ON THE RECORD: The Barney Point man at the centre of Tuesday's police stand-off, speaks exclusively with The Obsever about the confusion.
ON THE RECORD: The Barney Point man at the centre of Tuesday's police stand-off, speaks exclusively with The Obsever about the confusion. Matt Taylor GLA081217BARN

What really happened? Barney Pt man sets the record straight

PREVIOUSLY | UPDATE: Police respond to reports of a gunshot at Barney Point

TWO days ago, Barney Point was shaken when police responded in force to reports of a gunshot in a house in Wood St.

Yesterday, the man at the centre of the incident called The Observer to set the record straight.

For three hours on Thursday, the area between Friend and Kianga Sts was cordoned off and residents advised to stay inside.

A command post was set up near Yaralla Sports Club with police telling passers-by they were not safe unless they were wearing bullet proof vests.

At 2pm the incident was calmly resolved when officers entered the home and found no-one inside.

John, not his real name was not arrested and isn't charged with anything but said the report was made by the Child Support Agency worker he was on the phone to when he slammed his hand on the table in frustration.

"Seeing the police here like that would have scared the shit out of this neighbourhood, so I want to set the record straight," he said.

It was blown out of proportion from a man putting his hand up for some help.

John says he called the CSA to change his employment details, which would have reduced the amount of child maintenance he could afford to pay but was told until his former partner contacted the agency, nothing could be done.

"They didn't want to know about it," he said.

"But when her income changes they want me to fix it straight away."

He admits he didn't handle the situation well, when in total frustration, he slammed his hand down on the table.

The support worker on the end of the phone interpreted the sound as a gunshot and called the police.

John says he is just a man who was reaching out for help, but there was none offered.

"I needed someone to talk me through what had just happened, but there's no justice in the system or follow up for the male," he said.

I was very depressed and made a bad judgement, but there's not enough services to help me with this issue.

"The Child Support Agency is a very blunt organisation to deal with.

"They need to let us know who we can go to for help so we don't become part of a statistic in Australia that's growing.

"Lots of blokes have the same issues and we need to get this stuff off our chest."

John was found by police at a different address and after talking to him, the situation was resolved calmly.

He says he apologised to police and fully complied and felt bad for the young officers involved.

He wasn't charged, but was given a mental health review, which he is following up with his GP.

Now he wants his voice to be heard.

"Me talking to you now takes courage to bring this issue into the light, instead of keeping it behind closed doors," he told The Observer.

"Men won't talk about this stuff.

"I had a close friend of mine commit suicide a couple of years ago over similar issues.

What can men do when something as simple as slamming your hand down is interpreted as a gun?

"This will cause me more stress now. I could lose my job and custody.

"It took four years to get custody of my kids and I put up with two domestic violence orders that were never proven.

"Men will bottle it up and bottle it up, but we're the ones struggling.

"I just needed help to deal with things when it all got on top of me but when I put my hand up there was none."

The Department of Human Services yesterday extended an offer to look into John's case after being contacted by The Observer.

"We understand these situations can be very challenging for families. Family breakdowns are complex and they aren't always black and white," a spokesman said.

"Child support can undoubtedly be a sensitive matter, but we are here to help and treat all parents equally, regardless of gender."

If you need support, call Roseberry Queensland on 4972 0047, Lifeline on 131114 or Men's Helpline on 1800600636.

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