Wednesday, September 28, 2011

NSW Police Integrity Commission has no integrity

Trying to cover up a report on its 'bias'

A DAMNING report accusing the Police Integrity Commission of bias has been blocked after the watchdog lobbied to stop it being tabled in parliament. For the first time, state parliament has refused to make public the annual report of the Inspector of the PIC, Peter Moss QC.

The commission, which acts as the state watchdog for the police and the NSW Crime Commission, wrote to parliamentary officers urging them not to table it.

Mr Moss, who oversees the PIC, is furious, claiming the "blatant" interference will shake public confidence in the secretive commission. "I am, of course, aghast at this blatant and behind-the-scenes interference by the PIC to prevent publication of my annual report," he wrote in a letter to a former police officer.

Speaker Shelley Hancock and president of the legislative council Don Harwin have asked for advice from the Crown Solicitor's office after PIC acting commissioner Jerrold Cripps told them Mr Moss's report was "unlawful".

The PIC is protected by the same statutory powers covering all judicial officers which protects it from being sued.

Legal experts believe a finding that it had been biased may open the floodgates for civil claims against it by people it has investigated.

Earlier this year, the NSW Police Association passed a vote of no confidence in the PIC after a run of 13 scathing reports by Mr Moss highlighted what he said was unfairness in the PIC hearings.

His latest annual report contains the finding that the PIC showed bias against three police it investigated, to the point of omitting critical evidence supporting the officers' version of events from its final report, called operation Whistler. As part of that operation, the PIC investigated allegations a self-confessed drunken man, arrested while running naked on a street, was assaulted while being arrested.

Mr Moss found the man never complained of an assault. He was allowed to give his evidence in private, without being questioned by lawyers for the police, and the officers were never told what evidence the man had given.

"The (PIC) report was not only biased and unfair in respect of each of the police who gave evidence but was in many respects unreliable and inconsistent and indeed incomprehensible," Mr Moss said in his report.

He wrote that his annual report was delivered to Parliament on Friday, but "for the first time ever" they declined his recommendation to make the report public.

"Without informing me, the PIC wrote to certain officers of the parliament opposing my report being made public on the basis that it contained my report upholding (many) complaints, and that the PIC did not accept (it)," he wrote.

"I have since then been provided with a copy of the certain letters written by the PIC which appear to have brought about this situation. I am currently prevented from distributing my annual report."

Instead, the PIC told parliament it would present its own "special report" which should be read first.

Mr Harwin said he and Ms Hancock would make a decision on tabling Mr Moss's report after legal advice.

A spokesman for Premier Barry O'Farrell said it would be inappropriate for the government to intervene in decisions on tabling reports. [WHY?]

A spokesman for the PIC refused to comment last night.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Constable Barry John Donnelly and State of Queensland to pay Renee Eaves, 35, damages for harrassment, intimidation

A QUEENSLAND traffic policeman and the State Government have been ordered to the pay a former model $93,000 in damages for harassment and intimidation more than five years ago.

Brisbane District Court judge Nick Samios ordered Constable Barry John Donnelly and the State of Queensland pay Renee Terri Eaves, 35, damages after she was arrested and falsely imprisoned amid allegations she drove while disqualified on March 16, 2009.

Judge Samios, in a 21-page written judgment, said he accepted Constable Donnelly demonstrated he "did not like'' Ms Eaves, then more than four months pregnant, when he led her away in handcuffs past fellow residents at her Vernon Tce apartments at Teneriffe.

Ms Eaves was seeking $200,000 in damages after she claimed Constable Donnelly arrested her despite her protestations that her partner had driven from the Royal Brisbane Hospital -- where she was treated for pregnancy-related nausea.

She claimed Constable Donnelly took her to the Brisbane Watchhouse and that she was denied medication or a container to vomit in and was abused by another female prisoner for being sick in the cell.

Ms Eaves, in her statement, alleged that before the arrest Constable Donelly had regularly parked outside her unit and called her intercom. She said he intercepted her on 15 to 20 occasions between May 2004 and March 2006. Ms Eaves was later found not guilty of unlicensed driving.

