Saturday, November 12, 2016

Excessive force systemic at Ballarat: IBAC

Ballarat police who stripped a drunk, off-duty officer half naked while she was in custody and kicked and stomped on the vulnerable woman could be charged over the incident.

The January 2015 matter was been directed to the Director of Public Prosecutions after Victoria's anti-corruption watchdog found it was just one example of excessive force at the Ballarat station outlined in a report tabled in state parliament on Thursday.

IBAC commissioner Stephen O'Bryan QC made four recommendations, including human rights training for officers.

He also suggested the government should consider decriminalising public drunkenness, bringing it into line with every state but Queensland.

Both the government and Victoria Police have baulked at the prospect of decriminalising public drunkenness, saying the laws are there to protect the community and the drunk person themselves.

But acting deputy commissioner Luke Cornelius said Victoria Police would accept the four recommendations and were waiting on the DPP to decide whether charges should be laid.

"It is clear to us that our high standards and expectations in treating citizens with dignity and respect certainly fell short," Mr Cornelius told reporters.

The inquiry was launched after IBAC received CCTV footage from Victoria Police showing the 51-year-old woman being kicked, dragged, stripped and stomped on in police cells.

The officers involved did not know at the time that the woman, who had been arrested for public drunkenness, was a serving police officer on leave for medical reasons.

The woman at the centre of an investigation into shocking police brutality allegations is planning to sue the force. © Ten News The woman at the centre of an investigation into shocking police brutality allegations is planning to sue the force. At IBAC hearings in Ballarat in May, one of the officers involved denied kicking the drunk woman and insisted she only "touched" her with her foot to calm her down and another said the struggle ensued when the woman tried to escape the cell.

All officers involved have returned to work on reduced workloads.

The inquiry also investigated three other complaints of excessive use of force at Ballarat by one officer who later received a promotion to the rank of sergeant.

The officer dragged a woman into an interview room in 2010 and held two women in a choke hold when they refused to leave the station in 2009 - actions which he later admitted to IBAC were "entirely inappropriate".

The public hearings were told Ballarat station attracted more than three times the average number of assault complaints against officers.

Police Minister Lisa Neville said a line had definitely been crossed at Ballarat.

"There is no room in Victoria Police for these sorts of behaviours," she said.

<a href="">SOURCE</a>

Friday, November 11, 2016

Queensland police officer who pulled gun on couple in outback awaits magistrate's ruling

A Brisbane magistrate has reserved his decision in the case of a police officer who pulled a gun on a couple for speeding along an outback Queensland highway in May last year.

Senior Constable Stephen Flanagan was charged with assault and deprivation of liberty after the couple lodged a complaint over the ordeal.

Flanagan's own dash-cam recorded most of the incident, where he is seen honking at the driver, before getting out of the car and pointing his pistol while swearing at the couple.

He is then filmed handcuffing the driver on the side of the highway, before issuing him with a speeding ticket.

The summary trial began yesterday and heard from three witnesses including Flanagan, driver Lee Povey and his partner Anna Lisa Cruse.

'Put you ******* hands in the air'

Mr Povey told the court he was confused at why a police car was following him without any lights and sirens.

He said when he eventually pulled over, he saw the police officer walking towards his vehicle window pointing a pistol and swearing.

"First up, he said, 'Put your ******* hands up in the air,'" Mr Povey said.

Mr Povey said he could feel the gun being pushed into his back while he was being handcuffed outside the car, a claim Flanagan told the court was unlikely.

Several videos of the incident were tendered to the court, including Flanagan's dash-cam and a recording Ms Cruse made on her smartphone.

Officer not a rogue lunatic: defence

In his final submissions, Flanagan's defence lawyer Stephen Zillman said the officer thought the car was stolen and the driver may have had a firearm, so he acted quickly.

"From what we've seen and heard on video, it's clear, he was very, very, highly stressed," he said. "It's not the case of some rogue lunatic police officer simply pulling pistols out, pulling them at someone who's been speeding."

The matter has been adjourned until December 7 and Flanagan's bail has been extended.

