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Disgraced detective gives his side of crime c -

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LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Throughout the years of gang-land warfare that gripped Melbourne, there were few names as infamous as that of the disgraced one-time drug squad detective, Paul Dale. Dale was an associate of the former drug boss Carl Williams. He was bashed to death in jail in April 2010. At the height of his notoriety, dale himself was accused and charged over the double murder of a police informer and his wife who were gunned down in their Melbourne home. The charges were dropped after Williams, who was the chief witness against Dale, was killed in prison. Paul dale denies it all. He's written a book telling his side of the story and he granted his first television interview to reporter Louise Milligan, and a warning, this report contains some strong language.

LOUISE MILLIGAN, REPORTER: Disgraced, corrupt, a liar, a burglar with drug dealers and accused conspirator to murder. Paul Dale has had every insult and accusation thrown at him that a cop could cop. Paul Dale's a loaded term now.

PAUL DALE, FORMER VICTORIA POLICE DETECTIVE: Yeah. And that's right, I certainly find it difficult to be in public places. I've got the constant thought that you're being watched. The constant thought that you're being monitored, the constant fear of reprisals by criminals that believe I was that person.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: Paul Dale joined the force aged 19, cutting his teeth on the rough treat streets of Brunswick and later in major drugs investigation in the days when the likes of Carl Williams, Tony Mokbel and the Moran brothers ruled the Melbourne underworld crime scene.

PAUL DALE: I was a man, I guess, that was larger than life. When I was a very young detective sergeant running my own crime squad crew, was a very male dominated area and we prided ourselves on working hard and playing hard. I loved it, I lived it and I was successful at it.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: But all of that came horribly un stuck in 2003. The drug squad was planning a bust at this Oakley drug house. There was a break in, cash and drugs were stolen. Paul Dale's partner, David Miechel and a police informer named Terry Hodson was arrested at the scene. Terry Hodson claimed Paul Dale was also involved. Paul Dale was charged.

Did you have any role whatsoever in the Oakley burglary?

PAUL DALE: No role at all. No knowledge of it at all.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: While Dale was awaiting charges, the key witness against him, Terry Hodson, and his wife Christine, were murdered in their high security home in May 2004. Investigating police thought they must have known their killer.

CHARLIE BEZZINA, HERALD SUN & FORMER DETECTIVE: The fact that there was no forced entry, no signs of a struggle or violence, nothing smashed and no apparent entry from the rear, so clearly he or she let the killer in and that's indicative that he knew who the killer was.

MANDY HODSON, DAUGHTER: I peered in through one of the doors and I saw Dad lying on the floor with his arms like this. And then I saw my mum lying in the same position on the floor so I opened up the fly wire doors and then I realised.

NICKY KOMIAZYC, DAUGHTER: And the phone went and I answered it and Mandy's gone "Nicky, they're dead." I've gone "What?" She said, "They're dead, Mum and Dad are dead." It was surreal. It was really the most horrible, horrible experience that anybody should ever have to go through.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: Notorious underworld killer Carl Williams alleged in jail that Paul Dale had commissioned Hodson's murder. Paul Dale makes much of the fact that Williams was paid by Victoria Police for his testimony. Carl Williams was also later murdered in jail. Were you responsible in any way for the deaths of Terry and Christine Hodson?

PAUL DALE: Absolutely not and there's only ever been one person that said I was and that was Carl Williams.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: And also Andrew Hodson.

PAUL DALE: Yes, correct, Andrew Hodson said it from the start.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: Paul Dale claims that police should be looking at the Hodson's own son, Andrew, in relation to the couple's murder. Andrew is also a convicted criminal.

Nine years later 7:30 read the damning passages from the book to Andrew Hodson at his home.

ANDREW HODSON, SON: That's a load of crap. That is an absolute load of crap.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: Andrew Hodson says any suggestion that he had a role in the murders is insulting.

ANDREW HODSON: Have I made mistakes? Yes, I have. Have I paid for them? Yes, I have.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: Have you killed your parents or been involved?

