Po­lice Min­is­ter in ‘road rage’ clash with teen P-plate driver

The Australian - - FRONT PAGE - AN­DREW CLENNELL NSW PO­LIT­I­CAL ED­I­TOR

NSW Po­lice Min­is­ter David El­liott has ad­mit­ted “blow­ing up” dur­ing a road-rage in­ci­dent in which he is ac­cused of grab­bing a teenage driver by the arm and telling him he “worked for the cops”.

At the height of the drama, the teen asked Mr El­liott to pro­duce his po­lice ID. “He said ‘show me your badge’,” the min­is­ter told The Aus­tralian. “I said ‘I pay for the badges, I don’t get one’.”

Mr El­liott had been driv­ing his wife to church on Wind­sor Road, Baulkham Hills, on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 27 when the 17-year-old

P-plater al­legedly “clipped” his car and drove off.

The min­is­ter is al­leged to have fol­lowed the teenager and ver­bally abused him be­fore re­port­ing him to po­lice at the Cas­tle Hill sta­tion in Syd­ney’s north­west for leav­ing the scene of an ac­ci­dent. Mr El­liott de­nies touch­ing the youth.

The teenager made his own state­ment to po­lice af­ter his al­leged treat­ment by Mr El­liott, and his mother has com­plained per­son­ally via email to Pre­mier Gla­dys Bere­jik­lian. The Aus­tralian has spo­ken to the boy’s fa­ther who claimed the min­is­ter “chased” his son “through the back­streets of Cas­tle Hill” and grabbed his arm, a claim the min­is­ter de­nies.

The teenager’s fa­ther said Mr El­liott should in­stead have taken down his son’s li­cence plate and given the de­tails to po­lice if he be­lieved his car had been hit.

The fa­ther said the youth rang him in the mid­dle of the ar­gu­ment. His son was telling Mr El­liott to get away from him.

“I could hear this fel­low yelling and scream­ing,” the fa­ther said of the phone call.

Af­ter the phone call, the fa­ther went to the scene of the con­fronta­tion. He said he and his son both swore at the min­is­ter’s wife and abused her. The fa­ther claimed Mr El­liott had told the youth he was a po­lice­man.

“I think in this day and age when road rage is quite high­pro­file, it is poor form by some­one in that po­si­tion to be (be­hav­ing like that),” the fa­ther said.

“You have got no right to in­vade some­one’s per­sonal space.”

The fa­ther said he too had given a state­ment to po­lice.

Mr El­liott told The Aus­tralian he “blew up” when the teenager re­fused to ex­change de­tails with him. “He claimed he didn’t have to so I said I work for the cops,” Mr El­liott said. “He didn’t be­lieve me so I gave him my busi­ness card.

“He said ‘show me your badge’. I said ‘I pay for the badges, I don’t get one’.”

Mr El­liott de­nied chas­ing the teenager’s car as “we were go­ing the same di­rec­tion”.

“I only stopped to ask to ex­change de­tails when we both parked at traf­fic lights.”

Mr El­liott es­ti­mated the

dam­age to his car at be­tween $500 and $1000. He claimed the youth had been abu­sive to him and had sworn at his wife.

“I’ll be pay­ing the dam­age be­cause it’s prob­a­bly un­der the ex­cess,’’ the min­is­ter told The Aus­tralian af­ter the news­pa­per ap­proached him about the in­ci­dent. “But I’m dirty about it and fu­ri­ous he swore at my wife.’’

“Even af­ter I gave him my busi­ness card and said he was obliged to ex­change de­tails he kept swear­ing and car­ry­ing on.”

It is un­der­stood the youth told po­lice Mr El­liott grabbed his arm dur­ing the in­ci­dent.

Mr El­liott re­jected the fa­ther’s claims last night, say­ing he did not touch the youth. “I spoke to him through the pas­sen­ger’s side. No one touched any­one.

“If I was ‘ chas­ing’ him, why did he tell po­lice that he didn’t know I wanted him to ex­change par­tic­u­lars? Be­sides, we were all go­ing the same way to­wards Baulkham Hills — hardly ‘chas­ing’. My wife did not swear at them. She’s a de­vout Catholic and never uses foul lan­guage.”

He said the par­ents were not wit­nesses to be event “so be care­ful tak­ing their word”.

The Aus­tralian un­der­stands po­lice have not laid any charges over the mat­ter given the youth re­ported to a po­lice sta­tion shortly af­ter the in­ci­dent, and the sto­ries were in­con­sis­tent.

The youth had also claimed he had driven off be­cause he was fear­ful of Mr El­liott.

It is un­der­stood Ms Bere­jik­lian has spo­ken to the min­is­ter about the in­ci­dent.

The mother of the youth, when con­tacted by The Aus­tralian, said the min­is­ter’s be­hav­iour had been “pretty bad”.

The road rage furore emerged a day af­ter rev­e­la­tions the Po­lice Min­is­ter caused a storm when he de­fended NSW po­lice stripsearc­h­ing of chil­dren as young as 12 at mu­sic fes­ti­vals, ar­gu­ing he would want his own chil­dren stripsearc­hed if they were sus­pected of wrong­do­ing.

A po­lice spokes­woman con­firmed to The Aus­tralian that a 49-year-old man at­tended Cas­tle Hill Po­lice Sta­tion on Sun­day Oc­to­ber 27 to re­port a mi­nor col­li­sion be­tween his Lexus sedan and a Mazda util­ity on Wind­sor Road, Baulkham Hills, which oc­curred about 9.40am that day.

“Shortly af­ter, the 17-year-old male driver of the Mazda also at­tended Cas­tle Hill Po­lice Sta­tion and spoke to po­lice,” she said. “No in­juries were re­ported.”

The spokes­woman said of­fi­cers from The Hills Po­lice Area Com­mand had con­ducted in­quiries and the driv­ers had since ex­changed de­tails. A spokesman for the Pre­mier said:

“We un­der­stand this mat­ter was re­ferred to the po­lice by those in­volved. Ques­tions on the in­ci­dent should be re­ferred to the po­lice.”

El­liott

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