Crown claims Qld police leak was vendetta

Posted on 04/25/2020

Former Queensland Police officer Rick Flori will face court accused of misconduct. Former Queensland police officer Rick Flori is accused of leaking footage of a police beating.

Gold Coast policeman Rick Flori sought to discredit a rival after being overlooked for a promotion by leaking footage of a police bashing, his misconduct trial has heard.

Flori, 47, leaked the footage of a handcuffed man, Noa Begic, being kneed and punched in the basement of the Surfers Paradise police station in January 2012.

The former sergeant has pleaded not guilty to the charge of misconduct in relation to public office.

On the opening day of the trial at Southport District Court on Monday, crown prosecutor Todd Fuller alleged Flori’s motivation for leaking the footage was personally driven.

Mr Fuller said the police sergeant had told colleagues he was “particularly aggrieved” at being overlooked while another officer, David Joachim, had been promoted to senior sergeant.

Senior Sergeant Joachim, the duty district officer (DDO) at Surfers Paradise police station, was one of the officers shown on the footage leaked by Flori.

Mr Fuller said Flori’s motivation behind leaking the footage wasn’t to expose a culture of physical abuse within the Queensland police force but to discredit Snr Sgt Joachim.

The court heard that before the incident was caught on the footage, Flori had requested a review into Mr Joachim’s promotion.

Flori’s barrister Saul Holt QC said while the defence did not deny Flori leaked the footage, the suggestion the footage was dishonestly leaked as part of a personal vendetta against Mr Joachim was “nonsense”.

“There’s nothing corrupt, nothing dishonest, about allowing the public to see footage of a disgraceful police bashing,” Mr Holt said.

Mr Joachim, who retired from the police force in 2013, told the court he and Flori were not friends, and during his time as DDO Flori had been troublesome under his command.

During a lengthy cross-examination by Mr Holt, Mr Joachim repeatedly denied witnessing officers strike Mr Begic either at the time of the incident or when reviewing the footage later as part of an investigation.

Mr Holt then repeatedly played a section of footage where an officer can clearly be seen appearing to strike Mr Begic and asked him if he could see the strikes.

“No, sir. I could not,” Mr Joachim said.

Audio was also played from an interview between Mr Joachim and Ethical Standards Command officers in March 2012 about the Begic incident where he said the force used by officers was “proportionate”.

Mr Holt asked him if his evidence to ethical standards was “intentionally false” to protect his fellow officers.

“No, sir,” Mr Joachim said.

The trial will continue on Tuesday.