Former CQ cop dismissed after child sex abuse allegations
A FORMER Central Queensland police officer has spent the past nine years battling to clear his name and get his career in the police force back on track after allegations of sexually abusing his children.
He has failed in his latest attempt to be reinstated into the Queensland Police Service following the allegations.
The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was accused of indecent treatment of two children between 2000 and 2004 in the Rockhampton region.
A decision by the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal was handed down this month after the man sought to have the decisions by Deputy Commissioner Steven Gollschewski overturned.
The QCAT decision by Richard Oliver revealed investigations by QPS were undertaken in 2008 and the man charged in 2010.
He defended the charges in a District Court trial in March 2011 and was found guilty of three out of five charges and acquitted of the other two.
He appealed the convictions and on November 11, 2011, the Court of Appeal set aside the convictions on the grounds of a misdirection to the jury by the trial judge.
"It is worthy to note that one of the members of the Court of Appeal, Justice (Richard) Chesterman, would have entered an acquittal in respect of all charges however, the majority concluded that the matter should go back to the District Court for a retrial," Mr Oliver said.
The document revealed the man's son withdrew his co-operation with prosecution after this appeal and ultimately a nolle prosequi (a formal notice of abandonment by prosecution) was entered on three counts on the indictment.
The man went to trial for the remaining two counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16, to which he was acquitted in May 2012.
"As a result of all the information gathered for the purposes of the criminal proceedings … the Deputy Commissioner decided that disciplinary proceedings should be brought against the (officer)," Mr Oliver said.
The investigations revealed one of the children accused others - a cousin, grandfather and neighbours - of sexually abusing him.
It was found that allegations by that child had been consistent and ongoing and there "clear red flags indicating that something untoward was going on in the household".
Mr Oliver pointed to the children being in the "middle of an acrimonious matrimonial dispute" along with being treated for mental health issues.
"While on bail, he (accused) attempted to contact one of the witnesses for the prosecution … it is alleged he confronted a witness in the main street at Yeppoon and was abusive towards her about the fact she was going to give evidence in the upcoming criminal trial. There is a factual dispute about the applicant's conduct."
Another reason for the disciplinary hearing was the man's behaviour in court after hearing the jury's verdict of guilty in the first trial.
"The applicant became very abusive towards the judge, the jury and the prosecution team," the document read.
"He then jumped out of the dock in the courtroom and attempted to leave the precinct of the court while still in the custody of the correctional authorities."
There is no factual dispute about the courtroom conduct, however, it was disputed if the behaviour fell within the definition of 'misconduct' as defined in the Police Service Administration Act 1990.
It was found it did fall within that definition.
"The applicant had been involved in the court process from the day he was charged, through the committal hearing, to the trial and knew full well that a guilty verdict was an option that was open to the jury," Mr Oliver said.
"This is particularly relevant, given his occupation as a police officer.
"The misconduct charges brought against the applicant are very serious. Because the applicant was acquitted on some of the charges brought against him both ... in the criminal proceedings, and convictions entered against (one child) were set aside by the Court of Appeal, does not mean that the charges of official misconduct cannot still be substantiated.
Mr Oliver said despite the verdict of not guilty for charges involving one particular child, he still found the allegations substantiated due to there being a different standard of proof applying to QCAT.