Lindt cafe inquiry: Terrorists have rights, says siege cop

The police commander who held off ordering tactical officers to storm the Lindt cafe until after hostage Tori Johnson was killed has told an inquest gunman Man Haron Monis “had the same rights as anyone else”, prompting the victim’s mother to charge out of the courtroom, calling the officer “an absolute disgrace”.

The inquest heard evidence that police commanders cannot order a sniper to kill a hostage-taker, and each officer must make his or her own assessment of whether a shot is ­justified.

Legal experts said that while they thought the police officer’s choice of words yesterday in saying Monis had the “same rights” was ill ­advised, the basic principles of the law in Australia did restrict what police could reasonably do in terms of use of lethal force.

“If someone is in the process of committing a crime, a serious crime, as Monis was, that person can be subjected to a lawful ­response,” the president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, solicitor Stephen Blanks, said. “A lawful response enables the police to use all necessary force in order to bring the commission of the crime to an end and to arrest the offender. The police don’t have a right to kill a person who is committing an offence unless the police or somebody else is being seriously threatened and there is no reasonable alternative to the use of lethal force.”


Article: Lindt cafe inquiry: Terrorists have rights, says siege cop

Source: The Australian