Victoria Police have charged a senior detective with misconduct in public office after unauthorised photos of former AFL coach Dani Laidley inside a police station were leaked and widely shared online.
Last month, Laidley pleaded guilty to offences related to stalking after repeatedly calling a woman and sitting in a car outside her home. Laidley avoided a fine or jail time and the judge put her on an adjourned undertaking of 18 months good behaviour.
At the time, Dani Laidley’s lawyer told the court the 53-year-old has undergone a gender transition and identifies as female.
Back in May, after Laidley was arrested, two photographs of her wearing a wig, makeup and a dress inside a police station were leaked and widely shared on social media.
The Herald Sun and West Australian newspapers also published the photos of on their front pages the next day.
At the time, Laidley’s gender transition was not publicly known. Victoria Police subsequently announced a major investigation into the “unacceptable and appalling” breach.
On Wednesday, the force announced they had charged a detective leading senior constable over the leak.
The officer is accused of one count of unauthorised access of police information, four counts of unauthorised disclosure of police information and one count of misconduct in public office.
He remains suspended and will face the Melbourne Magistrates Court next March.
Others face potential criminal action for photo leak
Additionally, three people, including two police officers and one police custody officer, remain suspended and face potential criminal action.
Forty-six people, including 39 police officers and seven public servants, will face internal disciplinary action.
Victoria Police also cleared a further 224 employees after the internal investigation.
“The investigation into these serious acts of misconduct remains ongoing,” a spokesperson said.
“Due to the number of Victoria Police employees who received or forwarded the images, as well as those who shared the social media posts, the investigation has taken longer than originally expected.
“Victoria Police has so far interviewed around 274 Victoria Police employees, with further enquiries still outstanding.”
Victoria Police slammed photo leak as ‘unacceptable breach of privacy’
Back in May, Victoria Police deputy Commissioner Shane Patton said he was “appalled” an employee took the unauthorised photos.
“It’s unacceptable, appalling conduct and and it has no place in our organisation,” Patton said.
“It breaches a person’s privacy. It breaches their human rights.
“We’re taking this matter extremely seriously.”
Victoria’s LGBTIQ Legal Service warned the “appalling privacy breach” could spark further community distrust of police.
“Such disregard speaks to deep transphobia that still exists within some elements of the Victoria Police,” a spokesperson said.
“Our trans and gender diverse clients routinely report a lack of trust in Victoria Police. This incident serves to show why.”