A New South Wales police officer will appear in court next week accused of an assault on a 22-year old woman and her boyfriend on Christmas eve last year.
Senior Constable Michael Walter Simmons, 33, is alleged to have knocked Kristie Hall to the ground, hitting her repeatedly before being restrained by security staff and police who rushed to the scene, according to witnesses and court documents.
During the fray Simmons is also alleged to have assaulted Hall’s boyfriend Benjamin Denham, 21, who told police he was attempting to pull the off-duty officer away from his girlfriend, who was taken to hospital after the incident.
Simmons has been suspended, with full pay, pending the trial.
Business Insider understands NSW Police and Emergency Services Minister Mike Gallacher’s office is aware of the matter, and that the police force’s Professional Standards Command is following the case and will be reviewing any management action taken after the trial.
Simmons — who is attached to a local area command within Central Metropolitan Region — was arrested and taken to Dee Why police station, and was later charged with two counts of common assault and two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
He was granted bail after appearing before North Sydney Local Court on January 14.
It is understood Simmons intends to contest the charges when the trial continues next week before the Central Local Court.
Multiple witnesses who were at the Newport Arms Hotel on the night of the alleged attack told Business Insider Simmons and Hall threw drinks on each other after an argument. Staff then asked Simmons and an unidentified woman, as well as the couple, to leave.
“They were just tipping drinks on each other,” one person said. “There were words going back and forth. She was quite upset and he was really intimidating-looking.”
Witnesses said Hall and Denham left the venue first, before heading towards a bus stop near the hotel. Shortly afterwards Simmons and the woman left through the same exit, and are said to have walked towards the couple. The argument continued, before the alleged assault took place between 10.30 and 11.30 pm on 24 December last year.
Security guards and police who were already at the scene on unrelated business then restrained Simmons, a witness said.
Hall was taken to Mona Vale Hospital with head injuries and discharged soon afterwards. It is understood she suffered a cut above the eye and bruising to the face and ribs.
The New South Wales Police Force has declined to release information on Simmons’ service record, or disclose any details about the case.
“As the matter is still before the court it is not appropriate for NSWPF to make any further comment at this time,” a police spokesperson said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Collins at [email protected] or @BenCollinsBI
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