<a href="">SOURCE</a>

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Murky past of NSW cop Damian Goodfellow, and the criminal who went on to kill

A senior NSW police officer who played a key role in a botched drug case that resulted in a violent criminal being released to roam the streets has been convicted of assault, drink driving and has twice survived recommendations he be fired.

Despite an assault conviction for the drunken bashing of an off-duty colleague at a cricket international, then being arrested at gunpoint for fleeing a breath test and crashing a police car, Damian Goodfellow has climbed through the police ranks to become one of Sydney's most prominent crime managers.

A Fairfax Media probe has placed him at the heart of two recent significant investigations that resulted in a drug sting that left four police officers claiming they were wrongly persecuted, and the release of a criminal who was facing serious drugs charges:

    "As acting crime manager at Kings Cross local area command in 2011, Detective Inspector Goodfellow filed a report to the agency's Professional Standards Command that later resulted in a string of drug charges being inexplicably dropped against a violent criminal named Wayne Edward Jones. A year later, the Nomad Outlaw Motorcycle gang member, who was operating an illegal prostitution racket in Kings Cross, tortured and strangled to death a mother of four.

    As the current crime manager at Newtown, Inspector Goodfellow was one of three senior police from the station who, based on "strong supposition", recommended a "covert investigation" be launched against the only openly gay male officers within the command, targeting illicit drug use. After combing through their private lives for six months, the operation found no evidence of wrongdoing. The Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW has since "accepted for investigation" four individual complaints of employment-based "homosexuality discrimination" against the force"

In 1999, Inspector Goodfellow was one of two police personnel who were recommended be sacked after they repeatedly punched a third off-duty officer during a drunken brawl at a one-day cricket international at the SCG.

Magistrate Kevin Flack recorded convictions and fined each of the officers $400 plus $52 court costs.

The then police commissioner Peter Ryan gave Inspector Goodfellow a second chance.

But in 2002, he was convicted again, this time of drink driving, after an erratic attempt to skip a breath test resulted in him crashing an unmarked patrol car.

While Mr Ryan lost his patience and issued a dismissal notice, Inspector Goodfellow received another reprieve from incoming commissioner Ken Moroney who, 18 months earlier, had delivered a heart-warming speech at the detective's wedding to fellow officer Carlee Mahoney, the daughter of then assistant commissioner Reg Mahoney.

Police sources who spoke to Fairfax Media at the time expressed dismay that other officers, with no such ties, had been sacked for far less.

Mr Moroney responded by saying his confidence in any officer was relevant to them acknowledging their mistakes and their continued good behaviour.

"Leniency extended once is rarely extended twice," he said.

Inspector Goodfellow was in the headlines again 12 months later as was one of four off-duty officers who were hospitalised following a punch up inside a Kings Cross strip club.

While he was the least injured, Inspector Goodfellow had been knocked unconscious.

"There's no suggestion they made it known they were police officers," said former Kings Cross commander Dave Darcy, who added it was irrelevant they were from the force.

"It could just as well have been any group of young people who happened to be visiting a strip club."

While more than 10 years have passed since those personal indiscretions, Inspector Goodfellow is again under scrutiny after a Fairfax Media investigation published explosive revelations last week about a Kings Cross drug case, handled by him, that ended in controversy and tragedy.

After the drugs case was bungled, Senior Constable Glen Roberts faced charges relating to the professional standards report filed by Inspector Goodfellow (see below).

But in court, magistrate Graeme Curran tongue-lashed police, labelling the conduct as "quite unacceptable" and "quite inexcusable".

In dismissing the case against Senior Constable Roberts and awarding him costs, Mr Curran pointed to two "critical" pieces of evidence the agency had withheld from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the defence that would have proved the officer's "truthfulness" from the start.

But equally as important, he cited the prosecution's "failure to obtain" any form of statement or evidence from Inspector Goodfellow. "It could have been of assistance to the prosecution ... it may easily have been of assistance to the defence," he said.

Fairfax Media requested an interview with Inspector Goodfellow and also forwarded him questions about the case. However, the NSW Police Force advised he was on scheduled annual leave. It provided the following statement:

"[Inspector Goodfellow] was not relieving as crime manager when the charges were recommended for withdrawal.

