Calls for independent review into wrongful demotion of sergeant accused of exposing himself at work
Posted On April 26, 2022
The sergeant, who can’t be named for legal reasons, was accused by two senior constables of the indecent act in the Road Policing Unit five years ago during a discussion about ‘size’.
While the sergeant denied the allegations, he was demoted, moved to a different office, had his pay significantly reduced as the Crime and Corruption Commission tried to have him sacked.
But a recent investigation by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) found the accounts of his accusers should not have been substantiated because of their own histories of serious misconduct.
The QCAT inquiry found one of the senior constables had previously received benefits from a criminal and provided misleading information to the District Court in respect of a criminal proceeding while the other had been found to have driven an unmarked police car on duty while drunk.
It found there were also “fundamental inconsistencies” with their evidence and the pair had admitted to getting together to discuss “who saw what” prior to writing their statements.
It also said they were likely “motivated by retaliation for complaints made against each of them” and as a “culmination of feelings of resentment they have towards [the sergeant] and his management style in general”.
Queensland Police Union general secretary Mick Barnes said there should be a thorough investigation into why an Acting Deputy Commissioner believed the two senior constables over their sergeant before demoting him.
“It needs to go to an external body, whether or not it’s the Crime and Corruption Commission or somebody completely independent, the Queensland Police Service in this matter… are losing their objectivity,” he said.
In January, the QPS declined to re-examine the case in the wake of the findings, after calls from the union, on the basis it would be “an unjustifiable use of resources” to review the handling of the matter.
But a QPS spokeswoman said Ethical Standards Command is now “overviewing” the matter, after 9News lodged a media enquiry late last week.
“Ethical Standards Command is currently overviewing this matter and as such it would be inappropriate to provide any further comment at this time.”
A spokesman for the Office of Police Minister Mark Ryan said there were “well-established reporting processes” in place for anyone with a complaint of that nature.
“Like all Queenslanders, the Minister expects the highest standards to be maintained at all times by all members of the Queensland Police Service,” he said.
“Queensland’s police disciplinary framework is robust and consists of numerous checks and balances including oversight by the Crime and Corruption Commission and appeals to QCAT.
“The overwhelming majority of members of the QPS are diligent, ethical and honest in their dealings with each other and the community.
“Anyone, including the Queensland Police Union, with legitimate allegations against any member of the Queensland Police Service, has access to well-established reporting processes.”