Mark Anthony GARNER
AKA BAM BAM
Late of ?
NSW Goulburn Police Academy Class # 227
New South Wales Police Force
ProCst # 98395
Regd. # 23922
Rank: Commenced Training at Goulburn Police Academy on Wednesday 1 April 1987
Probationary Constable – appointed 26 June 1987
( was still a ProCst in 1989 )
Final Rank = Detective Senior Sergeant
Stations: ?, Nyngan, Bourke ( SenCon – Sgt ), Castle Hill, Negotiators Course, State Protection Security Unit ( S.P.S.U. ), Tweed Heads – Retirement
Service: From 1 April 1987 to 21 November 2011 ( Suspended ) – 21 November 2013 ( Retired ) = 26+ years Service
Awards: No find on It’s An Honour
Born: Tuesday 18 February 1964
Died on: Sunday 19 May 2019
Cause: Heart attack in his sleep
Event location: ?
Event date: ?
Funeral date: Friday 31 May 2019 @ 11am
Funeral location: Tweed Valley Cemetery, 813 Eviron Rd, Duranbah, NSW
Wake location: Currumbin RSL, 165 Duringan St, Currumbin, Qld
Funeral Parlour: ?
Buried at: ?
Memorial located at: ?
BAM BAM is NOT mentioned on the Police Wall of Remembrance *NEED MORE INFO
FURTHER INFORMATION IS NEEDED ABOUT THIS PERSON, THEIR LIFE, THEIR CAREER AND THEIR DEATH.
PLEASE SEND PHOTOS AND INFORMATION TO Cal
May they forever Rest In Peace
Inquest into the death of Brenton Hasler at Tweed Heads on the 30 November 2006.
Finding handed down by Deputy State Coroner MacMahon on 30 January 2008.
On Thursday 30 November 2006 police were conducting an operation on the Pacific Highway at Sextons Hill near Banora Point in northern New South Wales. The operation was directed, in part, at detecting unregistered and wanted vehicles.
Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) equipment was being used to assist in this process. S/C Mahaffy was the ANPR operator and S/C Hamilton positioned himself some 225 meters further north along the Pacific Highway at a stopping site. The stopping site was just south of Terranora Road. The operation commenced at about 0830.
S/C Bowmer was also to assist in the operation.
The traffic was very heavy and on his arrival S/C Bowmer decided to facilitate traffic flow by arranging for the traffic lights at the intersection of Terranora Road and the Pacific Highway to be turned off and the traffic managed manually.
S/C Bowmer parked the police vehicle he was driving at the ANPR stopping site near that of S/C Hamilton. As this was occurring a rider was travelling on the Pacific Highway on a Honda VFR 750 motorcycle. He was negotiating through the traffic and was overtaking vehicles on the nearside on the incorrect side of the edge line. This was contrary to the motor traffic laws.
S/c Mahaffy, who advised S/C Hamilton, observed this.
As a result S/C Hamilton stopped what he was doing and walked onto the road and directed the rider to stop. The rider refused and accelerated away.
S/C Hamilton yelled to S/C Bowmer to stop the rider and S/C Bowmer having returned to his vehicle followed him. By this time the rider was out of sight.
S/C Bowmer proceeded along the Pacific Highway looking for the rider. After examining a number of side streets S/C Bowmer observed a bike on Darlington Drive, Banora Point, just off the Pacific Highway. He exited the Pacific Highway and followed it.
The bike rapidly increased speed and S/C Bowmer decided to commence a pursuit and did so with lights and sirens operating. Shortly before the intersection of Lochlomond Drive and Darlington Drive the bike left the road and collided with a tree.
S/C Bowmer came on the scene shortly thereafter and provided assistance to the rider. CPR was commenced and an ambulance was called.
On arrival the ambulance officers found the rider to be unconscious, without pulse and not breathing. CPR was continued and he was taken to Tweed Heads Hospital however the rider was declared to be life extinct shortly after his arrival at the hospital.
Elizabeth Alice Hasler subsequently identified the deceased as being her husband Brenton Craig Hasler.
