Katrina Dawson’s family blast police ‘mismanagement’ of Lindt siege

The family of Katrina Dawson, who died in the Lindt Café siege, wanted adverse findings to be made against two senior NSW Police officers for not storming the café sooner and setting an “unacceptably high” threshold for intervening.

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Ms Dawson was killed by police bullet fragments after officers stormed into the cafe soon after gunman Man Haron Monis fatally shot café manager Tori Johnson.

In submissions to the inquest released today, the family said the police officers set a high bar for the trigger used to decide whether to storm the building.

That trigger was based on a hostage’s death or injury, but the Dawson family wanted that to be eased, to an “immediate and imminent risk of death or serious injury”.

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“It is submitted that (both) should both be the subject of adverse findings for setting the trigger at what was an unacceptably high threshold,” the family said in the submission obtained by SBS World News.

Last week’s inquest findings delivered by coroner Michael Barnes said while police were not to blame for the deaths, the 10 minutes it took to enter the building after the gunman fired the first shot was too long.

The Dawson family also criticised another NSW Police officer who was responsible for the siege negotiations for failing to ask federal police for details about Monis.

“No steps were apparently taken to approach the AFP for the information that agency held, or to raise the possibility that the AFP might hold such information,” the family said.

“These steps were not taken at either the identification stage or the post-identification stage.

“At the very least those steps should have been taken as soon as Monis was identified.”

In addition, the Dawson family was also critical on why a federal police assessment about the possibility of Monis having a bomb in his backpack was not obtained by NSW Police.

The family said it did not appear the force failed to request that information because of protocol.

“Rather, a cogent explanation as to why the information was not sought is that a mindset was held by the NSWPF that whatever might have been offered by federal agencies was not needed,” the family said.

The family also criticised a psychiatrist involved in assessing Monis’s dangerousness, saying it was flawed.

“That advice grossly underestimated Monis’s capacity for violence,” the family said.

“In these submissions we argue that the NSW Police response to the siege was mismanaged both as to the circumstances leading to the initiation of the Emergency Action, and in the conduct of the Emergency Action itself.”

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