Long wait for court's award
Keith Crowley with son Jonathan in the grounds of John James Hospital in Deakin. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
All the Crowley family wants for Christmas is closure. But police shooting victim Jonathan Crowley and his parents, Keith and Paloma, are not optimistic their long-running legal battle will end before the year is out.
Tuesday marks 11 years from the day police shot Mr Crowley in the southern suburb of Chapman, rendering him a quadriplegic.
In May last year ACT Supreme Court Justice Hilary Penfold ruled the Australian Federal Police, ACT Mental Health and the officer who pulled the trigger were negligent.
The judge awarded Mr Crowley $8 million in damages. But the family is yet to see a cent, because the case went to the ACT Court of Appeal.
The appeal was heard in March with justices Anna Katzmann, Bruce Lander and Anthony Besanko reserving their decision. They have yet to hand down a ruling.
''[Jonathan's] terribly disillusioned about the court system,'' Keith Crowley said.
''He's won his case, he was really excited, and then it's just dragged on and on.
''He knew the police would probably appeal it, I guess we were just a bit naive, we didn't realise how long it would take.''
Mr Crowley, his son's primary caregiver, is himself fighting cancer and must regularly catch the train for treatment at Westmead Hospital.
''They're doing research, and I became a guinea pig in the research project,'' he said.
''And after 12 weeks all my cancers were reduced by 50 per cent. There was some in the liver, some in the lungs, some in the lymph glands. So far so good.''
The day before the shooting, an ACT Mental Health psychologist assessed Jonathan Crowley at his home and recommended he be treated at a hospital.
The next morning he left the family home with a kendo stick and walked through the suburb chanting religious slogans.
Two police officers approached him and failed to subdue him with capsicum spray before Senior Constable Glen Pitkethly shot him in the neck.
The injury has left him wheelchair-bound and requiring constant care. The family, meanwhile, scrapes by on Jonathan's parents' superannuation and pension entitlements. ''It's been a battle … [the money] would take the financial load off us,'' Keith Crowley said. ''It would clear our mortgage and the other loans, particularly from family.''