Thursday, January 28, 2016
CRIMINAL prosecutions against police are at a record high and the number of complaints and breaches of code of conduct has risen 30 per cent over the past year.
SA Police annual reports show the number of sworn officers or public servants within the department facing criminal prosecutions has risen from seven in 2001-02 to 31 in 2014-15.
The 2014-15 annual report also shows complaints against police, breaches of the code of conduct and criminal offences prosecuted against employees rose from 69 in 2013-14 to 90 in 2014-15.
Criminal cases range from theft offences to more serious cases, including suspended SA Police officer Hayley May Greenwood who was charged after an Independent Commissioner Against Corruption investigation with abuse of public office, drug trafficking and aggravated theft.
Eight SA Police officers from the Sturt Local Service Area were arrested in October 2014 and charged with theft offences, also following an ICAC investigation.
Acting Assistant Commissioner Human Resource Service John Bruhn said that higher expectations of officers and a growing workforce could be contributing factors to the spike in criminal prosecutions and breaches of the code. “There are variations in statistics over many years — you mention from 2002 where complaints against police appeared low compared to higher now,” he said.
“This may range from increased levels of reporting, fluctuations in the workforce, broader expectations and other vagaries.
“Policing is one of the most highly accountable professions — even off duty officers must maintain demanding standards of integrity and conduct. “Any breaches have always and will continue to be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted as required.”
The rise in numbers of prosecutions and complaints against police follows the introduction of the South Australian Independent Commission Against Corruption in 2013, which The Advertiser revealed spent $45,420 on six telecommunications intercept warrants during probes for bribery and corruption offences in the first financial year of operation.
Police Minister Tony Piccolo said South Australia has one of the best police forces in the country. “In the last financial year, there was a drop in the total amount of complaints received and SAPOL enjoys a ranking higher than the national average for general satisfaction from the public,” he said.
“Disciplinary matters are an issue for the commissioner of the day ... if any member of the community acts in an inappropriate way, they will face appropriate consequences and this does not exclude police officers.”
Posted by JR at 10:06 PM
Thursday, January 14, 2016
A NSW Police officer has been accused of pushing a cyclist off his bicycle at a major intersection in Sydney's CBD during peak hour, in a situation a cycling advocacy group has described as aggressive and "totally unacceptable".
Police are now conducting an internal investigation into the incident, which occurred about 8.25am on Wednesday at the intersection of College and William streets, beside Hyde Park in the city
One witness to the crash claimed the police officer, who was on a motorcycle, rode up alongside the cyclist and "just pushed him off his bike in the middle of the intersection".
"He fell on the road. It wasn't like he got pushed and sort of wobbled and kept rolling, and sort of [went] into a death spiral or anything. He just went bang," the witness, Marcus De Giorgio, told Fairfax Media.
Different accounts have emerged from the police and witnesses about what unfolded at the intersection, resulting in the cyclist lying in the middle of the road.
Police say that officers from the Motorcycle Response Team were patrolling near the intersection of William and Yurong streets in Darlinghurst when they allege the 30-year-old cyclist, who was not wearing a helmet, disobeyed a red traffic signal there.
The police motorcyclist "activated his warning lights and sirens", police said, and attempted to stop the cyclist, who continued riding west along William Street.
"The cyclist continued along William Street and the officer made further attempts to stop the rider near the intersection of College Street," the statement said.
Police said the cyclist "has fallen from his bicycle", but did not detail any circumstances about how the cyclist fell or whether the police officer made any contact with him.
Mr De Giorgio, who had just finished an early morning training ride, had cycled north along College Street and was stopped at a red light at the intersection with William Street as he waited to turn left when the crash occurred.
He estimated he was three or four metres from the rider when the crash occurred.
He said the cyclist was travelling about 15km/h when he rode through the intersection of College and William streets on a green light.
"I don't know what led up to that situation. The only thing that was visually evident was that he wasn't wearing a helmet," Mr De Giorgio said. "The guy wasn't running a red light or anything [at the crash scene]. He was just riding along.
"The motorcyclist came up alongside him. There wasn't a siren that I heard, and it's not like he rode alongside him and asked him to pull over. It was literally like he came up from behind, then alongside and just pushed him over."
He said the motorcyclist's lights were flashing, but he did not hear a siren.
Mr Di Giorgio said the male cyclist fell onto the road, and suffered abrasions to his leg. "He was lying in prone position, and kind of screaming and yelling in pain," Mr Di Giorgio said. "The guy was saying 'You pushed me! What the hell? What the f---? You pushed me! ... He was angry and appeared to be in pain.
"The police officer essentially said: 'No I didn't.'
"It was like the guy [the cyclist] wasn't even aware he [the police officer] was there. When he was on the ground, he was saying 'I didn't even know you were there. I didn't hear you.' "
The police motorcyclist stopped immediately and was joined a short time later by another police officer, Mr Di Giorgio said.
It took about 10 minutes before the crash scene was cleared.
Police said the cyclist was treated by paramedics and taken to St Vincent's Hospital. He was discharged later in the day after being cleared of serious injury.
Police said the cyclist "will be issued with infringement notices for not stopping at a stop light and not wearing a helmet".
Another person who said he saw the incident, Tom McNamara, said he was on a bus beside the rider when he crashed.
"The cyclist was crossing College Street, the cop rode alongside him and knocked him down pretty hard. From where we were it looked very excessive," Mr McNamara wrote online.
