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Lawyer calls for Taser ban

Lawyer calls for Taser ban

A prominent defence lawyer has called for the use of Tasers by Australian police to be immediately halted. According to Brisbane based lawyer Jim Coburn, the use of Tasers in Australia can…

A prominent defence lawyer has called for the use of Tasers by Australian police to be immediately halted.

According to Brisbane based lawyer Jim Coburn, the use of Tasers in Australia can simply not be justified.

"I don't believe the police use any restraint in the way they apply the use of Tasers," the partner at national firm Ryan & Bosscher told Lawyers Weekly.

"They are not properly trained in its use and not properly educated on what the possible effects are on its victims," he said.

Coburn, who has criticised the police use of Tasers and the use of police force generally in the past, made his comments in the wake of the death of a NSW man on Tuesday morning. The man, who was allegedly drunk at the time and carrying two knives, was tasered after two officers at the scene allege they were confronted by him.

A Taser stun gun can deliver a 50,000-vot electric shock to its victims.

NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione defended the actions of the police involved and the use of Tasers, believing it might have saved lives.

However, civil liberties groups and the NSW Ombudsman have raised concerns about the use of stun guns by police.

"When first introduced, Tasers were intended to be used as a non-lethal device, as an alternative to using a gun," Coburn said. "With people having died after being hit with a Taser, it clearly demonstrates that is not a sufficient way to subdue someone and can be a lethal weapon."

Seven people have died globally after being hit with a Taser gun in the last two years. Four of those have been in Australia.

Following the latest death in Australia, the WA Crime and Corruption Commission released footage of an Aboriginal man being repeatedly tasered. The man was unarmed and tasered up to 13 times after refusing a police request to be strip searched. Both the WA Premier, Colin Barnett and the Attorney-General, Christian Porter, criticised the actions of police.

Porter has not ruled out criminal charges being brought against the police involved.

Guidelines regarding the use of Tasers vary across all the police forces in Australia. In NSW, WA, Queensland and the Northern Territory, general duties police have access to Tasers under certain circumstances.

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