"The charges against Jones were properly and ethically withdrawn when the force found it could no longer rely upon the evidence upon which the [drug] charges were founded. It was alleged the original information provided by the main police witness [Roberts] was incorrect and that witness never produced a statement for use in court.

"The charges preferred against the former officer were supported by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and this matter was prosecuted by the DPP. Any questions concerning material contained within the brief are best referred to the DPP."
The botched drug bust that set free a criminal

In April 2011, Senior Constable Glen Roberts witnessed a drug exchange in Darlinghurst between a man, Wayne Jones, and one of three young women he had allegedly transported to Sydney from Newcastle and the Central Coast for prostitution.

Already on parole over a brutal bashing that left a woman disfigured, the drug charges served that night were enough to send Jones back to jail for several years. But a short time later, Inspector Goodfellow forwarded a "report" to the Professional Standards Command.

It's contents remain a mystery. However, it led to the PSC charging Senior Constable Roberts with having fabricated evidence and Jones being released from jail in October 2012.

A year later, Jones tortured, burned, bashed and strangled Central Coast mother of four Michelle Reynolds in a Coffs Harbour motel while high on ice.

When Senior Constable Roberts' own case finally came before Sydney's Downing Centre in 2013, the prosecution went all out to jail him.

Today, after being exonerated by Mr Curran, Senior Constable Roberts is no longer in the force and is haunted by "what might have been" had Jones' charges not been "wrongly withdrawn".
The secret police drug sting and the gay officers

In May last year, Inspector Goodfellow was the "resolution manager" who, with two senior colleagues at Newtown, escalated a complaint to the PSC, recommending a sting be launched against three serving gay officers and one of their long-term partners who used to work at the station, over suspicions they might be taking drugs.

The result was an eight-man strike force codenamed "Andro" that, six months later, had turned up "no evidence" of drug use or "related misconduct". The covert operation is estimated to have cost about $250,000 in wages alone.

Their lawyer has since written to police hierarchy, complaining about the "improper use of public resources" to "systematically target" the men because of their "sexual orientation".

Assistant Commissioner Mick Fuller replied, stating he was "satisfied" the investigations were "appropriate in the circumstances".

The initial response from Anti-Discrimination Board NSW suggests otherwise and it has "accepted for investigation" all four complaints of "homosexuality discrimination" against police.

Despite suppressed documents entitled "behavioural observations of subject officers", "analysis of subject officers' communications" and further material relating to bars "regularly visited", the force said on Saturday the investigation had "involved no covert surveillance as alleged".

It added the inquiry was "concluded before it was necessary" to interview any of the men who had been "exonerated of any wrongdoing." Only one of the officers remains in the force.
The life and crimes of a Sydney police officer

1995: As a probationary constable, Damian Goodfellow was forced to apologise to a motel owner after property was damaged and female guests harrassed during a police conferencing session.

1999: Bashes a fellow off-duty officer at the SCG while drunk, is convicted of common assault and fined $400. Receives notice requiring him to show cause why he should not lose his job. Then Commissioner Peter Ryan gives him a second chance.

2000: Marries the daughter of NSW Assistant Commissioner Reg Mahoney. Future Police Commissioner Ken Moroney is among the speech givers.

2002: An attempt to flee a breath test backfires when he crashes a police car while drunk and then gets arrested at gunpoint. Fined by the court. Loses his licence. Issued with a dismissal notice by Mr Ryan but gets another reprieve by incoming Commissioner Ken Moroney.

2003: Among four off-duty officers hospitalised after a violent, early hours brawl inside a Kings Cross strip club.

2007: Receives specialist promotion to senior sergeant at what was then Special Crime and Internal Affairs.

2009: Joins Kings Cross as Duty Officer.

2011: While Goodfellow stands in as acting crime manager at Kings Cross, one of the station's detectives, Glen Roberts, lays drug charges against local crime figure and Nomads bikie gang member Wayne Jones. After Goodfellow sends a report to the force's Professional Standards Command (PSC), they are dropped.

