Victoria Police Operation Plyers
Victoria Police notified IBAC of a complaint regarding an investigation codenamed Operation Plyers, an offshoot from the Petra Taskforce which had commenced in 2008 to investigate alleged Victoria Police member connections to the 2004 murder of police informers Mr Terrence and Mrs Christine Hodson.
In May 2013, Victoria Police notified us of an internal complaint regarding an investigation codenamed Operation Plyers, an offshoot from the Petra Taskforce which had commenced in 2008.
Petra Taskforce was established to investigate alleged Victoria Police member connections to the 2004 murder of police informers Mr Terrence and Mrs Christine Hodson. The Taskforce was supervised by a steering committee which included members of Victoria Police senior command, as well as a Deputy Director of OPI. The principal allegation was that an officer in the Petra Taskforce had authorised the discontinuance of criminal charges that a key witness was facing in exchange for information being provided. This had allegedly been done without any prior approval.
The investigator had struck an agreement with a person charged with serious offences, who had undertaken to provide the information. The information and level of cooperation was subsequently considered by the investigator to be insufficient, and the agreement was not fulfilled. The defendant subsequently successfully relied on the agreement to avoid trial and asset confiscation.
We found there was no record of the Petra Taskforce steering committee or any member of the committee (or any other person or body) approving the agreement. It is also clear that the Office of Public Prosecutions was not consulted about the agreement. As a result, we concluded there was no sufficient basis for a finding that the investigator was authorised to enter into the agreement.
We also found no unprofessional, inappropriate or improper relationship between the investigator and the defendant.
We noted the internal complaint was not made to PSC until August 2011, and there was a further lapse of almost two years until the matter was notified to us. These delays, considered to be innocent, complicated our enquiries.
We referred the matter – insofar as it related to the conduct of the Operation Plyers investigator and any possible disciplinary proceedings – to the Chief Commissioner of Police in December 2013.
We have since been notified by Victoria Police of its further investigation into the conduct of the investigator, resulting in the complaint allegations being 'unable to be determined'. Victoria Police do not intend to take any further action.