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Friendlyjordies producer Kristo Langker considers civil action over NSW arrest

Henri Scott

July 6, 2023

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Original Source: The Guardian, Michael McGowan

Langker’s lawyer says the government should report the arrest to the state’s police watchdog

Kristo Langker (right) is considering a civil suit over his arrest by NSW police. Photograph: Dean Lewins/AAP

Friendlyjordies producer Kristo Langker is considering launching a civil case against the New South Wales police after charges laid against him for allegedly stalking the former deputy premier John Barilaro were dropped last week.

While Langker hasn’t ruled out filing a complaint with the state’s police watchdog, his solicitor, Mark Davis, told the Guardian on Thursday that it should be the government that refers the “utterly frivolous” case.

The comments come after the attorney general, Mark Speakman, told parliament on Wednesday he would wait to see whether “private citizens” would refer the matter before considering doing so himself.

In June last year, the Guardian revealed 21-year-old Langker had been arrested at his home in Dulwich Hill and charged with allegedly stalking and intimidating Barilaro, after the then politician was allegedly approached at an event at Macquarie University and following the funeral of rugby league immortal Bob Fulton.

The charges came just weeks after Barilaro sued Langker’s boss, the FriendlyJordies’ comedian Jordan Shanks, for defamation over what he described as a series of “vile and racist” videos that had brought him into “public disrepute, odium, ridicule and contempt”.

In November last year Barilaro received an apology and legal costs, but no damages, when the lawsuit was settled out of court.

Langker was charged with four counts of stalking or intimidating with intent to cause fear or physical harm by the NSW police’s fixated persons unit. A hearing was due in May this year after Langker plead not guilty.

But police last week sensationally dropped the case, with the NSW police ordered to pay costs of $12,000 to Langker’s legal team.

In NSW parliament budget estimates on Wednesday, Speakman was asked whether the case would be referred to the state’s police watchdog, the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission.

Speakman told the hearing he believed there was “a fair chance” a referral would be made by another party, and that if that happened “I would not need to take further action”.

But he did not rule out referring the arrest himself, saying if a complaint wasn’t made “then I will consider what is appropriate”.

“I will see what private citizens do in the near future. If they do not, I will consider what action I should take in terms of a referral to the LECC,” he said.

Speaking to the Guardian on Thursday, Davis did not rule out making a referral to the LECC, but hinted Langker is more likely to pursue a civil case against police over the case.

“We’re not directly pursuing the LECC at this moment, we’ve got other recourse,” he said.

“We will be seeking recourse for damages on not just Kristo but his family and the deep and genuine trauma for what they have endured over what in our view was an utterly frivolous … charge.”

Davis suggested the attorney general should make the referral himself, saying: “It is a political issue and it’s something the parliament should be concerned about.

“The LECC is an appropriate agency if anyone in parliament has concerns they should compel it to them,” he said.

“It’s not our intention right at the moment to make a complaint to what is essentially another police agency.

“Kristo and his family have been treated in the shabbiest manner imaginable and they don’t have great faith in any police agency.”

Following his arrest, Langker’s lawyers claimed his mother had been assaulted during the arrest.

Video footage uploaded to YouTube of the arrest includes a period of commotion in which the camera is lowered, and his mother can be heard exclaiming she was knocked over and that a police officer had assaulted her.

A police officer can be heard in the video denying that accusation, saying he tripped over.

Police have previously declined to comment on the assault allegation.

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Written By Henri Scott

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