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Officers from the top down spent two weeks arguing that their each and every use of the Taser on Roberto Laudisio Curti was justified.
Yet in what was almost an about face, on the very last day of the inquest, their senior legal representative Bruce Hodgkinson SC told the court procedures were already being changed to reflect issues raised in court.
Without such a measure, there is surely a risk that someone else will die while the rules of engagement are being tweaked.The truth is that many of the people who find themselves at the receiving end of a Taser, with the possible exception of poor Farmer in England, are in a vulnerable psychological state and may already be extremely fearful of police.This presents a conundrum for officers, because alleged offenders are unlikely to respond rationally to police requests.Hodgkinson spoke of the clear need for certain terms to be clarified, and for more direction to be given to officers about Taser use, particularly in drive-stun mode. Given the testimony of junior and senior officers, who refused to concede that they had taken a step wrong, it is hard to have too much confidence in just how fundamental any changes to procedures and training are likely to be.In this regard, a 2008 report by the NSW Ombudsman into Taser use makes for sobering reading.