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August 16, 2012

The WA Police Union will immediately consider avenues of appeal against the criminal conviction and sentence of Senior Constable Mark Wayne Johnson.

President George Tilbury said the Union was extremely disappointed with the Magistrate’s decision which found Sen. Const. Johnson guilty of three counts of unlawful assault relating to an incident during Spring in the Valley in 2009.

Mr Tilbury said Sen. Const. Johnson was a model police officer with more than three decades of exemplary service.

“The Union is absolutely dumbfounded by this decision,” Mr Tilbury said.

“We believe Mark was wrongly charged and convicted over this incident, and as a result, has suffered the enormous strain of trying to clear his name. The Union will continue to fight for Mark and all officers who are wrongly charged during the course of doing what is often a difficult and dangerous job.”

This incident is just another reason why the Union has again called for a change to handcuffing laws, Mr Tilbury said.

“We demand that the State Government change current laws to ensure that everyone who is arrested can be immediately placed in handcuffs. We believe that if handcuffs are applied in all cases, offenders are less likely to injure a police officer, themselves or interfere with victims and witness,’’ he said.

“We also know that in some instances officers have been apprehensive about using handcuffs for fear of being criminally charged, and this is unacceptable.

“We want laws to minimise any opportunity for our officers to be injured or criminally pursued and want change implemented immediately.

“The community expects that police do the tough jobs and we expect the Government to protect our officers,” he said