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Monday, November 01, 2010

Tests still out on 28-shot Taser

November 1, 2010
Sarah Elks, The Australian

A CORONER is still waiting for test results to confirm whether a man was shot by police with a Taser 28 times in seven minutes.

The device recorded that the amphetamine-affected man was shot repeatedly by police.

Stephen Keim, counsel assisting Coroner Christine Clements, told the first day of an inquest into the death of Antonio Carmelo Galeano that police at the scene were only aware of the Taser being shot seven times.

Police initially said the 39-year-old -- who died in June last year in the tiny town of Brandon, near Ayr in north Queensland -- had been shot only three times by policeman Craig Myles.

However The Australian revealed in the days following the death, information downloaded from the Taser showed it had been activated 28 times.

Mr Keim said yesterday that tests on the Taser showed it was working "within specifications", but he said the inquest was still waiting on results that would confirm whether each of the 28 shots were effective and whether the data downloaded from the device was correct.

Mr Keim told the coroner she would have to consider Galeano's heart condition, the amphetamines in his system, the impact of the Taser on his heart, the physical stress of the situation and whether being restrained by police for more than nine minutes after the tasering may have affected his breathing.

The Townsville court heard that police arrived at the small duplex in Brandon at 2.50am on June 12. Galeano's girlfriend, Sandra Wynne, had called police after he pulled some of her hair out and began destroying the unit and her furniture.

Constable Myles spotted Galeano through a broken bathroom window. Mr Keim said he was "chanting slogans" and was not responding to commands.

The police officer drew his Taser, warned Galeano, and then proceeded to shoot him at least three times. He later moved inside and shot Galeano a further three times.

The inquest continues today, when Ms Wynne is expected to give evidence.

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