The Courier-Mail

COP OUT

The shock­ing footage, the ‘botched’ in­quiry and why po­lice must take their hands off it

- JEREMY PIERCE Police brutality · Corruption · Crime · White-collar Crime · Incidents · Fraud · Gold Coast · Surfers Paradise · Twitter · Ian Stewart

THE state’s pow­er­ful cor­rup­tion fight­ing agency will be asked to take over the “botched” in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the cop ac­cused of ex­pos­ing other of­fi­cers for bru­tally bash­ing an in­no­cent and hand­cuffed man.

Three years af­ter The Courier-Mail re­vealed the bloody out­rage in the base­ment of a Gold Coast po­lice sta­tion, anti-cor­rup­tion lawyer Terry O’Gor­man said the han­dling of the case – in which the po­lice per­pe­tra­tors es­caped pun­ish­ment and the ac­cused whistle­blower faces jail time – was a “throw­back to the pre-Fitzger­ald days”.

Sergeant Rick Flori faces crim­i­nal charges, with po­lice ac­cus­ing him of leak­ing the footage show­ing the of­fi­cers beat­ing the chef be­fore wash­ing away his blood. As The Courier-Mail re­vealed last week, the other po­lice of­fi­cers es­caped se­ri­ous sanc­tion – with two still on the beat.

Mr O’Gor­man, who will to­day present a sub­mis­sion to the Crime and Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion on the case, said: “You can­not have po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing other po­lice.”

A LEAD­ING hu­man rights lawyer has called on the Crime and Cor­rup­tion Com­mis­sion to take over the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a Gold Coast po­lice of­fi­cer ac­cused of leak­ing ex­plo­sive footage of a po­lice bash­ing.

Sergeant Rick Flori has been charged with mis­con­duct amid al­le­ga­tions he supplied a video of four col­leagues as­sault­ing a hand­cuffed pris­oner in the base­ment of Surfers Par­adise po­lice sta­tion.

This comes three years af­ter The Courier-Mail ex­clu­sively re­vealed shock­ing video of uni­formed of­fi­cers bash­ing 21-year-old chef Noa Begic in the base­ment of the busy Gold Coast lock up.

Aus­tralian Coun­cil for Civil Lib­er­ties pres­i­dent Terry O’Gor­man, who has no per­sonal con­nec­tion to the case, will to­day present a sub­mis­sion to the CCC im­plor­ing them to take over the in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

While two of the four of­fi­cers in­volved in the in­ci­dent were dis­ci­plined through an in­ter­nal af­fairs in­ves­ti­ga­tion, Sgt Flori faces crim­i­nal charges and could be jailed for seven years if found guilty.

Se­nior Sergeant David Joachim and Se­nior Con­sta­ble Ben Lamb were stood down on full pay dur­ing the Eth­i­cal Stan­dards Com­mand in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Sen Const Lamb has since re­turned to ac­tive duty while Sen Sgt Joachim re­tired.

Mr O’Gor­man said the sit­u­a­tion was un­ten­able.

“This whole mat­ter has been botched from the start,” he said.

I am call­ing on the CCC to launch a to­tal re­view of the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“You can­not have po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing other po­lice. It is a throw­back to the pre-Fitzger­ald days.”

Mr O’Gor­man said he would also write to Po­lice Com­mis­sioner Ian Stewart ex­press­ing his view.

“He has just been re-elected and come out with an agenda of is­sues to tackle, but this should be added to the top of the list.”

Mr Stewart has al­ready hit out at crit­ics of the charges against Sgt Flori, telling his Twit­ter fol­low­ers he had faith in the jus­tice sys­tem.

“The facts will be in­ter­est­ing for all,” he wrote. “Let’s wait un­til then.” Sgt Flori (right) will face court again next month.

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