Thug traffic police boss keeps his job after exceeding speed limit by 100km/h during an unauthorised chase
Gets a small fine only
A SENIOR traffic officer who drove at more than 100km/h over the speed limit in an unauthorised chase of a speeding motorcyclist in 2009 will hang on to his job as boss of the Pine Rivers traffic branch.
Senior Sergeant Bryan Eaton has escaped a significant sanction after the Crime and Misconduct Commission appealed a police service-imposed penalty as too lenient, and sought his dismissal.
The officer was originally given just a single-pay point deduction for a year by the QPS despite Assistant Commissioner Ross Barnett finding his conduct "endangered the safety of other road users".
"The risks posed by misconduct to yourself and other road users are unacceptable and contrary to the Safe Driving Policy," Mr Barnett found. "Further, the subsequent high speed pursuit of the motorcyclist was unjustified and contrary to the pursuit policy."
The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard that on August 22, 2009, Sen-Sgt Eaton pursued a motorcycle at Burpengary at a speed of 225km/h in a 100km/h zone, and between 150 and 160km/h in a 60km/h zone. The chase was considered unauthorised and Sen-Sgt Eaton failed to activate lights and sirens as is the police pursuit policy.
The CMC sought to introduce new evidence to the matter, relating to Sen-Sgt Eaton's involvement in a police chase at Coen in far north Queensland in 2003 which resulted in the deaths of two men. Although a Coronial inquest into the deaths did not recommend charges against Sen-Sgt Eaton, his driving did attract significant criticism from the Coroner.
Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal senior member James Thomas accepted the evidence on a restricted basis, finding a "more severe" sanction needed to be imposed. He ordered a two-pay point reduction over nine months, amounting to a fine of about $1900.
"Chases of this kind put the public at risk and at regular intervals cause extreme distress from collateral damage," Mr Thomas said. "It is important that this policy, designed to enhance relations between the police and the public, be observed, especially by its senior officers."
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