Cop-basher accused says police threw first punches
A TOOWOOMBA man charged with assaulting police at the scene of a traffic crash has told a court he had been assaulted first.
Brian Anthony Wust, who turns 38 today, told a hearing in Toowoomba Magistrates Court yesterday he had been left with injuries including a "cauliflower" ear, abrasions and bruises.
Police had been called to Parsons St on the night of Saturday, January 11, on the report of a car crash, the court heard.
Police and emergency services personnel had arrived to find the car on its roof and Wust nearby.
Wust told the court he and friends had been drinking at his home nearby and he had about six beers and four bourbons.
One of his friends had left to drive home around the corner, and crashed the car.
Hearing the crash, he had walked down to see what had happened.
He said because his friend had then walked back up to Wust's home after the crash, leaving Wust alone at the scene when police arrived, he got the impression police thought he was the driver.
He claimed he told police he hadn't been driving, but they had gone to breath test him at the side of the road.
He told the court he was standing between two officers, one with a breath testing device, when the other policeman grabbed him.
Startled, he had thrown his hands up, inadvertently knocking the device from the officer's hands.
He claimed he was then thrown to the ground and punched to the back of the head and temple a number of times.
He said he was then bundled into the back of a police van in which he was thrown about as the police vehicle was driven back to the police station.
He denied throwing the first punch, telling the court he had never thrown the first punch in any altercation.
However, under cross examination by police prosecutor Senior Constable Natalie Bugden, he conceded he had convictions for alcohol-related altercations at Toowoomba CBD hotels in the past.
Wust said on each occasion he had been attacked first, but when the matters came before the court he had been too busy at work to defend the charges.
Snr Const. Bugden put it to him that he hadn't initially told police he wasn't driving and that the officers could have formed the view at the time that he was the driver.
Wust rejected the suggestion, claiming he told police he wasn't the driver a number of times.
Wust agreed he hadn't told police at the time who the driver of the car was, though he knew.
"I wasn't going to dob my mate in," he told the court.
He said his friend had then arrived on scene and told police that he was in fact the driver.
The hearing was adjourned until next Monday.