A Tasmania Police officer was acting in self-defence when he punched a football opponent breaking his jaw in 2019, a Launceston Magistrate found.
Glenn Dawson, 30, who was playing for Bracknell was found not guilty of the common assault of Bridgenorth player Zachary Griffiths in a football game at Bridgenorth on July 6, 2019.
Constable Dawson pleaded not guilty and Magistrate Sharon Cure heard evidence from a dozen officials and players from both football clubs most of whom were within 10-20 metres of the incident.
He was charged after an internal investigation by Tasmania Police but remained operational.
Ms Cure said that much of the evidence in the case was not controversial.
Mr Griffiths, a school teacher, gave evidence that he had been attempting to mark when Constable Dawson made front-on contact with a boot to the ribs.
He was annoyed at not receiving a free kick and went over to Mr Dawson to push him in the chest.
"He said he intended to apply force, but did not agree that he had a clenched fist," Ms Cure said.
She said Constable Dawson gave evidence that he went to spoil the mark and fell on the ground and that he looked up and saw an angry male with a clenched fist.
In her findings Ms Cure said Mr Griffiths moved a number of metres past the ball to remonstrate with Constable Dawson.
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"Mr Griffiths pushed and shoved him at least twice and the defendant struck with an upward motion," she said.
"I do not find that he [Constable Dawson] was on his feet at the time."
He acted in self-defence and the force used was reasonable in all the circumstances.
She said that football was a tribal game and the evidence varied between the two groups of witnesses.
A six week gap between the incident and the taking of statements by police contributed to the disparity.
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