Saturday, June 19, 2010

Killer cop faces two new official inquiries

They'll get the b*stard for something yet

POLICE officer Chris Hurley is facing two fresh investigations. The Crime and Misconduct Commission last night confirmed it had opened a new probe into Senior Sergeant Hurley's compensation claims for property lost when the Palm Island police station and residence was burned down in 2004.

It also confirmed it was investigating allegations raised by Deputy Chief Magistrate Brian Hine at last month's coronial inquest.

CMC investigators believe Sen-Sgt Hurley, who owns a Gold Coast house and a beachfront unit, got as much as $150,000 after rioters burned the three-bedroom police house, police station and court house six years ago.

CMC director of misconduct investigations Russell Peace said Sen-Sgt Hurley appeared to have got three separate payments after the riots. "We are looking at whether this is a case of 'triple dipping'," Mr Pearce said. "The investigation is into any possibility of alleged insurance fraud in relation to the payouts. We believe there may be a case to answer."

FOI documents show Sen-Sgt Hurley - the officer charged and acquitted over the Palm Island death-in-custody of Cameron Doomadgee, known as Mulrunji - successfully claimed a $102,955 ex-gratia payment from the State Government for lost property.

Sen-Sgt Hurley was the main beneficiary of a Queensland Police Union Palm Island fund, taking donations from fellow officers, the size of which has not been made public. In May 2008, Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson ordered an internal investigation into the insurance-related payouts, overseen by the anti-misconduct watchdog, that has now been completed, sent to a barrister for independent review, and handed to the CMC.

The Queensland Police Service, Police Union and Sen-Sgt Hurley have been notified of the decision to reopen the investigation. None would comment yesterday.

Mulrunji's partner Tracey Twaddle said she had not yet received "one red cent of compensation". Ms Twaddle and the Doomadgee family plan to file a civil damages suit against Sen-Sgt Hurley and the Queensland Police Service.

The CMC also is investigating findings by Mr Hine at last month's coronial inquest that Sen-Sgt Hurley, Sergeant Michael Leafe and police liaison officer Lloyd Bengaroo had become aware of what a witness had said, and changed their own version of events.


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