Bicycle Network chief executive Craig Richards said the police officer had pushed the shoulder of the rider, according to witness accounts. "This use of force against a rider moving on the street is totally unacceptable, and could have resulted in serious head injuries or worse to the rider," Mr Richards said.
"NSW Police are very fortunate that they are not having to explain the incident to the family of someone who is seriously injured.
"We know that NSW has strict protocols around the interception of vehicles on the street, with a high priority given to public safety.
"Police can make a vital contribution to safety on the roads, but there is no need to be aggressive and forceful in this way.
"There needs to be a full explanation of why the rules were not followed [on Wednesday] morning."
Police said the circumstances surrounding the incident will be the subject of an internal review.
Fairfax Media has asked NSW Police to provide further details about the nature of how the cyclist came off his bike.
Posted by JR at 8:07 AM
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Thug cops tried to cover up their misdeeds by destroying evidence
There are concerns over the handling of the internal investigation into an alleged assault of two teenagers by police.
A mobile phone video taken by a teenage boy as his young mate was allegedly assaulted by two policemen was mysteriously deleted on the night of the attack, but could now provide damning evidence when the officers face court in May.
The footage was only recovered when the father of one of the boys paid $4000 to an IT consultant, but its disappearance raises serious concerns about the handling of the internal investigation into the officers' conduct.
It is understood the family of one of the alleged victims will ask the Office of Public Prosecutions to examine the case, while the matter could also be referred to the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission.
Leading Senior Constable Dennis Gundrill and Senior Constable Simon Mareangareu will face the Ringwood Magistrate Court over the alleged assault on Christmas morning 2014 near a convenience store in Vermont.
The boys, who had just completed Year 11, were detained for several hours at Ringwood police station, and later charged with resisting arrest and possession of a small quantity of marijuana. But all charges against the 17-year-olds were dropped in August last year.
An internal investigation by Whitehorse CIU was only launched when the father of the alleged victim handed over video footage from the phone.
It is understood there are discrepancies between the statements given by Mr Gundrill and Mr Mareangareu, which also differ markedly from the footage of the incident and evidence given by an independent witness.
Mr Gundrill and Mr Mareangareu were initially suspended with pay, but both men are now permitted to perform non-operational duties. They have not faced any disciplinary action from Victoria Police.
Mr Gundrill was previously involved in a serious assault at Ringwood police station in 2008, when he held Bonsai gardener, Tim Vivoda, before another officer punched him "as hard as he could" in the face. The entire incident was captured on CCTV cameras.
During a civil case in the County Court in 2013, Mr Vivoda was awarded $130,000 in damages after Judge Chris O'Neill ruled his treatment by police had breached his rights and undermined public confidence in the force.
Judge O'Neill expressed reservations about Mr Gundrill's credibility during the trial and rejected some of his evidence.
"Clearly the evidence was given after a reconstruction from the footage ... That was an artificial reconstruction and not an honest recollection," Judge O'Neill said.
The most recent allegations of excessive police force raise further concerns about the contentious practice of police investigating their colleagues, particularly when the respective parties are known to each other.
According to the Human Rights Law Centre, more than 90 per cent of complaints about police conduct are referred back to Victoria Police, despite the IBAC having jurisdiction to handle them.
"When serious allegations are made against police, it's essential that the complainant and the public have confidence in a system that is fair and impartial and properly resourced to deal with their complaint. Serious complaints should not be referred back to police to investigate their own conduct," said HRLC spokeswoman Anna Brown.
In July last year, Victoria's highest court referred allegations of police brutality and racism to the IBAC to determine if an independent investigation should be launched into a complaint by Ethiopian man Nassir Bare.
Mr Bare claimed that officers smashed his teeth in a gutter, racially vilified him and capsicum-sprayed him when he was handcuffed, after police stopped his car in February 2009.
The now defunct Office of Police Integrity decided not to investigate the allegations by Mr Bare, who unsuccessfully appealed the case to the Supreme Court of Victoria.
But the Court of Appeals found the OPI's decision was unlawful and ordered the matter be sent to the IBAC.
Posted by JR at 8:04 AM
Sunday, January 10, 2016
What a bunch of amateur idiots! Kids terrified as cops storm Gold Coast home by mistake
A Gold Coast mother-of-two says her children were too traumatised to sleep last night after half-a-dozen police burst into their home and detained their innocent father by mistake.
Kristy Stewart told myGC a squad of officers stormed her Coombabah home along The Esplanade at around 9.30pm on Friday after allegedly mistaking her address for another in the street.
Mrs Stewart, 35, says her two children, aged 10 and eight, were shaking in terror as they watched police order her out of the house and rush inside to detain their innocent father.
“My husband was out on the back patio with the kids and I was in the kitchen when I looked outside and seen an officer approach the front patio,” Mrs Stewart recalled.
“I opened the front door and five or six police officers and two police dogs started coming from the front. “They yelled ‘step out from the door and put your hands to the front’.
“I stepped to the side and they yelled at me to stay put. “I kept repeating that they had made a mistake, that we have done nothing wrong (but) they wouldn’t listen.”
Mrs Steward told myGC the officers then raced inside her home and detained her 32-year-old husband in front of her 10-year-old daughter and eight-year-old son.
“My husband walked up the hallway as he could hear the commotion and was grabbed by both hands by an officer and (the police) said, ‘we know who you are’.”
But as it would turn out, the police actually had no idea whose home they were in.
“My husband kept saying that he hadn’t done anything and my daughter was pleading with them that we were not doing anything wrong. “Finally they asked for our address which obviously didn’t correlate with the address they were suppose to attend.”
