civil proceedings beginning on Monday morning.
“They are also claiming aggravated and exemplary damages due to the conduct of Victoria Police,” Mr Price said.
Mr Ewins reportedly required emergency surgery after the incident, with part of his bowl removed and several operations to reconstruct his shoulder.
The owner of the nightclub, Martha Tsamis, will also be taking legal action against Victoria Police, Fairfax reported.