Trial begins for police officer charged with alleged murder of Yamatji woman in WA

The trial of the police officer who shot her, a first-class officer who cannot be named due to a court order protecting his identity, began Tuesday in the WA Supreme Court in Perth.

The man is the first police officer to be charged with murder while on duty in Western Australia in nearly 100 years.

On September 17, 2019, he was one of eight officers who responded to reports of a person walking in the area with a large knife.

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Footage of the incident, taken from a nearby CCTV camera, was shown in court on Tuesday.

It shows JC, who was known to police and reportedly had significant mental health and substance abuse problems at the time, walking slowly down the suburban street in Rangeway around 6:20 p.m.

The footage shows two marked police vehicles arriving, with one pulling alongside JC as she continues to walk down the street.

The court heard that JC ignored requests from the officers to drop the knife and household scissors, and that she continued to ignore the instruction even after being told she would be given a taser.

Two marked police vehicles stopped in the middle of the road in front of JC, blocking her from walking, while an orange sedan, an unmarked police vehicle, also arrived at the scene.

When it stopped, the suspect got out of the passenger seat of the unmarked car, drew his loaded police-issued firearm and ran to JC, who was still running away from the police further down the street.

The images show that JC stopped walking and stood still on the street, with the knife and scissors in hand and with a backpack on.

The suspect then fires a single shot from ten feet into JC’s abdomen, and she is seen collapsing in the street.

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She was taken by ambulance to Geraldton Regional Hospital, where she died of internal bleeding about 60 minutes after being shot.

The shooting took place in front of the other officers and the public, who are expected to testify at the trial.

After the footage was played before the jury on Tuesday, Prosecutor Amanda Forrester SC said only three seconds had passed between JC stopping in the street and the officer firing a single shot into her stomach.

Ms. Forrester said that of the eight officers who attended the scene, five were left in their vehicles. Of the three who confronted JC, the suspect was the only officer to draw his firearm.

Another officer drew his taser but did not arm it, while a third officer was unarmed and reportedly believed he could talk to JC and convince her to drop the knife.

The prosecution said there was no justification for the officer to shoot and mortally wound JC, and that he did so unlawfully.

“He wanted to at least give her an injury that would endanger her life, if not kill her,” Ms Forrester told the court.

Supporters of the woman dubbed 'JC' out of court in Perth

Source: MONKEY


In her opening statement, attorney Linda Black said the officer was acting to protect his own life and that of others on the scene.

“The intent with which the suspect fired the gun… was to reduce the risk presented to the other people at the time,” she told the jury.

“This case is not about people’s skin color. This is about a second judgment from a police officer dealing with an armed offender.”

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JC had a young son who was not in her care at the time of her death. She had only recently been released from prison and struggled with reintegration into the community.

Ten days before she was killed, JC reportedly called the police and threatened suicide. Police picked her up and JC was transferred to Perth for psychiatric assessment. She was fired on September 13, 2019 and traveled back to Geraldton by bus.

JC was planning to return to Mullewa to live with her foster mother and son when she died.

In the hours before she was shot and killed, JC had been involved in a domestic dispute with some family members, in which she allegedly threatened to kill herself and another acquaintance.

She left the area on foot, knife and scissors in hand, before being stopped by police a short time later.

The suspect had been a full-time police officer for five years, during his second term at Geraldton Police Station.

The trial, before Judge Robert Mitchell, is expected to last four weeks and will involve hearing about 60 witnesses.

The process continues.

Readers seeking support can contact Lifeline Crisis Support at 13 11 14, visit lifeline.org.au or find one Aboriginal medical service here. Resources for young Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders can be found at Headspace: Yarn Safe.

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