As reported on Lateline.

On 28 February 2013 David asked the Minister for Police the following question in the house:


Mr DAVID SHOEBRIDGE: My question is directed to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. What action has the Minister taken, or will he be taking, to review the involvement of a New South Wales police officer from the Sex Crimes Squad who was placed on the Catholic Church’s New South Wales Professional Standards Resource Group, apparently to advise the church on the law and review its practices and investigations concerning clergy child sexual abuse? I remind the Minister of the criticism of this practice by the former Director of Public Prosecutions, Nicholas Cowdrey, who declared it was a conflict of interest and potentially gagging police, given they were not given the names of the victims or perpetrators.

The Hon. MICHAEL GALLACHER: I will take the question on notice.

The Minister’s response was received on the 30 April 2013.

On 28 February 2013 Mr David Shoebridge, MLC, ask the Minister for Police and Emergency Services a question without notice regarding the Catholic Church and child sexual abuse. I provide the following response:

The NSW Police Force has advised me:
The officer’s participation on this committee some eight years ago was supported by the NSW Police Force and the NSW Ombudsman as it was considered important that an organisation as large and complex as the Catholic Church had in place appropriate processes to respond to matters including serious allegations of child sexual assault.

The issue of a potential conflict of interest was considered and both police and the Ombudsman were satisfied that appropriate processes were in place to manage the risk. No conflict of interest arose during the time the officer participated in the Professional Standards Resource Group.

In accordance with privacy guidelines, it is common practice to suppress the names of individuals involved in cases when their identities are not necessary to the deliberations of a meeting. However, all other relevant information on the alleged perpetrator, including any previous complaints and whether their current position involved any practising ministry, for example, was provided to the meeting.

The exchange of information between the NSW Police Force and the Catholic Church in New South Wales occurred separately to the deliberations of the Professional Standards Resource Group. It is considered that the involvement of the officer was transparent, appropriate and in the best interests of all stakeholders.