The Guardian: NSW woman to receive $18,000 after police looking into suspected Covid protest trespassed on property

The New South Wales government has been ordered to pay out more than $18,000 after two police officers climbed a locked gate and trespassed on a northern rivers property owned by a woman they suspected was organising a protest in breach of Covid laws, the Guardian's Tasmin Rose reports. 

The NSW supreme court justice Robertson Wright found that the senior constables had violated the privacy of property owner Sanchia Romani, awarding her $18,334.69 in damages over the trespass. 

Josh Pallas, president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, said the choice by officers to enter the property despite the signage “either demonstrates poor judgment” or “systemic failure on the part of NSW police” to teach officers about the law.

"It strikes me that the police need to do a much better job of ensuring common law property rights are respected,” he said.

Pallas said this brand of “pre-emptive policing” as he called it, was something his organisation was hearing more frequently from residents.

“We think the right to protest is important, simply because people will attend protests or want to attend protests or may, from time to time attend protests, doesn’t mean the police should be visiting them on multiple occasions before the protest,” Pallas said.

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