10 November 2023

Defendants in Drumgold civil case against Board of Inquiry could expand to include six police officers

| Claire Fenwicke
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Detective Superintendent Scott Moller

Detective Superintendent Scott Moller is one of six police officers who could be added as defendants in Shane Drumgold’s civil case. Photo: Region.

Six police officers could soon be defendants in former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shane Drumgold’s civil case following the fallout of the Sofronoff Board of Inquiry.

The case itself won’t be heard until February 2024; however, several hearings are still scheduled in the meantime to work out legal proceedings and technicalities.

In the Supreme Court on Friday (10 November), Acting Justice Stephen Kaye heard six ACT Policing members had applied to be joined to the case as a collective “fourth defendant”.

The application has been made on behalf of Michael Chew, Scott Moller, Marcus Boorman, Robert Rose, Trent Madders and Emma Frizzell, who had all provided written statements to the Board of Inquiry’s investigation into the ACT’s criminal justice system following the termination of the case against Bruce Lehrmann.

No findings have been made against Mr Lehrmann and he has maintained his innocence.

Mr Drumgold resigned as the ACT’s DPP after findings in the Board of Inquiry report made his position untenable.

READ ALSO ACT Greens MLA Johnathan Davis urged to resign over allegations of underage sex

Mr Drumgold’s civil case has called for the Board of Inquiry’s final report, or alternatively, the sections of the report that refer to him, to be found “invalid, or unlawful, or otherwise affected by apprehended bias or a denial of natural justice”.

The report also made comments and findings about all six police officers.

“Many of those findings and comments are about matters that are relevant to their reputations and their careers, and some of those findings express conclusions about the veracity or otherwise of serious allegations made with respect to the character and conduct of some of the Applicants,” documents tendered to the court stated.

The police officers wish for the report’s findings to stand, given they are “generally favourable” and form part of the public record in relation to their conduct as they investigated the allegations of sexual assault made by Brittany Higgins.

Their application argued that if the declarations sought by Mr Drumgold about the report were granted, in full or in part, the officers would then be liable to submit to any further inquiries that could arise.

“[This] may include exposure to a new risk of adverse comments or findings,” the tendered documents stated.

Arguments about whether the police officers can join the case are scheduled to be heard on 15 December.

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Agree with Jack D. The ACT AFP clearly has some problems. Time for a review and clean out.

Our police have been in the news quite a bit lately for all of the wrong reasons. Too loose with the truth in court proceedings and heavy handedness are just a few recent examples.

Maybe Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan should be looking at cleaning up some of those in his force rather than interfering in government matters.

Or maybe he should just run as a candidate in next year’s ACT election.

Just saying!

Sounds like they are more reactive against how the DPP and government work.
Trying to rush through laws at the last minute to change how the cases work after the fact is borderline corrupt.
Did the ACT drop that legal change after the case was dropped?

We have 3 branches of government for a reason!

With the amount that you hate police, I really hope that you do something totally incredible with your life where you save the community daily… Just saying…

I don’t normally reply to ignorant posts directed at me Buzz819.There are people out there whose muddled and narrow thought processes inhibit them from contributing effectively to normal debate.

Accusing those of hate for questioning the ethical standards of some police is extreme and drawing a very long bow.

In the past few weeks we have seen the government and leading members of the legal fraternity coming out and questioning the leadership and ethical standards of our police force. Of most concern was the sworn testimony of a police officer who was proven in court to be perjuring himself. Questions have now been raised as to his past heavy handed and aggressive tactics and his suitability as a police officer. This has led to an internal police investigation with a senior prosecutor claiming little chance of its findings ever being made public.

Some other criticisms have included a lack of transparency in internal investigations, rewarding of bad behaviour, senior police officers lacking knowledge and training, entrenched police sexism and bullying, failing victims of sexual assault and leaking of confidential information to the press in a high profile rape case.

I had cause to visit the police station a few weeks ago to make an inquiry. The police officer I met with made a point of meeting with me and went out of his way to assist. This gives me hope that the majority of our police are committed and law abiding.

The bad seeds within the force, including those in leadership roles need to be weeded out and removed!

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