Forensic services officers examine the scene of a police shooting in Grafton.
Forensic services officers examine the scene of a police shooting in Grafton. Adam Hourigan

Coronial inquest into fatal Grafton police shooting wraps up

THE coronial inquest into the death of a Grafton man during a confrontation with police in 2017 concluded yesterday.

Christopher McGrail was shot twice during a violent stand-off with police on the afternoon of August 6 after they were called to a domestic disturbance at a North St property.

In his closing submissions, Counsel Assisting the Crown Rob Raken said there was a sufficient body of evidence to show that Mr McGrail was armed with a large kitchen knife soon after the arrival of two police officers, one of whom deployed a taser, to no effect.

Evidence submitted showed that after the arrival of a third officer Mr McGrail continued to act in an aggressive manner.

As he took large strides towards one of the officers two shots were discharged, hitting Mr McGrail in the torso and upper right thigh.

Despite immediate first aid, the 44-year-old died at 11.50pm at Gold Coast University Hospital.

Mr Raken submitted the officer who shot Mr McGrail believed it was a necessary and reasonable response to the threat of being stabbed.

He also submitted that all other attempts by the officers involved to communicate with Mr McGrail had failed, as he maintained possession of the knife and his aggression increased during the confrontation.

Referring to evidence from forensic psychiatrist Dr Kerri Eagle, Mr Raken submitted that at the time of the confrontation Mr McGrail was likely suffering from a drug-induced psychotic episode, which exacerbated a severe mood disturbance and when combined with intoxication from methamphetamines and alcohol "there were not many other options available to police to de-escalate the situation".

Barrister Paul Madden, representing the officers involved, submitted to Deputy State Coroner Elaine Truscott that the scenario was tragic for the family of Mr McGrail and the officers who tried to end the incident in other ways.

However, he submitted that the incident and its end were dictated by Mr McGrail, and officers should be commended for "dealing with impossible circumstances".

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