Policeman has assault conviction overturned
Justice Richard Refshauge leave the church after the service. Photo: Graham Tidy GGT
An Australian Federal Police officer who punched a man after a night out drinking has had his conviction quashed on appeal.
Tristan John Gibbs had a good behaviour order set aside and a verdict overturned after Supreme Court Justice Richard Refshauge upheld his appeal against his original conviction. Justice Refshauge disagreed with the ACT Magistrates Court decision to find Mr Gibbs guilty of assault.
Mr Gibbs was arrested and charged with assault after an incident in Civic about 5am on April 18, 2008.
The court heard Mr Gibbs was off-duty and had been drinking with a friend when the pair decided to buy food. They were walking along East Row when they became involved in an argument with two other men.
A police officer who witnessed the incident said there was pushing and shoving between the groups before Mr Gibbs punched a man in the face.
Mr Gibbs admitted hitting the man but pleaded not guilty to the charge, arguing self-defence.
In October 2008, the ACT Magistrates Court found Mr Gibbs guilty of assault and ordered him to sign a one-year good behaviour order.
But Mr Gibbs appealed the conviction a month later.
Justice Richard Refshauge upheld the appeal, finding the presiding magistrate had blundered in her judgment. ''Her honour appears to have, on a number of occasions, reversed the onus of proof,'' Justice Refshauge wrote.
The judge ordered the conviction quashed, sentence set aside and a verdict of not guilty to the offence of assault entered. Michael Inman