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    A father-of-three who was suffering a mental breakdown has spoken out after being run over by a police vehicle and then stomped on the head by a police officer.

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      assault police

      Police Officer Suspended After Stomping on Head of Mentally Ill Man

      A father-of-three who was suffering a mental breakdown has spoken out after being run over by a police vehicle and then stomped on the head by a police officer.

      32-year-old Tim Atkins and his wife, Emily, were interviewed by the media after Mr Atkins recovered from an induced coma.

      Footage of the assault was initially shared on social media by onlookers, causing community outrage at the actions of police.

      The officer who stomped on Mr Atkins’ head was suspended with pay after the incident.

      What happened?

      Timothy Atkins’ wife, Emily, took him to hospital on the night of 12 September 2021 after he started to feel unwell.

      The 32-year-old was in the midst of a bipolar episode as he sat in the emergency department of Melbourne’s Northern Hospital in September 2020, waiting for a bed in the psychiatric ward.

      After waiting for 20 hours the 32-year-old allegedly smashed the glass doors open and ran onto the road.

      It wasn’t until 4pm the next day that he left the hospital and started behaving erratically between traffic on the street.

      Police arrived at the hospital after receiving reports from hospital staff about Mr Atkins behaviour.

      The father of three allegedly punched and kicked a police vehicle before another officer drove a vehicle into Atkins. Bystanders recorded the events and released the footage that showed the officer running Mr Atkins over.

      As the 32-year-old was lying on the ground, police began restraining him, before one of the officers stomped on his head, slamming it into the ground. He was also pepper sprayed.

      Mr Atkins told media that all he wanted to do during the scuffle was to go home.

      “My mind was racing and I just didn’t really know what I was doing…I remember the police coming up to me and I said, ‘I have done nothing wrong. I’m just going home. Leave me alone.’ And then after that I just can’t really remember what happened.”

      Two bystanders recorded the incident with their phones and shared the video on social media.

      Induced Coma

      Emily Atkins first learned about the incident after seeing the video on social media – rather than from police.

      She spoke about her husband’s situation saying, “I know how scared he would have been and he would have just wanted to go home. When you’re unwell like that you don’t have a concept of, ‘OK, I should go back to the hospital’”.

      The father-of-three’s injuries were so severe that he was placed into an induced coma, waking up two days after the incident.

      Tim Atkins was diagnosed with bipolar disorder around ten years ago but he only started having episodes within the last year-and-a-half.

      Repercussions

      Following the incident, the officer who ran over Mr Atkins was no longer allowed to drive police vehicles. Meanwhile the police officer who stomped on Mr Atkins’ head was suspended with pay.

      Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC), an anti-corruption watchdog, have announced that they will be conducting an investigation into the father’s arrest.

      Deputy Commissioner of Police, Neil Paterson earlier described the incident as an “inappropriate use of force”. He also went on to say that it was yet to be determined if charges will be laid against Mr Atkins.

      “We know this man was having a severe mental health crisis event and … after an extraordinarily long wait at the hospital, a violent incident has occurred.”

      Given Mr Atkins actions, he may be subject to common assault charges.

      This incident follows recent revelations that police officers from Strike Force Raptor intimidated a criminal lawyer and caused him to cease representing a client.

      Assault Police Charges

      Section 60 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) defines Assault police as intentionally or recklessly causing a police officer to apprehend immediate and unlawful violence while they are acting in the execution of their duty.

      If no ‘actual bodily harm’ is occasioned to the Police officer, then this is considered a ‘Table 2’ offence under the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW). As such, it is finalised in the Local Court unless yourself or the prosecution elects to deal with it in the District Court.

      If ‘actual bodily harm’ is occasioned to the Police officer, then this is considered a ‘Table 1’ offence under the Criminal Procedure Act 1986 (NSW). As such, it is finalised in the Local Court unless the prosecution elects to deal with it in the District Court.

      If ‘grievous bodily harm’ is occasioned to the Police officer, then this is considered a strictly indictable offence and it must be finalised in the District Court.

      You can beat an Assault Police charge in two ways. Firstly, Police must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:

      1. You assaulted someone;
      2. That person was a police officer;
      3. That police officer was acting in the execution of their duty.

      If you are charged with Assaulting Police and causing injury to the Police officer, the prosecution must also prove that your actions caused the police officer injury.

      If you are charged with Assaulting a police officer and causing grievous bodily harm or wounding, the prosecution must also prove:

      1. Your actions caused the police officer grievous bodily harm; and
      2. You had the intention (or were reckless) to causing that degree of harm.

      There are a number of possible defences to this charge. Below are is a list of some of the ways in which you may be able to defend the case:

      1. Self-defence: you were protecting yourself, someone else, or your property, and your response was reasonable in the circumstances you perceived them.
      2. Your actions were an accident
      3. The police officer was not acting within their duties (eg. if the Police officer arrested you unlawfully and you were defending yourself)
      4. Identification: If Police cannot establish that you were responsible for the assault
      5. Duress: you were forced to commit the offence
      6. Necessity: you committed the offence because it was necessary in the circumstances
      • You did not have the intention to cause the injury, or didn’t foresee the possibility of that kind of harm occurring from your behaviour.

      If you believe you may have a defence, it is important you speak to one of a specialist lawyers for assault police charges. If you contact us at an early stage, we may even be able to have your charges dropped before the case has to go to Court.

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