A tribunal has found that a former police officer has committed corrupt behavior by telling a man he knew was named a drug supplier.
Police officer James Alexander Walker then gave his friend enough information about the informant to enable him to find out the identity of the man who said he was selling drugs.
It had the potential to enable Walker’s friend « NE » to stop criminal activity or dispose of evidence, a civil and administrative court in Queensland found.
On February 15, a tribunal member stated that if Walker were still employed by the Queensland Police Service, he would have been fired for corrupt behavior in 2014 and 2015.
While Walker did not know that NE – never more than an acquaintance – dealt drugs, he did know that his house had recently been ransacked by other police officers, the tribunal heard.
Walker had been at a police station when NE and his girlfriend were brought in after searching, and he offered to drive them home in an unmarked police vehicle.
When NE, charged with a minor offense of steroid possession, asked Walker for help with the prosecution and trial, he agreed to do so « as a friend, » the tribunal heard.
Walker did not reveal his previous relationship with NE to his shift supervisor, and a week later the couple had a conversation about the search.
Ten days later, Walker arrested another man, « John Smith », who was found with what appeared to be drug ice cream in a bag in his pocket.
Walker was required to forward the information to his supervisor or another official, but did not do so, the Crime and Corruption Tribunal heard.
He should also have examined the information in full, noted it down, and conducted further research.
The same day NE called him, Walker told him that someone who was in police custody at the time had told him that NE had delivered drugs, and he also revealed where the man had been arrested.
The next day, Walker had a personal conversation with NE, in which he finally decided to break off any further contact.
Walker accepted that his behavior constituted a disciplinary violation that prompted termination of his employment.
The tribunal member said Walker had a conflict of interest in a police matter where NE is a suspect and his failure to disclose could undermine the investigation against NE.
« I am satisfied that Mr. Walker’s conduct was deliberate, not impartial, and in violation of the trust placed in him as a serving officer, » said the tribunal member.
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