September 23, 2019

Rioters want $1m compensation despite torching police car

An ‘after’ photo of the police wagon torched by rioters.

A group of partygoers who attended a ”paint party” that got out of hand in Yamba, New South Wales have walked free from court despite wrecking and torching a police vehicle.

There were about 100 people at the gathering with painted bodies and clothes. Police intervened when they thought things were getting out of hand. The partygoers rioted and set fire to a police vehicle, pelting it with bricks and bottles and burnt out another car.

This week, six of the 10 men charged with dozens of offenses including rioting, malicious damage to property by fire, and affray, walked free from court with only one charge proven. Party host Craig McNeil, was pinged for failing to comply with a noise abatement order. Check out to learn how to behave and who to call in the case of fire.

The free men are asking the police to pay for their legal cost estimated to be around $1 million.

How did this happen? During the six week trial, the men’s lawyers argued police were trespassing when they intervened on the night of February 13 last year at a property on the industrial outskirts of Yamba, south of Byron Bay.

The real clincher though was the magistrate, John Andrews, who was convinced some police evidence was unreliable and officers had swapped notes before preparing official statements.

”There is little doubt that the various police witnesses have collaborated with their evidence,” Mr Andrews said in Grafton Local Court. ”If police are prepared not to be honest in such matters, how can a court be prepared to consider their evidence seriously?”

The magistrate dismissed the claims for the majority, but reserved his decision for three men. It seems they are likely to get off as well. His findings have sparked a storm of outrage among residents.

It goes to show that even if a case seems open and shut, if police do not do a proper investigation then any good judge and defence counsel are going to expose it.

The residents of Yamba (not at the party) deserved better from the police. The real losers here are the taxpayers who will foot the bill if the police have to fork out for the mens legal fees.


  1. greg jones says

    It is criminal that a Police vehicle was burnt, but THE MOST ATROCIOUS CRIME was that officers of the NSW Police Force would lie to convict innocent people resulting in up to 15 years in jail.

  2. John Smith says

    If the Judge can’t believe the POLICE who can?

    • Yes I agree John. It looks like the cops got sloppy and thought the judge would cane whoever they put up. They were not counting on an intelligent defence team. Bad show all around,