A former police officer who crashed a police car while drunk and urinated off a restaurant balcony in a later incident, has failed to get his dismissal overturned.

Senior Constable Isaac Cavanagh had a NSW and Queensland police career spanning more than 20 years and had received two medals and six awards, before the incidents.

On March 30, 2017, Cavanagh crashed a police vehicle while off-duty, and while he had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.165, Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard.

The police car had $23,000 damage, Cavanagh was suspended and he later pleaded guilty to high range drink driving, taking a vehicle without consent and driving without due care and attention.

He was fined a total of $1400, placed on an $800 12-month good behaviour bond, with no convictions recorded, and disqualified from driving for six months.

The tribunal heard at the time of the crash Cavanagh was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and alcohol use disorder.

Despite attending rehabilitation, he had a relapse on December 5, 2018, urinating from a restaurant balcony while at an office party. He was then dismissed from Queensland Police Service.

Cavanagh applied for a review of the decision in QCAT, submitting he should have been put on 12 months' probation, with conditions, or transferred with management strategies.

He was described as a skilful and dedicated police officer.

A tribunal member said police officers were in a unique position with drink-driving, as they were responsible for upholding the laws and the community was sensitive to the possibility of double standards.

"The community rightly expects law enforcement to protect it from the potentially tragic and irreversible consequences caused by the misuse of motor vehicles,'' the member said.

The correct sanction to ensure community safety was dismissal.

References attested to Cavanagh's good character and skilful police career, describing him as honest, truthful, well-liked, passionate for the job and a skilled investigator.

It was accepted that he was dedicated to serving his community.

The tribunal considered reports from a consultant psychiatrist, who said Cavanagh had experienced no alcohol use relapses since 2018.

Although his conditions contributed to his behaviour, Senior Constable Cavanagh made conscious decisions to consume alcohol to excess on both occasions, the member said.

Such behaviour was not conducive to protecting the public and maintaining the reputation of the QPS.

Deputy Commissioner Stephen Gollschewski, who dismissed Cavanagh, said any other sanction would have an adverse effect on the QPS reputation and public confidence in police.

The member confirmed the dismissal decision on April 28.

Originally published as Drunk cop crashed police car, urinated in public



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