Police officer David Jenkin has been acquitted by a jury, after a three-week trial where it was alleged he bashed a woman in her home 22 years ago.
Leading Senior Constable Jenkin, who is now 49 and based at Myrtleford, closed his eyes tight and breathed heavily when the last of the four not-guilty verdicts was announced yesterday in Melbourne County Court.
He had been charged with offences including intentionally causing serious injury to Corinna Horvath when he arrested the then 21-year-old woman at her Hastings home.
The 12 members of the jury returned their verdict after 3pm on Friday, after they had started deliberating on Thursday afternoon.
Ms Horvath, who was in court with two supporters, had her head down when she heard the verdicts.
Jenkin had claimed he needed to use force to subdue and arrest the woman on the night of March 9, 1996.
His argument was that the force used for three punches was justified, particularly when considering he had a tenth of a second to react to her aggressive resistance.
Friend of Ms Horvath’s, who were at the house for a barbecue that day, gave evidence they saw him throw between six and 10 punches.
She suffered a broken nose and bruises to her face and body after allegedly being punched, and complications with a blood clot forced her to be admitted to hospital a week later for five days.
The case had gone through a long history including an internal police inquiry, civil court proceedings and a United Nations investigation.
The court put a suppression order on these details while the trial was being conducting in front of the jury.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee found in May 2014 that Victoria Police breached the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” by failing to pay compensation to Ms Horvath.
In September that year, then chief commission Ken Lay apologised for Jenkin’s actions.
"I deeply regret what occurred and sincerely apologise for the injuries you suffered as a result," he said.
"I have approved an ex-gratia payment ... as full and final payment to you by way of compensation and hope / trust the payment, coupled with this apology, helps provide closure for you."