Nurse who had a GUN pulled on her by police is handed $115,000 in compensation

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A middle-aged NSW woman has been awarded $115,000 after police pulled a gun on her and capsicum-sprayed her dog after a low-speed pursuit.

Lydia Owlstara was arrested in 2013 for driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle, while unlicensed, and failing to stop for police.

She had been followed by a police car for about three kilometres in southwest Sydney until she turned into her driveway in Douglas Park, stopping in her garage.

Lydia Owlstara was arrested in 2013 for driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle, while unlicensed, and failing to stop for police

Lydia Owlstara was arrested in 2013 for driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle, while unlicensed, and failing to stop for police

The highway patrol officer, Senior Constable Christopher Hurtak, ran into the garage with his gun drawn, ordering her to leave her car, while knowing she was alone and ‘neither young nor agile’, NSW Court of Appeal Justice John Basten said in a judgment published on Tuesday.

‘At his direction, she walked to the rear of her car, with him moving away from her backwards, with his gun pointed at her chest,’ he added.

‘He then told her to face the car whilst he handcuffed her hands behind her back.’

Ms Owlstara was released on bail after about six hours in custody.

During that time she was treated by an ambulance officer for vomiting which the appeal court found may have been contributed to by the officer directing capsicum spray at her dog.

During court proceedings Sen Const Hurtak claimed he thought Ms Owlstara was holding a knife, but the appeal court found at least part of his account of events in the garage could not be correct.

The highway patrol officer, Senior Constable Christopher Hurtak, ran into the garage with his gun drawn, ordering her to leave her car, while knowing she was alone and 'neither young nor agile', NSW Court of Appeal Justice John Basten said

The highway patrol officer, Senior Constable Christopher Hurtak, ran into the garage with his gun drawn, ordering her to leave her car, while knowing she was alone and ‘neither young nor agile’, NSW Court of Appeal Justice John Basten said

‘It is simply not possible to fit into 19 seconds all of the conversation which the constable said took place between him and the appellant after he opened the car door,’ Justice Anthony Meagher said..

Justice Basten said the circumstances did not warrant pointing the gun at Ms Owlstara’s chest or handcuffing her.

Ms Owlstara, a nurse by training, had returned home the previous day after spending months caring for a terminally ill friend in Muswellbrook.

She pleaded guilty in 2014 to driving an unregistered and uninsured vehicle, while unlicensed, and failing to stop when directed. A magistrate accepted her pleas but dismissed the charges.

She later brought claims against the state for assault, battery and false imprisonment.

The appeal court on Tuesday ordered the state government pay Ms Owlstara $115,000 in compensation, overturning an earlier decision in the District Court.

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