Police push to suppress release of report on leadup to Gargasoulas Bourke

first_imgA former police officer, one of several who pursued James Gargasoulas following the Bourke Street massacre, is trying to stop Victoria Police from blocking the release of a report on police failures in the lead-up to the incident that resulted in six deaths and 27 injuries.Sergeant Frank Caridi points to the stabbing of Angelo Gargasoulas at a Prahran property by his brother at 1.20am on 20 January, 2017, hours before the mowing down of pedestrians in Melbourne’s city centre. Police began searching for Gargasoulas an hour after he stabbed his brother who later died as a result of the attack.At the time, alerts were sent that warned police officers that Gargasoulas posed a risk to public safety and had a history of high-speed car chases. Police on the ground requested two CIRT responses between 4.30am and 5am in the hope of trapping him the narrow street where he was parked in a narrow car, however CIRT denied these requests as it could not be confirmed that he was still armed.A separate CIRT unit only became involved hours later and pursued Gargasoulas across the inner city and western suburbs before members of the team eventually shot and tasered him, ending his rampage.The CIRT night-shift teams decision not to intervene earlier has been examined.READ MORE: Gargasoulas’ brother tells Four Corners of his brother’s ‘extreme violence, especially towards women’There is an effort to suppress the ‘critical incident review’ into the police’s handling of the nine-hour manhunt for Gargasoulas on 20 January, however families and numerous media outlets, including Neos Kosmos, wish for the report to be released so that it could shed light on events leading up to the massacre.Assistant Commissioner Stephen Fontana reviewed the performance of Victoria police over the course of the massacre, however the police force has resisted the release of the report during the coronial inquest.  There is fear that the contents of the report could be “misunderstood” and jeopardise police cooperation in future inquests, thus jeopardising public safety. Furthermore, Dr Ian Freckleton, QC, acting for the police, said that the report was also dated and the conclusions may not be accurate with the benefit of new evidence from the inquest.Stephen O’Meara, QC, the counsel assisting the coroner, told the court that Sergeant Frank Caridi wanted to oppose the suppression order and give evidence.“Sergeant Frank Caridi, in January 2017, was a supervisor at South Melbourne. Since that time Mr Caridi has retired from Victoria Police and in July he contacted the court seeking to be called as a witness at the inquest,” he said.READ MORE: Gargasoulas receives life sentence for Bourke Street rampage“He has since provided to the court a statement that bears on an aspect of the Chief Commissioner’s application, which he opposes and the statement addresses that. The court has granted Mr Caridi leave to appear as an interested party at the inquest.”Mr Caridi was not called to testify as part of the suppression order hearing, however Coroner Jacqui Hawkins noted one of Mr Caridi’s objections was he “was never spoken to” as part of the critical incident review after the Bourke Street massacre.The court will hand down its decision on the suppression order on 23 August. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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