Thursday, June 28, 2012

Qld. cop misuses charity credit card: Gets off free

QUEENSLAND'S criminal watchdog has lost its bid for a review of the suspended demotion of a police sergeant for misusing a citizens youth club corporate credit card to pay for personal expenses.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, in just published four-page decision, said Sergeant Gilbert Napper pleaded guilty to a charge of official misconduct for inappropriately using a Queensland Police Citizens Youth Welfare Association's corporate credit car.

QCAT senior member Richard Oliver said QPS Assistant Commissioner Clem O'Regan on March 16 imposed a "sanction" demoting Sergeant Napper to the rank of senior constable.

However, the sanction was suspended subject to Sergeant Napper completing certain training courses.

"Sergeant Napper was charged with official misconduct because he inappropriately used ... (the) Association Corporate credit card," he said.

"The expenses charged to the card where repaid by (Sergeant Napper) but, as he knew or ought to have known at the time, this conduct was not permitted."

Mr Oliver said the Crime and Misconduct Commission lodged an application for a review of Assistant Commissioner O'Regan's decision on April 2 - more than two weeks after the commissioner published his decision.

"The application to review is out of time as it was not made with 14 days of the decision being given," he said.

"As a consequence of being out of time the (CMC) has applied to the Tribunal for time to be extended ... (but that) is opposed by Mr Napper."

Mr Oliver said it appeared the CMC, from the material it had filed, was "simply asking the Tribunal to revisit afresh" matters already placed before Assistant Commissioner O'Regan and "without any real attempt to show that a different outcome is likely."

"The result is that the (CMC's) application for an extension of time is dismissed."


Monday, June 25, 2012

Appalling: At least two years in jail on a police theory

There is NO evidence that Gerard Baden-Clay murdered his wife but police say he had a motive to do so. And for that he is going to stay in jail for two years or more until the court system gets around to putting him on trial.

So he had mistresses? So do most men at some time in their lives. Even TV evangelists do. Yet 99.9% of men who have affairs do NOT murder their wives. So his affairs prove nothing.

And he was in debt but said he was going to be with one of his girlfriends shortly. That could simply mean he was either going to clear out or declare bankruptcy. Lots of men get into debt without murdering their wives.

The essence of the case is simply non-existent. It is just a weak theory, not proof of anything. The various "incriminating" internet searches he did also prove nothing. A man in his position had every reason to check a lot of things out. There is no way the case against him can reach the criminal criterion of "beyond reasonable doubt"

HE allegedly called himself Bruce Overland and promised he would come to her a free man by July 1.

But Toni McHugh knew him as Gerard Baden-Clay - her long-time colleague and lover who wanted to free himself from his wife and his life so they could be together.

What she did not know, until police told her, was that Baden-Clay was also allegedly having affairs with two other women, police have claimed in documents tendered in opposition to his bail application yesterday.

According to those same court documents, Baden-Clay had severe financial problems and the string of mistresses.

Peter Davis, SC, for Baden-Clay, described the Crown case as "weak", saying there had been no cause of death ascertained from the post-mortem examination, no evidence as to where she was killed, what date or time she was killed and no evidence to show he had left his home on the night she disappeared.

Justice David Boddice rejected that, saying the circumstantial case had factors that "if accepted by a jury" would make a strong argument.

He denied Baden-Clay's application for bail, saying the Brookfield father of three remained a flight risk.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Emails expose cop crime spree bungle in Victoria

No wonder Overland wanted Sir Ken out. It seems he had a lot to hide

An email exchange between former Deputy Commissioner Sir Ken Jones and former Chief Commissioner Simon Overland - disclosed for the first time yesterday in an Ombudsman's report - exposes a conflict over admitting the force's fault to families of murder victims killed by parolees.

Sir Ken told Mr Overland that the force's failure to manage parolees "led to many other offences being committed, some very serious, against Victorians".

Andy Corp, father of one of three murder victims whose deaths Sir Ken said should have been prevented, said yesterday his family had been victims of police politics.

The former British policeman said it would have been "basic common courtesy" for police to have briefed the three families.

"The police who worked on our case were absolutely wonderful and put in so much effort, compassion and kindness and were thorough and professional," Mr Corp said.

"But I think some of the people upstairs (were) more interested in politics and getting promoted than getting the job done".

The Herald Sun revealed the parole scandal on April 19 last year, quoting a secret report blaming system failures for parole violators being left on the streets.

