Two police officers have had their second appeals thrown out of court after judges found they arrested and assaulted a teenager for being "cheeky".
A judgment published on Friday says while it is the old adage that "a picture is worth a thousand words", a video in the matter of Senior Constable Matthew McVicar and Constable James Head "paints an entire story".
The officers were nearing the end of a shift on Australia Day in 2017 when they signaled for a teenage driver to pull over because he was driving through the Canberra city bus interchange.
Rather than immediately pulling over, the teenager drove the short distance into the Mooseheads car park because there was a taxi rank immediately to his left.
Head then immediately began aggressively questioning the driver and later told the back seat passenger he would search him for "being a smartarse".
The ACT Court of Appeal judgment says the officers ultimately manhandled the back seat passenger, pulled him from the car against his will, put him on the ground, and handcuffed him.
The appeal judges said Head and McVicar rushed to arrest the back seat passenger "on the flimsiest basis" - in essence, because he was "being cheeky".
McVicar and Head were in April 2018 found guilty of assaulting the back seat passenger, and his arrest was deemed "unlawful". Both officers failed in an initial attempt to quash the verdicts in 2019. The Australia Day altercation was captured on video by another of the car's passengers.
"It is abundantly clear that the officers have simply overreacted to [the victim's] comments," the appeal judges said on Friday.
"The video simply does not permit any interpretation that the police officers acted lawfully.
"[They have] simply ignored the rules."
The appeal judges said it was clear McVicar and Head thought the back seat passenger was a smartarse and the officers "would brook no criticism of their actions".
"When [the passenger] complained about an injury to his elbow [during his arrest], the response was 'good'," the judges said.
They said the driver of the car immediately apologised for driving in the bus zone, yet the officers criticised him "for even making an apology".
Lawyers for McVicar and Head argued against their guilty verdicts last week on grounds including that the first appeal judge, Justice David Mossop, didn't consider all the evidence when he reviewed the case in the ACT Supreme Court.
The lawyers said the officers, in a conversation preceding the video, warned the back seat passenger several times he would be arrested for hinder if he continued to interrupt them. The officers then briefly went away from the car to deal with other members of the public before they returned and the video was filmed.
The lawyers said the conversation could have justified McVicar and Head's conduct, but the Court of Appeal judges found that by the time they returned to the car, whatever had been said in the first conversation was irrelevant to the back seat passenger's arrest.
The judges found McVicar and Head never explicitly told the passenger he had been arrested for hindering police, despite telling the court that was why they arrested him.
The judges dismissed McVicar and Head's appeals. Their common assault matters will be set down for sentence in the ACT Magistrates Court.