The family of 95-year-old great-grandmother Clare Nowland, who died after being allegedly tasered by police, has filed a civil lawsuit against the NSW government.
Nowland, who suffered from dementia, died on May 24 after fracturing her skull from a critical fall allegedly caused by a state police officer who tased her at her aged care home.
According to the family’s lawyer, Sam Tierney, the civil claim is seeking damage on behalf of Nowland’s estate for alleged battery and assault.
It is also understood that the proceedings were initially filed while Nowland was still fighting for her life in the hospital, but her family still wishes to pursue the case following her death.
“The proceedings were filed to protect Clare’s legal rights in circumstances where in that point in time she was still alive, it has to be borne in mind that this is not the family pursing the government,” Tierney said on Today.
“I think it’s very important as well that people and the public keep in mind that we still don’t know the full circumstances of what happened in this tragic incident.
“There’s been a lot of reporting of various matters that, you know, may or may not come to pass as being accurate,” he continued.
“We’re still looking into those matters.
“I think it’s very important that the public also keeps in mind, from the family’s point of view, that these tragic circumstances are still being investigated.”
It is understood that police allegedly tased Nowland to disarm her after she was found wandering around her aged care residence allegedly holding a knife.
Police have said the use of the taser was to de-escalate the situation after Nowland had allegedly advanced on them. She did so at a “slow pace” and with “a walking frame.”
It is reported that Nowland was allegedly tased twice, once in front of her chest and once in her back, which resulted in her falling over and hitting her head.
It is understood that both officers involved in the incident had their body cameras turned on and recorded the events in their totality, but police officials have chosen not to release the footage.
33-year-old senior constable Kristian White has been charged for the incident and has been suspended from the force with pay.
He is facing charges of recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and common assault.
White is yet to enter a plea, however, if convicted he could potentially face a maximum prison sentence of 10 years.