A magistrate has slammed the NSW Police’s handling of NRL star Curtis Scott’s arrest, suggesting he would have been better off being hit by a car.
Mr Scott was on Friday awarded more than $100,000 in legal costs after the prosecution’s assault case against Scott collapsed following the release of distressing body-cam footage.
Magistrate Jennifer Giles was scathing in her assessment of the decision to prosecute the Canberra Raiders outside back.
She said that Scott would have been safer had he wandered onto the nearby roadway than he was in the custody of police, who tasered and pepper-sprayed him while handcuffed.
“I genuinely think Mr Scott might have been safer if he wandered onto the roadway and been hit by a car,” Ms Giles said.
“He would have at least still been free to his hands, been upright and conscious and would have got an ambulance much quicker than he did with these police.
“He wouldn’t have been blinded for 20 minutes and wouldn’t have been electrocuted while lying on the ground.
“It’s an absurd analogy, I know. But try to watch the bodycam footage without flinching and not through your fingers. And try to remember you’re not watching gratuitous violence off the dark web.”
Police bodycam footage of Curtis Scott’s arrest. Picture: Handout via NCA NewsWireSource:NCA NewsWire
The police were ordered to pay $100,792.30 in Scott’s legal fees after the nine-month ordeal.
In August police prosecutor Rebecca Becroft dropped five charges, including two counts of assaulting police and one count of resisting arrest.
Scott, 22, pleaded guilty to two lesser charges but was cleared of the more serious allegations that he had assaulted two police officers after he was found passed out underneath a tree at Moore Park following Australia Day celebrations earlier this year.
The final two charges were then dismissed by Ms Giles.
The charges were withdrawn after police bodycam footage played to the court showed an unconscious Scott waving his arms at officers as they attempted to rouse him from his slumber at the foot of a fig tree.
Ms Giles said one of the allegations of police assault amounted to Scott “dreamily” waving his arms to brush away an attempt to wake him.
The police prosecution case collapsed after the clip also showed officers arresting him while he was still passed out.
Curtis Scott (centre) arrives at the Downing Centre court in Sydney. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Joel CarrettSource:News Corp Australia
At no point did the officers tell Scott he was under arrest before placing handcuffs on him while he was still unconscious.
Ms Giles on Friday described the police’s actions as “terrifying” and said they decided to place Scott under arrest because they were “offended and frustrated” because they were “arguing with a drunk man.”
She said the prosecution amounted to a “shoring up” of their position rather than looking at the evidence.
“If you insist … with pushing on with a faulty prosecution for the luxury of having someone else take responsibility and throwing it out, you pay everyone’s costs for dragging it there,” Ms Giles said.
Scott did not attend Friday’s proceedings at Sydney’s Downing Centre, but outside court Mr Scott’s solicitor Sam Macedone said his client was considering taking civil action against the police.
His agent Sam Ayoub said he was “in tears” after the decision and looking forward to getting his career back on track.
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