Prosecutions arising from IBAC investigations are an important mechanism for exposing public sector corruption and police misconduct. They highlight the impact and consequences of corruption for those involved, including jail terms, confiscation of assets, fines and community corrections orders. Prosecutions following investigations also serve the important function of deterring and preventing public sector corruption and police misconduct. Highlighting the existence and consequences of corruption and misconduct has the additional benefit of assisting public sector agencies and police to strengthen their practices.
This is a summary of IBAC statements from March 2020 to June 2020 about some of our operations and prosecutions. For more detail, please see our media releases or follow @ibacVic on Twitter for our latest announcements.
Victoria Police officer convicted following IBAC investigation Operation Ithaca
On 1 July, former Victoria Police Sergeant Robert Beckingham was convicted and sentenced at the Melbourne Magistrates' Court to a $7500 fine after pleading guilty to a charge of unauthorised access to police information contained on the LEAP database that related to nine different persons. IBAC charged Mr Beckingham with a number of offences in May 2018 following Operation Ithaca, IBAC’s investigation into allegations of police personnel misconduct.
Victoria Police response to IBAC's audit of complaints handled by Professional Standards Command
On 29 June, IBAC published Victoria Police's response to IBAC's audit of complaints handled by the Victoria Police Professional Standards Command. Victoria Police has provided a number of updates to IBAC, reporting on action taken in response to IBAC's five audit recommendations. These updates were received in January 2019, July 2019 and May 2020.
As part of our work to determine how effectively Victoria Police handles complaints against police officers, IBAC audits a sample of investigations conducted by the Professional Standards Command. These audits assess whether their complaint investigations are thorough and impartial and meet the standards required for the handling of such serious allegations.
IBAC and Ombudsman to collaborate on investigation into allegations of branch stacking, misconduct and other matters
On 19 June, IBAC and the Victorian Ombudsman announced they would pool expertise to investigate alleged serious misconduct and corruption involving Victorian public officers. The two agencies will take a coordinated approach to the investigation into a range of matters concerning allegations of 'branch stacking' and other related matters.
IBAC confirms referral
On 15 June, IBAC confirmed it received a referral from the Attorney General regarding serious allegations concerning the conduct of public officers, and that the review was currently under consideration.
Victoria police officer sentenced for recklessly causing injury following IBAC investigation
On 5 June, Victoria Police Officer Ross Fowler was sentenced to a fine of $10,000 at the Melbourne County Court for recklessly causing injury following an investigation by IBAC. The charges follow Operation Mersey, an investigation into the conduct of two officers during an incident in the Southern Metro area in 2016. IBAC charged the pair with assault-related charges in December 2017.
Two former clients of a St Paul's drug and alcohol rehabilitation charity service sentenced following IBAC investigation
Between 3-4 June, two former clients of St Paul's Prevention Rehabilitation, Nicholas Georgiou and Abdul Elabed, were convicted following IBAC's Operation Murano, an investigation into allegations that an employee of St Paul's Prevention Rehabilitation – a drug and alcohol rehabilitation charity based in Strathmore – deliberately provided false information to the court in bail applications and sentencing hearings.
Mr Georgiou was sentenced to a two year community correction order with 150 hours of unpaid work for attempting to pervert the course of justice, and fined $250 for trafficking a drug of dependence. Mr Elabed was convicted to 4.5 months imprisonment for attempting to pervert the course of justice, and fined $250 for trafficking a drug of dependence.
Victoria University employee sentenced to prison following IBAC investigation
On 30 March, Victoria University employee Kamaljeet Kaur Gill was sentenced to prison following an investigation by IBAC into the misappropriation of over half a million dollars of university funds. Ms Gill was sentenced to three years and six months imprisonment after pleading guilty to the offences of misconduct in public office and obtaining property by deception and theft.
Outcome of IBAC's investigation into the conduct of Victoria Police officers at the Hares & Hyenas bookstore in Fitzroy in May 2019
On 16 April 2020, IBAC completed Operation Lynd, an investigation into the conduct of Victoria Police officers at the Hares & Hyenas bookstore in Fitzroy that resulted in the serious injury of a member of the public, Mr Nic Dimopoulos, on 11 May 2019. Read the investigation summary, media release and listen to the Joy FM interview by IBAC Deputy Commissioner Katie Miller on the investigation outcome.