Sir Ken said in an email to Mr Overland a fortnight later that Victoria Police should "consider sensitively advising them (the bereaved families) of our preliminary findings".

But Mr Overland told his deputy to wait, saying it was "a big call to go to the families with this news" and it would exacerbate the situation if notification was handled badly.

He told the Ombudsman he believed he had been "set up" by Sir Ken. "I considered it possible that Jones's motive in sending me that email was to add to the growing list of 'controversies' then enveloping Victoria Police as part of the orchestrated media campaign against the office of (the) chief commissioner," he said.

Mr Corp, whose daughter Elsa was strangled and battered to death by a parole violator, said a lot of people "have been just covering their a--- on this situation". "There's too much politics, political correctness and crap involved, instead of taking care of the victims," Mr Corp said.

His wife, Gilly, said the family still had not been formally told by police or anyone else how the system had failed their daughter.

"We should have been told, of course we should," Mrs Corp said. "We should not have had to read what went wrong on the front page of the newspaper."


Thursday, June 21, 2012

The poison at the top of the Victoria police again

Former top cop Simon Overland harmed career of Sir Ken Jones, Ombudsman finds. However Mr Overland has been cleared of allegations of "detrimental action involving Victoria Police".

A long-awaited report tabled in State Parliament this morning probed Sir Ken's controversial exit from the police force last year.

It found that Mr Overland's actions in sending Sir Ken on "gardening leave" in October last year, from which he did not return, was "at least significantly detrimental to Mr Jones".

Ombudsman George Brouwer said: "I think it is fair to state that the stigma associated with a senior officer being directed to take leave from work and exit the building by close of business, including having their building and email access withdrawn on the same day, could reasonably be perceived as detrimental to their reputation and personal standing."

He also said: "Mr Overland's actions had adverse consequences for Mr Jones."

But Mr Brouwer did not believe Mr Overland's actions constituted "detrimental action".

"Rather, Mr Overland had formed the view that Mr Jones had engaged in serious misconduct by leaking information to the media," he said.

"I consider this was the driving force for the action he took in relation to Mr Jones.

"I am therefore not of the view that Mr Overland's actions were taken as reprisal for any disclosure that Mr Jones was suspected to have made."

The report states Mr Overland believed Sir Ken was a source of leaks to the media and said he had a "fear of being set up by Mr Jones".

Current top cop Ken Lay said in the report he may have had his own suspicious of Sir Ken leaking but was not certain.

"I can't remember sitting in this meeting and saying ‘it was Ken Jones’," he said.

"There is no way known that I would have looked Ken in the eye and said, ‘you're leaking Ken’... the truth is I may well have suspected... I have no evidence at all to indicate that that is the case."

The Ombudsman revealed he had received a further allegation of "detrimental action" but was unable to make it public because of the Whistleblowers Act.

He recommended new legislation be introduced to allow the Ombudsman to identify a whistleblower where there is a public interest.

Mr Brower interviewed 18 witnesses and accessed secret police files and emails, including evidence from the Office of Police Integrity.

The report reveals a culture of mistrust and suspicion developed in the lead-up to Sir Ken's departure from Victoria Police.

Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews has called on the Baillieu Government to "fast-track" legislation so details of the additional allegation can be publicly aired.

"The Ombudsman wants to talk about it. He wants to serve the public interest by getting more information into the public domain and the Government have nothing to accede to the request that the Ombudsman has reasonably made," he said.

The Ombudsman's report states: "Mr Overland took some of the actions regarding Mr Jones that have been alleged.

"At least one of those actions was detrimental to Mr Jones and had an adverse effect on his professional reputation.

"However, I do not consider that the actions taken by Mr Overland were taken in reprisal for Mr Jones having made or having been believed to have made a disclosure, but were taken for other reasons.

"Accordingly, those actions do not constitute ‘detrimental action’ as defined in the WPA (Whistleblowers Protection Act).

In his final conclusions, the Ombudsman further states: "Mr Overland’s fear of being ‘set-up’ by Mr Jones because of an email exchange on the parolee issue is indicative of a Chief Commissioner who was concerned about Mr Jones’ motives and allowed this to influence his decision making."


Monday, June 18, 2012

Lying Top cop let off by another discredited cop

What on earth were they thinking of in getting the bungling Mick Keelty to head the inquiry?

