Victoria’s police watchdog has recommended charges be laid against
former officer Paul Dale in connection with the murder of police
informer Terence Hodson and his wife.
An Office of Police Integrity (OPI) report, tabled in state parliament on Thursday, recommended Dale should face charges including conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, making false statements, and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
Hodson was killed along with his wife Christine in 2004 after he agreed to give evidence against Dale over the alleged attempted theft of $A1.3 million worth of ecstasy pills.
Dale was accused of leaking information to criminals that Hodson was a police informer and of also benefiting from his murder, but the charges were later dropped.
He was Hodson’s main police contact.
The Hodsons were gunned down in their home in the Melbourne suburb of Kew on May 16, 2004 during Melbourne’s gangland war.
Police on Wednesday announced a $A1 million reward for information on the Hodsons’ murder.
The decision whether or not to lay charges against the former policeman will be taken by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
The report outlined the sometimes inappropriate relationship between police and police informers and made recommendations on how to deal with these situations.
It also criticised the relationship Dale still had with serving police officers, in particular, Detective Sergeant Dennis Linehan.
The report also recommended Linehan should face disciplinary action for his loyalty to Dale.
During OPI hearings in June, hundreds of intercepted phone calls revealed the extent of the relationship between Dale and police officers.
Thursday’s report found Dale “did manipulate some of these relationships to progress his personal aims”.
It also recommends two other serving officers – Detective Senior Constable Robert Bird and Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Chrystie – face disciplinary action because of their relationship with Dale.
In the report, OPI director Michael Strong said the Dale situation was a “telling example of the risk to the integrity of Victoria Police when employees form or maintain relationships with individuals who are targets or potential targets of police investigations.
“This case demonstrates the ease with which former police, such as Dale, can continue to exert influence over serving Victoria Police members.”
Strong said the relationships police have with those outside the force, can, on occasion, lead to criminal or inappropriate associations.
As a result of the inquiry, all Victorian police officers from next month will have to declare all associations that may be seen as “incompatible” with their job.
Strong said that move would “encourage honesty and openness” and stop situations like those involving Dale from continuing.