'Whistleblower' cop's charges not pushed by boss: police
A POLICE internal investigator has angrily denied being influenced by Commissioner Ian Stewart to charge a "whistleblower" cop with misconduct over leaked CCTV footage of a brutal bashing in a Gold Coast police station basement.
A court was told yesterday that Mr Stewart was distantly related to one of the officers involved in the infamous bashing of a handcuffed young chef, Noa Begic, in the bowels of Surfers Paradise police station in January, 2012.
Former Surfers Paradise officer Rick Flori is fighting a charge of misconduct in public office after allegedly leaking the footage to The Courier-Mail.
In a pre-trial hearing in Southport District Court yesterday, Sergeant Flori argued the prosecution was an "abuse of process" based on police service "reprisals" and should be permanently stayed.
Sgt Flori, representing himself, grilled police Ethical Standards Command officer David Winter about the prosecution.
Acting Inspector Winter told the court he initially recommended disciplinary action against Sgt Flori, but launched a criminal prosecution after the Supreme Court ruled that evidence seized in a raid on Flori's home could not be used in the disciplinary proceedings.
Insp Winter said he was aware of a "distant" relationship by marriage between Mr Stewart and one of the officers involved in the bashing, David Joachim. "They don't speak, they don't talk - they might see each other around (police) headquarters and bump into each other in the street once every two years," Insp Winter said. "It's not a close relationship. Mr Stewart would not influence me in any way, shape or form when it comes to prosecuting anybody."
He rejected a suggestion he had been directed by Assistant Commissioner Clem O'Regan to charge Sgt Flori.
The hearing has been adjourned until September.