On 2 December 2006 an autopsy was performed at the Department of Forensic Medicine, Newcastle, by Dr. K. Lee, a senior specialist forensic pathologist. Dr Lee found that the cause of Mr. Hasler’s death was multiple injuries.
The role and function of a Coroner is contained in section 22, Coroners Act, 1980 (the Act).
That section, in summary, provides that at the conclusion of an inquest the coroner is to establish, on the basis of the evidence available, the identity of a deceased person together with the date, place and the cause and manner of their death.
Life Extinct Certificate, Dr. B Beal, Tab 1. 5 Identification Statement, Tab 2. 6 Autopsy report, 2 April 2007, 10.at Tab 66.
Section 13 (1) (a) of the Act provides, in addition, that a coroner has jurisdiction to hold an inquest if it appears to the coroner that a person has died a violent or unnatural death.
Section 13A (1) (b) also provides that a coroner who is the State Coroner or a Deputy State Coroner has jurisdiction to conduct an inquest where it appears that deceased died, or there is reasonable cause to suspect that the person has died, as a result of or in the course of a police operation. Section 13A (2) provides that where the jurisdiction to hold an inquest arises under both section 13 and section 13A an inquest is not to be held except by the State Coroner or a Deputy State Coroner.
On the facts as set out above it is apparent that Mr. Hasler’s death was one that came within the meaning of section 13(1)(a) in that it occurred as a result of injuries he sustained in circumstances that appeared to come within the definition as a result of or in the course of a police operation, in this case a police pursuit.
As such either the State Coroner or a Deputy State Coroner is required to conduct the inquest into his death.
Issues for Inquest:
In this inquest the identity of Mr. Hasler together with the date, place and direct cause of his death are not in dispute.
On the evidence available I am comfortably satisfied that Brenton Craig Hasler died on 30 November 2006 at the Tweed Hospital and that the cause of his death was multiple injuries sustained by him when the motorcycle he was riding left the road and collided with a tree.
The manner, or circumstances, of Mr. Hasler’s death was, however, the subject of examination in the course of the Inquest.
The issues inquired into during the course of the inquest were as follows:
• Was Mr. Hasler the rider of the motorcycle that failed to stop when directed to do so by S/C Hamilton?
• Were the circumstances sufficient to justify the commencement of a pursuit?
• What was the applicable police policy?
• Did S/C Bowman comply with the policy, as he understood it, during the course of the pursuit and should he, at any time, have discontinued the pursuit?
• What caused Mr. Hasler to lose control of the motorcycle and did the manner in which S/C Bowman conducted the pursuit cause, or contribute to, that loss of control of the motorcycle?
• Following Mr. Hasler suffering his injuries was assistance provided to him in timely manner?
• Were the NSW Police critical incident guidelines complied with?
• Are there any recommendations that should be made in accordance with section 22A?
During the course of the inquest evidence was taken from the following witnesses
• Senior Constable Brett Andrew Mahaffy (the officer operating the ANPR equipment on the Pacific Highway),
• Senior Constable Troy Anthony Hamilton, (the officer who directed the rider of the motorcycle to stop),
• Michael Francis Murphy (a truck driver in traffic near the ANPR site at the time that the motorcycle rider was directed to stop),
• Sergeant Mark Anthony Garner (a police officer in traffic near the ANPR site at the time that the motorcycle rider was directed to stop),
• Bruce Roy Austen, (who was driving on Darlington Drive in the opposite direction to that of the Mr Hasler and Senior Constable Bowmer and saw the motorcycle lose control)
• Kellie John, (who saw the collision of the bike with the tree from her lounge window which overlooked the park in which it occurred),
• Mark Raymond Rabjones (who saw the incident from his driveway and provided assistance to Mr. Hasler following the collision)
• Senior Constable Paul Bowmer (the officer who conducted the pursuit of the motorcycle rider),
• Inspector David Richard Driver (the officer responsible for the investigation of the death of Mr. Hasler in accordance with the critical incident guidelines).
In addition statements from witnesses not called to give evidence, relevant police policy and guidelines, maps, vehicle inspection reports and diagrams were also made available.
Was Mr. Hasler the rider of the motorcycle that failed to stop when directed to do so by S/C Hamilton?
