Cop’s corrupt tip-off to mate in drugs probe
A former police officer engaged in corrupt conduct by tipping off a man he knew that he had been named as a drug supplier, a tribunal has found.
Then constable James Alexander Walker gave his friend enough information about the informant for him to work out the identity of the man who said he was selling drugs.
It had the potential to give Walker's friend, "NE'', the opportunity to stop any criminal activity or dispose of any evidence, a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal found.
On February 15, a tribunal member declared that if Walker was still employed by Queensland Police Service he would have been dismissed as a result of the corrupt conduct in 2014 and 2015.
While Walker was not aware that NE - never more than an acquaintance - was dealing drugs, he knew that his home had been recently searched by other police, the tribunal heard.
Walker had been at a police station when NE and his girlfriend had been brought in after the search and he offered to drive them home in an unmarked police vehicle.
When NE, who was charged with a minor steroids possession offence, asked Walker for help in the charge and court process, he agreed to do it "as a friend'', the tribunal heard.
Walker did not disclose his prior relationship with NE to his shift supervisor and a week later the pair had a conversation about the search.
Ten days later, Walker arrested another man, "John Smith'', who was found with what appeared to be the drug ice in a bag in his pocket.
Mr Smith told Walker that it was NE who had supplied him with the ice.
Walker was obliged to refer the information to his supervisor or another officer, but did not do so, the Crime and Corruption tribunal heard.
He also should have fully explored the information, made a note of it and conducted further investigations.
That same day, when NE phoned him, Walker told him that someone who was then in police custody told him NE had supplied drugs and he also revealed where the man had been arrested.
The next day Walker had a face-to-face conversation with NE, during which he finally decided to cut off all further contact.
Walker accepted that his conduct amounted to a disciplinary breach that would have provided grounds for termination of his employment.
The tribunal member said Walker had a conflict of interest in any police matter where NE was a suspect, and his failure to disclose it had the potential to undermine any investigation involving NE.
"I am satisfied that Mr Walker's conduct was intentional, not impartial and involved a breach of the trust placed in him as a serving police officer,'' the tribunal member said.
Originally published as Cop's corrupt tip-off to mate in drugs probe