Like this site? Help us to make it better.

Queensland police used excessive force on helmetless cyclist and falsely accused him of assault, court finds

Man had been charged with offences including assaulting an officer - but CCTV showed otherwise

Police in Australia used excessive force in stopping a man riding a bike without a cycle helmet, a court has found after a case against the rider, who faced charges including assaulting a police officer, was dropped.

John Beard had been drinking in the Southport RSL Club on Queensland’s Gold Coast on Anzac Day this year when he decided to ride his bike down its front steps in what his lawyer Campbell MacCallum said was a case of joking around.

His lack of a cycle helmet however attracted the attention of police officers who went after him and forced him to the ground, reports the Gold Coast Bulletin.

Besides failing to wear a bicycle helmet, Mr Beard was also charged with offences including assaulting or obstruction of a police officer and serious assault of a police officer causing bodily harm.

- Australian police deflate teen cyclist's tyres and leave him stranded

Yesterday however the case against him collapsed at Southport Magistrates’ Court after it emerged that the arresting officer, Senior Constable Nathan Irwin, is himself being investigated and could face disciplinary proceedings.

Police had said that Mr Beard threw a punch at an officer, hitting him in the head, but CCTV footage, which can be watched on the Gold Coast Bulletin website, shows police running after the cyclist and forcing him to the ground.

But magistrates threw the case out and orderered Queensland Police Service to compensate Mr Beard A$2,000 for court costs, and his lawyer says he is seeking further compensation as a result of shoulder and other injuries as well as emotional distress.

- Byron Bay – the ‘non-formist’ Australian town where 4 in 5 cyclists ignore compulsory helmet laws

“He’s quite upset about going into public, given that he was only just riding a bicycle at the time and was tackled off the bicycle for the mere fact that he did not have a helmet on,” Mr MacCallum commented.

“[The CCTV is] a little bit disturbing," he said. "It seems Mr Beard was having a bit of a joke – he’d had a few drinks on Anzac day, he rode his bike just down the footpath a distance and didn’t have a helmet on.

“Immediately upon seeing the police, he did the right thing, stopped what he was doing, rode his bike a short distance and then he seems to have been tackled fairly aggressively to the ground and dragged around the neck by two police officers.”

He added that his client had also referred the case to the Crime & Corruption Commission.

- Australia to allow cyclists to ride standing up - at last

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

Add new comment


Airzound | 8 years ago

Shocking. The filth are the same the world over. Violent thugs abusing their powers.

mrfree | 8 years ago

Confirmation that the law on mandatory helmet use is harmful.

Fifth Gear | 8 years ago

The excuse given by people who insist cyclists should have to wear helmets is that it is for the cyclists' own protection whereas in fact it is invariably out of anti-cyclist animosity in order to inconvenience them and leave them liable to fines for non-compliance. The Australian police officers plainly have no shame and have exemplified this attitude by using the helmet excuse to assault a cyclist and bring false charges. This shows just how much they care about cycle safety and just what a bunch of thugs they are. The law requiring mandatory use of helmets should be repealed immediately.

CXR94Di2 | 8 years ago

B'Jesus all for not wearing a helmet!

He should of been wearing a helmet to mount his camera, only so he could record the police beating shit out of him

mrmo | 8 years ago

and I know this is Aussie police, but with 24hr news you wonder why the police aren't held in high regard*.

*yes I know that many police are fine, but think of it like red light jumping cyclists. It reinforces preconceptions, confirms opinions etc.

Beatnik69 | 8 years ago

So he was injured for not wearing something designed to stop injury!  35

Latest Comments