Is this the egg man? Man charged over egg theft, assault

A GRAFTON police officer has been placed on a good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to a charge of common assault stemming from an allegation of stolen eggs.

Matthew Morris, 33, pleaded guilty to one charge of common assault in Grafton Local Court this week.

According to the facts, Morris and another officer were responding to reports of a theft of eggs from a roadside stall in Southgate in April 2014, and stopped a car as part of their investigations. Four occupants exited the vehicle and one woman admitted to stealing the eggs.

The officer said he was going to charge her and when she tossed a cigarette butt on the ground, he told her he would also charge her with littering.

The victim, who was not accused of any wrongdoing, was filming the exchange on his phone.

Morris demanded he hand the phone over, stating he believed it contained evidence of the littering offence and that he had lawful authority to seize it.

The victim refused, saying he needed the phone and would show police what he had filmed, before offering to delete the footage.

When the victim tried to put the phone behind his back, Morris forced him to the ground and pulled his left arm up sharply above his head, before placing him under arrest.

Witnesses and the constable who was on duty with Morris said he also appeared to apply a choke-hold to the victim, which he denied. The victim said he thought his arm would pop.

Morris was charged when he declined a criminal interview, and in court on Tuesday was placed on a good behaviour bond for 18 months over the incident.

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