Cop in breath test dodge disputes ‘nonsense’ CCC claims
Counsel for a Queensland police officer at the centre of a breath test bungle has told a hearing that claims the officer desperately shifted blame were "nonsense".
Queen's Counsel Jeff Hunter on Thursday told a Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal hearing that Senior Constable Naomi Shearer, 51, was not disputing that she acted corruptly when she influenced another police officer not to breath test retired Victorian Police sergeant Kevin Perry outside the Alexandra Headland Surf Lifesaving Club on July 27, 2016.
The allegation was brought by the Crime and Corruption Commission which further alleged Ms Shearer on two occasions provided evidence which wasn't truthful during a police interview a week after the incident.
Counsel for the CCC Justin Gorry said Ms Shearer lied when she said "my intent was not to give advice or tell her what she should or shouldn't do," and again when she said "the only input I had, the only advice I did give on the night … was to move the vehicles because I thought the vehicles were in an unsafe area."
Mr Gorry argued Ms Shearer was giving advice and her opinion when she spoke to the young officer about breath testing Mr Perry.
The QCAT hearing heard Ms Shearer told the officer she didn't realise Mr Perry hadn't been breath tested, adding "it's really up to you" and "I wouldn't".
Mr Gorry reiterated the CCC's argument that Ms Shearer provided more advice than to move the vehicles.
"The interview on August 2, 2016, when the Commission says Ms Shearer was untruthful at that point in time, can simply be interpreted as a desperate attempt by Ms Shearer to shift the blame to someone else and that is to the other officers there," Mr Gorry said.
"She was trying to distance herself as to her decisions made and it's at that time, when she has her back to the wall, that she tries to shift the blame to fellow officers."
Mr Hunter said that Ms Shearer would not have deliberately lied during the interview given she admitted to watching, moments earlier, body-worn footage of the incident.
"People rationalise their behaviour all the time and when they do so they're not necessarily being dishonest and that's the point we make," Mr Hunter said.
"The first alleged lie related to what she said was her intention. It doesn't relate to whether or not what occurred was in fact advice, or taken advice, just her intention."
Mr Hunter asked QCAT member Ann Fitzpatrick to bear in mind that Ms Shearer told the young officer it was ultimately her decision whether she tested Mr Perry.
He said the CCC was speculative in suggesting that investigating police, who had viewed the body-worn footage, could shift the blame to the young officer as a result of Ms Shearer's characterisation of the conduct.
"It's nonsense," Mr Hunter said.
The matter was adjourned by Ms Fitzpatrick and it's not known when she will come to a decision on the CCC charges.
In relation to the initial incident, Shearer in 2018 pleaded guilty in the Brisbane Magistrates Court to the criminal charge of refusal by a public officer to perform duty.
She was fined $2000 with no conviction recorded.
Mr Gorry said the CCC was pushing for Ms Shearer's dismissal from the police force.
"But that's for a future time," he said.
Originally published as Cop in breath test dodge disputes 'nonsense' CCC claims