Senior Constable Stephen Patrick Flanagan pulled a gun on motorist outside Longreach.
Senior Constable Stephen Patrick Flanagan pulled a gun on motorist outside Longreach.

Gun-toting outback cop's appeal victory an 'injustice'

A WESTERN Queensland cop should not have the chance at a retrial for pulling a gun on a motorist, a court has heard.

In May 2015, Senior Constable Stephen Patrick Flanagan pulled over a vehicle on the Landsborough Highway outside Longreach. When the car pulled over, Snr Const Flanagan pulled his gun out and pointed it at the driver and then handcuffed him.

Brisbane Magistrates Court found Mr Flanagan guilty of assault and deprivation of liberty and fined him $1500, but that conviction was set aside on appeal to the district court where a new trial was ordered.

But the government took that decision to Queensland Court of Appeal, stating the district court judge has misinterpreted the laws regarding police powers and the Magistrates Court ruling should stand.

Mr Flanagan told Brisbane Magistrates Court in 2016 that had a suspicion the car was stolen and the driver had a gun. Neither was true and Mr Flanagan did not search the car for guns nor ask the driver if the car was stolen.

Crown lawyer Glen Cash said the district court's decision could mean police were held to different standards of criminality than civilians.

He said Mr Flanagan's "suspicion” the driver was armed, was legally less than a belief and did not justify him pulling his gun on a motorist. Mr Cash said if this was not the case it would allow police to get away with crimes based on a "suspicion”.

"It would allow a police officer, and only a police officer, to avoid responsibility for actions,” he said.

Mr Cash said the mistake was an "injustice of such substance” that an appeal must be granted.

But Mr Flanagan's barrister Jeffrey Hunter argued the district court appeal decision was correct and a retrial must take place.

Mr Hunter said the magistrate had not considered important elements and must be reheard.

The appeal decision will be made at a later date. -NewsRegional



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