October 2012: Senior constable Roberts is charged by the force with having fabricated false evidence against Jones.

December 2012: Jones tortures, bashes and strangles to death Central Coast mother of four Michelle Reynolds.

2013: A magistrate dismisses the case against Roberts, awards him costs and slams police for failing to obtain evidence from Goodfellow and concealing, for two years, vital evidence from the DPP that verified the detective's "truthfulness".

2015: Goodfellow, now crime manager at Newtown, is one of three senior police who, based on "strong supposition", signed off on a joint decision to investigate four officers over illicit drug use. The men, who are gay, claim homophobia sparked the six month sting - which found no evidence of wrongdoing.

2016: The Sun-Herald reveals the chain of events that led to the murder of Michelle Reynolds.

<a href="">SOURCE</a>

Monday, November 7, 2016

Crooked cops in NSW

<i>The crooked cops always slime the honest ones, thus making it hard to tell the sheep from the goats</i>

Deputy Police Commissioner Catherine Burn is likely to face adverse findings when the Ombudsman's long-running and controversial police bugging inquiry, Operation Prospect, tables its report, leaked letters have revealed.

An adverse finding would seriously dent any chance Ms Burn had of replacing Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione when he retires.

The two letters sent to Acting Ombudsman John McMillan by the NSW Crime Commissioner Peter Hastings, QC, have blasted the $10 million Operation Prospect investigation as unfair.

Mr Hastings threatens to seek an injunction in the Supreme Court to block the public release of the report when it is tabled in NSW Parliament.

The Greens will separately seek to "kill off" the report, by amending a police oversight bill in NSW Parliament next week, to terminate the Operation Prospect inquiry.

"Any report that the Acting Ombudsman delivers will be so infected by gross procedural injustice that it will never be accepted as either fair or impartial," Greens MP David Shoebridge said last night.

The Ombudsman has been investigating events that took place 17 years ago, when former deputy commissioner Nick Kaldas was among about 100 police bugged during a police internal affairs unit investigation involving Deputy Commissioner Burn.

The Ombudsman's report is still being written and is due to be released before Christmas.

The heavily redacted letters, obtained by Fairfax Media, confirm for the first time that Ms Burn, Mr Kaldas and former NSW Crime Commission chief Philip Bradley face recommendations of adverse findings.

But the letter attacks the investigation, begun by former ombudsman Bruce Barbour four years ago, for allowing key witnesses to make submissions that were not disclosed to other parties.

Mr Kaldas, who has previously made serious complaints about the Ombudsman's inquiry, retired from NSW Police earlier this year, bowing out of the race for the Commissioner role.

The letter says the process used by the Ombudsman's office is "intolerable", and it was "fundamentally unfair" that Mr Bradley has been unable to see evidence given by important witnesses against him.

Mr Hastings says he has discussed the matter with Ms Burn and "I understand her lawyers have expressed similar concerns about the processes generally and specifically in relation to the failure to put matters to her [redacted] about which recommendations are now apparently being made for adverse findings", the letter says.

"It is a matter of public record that former deputy commissioner Nick Kaldas has serious complaints about the manner in which the investigation has been conducted ... It is significant that those senior personnel who have been investigated but who have different interests, have major grievances about the way in which they have been treated," the letter says.

The report will cause "substantial reputational damage suffered ... The situation is wrong and the damage will be irremediable."

It threatens that Ms Burn, Mr Kaldas and Mr Bradley may join any legal action to injunct the report in the Supreme Court.

However, Ms Burn last night distanced herself from the letter.

"I am under strict directions from the Acting Ombudsman not to disclose the matters in which I have been involved in the Operation Prospect Inquiry. Contrary to a media report today, I have not decided to join in an application to the courts complaining about the process of the inquiry,'  she said in a statement.

No details of the adverse findings have been revealed in the redacted letters.

The October 26 letter also calls for the dispute between the government authorities to be referred to Premier Mike Baird within seven days.

A spokesman for Mr Baird said a copy of the letter had been sent to Mr Baird's office late this week.                

"We look forward to receiving the Ombudsman's report and will respond in due course," he said.

