Fraud charges dropped against ex-cop
Exclusive: A high-profile ex-homicide detective who investigated the deadly bikie brawl at Sydney Airport and the coward punch murder of Thomas Kelly, only to then be charged himself with fraud, has had all the charges against him dropped.
Former Detective Sergeant Anthony (Tony) Paul Williams walked free from the Downing Centre court today and launched a scathing attack on the police anti-corruption watchdog after the collapse of the case against him.
It is the third related case to fall apart in what was once dubbed one of NSW's biggest betting frauds.
Mr Williams said the charges against him had been "unjust" and he had been caught up in the crossfire of something else - ending up as "collateral damage".
He said it was another example of the wrongful pursuit of police officers by the since discredited and disbanded Police Integrity Commission (PIC).
"The more high-profile you are the more money is poured in, to try and get a 'scalp'," Mr Williams said.
The fraud charges were "no billed" today and withdrawn two weeks before the trial was due to start.
It comes after professional punter Stephen Fletcher also had similar charges against him thrown out of court.
The charges which related to a gambling syndicate had dragged on for more than six years into the District Court despite the alleged fraud amount being less than $5000, which meant it could have been dealt with in the Local Court.
The case has sparked calls for an inquiry into why the State Government paid private lawyers to run the case in place of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and for an ex gratia compensation payment to be made to Mr Williams for the "misworking of government".
Danny Eid, lawyer for Mr Williams, said millions of dollars of taxpayers money had been wasted in this case.
"Why did the Attorney-General authorise this case to be conducted in the District Court when it could have been dealt with in the lower court? It was a waste of taxpayers money and a waste of valuable District Court time."
The Attorney-General Mark Speakman has been contacted for comment.
The PIC, which has since been replaced with the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC), launched an investigation in 2013 into a gambling syndicate in which Mr Williams and Mr Fletcher were involved.
It was alleged Mr Williams and others were opening betting accounts with bet agencies such Sportingbet for a commission and allowing others to place bets including Mr Fletcher.
Nicknamed "The Professor" for his ability to calculate odds, Mr Fletcher faced trial on 78 counts of fraudulently using the accounts of friends to place bets ranging from $9 to tens of thousands.
The high roller, who once pulled off a legal $1 million betting sting, needed the so-called "bowler" accounts because his own account had been closed by one of the online betting agencies.
Raids were launched on Mr Williams home and the offices of the homicide squad where he worked at the time.
Mr Williams and Mr Fletcher were subsequently charged with numerous counts of dishonestly obtaining a financial advantage by deception even though during the PIC public hearings in 2013, the Sportingbet Risk and Trading Director, Brad Smyth, told the inquiry that betting on behalf of others did not breach betting website rules.
The PIC was replaced after a string of scathing reports attacking the commission and its operations by the then Inspector oversighting the PIC, Peter Moss.
Mr Williams said it was appalling investigation that failed the most basic tests.
"If this had been a failed police operation, where we had charged someone, put the matter before the court and then pulled it two weeks before trial - we would have faced serious questions about our conduct - you would almost lose your job over it."
Mr Williams said he had endured six years of hell.
"It has cost my career, my health and my partner."