Written by Peter CarterUpdated on July 20, 2020
Gable Tostee is suing the state for $300K in damages, claiming he was assaulted and wrongfully arrested by police.
The accused ‘tinder killer’ – who now goes by the name Eric Thomas – was acquitted last year of all wrongdoing in connection with Warriena Wright’s 2014 plunge to her death from the railing of a Surfers paradise high rise.
Thomas contends – in a claim lodged in Brisbane’s District Court on November 23 – the arresting officer said he was being charged for “being a d—head” before asking, “do you want me to throw you on the ground?”
Two officers allegedly punched him, wrestled him to the ground and sprayed capsicum spray in his face – before then proclaiming that he was being arrested “for being a f—wit”.
He says he was then forcibly moved to the back of a police vehicle and held in a Gold Coast watch house overnight.
If the above account is disputed by the officers concerned, a trial of Thomas’ allegations will proceed in the coming months.
Thomas was charged with public nuisance and for obstructing a police officer. He denied those charges – as well as his complicity in Wright’s fall – and after police offered no supporting evidence, the charges were dropped.
His claim now depends on proving the police used excessive physical force and verbal intimidation that was not justified or excused in the circumstances. His technical contentions are that the officers’ actions amounted to assault, battery, false imprisonment and deprivation of liberty.
Having sustained; dental damage and injuries to his jaw, wrist, neck, thumb, and toe – as well as PTSD – he seeks $150k in compensatory damages.
He also asks for a further $150k in aggravated damages to reflect the law’s disapproval of his high-handed treatment and for the humiliation and distress he suffered.
The Queensland Police Service is yet to comment on the matter.