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Qld's CMC accused of protecting police -

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Qld's CMC accused of protecting police

Nicole Butler reported this story on Thursday, November 26, 2009 12:36:00

ELEANOR HALL: As we've been hearing, the Queensland Government has been dealing with corruption
allegations for months.

Now the head of the state's corruption watchdog is being accused of impropriety.

But the chairman of the Crime and Misconduct Commission, Robert Needham, says the allegations
against him are false and he wants an inquiry into the matter.

In Brisbane, Nicole Butler reports.

NICOLE BUTLER: The allegations against Queensland's corruption watchdog - the Crime and Misconduct
Commission - were tabled in Federal Parliament last night. They were contained in a statutory
declaration read by Queensland MP Peter Lindsay.

PETER LINDSAY: The declaration reads "I Dr Christine Jane Eastwood do solemnly and sincerely
declare that one, on Friday the 14th of August 2009 at around 7pm, I and my husband met with Mr
Needham, chair of the Crime and Misconduct Commission in a hotel meeting room in Coolangatta.

Mr Needham was told I wanted to meet with him in relation to alleged serious criminal offences
potentially involving senior Queensland police."

NICOLE BUTLER: Mr Lindsay went on to read Dr Eastwood's claims that at their meeting Robert Needham
refused to act on her complaints against police officers.

PETER LINDSAY: "Needham intentionally, dishonestly and repeatedly misrepresented the law to me, for
example he told me if police committed serious crimes outside of work hours there is nothing he can
do about it.

When I asked if crimes of fraud forgery and uttering involving two or three police families and a
solicitor and manslaughter/murder could fall under the category of major crimes under the CMC Act
he appeared surprised I knew of the section and brushed me off by telling me that it usually only
applied to organised crime."

NICOLE BUTLER: In her declaration the criminology academic also says Mr Needham discouraged her
from taking her complaints to police.

PETER LINDSAY: "I was told that if we took the evidence we had gathered to the police they wouldn't
bother with it because they would find it too hard."

NICOLE BUTLER: The CMC chairman is outraged by the allegations. Mr Needham says he agreed to the
August meeting after being contacted by Dr Eastwood's husband - who's a magistrate he's known for
many years. But he says the evidence the couple presented didn't stack up.

ROBERT NEEDHAM: Really in many ways it's a sad situation - it arises out of obviously a very
acrimonious family dispute, both parents deceased and she wasn't informed of that.

Since that time they've formulated the idea that members of the family have murdered the mother and
that there's forgery of wills and all this sort of thing. And look, quite frankly, putting it
bluntly they were adding one and one and making 10.

NICOLE BUTLER: Mr Needham denies he tried to dissuade Dr Eastwood from taking her complaint to
police. He says he told her he couldn't conduct an investigation because there wasn't evidence to
substantiate her claims and because the matter didn't fall within the CMC's jurisdiction.

ROBERT NEEDHAM: What I did was to explain to her that it didn't come within our misconduct
jurisdiction that we have over police officers, because her allegations did not relate to their
work as police officers in any way and it doesn't come within our major crime jurisdiction.

NICOLE BUTLER: The Crime and Misconduct chair says he not only welcomes an investigation into the
allegations against him - he wants one.

ROBERT NEEDHAM: These sorts of allegations which are very easy to make of course, have the
potential to damage the credibility of the Crime and Misconduct Commission in the eyes of the
public and that's something of great concern to me.

ELEANOR HALL: Queensland's CMC chairman Robert Needham ending Nicole Butler's report.