Friday, March 11, 2016

‘Thieving police’ caught out by mock drug sting in S. Australia

MOCK drug growing rooms were used in elaborate stings to collect evidence against a group of police officers accused of stealing from crime scenes.

The Adelaide Magistrates Court on Thursday heard two “test case” houses were set up as “targeted integrity tests” after the Anti-Corruption Bureau was tipped off that officers were allegedly stealing seized property.

Iain Mott, 53, Jed Raymond Coffey, 35, Michelle Kay Hack, 28, and three other officers whose identity remains suppressed, have been charged with theft-related offences.

Three of the officers are arguing that they have no case to answer.

The officers were current or former members within the Sturt Local Service Area at the time of their arrest, and allegedly stole alcohol, tools and electronics.

They were charged following joint investigations by police and the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption.

Prosecutor Jeff Powell told the court the items allegedly taken were of limited value and included two bottles of whiskey, perfume, walkie-talkies, transformers and a Bosch screwdriver set.

He said the intricate trap was ethical as the officers were left “unaided” and uninfluenced” over whether to act appropriately with the items.

“They (the houses) did nothing more than provide an opportunity,” he said.

“It was up to the defendants whether to remove the items or not.”

Mr Powell said recordings allegedly capture one of the officers, whose identity remains suppressed, saying “f---ing good, don’t put them (items) in property, they can go in our toolbox”.

Mr Powell alleged other recordings capture one of the officers saying it would be good to give a seized tool to another accused officer’s father.

“They were taken by him dishonestly and in our submission with the intention to infringe on the propriety rights of the owner,” he said.

“His motives were to treat the items as his own property and, as such, against the wishes of the owner.”

He alleged items were not checked in as police evidence and several items were found under the desk of Mott — the supervising officer.

Mott’s lawyer, however, argued his client was not in charge of the team that went to either of the mock drug houses and did not attend the raid.

Mott, and two other officers whose identities have been suppressed, have asked a court to dismiss the charges against them due to a lack of evidence.

Magistrate Paul Foley will hear further no case submissions from their lawyers before making a ruling next month.

Original report here

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