Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Adverse findings against senior police

Andrew Mallard spent 12 years in jail before his conviction was overturned.

WA's Corruption and Crime Commission has suggested that disciplinary action be taken against two senior police and a senior lawyer over the wrongful conviction of Andrew Mallard.

He spent almost 12 years in jail for the murder of Mosman Park jeweller, Pamela Lawrence in 1994.

Mr Mallard unsuccessfully appealed against the conviction before it was overturned by the High Court in 2006.

In a report tabled in parliament today, the Triple C made four misconduct findings against now Assistant Commissioner Mal Shervill and two findings against now Assistant Commissioner David Caporn.

Both men worked on the case.

There were also two findings against senior DPP lawyer, Ken Bates, who was the prosecutor at Mr Mallard's trial.

CCC report

The report outlined what it termed 'misconduct opinions' against Assistant Commissioner Shervill for:

Causing witnesses to alter their statements without any reference in their final statements to their earlier recommendations.

Making false entries in the Police Running Sheets in relation to such alterations.

Requesting a chemist delete all reference to salt water testing on Mr Mallard's clothing in a report provided to the defence.

Failing to disclose to the defence original statements of witnesses including forensic testing reports and details of unsuccessful attempts to locate a weapon capable of inflicting wounds similar to those found on Mrs lawrence.

Assistant Commissioner Caporn for:

Writing a letter to the Police Prosecutor in 1994 containing incorrect and misleading information relating to Mr Mallard.

Causing witnesses to alter their statements.

Mr Ken Bates for:

Conducting the trial on the basis that a wrench, as drawn by Mr Mallard, was the murder weapon but making no attempt to prove the deceased injuries were consistent with the use of a wrench.

Failing to disclose forensic test results relating to a wrench to Mr Mallard's lawyer, nor ensuring that the results were known to the police.

The Commission also investigated a complaint made by police against John Quigley MLA who acted for Mr Mallard, that he threatened to disclose the identity of an undercover officer unless he co-operated with those working for a review of the conviction.

CCC Acting Commissioner, John Dunford QC was not satisfied Mr Quigley had engaged in serious misconduct.

Updated: 10:00pm (AEST)

Senior police stood down

The Western Australian Police Commissioner, Karl O'Callaghan, has stood down two assistant commissioners following misconduct findings against them by the Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC).

Commissioner O'Callaghan says the men have been stood down on full pay, but he will wait for their written responses to the findings before deciding what action, if any, to take.

He says the officers will get some time to respond.

"Well it's a minimum of three weeks," he said.

"There is an awful amount of material to be provided and then I have to consider the material and receive legal advice about that material before I can form an opinion."

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