The parents of executed Lindt cafe manager Tori Johnson have slammed a senior police commander as an “absolute disgrace” after he described the Sydney siege as a “high stakes game”.
Rosie Connellan and Ken Johnson stormed out of the inquest after the police forward commander said gunman Man Haron Monis had the same rights as the 18 staff and customers he took hostage in the Martin Place Lindt Cafe in 2014.
Ms Connellan yelled “you’re an absolute disgrace” as she walked out of the inquest.
The commander, who cannot be identified, made the statement under cross examination by Gabrielle Bashir SC, the barrister acting for Mr Johnson’s family.
Ms Bashir put it to the commander that police had always had a trigger to force entry to the cafe because the belief Monis had a backpack bomb and a detonator meant the hostages were in imminent or immediate danger throughout the entire 17-hour ordeal.
The commander conceded the presence of the bomb created an imminent risk but rejected suggestions police simply let the siege play out without intervening.
“It was a high stakes game,” the commander said.
“There’s a lot at stake for the hostages and police. I don’t accept the position that I was sitting, waiting for that trigger point to be reached.
“These are difficult bloody decisions, your Honour, and I did my absolute best on the night.”
Ms Bashir then interrupted the commander and asked him to apologise to Tori Johnson’s family for using the word game.
“I accept game may not be the right word but there’s a lot at stake here,” he replied.