News & Current Affairs

By Carley Hitchins


Disgraceful Display of Policing

Queanbeyan police officers arrested an elderly woman on Thursday 2 February 2023, who was accused of stealing flowers from people’s gardens in Queanbeyan. The woman apparently then gets on the bus to Canberra and sells the flowers.

Monaro Police District then posted on their Facebook page:

About 0900 on Thursday, 02 February 2023 police located the female in the vicinity of the stealing’s, waiting to catch a bus to the ACT. This female was also in possession of a trolley containing a large basket of bunched, arranged flowers. Police cautioned the female and asked her about the flowers. The person made admissions to entering peoples yards and cutting their flowers. The female further stated she catches the bus to the ACT where she sells them for an amount of money. Police seized the flowers and issued the female with charge papers to attend Queanbeyan Local Court.

Police to avoid the flowers going to waste, later attended Queanbeyan Hospital and handed out the flowers to patients in the Emergency Department, Maternity Ward and Inpatient Unit.

There are a number of comments on the Facebook post condemning QBN police for their actions. One person wrote, “Dragging an elderly immigrant with hardly a dollar to her name to court for selling flowers. You are the heroes we deserve.” An alarming amount of Karen’s commended police for getting another “low life criminal off the streets!!!!!”

The fact police then took the flowers from the woman and distributed them at the hospital to promote their reputation in the community is ironic given not only how they obtained the flowers, but the fact they arrested and charged this elderly woman for what she allegedly did.

It is remarkable police did not exercise their discretion NOT to charge this woman, and perhaps instead, give her a stern talking to.

Also, whilst police have wide powers to arrest people without a warrant, this was surely not a circumstance where arresting her was the most appropriate course. Police can, and often do, (even for sexual assault charges) serve defendant’s a summons, which is a notice to attend court, without arresting them. Being arrested can be a humiliating and intimidating experience.

At Aulich, we have very experienced solicitors who often appear in matters in Queanbeyan. If anyone knows who the woman is, please direct her to our firm. We would be more than willing to act for her at no cost to her, and with the sensitivity she deserves.