Court appeals to young gun

When compared to his colleagues at Frankston Prosecutions, Senior Constable Harrison Phillips sits a distant last for time served.

The 26-year-old is by far the youngest member of the unit, and one of the youngest police prosecutors in the state.

“Most of the people of my experience have tended to go towards becoming a detective, but for me I really just wanted to be challenged away from the van, I wanted to do something more technical and academic at the other end of the spectrum,” Harrison said.

Harrison joined the job five years ago and began his training at Nunawading before transferring to Sunshine.

“Sunshine was a great place to start, just the range of incidents and crimes you’re exposed to gives you a wide range of experiences.”

He then completed stints at Transit and Camberwell uniform, where he made the choice to pursue a different aspect of policing.

“I decided I wanted to challenge myself in a different way and go down the prosecutions path, I wanted to learn more about the law and how to apply it in court,” he said.

After gaining an appreciation for the work of police on the van and first responders (he was among the first on scene following the Bourke Street attack in which 6 people died in January, 2017, and received a divisional commendation) Harrison wanted to ensure their work wasn’t in vain when their cases reached court.

“I wanted to be there and do everything in my power to back up the work of the operational police by getting the best possible result at the end of the process at court,” he said.

“I wanted to make sure that the hard work of the people on the van was reflected in the sentence outcomes for their cases.”

After arriving at Frankston Prosecutions in May last year and completing two of the three training modules to become a qualified police prosecutor, Harrison is finding his bearings in the court room.

“When I first got to Frankston, standing up in court was nerve wracking but I quickly got the hang of it and it’s going well,” he said.

“I have found that I enjoy the process and I get the satisfaction from arguing points of law with the defence and getting the best results for our members.”

He doesn’t see his age as a hindrance to his role and considers the experience of his colleagues as a distinct advantage.

“In Melbourne there’s a few young prosecutors going around, on my course I was definitely the youngest member there. At Frankston everyone’s pretty much over 35, so there’s a lot of experience there to learn from,” he said.

“Everyone here has been really good, they’re all very knowledgeable and are willing to pass on their advice and experience which has helped me a lot.”