Three taser cops all out of service
All three police officers who wrongfully tasered and arrested a law professor and his wife a decade ago have now left the WA Police Force after the final two resigned in recent weeks.
Confirmation that Simon Traynor and Peter James Clark had followed in the footsteps of former colleague Glenn Alexander Caldwell came after WA’s highest court threw out the last appeal against a damages payout awarded to the couple.
Academic Robert Cunningham and his wife Catherine Atoms were helping strangers who fell into bushes outside the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle in November 2008 when they were tasered and arrested by police who believed they were causing a disturbance.
The couple sued the State and the officers after all of their efforts to hold them to account failed — a police internal investigation cleared them of wrongdoing and the Corruption and Crime Commission agreed with the outcome, refusing to instigate its own inquiry despite criticism by its then parliamentary inspector.
In 2016 a District Court judge awarded the couple more than $1 million in compensation, finding they were subjected to battery and false imprisonment and were maliciously prosecuted.
The bulk of damages was awarded to Ms Atoms for loss of earnings and the distress and back injury she suffered.
The judge described the behaviour of the officers, both on the night and while prosecuting and testifying against the couple, as “reprehensible”.
The officers were all ordered to pay various amounts personally as part of the judgment.
Police and the State launched separate appeals against the compensation but the police appeal was dismissed in August last year .
Last month, the State lost its argument that it should not be liable to pay because the officers involved acted maliciously and they should bear the costs.
After the judgment, AttorneyGeneral John Quigley promised the damages payment could be finalised before Christmas.
It is understood the State could chase the former officers for some of the damages payment.