AAP/ 7 News: NSW cop admits to arresting woman because she didn’t make eye contact or say hello to him in pub

A cop walks into a bar, greets a seated female patron, is shoved so hard he loses his balance and is crudely told to get lost.

But Senior Constable Mark Follington now admits the story he wrote after violently arresting Anya Bradford in 2019 was very different to what occurred.

“At the time of writing this narrative, I did it to the best of my knowledge without having viewed the (CCTV) footage,” he told a Sydney court on Tuesday.

Follington, 61, has pleaded not guilty to tampering with evidence with intent to mislead a court and four other offences over the May 2019 arrest in southwest Sydney.

He denies deliberately concocting a false story that was used to charge Ms Bradford with assaulting police, saying he filled out police and court documents to the best of his ability.

The court has heard Ms Bradford was metres away from Follington when she got up and walked out of a gaming room in Liverpool’s Golden Fleece Hotel.

Asked for her name, she replied “f*** off” and told police she didn’t have ID and that she had a meeting to get to.

CCTV footage shows Follington grabbed her arm to prevent her leaving the pub, leading to a scuffle in which the Crown alleges the officer shoved the woman’s head into an ATM.

Ms Bradford kicked Follington, ran off and was pursued into the foyer of another building, where he pulled her out of a lift, another officer used pepper spray and the woman was handcuffed.

Asked what had brought Ms Bradford to his attention, Follington said her “attitude” in the hotel was akin to those who have a warrant out for their arrest.

“When I was in the room, you could see I was focusing within the room, she had no eye contact with myself,” he told the Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday.

“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.”

He also said it was suspicious that Ms Bradford and her friend were sitting in opposite corners of the pub’s gaming room.

Ms Bradford was not subject of a warrant.

After her arrest, Follington placed his elbow under the handcuffed woman’s chin, forcing her face up.

But the police officer denied that constituted assault, explaining he had no gloves and needed to move her face before she spat on him.

“She is struggling, she is trying to lash out, she’s calling me everything under the sun, she’s trying to spit.”

In closing arguments, prosecutor Claire Robinson said the senior constable had written “fiction” to justify his actions, knowing he’d been part of an unlawful arrest.

She suggested Follington had viewed the hotel’s CCTV footage shortly after the arrest and then “sought to charge the complainant before anyone else had the opportunity” to also view it.

But the officer’s barrister, arguing Follington hadn’t watched it, pointed to his client sending a junior officer back to the pub that night to get the footage.

“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,” Ray Hood said.

Mr Hood also pointed to discrepancies between the CCTV and the accounts of the junior officer and Ms Bradford.

Magistrate Michael Crompton is due to deliver his verdict on May 3.

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