AFTER........... any questions?
The Backstory: GARRICK Jacobson was in custody at Surry Hills police station when he apparently discovered his girlfriend used to be a man. Within hours of being released on bail, he went to her apartment and started "belting the hell" out of her, Downing Centre Local Court heard yesterday. The two police officers who allegedly revealed the information about his then partner's past are now charged with breaching privacy laws.
In a rare prosecution under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act, Constables Tyrone Stacey and Brendan Ritson have pleaded not guilty to unlawful disclosure of information. The offence is punishable by up to two years' jail. The court heard Jacobson, 26, was held in custody on September 24, 2006, after being arrested for suspected theft. Stacey allegedly used the police computer system to access information about Jacobson's then girlfriend, Brigitte Fell, revealing her gender as male. Ritson, who was looking over his colleague's shoulder, allegedly shouted to Jacobson: "You're r . . . ing a bloke", the court has heard. After Jacobson denied it, he was allegedly shown paperwork indicating her gender and told: "See, it's a guy." As the officers defended the case yesterday, Ms Fell gave evidence that the incident "ruined my life".
She told the court she was born a male, undergoing gender reassignment surgery about 12 years ago "in London, and it cost a fortune". Complete strangers subsequently told her it was "the best sex change we've ever seen", she said. But Ms Fell did not share the information about her surgery with Jacobson, her boyfriend of about two months, because "he was temperamental enough".
Police were aware of other domestic violence incidents involving the pair in the two days prior to the assault, the court heard. Ms Fell said she woke in the early hours of September 25 to find Jacobson in her Surry Hills apartment, threatening to kill her. "Your f . . .ing mates the cops told me you're a man - is it true?" he allegedly said. Ms Fell said Jacobson then punched her repeatedly in the face. "He was belting the hell out of me," she told the court. She said she suffered concussion after falling over the balcony of her loft bedroom and woke up "covered in blood". "My whole face was broken," she said.
Ms Fell spent several days in hospital after the attack, for which Jacobson is currently awaiting sentence in the District Court. Ms Fell said she told only three or four of her "dearest friends" about her surgery but some police officers knew of it because she had sought their help after previous violent incidents. The court heard that when Jacobson was brought back to the police station following the assault, he allegedly said he had gone to Ms Fell's apartment "to cut her hair off . . . she was a she-man". The hearing continues today.