Senior QPS Detective disciplined after losing gang-rape evidence
Senior QPS Detective disciplined after losing gang-rape evidence

Senior cop disciplined after losing gang-rape evidence

A senior police Detective has been disciplined by the Queensland Police Service after an internal police report showed he allowed evidence from a gang-rape investigation, including the victim's dress and underwear, to go missing.

According to the ABC, disciplinary action has been taken against Detective senior sergeant Chris Fenelon after an investigation into a gang rape from 1995 was dealt with inappropriately.

An internal police report shows Detective senior sergeant Chris Fenelon, who the ABC say was taken off the case in 2019 after there had been no charges in relation to the alleged incident, had lost the victim's dress and underwear, as well as a roll of film.

The police report also outlined a rape kit, which included a number of swabs and fingernail samples, was destroyed some years after the gang-rape allegations were put to police.

Last month, following an internal investigation into the actions of snr sgnt Fenelon, Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Gollschewski wrote to the victim's lawyers stating the matter had been "finalised and disciplinary action taken", however, would not reveal what action had been taken, "including findings and reasons on liability or sanction," citing "confidentiality and privacy."

Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski wrote to the victim’s lawyers. Picture: Dan Peled
Queensland Police Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski wrote to the victim’s lawyers. Picture: Dan Peled

The woman's lawyers have questioned police's silence, stating she should be informed of the disciplinary action taken, while also urging the CCC to investigate further.

"Any confidentiality and privacy considerations can operate only in respect to and to the benefit of our client," the lawyers said.

The lawyers urged the CCC to "direct the QPS to release its findings and provide details of the findings and disciplinary action taken".

In response, the CCC stated that the QPS was only partially compliant with the Crime and Corruption Act.

"We agree the [Act] requires and gives QPS the legislative power to disclose details of the actual sanction imposed … and why this action was appropriate in the given circumstances," the CCC told the lawyers this week.

"An objective reading of [Mr Gollschewski's] letter indicates it is only partially compliant with the requirements of [the Act], as it is not addressing the reasons for the action that was taken."

While this morning, QPS Commissioner Katarina Carroll stated the victim would be alerted to what action was taken, and cited the lack of transparency was due to a miscommunication.

"She definitely has the right to get the outcome of that investigation … That was always the intention that would happen, and it will happen," Commissioner Carroll said.

Originally published as Senior cop disciplined after losing gang-rape evidence