Although this man appears severely drug-affected, nevertheless, he has become a victim, and this victim deserves the protection of the law without judgment. He was ushered onto the road allegedly by the staff of the North Richmond Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR).
Police, however, seemingly have new investigative techniques.
There is apparently no need to interview witnesses or make decisions based on the facts; in other words, there is no need to conduct an investigation, as it was traditionally called, and they can make arbitrary decisions based on nothing much.
A sceptic may speculate that the investigation was knobbled or that the Police want to avoid any complex work.
But perhaps what the victim is, had a significant bearing.
Maybe the basic police philosophy of executing the law without fear or favour is obsolete.
Perhaps because the Victim is a very heavy drug user, it is not worth their effort?
As much as we despise illicit drugs and their use, we equally detest any action that would further harm addicts, including facilitating their addiction, as the MSIR does, but in this case, the matter goes to a whole new low in the care of addicts.
The incident shows the victim being escorted from the MSIR precinct out onto busy Lenox Street Richmond, effectively ‘playing Russian Roulette’ with the traffic. The only reason the victim was not injured or killed was the responsible drivers of the vehicles at the time.
It was more luck than good judgment that a large commercial vehicle didn’t happen along at that moment as the outcome could have been disastrously different.
The CAA reported this serious criminal offence, Conduct Endangering Life, to the Chief Commissioner’s Office and subsequently to a senior police detective.
The offence reported was.
‘A person must not recklessly engage in conduct that places or may place another person in danger of death (Crimes Act 1958 s22).
–Judicial College of Victoria:
This particular incident was substantially aggravated because the perpetrators were identified by witnesses to be allegedly employees/staff of the Richmond North Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR), who would be well aware of the risk posed to the victim and have an elevated ‘duty of care’ for the victim, above the average person.
Although there is a legislated level of protection within the MSIR, if the victim used the MSIR to get into that state, it was, perhaps, negligent or deliberate indifference by the staff medically supervising the victim, which may negate protection. A matter that should be investigated.
Of further interest is whether the staff leading the victim onto the road acted on instructions. It would be gross negligence to instruct staff, knowing their actions could be illegal, as there is no protection for workers outside the MSIR. This aspect must be investigated.
Apart from the legal aspects, this behaviour by the MSIR is reprehensible in that, as a direct result of their actions, they placed the victim back in the community, which ultimately, Police and emergency services will have to deal with. All because the MSIR abrogated their moral and perhaps legal responsibility to the victim.
Alleged MSIR Staff is escorting the victim – more alleged MSIR Staff following- Witnesses to the event.
On the day following the reporting of this crime, we were contacted to say there would be no action as a prosecution would not be likely to succeed.
How these detectives formed that opinion without interviewing the potential witnesses, a process called an investigation, is beyond us.
Why up to five persons allegedly from the MSIR were not formally interviewed is staggering, let alone the many witnesses that appeared on the CCTV footage. Pedestrians’ and drivers’ vehicle registration details were available from the footage.
Before lodging the report, we asked several retired, experienced detectives to view footage of the incident we had obtained.
Their view of the circumstance was unanimous; there is an unambiguous ‘prima facia’ case of Conduct Endangering Life by three to four individuals, and the matter must be thoroughly investigated. The likelihood of a successful prosecution was optimistic.
By the actions of these individuals, it was clear the drug-affected person was being ejected from the MSIR vicinity, which happens to be a public place, and they have no power to do this.
The key to this ejection was the state of the addict, who was not in control of his actions and rational thought, something the people concerned were the MSIR staff would be aware of.
The offence of endangering life has several elements, as the Victorian Judicial College describes.
This offence has the following five elements:
- The accused engaged in conduct;
- The accused’s conduct was voluntary;
- The accused’s conduct endangered another person’s life;
- The accused acted recklessly; and
- The accused acted without lawful authority or excuse (R v Nuri  VR 641; Filmer v Barclay  2 VR 269; Mutemeri v Cheesman  4 VR 484; R v Wilson  VSCA 78; R v Abdul-Rasool (2008) 18 VR 586; R v Marijancevic (2009) 22 VR 576).
Central to any investigation would be establishing the identity of those involved.
In this incident, given the quality of the evidence from the CCTV, the five elements would seem clear-cut, so how did the detectives decide that no offence was determined within a few hours (overnight)?
This matter must now be investigated by a competent, independent investigation team led by an experienced Officer above the rank of the original team. Essentially, that independence must extend to the MSIR, which we understand has a close working relationship with local Police. An investigation must be conducted in a manner to avoid bias.
The new investigation must not be established to determine that no offence was committed; unfortunately, often, the police response to critiques of their work, and investigators must prepare a brief of properly collated evidence to evaluate the circumstances and the facts accurately.
The actions of the allegedly MSIR staff, apart from being recklessly criminal, if involved, were a shocking breach of their ‘duty of care’ and finally exposed the reckless indifference the facility employs towards drug users.
The MSIR is a facility purely for the furtherance of drug use, as demonstrated in this incident. This victim may have even achieved his state in the facility, indicating that the ethos of the facility is devoid of any ‘duty of care’.