Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Top NSW cop tries to bribe TV station over harassment of lawyer

And the dumb copper did it in front of witnesses! The lawyer has repeatedly got big damages settlements from the NSW wallopers over their mistreatment of him so it is clear where the fault lies. They clearly have a vendetta against him and haven't yet learned their lesson. Pic of the genius cop below

A senior NSW police officer has been accused of behaving corruptly in his media management of the force's dispute with the prominent Muslim lawyer Adam Houda. Frank Mennilli, a NSW police assistant commissioner and the South-West Metropolitan Region commander, sought favourable television coverage of police in Mr Houda's case from Channel Seven in exchange for inside information, Mr Houda's lawyer, Chris Murphy, says.

However, Mr Mennilli rejects the allegations and intends to complain to Seven about its report on the case.

The Herald reported on Saturday that Mr Houda was preparing to sue police again after being detained, while walking near his home, for the fourth time in three years.

Mr Houda, 35, who has represented several clients accused of terrorism-related offences and managed the career of the former rugby league player Hazem El Masri, says the arrest was the worst example yet of racial vilification and brutality. Previous incidents have led to an apology and two police compensation payouts.

In a complaint to the NSW Ombudsman, Mr Murphy alleges Mr Mennilli said "a number of things which I believe amount to corrupt conduct" in a conversation with a Channel Seven journalist, Adam Walters, and two colleagues as they prepared the lead story for Saturday's news. Mr Murphy alleges Mr Mennilli said "that if Walters favoured police in his reporting he would be rewarded with future scoops and he was told of a major police operation next Thursday".

Mr Walters "regarded the offer as an attempted bribe and indicated to the assistant commissioner he was insulted and would not be party to it", Mr Murphy said. "He indicated to me [yesterday] that he filed a report with Channel Seven management complaining about the conduct of the assistant commissioner."

Police told the Herald on Friday that Mr Houda was stopped because they were conducting "proactive patrols in the Yagoona area following a series of robberies involving knives". They would not reveal the locations of the robberies or suspects' descriptions.

But Mr Murphy said: "Mennilli showed [Walters] police intelligence reports of crime in surrounding suburbs involving robbery. Interestingly none of the robberies were in Yagoona and three of them involved young people [aged in their teens]."

He also said the two officers accused of using excessive violence in Mr Houda's arrest on Thursday delivered a summons at his home at 9pm on Sunday, an experience that was "terrifying to the Houda family and to Mr Houda, who suffers a serious heart problem". "The police are ganging up on Mr Houda right to the highest levels," he alleged, calling for the Ombudsman to "show some strength".

Mr Mennilli said in a statement yesterday that he "strongly reject[s] the allegations". He said he had instructed police public affairs to lodge a formal complaint with Seven after the Saturday broadcast. But the broadcast did not contain the allegations of media manipulation. [Dumb copper again!]


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