Sunday, August 26, 2012

Qld. cops deny 'setting up' honest detective

SENIOR police have denied trying to "set up" an officer on stalking charges as a payback after he blew the whistle on alleged misconduct.

Police launched two internal investigations into former Burleigh Heads detective David Whyte, conducted covert surveillance at his home and charged him with stalking and assaulting his neighbours. A jury took less than 30 minutes to acquit him of the charges in 2010.

Mr Whyte is now suing for compensation for psychological injuries he claims to have suffered as a result of workplace bullying and harassment. He left the police service after reporting allegations including the use of illegal search warrants at Burleigh Heads CIB.

Yesterday, in a hearing at Southport Magistrates Court, he grilled senior police about the stalking investigation.

Current Burleigh Heads CIB boss and former Ethical Standards Command officer Brian Swan, who conducted two internal investigations into Mr Whyte, denied they were triggered because the former officer had "blown the whistle" and launched a WorkCover claim.

Another former ESC officer, Inspector Stephen Dabinett, said he was directed by a superior to investigate a stalking complaint against Mr Whyte while on duty at the 2006 Schoolies Festival.

Insp Dabinett said a covert surveillance operation was launched on Mr Whyte's Kirra unit complex with the help of one of his neighbours, an alleged stalking victim. But Mr Whyte disturbed the operation and confronted Insp Dabinett on the property.

Insp Dabinett admitted he refused to identify himself and told Mr Whyte to "f--- off". But he said this was because Mr Whyte knew he and an ESC colleague were police officers.

Mr Whyte: "You were very rude and aggressive towards me."

Insp Dabinett: "No, I don't think I was."

Mr Whyte suggested the ESC officers were at his home for an "improper purpose ... to try and set me up".

"No," Insp Dabinett replied.

The hearing continues, with more senior police set to give evidence next week.


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