Mrs Stewart told myGC the officers “bowed their heads”, some with “embarrassing smirks on their face”, as they walked back out of the house and regrouped on the front lawn. “The police where discussing how to get to the other address which is when I helped them out by giving them directions,” she said.
“It is extremely embarrassing for the Queensland Police Service, considering they are equipped with GPS.”
“It certainly shook us up. My kids and husband were so scared. It was scary as hell.”
Mrs Stewart said one officer yelled from the window of his patrol car before speeding off, “some excitement for you tonight!”
Posted by JR at 10:28 PM
Saturday, December 12, 2015
A Surfers Paradise police officer with 28 complaints against him who has been stood down over allegations of excessive force has lost a court battle over being forcibly transferred. Senior Constable Nathan Irwin has been the subject of 28 complaints and 68 allegations over the past nine years, many relating to the use of excessive force.
In March, Sen-Constable Irwin was told he was being “temporarily redeployed” to Coomera and was not to attend the Surfers Paradise Police Station unless under senior supervision. Acting Assistant Commissioner Stephen Hollands wrote to Sen-Constable Irwin again in April asking him if he would prefer to be transferred to Southport or Nerang.
Sen-Constable Irwin objected to being moved from Surfers Paradise and with backing from the Queensland Police Union, took the case to the Supreme Court.
Court documents show Assistant Commissioner Hollands wrote that since 2007 there had been an “adverse pattern of behaviour” involving Sen-Constable Irwin. He said there had been 28 complaints and 68 allegations since 2007, “most notable with respect to matters involving assaults/excessive force”.
“Irrespective of the possible causes, the preceding allegations are indications that your level of professionalism is below that expected of a Senior Constable of Police in the Queensland Police Service. “Removing you from your current workplace will enable you to work in an environment where the frequency of confrontation with members of the public is less likely.”
Barrister Peter Davis QC argued the court should rule the transfer was invalid because it would be for the purpose of disciplining him for misconduct.
This week Justice Philip McMurdo dismissed Sen-Constable Irwin’s application and found the purpose of the transfer was “one of risk management”.
“The factual preconditions for the exercise of disciplinary powers do not exist because there has not yet been a conclusion of misconduct,” Justice McMurdo said. “He (the Acting Commissioner) has not sought or indicated that he will seek any disciplinary sanction.”
Sen-Constable Irwin has been the arresting officer in a number of high-profile cases of alleged police brutality, including that of youth worker Ray Currier, who suffered brain damage after his arrest.
The QPU said the transfer was based on complaints that had not been proven.
Posted by JR at 7:29 AM
Thursday, June 18, 2015
<i>Justice campaigner Renee Eaves with the honest cop</i>
A GOLD Coast police officer accused of leaking video footage showing his colleagues brutally bashing a young dad in a police station basement is facing criminal charges.
Gold Coast chef Noa Begic was repeatedly punched and ground in to the concrete floor of the station’s basement with his hands cuffed behind his back in January 2012.
While two officers responsible for the attack were given a slap over the wrist, the officer who allegedly leaked video footage to The Courier-Mail is now facing charges including misconduct and abuse of public office and fraud.
Rick Flori was a sergeant at Surfers Paradise police station at the time of the incident and his house was raided by officers from the Ethical Standards Command weeks later. He was ‘reassigned’ and has been fighting to clear his name ever since.
Sgt Flori was formally notified of the charges yesterday but vowed to fight them. “I intend on fighting the charges to the full extent of the law,” he said in a statement.
Of the four officers involved in the attack, only two ever faced disciplinary action and one of those – a sergeant seen washing away blood with a bucket of water – retired from the service before any findings were made. The officer caught throwing punches was stood down, but has since been reinstated without demotion.
Charges of public nuisance and obstruct police against Mr Begic were eventually dropped.
Mr Begic, who settled out of court in his own action against the QPS, is now prevented from speaking about the incident, but at the time he paid tribute to those who ensured the video footage came to light.
White knight Renee Eaves, who has helped both men in their battles against the QPS, said the charges against Sgt Flori were a disgrace. “There are many good police within the organisation without a voice and intimidated by these types of actions,” she said. “They are too scared to report misconduct for fear of workplace harassment or intimidation.”
Posted by JR at 8:22 PM
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Female teacher who was wrongly imprisoned for TWO YEARS for 'having sex with two eight-year-olds' demands investigation into those who falsely accused her
A female teacher who spent more than two years in jail after she was wrongly accused of having sex with two eight-year-old boys has demanded an investigation into those who blamed her for such hideous crimes.
Josephine Greensill was jailed in 2010 after two former students accused her of sexual abuse, including full intercourse, when she was their year three teacher in Melbourne back in 1979.
The retired teacher, who always denied any wrongdoing, has spoken out for the first time for Australian Story saying she still hasn't received an apology following her acquittal in 2012.
'I try not to feel angry because I don't think it's helpful. I feel sad and upset that my life has changed. I don't know if I'll get back to the happy person I was,' Ms Greensill told the program.
'I just want answers I want to know why this has happened to me. Why would someone make accusations that weren't true?'
Ms Greensill was found guilty by a jury of nine of 20 sexual abuse charges after two men made police statements in 2007 accusing their former teacher of assaulting them in a tent in her backyard.
She was sentenced at Victorian County Court to five years with a minimum of two years and eight months, with the judge saying her premeditated crime had 'poisoned and eroded' much of the victims' lives.
