All in the line of duty?
I read with some interest the letter to the press from Daniel Ashley, currently serving time for taking five people hostage in a Mosman Park siege in 2016.
From his prison cell he was making the point that the police officers who were recently awarded some compensation for their trauma which resulted from his actions were probably undeserving recipients.
His argument, as I understand it, was that whatever befell them that night as a result of his crime was all in the line of duty. That it would set an unfortunate precedent.
I would have to disagree.
Whilst being a cop is inherently a dangerous occupation, and those that sign up for the job have to expect some unfortunate consequences as a result of their duties, there will be cases where the consequences are undoubtedly catastrophic and well beyond what might reasonably be expected of them.
I have no difficulty with police officers being compensated for the appalling outcomes of having to protect the community from the conscious and criminal acts of persons like Daniel Ashley.
The compensation in almost all cases will be met by the taxpayers, as the vast majority of offenders will usually lack any capacity to pay. Im sure, as confirmed by Mr Ashley, that the public will pay the award in this case.
As a taxpayer myself, I have no difficulty with this. Nor, would I expect, would most right thinking members of the public.
The quantum of the compensation, in my view, was extremely modest.
If this case is some sort of precedent, as he seems to suggest, then it is, in every respect, a good one.