'More than 100 officers': Full extent of Dean Laidley photo leak emerges

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor
Dean Laidley looks on after a North Melbourne game in 2005. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

There are new reports the leaked photos of Dean Laidley could have been sent to over 100 police officers as an investigation into the scandal is widened.

Two senior Victorian constables have been suspended so far over the leaked pictures of the former AFL player and coach inside a Melbourne police station.

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A second officer was suspended on Tuesday and is likely to be charged with accessing police information without authorisation, which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison or $40,000 in fines.

The first Victorian police officer accused of sharing the photos was suspended with pay on Monday and is expected to face the same charge.

Deputy Police Commissioner Shane Patton said on Monday that six police officers were sent the photos via WhatsApp and they could face charges if it's found they disseminated them further.

However new reports claim the number of officers sent the photos is much higher.

“The sheer number of officers who were sent the images is a headache for force command as they try to work out how many should be reprimanded,” the Herald Sun is reporting.

“The Herald Sun understands more than one hundred officers were sent the photos.”

The Herald says officers were sent the photos in large WhatsApp groups and online footy forums.

Victoria Police have reportedly told anyone who was sent the the photos to delete them and explain how they saw them.

According to The Age, around 50 officers have already come forward to say they were sent the photos.

“Many of those 50 have come forward to assist the investigation and tick themselves off as part of the process, and were not sent the photos directly from the original source,” The Age reports.

Police chief slams officers’ ‘appalling’ act

Mr Patton said the dissemination of the pictures of Laidley in the station's interview room was an ‘appalling” act.

The 53-year-old was photographed wearing a long blonde wig and a dress after his arrest outside a home in St Kilda on Saturday night.

Laidley is facing stalking and other charges, and remains in custody until May 11 after not applying for bail.

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights said the behaviour of the officers who distributed the photos was alarming and it was concerning certain media outlets decided to publish the images.

The group said this was an opportunity for Victoria Police to further support the trans and gender diverse community.

Dean Laidley speaks with his assistant Darren Crocker in 2009. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

“The act of a police officer secretly taking a photograph of an accused person while the person is in custody is extremely dangerous,” ALHR President Kerry Weste said in a statement.

“It damages trust and confidence in the Victoria Police and it damages the community's faith in the rule of law.”

Laidley played 151 AFL games from 1987-97 and was an inaugural player at West Coast before joining North in 1993.

He played 99 games at Arden St, including their 1996 premiership before he succeeded Denis Pagan as North Melbourne coach in 2003.

In 149 games, he led them to the finals three times before resigning during the 2009 season.

He then had assistant coaching roles at three AFL clubs until 2015 and is currently coach of Melbourne suburban club Maribyrnong Park.

with AAP