A crown prosecutor has accused police of lying in court to protect Myrtleford Senior Constable David Jenkin over an alleged assault 22 years ago.
In his closing address to the jury at Melbourne County Court on Wednesday, prosecutor John Saunders said Jenkin, now 49, acted with “ill-will and malice” when he forced his way into the Hastings home of Corinna Horvath on March 9, 1996.
Jenkin has pleaded not guilty to charges including intentionally causing serious injury – allegedly inflicted with six to 10 punches to her face.
“A 21-year-old woman, or girl, ends up with her nose spread across her face,” Mr Saunders said.
“Mr Jenkin says he punched Ms Horvath three times to her face.
“Remarkably, no police officer in the house saw that happen.”
Guests at Ms Horvath’s home for a barbecue that day gave evidence they saw Jenkin punch her repeatedly.
Jenkin’s statement said he acted when the woman was about to attack his sergeant from behind.
But Mr Saunders dismissed this, saying “I doubt she’s suicidal”.
He said it was not surprising the alleged victim had no memory of what occurred.
The alleged assault occurred the second time Jenkin had been to Ms Horvath’s home that day.
His statement said when he was there an hour earlier to question her about speeding in her unroadworthy car, she was the one who assaulted him with punching, kicking and spitting.
“She flew into a rage, she lunged at me with full force,” Jenkin said.
“I was totally shocked and stunned at her loss of total control.”
Mr Saunders said it was “a bit incredible” a fit policeman would be overpowered by a slight woman and questioned why he did not tell a doctor about being kicked when he complained of back soreness.
He also questioned the inconsistency of some police evidence, particularly Sergeant Frank Smith who said he saw Ms Horvath out the front of the house when police arrived – despite never telling any other inquiries this over the past 22 years.
“You would be very, very skeptical because I suggest his evidence in chief is a lie,” he said.
The force used to break Ms Horvath’s nose and inflict bruising to her face was a downgrade of what could have been used, according to Jenkin’s barrister.
In his closing address, barrister Marcus Dempsey said Jenkin dropped his baton before subduing the violent woman with three punches because he did not want to seriously injure her.
He said there was “a certain rawness and anxiety” to the officer’s notes from the night.
The argument was that the force used to subdue Ms Horvath was justified, particularly when considering Jenkin had a tenth of a second to react to her resistance.
Jenkin’s police partner, now Sergeant Stephen Davidson, was described as “authentic, trustworthy and believable”, but Ms Horvath’s friends as “evasive” in the witness box.
They gave varying accounts of the alleged assault including discrepancies over the number of punches, where the victim was standing and whether she fought back.
“How you’re going to get a coherent account out of that soup I don’t know,” Mr Dempsey said.
He went through Ms Horvath’s own history of violence, which included a prior conviction for assaulting a police officer.
“This is the person, at that time in her life, that he had to deal with. It would not have been easy,” he said.
In contrast, Mr Dempsey said Jenkin followed protocol by reporting the earlier assault on him to his superiors, and it was them who made the decision to re-enter the home with eight officers.
“The last thing he wanted to do was go back to that address, he was shaken,” he said.
The jury is expected to start deliberating over a verdict on Thursday.