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A FORMER Melbourne Metro officer who pushed a passenger from a moving train on to a station platform has been branded a coward for his ''thuggery''.
The passenger was holding the door open for a friend as the train pulled away from Ringwood station.
The officer, Robert Watson, rushed at the man and pushed him from behind, forcing him from the train and into his friend.
Prosecutor Damien Hannan told the Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday that both victims received minor injuries as they tumbled on to the platform but that each had feared serious injury or being killed.
Mr Hannan said Watson, who was on the Melbourne-bound train with three colleagues, later falsely claimed he had lost his footing and stumbled into the man. He said Watson's conduct, at 7.10pm on March 9 last year, could tarnish the reputation of officers whose duty was in part to provide a safe and secure environment for passengers.
Mr Hannan said it had been ''no more than thuggery'' and cowardly, dangerous behaviour.
Defence solicitor Grace Morgan said CCTV footage played in court was ''concerning'' and indicated a relatively unprovoked, callous attack with no regard for the victims. But she said Watson had acted out of character and made a ''terrible'' judgment error while under ''considerable emotional distress''.
She told the court his marriage had broken down after the couple had their first child and that his team leader identified a ''shortening of his fuse''.
Ms Morgan said Watson had made a ''split-second decision'' in a difficult job while exercising judgment in an entirely inappropriate way.
Watson, of Werribee, pleaded guilty to two charges of unlawful assault.
Magistrate Jack Vandersteen acknowledged that Watson had already paid a heavy price, having lost his job and given up his plans to become a policeman.
Mr Vandersteen said a conviction was warranted given the gravity of the offences. Watson was put on a 12-month undertaking to be of good behaviour and ordered to donate $1500 to the Royal Talbot Rehabilitation Centre.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/cowardly-metro-officer-pushed-passenger-from-train-20110726-1hym6.html
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