Prominent criminal lawyer Robert Stary took on her case after she was jailed and all of her convictions were eventually quashed in 2012 after serving two and a half years.
The appeal judgement concluded there was a 'real likelihood' the two complainants had 'collaborated, and a real possibility of concoction' in the evidence.
'The evidence in this case just didn't stack up,' Mr Stary said. 'It 'just didn't ring true.' 'There was no medical evidence, no forensic evidence and no eye witnesses. There were inconsistent accounts provided by the accusers.'
Mr Stary said it was unacceptable there were no consequences for those responsible for what happened to her.
Ms Greensill was 61 when she was released, but her mental health had suffered and she was diagnosed with post traumatic stress syndrome.
She missed the birth of three grandchildren, her son-in-law's funeral and various milestone birthdays, including her own 60th.
Ms Greensill said she might have well have languished in prison for the full five year sentence had it not been for the determination of sisters, Annette and Mary Toohey.
They want those responsible for what happened to Ms Greensill to be held accountable.
'She feels like she's been acquitted but not exonerated... her reputation has been shattered and that's the most important thing to her,' Annette Toohey said. 'She was innocent. If it could happen to her, it could happen to anybody.'
Victorian Police advised last year that a Special Crime Investigation unit would consider the possibility of investigating the two accusers for possible perjury and perverting the course of justice.
Ms Greensill says she hasn't heard anything from police since January.
Posted by JR at 9:12 PM
Monday, March 2, 2015
The former NSW Crime Commission chief Phillip Bradley has sensationally accused police commissioner Andrew Scipione and his predecessor Ken Moroney of giving "demonstrably wrong" evidence to a parliamentary inquiry examining a long-running bugging scandal.
In an explosive submission to the committee conducting the inquiry, whose final report is being tabled on Wednesday, Mr Bradley says the suggestion by the pair that the Crime Commission "obstructed" an internal investigation into the scandal is "demonstrably wrong and must be rejected".
But Mr Scipione has rejected Mr Bradley's claim in his own last-minute submission to the inquiry.
In it he quotes from an annexure to an official report by the Inspector of the Police Integrity Commission David Levine that says the Crime Commission had "refused to supply" key documents and other material to the internal investigation.
"I therefore do not accept the statement ... that the evidence provided by myself and Mr Moroney was 'demonstrably wrong and must be rejected'," Mr Scipione says.
The dispute opens a new front in the decades-old bugging scandal around an operation codenamed Mascot, which ran between 1999 and 2001.
Mascot - a joint operation between the Police Integrity Commission, the NSW Crime Commission and police internal affairs - used a corrupt former policeman, code named M5, to target allegedly corrupt police with a listening device.
But it emerged there was insufficient or no evidence of wrongdoing by many of the more than 100 police and civilians whose names appeared on warrants issued by the Supreme Court.
The scandal has rocked the highest offices in the NSW Police as Deputy commissioner Catherine Burn was team leader of Mascot, which bugged her fellow deputy commissioner Nick Kaldas more than a decade ago.
Complaints about Mascot were initially investigated by an internal police inquiry, Strike Force Emblems.
But in their evidence to the inquiry Mr Scipione and Mr Moroney said Strikeforce Emblems had been impeded by the Crime Commission's reluctance to hand over key documents, citing secrecy provisions.
Mr Scipione said Mr Moroney had advised him that this meant nothing more could be done and this was one reason for him not pursuing the matter when he was appointed commissioner in 2007.
However, in a letter from his lawyer, Arthur Moses, SC, published by the committee on Tuesday Mr Bradley takes issue with this version of events.
It says that a document was tabled at a July 2004 meeting of the Crime Commission Management Committee which contained "specific references to attempts that had been made by the crime Commission and indeed the Management Committee itself to facilitate the dissemination of information relevant to the investigation".
The letter says the document also sets out the impediments to the handing over of the information and the reasons for the investigation being "ultimately discontinued by resolution of the management committee whose members at the time included Mr Moroney and then police minister John Watkins.
Mr Moses says Mr Bradley - who gave in-camera evidence to the inquiry - regards the document as "crucial because it refutes the allegation that has been repeated many times; to the effect that the Crime Commission obstructed the proper and timely grievance of police officers named in certain affidavits and warrants".
The letter says Mr Bradley believes the July 2004 document represents "a fair and proper understanding of the role of the NSW Crime Commission in this unfortunate matter".
But in response, Mr Scipione has written to the inquiry saying it was "most unfortunate" Mr Bradley's letter was not made available to him by the committee before he gave evidence if it was in its possession.
Mr Scipione says his evidence was based on findings of the Strike Force Emblems report which stated that "investigations could not be progressed as limited material was supplied by the NSW CC" and that the commission had not allowed officers to be interviewed.
He also cites the annexure to Mr Levine's report on the Emblems investigation that says the Crime Commission "refused to supply" material including affidavits underpinning applications for listening device warrants.
Mr Scipione says this led him to believe it was "more than open to conclude" that the Crime Commission had refused access to material sought by Emblems investigators.
In fact, the July 2004 document was tabled by committee member David Shoebridge on January 29 this year.
In it, Mr Bradley outlines the Crime Commission's willingness to consider requests for information by Strike Force Emblems subject to legal and other considerations.
But he also says he has "concerns" about Strike Force Emblems - which he says were shared by then commissioner Ken Moroney - because confidential details about its work were being leaked to the media.
