Sports News

Rugby League: Police ordered to pay $70,000 to NRL player after 'terrifying' arrest

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - A Sydney court on Friday ordered police to pay A$100,000 ($70,600) in legal costs to National Rugby League player Curtis Scott after the Canberra Raiders centre’s “terrifying” arrest in January.

The 22-year-old was charged with multiple offences, including assaulting police and resisting arrest, after he was found sleeping at Moore Park in the early hours following a night out on the Australia Day national holiday.

Police handcuffed the disoriented Scott while waking him, sprayed his eyes with pepper spray and used a taser on him during his arrest.

All charges were withdrawn or dismissed earlier this month.

Magistrate Jennifer Giles said the actions of Senior Constable Christopher Bucknell, who used the taser, were “terrifying”.

“Try to watch the bodycam footage without flinching, and not through your fingers, and try to remember that you’re not watching gratuitous violence off the dark web,” Giles told the court in comments published by state broadcaster ABC.

Giles dismissed the police prosecutor’s argument that police did the best they could in the circumstances and were worried Scott might have wandered onto the road and been hit by a car.

Giles said Scott might have been better off wandering onto the road than running into police.

“At least he would still had the free use of his hands, been upright and conscious and would have gotten an ambulance much more quickly than he does with these police,” she said.

“He wouldn’t have been blinded for 20 minutes and wouldn’t have been electrocuted while lying on the ground.”

Scott’s lawyer Sam Macedone said Scott would likely launch civil action against the police and seek “nothing less than six figures.”

His manager Sam Ayoub said Scott and his family had “been through hell”.

“He has suffered damages that will last the rest of his life ... Everyone will remember this.”

($1 = 1.4170 Australian dollars)

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford