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Vic police force set for more shocking revela -

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TONY EASTLEY: More explosive evidence is expected at today's Office of Police Integrity hearing in
Melbourne.

Former assistant commissioner Noel Ashby, who was forced to resign last Friday, may be asked more
potentially damaging questions today.

Suspended police media chief, former Age reporter Steve Linnell is also expected to face close
scrutiny after allegedly lying and leaking secret information.

There's also speculation about the evidence to be given by the Police Association's Secretary, Paul
Mullett, who's been caught up in the secret investigation.

Alison Caldwell reports.

ALISON CALDWELL: Referred to by his mates in the force as "Fish", Police Union boss Senior Sergeant
Paul Mullett is expected to take the stand during the OPI's fourth day of sensational public
hearings.

In a secretly recorded phone conversation with police media boss, Steve Linnell, a relieved former
assistant commissioner Noel Ashby describes the union chief in less than flattering terms.

(excerpt of taped phone conversation)

NOEL ASHBY: And I'll deal with him... I'm sick of dealing... he's like... mate, I'm sick about it, I
thought, dealing with this c**t is like dealing with a criminal, it's like, it's difficult. Smelly.

STEVE LINNELL: (Laughs)

NOEL ASHBY: It is. And you've got to talk to him the way (beep), you know, you (beep) you do talk...

STEVE LINNELL: It's true.

NOEL ASHBY: But um...

STEVE LINNELL: Yeah, it's just handy to know what we know now, what you know now.

NOEL ASHBY: Yeah, absolutely. It's invaluable. And now I can just move on.

(end excerpt)

ALISON CALDWELL: Ashby and Mullett go way back to their time together with the now notorious and
since disbanded Armed Offenders Squad.

Forceful, confronting, bullying, the hearing was told Paul Mullett sees himself as being an equal
to none other than the Chief Commissioner of Police, Christine Nixon.

Powerful and paranoid, Noel Ashby told the hearing Paul Mullett thinks his house is bugged and he
gets his offices swept regularly. When you're with him, Mullett will walk past a tree and tap it
saying they're probably listening now, according to Noel Ashby.

Negotiating an enterprise bargaining agreement, Ashby says their dealings were mostly formal and
courteous, in order to maintain industrial harmony.

But in doing so Ashby appeared happy to provide Mullett with often sensitive and protected internal
information.

Here, they're talking about the appointment of the Police Minister's new chief of staff.

(excerpt of taped phone conversation)

NOEL ASHBY: Total abrasion of the separation of powers.

PAUL MULLETT: Think about your position, alright, but think also about what Macintosh might say.
'Cause it's only a matter of time before he finds out, unless you tell him.

NOEL ASHBY: Yeah. I think it's... That's one. She, she takes it head on, she's strongly supported it.

PAUL MULLETT: That's just...

NOEL ASHBY: Which she'll deny and say she had nothing to do, but she's (beep) strongly supported
Frilay (phonetic) and Overland.

ALISON CALDWELL: In another tapped phone call, Ashby tells police media chief Steve Linnell that
Paul Mullett will use the OPI hearing to tip a bucket on the force.

"He's going to come out with something that will rock them," he said, "and it will go back six,
eight months. There's a mass of stuff."

In the lead up to the OPI's hearings, Linnell and Ashby are recorded discussing tactics to
stonewall the hearings.

(excerpt of taped phone conversation)

NOEL ASHBY: You've got to be on your game the whole time and be thinking about what they ask and
what they've previously asked. And I'm OK with that.

STEVE LINNELL: Yeah. But the good thing is, if tapes come out, you've been talking to someone else,
they're not yours, and they're not mine and...

NOEL ASHBY: But I have a thousand conversations a day, so...

STEVE LINNELL: Yeah, exactly. And the answer is, "Look, I might've. I don't know, I can't
remember."

NOEL ASHBY: Hey - you may have.

(end excerpt)

TONY EASTLEY: The former assistant commissioner Noel Ashby secretly recorded there speaking with
the then police media chief Steve Linnell. Alison Caldwell reporting.