The suspended NSW Police officer accused of fatally tasering Clare Nowland, a 95-year-old aged care resident living with dementia, will face trial in the NSW Supreme Court where he intends to plead not guilty to manslaughter charges.
Senior Constable Kristian White, 33, faced three other charges concerning the incident that happened in May – recklessly causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault – which have been withdrawn by prosecutors.
ABC News reported that despite being excused from attending Cooma Local Court last Wednesday, Mr White appeared with his partner and his solicitor who told the court his client intended to plead not guilty to the charge of manslaughter.
Mr White was forced to face court in person for the first time in September as per the demands of Magistrate Judge Roger Clisdell who is said to have expressed “disgust” when prosecutors allowed the cop to appear via audio-visual link (AVL) at his first hearing in July without his knowledge.
In the same month, Clare Nowland’s family is said to have entered private negotiations with the New South Wales State Government over a civil case alleging the State was liable for the actions of the NSW police. Mediation talks were expected to take place before the end of 2023.
In November, New South Wales Police upgraded Mr White’s list of charges to include manslaughter on the advice of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The alleged tasering of Ms Nowland occurred at Cooma’s Yallambee Lodge aged care facility after police were called by staff who could not de-escalate Ms Nowland, who was experiencing symptoms of dementia. She was using a walker and was holding a serrated steak knife and was repeatedly asked by staff, paramedics and police to drop the knife before she was tasered, falling and fracturing her skull.
She died a week later in Cooma Hospital from her injuries.
Mr White will face the Supreme Court April 5.