S/C Hamilton, after the rider of the bike failed to stop as directed, followed in the direction the rider had taken. He subsequently arrived at the site where Mr Hasler had been injured. During evidence he was asked whether Mr. Hasler’s bike was the bike ridden by the rider that had failed to stop as directed. He thought that it had been and explained why he had come to that conclusion.
Sergeant Garner, who had seen the bike on the Pacific Highway and had also seen S/C Hamilton direct it to stop. Sergeant Garner also attended the crash site and had the opportunity to observe Mr. Hasler’s bike. He also was of the view that the bike was the same as that he had observed on the Pacific Highway and gave his reasons during the course of giving evidence.
I accept the evidence of S/C Hamilton and Sergeant Garner on this point and am satisfied that Mr. Hasler was the rider who failed to stop when directed to do so by S/C Hamilton at the ANPR stopping site that morning.
Were the circumstances sufficient to justify the commencement of a pursuit?
Transcript 06/11/2007, 81-82. 8 Transcript 07/11/2007, 210.
Mr Hasler was directed to stop by S/C Hamilton and failed to do so. He then accelerated away. S/C Hamilton gave him the direction to stop as a result of information he had received from S/C Mahaffy. S/C Hamilton then yelled to S/C Bowmer stop the bike after which S/C Bowmer followed the bike. S/C Bowmer did not know why S/C Hamilton wanted the bike to be stopped and gave evidence that when he was able to stop the rider he intended to administer a random breath test while waiting for S/C Hamilton to attend.
There was some debate during the course of the inquest as to when the pursuit of Mr. Hasler commended and I will return to that debate later however on the evidence it is my view that Mr. Hasler’s failure to stop as directed by S/C Hamilton was sufficient to justify efforts to be taken to apprehend him notwithstanding the fact that the officer doing so might not initially know the reasons for S/C Hamilton’s request that they do so.
In any event I accept S/C Bowmer’s evidence that he observed Mr. Hasler accelerating his motorcycle in Darlington Drive to a speed that was well in excess of the speed limit applicable. I consider that at that point S/C Bowmer had sufficient cause based on his own observations, subject to the application of the relevant protocols, to seek to apprehend Mr. Hasler.
What was the applicable police policy?
The guidelines for police pursuits are contained in the NSW Police Safe Driving Policy (the Policy).
The policy deals with the qualifications and experience of police officers authorised to engage in a pursuit and the vehicles that may be used. The evidence, which I accept, is that S/C Bowmer was appropriately qualified and experienced and his vehicle was also appropriately classified to conduct a pursuit. The Policy, at Part 6, deals with Urgent Duty and Pursuits. An urgent duty is defined as being duty ‘which has become pressing or demanding prompt action’.
A pursuit is defined as commencing ‘at the time when you decide to pursue a vehicle that has ignored a direction to stop’
On the commencement of urgent duty or a pursuit the relevant officer is required to make certain notifications to senior officers at VKG and thereafter undertake those duties or the pursuit in accordance with any instructions given by the appropriate senior officer.
Evidence was given at the inquest that the Policy underwent and adjustment by the introduction of a Coded System of Safe Driving from 11 November 2005
That system made it permissible for an officer to perform urgent duty ‘without first informing police radio in the execution of a traffic stop.
Exhibit 3, Tab 69. 10 NSW Police Safe Driving Policy, 29. NSW Police Safe Driving Policy, 30. Exhibit 5.
However, should the driver of the other vehicle attempt to avoid apprehension or appears to be ignoring requests to stop, and a decision is made to pursue the vehicle – then a pursuit has commenced’.
At inquest there was a difference of opinion as to how the relevant policies were to be applied to the circumstances that occurred 30 November 2006.
