Senior Constable Mark Follington, 61, and his junior colleague were on a patrol in Liverpool’s Golden Fleece Hotel in May 2019 and were asking customers at the pub for their IDs. But Anya Bradford, a trans woman, got up and walked out of a gaming room. The two police officers confronted Bradford as she left the building.
According to Australia’s 7News, Bradford told Follington to “f**k off” when he asked for her name. She also told the police that she didn’t have an ID and that she had a meeting to get to.
CCTV footage showed Follington grabbing Bradford’s arm to prevent her from leaving which led to the cop shoving Bradford’s head into an ATM. Bradford then kicks Follington and runs off. She is pursued by the cops, and another officer used pepper spray on her before she was eventually handcuffed.
When asked by the Downing Centre Local Court what had brought Bradford to his attention, Follington admitted it was her “attitude”. He said: “When I was in the room, you could see I was focusing within the room, she had no eye contact with myself.
“People normally come up and say hello.
“She was keeping her eyes down.
“To me, that starts to send a signal to me that this person is trying to hide from me.”
Follington pleaded not guilty to tampering with evidence with intent to mislead a court and four other offences over the 2019 arrest. He also denied deliberately concocting a false story that was used to charge Bradford with assaulting police, saying he filled out police and court documents to the best of his ability.
But he admitted to the court that the story he wrote after violently arresting Bradford was very different to what occurred. Follington said: “At the time of writing this narrative, I did it to the best of my knowledge without having viewed the [CCTV] footage.”
In closing arguments on Tuesday (2 March), prosecutor Claire Robinson said Follington had written “fiction” to justify his actions, knowing he’d been part of an unlawful arrest.
She suggested the senior constable had viewed the hotel’s CCTV footage shortly after the arrest and “sought to charge the complainant before anyone else had the opportunity” to also view it.
But Ray Hood, the officer’s barrister, argued Follington hadn’t watched the footage and said his client sent a junior officer back to retrieve the CCTV footage. He said: “That doesn’t in any way fit with a person who has an understanding he has done the wrong thing and wants to cover it up.”
The court is due to deliver a verdict on 3 May.