Former North Coast cop sues police force for negligence

A FORMER Brunswick Heads police officer has been granted permission start legal proceedings for negligence against the State of New South Wales for allegedly causing him to suffer chronic post traumatic stress disorder.

Eric Fleming joined the force in Sydney in 1995 after leaving his post as a submariner with the Royal Australian Navy and was transferred to Brunswick Heads in 2000.

He reported feelings of anxiety to a senior officer after attending a fatal crash on the Pacific Hwy in 2004.

Two years later, he was hit by a car while performing random breath tests on the same highway and suffered major injuries to his shoulder.

Fleming remained a police officer until a psychiatrist diagnosed him with PTSD in 2007.

In pre-trial cross-examination, the court heard claims Fleming had previously told a psychologist his PTSD stemmed from his time in the Navy, during which two of his friends drowned.

It also heard he had withdrawn an earlier Department of Veterans Affairs disability pension claim, but he denied it was because he heard the government had subpoenaed his doctor's records.

The State argued the case should be disallowed because the current claim was made in November last year, outside the usual three-year limitation period following the injury.

District Court Judge Phillip Mahony found Fleming had received poor legal advice and was not told about the limitation period and granted him leave to proceed with the lawsuit.

A date for trial has not been set.


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