Inquiry into NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon Abuse of Paramedics
A parliamentary hearing into NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Mal Lanyon has heard he engaged in a drunken tirade against a paramedic.
NSW Police commissioner Mick Fuller also appeared at the hearing and said he was "disappointed" in Mr Lanyon's actions.
Mr Fuller engaged in a tense back and forth with politicians including Greens MP David Shoebridge.
It is unclear whether any disciplinary action will be taken against Mr Lanyon and he has not been charged with any offences.
Ambulance Report on Mal Lanyon Incident
The incident occurred on 24 February 2021 in Goulburn, where Mr Lanyon had been present for a police attestation ceremony.
A NSW Ambulance report that was released to parliament said paramedics had been called to attend to "an unconscious patient".
Paramedics found an "intoxicated" Mal Lanyon sitting on a pathway "unsteadily ... and mumbling words, clearly unaware of his location".
The report also said that other police officers had to help the deputy police commissioner to his feet and walk him towards a stretcher.
It went on to state, "The patient became more defiant to my requests and then told me to 'f*** off'. I said 'don't swear at me, I don't come to work to be sworn at.' The patient (then) turned towards me as if he wanted to shape up and strike me."
No charges were laid over the incident, despite the paramedic feeling he was about to be the victim of a common assault.
Mr Lanyon then insisted on phoning "Dominic". This was a reference to the CEO of NSW Ambulance Dominic Morgan.
Mr Morgan answered the second phone call from the deputy police commissioner and had a "brief conversation" with him. Mr Lanyon then handed the phone to the paramedic.
According to the ambulance report, "Dominic said, 'do you realise who you have in the ambulance with you?' as if to imply it was someone of a high standing."
The paramedic said, "No, I don't, it does not matter, I treat everyone the same".
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller Speaks on Mal Lanyon
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller admitted to parliament that Mr Lanyon had "brought the office into question" by collapsing drunk and then swearing at paramedics who tried to help him.
He also said that deputy police commissioner Mal Lanyon had received counselling for his behaviour following the incident.
"I'm disappointed that Mr Lanyon obviously brought the office into question...He is a decorated police officer, he is a very experienced police officer, and he should have known better."
David Shoebridge Questions Police Commissioner Mick Fuller
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller was also questioned about the incident at a previous parliamentary hearing in March 2021.
There, he said that Mr Lanyon had told him the reason he required the assistance of paramedics was that he had suffered a "medical episode".
This was in stark contrast to the report of the paramedic.
Mr Fuller told parliament, "(Alcohol consumption) was not attributed to his medical episode. He had an episode that was related to either low blood pressure or low blood sugar. He was disorientated and he just wanted to return back to his room."
The police commissioner did admit that Mal Lanyon had told him he had been drinking alcohol, but that inebriation hadn't been a factor in the incident.
"No, that was not attributed to his medical episode. Had he consumed alcohol? Yes," Mick Fuller had said in March.
However at the most recent parliamentary hearing, Greens MP David Shoebridge pressed Mr Fuller on that previous testimony. He noted that the ambulance report showed Mr Lanyon's blood pressure was "healthy".
Mr Fuller replied he had spoken to the NSW Ambulance CEO.
"The CEO of (NSW) Ambulance said his information was consistent with what could have been low blood pressure. So, really, you know, from that perspective I think it's reasonable. I didn't just let this lie, I actually contacted the CEO of (NSW) Ambulance."
The police commissioner told the hearing that he had personally "counselled" Mr Lanyon over the incident.
Significantly, he also said that he would not seek to investigate the matter further unless he would receive "any additional information".
The matter has been referred to the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission which had told Mr Fuller that NSW Police should handle the matter.
Given the incident occurred in Goulburn, any charges would be heard at Goulburn Local Court. Given the paramedic's account that Mal Lanyon turned towards him as if he wanted to strike him, a charge of intimidation could be laid.
Section 13 of the Act sets out that if you knowingly cause a person to fear for their safety or the safety of another, you can be guilty of an offence. The most common example of intimidation is making threats to another person.
You can beat an intimidationcharge in two ways. Firstly, the prosecution must prove each of the following beyond reasonable doubt:
- you harassed, molested, made repeated phone calls, text messages,
- You knew or should have known that your conduct would cause the person to fear physical or mental harm
If any of these elements are not made out, then you can be found 'not guilty'. There is no need for Police to prove that the alleged victim actually fears physical or mental harm. That is why it is important to consult and experienced criminal lawyer for intimidation charges. You can contact Astor Legal on (02) 7804 2823 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following defences to intimidation may allow you to be found not guilty:
- Intent: you did not intend to cause fear to the alleged victim.
- Identification: Police cannot prove you were responsible for the stalking or intimidation. This includes if they cannot prove you were responsible for sending any messages
- Duress: You were forced to commit the offence
- Necessity: Your actions were necessary in the circumstances
If this is your first offence, you will generally be dealt with more leniently by the Court. A list of 2259 first offence Stalk Intimidate sentencing cases in the Local Court provides some insight as to what your sentence will be. Almost half of the first time offenders are dealt with by way of a good behaviour bond with a conviction.
In fact, almost three quarters of first time offenders receive a criminal conviction. That is why it is important that you consult an experienced criminal lawyer who can provide you with advice specific to your case and persuade a Magistrate or Judge to give you a Section 10 dismissal.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.