Vic cops on battery claim over terror raid

A Victorian man is suing police, alleging he was assaulted during a counter-terror raid in 2014.
A Victorian man is suing police, alleging he was assaulted during a counter-terror raid in 2014.

A Melbourne man thought it would be "the end of me" when beaten by police while face down on the floor with his hands tied behind him, he has told a judge.

Eathan Cruse was arrested by counter-terrorism police in an April 2014 raid after being identified as a person of interest in a conspiracy to behead an officer on Anzac Day that year.

The 23-year-old was released hours later and never charged over what he labelled "bullshit" claims and is now suing Victoria Police for unspecified damages over the physical and mental injuries he suffered.

During a civil trial in the Supreme Court on Monday, Cruse said he was restrained with a cable tie moments after officers stormed his parents' home at Eumemmerring in Melbourne's southeast.

He told Judge Melinda Richards he went straight to the floor when asked and gave his name to an officer, who announced "this is the one" before striking him four or five times.

An officer has admitted delivering "hammer strikes" to Cruse's head and shoulder with the underside of his fist, but denies the then 19-year-old was restrained.

Cruse, softly spoken and at times wiping away tears, told the court the officer picked him up and took him to the kitchen where he was slammed into the fridge and thrown to the floor.

"That's when the beating started," he said.

"It just felt like they were out to get me."

He recounted 10 or 15 blows that felt like they were coming from multiple officers and looking down to see blood pooling on the floor.

Cruse said blood appeared to have been cleaned up before police took pictures which were shown to him by his lawyer Andrew Clements QC.

Cruse described being taunted by officers who beat him, claiming they told him "you want to hunt innocent people".

Another warned "there's more to come" or "there's more where that came from", he said.

After being taken to a police station for interview, Cruse was transferred to hospital by ambulance to be treated for injuries, including a concussion.

He was released after the interview, but not before complaining to officers about the assault.

He also later complained to the police professional standards division, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and his psychiatrist.

Cruse's legal team must prove he was restrained when the beating occurred to be successful on the battery claim, and if unsuccessful will argue the force officers used was unreasonable.

Barrister Ron Gipps, representing the State of Victoria, said officers disputed the timing of when Cruse claimed he was restrained, and that the level of force was necessary.

The judge-alone trial continues.

Australian Associated Press