Crooked NSW police watchdog
They think they are a law unto themselves
THE former Kings Cross police officer Wendy Hatfield was indignant when she was falsely portrayed having sex with the nightclub boss John Ibrahim in the Nine Network's hit series Underbelly. She sued the network for defamation and won.
Now Ms Hatfield is planning to take on the police watchdog for giving Nine information during the defamation case that she provided to the Wood royal commission into NSW police in 1994, which she says should never have been released.
A Police Integrity Commission spokeswoman confirmed documents were released to Channel 9, but said they were already on the public record.
However, in a previous case in the NSW Court of Appeal, Ms Hatfield was told her commission statements could not be used in any court, as she was an unwilling witness during proceedings. She says the commission breached her privacy by releasing a statement which detailed a sexual assault committed against her. Another document released was an interview she gave while under sedation as an inpatient at the Northside Psychiatric Hospital.
Ms Hatfield has made a complaint to the office of the Inspector of the PIC, as well as the Attorney-General, Greg Smith. She is now seeking legal advice about suing the commission. ''Public humiliation is the worst torture society can inflict on a person,'' she said. ''I just don't want this to ever happen to anybody else.''
Ms Hatfield said she learnt that three statements were given to the network by the PIC during her defamation claim. One was a transcript of an interview she gave in 1995 while she was in the psychiatric hospital and on suicide watch.
''I was heavily sedated and was an inpatient for approximately three weeks. In this timeframe, I was forced to get out of my bed, and go to a patient waiting room with two male investigators and a male legal representative. They compelled me to give answers to their questions,'' Ms Hatfield said.
She was also concerned that she was never given the chance to see and sign the statutory declarations she gave to the royal commission. ''In one of these statutory declarations, I had been asked about a sexual assault that occurred against me in the line of duty in 1993 where the offender was never caught. This had nothing to do with the commission, and now I don't know who has seen it.''
The Royal Commission Act states that any evidence given in a royal commission cannot be used in any other civil or criminal proceedings.
Ms Hatfield said she was desperate to show the government that the legislation governing the PIC was failing. ''Through three civil court proceedings I have earned my credibility back and I am going to do whatever I can to highlight to the NSW government that the current legislation governing the PIC is ineffective and dangerous,'' she said.
Since 2006, the former inspector of the PIC Peter Moss, QC, has published 13 critical reports against the PIC.