A spokesman for the NSW Crime Commission declined to confirm or deny the contents of the letter.

The Ombudsman's office said the report was still being written and would be tabled in Parliament before Christmas.

Mr Shoebridge said: "From day one it was clear the Ombudsman's office was not up to the job of investigating this extremely sensitive police bugging scandal, and it has hidden its inadequacies behind a wall of secrecy and a grossly unfair process.

"Parliament created this monster and Parliament now needs to do the right thing and kill it off before it causes any more damage."

<a href="">SOURCE</a>

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Corruption in high places? NSW Police dropped drug charges that allowed a violent criminal to kill

Glen Roberts served in the Cronulla riots and survived being mowed down twice by the same car during a dramatic police pursuit.

Yet his professional career – and his personal life – will forever be defined by a drug exchange he wishes he had never, by chance, witnessed.

One of the two people he arrested and charged that night in April 2011, Wayne Edward Jones, was a major crime figure who, already serving parole, was sent straight back to jail – where he should have remained for several years.

Yet for reasons known only to a select few officers within the NSW Police Force, he did not.

Michelle Reynolds with one of her young sons. © Janie Barrett Michelle Reynolds with one of her young sons. Six months later, the charges against Jones were inexplicably withdrawn and he was freed - with deadly consequences.

Jones later booked into a Coffs Harbour motel where, high on ice, he hogtied, tortured and strangled to death a mother-of-four, Michelle Reynolds. He then ordered take-away pizza beside her broken body before dumping her in bushland the following day.

Senior Constable Roberts, meanwhile, found himself charged with having fabricated "false evidence" in the drug case against Jones.

A Fairfax Media investigation has now found that the force appeared so determined to discredit the officer over what he saw that night, it broke the law by withholding two crucial pieces of evidence from the Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and Senior Constable Roberts' defence lawyers which proved his innocence.

As a magistrate was still getting his head around the prosecution's case against Senior Constable Roberts, which he later remarked "should never have started", the worst possible news surfaced in court.

The same violent offender whose drug supply charges had strangely evaporated 14 months earlier had since become the subject of another serious criminal case at Coffs Harbour.

"Sorry your honour … I just have a question," said a court assistant about what first appeared to be a mix up with files. "The case … is for a murder charge."

"We all looked around in disbelief," recalled Senior Constable Roberts.

"The man whom I had charged, who should still have been inside, and for whom I was now in court, had killed someone. I was absolutely devastated."

On April 4, 2011, Senior Constable Roberts and a colleague were patrolling Sydney's Kings Cross where they observed Jones and three young women in a situation that prompted concerns of underage prostitution. Senior Constable Roberts then observed Jones "clearly and without obstruction" place both his hands down the front of his pants and remove "a plastic item" before transferring the object into the co-accused's hands" which she swiftly stuffed down the front of her shorts.

They called for back up and a a female officer searched the girl and located the package inside her pants which contained bags of heroin, ice and marijuana.

However, back at the station, the seemingly straightforward arrest started to unravel when the 21-year-old woman divulged that she had been assisting Newcastle-based detectives with classified intelligence about Jones and his bikie gang associates, describing scenes involving big silver cases and "pounds of drugs" laid across tables. "He is part of the Nomads ... they all are," she said. The woman went on to explain how the previous evening Jones had rounded her and two teenage girls up, conducted an ice deal at a service station and then bashed her and forced her to drive, unlicensed, to Sydney for the purpose of prostitution.

"He had sexual intercourse with me even though I tried to stop him ... and then after that he forced me to do two jobs …otherwise he was going to do it again." She also alleged he had raped one of the other girls.

Throughout the interview, the woman said she was "scared", adding: "Once he overdosed me on heroin and just left me there. Other days he just belts me."

The drugs that led to the arrest of Wayne Jones in 2011. © Supplied The drugs that led to the arrest of Wayne Jones in 2011. Years earlier, Jones had smashed a woman so hard with a car "club lock", it caused the left side of her face to collapse. He received a seven and a half year sentence with a non-parole period of four and a half years.

