Police investigating police is “failing our state”

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A Federal Senator has made a strong call for an independent body to investigate and prosecute cases of misconduct by police in Victoria.

 

In a speech to Federal Senate on Tuesday 30th September, Senator Gavin Marshall (Victoria—Deputy President of the Senate and Chair of Committees) welcomed the compensation recently awarded to Ms Corinna Horvath who was brutally assaulted by police eighteen years ago.

In a very direct speech, Senator Marshall acknowledged the apology by Victoria Police’s Chief Commissioner, Ken Lay, but highlighted how the police involved have not been made to face charges nor face up to their actions.

Senator Marshall called for charges to be laid.

“The police involved do not need another internal inquiry; they need to be charged with criminal charges and face court. The charges that should be laid against these police are the offences identified by Judge Williams—those of unlawful arrest, false imprisonment, assault and malicious prosecution.”

Emphasising the inadequacies of the  Independent Broad Based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) and the Integrity Legislation Amendment Bill 2014 currently before State Parliament, the Senator stated that changes need to go further.

“Under its current powers, IBAC cannot even make a binding recommendation to the Victorian police force. Police can just ignore IBAC. An alternative to IBAC would be a separate, independent body to deal with police complaints. But what should be obvious to all is that police cannot investigate police, if we expect proper justice.”

The Senator Marshall’s call echoes a demand made by thirteen Victorian and Australian legal, human rights and civil society organisations for a review of the new Victoria Police Act 2013 (Vic) and the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission Act 2011 (Vic)  in order for Victoria to remedy its breaches of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘ICCPR’).

“I call on legislation to be presented to the Victorian parliament that provides for an independent body to investigate and prosecute cases of misconduct by police. And that the state government properly resources such a body so it can fund a team of investigators to get through the backlog of complaints against police that currently exist.” Senator Marshall said during the speech.

Further Info:

The Senate speech in full

Joint letter to Victoria Parliament regarding the Horvath review (PDF)

Independent Investigations background material

Integrity Legislation Amendment Bill 2014

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