Saturday, 10 September 2011

I Shot The Sheriff ...

But I Swear It Was Because I was ...
"Concerned for my Safety"?
September 9, 2011
Sydney Daily Telegraph


A MUSLIM terror suspect who wounded a policeman in a gunfight escaped conviction on serious shooting charges after a judge found "anti-Muslim sentiment" made him fear for his safety.
A judge found the man had a loaded gun down his pants when police approached him.
But the judge found he had the gun not because he had planned to shoot the officers but because he was concerned for his safety.
It is understood the officers involved in the arrest of the man in November 2005 left the force as a result of the incident.
A suppression order has now been lifted on the June judgment by Sydney District Court Judge Leonie Flannery, who acquitted the man of shooting at Sergeant Adam Wolsey with intent to murder, shooting at him with intent to inflict grievous bodily harm, and shooting at him with intent to resist apprehension.
In the judge-alone trial, the man pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Sgt Wolsey had been asked by a supervisor to arrest the man, wanted over terrorism-related offences. For legal reasons The Daily Telegraph cannot publish the outcome of those charges against him.
Sgt Wolsey's evidence was that he, Sergeant Bates and Senior Constables Weston and Behringer, drove past the man on Wilson Rd and followed him before stopping.
Sgt Wolsey stated he and Sgt Bates spoke to the man who spun around, pulled a Browning pistol out of his pants and fired.
Judge Flannery accepted one of the three shots fired by the man struck Sgt Wolsey in the hand. The man was struck by a bullet from Sgt Bates' gun.
The Crown argued the man deliberately fired upon police to avoid arrest.
The man maintained he did not fire at police but at the horizon in what was intended to be a warning shot so he could flee.
The man testified he was sick at the time and jumpy about surveillance and possible police questions.
Judge Flannery accepted it was a reasonable possibility he may have focused on Sgt Bates during the arrest, not noticed Sgt Wolsey, and fired a "warning shot in panic".
"I am not satisfied that he put the Browning in his pants because he was planning to shoot his arresting officers, rather he did so because he was concerned for his safety, and the state he was in brought about his illness, his concern that he was going to be arrested, and the climate of anti-Muslim feeling in the community at the time, he believed that he might be harmed by the police."
The man was convicted on lesser charges of firing a gun in a public place and using an unauthorised firearm and will be sentenced on September 23.
 Feedback from the Ruling Here: Sydney Daily Telegraph

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