THE senior command of WA's police service is in turmoil despite Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan being cleared by the Corruption and Crime Commission.

The Sunday Times understands that the relationship between Mr O'Callaghan and several of his senior officers is extremely strained and unlikely to improve after Friday's release of the CCC report that found the Police Commissioner didn't engage in misconduct, as strictly defined by the CCC Act.

"Absolutely, there's tensions at the top . . . It's between very senior people," one source said.

The CCC investigated allegations that Mr O'Callaghan provided false or misleading statements about his knowledge and actions on the day of the Perth Hills bushfires, which destroyed 71 homes in February last year.

Though Mr O'Callaghan is hoping Friday's report draws a line under the saga, sources reveal there is also discomfort in the Barnett Government about the contents of the CCC report.

The Sunday Times understands there is a strong resistance in some parts of Government to Mr O'Callaghan's reappointment as the state's top cop. Sources indicated the Government would certainly take its time before reaching a decision, despite Mr O'Callaghan's term expiring in August.

Government figures are carefully monitoring tensions in the police hierarchy and are worried about the extent to which confidence in Mr O'Callaghan has been undermined.

Deputy Commissioner Chris Dawson last night said both he and Mr O'Callaghan had been able to perform their duties despite difficulties imposed by the CCC probe.

On Friday, Mr O'Callaghan said he couldn't answer detailed questions about his evidence before the commission, saying: "As far as I'm concerned this is the end of the matter and I am getting on with the business of being the Commissioner of Police."

But the state's former chief firefighter, Craig Hynes, who resigned after the Perth Hills bushfires, broke his silence yesterday, saying he was disappointed with the conclusions of the CCC report.

Mr Hynes, who was the chief operations manager at the Fire and Emergency Services Authority until last September, said the report supported evidence that Mr O'Callaghan had been kept fully informed during the emergency despite his public assertions that FESA had let him down.

The Sunday Times revealed in August that Mr O'Callaghan was at the WACA Ground watching an international cricket match from a corporate box while Roleystone and Kelmscott burnt on February 6.

At the time, Mr O'Callaghan was insistent he was first made aware of the fires by a phone call from FESA official John Butcher about 2.30pm.

He said the call did not reveal the extent of the unfolding catastrophe.

Mr O'Callaghan said, as a result, he stayed at the cricket until 4.40pm when he received a phone call from his deputy Mr Dawson, saying homes had been destroyed.

He claimed he then left the cricket "immediately" to walk "across the road" to the police headquarters to organise a meeting of the State Emergency Co-ordination Group, which he chairs. But the CCC report revealed swipe card records showed he did not enter headquarters until 6pm.

An official inquiry into the Perth Hills inferno was conducted by former federal police commissioner Mick Keelty. In his findings, Mr Keelty said he was concerned that the SECG meeting was not held until 6.30pm.

The CCC reported there was "no doubt" that Mr O'Callaghan received earlier phone calls from assistant police commissioner Wayne Gregson, now the FESA boss.

Mr Gregson told the CCC that he could "say with some certainty" that he told Mr O'Callaghan the fires had destroyed houses in Roleystone by phone at 2.13pm.

Mr O'Callaghan said it was possible noise and wind at the WACA meant he didn't hear Mr Gregson properly.

Asked by the CCC why he didn't move to hear better, Mr O'Callaghan said: "I was not at a place where I could just disappear up an alley or into a corridor, so I would have had to get a whole row of people to move."

The CCC report said it would have been prudent and more open for Mr O'Callaghan to have revealed his conversation with Mr Gregson when giving evidence to a parliamentary committee.

Despite discrepancies, the CCC found the evidence "does not support a misconduct opinion" under the CCC Act.


Thursday, June 14, 2012

I am DEEPLY suspicious of this prosecution

If you are unlucky enough to be in the vicinity when a murder is committed, the Qld. cops are likely to say you did it. The thoroughly reprehensible prosecutions of the unfortunate Barry Mannix and Graham Stafford are evidence enough of that. And the crooked cops who fitted up both men have never been punished

And it's sheer laziness behind such practices. I have twice supplied police with precise ID for people who have committed offences against me but no discernible action was taken in either case. In one case the ID was simply thrown into the bin on the apparent grounds that car thefts are too minor to be taken seriously.

And I don't mind naming the irresponsible police constable who "lost" the ID concerned. It was the Virgin Turgeon of Dutton Park cop shop, who still works there but who has since been promoted. If she sues me for defamation, I would be overjoyed to air the whole matter in court. And I have the means to do so.

