Cop could be jailed over Laidley leak

 

A Senior Constable has been stood down over the leaking of photos of former AFL coach Dean Laidley.

Earlier today Victoria Police confirmed an investigation had been launched after pictures showing Laidley in police custody were leaked.

Deputy Commissioner of Victoria Police Shane Patton said at a press conference the leak was "appalling" and "unacceptable", calling it "unlawful and criminal conduct".

Mr Patton confirmed a male officer from the Southern Metropolitan Region was interviewed in regards to criminal conduct over the "unauthorised disclosure of information". He is expected to be charged on summons and may face up to two years jail and nearly $40,000 in fines.

He will also be the subject of internal disciplinary action.

Mr Patton said the photos may have been leaked to up to six other people and the investigation will continue to find out how the images were disseminated and ended up in public.

One photo shows Laidley wearing a black dress and a blonde wig, while a second photo of a computer screen allegedly shows Laidley's official mug shot.

Victoria Police is furious photos of Dean Laidley were leaked.
Victoria Police is furious photos of Dean Laidley were leaked.

Laidley will remain in custody until his court appearance on May 11 following his arrest on Saturday night.

The North Melbourne premiership player has been remanded in custody on stalking and other charges.

The former Kangaroos coach faced Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Sunday.

The 53-year-old was arrested on Saturday night after an alleged incident outside a home in St Kilda about 9pm, police said in a statement.

Police Minister Lisa Neville described the leak of the photos as "completely unacceptable".

"It was an idiotic thing to do, it's an unacceptable thing to do," she told reporters, noting the investigation was "well and truly underway".

"Fast action will be taken I think over that issue this afternoon."

But Ms Neville dismissed concerns the taking and leaking of the photos had transphobic overtones.

"I think this had much more to do about football than it did about anything else, but let the investigation go on," she said.

The leaked images led to Laidley's lawyers earlier calling for an official internal investigation.

Alleged police mug shot of Dean Laidley
Alleged police mug shot of Dean Laidley

Police responded on Monday morning with a statement confirming the Professional Standards Command will investigate the matter.

"Victoria police understand the community concern surrounding images that were released of a person inside a police station over the weekend," the statement read.

"The community can be assured that we share these concerns and are taking the matter extremely seriously.

"This is one of the most significant breaches of a person's privacy and Victoria Police will not tolerate this sort of behaviour.

"Professional Standards Command has commenced a thorough investigation and will be looking into all aspects of the matter."

Laidley's lawyer, Dee Giannopolous from Doogue and George earlier posted on Twitter: "Outraged that pictures of my client, taken by some police officer, on the sly, when in custody in interview have hit the media. Typical".

Her colleague Bill Doogue called for a formal investigation into the leak.

"Police should investigate and those involved pull down immediately," the defence lawyer posted.

Twitter picture allegedly of Dean Laidley after his arrest.
Twitter picture allegedly of Dean Laidley after his arrest.

"Disgraceful. Taking photos unlawfully and sharing them. And these were sneaky photos while in Police interview in Police Station by a Police Officer."

Victoria's leading civil liberties advocate on Sunday labelled the leaking of the photos "unacceptable".

"The images circulating of a high-profile arrest today are deplorable breach of privacy," Liberty Victoria posted in a tweet.

"The transphobic overtones only serve to make the breach even more egregious.

"Not good enough @VictoriaPolice: we are watching.

"Please deal with this unacceptable incident swiftly & properly."

Former AFL agent Ricky Nixon, who says he managed Laidley for 15 years, posted on Twitter on Sunday it was a "bloody disgrace" that photos of Laidley were leaked.

Victoria Police earlier released a statement on Sunday evening confirming the arrest.

"Police arrested a 53-year-old man on Saturday 2 May in relation to an incident outside (an) address in St Kilda about 9pm," the statement read.

Dean Laidley remains in custody.
Dean Laidley remains in custody.

 

"He was charged with stalking and other matters.

"The Moonee Ponds man was held over to appear before Melbourne Magistrates' Court today, Sunday 3 May.

"He was remanded to appear at the same court on 11 May.

"As the matter is before the court it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time."

Laidley played 151 games for West Coast and North Melbourne. He coached the Kangaroos for six and a half seasons.

- with AAP



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