Once heroic cop in trouble after Kmart fight, promoted again
FORMER Senior Sergeant Nikolas Newman has gone from good cop to demotion and back again.
The celebrated police officer, who lost his appeal against a significant demotion after being found guilty of several cases of misconduct, has been re-promoted to sergeant.
Mr Newman originally faced the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal over a number of incidents including an altercation with a man at a shopping centre and, in a separate incident, making a false statement.
Mr Newman was demoted from the rank of senior sergeant to senior constable over the incidents in 2010-13. However, in March this year he was promoted back to the rank of sergeant.
A "significant bundle of references" attested to Mr Newman's good character but they were not enough to save him from the original demotion.
In 2007, The Observer reported on an operational honour a heroic Mr Newman received, after he took on three youths trying to break into Gladstone Leagues Club in 2004.
Some of the state's top cops of the time, including Assistant Commissioner Ann Lewis, heaped praise on Mr Newman for his bravery which they said went above and beyond the call of duty.
However, Assistant Commissioner Mike Condon was now scathing in regards to Mr Newman's incidents of misconduct.
One Gladstone incident, when a passer-by bumped an off-duty Mr Newman's seven-year-old daughter at a Kmart checkout, while he was off-duty, set off an altercation.
As the man walked away, Mr Newman pulled him by the collar. In the QCAT documents, he claimed this was because of a "threat" made by the man that he was "gone".
Mr Newman claimed he initially believed the man hit his daughter, but later admitted it may have been an over-reaction.
Witnesses described Mr Newman as being in a "bad mood", which the tribunal acknowledged may have been because of him "suffering from personal stress as a result of" other investigations into his misconduct.
In another instance of misconduct in Mackay, Mr Newman mounted a footpath in a police vehicle in a chase for a bicycle rider, running into a resident's fence, which was left tipped over on an angle.
Mr Newman claimed the fence wasn't damaged, with himself and another officer pushing it back into place.
He also claimed that he checked if the owner was home, and then instructed another officer to call the man. When there was no answer, Mr Newman believed the owner was on holiday.
But Mr Newman was caught out lying when investigators revealed in an interview with him that the owner and his wife provided a conflicting account, claiming they'd witnessed most of the event unfold from their home.
Mr Newman responded; "I don't believe the owner because the owner came into Mackay Police Station and apparently ranted and raved and wanted his fence paid for and so I don't believe anything the owner had to say."
"And as I said we, for a start, nobody even approached us.
"(I) knocked on the door loudly (while I was) waiting for the duty sergeant to arrive to breath-test me, no-one came to the door, the place was in complete darkness, walked around the back there was nobody in that house."
But the tribunal ruled it had no reason to believe the home owners had conspired against Mr Newman, choosing to believe their version.
Describing his behaviour as a senior officer in QCAT documents, working between at Gladstone and Mackay, Assistant Commissioner Condon told of his concern that Mr Newman's actions would erode public confidence in the police force.
"I am satisfied you have poor communication skills on occasions, have poor judgment even when you know you are under scrutiny," he said.
"You lack insight and self-awareness into your own behaviour.
"You have made untruthful assertions in an official document which has resulted in personal gain.
"When your behaviour is challenged by investigators your immediate response is to call the complainants, liars."
In other incidents, Mr Newman was found to have driven a police vehicle at excessive speed without authorisation, to have submitted an official report knowing it contained false or misleading information.
He was also found to be unprofessional towards members of the public, inappropriately grabbing hold of one, and provided false information to investigators.
Mr Newman is now stationed in the Central region, which includes the Mackay, Capricornia, and Wide Bay-Burnett districts.