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Charging Qld cop was an 'abuse': court

AAP logoAAP 1/08/2016 By Alexandra Patrikios

The decision to charge a Queensland policeman for allegedly drawing his gun on a driver in the state's outback was an "abuse of process" and the case against him shouldn't go ahead, a court has heard.

Stephen Patrick Flanagan, 45, was charged with one count each of common assault and deprivation of liberty after allegedly drawing his firearm on a driver suspected of speeding near Longreach in May 2015.

Lawyers for the currently suspended senior constable pursued an application for a permanent stay of proceedings in the Brisbane Magistrates' Court on Monday, arguing there had been "an abuse of process" when police decided to charge him after conducting their own internal probe.

Barrister Peter Callaghan described it as "a case like no other" and said Flanagan was subjected to an internal disciplinary interview in which his right to silence was "completely overwritten".

"What has happened here is, in effect, discrimination," he told the court.

"No one else is compelled into an interview situation, compelled to answer questions under protest and duress, compelled to be subject to cross-examination then charged by that same person."

He said Flanagan was questioned about his version of events and, by extension, possible defences to potential criminal charges by the officer armed with the power to initiate criminal proceedings.

"It wasn't just a preview, it was a full-on rehearsal of the way cross-examination might transpire," he said.

But prosecutor Jacob Robson questioned if Flanagan had been genuinely prejudiced by the internal processes, which had been documented transparently.

He said the application treated the decision to charge and to prosecute as combined, when the latter ultimately rested with the office of the director of public prosecutions.

Magistrate Judith Daley reserved her decision until Tuesday afternoon.

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