Taser inquest's sad, silent witness
Spare seats have been hard to come by in Glebe Coroner's Court over the past two weeks. Top barristers, dozens of police, reporters from around the world and distraught family members have packed the courtroom for the high-profile inquest into the death of the Brazilian student Roberto Laudisio Curti.
Spare seats have been hard to come by in Glebe Coroner's Court over the past two weeks. Top barristers, dozens of police, reporters from around the world and distraught family members have packed the courtroom for the high-profile inquest into the death of the Brazilian student Roberto Laudisio Curti.At the back of the room, another family has quietly watched on. Kate Bosevski lost her brother, Steven, in eerily similar circumstances.The rugby league fan was violently restrained and handcuffed after attacking police during a brawl at St George Leagues Club following their grand final win in 2010. Police struck him five times with a baton, including once when he was motionless on the ground.Both Mr Bosevski and Mr Curti had taken drugs the nights they died. Both struggled with the police. Both were left face down in handcuffs on the ground. And both stopped breathing minutes later.Yet, after two years and two inquests, the Bosevski family is still waiting for answers. A coroner is yet to make any recommendations and The Sun-Herald understands no date has been fixed for the findings to be handed down.Police officers involved told the 2011 inquest they had used capsicum spray and Tasers on Mr Bosevski's two brothers, who had been extremely aggressive. One officer said he didn't put Mr Bosevski into the recovery position because he feared he would assault them.Desperate for more information, Ms Bosevski took time off work last week and quietly sat in Glebe Coroner's Court, often with tears in her eyes."It's so distressing seeing another family go through this again," she said. "What if 16 months ago something had been enforced or recommended? Roberto might still be here."Ms Bosevski has read thousands of pages about tactical weapons, positional asphyxia and police training. Her family has spent close to $100,000 on the top barrister Winston Terracini, SC.Mr Bosevski's twin brother, Steve, 36, has become a shell of himself. His father was in an intensive-care unit after seeing footage of his son's final moments and his mother has been unwell, too.Neither his parents nor his two brothers could bring themselves to talk to The Sun-Herald.But recommendations are not what the Bosevski family wants."We didn't spend my parents' retirement money to go to court for some recommendations, we want justice," Ms Bosevski said. "What affects my mother the most is that her son is six feet under while these people are still walking around looking at the sun. Whether they wear a badge or not, they took this person's life."In an emotional address to Glebe Coroner's Court this week, Mr Curti's sister Ana Luisa Laudisio de Lucca said she feared the police would be "too arrogant and too proud" to change.Her brother "Beto" was chased by 11 officers in the early hours of March 18 after he jumped the counter of a convenience store in an LSD-induced psychotic state and took two packets of biscuits.He was hit by a Taser nine times and restrained using three cans of capsicum spray, handcuffs, a baton and "half a tonne" of officers."We know that nothing is going to bring Beto back but it would be good to think there was a purpose to what happened to him," she said.Counsel for the NSW Police Force, Bruce Hodgkinson, SC, told the State Coroner, Mary Jerram, change was happening. Guidelines for Taser and capsicum spray use were under review after Mr Curti's death, he said.After Ms Jerram hands down her findings on November 14, Ms Laudisio and Ms Bosevski will meet for a coffee and share in the pain of losing the brothers they loved.