Former police officer Ben Price will stand trial.
Former police officer Ben Price will stand trial.

Cop 'slammed' woman into ground

PROSERPINE Magistrate's Court yesterday saw dramatic CCTV footage of a police officer allegedly assaulting a young woman.

The CCTV footage showed Whitsunday police officer Senior Constable Benjamin Thomas Price, 32, body slamming slightly-built Renee Toms onto the ground causing her chin to split open and then picking her up by the hair, lifting her feet off the ground.

At the former police officer's committal hearing at Proserpine yesterday the court was shown clear CCTV footage on a plasma screen of the incident.

Under cross-examination by defence barrister Stephen Zillman Ms Toms said Whitsunday police had a bad public reputation.

“At Airlie Beach no-one likes the police - they look at you like you are not even human they just treat you wrongly,” she said.

Ms Toms, 22, said she was “crying and upset,” after the assault at the Whitsunday police station on January 18 last year.

The bartender and make-up artist from Sydney was the third and last alleged assault victim to give evidence against Price on the final day of his committal hearing yesterday.

At the conclusion Magistrate Athol Kennedy committed Price to stand trail on six counts of assault occasioning bodily harm on three separate occasions while working as a police officer in the Whitsundays.

Yesterday the court was shown CCTV footage of Price's alleged assault on Toms, a petite woman who weighs 47kg.

The DVD showed a handcuffed Ms Toms standing at the counter of the Whitsunday police station around 4.15am with Price behind her.

Price twisted her arms up her back and above her head, pushing her forward onto the bench at the same time.

The footage then showed Price lowering her arms to the middle of her back before twisting her around and slamming her body onto the ground.

Another officer Constable Bree Sontor then removed Ms Toms' ear rings while Price held her facedown on the ground.

Then the DVD showed Price pulling her up by the hair and lifting her feet off the ground for a moment before setting her down in front of the bench again.

“He pulled me around slammed me into the ground and sat on me...When I was lifted off the ground again I noticed blood dripping down from my face,” Ms Toms told the court.

She was later placed in a cell, an ambulance was called to attend to the cut on her chin and photographs were taken of her face.

Ms Toms who had been living in Airlie Beach for seven months prior to the incident had been arrested earlier that night by Snr Const Price and Const Sontor outside Mama Africa nightclub.

She and a male companion were taken to the police station for questioning in relation to a stolen wallet. Ms Toms was never charged with any offence.

She told the court that as Price had walked her into the police station he twisted her arm repeatedly and slammed her into a wall.

“He took hold of my handcuffs behind my back and scrunched then up until they were painful.

“He held them there for about 15 seconds. I thought he wanted a reaction so I didn't give it to him.

“We then went into the corridor and he did it again, I remember laughing, he did it again and slammed me up into the wall,” she said.

Price is also alleged to have assaulted two other people in his custody. They were Timothy David Steele, plasterer 24 on May 25, 2008, and Nicholas LeFevre, investment risk manager on September 1, 2007.

Yesterday forensic medical officer Dr Ian Thomas Mahoney told the court via phone that Steele had two black eyes, a broken nose and a scratch to the eyeball likely to have been caused by an object being poked into his eye.

He said LeFevre had a bruise to the left temple, one on the right side of his head and another at the root of his nose.

Price will be tried at Bowen on a date to be set.



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