And the Baden-Clay case fits the laziness mould. He was the husband of the deceased so suspicion automatically fell on him. The fact that they could find nothing to pin on him for months and the fact that the forensic science results turned up nothing show how weak the case is

And although he is a man of known good character with only the normal quantum of human weaknessess, that apparently did not count either.

The chief thing that made him "suspicious" appears to be that he appeared insufficiently emotional about his wife's death. Those who know anything about Australian judicial history will however recall that as being the chief charge against Lindy Chamberlain -- and we all know how that turned out. Hollywood even made a movie out of it

GERARD Baden-Clay spent last night behind bars after being charged with the murder of his wife Allison.

Nearly two months after phoning police to say the woman he called his "angel" had disappeared, he was taken into police custody on Wednesday and charged with causing her death. He was also charged with unlawfully interfering with a corpse.

The real estate agent arrived at Indooroopilly police station yesterday afternoon where he met head of homicide Detective Superintendent Brian Wilkins and the top cop in charge of the drawn-out investigation, Detective Superintendent Mark Ainsworth.

The detectives left the station at about 5.20pm, refusing to comment.

It is understood Baden-Clay was in the police station for several hours before his lawyer Darren Mahony arrived. On his way in, Mr Mahony confirmed his client was inside. About an hour later he emerged and said his client was about to be charged. "Police have indicated the intention to charge my client with murder," Mr Mahony said. "He's devastated."

He said Baden-Clay would "defend the charge vigorously".

Members of the public watched as media waited for Baden-Clay's departure. Shortly after, the 41-year-old was bundled, handcuffed, into a police car and driven to the Brisbane watchhouse by detectives. Upon arrival at the watchhouse, Baden-Clay looked shocked but just stared straight ahead.

Allison Baden-Clay was reported missing by her husband at 7.30am on April 20 when he told police she had left the house the previous night and not returned.

Her disappearance sparked a massive search, with police turning up on their days off to join dozens of investigators and State Emergency Services volunteers to scour the bush around the family's Brookfield home.

Search crews checked dams and abandoned mine shafts in the densely wooded suburb, pleading with locals to conduct searches of their own properties.

Her body was found 10 days later by a kayaker on the banks of the Kholo Creek at Anstead. At the same time, homicide detectives and scientific investigators arrived at Baden-Clay's Brookfield Rd home.

Police asked The Courier-Mail to move back and blocked the driveway with their cars while investigators scoured the property with torches.

Yesterday, the couple's three daughters, aged 10, 8 and 5, were taken into police care at a separate station before being collected by Allison's parents, Geoff and Priscilla Dickie.

Baden-Clay's parents, Nigel and Elaine, made no comment to media when they arrived at their Kenmore home yesterday evening.

Allison Baden-Clay was an accomplished ballerina who travelled Australia and the UK as a girl with the Australian Youth ballet.

As an adult, she spoke six languages and rose through the ranks from a Flight Centre sales assistant to the company's national human resources manager.

It was while working at Flight Centre that she met Gerard Baden-Clay. She left her career behind to care for her family of three daughters.

Her husband's great-grandfather, Lord Baden-Powell, started the scouting movement, a fact Baden-Clay mentioned often in his online business profiles.

He was regularly quoted in media reports about the real estate market. "In business, it's simple: never lie," he said in 2008. "For starters, it's the wrong thing to do but secondly you will always get caught out and usually when you least expect it. "There are just too many people, too many personalities, too many trails ... and too much to lose."


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Another NSW thug cop

A SYDNEY riot squad officer has been accused of using a dangerous ''take down'' manoeuvre that seriously injured a Gold Coast property developer, and then falsely claiming the middle-aged man had swung at him with a clenched fist.

But Constable Jared Mildenhall told a Sydney court yesterday that he thought developer Richard Hamilton, 62, had just assaulted a taxi driver and feared he would be next.

Constable Mildenhall, 33, is facing allegations in the Downing Centre Local Court that late one night in December 2009, he used an ''arm bar take down manoeuvre'' on Mr Hamilton and threw him head first into a granite wall.

The riot squad officer allegedly followed up with a ''leg sweep'' that sent Mr Hamilton crashing to the ground with another officer on top of him.

Mr Hamilton suffered multiple rib fractures and head injuries in the incident, and has reportedly launched civil action against NSW Police.

