true crime

While 19-year-old Charlie Robertson lay dying, police did nothing.

Queensland police officers could have saved the life of 19-year-old Charlie Robertson if they had called an ambulance, the Coroners Court of Queensland has heard this week.

“They left our boy to die,” Charlie’s father, Graham Robertson, told Nine News outside the court on Friday. “They simply walked away from him and left him to die.”

Seven officers stormed Robertson’s Gold Coast apartment, warrant in hand, on March 13, 2015, in search of drugs. At the time of entry, police found six people inside the apartment, plus Roberston passed out in his room, lying in the recovery position and snoring loudly. Within seconds, three people had jumped the balcony and fled the scene.

Police body cam footage recovered from the raid shows one officer standing in the doorway of the award-winning university student’s bedroom laughing, while another is seen shaking him out of the recovery position and moments later laying him down on his back.

A number of officers told the court they also tried shaking Robertson, rubbing his sternum and pouring water on his face, but nothing could rouse him.

What they say they didn’t realise, however, was that Robertson was slowly dying from an accidental overdose of GHB and cocaine.

charlie robertson death
Charlie Robertson had received two university awards just months prior to his death. Source: Channel 9 News.

The body cam footage, which was shown during a week-long coronial inquest held this week, also shows a troubling conversation between three officers.

"Is he alright?" one officer can be heard asking.

"It's hard to say," the second replies.

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"Well, he's breathing"  the third officer replies, before the second corrects him, "he's snoring."

"Yeah, but he's passed out," the third officer then says.

"Well, put him back on the bed," the first officer replies.

charlie robertson death
Rose, Charlie and Graham. Source: Channel 9 News.

In total, seven police officers were inside Charlie Robertson's apartment for close to an hour. None of them called an ambulance. Then police left Robertson alone with the three people who had remained inside during the raid, all of whom were 16-year-old girls.

According to Nine News, Dr Michael Kennedy told the court this week that if police had called an ambulance at the time of their raid, Charlie's chance of surviving would have been "almost 100 percent."

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Following the death, a number of officers have reportedly been demoted within the force, while others have simply not been promoted at all. None have been fired or legally reprimanded.

"The police are supposed to protect innocent people," Charlie's mother Rose Christian said. "Our son was absolutely innocent."

Charlie's father agreed, saying this week, "Rose and I will never walk away we will see that justice is done and that laws are changed so it doesn't happen to any other family."

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