I WANT TO GET BACK TO WORK

Cop’s vow af­ter not-guilty bash ver­dict

The Weekend Post - - Front Page - GRACE MA­SON

PO­LICE of­fi­cer Matt McKin­nar (above) is ready to re­turn to work af­ter be­ing found not guilty of as­sault­ing a Bri­tish back­packer in a Cairns al­ley­way last year. His part­ner Con­sta­ble Bret Chad­wick who ini­tially lied about what he saw that night faces an un­cer­tain fu­ture with the ser­vice.

A CAIRNS po­lice of­fi­cer has vowed to re­turn to work and “serve the com­mu­nity” af­ter be­ing found not guilty of as­sault.

A Cairns Dis­trict Court jury took just over four hours to de­cide Con­sta­ble Matt McKin­nar, 42, did not do griev­ous bod­ily harm to Bri­tish back­packer Leigh Baker while ar­rest­ing him in a Sheri­dan St al­ley­way in April last year. Speak­ing ex­clu­sively to the

Cairns Post, Con­sta­ble McKin­nar paid trib­ute to those who have thrown their sup­port be­hind him since he was charged by the Crime and Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion last year.

“I’d like to thank my legal team, the Queens­land Po­lice Union and my col­leagues within the Queens­land Po­lice Ser­vice who sup­ported me, in­clud­ing a num­ber of com­mis­sioned of­fi­cers,” he said.

“But most of all I’d like to thank my beau­ti­ful part­ner who sup­ported me through­out this or­deal and stood by me through all the sleep­less nights.

“I just want to get back to work and serve the com­mu­nity.”

The court heard dur­ing the trial Con­sta­ble McKin­nar has dreams of join­ing the po­lice dog squad and pre­vi­ously fos­tered sev­eral pup­pies be­fore their train­ing.

Con­sta­ble McKin­nar’s de­fence bar­ris­ter Stephen Zill­man ar­gued through­out the four-day trial that his client had been act­ing in self de­fence when he punched 24-year-old Mr Baker three times.

The court heard the English­man had ini­tially been put un­der ar­rest by Sen-Con­sta­ble Bret Chad­wick af­ter abus­ing se­cu­rity staff out­side Gil­li­gan’s night­club on April 16.

He fled and hid in the al­ley­way, with Con­sta­ble McKin­nar pur­su­ing him on foot.

The pair be­came in­volved in an al­ter­ca­tion in the dark al­ley, with Mr Baker sus­tain­ing breaks to his jaw, cheek and eye socket.

He was not in court to hear yes­ter­day’s de­ci­sion, hav­ing re­turned to Eng­land af­ter giv­ing his ev­i­dence on Tues­day.

His ver­sion was sup­ported by Con­sta­ble McKin­nar’s part­ner, Sen-Con­sta­ble Chad­wick, who said he wit­nessed the use of ex­ces­sive force.

How­ever, it emerged in court that Sen-Con­sta­ble Chad­wick had lied to in­ves­ti­ga­tors in an ef­fort to pro­tect his col­league.

It also emerged footage from his body-worn cam­era was miss­ing and likely deleted.

Mr Zill­man ar­gued that the of­fi­cer’s ev­i­dence could not be trusted, given pre­vi­ous lies.

The case ini­tially seemed headed for a stale­mate with the jury re­turn­ing just be­fore lunch to say they could not reach a de­ci­sion. How­ever, they de­liv­ered the not guilty ver­dict about 2.30pm to a packed pub­lic gallery with Con­sta­ble McKin­nar’s sup­port­ers break­ing into tears.

Queens­land Po­lice Union Far North rep­re­sen­ta­tive Sgt Marty Bris­tow ap­plauded yes­ter­day’s ver­dict.

“We stand by our mem­bers and sup­port them 100 per cent when they are just try­ing to do their job to the best of their abil­i­ties.”

GAVE EV­I­DENCE: English back­packer Leigh Baker flew back to Cairns for the trial.

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