Thursday, December 20, 2012

Police coverup of bungled prosecution

THE mother of a murder victim is furious Queensland police won't honour a promise to come clean about a failed investigation of the brutal 1999 killings.

Despite 12 years of police work and DNA evidence, police failed to secure convictions against two men accused of the killings of Ann-Maree Kropp and her partner Christopher Nancarrow at Springbrook on the Gold Coast.

The men were found to be not guilty, with no clear evidence of motive presented at the month-long trial in October 2011.

Police promised the Kropp family in January that the findings of an internal review into what went wrong "will be conveyed to you in due course".

But although the QPS has completed its probe, it has made no attempt to contact the family.

"We've heard nothing," Shirley Kropp, Ann-Maree's mother, said. "They've totally ignored us. It's just not good enough. I just wonder what they're trying to hide."

Mrs Kropp said she had heard through the Queensland Homicide Victim Support Group there had been errors in DNA sample collection.

It had also been a mistake to compel testimony from a forensic specialist who was experiencing psychological distress.

"They've got off blind because they stuffed up," she said.

But the QPS could not confirm the findings. It would say only that "a review of the of verdict" in the case "reinforced the Queensland Police Service's ongoing commitment to continuous improvement in terms of the investigation of serious crime".

A retired detective who initially worked the case said in 2011 that "police politics" had wrecked the investigation.

Paddy Fenely, a former Gold Coast CIB officer, said he had found promising lines of inquiry suggesting the murdered couple had been recruited by a drug ring linked to Nomads bikies planning to supply methamphetamine to truck drivers in Murwillumbah.

But the investigation was transferred to another unit.

Under changes to Queensland's double jeopardy laws last year, murder cases can be reopened if "fresh and compelling" new evidence emerges.

Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon, who took over the investigation in 2007, said last month no further arrests should be expected and no one was being sought for questioning.


Monday, December 3, 2012

Shady police officers caught on the wrong side of the law in Queensland

A POLICE officer caught smuggling drugs from New Zealand and another who molested a boy are among a dozen police officers found on the wrong side of the law in Queensland in the past year.

The Courier-Mail can reveal that nine of the officers found guilty of crimes - which also included assault, excessive force, drink-driving and inappropriate behaviour - since July 1, 2011, are still working for the Queensland Police Service.

None was sacked, but the drug smuggler, pedophile and an officer who stole weed killer from a shop all quit, while another was suspended and two others were stood down from operational duties pending internal investigations.

Documents obtained under the Right to Information Act show an additional 16 officers suspected of official misconduct resigned before investigations were complete.

Those allegations related primarily to assault and excessive force with a weapon, corruption favouritism, victimisation and harassment and inappropriate behaviour.

    Offences included:

     *  Allegedly running a side business and getting a prisoner to help move house.

     *  Using police position to intimidate a vet into providing free treatment.

     *  Arresting and cuffing a man who was then punched "repeatedly in the face" and "smashed his head into a police van and kicked him in the back".

Most resignations meant that internal investigations were dropped, but Deputy Commissioner Ross Barnett said management would consider keeping them open when dismissal and demotion were a possible outcome and there weren't any criminal charges.

He said since 2010, QPS had only twice continued investigating police who had resigned - once for an officer who acted inappropriately and the other involving an officer accused of drug offences.

"In an organisation of over 10,600 officers, inevitably there are going to be issues from time to time," Deputy Commissioner Barnett said. "But I think the number of officers who come to attention for serious misconduct is very small."

He said the review into police discipline was stalled pending the outcome of the review into the Crime and Misconduct Commission.

"Everyone . . . who's in this area is keen that allegations of misconduct or criminal conduct are dealt with as soon as possible," he said.