Coroner's Court of Western Australia

Inquest into the Death of Sean Duncan BARRETT

Inquest into the Deaths of Kuldeep SINGH and Sean Duncan BARRETT and Gavin Wayne FRYER and Jordan Damon RUNDELL and Kyra Marjorie Carmen NARRIER and Hassan EL BAKDADI

Delivered on :29 December 2017

Delivered at : Perth

Finding of : State Coroner Fogliani

Recommendations :Yes

That the Police Airwing be allocated greater resources for the acquisition and operation of an additional helicopter and to this end, that consideration be given to allocating appropriate funding to the Western Australia Police Service.

Orders/Rules : N/A

Suppression Order : Yes

  1. The driver of TK112 be referred to as Officer G
  2. The driver of VC105 be referred to as Officer R
  3. The passenger of US110 be referred to as Officer A.

That there be no recording or publication of any information or image which may identify or tend to identify Officer G, Officer R or Officer A

AND

That there be no reporting or publication of the details of any of the versions of the WA Police Emergency Driving Policy and Guidelines, the number and rank of police officers trained for the purposes of the Policy and Guidelines (including the outcomes of such training) and the operational capacities of the Police Airwing.

Summary : This inquest was held to investigate the circumstances of the deaths of six persons that followed police pursuits and/or intercepts. The inquest highlighted the inherent risks of high speed, on road pursuits and the finely balanced decisions that police are required to make when deciding whether to engage with a driver that is evading them.

The focus of the inquest was the reasons for police involvement, the actions of police during the course of the intercept or pursuit, an assessment of whether the Western Australian Police Emergency Driving Policy and Guidelines had been breached and if so, whether that breach, or indeed any other police action, caused or contributed to any of the deaths of the deceased.   Consideration was given to ways of preventing deaths in similar circumstances.

In this inquest, four of the five drivers (including the one motorcycle rider) had taken methylamphetamine and were evading police. The State Coroner concluded the consumption of drugs significantly impaired their physical and mental faculties to the point where they would have been unable to properly control their vehicle even under normal driving conditions. The State Coroner concluded that given the prevalence of methylamphetamine abuse, and its association with other illegal behaviours, careful consideration must continue to be given to the balance between the law enforcement imperative and the risks to all road users. In this regard, the State Coroner noted consideration of exit or resolution strategies once a pursuit commences are of manifest importance.

The State Coroner was satisfied that the intercepts and pursuits were initiated for the purposes of legitimate law enforcement actions and that in each case, a risk assessment was undertaken by police as required by the Emergency Driving Policy and Guidelines. The State Coroner was also satisfied that the driving skills of police officers undertaking pursuit driving in these cases was not called into question.

The State Coroner considered evidence which would lessen the inherent risks of high speed on road pursuits as well as considering the question of the desirability of resources for an additional police helicopter in support of bringing a pursuit to a safe conclusion by additional or alternative resolution strategies and operational readiness. The State Coroner was encouraged by the Western Australian Police Service’s ongoing consideration and promotion of additional or alternative strategies and in this context made the recommendation for the Police Airwing to be allocated greater resources for the acquisition and operation of an additional helicopter and for further consideration be given to allocating appropriate funding to the western Australia Police Service.

In all of the six cases the State Coroner was satisfied that the police actions did not cause or contribute to any of the deaths.

Catch Words : Methylamphetamine and impaired driving : Attempted Vehicle Intercept :Pursuit Driving : Emergency Driving Policy and Guidelines : Alternative Resolution Strategies to High Speed Pursuits : Unlawful Homicide : Accident.

 


Last updated: 19-Mar-2018

[ back to top ]