Wife-beating police officer fails to win job back

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Wife-beating police officer fails to win job back

A WA policeman who beat his estranged wife and denied the incidents in court has lost his bid for reinstatement.

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A WA policeman who beat his estranged wife and denied the incidents in court has lost his bid for reinstatement.

Nigel Beverly was removed from the police force after he provided misleading testimony under oath.

Background


In 2014, Mr Beverly had a domestic dispute with his wife, who is also a police officer, after a night of drinking. He allegedly punched her during the incident. Both were disciplined and Mr Beverly moved out of the family home.

In 2015, Mr Beverly allegedly hit his wife four times through a towel, and once more after she shoved him. Mrs Beverly was apparently bleeding on the bathroom floor before the final blow.

A restraining order was then issued, which Mr Beverly is said to have breached. He was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm and pleaded not guilty. An internal review was conducted and Mr Beverly was officially warned. 

False testimony


While on trial, Mr Beverly denied punching his wife, despite her documented black eye. He also asserted his wife had hit him during the first incident. The magistrate found Mr Beverly had lied about the events. As a result he was subjected to a ‘Loss of Confidence’ process by the police force.

Although Mr Beverly’s conduct was found to be objectionable, he had a positive work history over a 20-year period. Due to these mitigating factors, the decision to dismiss or retain Mr Beverly was at the discretion of the Commissioner. It was decided Mr Beverly be dismissed for lying under oath, a verdict he chose to appeal.

Justification for dismissal?


Section 29(1)(b)(i) of the Industrial Relations Act (1979) considers whether an employer used unnecessary harshness and/or abuse of power in a dismissal.

Section 33Q(4) of the Police Act (1982) takes similar factors into account. In this rule (b), the public interest is considered, as pertains to maintaining the integrity and public confidence in the police force.

Ruling


Mr Beverly’s dismissal was upheld in order to preserve the reputation of the police force.

The Commissioner of Police stated: “It is of great importance that the public confidence be maintained.

“Confidence in a member means, amongst other things, being able to rely on the member to give truthful testimony in court, and not having any case before a court undermined by tarnished testimony.”

Nigel Beverly -v- The Commissioner of Police [2017] WAIRC 270 (15 May 2017)

This article was written by Chloe Hava.
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