Accused Taser cop fronts grandmother’s loved ones

Kat Wong |

The manslaughter charge against police officer Kristian White will have its first mention in court.
The manslaughter charge against police officer Kristian White will have its first mention in court.

A NSW police officer accused of fatally tasering a 95-year-old great-grandmother has come face-to-face with her supporters while fronting court on a manslaughter charge.

Senior Constable Kristian White, 33, has been charged over the death of Clare Nowland at an aged care home in Cooma in May.

Hand-in-hand with his partner, White pushed through a mob of reporters at Cooma Local Court on Wednesday before taking a seat in the gallery among Mrs Nowland’s family and friends.

One supporter wore a shirt bearing the beloved grandmother’s face.

White appeared before Magistrate Roger Clisdell for the first time since the additional charge of manslaughter was laid as all parties discussed whether his bail should continue.

Kristian White leaves court
Senior Constable Kristian White will remain on bail after being charged with manslaughter. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

Crown prosecutor Victoria Garrity argued the charge put White at heightened risk of fleeing.

“Accused people who face more serious matters do sometimes leave the jurisdiction,” she told the court.

White’s lawyer Warwick Anderson told the court his client had no intention of fleeing and agreed to revised bail conditions.

The 33-year-old will remain on bail after surrendering his passport and will not be permitted to travel overseas.

Lawyers representing Mrs Nowland’s family released a statement on the court proceedings.

“The family does not wish to comment further on the criminal process at this time given the extremely serious nature of the charge against Mr White, who continues to be a sworn NSW police officer,” it read.

White is alleged to have fired a stun gun on Mrs Nowland at an aged care home in the southern NSW town of Cooma in the early hours of May 17.

Mrs Nowland, who weighed 43 kilograms and lived with dementia, was confronted while using a walking frame and holding a steak knife.

She did not drop the knife when asked by those at the scene.

Mrs Nowland was tasered and fell, hitting her head on the ground.

She was taken to Cooma Hospital, where she died on May 24.

White was initially charged with recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault.

In late November, the additional charge of manslaughter was laid after investigators received advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison, compared to 10 years for recklessly causing grievous bodily harm.

White remains suspended from duty with pay and his case will return to court on February 7.