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Clare Nowland case: family suing NSW in mediation with government over fatal police Tasering

The New South Wales government and the family of Clare Nowland will enter private negotiations over a civil case alleging the state was liable for her fatal Tasering by police.

Nowland’s family is suing the government for the actions of NSW police in Cooma in May when she was confronted in an aged care facility.

Nowland, 95, fell and hit her head on the ground, fracturing her skull. She died in Cooma base hospital about a week later.

Civil proceedings were first lodged in Nowland’s own name while she was alive and fighting for life in hospital.

After her death, her family, represented by Ken Cush and Associates, pursued the case and it was first heard in a Bega court in July.

The case, still in its preliminary stages, was scheduled for a pre-trial conference in Bega on Thursday.

The parties will now enter into mediation. The talks are expected to take place before the end of the year with the court to then be updated.

In separate proceedings, senior constable Kristian White, 33, has been charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm over the incident and is due in court next week as investigators wait on a postmortem report into Nowland’s death.

The 95-year-old was repeatedly asked to drop the serrated knife she was holding before she was Tasered but said “no” or did not respond, court documents said.

White confronted her with his Taser drawn and told her to stop moving before allegedly saying “nah bugger it” and firing the weapon.

Police allege the actions of the officer, who has been suspended with pay, were “grossly disproportionate” and constituted an excessive use of force considering Nowland’s age and frailty.

Nowland’s family’s lawyers have previously declined to comment on the civil proceedings.

“The family are not in a position to comment while the DPP is pursuing criminal charges,” the firm’s executive counsel, Sam Tierney, has said.

Previous requests for court documents have also been rejected and a spokesperson for the police minister, Yasmin Catley, has declined to comment on the civil proceedings, other than to note they related to the NSW police force, despite the NSW government being named as the defendant.

“As this matter is before the court I cannot comment further,” the spokesperson has said.

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