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Officer cleared of assault will not face retrial

A police officer who was charged with assaulting his stepson will not face a retrial over the allegations.

The original case against the officer — who was charged with allegedly striking the child with a belt — was thrown out last October by Magistrate Archibald Warner, who ruled that he had no case to answer. The officer's wife, who faced the same charge, was later found not guilty. The defendants cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the child.

Prosecutors originally sought to appeal the outcomes “on grounds that the learned Senior Magistrate made errors of law”.

However, in Supreme Court yesterday, Senior Crown Council Susan Mulligan said that the Department of Public Prosecutions will not be seeking to put the defendants back in the dock — although it still wanted to appeal the verdicts in order to address “Constitutional issues”.

“It may be of importance to note that no matter what the outcome of this appeal, the Crown will not be seeking an order permitting the retrial of the respondents as it would not now be in the child's best interests,” Ms Mulligan said in her submissions.

“However, the issues raised in this appeal are of importance to the public.”

Ms Mulligan listed seven grounds for appeal against the decisions, but asked for the matter to be adjourned in order for the Crown to prepare its case. Lawyers for the Attorney General will also be attending the appeal hearing.

Chief Justice Ian Kawaley said the Crown had “taken a very sensible view of the appeal in not seeking a retrial”, adding that “the interests of the child are the paramount consideration”.

He said the officer and his wife were free to go, adding: “No order will be made that adversely affects either of them.”

The appeal was adjourned until a later date.

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Published September 18, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated September 18, 2013 at 1:25 am)

Officer cleared of assault will not face retrial

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