A cafe worker flees the premises into the arms of waiting police. Picture: Chris McKeen
A cafe worker flees the premises into the arms of waiting police. Picture: Chris McKeen

Lindt siege sniper sues NSW Police over ‘failures’

THE chief sniper during the Lindt siege is suing NSW Police for negligence claiming he and other officers were not allowed to do their jobs the way they were trained.

He alleges if proper procedures had been followed cafe manager Tori Johnson and barrister Katrina Dawson's lives could have been saved.

In a 30-page affidavit the officer - who can only be identified as Sierra 3-1 - claims he has suffered psychological trauma because of the decisions taken by his superiors during the siege.

Soon after the inquest Sierra 3-1 made a complaint to the Law Enforcement Conduct Commissioner claiming senior officers perjured themselves at the inquest.

That complaint was dismissed.

Barrister and mother Katrina Dawson was killed by shrapnel. Picture: Supplied
Barrister and mother Katrina Dawson was killed by shrapnel. Picture: Supplied

He suffers continual flashbacks and nightmares including seeing Mr Johnson killed by a shotgun blast to the head.

The civil action was lodged in the NSW District Court on April 12 for a one-day hearing next year. There is also another unrelated incident he is suing over.

The case will re-examine many aspects of the siege which saw a number of flaws exposed in police procedure and led to a damning coronial report.

Mr Johnson, 34 and barrister and mother Ms Dawson 38, died during the siege which began when gunman Man Monis took 17 people hostage in Martin Place on December 15, 2014.

 

The siege ended at 2am the next day when Monis executed Mr Johnson and police stormed the cafe shooting him dead while a bullet fragment killed Ms Dawson. During an inquest in 2016 the marksman was critical of his bosses.

"The way we trained for incidents like this is for the sniper co-ordinator to be in the command post. I asked to perform that role on this occasion, but I didn't," he said.

"My point to the debrief was … we need to play how we train," the then-sergeant said.

The officer was medically discharged from the force in March of 2017.

Madman Man Haron Monis also played a part in his wife’s murder. Picture: AAP/Dean Lewins
Madman Man Haron Monis also played a part in his wife’s murder. Picture: AAP/Dean Lewins

"It was a big decision for him to take this action, both to make a complaint against his then bosses and to take civil action'," said a relative of Sierra 3-1. "He believes Tori Johnson's life was savable and says that in his affidavit."

The relative said his statement contains other "explosive"' information about the actions of many senior police on the night.

The officer himself refused to comment to the Telegraph.

During the inquest he claimed senior police did not follow the proper plans put in place for such an incident and also gave a graphic account of the events leading up to the execution of Mr Johnson and the lack of response from the command post.

"I saw Tori take up a kneeling position in proximity of window two," Sierra 3-1 told the inquests held in 2016.

"He was facing towards the main door so I could see his left side. (Mr Johnson) had both hands interlocked on top of his head."

The inquest heard of repeated communication problems on the night and how Sierra 3-1 radioed just after 2am that Mr Johnson was on his knees but did not receive any response.

"I remember hearing a shot fired and seeing a muzzle flash and seeing Tori flinch," Sierra 3-1 said.

"And by flinch I mean drop down momentarily from his position. But he resumed the position after that."

Cafe manager Tori Johnson was murdered by Man Monis.
Cafe manager Tori Johnson was murdered by Man Monis.