Liberal MP, Beverley McArthur with gun storage inspection victim, Stuart
  • A pensioner has been savagely beaten by two plain clothed VicPol cops, who rolled up to his property to conduct an inspection of his gun storage.
  • Liberal MP, Bev McArthur, has taken up the matter and helped Stuart get free legal advice.  She wants answers as to how this could happen to one of her own constituents.
  • The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission has been asked to investigate the matter.

79 YEAR OLD Stuart lives alone in Central Victoria. He has served with the Country Fire Authority for nearly 30 years and was a councillor on his local council for 12 years.  From everything we’ve seen and know, there is no reason to suggest Stuart is anything but an upstanding citizen.

In March this year, Stuart was getting ready to help a friend with vermin control cull shooting when he heard a voice call out from the other side of his side fence.

Start opened the side gate. Two plain clothed VICPOL officers carrying pistols on their belts and body cameras, pushed the gate open into him. 

For reasons unknown they grabbed Stuart’s wrists, threw him to the ground, jumped onto him and handcuffed him after forcibly twisting his arms behind his back.   

Stuart has no criminal record. At 5’5”, around 60 kilos and 40 or so years older than the officers – he was also clearly no threat to the officers.

It was only during this – not before they entered – that they said they were from Victoria Police. At no stage did they give their names or say which part of Victoria Police they were from.

The reason they were there?

The officers said they were there to inspect his gun safe.

Stuart was stunned, so they searched his house for the gun safe keys but didn’t find them. After interrogating him, Stuart told them where the keys were.  The police opened the safe – and seized his firearms and ammunition and suspended his licence.  Whether the ‘search’ for the keys without a warrant was legal is a matter that the NSC is receiving legal advice on, and may come out in legal actions that we anticipate will follow.

Stuart continued in pain for some time.  VICPOL officers eventually called an ambulance – before leaving him at home, injured.  The ambulance arrived around 40 minutes later and took him to Colac hospital. 

You can see what the police did in these photographs.  All from a gun storage inspection.

Facial injuries

Stuart’s mobility has since been impaired, and he has had to rely on friends to help him attend doctors for medical treatment, cook for him and for daily chores. He is recovering slowly but at Stuart’s age, takes time. All of this could have been avoided with a simple phone call or knock on the front door.

NSC helps Stuart

Stuart contacted the NSC for help, and we immediately swung into action.

The NSC drove out to see Stuart (a 3 hour drive) and immediately put Stuart in touch with his local member, Bev McArthur MP (pictured above in the title image). 

Bev is a friend of the NSC and supports shooters. She visited Stuart at his home to see how she could assist and to her absolute credit, immediately organised legal assistance for Stuart “pro bono” (for free) as she was as shocked at what had occurred as we were.

On her advice and with help from the NSC, Stuart has written to the Victorian police watchdog, the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission – IBAC – to lodge a formal complaint against the VicPol officers.

Reason for licence suspension

The reason given for Stuart’s licence suspension (and ‘proposal to cancel’) by Victoria Police are that:

No further information has been provided.

If there is anything else to this story we don’t know, then it is yet to come out. Stuart has no criminal record and his guns were safely locked away. The police couldn’t even find the keys without his help. He was simply at his own house when the officers arrived and no other charges or allegations were made.

Instead, it seems obvious to us that the police don’t have anything on him. 

It will be interesting to see what the VICPOL body camera footage shows.

Stuart responds

Helped by the NSC, Stuart made a submission to the Victorian firearms registry on why his licence should be returned.

Victoria Police responded by saying that if he provides a medical and or psychological report as evidence that he is suitable to hold a firearms licence, they will not cancel his licence.

From this distance, it looks like Victoria Police don’t have a reason to suspend his licence and decided to ‘reverse the onus of proof’ on him to make him prove that he is fit to have the licence. 

VicPol’s motto is “Uphold the Right”. Stuart has rights as well. We hope IBAC will uphold them for him.

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24 thoughts on “EXTREME FORCE: Officers give 79 year old shooter whalloping

  1. ALAN BENTHAM says:

    This is typical of VICPOL. They handcuff and drag pregnant women from their house in front of children to show how tough they are, Harass old ladies sitting on park benches while one of them sneak up behind to grab their phone, and beat up innocent old age pensioners. I suppose that kind of thing is a lot safer than going after REAL criminals.