One view, that held by Counsel assisting and Inspector Driver was that when S/C Bowmer left the ANPR site with the intention of stopping Mr. Hasler a pursuit had commenced and, as a consequence, the obligations provided for in the guidelines came into force. The other view, the one held by S/C Bowmer and apparently other officers, was that he (S/C Bowmer) was able to commence urgent duty until he approached the motorcycle for the purpose of a traffic stop. If, having indicated to the vehicle that it was to stop, he formed the view that other vehicle was attempting to avoid apprehension or appearing to ignore his request to stop, he would have to decide, as he did in this case, if he was going to commence a pursuit. He was of the view that it was only at that time that he would have had to advise VKG that he was in pursuit. In this case the motorcycle rider had refused to stop.
I accept that S/C Bowmer did not know this however it must have been implicit in the circumstances of the ANPR operation and in S/C Hamilton’s call to ‘stop the bike’. That was the basis of S/C Bowmer’s actions in following him.
It was clearly the intention of S/C Bowmer to stop the rider. To follow him to administer a random breath test whilst awaiting S/C Hamilton’s attendance seems to me to be somewhat artificial. I consider that on a reasonable interpretation of the policy the pursuit commenced at the time S/C Bowmer left the ANPR stopping site with the view of stopping the bike.
On that interpretation he was at that time obliged to inform VKG of the pursuit and to implement the other instructions contained in the policy.
As I indicated during the course of the inquest I am not, nor do I intend to be, critical of S/C Bowmer in respect of his interpretation of the policy. It is clear from the findings of other Coroners and the various interpretations placed on the policy during the course of this inquest that the issue of the interpretation of the policy has been a live one for some time.
The introduction of the Coded System of Safe Driving in November 2005 does not, in my view, clarify the obligations of officers that find themselves in such situations. Indeed it is my view that it probably makes it more confusing by adding another element to the equation. The policy needs to be clear and unambiguous so that officers responsible for its implementation are able to act with confidence in situations that they are required to face in their duties. I propose to make a recommendation pursuant to section 22A on this subject.
Coded System of Safe Driving ,2. See Decision of SDSC Magistrate Milledge in William Spence 1 July 2004 and DSC Magistrate Pinch in Colin John Holmes 29 November 2004.
Did S/C Bowman comply with the policy, as he understood it, during the course of the pursuit and should he, at any time, have discontinued the pursuit?
S/C Bowmer gave evidence that having entered Darlington Drive he observed the motorcycle ahead of him and formed the view that the rider was exceeding the speed limit. He also formed the view that the rider had probably seen him and was seeking to avoid apprehension.
At that time S/C Bowmer decided to commence a pursuit. He attempted to contact VKG to advice of the pursuit but was initially unsuccessful but was able to do so some 9 seconds later.
From the VKG records it would seem that there was a period of 21 seconds form the first attempt to advise of the pursuit to the time that S/C Bowmer advised VKG of Mr. Hasler’s collision and of the need for an ambulance.
The shortness of the pursuit is also emphasised by the recordings contained in the in-car video recordings from S/C Bowmer’s vehicle. The pictures in that recording commence at 9.15.37 with a view of Mr Hasler’s motorcycle 160-180 meters ahead of the police vehicle about to take a left hand bend. The motorcycle is then out of sight. At 9.15.51 a splash of water is observed (as Mr. Hasler’s motorcycle passes through a storm water drain).
The inquest has had the opportunity to traverse the route that was travelled and to observe that part of the pursuit that was recorded on the in-car video. We have also had to evidence of a number of witnesses who observed aspects of the pursuit. A police pursuit is, in its nature, dangerous. It is required to be conducted with skill by the officer involved in order to ensure the safety of the general public who might be in the area (particularly-as in this case where it is a residential area), the police involved in the pursuit and, of course, those that are being pursued.
As far as the manner in which S/C Bowmer conducted the pursuit is concerned the evidence establishes to my complete satisfaction that it was performed in a competent fashion and during its short duration no event occurred that would, in my view, have required it to be terminated. There was, as I have indicated above, some delay in S/C Bowmer accessing VKG to advise that a pursuit had commenced however this was minimal and had, as far as I can see, no bearing on the course of the pursuit.
Counsel assisting has suggested that whilst she does not criticise S/C Bowmer she suggests that looked at in hindsight and taking into account all the now known circumstances perhaps the commencement of the pursuit by S/C Bowmer was not appropriate. I feel however that I must try and put myself into the circumstances that existed on 30 November 2006. I cannot second-guess S/C Bowmer. It seems to me that S/C Bowmer’s do not warrant any criticism whatsoever.