During a four day civil trial in the District Court early last month, Ms Eaves testified Constable Donnelly, after placing her in handcuffs about 5.45pm on March 16, had paraded her through her building, down a lift, past cafes, shops, people and neighbours.

"(Ms Eaves) said (that) along the way she was sick and she was dry-retching and then once in the police vehicle she felt sick and needed to vomit,'' Judge Samios said.

"(Ms Eaves) was then transported to the Roma Street Watchhouse where she was taken into custody ... charged with the offence of disqualified driving ... (and later) before a magistrate ... was found not guilty of the charge.''

The court was told Ms Eaves, who represented herself during the hearing, felt her arrest was a malicious act and that she was "really scared about being put in the lock-up while pregnant.''

Ms Eaves testified Constable Donnelly had subjected her to ongoing harassment prior to the 2006 incident, saying the officer had approached her on between "15 and 20 occasions.''

Constable Donnelly testified he had "rarely made mistakes in his working life'' as a police officer.

Under cross-examination by Ms Eaves, Constable Donnelly denied acting in a "spiteful'' manner at the time he arrested her. "(However Constable Donnelly) agreed there had been verbal slanging-matches between (Ms Eaves) and (himself) but he said it was from (Ms Eaves') side not from his,'' Judge Samios said.

The court was told Ms Eaves' "traffic history was appalling'' and that she had racked up 30 traffic offences between January 7, 2000 and October 26, 2004. Judge Samios said Ms Eaves finally regained her driver's licence on July 31, 2008, but was booked for speeding the following day and caught driving while using a mobile phone on September 5, 2008.

In handing down his findings, Judge Samios said: "I consider (Constable Donnelly) was not even-handed about (Ms Eaves) ... (and) appeared to be adverse to (her).'' "I find (Constable Donnelly) made a mistake when he identified (Ms Eaves) as the driver of the vehicle ... (and) I do not accept he made an honest mistake.''

Judge Samios said he accepted Ms Eaves to be a "truthful witness'' and in particular "her evidence about her past dealings'' with Constable Donnelly. "(Constable Donnelly) handcuffed her with her hands behind her back and laughed at her when she was vomiting,'' he said.

"I find (Constable Donnelly) guilty of false imprisonment of (Ms Eaves) ... (and) I find the (State of Queensland) vicariously liable.''

Judge Samios awarded Ms Eaves $30,000 in compensatory damages, $10,000 in exemplary damages, $20,000 in aggravated damages and $33,000 interest.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Amazing case: Single mother sues slimy cop -- and wins

She represented herself in court against a range of top legal brains and beat them all

I have in front of me a copy of the District Court judgment of today's date in the matter of Eaves v. Donnelly in which Renee Eaves was awarded the sum of $93,000 against Barry John Donnelly and the State of Queensland.

Ms Eaves is a very attractive blonde model from whom (I surmise) constable Donnelly wanted sex. He apparently was such a low character that he thought he could coerce her into it. She did not oblige him.

So he launched a campaign of harassment against her, secure in the assumption that a dumb blonde could never do anything to touch a Queensland cop.

He arrested her repeatedly on trumped up charges, all of which were thrown out when they came to court.

It was then that Renee showed her steel. She was NOT just a pretty face but a woman determined to get justice against the scum concerned.

And she stuck at it for years. She of course complained to the CMC -- where police investigate police -- and they rejected her complaint.

She then began to get media coverage of the matter, hoping that would shake some action loose. It didn't but it stressed out the cop. He went on stress leave for a year and then resigned.

But Renee still felt that the police had to be held to account -- to discourage oppression of other women by police. So she launched a damages claim in the District Court, where she showed she is not only a steely blonde but a smart one. She repeatedly cross-examined successfully.

During her long battle to get into the District Court, however, Renee ran out of money. Everything about the law is expensive and her means were slender. She in fact ran out just before the matter was due to come up so it looked as if her long battle was going to be for nought.

At that point I stepped in and paid her legal costs from that point on. I had never even met her but I have had a loathing against scum police ever since the extraordinary Barry Mannix case -- where the corrupt police got off Scot-free.

The real villain in this case, however is not the scum cop but rather the police service and the CMC who did nothing to pull him into line or attempt to make amends for his deeds. Except for the extraordinary courage of Ms Eaves, the guilt of the cop in the matter would never have been established.

