Crowley family forced to seek community help
Jonathan Crowley, front, with his mother Paloma and brother Paul after the appeal decision in the ACT Supreme Court. Photo: Jeffrey Chan
The family of a man rendered quadriplegic by a police shooting 11 years ago has reached breaking point, and is appealing to the public for financial help as his legal battle continues.
Jonathan Crowley is still reeling from last month's Appeal Court verdict denying him $8 million in damages, as his own health and that of his ageing father deteriorates.
His lawyers have lodged appeal documents in the High Court, but father Keith Crowley said the court decision in December had been a devastating blow to the family, and could force them to sell their home to make ends meet.
"We're faced with high legal costs, and are needing to sell the family home to meet debts, one of which is the $15,000 borrowed to purchase a wheelchair-accessible vehicle needed to convey Jonathan to medical appointments," he said on Friday.
Jonathan Crowley was in the grip of a psychotic episode in December 2001 when he left the family home with a kendo stick and walked through Chapman chanting religious slogans.
Efforts by two police officers to subdue him with capsicum spray had failed before Senior Constable Glen Pitkethly shot him in the neck. The injury left Mr Crowley wheelchair-bound and requiring around-the-clock care.
The day before the shooting, an ACT Mental Health psychologist had recommended Mr Crowley be taken into care at a hospital.
In May 2011, Justice Hilary Penfold awarded Mr Crowley $8 million damages after ruling ACT Mental Health and the Australian Federal Police had been negligent and owed him a duty of care.
But the Court of Appeal disagreed with her findings and negated the decision.
Keith Crowley said the family had been touched by many messages of support from the community, and had set up an account to receive donations.
Funds can be donated to the family through the Crowley Support Fund at the National Australia Bank, BSB: 082924, Account no: 15-091-8941