Neighbours saw Vic cops assault pensioner

A woman says she saw her disability pensioner neighbour beaten by police and sprayed with a hose.
A woman says she saw her disability pensioner neighbour beaten by police and sprayed with a hose.

Neighbours say a disability pensioner was dragged and beaten with a baton by police during a welfare check at his home in Melbourne's north.

Leyarne Peachman Muzzolini told Heidelberg Magistrates Court on Wednesday she saw her Preston neighbour dragged down his front steps to the lawn, hit with a baton then sprayed with a garden hose in September 2017.

"I observed from the window, policemen dragging John, (who is) my neighbour across the road, down the stairs," she said.

"He totally soaked him once and he did it again.

"John is lovely. A perfect gentleman."

Half a dozen officers had gone to his home to check on him as he withdrew from opioids.

Among the group were Senior Constables Brad McLeod and Florian Hilgart plus Constable John Edney, who are all facing unlawful assault charges.

It is alleged they used capsicum spray on him, hit him and soaked him with a hose.

CCTV footage showed Mrs Peachman Muzzolini walking across the road to his house about 10 minutes after she told the court she had.

When defence lawyer Rahmin de Kretser asked if "some special effects wizards" had edited her out of he footage, she replied: "Yes because I should have been in that footage."

She later admitted she must have seen more from her house window and porch than she thought, rather than on the footpath.

Another neighbour Jonathan Rivett told the court he saw the man being dragged.

"There was aerosol sprayed and John was dragged out of the alcove of his house ... onto the front lawn, police officers sort of piled in on top of him. At one point I noticed a police officer hitting him with a baton," he said.

His wife, Kate, also told the court she saw the baton used.

Christopher Seward, who had been the original Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission informant in this matter, said day and note books were seized from the accused.

A black iPhone was also seized from McLeod, but nothing of evidentiary value was on it.

Mr Seward said he failed to include a late addition to Mr Rivett's statement that he was not paying attention for the whole time during the incident.

He also confirmed he told Mrs Rivett to change her statement as it mirrored her husband's and would not be admissible.

Prosecutor Diana Manova said McLeod went into the house after he saw a CCTV camera and went in to see if it was connected to a working system.

She submitted it was unlawful to enter the premises.

The pensioner previously admitted in court to being verbally aggressive toward the officers, telling them to "f*** off", but has rejected suggestions he was physically aggressive.

The case will continue on Thursday.

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Australian Associated Press