Dashcam footage and audio recordings showing a police officer allegedly shooting a man three times from point blank range, and then planting a knife on his body, have been put to a Melbourne court.
Leading Senior Constable Timothy Howard Baker, 44, is accused of murdering Vlado Micetic, 46, on August 25, 2013, after pulling him over for a routine traffic stop on Union Street in Windsor.
The Crown alleges Mr Baker killed Mr Micetic before taking a small flick-knife from his own pocket and putting it near the body.
The video was shown on the first day of Mr Baker’s committal hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates Court, during which a magistrate must decide whether Mr Baker will stand trial for murder.
From his unmarked police car, Mr Baker saw Mr Micetic and a female passenger driving in a car with stolen plates. He flicked on the lights and sirens, and Mr Micetic pulled over and got out.
The police dashcam footage is grainy, and the figures are illuminated only by the police car’s headlights. It was played to a full court including many supporters of Mr Micetic.
What goes on in the dark and grainy footage will be key to the hearing.
Mr Baker appears to struggle to restrain and handcuff Mr Micetic, before Mr Micetic falls to the ground.
Mr Micetic then gets up, and the two men go out of view of the camera before three shots are heard.
Audio from Mr Baker’s voice recorder during the attempted arrest was also played. The officer tells Mr Micetic “Do as you’re told. I don’t want to use force… Do it until I figure out what’s going on”.
“Put your hands behind your back. You’ve done this before,”
Mr Micetic later says “What are you doing this for? You’re going to get in trouble. You’re going to lose your job.”
The court heard Mr Baker later told police he had wrestled with Mr Micetic, who was resisting arrest.
“We wrestled and I saw the knife. I had the spray out, but it was too close to use. I had my gun out and yeah,” Crown Prosecutor Andrew Tinney told the court Mr Baker had said to police.
He said there was “nothing to suggest” Mr Baker had ever reached for his canister of pepper spray, and described Mr Baker’s story about the knife as a “fabrication”.
“During the entire time Mr Micetic was in view [of the camera] … There was nothing to indicate that [Mr Micetic] reached his hand into his pocket or any other part of clothing. At no time could he be seen to be in possession of a knife,” the prosecutor told the court.
“At no time before shooting did the accused say anything about the deceased’s possession of a knife.”
Analysis had been carried out on Mr Baker’s audio recorder, and a specialist had discovered a sound like a flick-knife being opened – a full 15 seconds after the first gunshot was fired, the prosecutor told the court.
The knife had a mixed DNA profile on it, but part of that profile likely included Mr Baker’s DNA, the prosecutor said.
During cross-examination of witnesses, the court heard that Mr Micetic drank a large amount of whisky on the day he was killed, and was very intoxicated when he was arrested.
One of Mr Micetic’s relatives also told the court he kept several knives at his property. He suffered from paranoia and schizophrenia, the relative told the court.
But the relative denied the suggestion by Mr Baker’s counsel that Mr Micetic’s nickname was “knifeman”.
The committal before magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg continues.
136 total views, 1 views today