AN INQUEST into the death of Collarenebri man Mark Edward Mason has found he died as a result of gunshot wounds following a confrontation with police officers.
The finding from Deputy State Coroner Hugh Dillon this week shocked the man’s family, many of whom were visibly distressed on exiting Dubbo Coroner’s Court.
Mason, 44, died from two gunshots after an incident with five police officers on November 11, 2010. He was sought for questioning after allegedly making threats to hisgirlfriend Stacey Adams with a knife.
Mason led police on a car chase before crashing into the police vehicle and threatening officers with a tyre lever at 10 Barwon St, Collarenebri.
The closing of the inquest had been held over to yesterday after a three-day hearing in June last year.
Senior Constable Michael Bobako, who fired the fatal shots, was due to appear as a witness before the closing statements. However, the counsels decided before the day’s proceedings it would not be conducive to the hearing.
Statements about Mason’s character were made by three family members before a slideshow of photographs was played in his memory.
Peggy Dwyer, counsel assisting the coroner, next outlined five key questions to arise from the case regarding justification of the search and gunshots, and whether a sufficient plan for Mason’s arrest had been in place.
John Nicholson SC, on behalf of the Mason family, told the court the second shot fired on Mason was unjustified. He said police procedure was to assess, look around the room, reassess, then, if necessary, shoot again.
“Between the first and second shots, nothing, it was ‘bang, bang’,” Mr Nicholson said.
Counsel for Senior Constable Bobako Brent Haverfield said in a brief closing statement it was
inconclusive as to when shots were fired within the room.
Ray Hood, counsel for NSW Police and the commissioner, concluded his case by saying all police wanted was for Mason to drop the tyre lever.
“The one thing Mason didn’t do is drop the weapon,” he said.
About four members walked out after the coroner announced the
formal findings, one shouting insults at police supporters.