Vic Police want rules hidden from inquest

Victoria Police is fighting to keep details secret of its new "evolved" car pursuit policy ahead of an inquest into the Bourke Street massac

re. Police cars had chased James Gargasoulas before he

drove down Melbournes Bourke Street Mall, killing six people and injuring dozens of others. On Wednesday, a lawyer for the ch

ief commissioner argued Gargasoulas knew about the police no-pursuit policy at the time, so details of the forces new policy should remain confidential in the interests of public safety. &quo

t;When it became publicly known that police would back off from pursuing certain drivers ... that resulted in persons adopting that form of behaviour," Ian Freckelton QC argued before coroner Jacqui Hawkins. "The offender ... knew where the lines were, what he could do, and

what he could get away with. "Thats the risk of the public knowing where the lines are." He said police pursuit policies had "evolved" and changed "significantly" since the January 2017 massacre. Dr Freckelton said police werent seeking to suppress details of the pursuit policy at the time, which needed to be "fully canvassed" during the inquest. The police also want to keep secret a critical incident review done in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, aspects of the assistant commissioners report and the names of special operations group officers. But lawyer Sue McNicol QC, who is acting for the families of the deceased, argued against suppressing documents from publication. "The reports are inextricably intertwined with the issues to be ventilated," she said. "You cannot unscramble this egg." She added it wasnt clear whether Gargasoulas knew about the forces pursuit policy because of media reports or his own "extensive history" of dangerous driving. Aine Magee QC, also acting for the victims families, argued the

inquest should be broadened to explore "whether there were

opportunities that were lost" in preventing the massacre. Ms Magee said failures in emergency services responses also needed to be examined, after 22-year-old victim Jess Mudies father was led to believe his daughter was still alive. "He firmly believed he may have been able to save his daughters life," she said. The one-month inquest, with 46 witnesses, will run November 18 until December 20. 2020第95期马报 It will also investigate th

e justice systems treatment of Gargasoulas, including an out-of-sessions bail hea

ring that rele

ased him from custody jus

t days before his deadly rampage. However, the inquest will not consider the correctness of the bail justices decision. The murderer, who suffers paranoid schizophrenia, was handed a life sen

tence in February and will not be released for a minimum of 46 years. A further directions hearing will be held on A

ugust 23, during which Ms Hawkins will deliver her ruling on the suppression order applications and the families request to broaden the inquests scope. Australian Associated Pr

ess

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