Vic cop admits second assault in months

Karen SweeneyAAP
Florian Hilgart, already found guilty of assaulting a pensioner, has now admitted assaulting a teen.
Camera IconFlorian Hilgart, already found guilty of assaulting a pensioner, has now admitted assaulting a teen. Credit: AAP

Three months after assaulting a pensioner during a welfare check, a Melbourne policeman beat a teenage boy with a baton.

The 15-year-old was a back-seat passenger in a car being pursued by police, including Florian Hilgart, in January 2018.

After winding through the streets of Northcote, the vehicle stalled and Hilgart and another officer pounced.

As Hilgart smashed a front window with his baton a back-seat passenger opened the car door and took off.

The teenage victim also got out but stopped beside the car, raised his hands in the air and lay on the ground.

Hilgart, then an acting sergeant, raised his baton and struck the boy twice to his left arm, which he raised to protect himself from the blows.

He recorded in his notes later that the boy was "non-compliant" until a baton strike to the arm.

Hilgart's lawyer Jason Gullaci said footage, captured by a passenger in a passing car, looked "violent and confronting" but his client wasn't a thug.

"Mr Hilgart is a police officer in difficult circumstances doing the best he can, making evaluative judgments under time and stress pressure," he said.

"He has made errors of judgment which have resulted in him being charged."

Hilgart pleaded guilty on Tuesday to assaulting the teenage boy.

Last year he escaped conviction after being found guilty of assaulting a pensioner by spraying him in the face with a hose on high pressure in September 2017.

Hilgart resigned from Victoria Police in May this year after a County Court judge rejected his appeal, finding the victim was sprayed "for no purpose other than the entertainment or humorous enjoyment" of another officer.

Mr Gullaci criticised the media for "demonising" Hilgart by reporting on the case. He argued against Hilgart being convicted, noting that it could limit his post-policing career prospects and be an adverse factor in an intended citizenship application.

Prosecutor Nadia Deltondo said there were now two findings that Hilgart had misused his power as a police officer and he should be convicted.

"He has lacked insight and restraint - he hasn't learnt from his first behaviour when he was confronted with the situation a few months later," she said.

She said while the actions of those in the car were dangerous and warranted an immediate response from police, Hilgart's actions were unjustifiable and excessive

Magistrate Pauline Spencer will sentence Hilgart on Friday. He remains on bail.

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