And in the end it is the taxpayer who will pay -- well over $100,000 all up when legal costs are included.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

More than 600 Queensland police officers caught breaking traffic laws in two years

A POLICE sergeant who let an unlicensed young woman drive his marked patrol car while he changed gears is one of more than 600 officers who have been caught breaking traffic laws in the past two years.

The officer from Dimbulah in far north Queensland was reported by a witness after the car swerved to miss a kangaroo and hit a tree, then drove off. He had been seen drinking at the Chillagoe Hotel, about 100km away, before the crash.

The Ethical Standards Command investigated the case, along with 44 others relating to police weaving through bus lanes, talking on mobile phones while driving, drink-driving on the job and even driving unlicensed.

Another 557 police were made to pay speeding or red-light offences out of their own pocket after it was found they had no valid excuse for breaking traffic laws.

In three more cases, the police service could not identify the driver and had to pay the "corporate" fine.

A Queensland Police Service spokesman said the infringements officers had to pay themselves amounted to "fewer than one a day".

He said police could only speed while responding to priority one or two jobs and go through a red light after stopping to ensure it was safe to do so.

Queensland Police Union president Ian Leavers said the fines showed police were treated no differently to others who broke traffic laws.

"If anything, police face more scrutiny and harsher treatment because of their role in the community," Mr Leavers said.

"Given there's more than 10,000 police in Queensland driving millions of kilometres a year, the numbers are really very small."

But Terry O'Gorman from the Queensland Council of Civil Liberties said it was appalling so many police were breaking traffic laws and escaping fines or disciplinary action.

Of the 45 cases investigated by ESC, 29 resulted in the lowest form of police discipline "managerial guidance" for the officers involved.

They included a motorcycle officer who drove at 146km/h in an 80km/h zone on the Sunshine Coast to catch another rider exceeding the speed limit by 28km/h.

A senior constable spotted talking on her mobile phone while escorting a long wide load was also given managerial guidance, as was an officer who used a police car for personal jobs, leaving his station and being unable to respond to an urgent case.

Mr Leavers said managerial guidance was a "valuable tool" in the disciplinary system.

Mr O'Gorman said their light-handed treatment reflected the attitude among police that there was "one law for them and another for the rest of us".

The Dimbulah sergeant was ordered to pay $9000 restitution to cover vehicle repairs and had his pay docked by about $40 a week.

* A constable whose licence had been suspended by SPER was caught on camera speeding despite not being on the way to a job.

* A policewoman was spotted talking on her mobile phone while escorting a long-wide load.

* A policeman talking on his mobile while driving told a civilian who questioned him that police were exempt from traffic laws.

* An off-duty constable pulled over by police when he was seen talking on his mobile phone then blew a blood-alcohol reading of 0.051 per cent.

* A police officer on the way to a disturbance at Woorabinda hit a kangaroo and then recorded an alcometer reading of 0.057 per cent after reporting the incident.

* A police car struck a woman walking through Brunswick Street Mall and offered her no assistance.

* An officer who dobbed in a police recruit applicant for speeding was disciplined himself for doing 143 in a 70km/h zone in an unauthorised pursuit while off-duty.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A charming W.A. cop

He assaulted man with capsicum spray and poured beer over his head

A POLICE officer who assaulted a young man with capsicum spray before pouring beer over him has been charged.

The former policeman - a serving constable at the time - has been charged over the incident in Redcliffe on October 23 last year.

It will be alleged that the 54-year-old Walliston man assaulted a 23-year-old man by spraying him in the face with capsicum spray before pouring beer over the victim’s face.

It will be further alleged he made a false entry on the police computer system in relation to the incident. The man was charged with assault and falsifying documents.

An internal investigation into the incident was sparked after another police officer brought the man's conduct to the attention of the Police Commissioner.

The man resigned from the force earlier this year. He will appear in the Perth Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Charming West Australian cop

Married detective accused of affair with teeanger, including sex in cop car -- and then refuses to break it off

A MARRIED policeman has been disciplined and transferred following an affair with a teenage model, during which he allegedly had sex with her in the back of his unmarked police car.

