Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Australia: Job trauma caused rogue cop’s ice addiction, court told

A ROGUE cop who sold sensitive police information to feed his out-of-control ice habit has blamed his crime on the pressures of the job.

David Branov, 42, says he turned to ice because of the trauma of being a police officer, and when the habit turned into a daily addiction he turned to crime to fund it.

He has pleaded guilty to 15 charges, including two counts of misconduct in public office, three counts of theft, attempting to pervert the course of justice, and weapons and drugs charges including the theft of thousands of dollars of worth of methylamphetamine from Fitzroy police station.

A County Court plea hearing heard today Branov could be just one of a string of rogue cops who were based at the Fitzroy station, with investigations under way into other members.

At least two are alleged to have taken bribes alongside Branov to turn a blind eye to drug crime.

The court heard that in one incident an associate of Branov’s paid him and two other officers $3000, which they later split three ways, to let him go after they arrested him on drugs charges.

As his addiction spiralled out of control, Branov sold personal details, including driver’s licence details and criminal records intelligence, to feed his habit.

The officer of seven years teamed up with a drug dealer mate, who is believed to be linked to the Rebels motorcycle gang, to help run a large-scale drug operation in 2009.

He was also paid to investigate suspected drug activities of associates, tip off people under surveillance, and throw investigations of serious crime off course.

Branov also hacked high-level police databases to provide associates with details about his drug associates and drug clients.

His lawyer, Stewart Bayles, told the court Branov started using ice to help him get through tough days on the beat.

He said that as a police officer Branov suffered because of exposure to a number of events and experiences that had had a traumatic effect on him. Mr Bayles said that while it wasn’t an excuse, it put Branov’s offending into context.

Branov, who has spent 208 days in custody on remand, will be sentenced at a later date.

Original report here

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