"Because of those concerns, I cannot provide highly confidential information to that Task Force," he wrote.
On Wednesday the inquiry's report recommended that the state government issue a formal apology to Mr Kaldas over being targeted by the operation.
It emerged during the inquiry that Mr Kaldas was named in 80 warrants for listening devices issued to Mascot.
It also recommends an apology be given to Channel Seven journalist Steve Barrett, who was named on 52 warrants.
It is critical of police commissioners over what it says is a lack of action to resolve complaints over the decade-old scandal.
The report also recommends the NSW government establish "a single, well resourced police oversight body that deals with complaints, quickly, fairly and independently".
In 2012 the government commissioned NSW Ombudsman Bruce Barbour to examine the issue. Concerns over the length of his inquiry sparked the parliamentary inquiry last last year.
Mr Barbour is now due to report by July.
Posted by JR at 9:21 PM
Wednesday, February 25, 2015
<i>But prosecutors want only a slap on the wrist for him</i>
A ROGUE police officer who slammed his patrol car into a motorist, roughed him up, falsely imprisoned him and then lied about it in official reports should only be fined, according to the OPP.
The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today heard award-winning police officer Kieran John Atkin, 32, had a "brain snap” when he rammed his patrol car into the car of Hillside motorist Anthony Vittori in August 2013.
Former senior constable Atkin — who joined Victoria Police in 2003 — was initially charged with perjury, perverting the course of justice and assault, but today pleaded guilty to reduced charges of unlawful assault, dangerous driving and making a false report.
Atkin and his partner Brennan Roberts began following Mr Vittori when they noticed him driving an unregistered vehicle and followed him home.
Vittori accidentally backed into the patrol car outside of his home, then tried to drive in to his driveway when Atkin drove the patrol car into the right rear side of the car, spinning it around and destroying a post box.
Vittori was then roughed up and falsely arrested for conduct endangering life, spending about five hours in the police lockup.
"Atkin’s false version of events has resulted in the man’s false imprisonment for a number of hours,” said magistrate Charlie Rozencwajg.
The incident was filmed on Atkin’s own dash-cam, and the footage was seized after internal affairs investigators raided his office.
Atkin — who was awarded the Tynan Eyre Medal for highest achievement at the Police Academy, resigned from the force last November and has since been stacking supermarket shelves.
He plans to move to Byron Bay.
Mr Rozencwajg said he was "extremely surprised” the Office of Public Prosecutions was seeking only a fine and conviction given the serious nature of the offending.
Mr Rozencwajg also criticised police for taking so long to lay charges.
Atkin will be sentenced next week.
Posted by JR at 9:24 PM
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
As the state's top police officer prepares to take the stand at a sensational police bugging inquiry next week, questions have emerged about his possible role in a shadowy taskforce set up with the intention of spying on a journalist.
On September 9, 2012, Fairfax reporter Neil Mercer published explosive details in The Sun-Herald about Strike Force Emblems, a long-buried internal police report into Operation Mascot, an anti-corruption surveillance exercise that controversially involved the secret bugging of more than 100 police officers and civilians on the back of suspect warrants and allegations.
It can now be revealed that nine days after the story was published, the force's professional standards command launched Strike Force Jooriland to monitor the veteran reporter and hunt down the police whistleblower leaking critical information to him.
When NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione appears before the parliamentary committee on Wednesday, he is likely to be grilled on how the operation came to be approved.
Mercer had remained oblivious to Jooriland until last Friday when he appeared as a witness before the inquiry.
"I am completely gobsmacked," he said on Saturday, adding: "You're exposing allegations of serious wrongdoing and criminal offences. Their response is, let's shoot the messenger and then screw the whistleblower."
MEAA chief executive officer Paul Murphy also expressed alarm, stating: "The professionalism of a journalist and the ethical responsibility to protect confidential sources needs to be respected at all times, regardless of the type of inquiry."
As Mercer was left to nervously dwell on the nature - and extent - of the surveillance, biggest questions surround the broader roles in the bugging affair played by Commissioner Scipione and NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn - who at one stage was an acting commander of the special crime and internal affairs unit (SCIA).
"We can't comment on matters that are currently the subject of an investigation by the Ombudsman," said a police spokesman when asked who had triggered the hunt.
On Friday, the inquiry heard explosive allegations about a mass cover-up that blanketed the police corruption investigation, Operation Mascot, which ran between 1999-2001.
Deputy Commissioner Nick Kaldas was a central target of the surveillance operation, which he testified had ruined the careers of many officers and triggered a suicide.
Ms Burn had been a senior officer within the operation which at one stage, was commanded by current Commissioner Scipione. The hearing heard that some affidavits presented to NSW Supreme Court judges had contained no information to justify surveillance, and some content was false. It emerged that during the operation, Ms Burn's unit had secured a warrant to bug Mr Kaldas and his family - despite no evidence of any wrongdoing.
Against the wishes of the NSW government, the inquiry was established last year in response to complaints about the amount of time taken by NSW Ombudsman Bruce Barbour to investigate the scandal. On Friday, Mr Kaldas launched a scathing attack on Mr Barbour, about his treatment. "We, the police, could not treat criminals this way and neither should we," he said.
Mercer had earlier published details of the secret Emblems report which showed Ms Burn had come under investigation, following a string of complaints relating to the investigation. While the report stated there was no evidence to bring criminal or disciplinary charges against her, it noted inquiries into those complaints had hit a wall after access to crucial documents and witnesses was repeatedly denied. It was also revealed that in November 2001, Commissioner Scipione, then commander of SCIA, had been warned some officers within the branch were concerned about the legality of the telephone taps and the release of "fictitious information" to gain listening devices. The inquiry resumes on Tuesday.