The tryst, which began just months after his marriage to a fellow police officer who is now eight months pregnant, ended in acrimony after police stepped in and took out an Apprehended Violence Order to protect his young lover.

The teenager, who lives on a housing estate, told police she'd been in a "sexual relationship" with Detective Senior Constable Stephen Buttel for eight months and had allegedly seen him while he was on duty.

In a 17-page statement, she said Buttel, 32, refused to end their relationship despite telling her after several months that he was married and his pregnant wife worked at the same station.

The teen told police that when she refused to see him, he began to stalk and harass her while on duty by sitting outside her house in an unmarked police car.

Police media issued a statement to The Sunday Telegraph saying Buttel has not only been transferred, but has been stripped from "detective duties".

"The action follows alleged misuse of official vehicles and breaches of code of conduct between 25 July 2009 and 1 July, 2010," a spokesman said. "The disciplinary order involves a transfer and removes the officer from detective duties, resulting in a significant reduction in salary."

Details of Buttel's affair are contained in an interim AVO file, which was released to The Sunday Telegraph by a magistrate.

Police confirmed the teen's allegations after checking Buttel's phone records and sifting through text messages. They sought an AVO due to a "strong" belief that she needed protection from the officer.

"Police have examined the phone message content and located a phone number belonging to Buttel, text messages attached appear to substanciate (sic) the allegation of contact and messages clearly show a need to have (the teenager) contact him," the AVO states.

The Sunday Telegraph spoke to the teenager and her father on Thursday and agreed, at their request, to suppress their identities for their safety.

The girl confirmed that virtually all her sexual encounters with Buttel occurred inside unmarked police vehicles. She said the police radio was always on to hear if any officers were called to investigate their "suspicious activity".

"(The girl) states that she became aware that Buttel was married but he continued to pursue her by sending text messages and meeting her to drive her around to locations she needed to be at," the AVO document states. "Buttel did this in police vehicles on duty."

A text message exchange obtained by police against their colleague was used in the AVO application to paint him as aggressive and controlling.

On May 6 last year, when she tried to end the relationship, Buttel allegedly wrote: "No, I decide."

Authorities obtained a six-month interim AVO against Buttel, which was finalised on April 28. The matter was withdrawn and dismissed after an agreement between the girl and Buttel that if he ceased to contact her, no further action would be taken.

On Thursday he was served with a "Region Commanders Warning Notice" and "Final Order" to cement the action against him. He has 21 days to appeal.


Friday, September 2, 2011

W.A.: CCC blasts internal police misconduct investigations

The WA Police Internal Affairs Unit has inadequately handled several serious allegations of misconduct by officers to the extent that it could threaten community confidence in policing, the Corruption and Crime Commission has found.

In at least four serious cases during the past four years, the unit failed to deal with the matters thoroughly and rigorously, while some allegations were incorrectly recorded by police as non-misconduct allegations, the CCC revealed in a damning report into the management of misconduct by WA Police released today.

On at least one occasion, an investigating officer failed to declare a conflict of interest when he was appointed to deal with a complaint against a colleague, who was also a friend.

The CCC has made seven recommendations including that WA Police review its misconduct management system which could still be at risk of failing in its approach to dealing with conflict of interest complaints and unauthorised computer access.

WA Police should also review its approach to provide apologies to complainants, who were aggrieved, adopt Police Complaints Administration Centre quality assurance processes for all misconduct cases and implement complaint resolution training and consider issuing clearer guidelines.

However, the CCC said about 96 per cent of misconduct allegations were managed properly.

The CCC's director of corruption prevention Roger Watson said there were indications the Internal Affairs Unit had already improved and more recent cases would be examined in a second report.

The Peel police district already had made significant changes as a result of the CCC findings and the Internal Affairs Unit had reviewed its quality control practices, he said.

One of the inadequately handled misconduct cases involved a police helicopter filming a man being attacked by a police dog and Tasered after he had surrendered at the end of a high-speed pursuit.

While an internal investigation of a detective accused of sexual assault later led to a CCC investigation that resulted in the detective being convicted of various offences including unlawfully using a police computer to contact vulnerable females.