Police Commissioner Charged with Perverting the Course of Justice

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Former Northern Territory Police Commissioner John Roberts has appeared in Darwin Local Court via video link from his hometown of Perth, accused of Perverting the Course of Justice.

The case will return to court in early July, and Roberts’ request to appear again by video-link was granted by the Magistrate.

McRoberts has been under investigation by Victorian Special Prosecutor, Lesley Taylor QC, since early in 2015, who concluded that proceedings be brought against the former Police Chief over the fraud investigation of Alexandra ‘Xana” Kamitsis, the former chairwoman of NT Crime Stoppers and head of her own successful travel agency.

In December last year, Kamitsis was found guilty of defrauding a Northern Territory Health Department Scheme set up to provide travel concessions to pensioners.

Over a five-year period, in 95 separate incidents of deception, Kamitsis defrauded the Department of more than $120,000 in a scam that involved invoicing the Department for inflated flight costs and purchasing cheaper flights for pensioners. Kamitsis pocketed the balance of the money.

During her trial, the court heard that Kamitsis used the stolen funds to ‘ingratiate herself’ with family and friends, including McRoberts, who was then Police Commissioner. The court also heard that she had an intimate relationship with McRoberts.

Kamitsis was sentenced to three years and 11 months in prison, suspended after 18 months.

Around the time of sentencing, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) wound up its investigation into the handling of the case, including the involvement – and allegations of interference – by McRoberts. The AFP referred the matter to the Director of Public Prosecutions who handed the file to Lesley Taylor QC to determine whether or not action should be taken.

McRoberts was asked to leave his job as soon as concerns arose about a perceived conflict of interest, and in the wake of his resignation, three separate investigations were launched, one by the NT Ombudsman, one by the NT Whistle Blower Commission, and another by the AFP.

The Ombudsman later recommended a review of NT police integrity policies, including those relating to conflicts of interest, and gifts and benefits – as well as laws governing complaints against police.

The incident has ended the former Chief’s sterling career. McRoberts was a highly regarded member of the WA Police Force and held the position of Assistant Police Commissioner before he was recruited to the NT’s top job in 2009.

McRoberts is represented by former NT Crown Prosecutor, Tony Elliot, who is now in private practice. If McRoberts is found guilty, he faces up to 15 years behind bars, – a penalty increased from two years in 2009 after an amendment to the Northern Territory Criminal Code.

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Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim

Ugur Nedim is an Accredited Criminal Law Specialist with 25 years of experience as a Criminal Defence Lawyer. He is the Principal of Sydney Criminal Lawyers®.

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