Posted by JR at 9:27 PM
Sunday, February 1, 2015
Ex-Gold Coast police chief Paul Wilson left service with unresolved findings of misconduct against him. The Gold Coast cops are notoriously corrupt
The former chief of police on the Gold Coast left the Queensland Police Service (QPS) last year with unresolved findings of misconduct against him for inappropriately disclosing confidential police information.
The ABC can reveal Assistant Commissioner Paul Wilson was facing a Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) recommendation for disciplinary action when he left the service in January 2014, with a formal send-off and a Commissioner's Award for Meritorious Service.
The ABC understands he also received a significant severance payout.
Court documents show that three weeks before his departure, the CMC found Mr Wilson had inappropriately disclosed police information, leading to the identification of a Crime Stoppers informant.
The documents, which emerged in civil litigation in the District Court in Brisbane, include a letter from the CMC describing an investigation into allegations Mr Wilson had abused his position as a senior officer to gain an advantage in a bitter family dispute over his mother's estate.
They show other senior QPS officers became involved in an investigation of Mr Wilson's brother Robert after anonymous complaints to Crime Stoppers that Robert Wilson planned to murder his mother to get his hands on her money, and had previously murdered his father.
Do you know more about this story? Email email@example.com
Nothing was found to substantiate the allegations against Robert Wilson and he subsequently complained to the CMC about his brother's conduct.
The CMC's acting director of integrity services, Darren Brookes, wrote to Robert Wilson on December 24, 2013 telling him the anti-corruption body had found there was insufficient evidence to warrant the recommendation of any criminal charges against Paul Wilson.
"However, the investigation did find that AC Wilson had inappropriately disclosed information and QPS documents ... resulting in the Crime Stoppers informant being named and identified," Mr Brookes wrote.
According to the letter, the CMC investigation had also found that, based on the available material, Paul Wilson was in breach of procedural guidelines for professional conduct relating to conflicts of interest and rules regarding "improper use of QPS information".
"Therefore, we have recommended to the Queensland Police Service that consideration be given to taking disciplinary action against AC Wilson for misconduct under the Police Service (Discipline) Regulations 1990," the CMC official wrote.
"Accordingly, the CMC has referred the matter to the QPS for that purpose."
The QPS confirmed it received the referral, telling the ABC it was handled by Commissioner Ian Stewart.
By the time the CMC letter was sent, the QPS had already announced Mr Wilson's departure from the service, making this public on December 19.
A QPS spokesman told the ABC it had first learned of the CMC investigation in October 2013.
Asked if the CMC misconduct finding or investigation had had any bearing on the timing or nature of Mr Wilson's departure, the spokesman said: "Any response impinges on the privacy of Mr Wilson."
The QPS declined to reveal details of any severance payment to Mr Wilson.
<i>Wilson siblings in long-running dispute over mother's estate</i>
The CMC letter is attached to an affidavit filed by Robert Wilson in a long-running dispute with his brother Paul and sister Joan Clifford over the estate of their mother, Kathleen Wilson, who died in April 2014.
The documents include police memos and Crime Stoppers logs that originated in an earlier case relating to the mother's competency in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).
Paul Wilson had filed in QCAT logs of six Crime Stoppers calls in which a confidential informant had claimed Robert Wilson planned to murder his mother in order to defraud her estate.
The memos show Deputy Commissioner Ross Barnett had briefed the then head of the QPS Organised Crime Group, Detective Superintendent John Sheppard, about the allegations against Robert Wilson in January 2012.
Detective Superintendent Sheppard wrote in a May, 2012 memo to Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon - head of State Crime Operations Command - that he had uncovered the identity of the Crime Stoppers informant and interviewed him.
He found the informant "was not aware of any specific act or incident that could be interpreted as (Robert Wilson) threatening or committing violence towards his mother".
"He offered no direct evidence of any offence that may have been committed," the detective wrote.
Detective Superintendent Sheppard wrote that he had then briefed Paul Wilson.
"He was appreciative of what had been done to that point. He also accepted the difficulties that the criminal investigation into his brother's actions was facing," he wrote.
Detective Superintendent Sheppard told Assistant Commissioner Condon that he had discussed the matter with the head of the fraud squad, Detective Superintendent Brian Hay, and recommended the file be passed to him.
The Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) told the ABC its predecessor, the CMC, had written to the QPS on January 8, 2014 "to report on the outcome of the investigation and to recommend the consideration of disciplinary action against Assistant Commissioner Wilson and the provision of managerial guidance to two other officers".
A spokesman for the CCC said it would be inappropriate to name the other officers.
"Disciplinary action is the responsibility of the QPS," the spokesman said, adding that the timing of Mr Wilson's departure from the QPS was "a matter for Mr Wilson and the QPS".
<i>Robert Wilson fails in bid to block eviction order</i>
Robert Wilson was his mother's carer prior to her death and had been living in her house in the Brisbane suburb of Tarragindi for the past three years.
Last week, he failed in the District Court to block an eviction order in favour of Paul Wilson and Ms Clifford and left the house on Thursday.
As the eviction deadline passed, the ABC witnessed Paul Wilson - accompanied by a crew of removalists - greet police officers who were checking the building had been vacated.
