Death-in-custody of mark mason and coroners court outcome

herewith the statement from the family of mark mason who was shot by police in collarenebri on the 11th november, 2010.

also below is a media report that sets out the non-answer to the police shooting of mark, arising from police investigating themselves. there are still many unanswered questions even after the three day inquest. the inquest was held at collarenerbri and was well attended by the mason family, supporters and friends.

why was there a need to shoot mark twice? he had been tasered, pepper-sprayed and stun-gunned with the taser a second time. to do that, to stun mark, it is necessary for the police officer to actually place the taser against the body of the victim. if it was possible to do that, then with 5 officers at the scene, in a bedroom situation, why was he not physically over-powered? mark finished up on one knee but five police could not bring him under their control? and why, because, they say, he was still waving a tyre lever around! bloody hell, what sort of training is given to our police? are they so concerned for their own perceived safety that they have a need to kill rather than receive a scratch or two? or suffer their hair-do’s to be ruffled out of place? we, as tax payers, do not pay our police to be wimps. of course, we do understand the requirement that their own safety must be considered but they are allegedly the best trained police in australia. or so we keep being told just how professional they are.

i see no evidence of this professionalism, not at all. 5 police in a bedroom with one victim and all they can do ultimately is to kill mark? i see no professionalism there. what i see is ultimate panic of a situation that 5 police could not control. we are told that these are experienced officers but they were cowered by a man with a tyre lever whose down on one knee? this incident construction is that of the investigating police so is suspect as to its truthfulness but even so, the account appears to be full of holes.

as usual, however, coroner’s accept the brief provided by the police whilst other police officers are involved directly in the inquest. under any other conditions this would be seen as being a clash of interest and therefore suspect but not in coronial inquests. now it is no state secret that it is well known that police investigations of other police is very much open to question. we all know that. the nsw premier, barry o’farrell, knows it. greg smith, our nsw attorney-general knows it. the nsw police minister, mike gallacher, certainly knows it as he was a police officer in his other life. the nsw police commissioner, andrew scipione, knows it. coroner’s know it but they hide behind the legal obligation to work only with the brief that the police give them to work with.

we all know! but governments, police and coroner’s all play from the same book that ignores that unmistakable fact and protection of errant police overrules everything else. and that is why the corrupt system must be changed so real justice is allowed to be seen as justice. nothing else will suffice.

the mason family, like all death in custody families, wants nothing less! they have the last word.


ray jackson
indigenous social justice association

(m) 0450 651 063
(p) 02 9318 0947
address 1303/200 pitt street waterloo 2017

we live and work on the stolen lands of the gadigal people.

sovereignty treaty social justice

Police had ‘no option’ but to shoot

A NSW police officer had “no option” but to shoot a man who was attacking him with a tyre lever.

Attempts to subdue the 44-year-old with capsicum spray and a Taser gun had failed.

Mark Mason died after being shot twice during the incident on Thursday night at his girlfriend’s house on Barwon Street in Collarenebri, in the state’s northwest.

ABC TV reported last night that Mr Mason was related to 17-year-old TJ Hickey, who suffered fatal injuries in a bicycle accident during a police pursuit in Sydney’s Redfern in 2004.

Acting deputy commissioner of field operations Alan Clarke yesterday said police used capsicum spray, Taser and physical restraint during Mr Mason’s “determined attack” before resorting to the final option of lethal force. “Police have dealt with a life-threatening situation,” Superintendent Clarke said.

“It would appear they have exhausted all their options, prior to resorting to lethal force, and on the information before me I certainly believe that officer had no other option, and resorted to the only remaining option they had to protect their own lives.”

The circumstances that led to Mr Mason’s death began at 6.30pm on Thursday when police received a report of an assault by a man wielding a knife. When officers arrived at the scene, Mr Mason drove away and was pursued by two police vehicles.

During the chase police allege Mr Mason turned his vehicle around and drove at the police vehicles, injuring officers inside and causing damage to the two cars. Mr Mason then fled on foot.

Collarenebri only has three police officers so extra officers from nearby areas were called in to the small town. About three hours later, police received a report that Mr Mason was at his girlfriend’s house and there were concerns about the welfare of other people in the residence.

When police entered the house they were confronted by Mr Mason who was armed with a tyre lever.

The Weekend Australian understands Mr Mason came from the nearby town of Walgett — which was also the hometown of Hickey.

Mark statement.docx

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