Officer had misused firearm in training

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 September, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 September, 2009, 12:00am

The police officer who shot dead a Nepalese man on a Ho Man Tin hillside in March made several wrong decisions during tactics training, including misuse of his firearm, the Coroner's Court heard yesterday.

Constable Hui Ka-ki has been testifying at the inquest into the death of Dil Bahadur Limbu, who he confronted and shot on March 17.

Hui's firearms coach last Friday told the court the officer had opened fire prematurely in a training session a month before Limbu was shot dead.

Additional records on Hui's training performance were submitted.

During an exercise in February 2005, Hui pulled his gun out and fired a single shot, missing the target. The court heard that the exercise had called for the officer to merely maintain readiness and not open fire. His instructor wrote Hui had fired because he was impatient.

In another training exercise in October that year, Hui drew his gun prematurely in a scenario where life was not being threatened, the wrong decision.

In a training session in September last year, Hui used his baton - a mistake because he was only required to assume a position of readiness. He had also failed to take cover.

The lawyer representing the victim's widow, Sony Rai, asked Hui what would have happened if half a dozen officers were at the scene. Hui said they would have subdued him with their bare hands.

In previous testimony, Hui said he drew his gun only when he failed to subdue the victim with his baton and pepper spray. Hui said he fired two shots - the first one missed Limbu and the second hit him in the head. Hui said he fired because he felt his life was under threat and he could not avoid Limbu's attacks.

Hui told the court that officers had to use a level of force higher than what the person confronting them was using in order to exercise control. He said the force used should be appropriate, proportional and reasonable according to the current circumstances.

The widow's lawyer went on to question Hui on why he did not inform his colleague before going uphill after confirming the location of Limbu with the complainant even though he was told by the complainant and a building caretaker he met that Limbu had allegedly assaulted passers-by before.

The court also heard that under police general orders, an officer should obtain assistance whenever possible when dealing with a person suspected to be suffering from a mental disorder, unless it is a matter of life and death.

The orders also state that officers should maintain a high degree of restraint when dealing with the public and use only minimum force to achieve a lawful purpose.

The inquest continues today.




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