Four Queensland Police Officers have been accused of misconduct in public office after allegedly allowing a now-former police sergeant who admitted he had been drinking to avoid a breath test, and saying they would delete bodycam footage of the incident.
Two uniformed police officers pulled over Kevin Perry, a now-retired Victorian Police Sergeant, in July 2016 as he allegedly performed an illegal U-turn while he was holidaying on the Sunshine Coast with his family.
Recently released bodycam footage of the incident records the following conversation:
Officer: “My partner has just said you’ve had a drink”.
Mr Perry: “I literally just came out of the pub. Finished off a glass of red”.
Officer: “How much would you’ve had tonight?”
Mr Perry: “I’m not sure. I’ve probably had a couple of glasses of red”.
“Is there any way you could just let us park and I’ll catch a cab home?”
Officer: “Unfortunately, I can’t do that. But what I am going to do, to be fair I’m going to give you 20 minutes.”
Mr Perry: “I’ve got my kids…we’re up here on holidays.”
Officer then calls for backup: “Can we get a second unit just to assist us with this intercept?”
Officer speaks to Mr Perry: “It’s kind of putting is in a position.”
Two other officers, Detective Senior Constable Naomi Shearer and plain clothes Senior Constable Rohan Peter Evans, then arrive at the scene.
The officers speak with the first two officers, before Officer Shearer introduces herself to Mr Perry.
Officer Shearer: “Hi I’m Naomi. How are you?”
Mr Perry: “I’m happy to get a cab home”
Officer Shearer then speaks with the original officers.
Officer Shearer to original officer: “What did he go?”.
Original officer: “He hasn’t blown yet”.
Officer Shearer: “He hasn’t blown at all!?”.
Original officer: “He pulled his badge on me and said I’m a Sergeant in Vic Police can you let me go.”
Officer Shearer: “I didn’t realise there hadn’t been a breath test done at all yet.”
Original officer: “No. No.”
Officer Shearer: “So I reckon… It’s really up to you!”
Original officer: “But what about if he brags?”.
Officer Shearer: “He’s not going to tell anyone. He’s not going to tell a fucking soul.”
“It’s really your call. I wouldn’t. He wouldn’t, but it’s up to you if you would.”
“I reckon if you tell him to park up.”
Officer Evans: “Reaffirm that it never happened.”
Officer Shearer: “And reaffirm that it never happened.”
Officer Shearer to Mr Perry: “Don’t you go and tell anyone either.”
Mr Perry: “Oh hell no.”
Original officer to other original officer: “You still filming?”
Reply: “I am. It will be deleted. I’ll delete it it it needs to be”.
The footage was never deleted and the two original officers later reported the matter to their superiors.
Guilty of misconduct but keep their jobs
After an internal investigation, both Detective Senior Constable Naomi Shearer and plain clothes Senior Constable Rohan Peter Evans were charged and found guilty of misconduct in a public office. They were each given fines.
Both officers have kept their jobs and remain in the Queensland Police Service.
CCC refers matter to QCAT
The matter is currently before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal after the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) disputed the QPS’ decision to allow Detective Senior Constable Shearer to keep her job.
Statement by Police Commissioner
The Queensland Police Commissioner has since released a statement saying:
“It’s important to note that in this instance that the allegations were reported internally within the Queensland Police Service (QPS) and an investigation was commenced as a result.
“While two officers were criminally charged and dealt with by the courts, a total of four officers were subject to our discipline processes.
“One of these officers has since separated from the QPS.”
The offence of misconduct in public office in Queensland
Section 92A of the Queensland Criminal Code 1899 makes it an offence for a public officer, including a police officer, to release information gained as a result of his or her office, or to perform or fail to perform a function of office, or to make an omission in abuse of the authority of office.
To be found guilty, the prosecution must prove that the act was done with the intention of dishonestly gaining a benefit for themselves or another person, or dishonestly causing a detriment to another person.