ANDREW HODSON: No. No, emphatically no.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: And how do you feel given that you were the person who found your parent's bodies which, you know s a horrible thing for anybody child to be now subtly or otherwise accused of involvement in that?

ANDREW HODSON: How do I feel? I don't think I can put it into actual words.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: His plan now?

ANDREW HODSON: I will seek legal advice in regards to defamation.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: In fact, Andrew Hodson says he was so worried about what Paul Dale might do to Terry Hodson he offered to his father to kill Mr Dale.

ANDREW HODSON: I said to my father after he got pinched, after the burglary, I said it's simple, you set up a meeting between yourself and Dale at a park, wherever, wherever you want, and I will admit to this, I said, "I'll walk straight up behind him and just go pop pop". See you later, problem solved. I said, "Because you're fucked."

LOUISE MILLIGAN: He said you were so worried about your role in the burglary and he was so scared of you that he offered to his father to get you in a park and go, in his words "Pop pop".

PAUL DALE: So Andrew Hodson's on record as making a threat to kill me, is he? Andrew Hodson has never met me. Andrew Hodson has made a lot of allegations against me; Andrew Hodson is the person with the gun stashed down his pants, high on drugs. When you read my book you will see what Andrew Hodson did at his own parents' house when they were deceased in the lounge room and he locates the bodies. He does some bizarre...acts quite bizarrely...and someone that should be very, very closely focused upon as possible involvement in their deaths.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: There are some holes in Paul Dale's story. For example, his response to an accusation that he went to the drug squad office on the night of the burglary back in 2003 and got Terry Hodson's informer file. A file which then ended up in the hands of Hodson's criminal rivals. Paul Dale vehemently denies that accusation. But bizarrely he has two interpretations of events in the book.

You say that on the day of the burglary, you say on page two "My superintendent was on duty at the office at the time as were a number of other cops, none of whom reported seeing me."

So you say that you didn't go into the office on the day of the burglary...but then that story changes on page six where you say at the drug squad you meet the bosses who are on duty. I was a bit confused about that.

PAUL DALE: Sorry, there's obviously an error in the book there. So yes, I went to the office, absolutely.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: So if there's an error in the book how is there an error in the book that you wrote? I don't understand. I don't really understand how that can happen.

PAUL DALE: Look, I'm not sure. I'm no professional book writer, by the way.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: Paul Dale is now running a drilling business in regional Victoria.

Over a decade he's been charged with the burglary but the charges were dropped after Terry Hodson died. Charges were laid and dropped over the murder of the Hodsons and a jury acquitted him of charges of lying to the Australian Crime Commission over his relationship with Carl Williams. Dale says the people who have given evidence about him are nothing but a rogue's gallery.

PAUL DALE: There was not one single witness that didn't have a criminal history as long as your arm, didn't have a motivation and a very strong motivation to lie.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: But there was another witness against Paul Dale, former lawyer Nicola Gobbo, once the barrister of choice for the Melbourne crime scene. Ms Gobbo had become more than just a lawyer to Paul Dale, but she later agreed to wear a wire for Victoria Police to attempt to get Dale on tape incriminating himself. And she was paid.

She presented as a very frightened woman and who else might be a threat to her if not you?

PAUL DALE: Again, Nicola Gobbo was representing not just Victoria but some of Australia's most dangerous criminals and she was helping me but then she went and wears a wire.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: That's when...

PAUL DALE: She's become a police informer. She's become a tool for Victoria Police. I'm definitely not a threat to her in a dangerous, homicidal, threatening way.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: Rather than being a beneficiary of the Hodson murders, Paul Dale maintains they have ruined his life.

PAUL DALE: It did not help me. I would much rather this. I would not be sitting here now if Terence Hodson got to court, gave his evidence against me, would have been shown to be a pack of lies.

LOUISE MILLIGAN: So do you think you will ever not be Paul Dale, disgraced cop?

PAUL DALE: No, no, I'm never going to beat that. That's right. I mean I'm stuck with that tag now.