All members would be aware of the Officer A legal matter. In 2019 Officer A and another officer took an inmate out on a medical escort to Lismore Base Hospital, who on discharge from hospital, attempted to escape from custody.
Officer A had the weapon and used the weapon to prevent the escape. On the 3rd shot, after giving verbal warnings and a warning shot, the inmate was struck in the back causing death.
Officer A went before the Coroners Court and the matter was referred to the Department of Public Prosecution to determine if criminal charges should be laid.
Officer A was originally criminally charged with manslaughter however this was later upgraded to murder.
The trial has only recently finished in a hung jury. There is a mention date on 8th December 2022 and it is expected that another trial date will be set for 2023.
Officer A’s legal expenses are being covered by POVB Legal Fund, which he is a member of. The legal expenses so far equate to over one million dollars. When all invoices have been reconciled and paid we believe it will reach almost one and a quarter million dollars. Then there will be the expenses of the next trial.
A meeting took place of all delegates recently to discuss the outcome of the Officer A case and to discuss raising the membership fees to ensure that the legal fund remains viable and enough funds for other current legal matters and possible future legal matters.
There are two legal fund accounts. One is an operational account that invoices can be paid from. The other is a term deposit fund that we earn interest on. The operational account currently has $267,916.10, and the term deposit account has $1,313,554.09
Since the legal fund started in 2003 there has never been an increase to the fees.
The legal fund constitution states that if the fees are to be raised then members of the delegates to management committee need to agree to this. A meeting on 17/11/2022 approved the legal fund fees to be increased to $8 a fortnight. The constitution also states that we must give the legal fund membership a month’s notice of the increase.
The fees will increase from 1 January 2023.
The increase will be effective from the first full pay period to commence on or after 1 January 2023.
The fee increase will be reviewed at the last Delegates to Management meeting in November 2023.
We hope that all members of the legal fund understand the reasons behind the increase and support the decision and Officer A.
If you have any questions, please contact the POVB Executive.
If you know anyone that is not in the legal fund please encourage them to join. Every officer could be Officer A.
Casual officers are encouraged to pay PSA membership and legal fund fees via Direct Debit or Credit Card.
They can join by contacting PSA on 1800 772 679 and press 1 for Membership.