Media Releases

Former Victoria Police officer sentenced for assault of 15-year-old boy following IBAC investigation

A former Victoria Police officer was sentenced last week following an IBAC investigation - Operation Durack - into the assault of a 15-year-old boy with a police baton in Preston in January 2018.

The 15-year-old victim of the assault was a passenger in a car involved in a high-speed pursuit through the streets of Preston.

The circumstances resulted in the victim being arrested and restrained on the road where he was subjected to baton strikes.

Former Senior Constable Florian Hilgart, who was an acting Sergeant at the time of the incident, pleaded guilty to one charge of aggravated unlawful assault with a weapon.

Appearing in the Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Friday 6 August, Mr Hilgart was convicted and sentenced with a $10,000 fine.

Her Honour Magistrate Spencer noted the serious nature of the offence and described the arrest as using "unjustifiable and excessive force."

IBAC Commissioner the Honourable Robert Redlich AM, QC said it was understandable that community concern had been raised by the police use of force in the incident.

"As noted by the magistrate, the use of a baton in this incident was a disproportionate level of police force against a vulnerable young person who was demonstrating compliance.

"The excessive use of force by police officers is a recurring concern that has been exposed through several IBAC investigations. We conduct a thorough, independent examination of all available evidence in an investigation, and where we can substantiate a breach of criminal law and pursue a prosecution, we will."

In addition to Operation Durack, IBAC has recently charged three Victoria Police officers with negligently causing serious injury (Operation Blackmore), and charged a leading Senior Constable with recklessly causing injury and common assault (Operation Langlo).

In July 2020, Mr Hilgart was also found guilty of assault - alongside Senior Constables Brad McLeod and John Edney - as part of IBAC's Operation Henty investigation which examined allegations of excessive force by Victoria Police officers when they attended a house in Preston to conduct a welfare check on a pensioner in September 2017. The incident was captured on CCTV.

"IBAC will continue to focus on this issue through our independent investigations, reviews, and prevention and education work, to help ensure police use of force is lawful and proportionate to the circumstances," Commissioner Redlich said.

IBAC's independent oversight of Victoria Police is in place to ensure its officers act lawfully, professionally and ethically. This independent oversight is critical because of the significant powers exercised by police officers including use of force, and powers to detain, search and arrest.

IBAC's work aims to build Victoria Police's capacity to address corruption and police misconduct to help prevent incidents such as those investigated in Operation Durack.

To report public sector corruption or police misconduct now, visit or call 1300 735 135.