Friday, 12 September 2008

Charge gangland police suspect: OPI

Former policeman Paul Dale.

VICTORIA'S police watchdog has recommended criminal charges against Paul Dale, a former policeman linked to a double underworld murder, along with several other police.

In a report tabled in State Parliament yesterday, Office of Police Integrity director Michael Strong recommends that Mr Dale — whose corruption case was thrown out of court after the murders of gangland informer Terence Hodson and his wife, Christine — face charges including perjury, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, misleading the OPI and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Mr Dale was the main police contact with Hodson before he and his wife were killed in their Kew home on May 16, 2004.

At the time, Hodson had agreed to give evidence against Mr Dale, a former drug squad detective, over the alleged attempted theft of $1.3 million worth of ecstasy pills that resulted in another policeman, David Miechel, being jailed.

Mr Dale, who denies any involvement in the murders, has been accused of leaking a police dossier about Hodson's informer status to an underworld figure before the couple were killed.

Police this week offered a $1 million reward and possible immunity from prosecution for information on the case.

Mr Strong's report and recommendations relate to evidence Mr Dale and other officers gave at a public hearing into misconduct allegations earlier this year. The Director of Public Prosecutions will now decide whether charges should be laid.

Mr Strong outlines the integrity risks police face by forming or maintaining relationships with known or suspected criminals and recommends that an improper associations register is necessary to minimise the risk to police by continued association.

The report states that Mr Dale manipulated police friends to get updates about the Petra taskforce, set up in April 2007 to investigate the Hodson murders.

"In doing so, he asked those police to put loyalty to him above their integrity, and above loyalty to their oath of office, their police colleagues and ultimately their duty to the community."

Charges are also recommended against other officers — particularly suspended Detective Sergeant Dennis Linehan — who the watchdog believes have maintained an inappropriately close relationship with Mr Dale while knowing he was under investigation.

Perjury, attempting to pervert the course of justice, misconduct in public office and attempting to mislead the OPI are charges recommended against Mr Linehan, as well as disciplinary action. Detectives Robert Bird, Robert McCann and Mark Chrystie should also face disciplinary action for their relationship with Mr Dale, the report says.

From October 31, all police in Victoria will have to declare any associations that may be seen as "incompatible" with their jobs.

Police Association secretary designate Greg Davies said: "Our members have been dragged out, have their reputations sullied in public and they haven't even been charged with anything."


One OPI officer sacked, another suspended
Some people may form the view that it is tit for tat between the OPI and some opposition (political or other like Police Association or affiliates?) down in Victoria (See Links). Perhaps the expense claims are a way to weaken previous statements made by the OPI in relation to allegation against police?

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A SMALL number of Victorian police are maintaining improper links with organised crime figures, the state's police corruption watchdog says.

Police watchdog 'leaks like a sieve'
The Victoria Police watchdog leaks like a sieve, according to former assistant commissioner Noel Ashby, who could face criminal charges following an Office of Police Integrity (OPI) inquiry.

Police criticised as OPI hearing wraps up
The head of an Office of Police Integrity (OPI) inquiry is expected to call for stronger ethical guidelines within Victoria Police when he tables his report in Parliament.

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