Former Queensland police officer Rick Flori
Former Queensland police officer Rick Flori

‘No public interest’ in cop car sex claims

A FORMER police officer has failed to prove that a letter he wrote about two police officers having oral sex in a police car outside a Red Rooster outlet was a public interest disclosure.

Rick Flori was suing three police officers and the State Government for damages for alleged reprisal because of the letter he sent to the then Crime and Misconduct Commission.

Supreme Court justice Helen Bowskill found the letter was not a "public interest disclosure'' under the Whistleblowers Protection Act, and therefore his proceeding must fail.

She found it did not contain information about conduct that was "official misconduct", as defined under the Crime and Misconduct Act.

Justice Bowskill found two police officers seen in a police car parked outside a Red Rooster, with one performing a sex act on another, did not involve use or abuse of any police power or privilege.

"The fact that they are sitting in a police car and using the car for a reason unrelated to their professional duties at the time of the sexual act, is not sufficient ... to raise 'misconduct' to the level of 'official misconduct','' Justice Bowskill said.

Although the sexual conduct was in a police car, the judge did not agree it involved misuse of material acquired in connection with performance of a police officer's functions.

Although Justice Bowskill found the act of oral sex in a car in a public car park could be found to be a criminal indecent act, it was still not official misconduct.

"It is common ground that if the letter is not a public interest disclosure under the Whistleblowers Protection Act, the plaintiff's proceeding must fail,'' the judge said.

"In late 2009 (A) was seen at Red Rooster at ... by (two officers) in the ... District duty officer police car," Mr Flori's anonymous letter said.

"It was obvious that (B) had her head in (A's) lap, giving him a head job."

The letter went on to say that some police believed special attention had been given to the female officer by district duty officers.

"I can see the headline. Senior police officer receives fellatio in police car," the letter said.

The letter also talked about the male and female officers regularly meeting up at a BP service station for coffee, outside A's district, while he was on night work.

Chief Superintendent Glenn Horton, of Ethical Standards Command's Internal Investigations Group, gave evidence that the sexual conduct described in Mr Flori's letter would not have resulted in the officers being dismissed.

The court was given examples of other police officers' sexual-related conduct which had not resulted in dismissal.

They included a detective senior sergeant who over two years engaged in sexual and other harassment of three women, including a fellow officer and two other employees of other departments. He was demoted.

The court was told a sergeant who had consensual sex, while on duty and in the office, with three separate female officers was only demoted.

Another senior sergeant who, while on duty, made inappropriate sexual comments to female officers under his command, used the police computer system to send inappropriate emails and drove a police car to the home of a constable and had sex with her was also only demoted.

Justice Bowskill found the conduct described in Mr Flori's letter was not conduct which could be a disciplinary breach providing grounds for dismissal of either officer.