Giving evidence before magistrate Janet Wahlquist yesterday, Constable Mildenhall said that on the night of the incident, a taxi driver had approached his vehicle near The Rocks and claimed that Mr Hamilton had just assaulted and racially vilified him.

He said Mr Hamilton had begun walking swiftly from the scene and he had given chase. ''I yelled: 'Stop, police!' … and then I came up behind and grabbed his left shoulder,'' he said. ''Almost immediately he's swung around … then I've seen his clenched fist extend and his arm come around in my direction … I feared I was going to be assaulted. I've moved my hand down and grabbed his left wrist … and commenced the arm bar take down.''

But the prosecutor, Andrew Wong, put it to Constable Mildenhall that he had not yelled ''stop police'' nor seen Mr Hamilton with a clenched fist, noting that neither of these alleged occurrences were recorded in his police notebook. ''The first mention of 'stop police' came four months after the events occurred, didn't it, Constable?'' he said. ''I'm suggesting that you included that in your statement four months later because you needed an excuse to justify what you did.''

Constable Mildenhall denied this. The prosecutor also suggested Constable Mildenhall had no justification for using the ''take down manoeuvre'', which he knew had a ''high risk of causing of causing injury''. ''You put the clenched fist [in your statement] because you knew that you would look better and to justify why you hit Mr Hamilton into the wall,'' Mr Wong said. Constable Mildenhall denied it.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Surfers Paradise police stood down over alleged bashing of Noa Begic at station

Good to see this disgraceful situation nearing a resolution. The victim has had a struggle to get the cops this far, despite the video. The Gold Coast cops really are scum

TWO police officers have been officially suspended over the alleged bashing of a young chef in the basement of a Gold Coast police station.

Noa Begic was arrested in January on a charge of public nuisance before he was taken to Surfers Paradise police station. CCTV footage obtained exclusively by The Courier-Mail showed the 21-year-old, with his hands cuffed behind his back, on the receiving end of a flurry of punches as he was restrained by a group of officers.

The Ethical Standards Command launched an investigation in to the incident in February and police this afternoon confirmed a 35-year-old senior constable and a 53-year-old senior sergeant have now been stood down from official duty.

The senior constable is under investigation for excessive use of force, while the senior sergeant, who is shown on the video footage using a bucket of water to wash away what looks like a pool of blood, is being investigated on allegations of excessive use of force and failing to supervise junior officers.

The announcement comes with charges against Mr Begic set to be dropped by police prosecutors in a court appearance tomorrow. Mr Begic faced Southport Magistrates Court last week, where prosecutors indicated they would drop charges of public nuisance and obstructing police.

His legal team will tomorrow seek court costs from police while the young Nerang father is also considering suing the Queensland Police Service.

A Surfers Paradise officer accused of leaking footage to The Courier-Mail has been re-assigned. [He deserves a medal!]

Victoria Police don't want to be recorded

Funnily enough! Switching the recorder off while you take a "bung" would be a bit sus, wouldn't it?

VICTORIAN police will trial using recording equipment attached to their uniforms to tape their interactions with the public.
Sign up for your free 2 month trial

The uniform cams will be tested out by police in Melbourne's southern region, Fairfax reports.

The police union criticised the trial, fearing it could make people reluctant to share information with police, and said information gathered could be used against officers in court.

Police Association assistant secretary Bruce McKenzie called on members not to volunteer for the trial, which he said was the first of its kind in Australia.

He told 3AW police were already accountable and adhered to strict protocols.

"Surely there is no necessity for yet another layer of accountability over the difficult work that our members do on behalf of the community on a day-to-day basis," Mr McKenzie said.

"I don't think there is too many of us who come to work for our work and our conversations to be the subject of constant video and audio recording."

Mr McKenzie said the association was worried footage could be used against police in court and build mistrust with the community.

The public could also be reluctant to provide information if they were being recorded.

"It just adds another layer of suspicion and unnecessary accountability to the relationship between the police and the public which is so important," he said.

Liberty Victoria, which has a history of campaigning against the use of surveillance cameras, said it could see some benefits.

Some highway patrol cars are already fitted with video devices and cameras will be fitted to Tasers, which will become standard issue.

Victoria Police says the idea is still in development and there is no date yet for when the trial will start.

A spokeswoman said individuals would always be given notice when the cameras are switched on.