Man claims strip search planned in CCTV area

Geelong Advertiser - - NEWS - RUSTY WOODGER

A MAN ac­cused of re­sist­ing ar­rest in­side Gee­long po­lice sta­tion claims of­fi­cers acted un­law­fully dur­ing the in­ci­dent.

Vince Sara­ceno, 24, faced Gee­long Mag­is­trates’ Court yesterday to con­test a charge of re­sist­ing an emer­gency worker on duty. If found guilty, he faces a max­i­mum penalty of five years’ jail.

The court heard Mr Sara­ceno was taken into cus­tody in­side Gee­long Mag­is­trates’ Court on May 16 over fam­ily vi­o­lence mat­ters be­fore be­ing taken to the po­lice sta­tion.

At the sta­tion, it is al­leged Mr Sara­ceno be­came ag­gres­sive when cus­tody of­fi­cers told him they would need to per­form a strip search be­fore he was placed in a cell.

A cus­tody su­per­vi­sor gave ev­i­dence in court yesterday that Mr Sara­ceno made re­peated threats to of­fi­cers that he was “go­ing to put (them) all in hos­pi­tal”.

Closed cir­cuit tele­vi­sion footage from the po­lice sta­tion was played to the court, show­ing Mr Sara­ceno re­mov­ing a shirt and shoes be­fore walk­ing to­wards one cus­tody of­fi­cer.

He is then seen be­ing pushed into a wall and pinned to the ground by five cus­tody staff.

Mr Sara­ceno was later taken to Gee­long hos­pi­tal.

While the pros­e­cu­tion al­leges the de­fen­dant re­sisted an at­tempt to ar­rest him, his lawyer ar­gues po­lice and the cus­to­dial work­ers were act­ing be­yond their law­ful du­ties.

De­fence bar­ris­ter An­gela Sharp­ley claims of­fi­cers used ex­ces­sive force in de­tain­ing Mr Sara­ceno and that they did not have the au­thor­ity to per­form a strip search on him and take him to the ground. The court heard the strip search was to be per­formed in a room cov­ered by a CCTV cam­era, which was nor­mal prac­tice for the sta­tion.

At the time Mr Sara­ceno was to be searched, six po­lice and cus­tody of­fi­cers were stand­ing in the room, while its door was also open.

Un­der cross-ex­am­i­na­tion, Gee­long po­lice Sergeant Steve Bull, who was su­per­vis­ing the cus­tody area on the day of the in­ci­dent, ac­knowl­edged the process was not as pri­vate as it could be.

But he said other con­sid­er­a­tions needed to be taken into ac­count, par­tic­u­larly the safety of work­ers in the po­lice sta­tion.

“I didn’t know if he had any con­tra­band on him,” Sgt Bull said.

The hear­ing be­fore mag­is­trate Ann McGarvie will re­turn to court next month.

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