Corrupt cop fails to clear name
A senior Queensland cop who acted corruptly to help exonerate another officer who brutally assaulted a handcuffed woman in a watch-house, has failed in his bid to overturn the corruption finding.
In the latest ruling in one of Queensland's most notorious and long-running police brutality cases, the state's highest court has dismissed the bid by Senior Sergeant Anthony William Lee to have the corruption finding overturned.
The Crime and Corruption Commission also failed in its bid to have Sgt Lee's punishment increased from "manifestly inadequate" probation to something more severe, arguing that police officers should lose their jobs if found to have acted corruptly and not given slaps on the wrist.
Sgt Lee has kept his job since he helped exonerate his colleague Senior Constable Benjamin Price during an internal police investigation into Snr Con Price's alleged use of excessive force on 21-year-old barmaid Renee Toms at the Whitsunday watchhouse.
The three Court of Appeal judges agreed in their decision handed down today that Sergeant Sgt Lee should not be granted leave to appeal last year's decision of an appeal in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
They noted that Sergeant Lee acted to benefit Snr Con Price when Sgt Lee lied by saying he had "viewed video footage" from the watch-house "which corroborates the version" of Snr Con Price.
Sgt Lee had not watched the CCTV footage, and it did not corroborate Snr Con Price's version, the court of appeal noted in its decision.
Sgt Lee never gave evidence to the tribunal about his actions in dismissing the brutality complaint made by Ms Toms.
Ms Toms complained that she was assaulted by Snr Const. Price inside the Airlie Beach watch-house on January 18, 2008.
Toms was flung about by the hair by Price while handcuffed before being slammed into a desk and the floor, with the assault captured on CCTV.
At the time that Sgt Lee ran the investigation he worked as office in charge of the Mackay District Criminal Investigation Branch and also as Officer in Charge of the Mackay Child Protection Unit.
His promotion has been thwarted since the corruption allegations were made against him, but he has not been demoted.
He has now been a police officer for 35 years.
The Crime and Corruption Commission has previously fought with the QPS in the Supreme Court over its "soft" punishments for Sgt Lee, with the QPS letting Lee keep his rank and pay-level provided he behaved.
The CCC argued in the Supreme Court that Lee should be demoted - by two ranks - to senior constable.
Snr Con Price was convicted of assaulting Ms Toms and in October 2010 he was sentenced in the District Court to 27 months' prison for her assault and the assault of two other victims in 2007 and 2008.
A related legal fight has previously heard allegations that if Sgt Lee had correctly found Snr Con Price used excessive force against Ms Toms in 2008 then Snr Con Price would have lost his badge and not have gone on to assault a third tourist victim on May 25, 2008.
Originally published as Corrupt cop fails to clear name