Friday, May 12, 2017

Police officer ‘disciplined’ for sharing address of domestic violence victim

A QUEENSLAND cop who used the official police database to share a Gold Coast mum’s home address with her former husband who was bound by a restraining order – and then joked about it – has avoided the sack.

Almost nine months after The Courier-Mail revealed the shocking allegations, an internal affairs police investigation has determined Brisbane Senior Constable Neil Punchard should receive “disciplinary sanctions”, but it is understood he was not suspended.

The terrified woman, who has been forced to move house, said she was disgusted by the decision and has now appealed to the ­Parliamentary Crime and Corruption Committee to review the case. She has also sought an ­urgent meeting with State MP Shannon Fentiman, the Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence.

The Ethical Standards Command investigation ruled that the allegations against Sen-Constable Punchard were substantiated and imposed “disciplinary sanctions”, but in a statement refused to tell The Courier-Mail what those sanctions were.

After learning the woman’s address, Sen-Constable Punchard joked with his mate via text message about how she would “flip out” when she discovered she had been tracked down.

It comes just a week after another police officer, caught using the QPRIME database to look up netball star Laura Geitz out of curiosity, pleaded guilty to computer hacking charges and was fined $4000.

The Gold Coast mother-of-three whose file was ­accessed by Sen-Constable Punchard said it beggared belief that the two officers received such vastly different punishments.

“How is it that an officer can look up a netball player and get criminally charged and another who has completely betrayed my trust is not subjected to further investigation?” she said.

“He should be facing criminal charges.  “I feel like the safety of myself and my family is now at risk.”

Ms Fentiman said no one deserved to have their privacy and safety threatened.  “Any breach of trust by someone tasked with protecting domestic violence victims is completely unacceptable,” she said.

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