The police officer accused of tasering 95-year-old great-grandmother Claire Nowland at an aged care home will face the state’s highest court next week to fight for her freedom.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will apply for a detention for Senior Constable Christian White, who has been living freely in the community since being charged with assaulting Ms Nowland before her death.
The 33-year-old is accused of brandishing a weapon at a dementia patient at a nursing home in Kuma, south of the state, in the early hours of May 17. He fell backwards and was seriously injured.
Mrs. Nowland died in hospital on May 24 surrounded by her loved ones. She had eight children, 24 grandchildren and 30 great-grandchildren.
Claire Nowland died in May after being charged at a nursing home in Cooma, southern NSW.
Just hours before his death was announced, Constable White was charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault.
Police have decided not to impose any bail on the police officer, who remains suspended from active duty with full pay.
A spokesman for the DPP confirmed that the detention application to the Supreme Court would be an opportunity for the State Attorney to try to impose bail conditions on Constable White.
The Crown will ask that he be allowed to live in the community as long as he complies with proposed bail conditions, which are not yet known.
The request comes during a fiery court appearance in which the state prosecutor’s office was widely criticized for its bail procedures.
Senior Constable Christian White has been charged with assaulting the 95-year-old and causing grievous bodily harm. Photo: 9 News
On July 5, an angry Magistrate Roger Clisdale reprimanded the DPP for allowing Constable White to appear in Cooma Local Court via audiovisual link without informing him of the change.
‘Who runs this court, Mrs Stewart? You or me?’ she demanded in a raised voice to Crown prosecutor Sally Stewart.
He said he felt ‘absolute disgust’ that the decision had blindsided him, meaning ‘Dumbo sitting on the bench here has to suck it up’.
An angry magistrate later rejected Ms Stewart’s application to impose bail restrictions on Constable White to ensure he appeared in court.
‘You have forgiven him today, so why should I call him at your behest and not mine?’ she demanded.
Ms Stewart accepted that the police officer should have considered imposing bail conditions if he had been charged with a ‘serious’ offence.
Cooma Local Court, where NSW Police officer, Christian White, was scheduled to appear in court in relation to the tasering of a 95-year-old woman. Photo: NCA Newswire / Martin Wollman
Mr Clisdale opined that the Crown’s detention application was an attempt to calm anyone who might be ‘upset’ about the police officer’s lack of bail restrictions.
His decision not to impose restrictions could be overturned in the Supreme Court on July 18.
The detention application is expected to be opposed by Constable White’s lawyer Warwick Anderson, who previously told the Cooma Local Court that the bail conditions were unnecessary.
‘There is no risk to the flight,’ he said.
‘He is in no position to commit further offences.’
Sam Tierney, a lawyer for Ms Nowland’s family, said they respected the ongoing criminal proceedings against Constable White and did not wish to comment.
Ms Nowland’s family is suing the NSW Government on her behalf
Earlier in the week, he said the fatal incident at the aged care home was a ‘unique set of circumstances’.
‘I suspect there is more to this incident,’ he told Nine’s Today Show.
Mr Tierney is representing the family in a civil case launched against the NSW Government over alleged police actions.
Mrs Nowland’s family launched the operation on her behalf while she was still fighting for her life in hospital.
The great-grandfather was allegedly holding a steak knife when Constable White and a female colleague were called to Kumar Yallambi Lodge at around 5am on May 17.
Police alleged that the 95-year-old was using his walking frame to drop it despite repeated pleas to officers to slowly approach him with the knife in hand.
The incident that led to Ms Noland’s death led to protests over the arming of NSW police
The female officer – who has not been charged with any wrongdoing – allegedly offered to ‘take her away’
But Constable White allegedly replied ‘bugger it’ and fired his Taser into the 43kg woman’s chest.
The dementia patient fell backwards and hit his head, fracturing his skull.
Footage of the shocking incident captured on body-worn cameras has been described as ‘face-to-face’.
Spokesmen for NSW Police and NSW Police Minister Yamin Catley both advised they were unable to comment on the civil case, as it was before the courts.
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