Elite chef and son in police ‘frenzy’
An elite Sydney chef and his former rugby star son were involved in a violent "frenzy" with multiple police and a knife, Taser and tear gas, a court has heard.
The dramatic encounter at the home of executive chef Darren Elmes and his former private schoolboy son's North Bondi home took place on the evening of Australia Day this year.
Former chef at the exclusive Sydney eastern suburbs restaurant Ravesi's Darren Elmes was charged with assaulting an officer and hindering police after the incident this year.
But Magistrate Mary Ryan sympathised with Darren Elmes and heavily criticised police actions during the incident at a hearing at Downing Centre Court on Monday.
She found Mr Elmes guilty of assaulting police, but dismissed the charge without conviction and found him not guilty of resisting or hindering police.
The court heard that Elmes, who struck police while his son Franklin was self harming in the window of the home, was squirted with capsicum OC spray.
He told one police officer on the scene, "My son isn't well. Can't you see? He is sick."
Son Franklin, 20, who police knew from previous offences, was Tasered by police and also OC sprayed during the incident at 8pm on January 26.
Both men had been at some stage wielding a large kitchen knife during a wild melee attended by at least ten police officers, the court heard.
But Magistrate Ryan said the police officers conduct during the encounter had "a smell" to it.
The incident, which had begun with the assault of a taxi driver in the street near the Elmes' house, then quickly escalated, according to accounts from both sides.
"It was like a shark frenzy", Darren Elmes' defence lawyer Paul McGirr told the court.
He said his client had been check drilled (a tactic when police a strike a person who has come to close to them in the chest), "blindsided ... and punched in the head" outside his own home.
The court heard that on the evening in question, Franklin Elmes had been accused of committing the assault on the taxi driver stopped outside the Elmes' house.
According Senior Constable Nicholas Kidd, taxi driver Daljit Dhillon told him that two young males had run away from his car without paying and a third had punched him in the face.
In a statement tendered to the court, Const. Kidd said the third male had then allegedly run into the North Bondi house owned by Darren Elmes and occupied by Franklin, who was known to him.
He said while he and another officer were checking out the house, 51-year-old Darren Elmes turned up on a bicycle.
When Kidd told him he believed the taxi driver assaulter could be Franklin, Mr Elmes replied, "Go get a warrant".
Const. Kidd said he didn't need a warrant, and when Darren Elmes then grabbed his left arm from behind, he "turned and performed a check drill on him which caused hinm to stumble back".
Two more constables arrived and Darren Elmes suggested he go inside and get his son Franklin, Kidd refused and the two walked to the front door.
"It was at this moment that Franklin appeared in the window. I had not put the allegation to him," Kidd aid.
Through the window, Franklin told Kidd, "I did not punch the taxi driver. It was the other two guys I was with."
Kidd suggested Franklin come out so the taxi driver could clear him from being the suspect, but the young man refused.
Darren Elmes told police to "leave my son alone", and then Franklin told his father, "If you let them in I will kill myself".
Soon afterwards, one of the police yelled, "He's got a knife. He's stabbing himself".
As two officers pleaded with Franklin to stop, Const. Kidd witnessed Franklin self-harming with "a large kitchen knife".
Darren Elmes said, "look what you are doing to my son", while Const. Kidd he "wanted to get into the house to stop [Franklin] self harming".
As he was trying to kick open the front door, Kidd was tackled from behind by Darren Elmes.
"There was a lot of yelling ... the situation had become extremely hostile," Kidd says in his statement.
As Kidd and Darren Elmes wrestled on the ground, Franklin emerged from the house with the knife and was Tasered.
According to Kidd's statement, Darren grabbed the knife from Franklin who fell to the ground and hit his head on the concrete footpath. Kidd yelled at Darren to drop the knife and ordered him, "get on the ground".
Darren threw the knife threw the doorway of the house and Acting Inspector Dean Richens secured it, Kidd claimed.
But Const. Kidd, who said he still believed Darren Elmes "posed a real threat to us all", pushed him down the driveway and ended up in a "face to face" struggle.
"I tried to pull him and leg sweep him to the floor, but he was too strong. I decided to punch Darren in the face," Const Kidd said in his statement.
With the help of two other officers, Kidd then handcuffed Darren, who had blood on his face and was subdued out the front of the house next door.
Charged with assault police in the execution of duty and resist or hinder police, Darren Elmes pleaded not guilty and faced a three-day hearing.
On Monday, Magistrate Ryan dismissed the resist or hinder police charge saying she rejected the evidence, and dismissed the assault without conviction, although finding it proven.
"The assault police charge is a serious offence ... but the nature of the offence is at the lower end of objective seriousness," Ms Ryan told the court.
She said police witnesses during the hearing had either been unreliable or not told the truth, although she found Const. Kidd "probably the most reliable witness.
"He owned up to the fact he punched Darren Elmes in the face," she said.
Ms Ryan said that Const. Kidd knew the description of the alleged taxi driver assailant - a man with a shaved head - did not match Franklin Elmes,
But she said the officer "went in regardless" to the Elmes' property, where he was assaulted.
"I have to say it is my view that Constable Kidd was determined to enter the house without a warrant," she said.
"The description of the man is really important ... hair or the lack of it.
"That description not being quite on the money he was determined to go in.
"It seems to me the conduct in this matter has a smell to it."
Ms Ryan said she was referring the matter to the Law Enforcement Complaints Commission and agreed with Darren Elmes' counsel that he should be awarded costs.
Under objection by Crown Prosecutor Sergeant Tom Sands to a costs amount of $30,800 , she reduced it to $20,000.
Franklin Elmes, a former Waverley college student and member of the Sydney Roosters junior rugby league development squad, was jailed briefly last year.
Franklin was convicted of assault occasioning actual bodily harm and breaching a bond by driving while disqualified.
Out drinking with friends on February 6 last year, Elmes assaulted a man who hit his head on the footpath after Elmes tackled him and then kicked him on the ground.
His twelve month maximum sentence was reduced to nine months on appeal.
Franklin has previously given evidence that he suffers from mental health and substance abuse issues.
If you are suffering from mental health issues, contact Lifeline on 131144.