The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Slain officer’s brother: Change the law to give cops more powers

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THE brother of slain police officer Brett Forte wants no other family to go through the same horror he has.

He wants real change and wants police to be given more powers to do their job.

In a bold plan to radically re-shape policing, Luke Forte wants legislativ­e change to allow officers to press criminal charges against DV offenders – for crimes like assault or rape – in cases where the victim is too afraid to make a complaint.

“What I don’t understand is that someone puts a needle in a strawberry and the laws change the next day,” he said.

“But domestic violence victims hide away in fear waiting for something to change. I want something done.

“Politician­s make the rules. They are happy to have a photo opportunit­y at a funeral when a police officer gets murdered, but do yourselves a favour and go and make a change.”

Two years before crazed gunman Ricky Maddison killed Senior Constable Forte, he was charged with 17 serious domestic violence offences including torture, assault and deprivatio­n of liberty allegedly committed against his ex-partner.

When his former partner did not attend the committal hearing, the charges were dropped but Maddison was “disgruntle­d by the process”, the pre-inquest hearing heard.

“He was convinced police were out to get him and he was being unfairly targeted,” Counsel assisting the coroner Rhiannon Helsen said in October last year.

When another complaint was made by his ex-partner in March 2017, police tried to recharge Maddison with the original offences and issued a warrant for his arrest after he “went off the grid” and became increasing­ly paranoid in the weeks before he killed SenConstab­le Forte.

“I don’t even care if they don’t call it Brett’s rule or anything like that, but it all comes back to domestic violence,” Luke said.

“My brother lost his life from domestic violence.

“Ricky Maddison had an extensive history, he was a repeat offender for a start.

“There was a warrant out for his arrest and he was in hiding. What he was going to go to jail for was DV.

“If he was in jail, he couldn’t have killed my brother.

“When I hear people go, what do you learn from this? I’ve learnt nothing from Brett’s death and what I want is for this to never happen again.”

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