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Australian Police Officer Charged with Manslaughter in Taser Incident Involving Elderly Man

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Geeta Pillai
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Australian Police Officer Charged with Manslaughter in Taser Incident Involving Elderly Man

In a shocking incident that has sparked a nationwide debate, a 95-year-old Australian man, Clare Nowland, was tasered by a police officer during a confrontation at a nursing home, leading to his death. The officer, Senior Constable Kristian White, has been charged with manslaughter, raising serious concerns about police conduct and the use of force, especially in situations involving vulnerable individuals such as the elderly.

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Incident That Led to Manslaughter Charges

The incident occurred on 17 May 2023 at the Yallambee Lodge nursing home in Cooma. Reportedly, Nowland was armed with two kitchen knives and had thrown one. Upon arrival, it is alleged that White discharged his taser, causing Nowland to fall and fracture his skull. He died a week later on 24 May.

Legal Proceedings and Public Response

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The manslaughter charges against White, 33, were laid six months after the tragic incident. He had previously been charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm, and common assault. The upgraded charge of manslaughter suggests that the officer's actions may have been excessive or inappropriate, leading to Nowland's death.

White remains suspended from duty with pay and is set to face court proceedings to determine the legality and appropriateness of his actions. He is scheduled to appear before the Cooma Local Court on 6 December. The case has drawn attention, as it touches on issues of police conduct, the use of tasers, and the treatment of older citizens in confrontational situations.

Implication on Police Conduct and Use of Force

This case has raised critical questions about the use of tasers and force by police officers, particularly in situations involving elderly and vulnerable individuals. It has also highlighted the need for comprehensive guidelines and training for officers in dealing with such scenarios, to prevent such tragic incidents in the future.

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