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Cop punched by 'friendly fire': court

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016 Miranda Forster

A NSW police officer who made assault allegations against a man in custody was later overheard saying the assault may have been "friendly fire" from another policeman.

Senior Constable Mark Woolven was heard in an intercepted phone conversation conceding to his legal representative that it was "quite evident" on CCTV footage that Ballina man Corey Barker didn't assault his colleague Senior Constable David Ryan Hill.

Audio from the phone conversation was played at the trial of Woolven, 45, and five other officers in the District Court in Sydney on Thursday.

In the November 2011 conversation, Woolven briefs Lynne Hughes, who was to be his representative at a Police Integrity Commission hearing into allegations Mr Barker was unfairly assaulted at the Ballina police station in January 2011.

Woolven and the five other officers said Mr Barker had punched Hill in sworn statements that were used in a bid to prosecute him for assault.

But months later, after CCTV footage emerged, Woolven told Ms Hughes it was "quite evident" on the vision that Mr Barker hadn't punched Hill.

"I saw someone hit a police officer and I naturally thought it was him ... but it turned out it wasn't him, I think it was friendly fire from another police officer trying restrain (Mr Barker)," Woolven said.

In another phone tap, the officer was heard complaining to an unidentified man about the pressure he was under, saying "I got PICs crawling over my arse in relation to that Ballina s*** fight."

He said, "They reckon there's discrepancies in my statement" but "the good thing" was he'd never given the evidence in court.

"If it does go there ... I'll just say, well, what statement? I prepared a statement but I wasn't prepared to give that evidence in court, I changed my mind," he told the man.

Woolven and Hill, 36, Constables Ryan Charles Eckersley, 36, and Luke Christopher Mewing, 30, Probationary Constable Lee David Walmsley, 26, and Sergeant Robert Campbell McCubben, 49, are accused of trying to pervert the course of justice.

Hill, Eckersley, Mewing and Walmsley are also charged with assaulting Mr Barker and lying in court.

The trial continues.

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