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Sydney cop jailed for assault and lies

Like the criminals he used to arrest for a living, Sydney police officer Mark Follington left court in the back of a prison van.

The senior constable, who maintains his innocence, was on Wednesday jailed for two-and-a-half years for assaulting a woman during a violent arrest and then lying about what occurred.

The 61-year-old said he arrested Anya Bradford in May 2019 after becoming suspicious her “attitude” in a Liverpool pub’s gaming room was akin to people subject of arrest warrants.

“She was keeping her eyes down … that starts to send a signal to me that this person is trying to hide from me,” he testified.

After he asked for ID and was told to “f*** off, he physically prevented her departure and shoved her into an ATM.

Follington then wrote a summary of the events to support three charges of Ms Bradford assaulting police.

However, the CCTV told another story.

Magistrate Michael Crompton in May found the officer’s narrative was intentionally false and constituted criminal offences of doing an act intending to pervert the course of justice and tampering with evidence with intent to mislead a judicial tribunal.

Those two offences were deemed the most serious of Follington’s five crimes, making up the bulk of the 30-month head sentence the Downing Centre Local Court imposed on Wednesday.

Follington, who was also convicted of two counts of assault and unlawful modification of police data, will be eligible for parole in 18 months’ time.

He was unsuccessful in having the sentence stayed, pending conviction appeals to the District Court.

Ms Bradford’s mother said Follington’s continued denials hurt more than anything else.

“There’s no ‘I’m sorry for what I’ve done’,” Elizabeth Bradford told reporters outside court.

“That appeal to me is like a slap in the face … we’ve all seen that the proof is there – it’s just black and white.”

Justice has been served and her daughter was “thrilled” by the sentence but the effects of the violent, unlawful arrest still linger.

“(Anya) does see officers and she doesn’t, like you or anyone, you wouldn’t see them the same way,” Ms Bradford said.

Key to the prosecution case was CCTV showing the encounter from the moment Follington and his junior officer walked into Liverpool’s Golden Fleece Hotel until Anya Bradford was taken away by police.

The magistrate said the footage “clearly” showed the officer’s quick and forceful push of Ms Bradford into the ATM, followed by her kicking him at a time she was being unlawfully arrested.

Ms Bradford broke free but was caught in the foyer of another building, where she had a pre-arranged appointment.

As she was led away in handcuffs, Follington shoved his forearm under Ms Bradford’s jaw forcing her head up.

A claim for compensation is set to be filed on Ms Bradford’s behalf against the state over the “egregious wrongful act by police”, her lawyer Peter O’Brien told AAP.

“When someone gives evidence in a case like this, it can be at an enormous personal expense,” O’Brien Criminal & Civil Solicitors’ principal solicitor said.

“It is a very difficult and challenging thing to do because you are faced, as an individual, against the might of the state.”

Follington is suspended without pay, having continued receiving a salary before he was found guilty.

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