Tuesday, 05 March 2013 10:16

Bare v Small (Supreme Court) — May 2012

The Commission intervened in this application for judicial review of a decision by the Office of Police Integrity (OPI) to refer a complaint of police violence against Mr Bare to Victoria Police for investigation rather than investigating it themselves.

Among other things, Mr Bare complained to OPI that he was capsicum sprayed by police while handcuffed, had his teeth chipped on the gutter during his arrest and was racially abused by officers.

The Commission made submissions about the content of the Charter right not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way, arguing that it requires allegations of such treatment to be independently investigated. The Commission also raised the equality right, in the context of a possible racial motivation for Mr Bare's mistreatment.

The Commission made submissions about what obligations section 38 of the Charter imposes on OPI when considering complaints that police have breached human rights, and about how section 32 of the Charter should influence the interpretation of the Police Integrity Act. The Commission argued that section 32 of the Charter requires the Court to consider human rights when interpreting the phrase 'public interest' in that Act.

See the Supreme Court's decision here.

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