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Crime, Union

Statement from the Public Service Association regarding the ‘Officer A’ verdict:

Public Service Association 2 mins read

Quotes Attributable to Stewart Little, PSA General Secretary: 

"The PSA welcomes the verdict. We have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with our member since day one and we welcome the end to what has been a deeply harrowing experience for him," says Mr Stewart Little.

"The PSA has nothing but sympathy for the deceased and his family. However, it is important that the community understand the dangers faced by prison officers everyday.

"Officer A has been through hell because he did his job. He never asked to be put in a situation where he had to use his firearm. He never wanted that. He has been traumatised by it.

"What this case shows is the legislation needs to be changed to protect prison officers doing their job. Alternatively prison officers need clarity on whether allowing prisoners to escape is an option so they can take that into account when they deploy their firearms if a prisoner runs away. If prison officers are being given firearms they are really not meant to use then the government must find other alternatives like shorter leg restraints, or leg restraints connected to arm restraints or TASERs.

"Every day prison officers get up to do a job most of us would never want to do. They put themselves in danger every single day. But they understand this is their duty.

"Their duty is to protect us from individuals that our justice system has decided are not suitable to be at large. When they take a prisoner into the community — like a hospital — they know their responsibility is to keep the rest of us safe from them.

"During the trial we saw witnesses, decent hard working people, grilled by prosecutors because their recollections didn't suit the crown case," says Mr Stewart Little.

Quotes Attributable to Nicole Jess, PSA President (and serving prison officer):
"When a prison officer does their duty to keep the community safe, like Officer A did at Lismore Base Hospital in 2019, they should never be put through an ordeal like this," says Ms Nicole Jess.

"Prison officers already have to face enough risk and danger in their work. If they get thrown into a situation like Officer A faced they should never be second-guessing their priority. Their priority is to keep us safe.

"In the meantime every prison officer in New South Wales should know their union will never stop fighting for them, and for their right to do their jobs without fear.

"Like our members who work in the justice system, the PSA has the utmost respect for the court of law.

"We are disturbed at comments made during proceedings that appeared to downplay the crimes committed by the deceased and the risk he would have represented had he been successful in escaping," says Ms Nicole Jess.

Contact: Stewart Little 0405 285 547

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