Editor’s note:3843 has not (yet?) been formally diagnosed with PTSD, but the circumstances of this case are parallel to many who have been.
How would you feel if all of a sudden you found that there had been a major exposé on National prime time television alleging terrible things about you and you had no idea of the allegations and moreover no idea the matter would be broadcast by our beloved National Broadcaster the ABC on its flagship program ‘The 7.30 Report’? So much for broadcasters standards and ethics clearly they do not apply to our ABC.
Although your employer at multiple levels was aware of the impending broadcast, neither management nor the ABC sought to advise you, seek comment, or give you a chance to respond. An allegation that named 3843 alleging that he, was amongst other things,” A Police Officer who cannot be trusted”, an unchallenged statement left out there to dangle and ruin his reputation.
Now magnify your feelings by your employment and location. A Detective Sergeant in charge of a Criminal Investigation Unit (CIU) in a rural town where everybody knows almost everybody else and the embarrassment and humiliation would be acute. Add further to that, the allegation related to an alleged pedophile priest, and as any reasonable person evaluating 3843’s circumstance would understand how he would be gutted.
The allegation made was that he was friends with a priest and had been obstructing the investigation surrounding the priest.
An accusation 3843 strenuously denies. There was never any evidence to support the allegations.
The priest was arrested and charged over historical allegations and died before the matter could be tested at court. So his guilt or innocence was never determined but there would be no doubt he would have been convicted in the court of public opinion as would anybody associated with him.
When 3843 became aware of the broadcast, he immediately prepared a written statement setting out the truth of the matter and requested Victoria Police officially forward the rebuttal to the ABC. Victoria Police refused.
3843 at his own initiative within days of the broadcast, went to Ethical Standards Department (ESD) to provide and participated in a taped interview about the truth of the matters refuting the inferences and statements made and aired on the ABC.
An investigation was launched by ESD into the allegations.
Editors note: The word investigation comes up regularly in these case studies, and in its basic definitions.” An investigation is, “A search for the truth in the interests of justice in accordance with the specifications of the law.” Not a search for a truth that suits the investigator because that is not the truth and investigators indulging themselves in this practice should be severely sanctioned whether it is against police or others.
The ESD prepared a brief of evidence alleging 3843 ‘attempted to pervert the course of justice.’ This offence carries a maximum penalty of twenty years imprisonment, no half a sixpence worth of worry for anybody.
After what would have been a torturous six months the brief was assessed by the Office of Public Prosecutions (OPP), and the OPP declared there was insufficient evidence to lay any criminal charges. Pity ESD could not work that out saving a lot of money and angst. A formal apology at this time would have been appropriate.
Not to be outdone Victoia Police initiated disciplinary action against 3843 necessitating over some months further representations by 3843. The internal action was eventually withdrawn. Once again because there was no evidence to support this action.
3843 still lives under a cloud of suspicion even though no action was ultimately taken against him; he set about trying to clear his name.
3843 started by making Freedom of Information (FOI) requests to get to the truth as to why he was dishonestly targeted. This was a long process with obstructions placed at every turn with most of the important information withheld.
Just another example of how Victoria Police show contempt for the ’Model Litigant’ guidelines applicable to all Government Departments. This raises the question as to whether this flagrant disregard applies to all requests or just requests made about internal Police matters.
3843 is understandably passionate about getting the statements of the two members who made complaints against him so he can directly address their false allegations.
After many years of dedicated and loyal service to Victoria Police and the Community, 3843 retired, disgusted and disillusioned with the Chief Commissioner who refused to investigate his complaints against the two members concerned. A lawful requirement under the Police Regulation Act.
As in many like cases, there was no call or recognition from the organisation to thank 3843 for his thirty-six years of exemplary service.
The bulk of Victoria Police and in particularly hard-working detectives go about their ‘sworn duty’ to detect and prosecute civilian criminal behaviour, generally to the finest degree, twenty-four hours a day seven days a week. Regularly their families suffered as a result of their workload. 3843 like many other competent detectives, is very proud of his service.
Victoria Police and in particular their internal investigation departments far too often fail the same legal, ethical and professional standard that the Police they are investigating are expected to, and in most cases do, maintain. Senior police continually neglect to follow encourage and ensure the highest standards of an investigation searching for the whole truth. They possess a belief that they are above the rules and laws of our State.
3843 genuinely believes that Victoria Police fails to understand the general gist of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI). They improperly protect information that will disgrace or embarrass Victoria Police and in particular any information that may relate to a Senior Officer.
Their obstructionism and failure to be a good and decent Government Agency under the Model Litigant guidelines and policies is astonishing and limitless.
The Government must take responsibility for this behaviour and insist on the implementation of stringent measures to make Victoria Police more transparent and accountable. Complete transparency will build the confidence of police and the public in equal measure.
Affirmative action by Government will have the bonus of starting to rebuild more respect in the Victoria Police something that currently continues to wane.
As far as 3843 is concerned, it is not too late for Victoria Police to offer an apology to rebuild the ex-members character in his community.
The battle, for over a decade, continues for 3843, and we are unable to report on the matter further at this stage, but it continues.
To think a little effort and contrition by Victoria Police and respect for 3843 would have concluded this matter years ago.
As with this and other stories in the pipeline, there seems to be a case mounting for Victoria Police to have a ‘ Sorry Day’ to atone for all the wrongs.
There are a lot of victims out there.