Cops sue son of dead officer over Facebook post
TWO senior North Queensland police officers have launched legal action against the son of their dead colleague over a Facebook post, which they claim labelled them "corrupt".
Former Ayr Senior Sergeant Mick Isles disappeared 10 years ago while on duty, with a Coroner later ruling he committed suicide after his police vehicle was found abandoned in remote bushland - a ruling the family has disputed.
His son Steven is lobbying to have his father's name included on the Queensland Police Roll of Honour, and also launched a Facebook page entitled "Senior Sergeant Michael Isles' family aim for closure".
According to documents filed in the Cairns District Court, in a post allegedly made to the page in May, it named several former colleagues of his father and said the Queensland Police Service had "blood on their hands" over his death.
Two officers named in the post, retired Sen-Sgt Steven Szendrey and Det Sgt Gavin Neal, who still works in Ayr, have launched a $750,000 defamation claim against Mr Isles, alleging the post had damaged their "personal and professional reputation" and caused "hurt, distress and embarrassment".
Mr Isles, a justice of the peace and former NT police officer, said earlier this year his father suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of his police service, including being wrongfully targeted in a 2008 corruption investigation.
Sen-Sgt Isles, 58, was cleared of alleged misconduct on September 18, 2009 and exonerated of any wrongdoing by then-Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson.
The claim alleged Mr Isles posted on the social media site that Det Sgt Neal had been a "leak" in the Ayr station and that his father was "targeted" by him, former Assistant Commissioner Paul Wilson, Sen-Sgt Szendrey and a corrections officer.
"A story will be told and a book will demonstrate makings of the tense undertones in policing subculture in what he was subjected to," Mr Isles allegedly posted.
"There is much more to this and over the coming 12 months I will not be backing away."
Legal representatives for the two officers said in the claim the damages were sought to "vindicate" their reputations, compensate them for the "distress and embarrassment", reflect the large readership of the post, be enough to convince the public it was not true and "provide reparation for the damage to (their) reputations".
The claim said the two officers had penned a letter to Mr Isles early last month asking for the post to be removed, but this had not occurred.
A court date is yet to be set.