NRL star wins $100k as cops torn to shreds
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 in tears after he was awarded more than $100,000 in legal costs after the prosecution's assault case against him this month collapsed following the release of distressing bodycam footage.
Magistrate Jennifer Giles was scathing in her assessment of the decision to prosecute the Canberra Raiders outside back, saying it had "no real prospects of success".
She said Mr Scott would have been safer had he drunkenly walked onto a nearby road 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 use 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."
The police were ordered to pay $100,792.30 in Mr Scott's legal costs following the nine-month ordeal.
Earlier this month police prosecutor Rebecca Becroft dropped five charges, including two counts of assaulting police and one count of resisting arrest, after Mr Scott was arrested following drunken Australia Day celebrations at the Ivy nightclub in Sydney.
Mr 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.
Police withdrew five charges after police bodycam footage played to the court showed an unconscious Mr 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.
At no point did the officers tell Mr Scott that he was under arrest before placing him in handcuffs.
Mr Scott's final two charges for offensive behaviour were then dismissed by Ms Giles with no conviction recorded.
Ms Giles on Friday described the police's actions as "terrifying" and said they decided to place Mr 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.
Outside court Mr Scott's solicitor Sam Macedone said his client was considering taking civil action against the police.
"They acted outside of their powers," Mr Macedone said.
"It's quite obvious that, in my opinion, they were brutal in what they did, and they should not have done it. If consequences come as a result of that, so be it."
Mr Macedone was also critical of NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller's defence of the officers' actions.
Mr Fuller told 2GB earlier in the week that police needed to move on Mr Scott after he was found drunk and passed out underneath a tree.
"I'm sympathetic for the police, who had to do something with him," Mr Fuller said.
"The other option is this - you put a baton under each of his arms, you squeeze it down and you put him in the back of a truck. That is no less painful than being sprayed."
In a statement, NSW Police said they noted the court's decision but could not comment given the matter was the subject of a Law Enforcement Conduct Commission investigation.
Mr Scott did not attend Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court on Friday having undergone season-ending surgery to remove a plate from his right leg.
His agent Sam Ayoub said Mr Scott was "in tears" following the decision and looking forward to getting his career back on track.
"It's affected him in every way possible, he's been through hell," Mr Ayoub said.
"His family have been through hell. He's been called names walking down the street. Deep down he's a good kid."
Originally published as NRL star wins $100k as cops torn to shreds