Friday, August 24, 2012

Former Qld. cops gives evidence on illegal warrants and bullying in police force

A PROSTITUTION taskforce was shut down after investigating a state government minister who was allegedly using Gold Coast call girls, a court has been told.

Veteran former Coast police officer Al Colefax made the claim yesterday at a hearing into allegations of bullying and harassment in the Queensland Police Service.

Former Burleigh Heads detective David Whyte is suing workers compensation body Q-Comp for psychological injuries he claims to have suffered as a result of "entrenched maladministration, workplace harassment and nepotism".

Mr Colefax, who served in the QPS for 26 years before being medically retired in 2007, backed Mr Whyte's allegations of unlawful search warrants being used at the Burleigh Heads CIB.

He told Southport Magistrates Court he did not report his concerns because of an experience in the 1990s when he notified superiors that a government minister's name had come up as a "regular client" of prostitutes.

Mr Colefax said no action was taken and the "very successful" anti-prostitution squad he headed was abruptly disbanded.

Two serving police officers also gave evidence in support of Mr Whyte's claim against Q-Comp. Former Burleigh Heads detectives John Laws and Kevin Tudor said they were forcibly transferred out of the branch office after clashing with superiors.

Senior-Constable Laws said false disciplinary charges were levelled against him and he was sent to a uniform job at Mudgeeraba after he raised allegations of bullying, favouritism and illegal search warrants.

Grilled by Q-Comp barrister John Dwyer about why he did not report his concerns, Sen-Constable Laws said he had "a career to protect" and there was "substantial risk" in speaking out.

"Put simply, you make a complaint with the QPS and you paint a target on your back," he told the court.

"The culture of the QPS is such that you would wind up ostracised and generally run out of the place."

The hearing heard that after Mr Whyte complained to the CMC in November 2006, Burleigh Heads detectives were called in by senior officers and asked what they knew.

Sen-Constable Laws said a senior officer rang him to tell him that Mr Whyte had "gone bad" and "lost the plot" and wanting to know where Whyte's service pistol was.

While service pistols were sometimes confiscated from officers who went on sick leave, Sen-Constable Laws said, he had also seen this done to "humiliate" them.

The hearing was told that the CMC had been unable to substantiate misconduct allegations raised by Mr Whyte but had identified procedural and management issues.


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