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One of WA’s premier police officers will spend the next six months in prison after being found guilty of misusing the power he was trusted with.
Adrian Moore was a 28-year veteran of the WA police force. He was even nominated for the award of “Western Australian Police Officer of the Year” in 2011.
But in a dramatic fall from grace, the former senior constable has been sentenced to six months in prison after pleading to 180 charges of illegally accessing the state’s police database.
Mr Moore pleaded guilty in Perth Magistrates Court to accessing the personal information of 92 women he had met, or interacted with, on dating websites such as Tinder and Plenty of Fish.
Moore was found to have accessed the details of one-third of the women several times, and one of the women 13 times over a six-year period.
While his criminal defence lawyers submitted their client’s actions arose out of “curiosity”, Magistrate Mark Andrews found that illegally accessing personal details over a 12-year period amounted to a “gross and sustained breach of trust”. His Honour determined that a prison sentence was necessary in order to send a strong message that in this digital age, custodians of protected data simply “cannot access information for their own benefit”.
The Magistrate also imposed a $2,000 after the defendant pleaded guilty to possessing images of bestiality.
The officer’s offending came to light when a victim complained last year that he had information that could not be obtained other than through the secure database.
Moore is now at liberty to appeal against the severity of his sentence.
Improper use of police database
As recently reported, former Queensland police officer Neil Punchard has been charged with multiple computer hacking offences after unlawfully accessing that state’s police database to provide his “mate” with the new address of his former partner.
That “mate” had, among other things, threatened to kill his ex, strap bombs to her children and blow them up as “martyrs”.
An internal police investigation found that senior constable Punchard illegally accessed the QPrime police database and provided the woman’s new address to his mate. After he did so, he sent a text message to that friend saying “Just tell her you know where she lives and leave it at that. Lol. She will flip.”
The victim is now fighting the Queensland Police Service for compensation. That case is currently before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT), which will need to determine whether the QPS can be held responsible for the actions of one of its officers. This is after the tribunal found the officer cannot be held personally responsible for such privacy breaches.
The barrister for the QPS is arguing that the service cannot be responsible for the rogue actions of an officer. The woman is representing herself, as she cannot afford legal representation.
Mr Punchard’s criminal proceedings are currently going through Brisbane Magistrate’s Court.
The Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) has also re-opened investigations into the officer after allegations emerged during the QCAT hearing that a car belonging to his abusive mate had been transferred into the officer’s name at around the same time he accessed and provided him with his ex’s details.
Police originally tried to suppress this information, submitting that it had nothing to do with the victim’s compensation case. However, the CCC has acknowledged that it raises the possibility of corruption.