Victorian Judge: Oppresive Conduct by Police

Judge Julian Leckie decided that conduct of police investigators was “oppressive” when they threatened to charge the mother of a suspect unless he confessed. The Judge found that such conduct influenced Matwali Chaouk and admissions he made in a police interview were therefore inadmissable at his trial.

In a ruling this week in the County Court, Judge Leckie relied on a case law that stated ”oppressive conduct can encompass mental and psychological pressure”. He also expressed ”considerable disquiet” about ”surprising” deficiencies in the police investigation for which he felt no satisfactory explanation had been provided.

Following the ruling, prosecutor Michael Hennessy announced the Crown would not lead any evidence, which required Judge Leckie to direct entries of not guilty be recorded.

It was revealed in pretrial evidence that since the raid, the original informant, Detective Paul Allen, had not fully investigated or taken action on the Chaouks and many other files.

Health issues have forced the suspension of an internal police investigation into him.

Chaouk said police told him that unless he said the items were his they would charge his mother – which he did, but told Judge Leckie that admission was false. Police denied this allegation.

He said in evidence he felt under duress, that he thought his mother was a ”hostage” and police were going to charge her with ”everything”.

Full story here.