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Grieving man says police forced him to abandon brother’s coronavirus-safe funeral plan 

A grieving community says their plan to honour a 20-year-old Watchem man who died in a car crash was thwarted by police bureaucracy.

Family and friends organised a funeral for Ben Milne with 20 guests last week, the maximum allowed under COVID-19 restrictions.

Other groups of 10 mourners had planned to stand in socially distanced circles painted on an oval, or sit in cars and listen to the service on the radio, in line with the Chief Health Officer’s directions.

But, the day before the service, the Milne family say they were visited by a police officer and told anyone caught on the oval, or sitting in their car near the service, would be fined.

Press PLAY below to hear the full story from Ben’s brother, Nick.

Nick Milne, Ben’s brother, says he wants answers.

“Why are we being picked on?,” he questioned.

Mr Milne says permission for a second plan to involve the grieving community in the funeral was also denied by police.

“I … asked if Ben’s friends could possibly create a guard of honour with their cars along the road,” he told Neil Mitchell.

“Even if the cars were 200 metres apart and people stayed in their cars they instructed that every single person would be fined.

“On the day of the service police were pulling over every car in Birchip asking where they were going.”