Victoria Police officer face charges on wrongful warrants

(Joe Mastroianni).

Oliver Lees/AAP

Two senior Victoria Police officers, including one with extensive experience working in the western region, have been charged and four others suspended while being investigated for allegedly lying to obtain search warrants.

Two children were among the 15 people subject to the suspicious affidavits and 12 of the matters have already been finalised by the courts.

Concerns were raised within Victoria Police and the matter, concerning seven affidavits for search warrants on 12 properties between June 2018 and August 2020, was sent to Professional Standards Command.

Victoria Police issued a media release in October 2021 when charges were laid against a 49-year-old and a 51-year-old, but with little detail about why.

On Tuesday, the force confirmed the charges related to false information on affidavits and that the 51-year-old man charged was in fact a part of Professional Standards Command – the unit designed to hold officers to account.

He was charged with four offences including conspiracy to access police information, conspiracy to commit misconduct in public office, attempting to access police information and attempting to commit misconduct in public office.

The 49-year-old male sergeant was charged with 87 offences including misconduct in public office, incite a person to access police information, incite a person to commit misconduct in public office, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, attempt to pervert the course of justice, perjury, intimidation or reprisals relating to witnesses and create false document.

An unspecified number of other officers have been interviewed and four have been suspended while the investigation continues.

“While any allegation of falsified affidavits is completely unacceptable, it is pleasing to see the issue was raised internally for investigation,” the force said in a statement.

The force has started to inform the 15 people impacted by the allegedly falsified affidavits.

Two people were still before the courts and one was subject to an outstanding warrant, resulting in the charges and warrant being immediately withdrawn.

Of the remaining 12 people who already had their cases finalised, two matters were dealt with via diversion through the Children’s Court.

For the remaining 10 matters, Victoria Police has received legal advice from the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office and communicated the issue to the Office of Public Prosecutions and disclosure to the people and their lawyers is underway.

Among those 10, one person served a four-month prison sentence.

Professional Standards Command is still investigating and the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission has been notified.