  2. R, Buegex says:

    Yep, legal law abiding shooters are targeted because it is easy to do so, with all firearms locked away in a known location, How about the same sneaky , unnecessarily rough and forceful methods be used on the masses of illegal forearm dealers and owners, don’t hold your breath,

  3. Kyle Wallace says:

    Disgraceful bully boy tactics from poorly trained vindictive Police
    Sue them individually an civilly for failure to provide duty of care
    Failure to follow procedure, GBH and assault, search without warrant. Detain without warrant or arrest, threaten intimidate and coerce. Negligence and illegal seizure and the list goes on

  4. Frank says:

    Absolutely deplorable, the actions of some police destroys the complete image of the whole police force, these officers (and I use the term ‘officers’ while gritting my teeth) should be immediately suspended, without any pay, until a thorough investigation is conducted.

  5. Keith Hills says:

    This is unbelievable, how could this happen in Australia?? Are VicPol officers trained in Communist China??

  6. Mike Adler says:

    IBAC is a toothless waste of time. I made a legitimate complaint about a police officer awhile ago who I knew was corrupt and it was solidly ignored (I have contacts!). 6 months later the same officer beat another civilian who he was harassing and was later held accountable and discharged from the force. I totally respect the police and the tough job they have to do dealing with some of the pure scum out there, but to try these heavy handed tactics on everyday civilians is not on! So again, I have no faith in IBAC…they protect their mates. Independent my ass.

  7. Grant says:

    This is disgusting behavior on behalf of VicPol.
    Why does Stuart have to supply a “certificate of health” or a medical report?
    At my local range in rural Vic, we have many shooters using the range in their 70’s..
    I hope Stuart gets a more than fair compensation and VicPol is forced into a public apology.

  8. Grandad says:

    He is fortunate that his MP is on his side.
    I see this around the world as Police become ever more frustrated by the weak sentencing decisions from judicial benches. Just my thoughts.
    ps. Is Stuart a member of SSAA? They should be backing him with their considerable resources.

    • Tim Lawrence says:

      There is actually more chance of IBAC charging the officers than of SSAA assisting with this issue.

    • Brendan says:

      I’d hope all MPs would be on the side of their law abiding constituents, no matter what side of politics they’re on. I do agree with your comments regarding weak sentencing, although I fail to see why police officers frustrated by the judicial system would pick out a member of the public, seemingly at random, to vent their frustrations? More likely they are cowards on the power trip that increasingly seems to come with the badge they wear, flouting the laws that they have pledged to uphold, believing instead that they are above them.

    • Peter Reynolds says:

      The SSAA is just a publishing “house”, they have not and will not do anything. The SSAA did NOT do anything for shooters and or Gun shops in Victoria recently when the State government “closed” them down because of COVID & “National Cabinet/ Lisa Neville”.

      Th only voice that shooters and Gun shops have is the NSC!!

  9. Ray Thomas says:

    Daniel Andrews is behind this out rage, the plot thickens, he is a communist , sooner or later he must reside to the fact we are not his slave’s nor are we all criminals, Colonial convict days ended several hundred years ago , he serves us not the other way around, plus the firearms act in 1997 is illegal, there was no referendum, this would not happen if we had a Bill of Rights, Common Law has failed us, We don’t have Governments here in Australia we vote in Wardens, we don’t have homes we live in Jail cells.

    • Jai Normosone says:

      That is the best and most-accurate comment I have seen in a long time….
      “…We don’t have governments here in Australia. We vote in Wardens.”

  10. Barry says:

    My reading of this is that they were acting on some information received and have, in fact, lumbered the wrong bloke. Doesn’t alter the facts of the matter though.

  11. Greg says:

    Would like NSC to follow up this story when all the facts become clear and if the situation is as it appears ensure the police officers involved are prosecuted to the full extent of the law and thrown out of the force.

  12. Wayne says:

    Sapol made toys into firearms so they can now enter over 200,000 homes without a warrant using their rights to search for illegal weapons. Nerf guns included.

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