THE man accused of deliberately breaking a police officer’s jaw during a game of rugby league as payback for arresting him has been found not guilty in Griffith District Court.
David Carroll was acquitted of the charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm on a police officer and the alternative charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm on Constable Paul Purcell.
It took the jury just two hours to find him not guilty on Friday and when the verdict was read out, Mr Carroll jumped to his feet and started clapping.
“I’m extremely happy it’s all finally been dealt with,” Mr Carroll told The Area News outside the courthouse.
“It’s taken its toll these last 18 months on me and my partner both mentally and physically.
“I can’t be grateful or thankful enough for all the work David Davidge and Irving Wallach put into my case – I’m grateful for everything they’ve done.
“I’ve got a fresh start now and I’m just going to try and get on with my life.”
In May last year, Mr Carroll was playing in a Group 20 reserve grade game for the Waratah Tigers when he tackled Constable Purcell, who was playing for Yanco-Wamoon.
The tackle broke Constable Purcell’s jaw, caused three teeth to come loose and knocked him to the ground.
Referee Ron Good ruled it to be a high tackle and gave a penalty to Yanco-Wamoon but did not send Mr Carroll from the field.
During the trial, which lasted eight days, Mr Good told the court he did not send Mr Carroll from the field because he believed it was an unintentional high tackle.
Four days later, police arrested Mr Carroll and charged him with assaulting a police officer.
The police alleged Mr Carroll had deliberately targeted Constable Purcell on the field as payback for arresting him two months earlier.
But defence barrister Mr Wallach said in his closing statement to the jury that it was the police who were “engaging in an exercise of payback” to punish the person who broke their comrade’s jaw.