The Chronicle

Cop caught on cam


THE Crime and Corruption Commission has won an appeal against a Darling Downs police officer who was caught on bodycam talking about sex with a child, with the corruption watchdog arguing his initial punishment was inadequate.

The officer, who was based in the Southern Downs at the time, took some prescripti­on medication then drove a marked police car while armed on April 4, 2017.

The Queensland Civil and Administra­tive Tribunal heard he accidental­ly activated his bodyworn camera.

It recorded the officer talking to himself about the medication affecting his driving and about “removing another person’s prescripti­on medication without their consent”.

The tribunal heard the recording captured the officer “disclosing sexual ideation regarding wanting to have sex and commit sexual acts” with a named child.

His speech was slurred and he appeared to drive aimlessly, at one point looking and talking about his thumb. The tribunal reviewed material from the officer’s QPS disciplina­ry hearing where Assistant Commission­er Maurice Carless described this sexually explicit monologue as “disturbing”.

“They are detailed and explicit, and if acted upon, could constitute a life imprisonme­nt offence,” he said.

The tribunal heard the QPS investigat­ors twice interviewe­d the child to determine if the officer had assaulted her.

The tribunal also heard of unrelated matters where the officer accessed the police database without an official purpose between March 30, 2016 and June 6, 2019. The tribunal heard this may have led to a person of interest getting informatio­n about planned drug raids, via the officer’s wife.

In the officer’s defence, the tribunal heard he had an untarnishe­d record prior to these offences, and that he described his behaviour as “disgusting and disgracefu­l” and that it damaged his reputation and that of the QPS.

The tribunal heard the officer was initially placed on a one-year probationa­ry period after a QPS disciplina­ry hearing on June 16, 2020.

The CCC argued this sanction was “not sufficient­ly strong enough to make clear that such conduct is unacceptab­le within the QPS”.

The tribunal agreed, and on September 23 it extended the probation period to three years. During this time the officer must engage in regular mental health treatments and not commit misconduct.

If he breaches the order he must show cause as to why he should be allowed to keep his badge.

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