'Gross stupidity': Fresh investigation into Dean Laidley photo leak

Australian Associated Press
·2-min read
A 50/50 split image shows Victorian police commissioner Graham Ashton and former AFL coach Dean Laidley.
Victoria Police chief commissioner Graham Ashton was left furious after officers allegedly leaked pictures of former AFL coach Dean Laidley in police custody last week. Pictures: Getty Images

Victoria's corruption watchdog has announced an investigation into the leaking of photos of former AFL player and coach Dean Laidley as two more police officers were suspended over the matter.

The Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission has launched the investigation into the unauthorised disclosure of images of the 53-year-old former North Melbourne player as he was being interviewed at St Kilda police station a week ago.

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It came as Victoria Police announced the suspensions of two more officers over the leaked photos, bringing the total to four.

Victoria Police said the two male senior constables were also expected to be charged with misconduct.

The photos were Laidley's mug shot and one of him wearing a wig and dress as he was being interviewed by police after being arrested for stalking.

The IBAC investigation will examine cultural issues in Victoria Police.

Head of the IBAC investigation Robert Redlich QC said the probe would also look at "how they can build on their work with the LGBTIQ community and ensure their officers have proper regard to human rights".

"Addressing any such cultural issues and improving police training will be fundamental to ensuring this type of behaviour is simply not tolerated and doesn't happen again," he said.

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The probe will examine the number of officers involved in taking the photographs, the conduct of others present and how other officers who received the images responded.

It will also look at the alleged leaking to the media of the information from the police interview with Laidley, along with images from his mobile phone.

Victorian Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said earlier on Friday he was very angry when he heard about the leak and any officers involved would be disciplined.

He called the behaviour an "act of gross stupidity" which stole media attention from a funeral for one of the police officers killed in the Eastern freeway crash.

Deputy Police Commissioner Shane Patton said the dissemination of the pictures of Laidley in the station's interview room was an “appalling” act.

Laidley is expected to ask for bail during a court appearance on Monday.

He was arrested outside a St Kilda home on Saturday night and charged with offences including stalking.

The 1996 North Melbourne premiership player was remanded in custody after appearing in Melbourne Magistrates Court on Sunday.