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  • Protester sues police over horse dribble and swollen foot
  • By David Hurley
  • 03/11/2013 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: SpongeBob ( 3 articles in 2013 )
A TAXPAYER-funded law service has been labelled a "disgrace" for launching legal action against a police officer on behalf of a protester who was dribbled on by a police horse and left with a swollen foot at a socialist demonstration.

Police are outraged at the use of taxpayers' money and have called the action by the publicly funded Flemington and Kensington Community Legal Centre - which is also against the State of Victoria - an "outrageous use of taxpayer money".

A police horse was punched and spooked by a protester as the 100-strong demonstration at the Maribyrnong Immigration Detention Centre boiled over on May 29, 2011.

Protester Alexander Forbes attended the event, which was organised by Refugee Action Collective Victoria and supported by Socialist Alliance Victoria.

In a writ filed at the County Court of Victoria, Mr Forbes claims he was "salivated" on by a police horse, causing his clothing to become wet.

Mr Forbes was also upset that two people commented on the amount of horse saliva on his clothes following the drooling incident and that the horse stepped on his foot.

The 20-year-old is suing the state, along with fellow protester Mark Ryan.

Bruce McKenzie, assistant secretary of the Police Association, said it was a disgrace taxpayer money was being used to fund the legal action.

"Taxpayers' money being used for the purpose of taking action against one of our members who was doing no more or no less than their job is outrageous," he said. "We are disgusted by it and Victorian taxpayers should be outraged that their money is being used to fund these types of actions.

"Our understanding of this course of events is the crowd that attended this public demonstration deliberately antagonised our members and deliberately put our horse-mounted members at risk, as well as the animals themselves.

"These people call themselves responsible citizens ... you have got to be kidding."

At the time, Victoria Police said the protesters spooked the horse.

Mr Forbes suffered a swollen foot following the incident while Mr Ryan, 50, had a fractured collarbone after the horse fell on top of him.

They were taken to hospital and discharged later the same day.

Leading Senior Constable Michelle Turner, who was riding the horse at the time, is ­being sued by the protesters.

The demonstration flared up while the group, which was protesting against mandatory detention, was marching to the nearby Highpoint shopping centre.

A 31-year-old man was ­arrested and charged with punching a police horse.

Read More from Flemington Legal Centre


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