Bowmer transcript 7/11/2007 168 Exhibit 3, Tab 19. Exhibit 3, Tab 17.
having regard to S/C Bowmer’s understanding of the policy, and having regard to the circumstances in which he found himself, I am satisfied that the NSW Police Safe Drive Policy was complied with.
Following Mr. Hasler suffering his injuries was assistance provided to him in timely manner?
What caused Mr. Hasler to lose control of the motorcycle and did the manner in which S/C Bowman conducted the pursuit cause, or contribute to, that loss of control of the motorcycle?
Mechanical defect did not contribute to the incident see evidence of Graeme Bruce Lawrie expert vehicle examiner ‘there was no mechanical defect or failure with the vehicle that may have been a contributing factor towards the collision.’
Mr Hasler lost control of the motorcycle when he was unable to negotiate the bend in Darlington Drive. (See evidence of Michio Justin McMillan).
‘It is obvious from the physical evidence available that the motorcycle rider, Hasler, has not anticipated or negotiated this bend. Hasler has braked hard and after skidding the motorcycle has left the road and mounted the raised concrete cutter onto the grass.
’ Mr Hasler was travelling at a great speed. I accept the calculations of S/C Craig Stewart Norton that the motorcycle was travelling at between 129km/h and 135km/h as being indicative of that speed.
Also: Bruce Roy Austin, ‘very, very fast’ Kellie John from her lounge-room: ‘I could hear the bike coming, I assumed it was a bike, it was very loud and so I turned around to look out my window because I was thinking – I could hear them coming very fast and I was thinking how are they going to slow down to go through the roundabout’
S/C Bowmer’s pursuit did not contribute to the loss of control. Statement 21/03/2007 para 2319 Statement 28/12/2006 para 13 and 14. McMillan statement 28/12/2006 para 12. Norton statement 12/01/2007 para 8. Austin 6/11/2007 89 23 John 6/11/2007 98 at 35
I have had the benefit of observing the in-car video and hearing the evidence of those who were present. It is undisputed that S/C Bowmer was travelling some distance behind Mr Hasler and at a slower speed.
It is not suggested, and I find that it was not the case, that S/C Bowmer’s driving or the manner in which he conducted the pursuit contributed to Mr Hasler losing control of the bike.
I am satisfied that the cause of the collision was due to the motorcycle being ridden at excessive speed for the conditions and that on reaching the bend in the road Mr. Hasler was unable to negotiate it thereby losing control, mounting the gutter and thereafter continuing for some time until colliding with a tree.
Were the NSW Police critical incident guidelines complied with?
The relevant policy is the Guidelines for the Management and Investigation of Critical Incidents. That policy was tendered in evidence.
In accordance with the policy Inspector David Richard Driver was appointed to investigate the circumstances of Mr Hasler’s death. That investigation was a detailed and thorough one and a number of recommendations were made that go to police procedures that should be given serious consideration. The investigation identified a number of non-compliances with the guidelines. These are identified in Inspector Drivers report. They did not, in my view, affect the integrity of the investigation of Mr. Hasler’s death. It is, however important that such guidelines be complied with strictly in all critical incident situations as compliance ensures that the best evidence is available for any review that subsequently takes place and, at a minimum will free officers involved from any unjustified criticism.
Brenton Craig Hasler died on 30 November 2006 at the Tweed Heads Hospital. Mr. Hasler’s death resulted from multiple injuries he received when the motorcycle he was riding left the road at speed and collided with a tree during the course of a police Section 22A Recommendation:
To the Commissioner of Police:
1. That the NSW Police Safe Driving Policy and the Coded System of Safe Driving be integrated and reviewed and clarified with a view to ensuring that ambiguity as to the obligations officers who are required to engage in traffic stops, urgent duties and pursuits are removed.
2. That consideration be given to the inclusion of a knife in the equipment carried by highway patrol vehicles to assist officers who find themselves needing to free persons who might be trapped in motor vehicle collisions or other such situations.