Paul Wilson chairs the Brisbane Central committee of Crime Stoppers and was a director of Crime Stoppers between 2005 and 2007. He is also a director of the Police Credit Union.
He began his career in the QPS in 1974, working as a senior detective in the Whitsundays and as the divisional commander in Fortitude Valley in Brisbane before taking the reins on the Gold Coast, where he was responsible for 1,400 sworn officers.
His last posting was to the Police Academy, from where he was given a send-off at which Commissioner Stewart presented him with a Commissioner's Award for Meritorious Service.
The QPS said such medals were at the discretion of the Commissioner.
Mr Wilson's website, paulwilsonconsulting.com.au describes him as "one of the truly great leaders ... a hypnotic storyteller and enthralling voice on modern leadership".
Mr Wilson did not respond to emails and calls from the ABC
Posted by JR at 8:52 PM
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
S.A.: Police Complaints Authority report found Constable Norman Hoy was unprofessional bully who was rude, arrogant and harsh to drivers
Nasty old goat got let off a charge because his form was not revealed
CONSTABLE Norman Hoy was a threatening, harsh, unfair, arrogant and rude bully whose insulting, unprofessional behaviour breached regulations, according to a damning Police Complaints Authority report.
The Advertiser today can reveal details of 11 Police Complaints Authority inquiries into Const Hoy, who was acquitted by a District Court jury last Friday of assaulting millionaire Yasser Shahin.
Within hours of the not guilty verdict being handed down by a jury, Const Hoy’s legal team, accompanied by SA Police Association President Mark Carroll, served an injunction on The Advertiser banning publication of the complaints.
That gag order was to remain in force until a hearing in the District Court today — however Const Hoy’s lawyers advised, just after 8am, they would not be pursuing their action.
Judge Paul Slattery formally dismissed the injunction just after 11am. He ordered Const Hoy, through the Police Association, to pay The Advertiser’s legal costs.
The injunction temporarily stopped The Advertiser from publishing details of a 2009 Police Complaints Authority report which concluded the "common theme” of complaints from members of the public against the 59-year-old traffic cop were descriptions of him as:
THREATENING, harsh, unfair and unfriendly.
ARROGANT and rude, someone who looked down on drivers.
A POLICE officer who made drivers feel like second-class citizens.
A QUITE aggressive, frightening bully.
ANGRY, confronting and intimidating while yelling at and embarrassing drivers.
One complaint, in 2008, arose from Const Hoy pulling over and defecting a luxury car because its front passenger window’s tint was too dark — two years before his clash with Mr Shahin over the tinting of his Rolls Royce.
In a sequence of events similar to those involving Mr Shahin, Const Hoy told the driver to "shut your mouth” and "don’t have a hissy fit”.
Last week, a District Court jury cleared Const Hoy - described by SA Police Association President Mark Carroll as a "hero cop” for preventing a serious crash on the South Eastern Freeway - of assaulting Mr Shahin, one of South Australia’s most successful business figures.
Prosecutors had alleged he exceeded his lawful authority by grabbing Mr Shahin while defecting his 2008 Rolls Royce for apparently having windows which were too dark.
Mr Shahin’s family company, Peregrine Corporation, owns several of the state’s most profitable retail businesses, including On the Run, Smoke Mart and Krispy Kreme.
During the trial, Mr Shahin told jurors Const Hoy was "hostile” and "hellbent” on bullying him, and had "shoved and grabbed” him during the traffic stop in the Adelaide CBD in September, 2010.
Mr Shahin denied he did "everything in his power” to ensure he was charged.
In his evidence, Const Hoy said he had "no choice” but to grab Mr Shahin because the "intimidating, threatening” businessman would not obey his directions. He denied he engaged in "a power play” with Mr Shahin to show that he "was the boss”.
After 75 minutes’ deliberation, the jury found Const Hoy not guilty.
It can now be reported Mr Shahin’s complaint, to the Police Complaints Authority, was the 12th matter filed against Const Hoy.
The PCA report did not form part of the evidence against Const Hoy in his trial.
According to the report, another driver recalled an encounter with Const Hoy in 2008 where he felt the "rudeness and aggression” displayed toward him was "totally unacceptable”.
"Const Hoy said ‘look, do you want me to explain this to you or not?’ and when the driver said ‘no, I don’t’, he replied ‘well shut up then!’”.
The PCA report, written in 2009, says that when Const Hoy felt the driver was showing "further agitation he said words to the effect of ‘don’t have a hissy fit, let me finish what I was saying, will you?’”
Const Hoy told the authority he was merely seeking to "control” the driver, who was "verbally bullying me”. He said he "made a deliberate choice” of those words to "have him (the driver) comply”. "I believe (the driver) was rude to me and verbally trying to bully me,” the report quotes Const Hoy as saying. "He showed no respect for my position and I believe he was trying to influence my decision by his actions.”
The PCA disagreed.
"I find it ironic that Const Hoy should accuse (the driver) of using bullying tactics,” its report says.
"This is the very thing that (the driver) and numerous other, quite separate independent members of the public have accused Const Hoy of over the past 18 months.
"I recognise that not all of these complaints have been substantiated, but I also recognise that SA Police management have concerns that there may be a performance problem underlying this series of complaints. "I share those concerns.
"In the past 18 months, Const Hoy has been complained about on 11 occasions ... most, if not all, of these complaints (describe him) as rude, threatening and/or aggressive.”
The report is critical of Const Hoy’s handling of the 2008 matter.
