Driving assessment

Victoria police swearing stupidity should have been identified, says ex-prosecutor

He added that it was also likely that Victoria Police would now be ordered to pay defense lawyers’ fees if the cases were adjourned at short notice. Some lawyers cost over $5,000 a day.


“Being a police officer is a huge and almighty responsibility because they are the only people who can legally deprive you of your liberty, and it is ultimately the responsibility of the police to get it right,” Mr Shaw said. .

“You would think they would have gone through the changes with a fine-toothed comb after the last time. Now we’re dealing with that seven years later; the same problem.

Lawyer Sean Hardy, who specializes in drunk driving cases, said more than 30 of his clients were among at least 100 cases affected by the delegation issue over a six-month period in 2015.

But that pales in comparison, he said, with the latest legal mess.

“Last time it was quite confined as it only mattered in cases where a person wanted to defend a drunk driving case. This last issue impacts every step a police officer takes. [who wasn’t properly sworn in] takes,” Mr. Hardy said. “In this case, it’s the power of being a policeman.”

Chief Commissioner Shane Patton and Minister of Police Lisa Neville detail the problem of officers sworn in error to the media on Thursday.Credit:wayne taylor

The latest mistake was already causing a ripple effect in the state justice system, Mr. Hardy said. He said two of his cases on Thursday were adjourned after learning of the administrative error on his way to the courthouse.

Other lawyers, he said, arrived at court completely oblivious.

“I had two cases adjourned yesterday because of this, and the police had to pay the costs,” Mr Hardy said.

“It will be supported by the public purse. [It’s] money that could be better spent elsewhere.

Recalling the drink-driving issue in 2015, lawyer Warwick Walsh-Buckley said similar legislation enacted would be needed this time around to ensure the legality of the actions of officers who have not taken the oath.

This last problem impacts every step of a police officer

Lawyer Sean Hardy

Although he predicted that some enthusiastic lawyers could try to use the error in the coming weeks to have their clients’ charges thrown out, it was unlikely that many would take advantage of it.

Asked about the 2015 administrative error which impacted some drug and alcohol tests, a Victoria Police spokeswoman said the organization believed it was a isolated issue at the time and that no further assessment had taken place.


They said that when the last delegation issue was identified in February 2021 during court preparations, Mr. Patton requested that the delegations be looked at further to understand the scope of the issue.

The police spokeswoman said she was confident the required legislative change would occur next month, with no continued ramifications for staff or their court cases.

‘Victoria Police are working closely with the government to solve the case,’ they said.

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