Questions top cops won’t answer on trial of troubled officer

 

POLICE leadership have dodged questions about why a public nuisance charge against an officer deemed to be "in crisis" was allowed to go to trial.

The charge against Senior Constable James Treanor was dropped four hours into the trial in the Southport Magistrates Court on Monday.

It has been estimated it would have costs taxpayers at least $10,000 to get to trial.

Sen Const Treanor had been accused of public nuisance on March 20 last year after a car park tirade following a mental health breakfast at the Broadbeach Bowls Club.

He had approached Assistant Commissioner Brian Wilkins to talk about an "employment issue" and was told to leave. He left and outside threatened to "blow his brains out" in an expletive-laden rant.

The 43-year-old had made bullying complaints internally about senior police. He has since taken those to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.

Police officer Senior Constable James Treanor, on trial for a public nuisance, arrives at Southport Court. Picture Glenn Hampson
Police officer Senior Constable James Treanor, on trial for a public nuisance, arrives at Southport Court. Picture Glenn Hampson


The Gold Coast Bulletin sent questions to Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll on Tuesday but a police media spokesman said they were referred to the Ethical Standards Command.

A spokesman said: "As an Ethical Standards Command investigation into the actions of the senior constable is continuing, it would be inappropriate to provide further comment.

"The investigation has found no wrongdoing or inappropriate conduct by any senior police.

"The Queensland Police Service (QPS) supports a safe working environment free from bullying, unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment. The QPS vision is to create a thriving workplace that promotes mental health and wellbeing where all employees realise their full potential."

Police officer Senior Constable James Treanor, on trial for a public nuisance, arrives at Southport Court. Picture Glenn Hampson
Police officer Senior Constable James Treanor, on trial for a public nuisance, arrives at Southport Court. Picture Glenn Hampson


A number of questions the Gold Coast Bulletin asked remained unanswered, including:

* Is the Commissioner supportive of how senior officers, including Assistant Commissioner Wilkins, reacted to an officer who was having mental health issues? Why/why not?

* Was the matter pursued in response to Sen Const Treanor's complaints about bullying by senior officers?

* Is the Commissioner concerned the charges may have been pursued in retaliation? Why/why not?

* Assistant Commissioner Wilkins declined to talk to an officer about mental health issues at a mental health breakfast. What is being done to ensure that all senior officers are adequately supporting officers suffering mental health episodes?

* Is the Commissioner concerned that charges were laid against someone who was clearly suffering a "crisis" and a "welfare issue"? Why/why not?

* Lawyers have said the incident could have been adequately dealt with through police disciplinary procedures rather than laying charges. What is the Commissioner's response to this?

Gold Coast's top cop Assistant Commissioner Wilkins declined to comment on the incident on Tuesday, saying he was "only a witness".

He was the one who ordered a report be made to the Ethical Standards Command who eventually laid the charges.

The two officers who witnessed the incident both told the court they believed Senior Const Treanor was "in crisis" and having a "welfare issue".

Criminal lawyers told the Bulletin on Tuesday it would have cost taxpayers at least $10,000 for the matter to go to trial.

The cost was likely higher when it was considered the city's top cop spent almost three hours at the courthouse.

The lawyers were baffled about why the matter was pursued given the mental health concerns.

"I thought it was a sad reflection on police leadership," one lawyer said.

Sen Const Treanor has been stood down for at least a year and still faces internal disciplinary procedures.

Originally published as Questions top cops won't answer about trial of troubled officer