"Having considered the evidence, I have formed the view that Const Hoy handled this situation poorly and that his use of the words ‘shut up’ and ‘shut your mouth’ were both unnecessary and unprofessional,” it says. "In my assessment, (his) conduct breached Police Regulation 17 in that it was both insulting and disrespectful to this complainant.”
The report notes SA Police management had advised Const Hoy would be counselled and receive further training.
"I propose to simply reinforce and support the need for the speedy development and implementation of an appropriate intervention strategy,” it says. "In the event he continues to generate complaints of this kind, then any future recommendations I make will be more punitive in nature.”
The report seen by The Advertiser was obtained from a complainant to the Authority, not from Mr Shahin, his family nor anyone connected with them or their business interests.
When Const Hoy was approached for comment last week - through the Police Association - his lawyers responded with a letter warning they would sue for defamation. Const Hoy’s legal team then applied for the interim injunction, which prevented publication of the story until today.
The Advertiser has again approached Const Hoy, through his lawyers, requesting his comment on the 2009 PCA report.
In a statement his afternoon, Police Association president Mark Carroll said it was "quite common” for police to receive complaints from motorists. "Drivers who commit traffic offences hardly relish receiving fines for their transgressions ... high emotion often accompanies their reactions,” he said.
"For this reason, and in the interests of full transparency, many traffic officers like Const Hoy purchase and use their own body-worn video or audio devices - as he did after he was the subject of complaints to the PCA.”
Mr Carroll said the evidence gathered by such devices was "usually compelling”, as "was the case” in Const Hoy’s trial. "It was surely a huge reason for the jury’s not guilty verdict,” he said.
"Cases like this illustrate why the Police Association has, for many years, lobbied strongly for body-worn video to be standard issue for all frontline police. "We shudder to think what the outcome of this case would have been without Const Hoy’s audio evidence.”
Mr Carroll also urged the public keep "perspective” about the matter. "Let’s remember that Const Hoy was shown by the unanimous decision of a District Court jury - and the subsequent comments of Judge Paul Rice - to have conducted himself entirely lawfully in his interaction with Mr Shahin,” he said.
Posted by JR at 8:56 PM
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Serving SA Police officer Amanda Boughen pleads guilty to fabricating, altering or concealing evidence in ongoing case
A SERVING SA Police officer has admitted she fabricated, altered or concealed evidence in an ongoing investigation while working patrols in the northern suburbs.
For the first time, The Advertiser can today report details of the prosecution of Senior Constable Amanda Boughen following a plea bargain deal and the lifting of a suppression order.
Boughen, 40, of Mawson Lakes, had previously pleaded not guilty to one count of abuse of public office and one count of attempting to obstruct or pervert the course of justice.
It was alleged those offences, at Ingle Farm in May 2010, involved Boughen tipping off her then-lover, Storm Strang, to an investigation into his Bridge Rd, Para Hills drug crop.
Strang, 41, is facing sentencing for his role as ringleader of a three-state, four-year, $40 million cannabis trafficking syndicate that involved TV personality Clayton Lush.
However, Boughen also faced a separate set of allegations concerning her actions at the now-defunct Para Hills Police Station between May and September 2006.
That charge — one count of fabricate, alter or conceal evidence — has been the subject of an Adelaide Magistrates Court suppression order since it was filed earlier this year.
Today, Boughen pleaded guilty to that offence and the court heard the abuse of public office and obstruction counts had been withdrawn by prosecutors as part of a plea bargain.
Upon application by The Advertiser, Judge Paul Rice revoked the suppression order — permitting publication of all matters concerning Boughen for the first time.
Boughen was today remanded on continuing bail to face sentencing submissions next month.
Posted by JR at 4:59 PM
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
An off-duty Victorian policeman who fled the scene of a multi-car crash was found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .196 and the drug ecstasy in his system.
Nathan Harkness had been to a 40th birthday party in June when he drove through a red light outside Geelong and braked heavily before crashing into a parked car, which struck a second vehicle.
Melbourne Magistrates Court was told on Tuesday that Harkness, 38, a senior constable, drove from the scene about 9am as the other drivers readied to exchange names and addresses.
Prosecutor Julian Ayres told the court that soon after, and "coincidentally", his car was noticed with damage by other police members.
Mr Ayres said Harkness tested positive to alcohol and at 11.52am a blood test was taken that later revealed the high reading and also the presence of ecstasy.
Harkness, who is suspended, pleaded guilty to charges of exceeding the prescribed concentration of alcohol, careless driving, failing to stop after an accident and failing a drug blood test.
His barrister, Sean Hardy, told the court his client, a policeman since 2008, was married with three children, had no prior convictions and his chance of retaining his job "doesn't look good".
Mr Hardy said Harkness did not take drugs and believed his drink may have been spiked, but admitted he tended to binge-drink alcohol.
He would suffer hardship as a result of his poor judgment, he submitted, as the circumstances were "not going to assist him" in future applications for work.
Deputy Chief Magistrate Felicity Broughton told Harkness he was lucky his wife was not greeted at their front door with the news he had been killed or he had killed someone else.
Ms Broughton said he was "well aware of the carnage on the roads" and that he was "incredibly lucky" his type of drink-driving was not worse.
She told him he ought to have clearly known it was his duty to uphold the law and advised him that he needed to urgently and consistently address his issue with alcohol, but was confident "we will not see you back here again".
Harkness was convicted on all charges, fined a total of $2000 and had his licence cancelled for 19 months.
Posted by JR at 4:56 PM