He was still on parole for that horrific attack when the drug exchange took place. He was now served with three drug possession charges, one count of dealing with suspected proceeds of crime and an additional charge of supply of an indictable quantity of drugs, which carries a maximum 15 year prison term.

Yet six months on, some shadowy element in the police force set wheels in motion to withdraw all those charges and have Jones freed.

In turn Senior Constable Roberts was suddenly accused of lying about what he'd observed on the night and was charged with "fabricating false evidence with intent to mislead judicial tribunal".

When the case was heard in Sydney's Downing Centre in April 2013, it emerged that the prosecution's case against Senior Constable Roberts hinged on one statement from a senior constable who said Roberts had told her he "hadn't actually seen" the drug transaction that led to Jones being charged.

Yet two pivotal pieces of evidence, which the force had failed to produce for two years, proved otherwise. The first, an official record of interview in which Jones' co-accused acknowledged she personally saw Senior Constable Roberts witness the exchange. "I know you saw me," she said, adding: "I spotted that."

The second testimony came from the female constable called to the sceneto search the three women. In her statement, which police did not disclose, the officer recalled Senior Constable Roberts saying: "I've seen her hug the accused and possibly put something down the front of her pants."

Under the Director of Public Prosecutions Act 1986, police are legally bound to "disclose" to the DPP "all relevant information, documents or other things obtained during the investigation" that might reasonably be expected to assist the case for the prosecution or that of the accused person.

Magistrate Graeme Curran said it was that "critical" evidence that not only favoured the "truthfulness" and "accuracy" of Roberts' observations, but "founded" the supply charges then laid against Jones.

"For reasons which just remain completely inexplicable and quite strange … this document was not provided to the DPP. This is despite a request that it be made available to the DPP."

Michelle Reynolds was dumped in bushland by Wayne Jones. © Frank Redward Michelle Reynolds was dumped in bushland by Wayne Jones. He added: "It seems quite exceptional, quite unacceptable, and as far as I am concerned, quite inexcusable in relation to the conduct of this matter before the court."

NSW Greens justice spokesman David Shoebridge said on Saturday: "This was either the grossest incompetence or, these actions were conducted with the clear intent of delivering a serious miscarriage of injustice. Either way, the consequences have been deeply tragic."

Senior Constable Roberts has had plenty of time to speculate on why someone in the force freed Jones and then attempted to "throw him under a train". But central to the grief that still consumes him is the question of what might have unfolded, had he never made the arrest that night.

"I'm still plagued by the thought that I may have saved the lives of those three young girls, but I cost another woman hers."

On Saturday, the force released a statement to Fairfax Media acknowledging "the seriousness of this issue."
How the bizarre sequence of events unfolded

Feb 2003: Wayne Jones bashes a woman so hard with a car "club lock", the left side of her face collapses. He already has convictions for armed robbery, possession of a pistol and numerous drug-related charges. At the end of the year, he receives a 7year sentence with a non-parole period of 4years.

Apr 2011: Kings Cross Senior Constable Glen Roberts witnesses a drug exchange involving Jones and a woman who he allegedly brought to Sydney to prostitute. Jones' parole is revoked and he is returned to jail. It emerges the woman has been forwarding classified intelligence about Jones' involvement with a major drug supply and the Nomads motorcycle gang.

Oct 20: All charges against Jones are withdrawn. He is freed.

Nov: Within weeks of being released, Jones is charged with possessing a knife in public, driving while disqualified, dealing with proceeds of crime and possessing identity information to commit an indictable offence. He again avoids jail and is placed on good behaviour bonds, the last of which expires on November 18, 2014.

October 10, 2012: Senior Constable Glen Roberts is charged with "fabricating false evidence with intent to mislead judicial tribunal".

December  11-17: Jones tortures, bashes and strangles Central Coast mother Michelle Reynolds in a Coffs Harbour motel room, then dumps her battered body in bushland.

June 6, 2013: A judge dismisses the case against Senior Constable Roberts and is scathing of police after they were found to have concealed "critical" evidence from the DPP that verified the detective's "truthfulness" and the case against Jones.

October 2014: Jones is sentenced to minimum 20 years jail for murder.

<a href="">SOURCE</a>