AFP accused of hushing internal threats in new case
A crash investigator is suing the Australian Federal Police for compensation over the trauma she claims to have suffered in having to face a fellow officer who had been deemed a physical threat.
Kylie Walls, a veteran cop of 20 years, is taking legal action for compensation for PTSD in a mysterious case the AFP doesn't want the public to know about.
Australia's only national police force has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep secret the legal battle, according to Ms Walls, including asking for pseudonyms to be used in the court for everyone including the AFP.
"I am an unpaid cop with PTSD who attended car crashes. I did not undertake national security work or anything that requires this level of suppression," said Ms Walls.
The case of Ms Walls has not only exposed internal battles, secret agreements, and threats allegedly made by a serving police officer, it has embroiled a former commissioner and exposed the bizarre tactics the AFP which has tried to hush it all up.
Accusations of withholding documents, providing false or misleading information, redacting information and trying to close down the whole hearing, have dominated the case which has ended up in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).
The trouble in this case stretches back eight years to when Ms Walls' husband, also a police officer, made allegations about a colleague using excessive force while arresting a member of the public.
The officer discovered who made the complaint against him, and Mr Walls was told the officer was potential threat to him and his family.
As a result of the warning Ms Walls became cautious at home and at work.
The officer, whose identity has been suppressed in the case, had a history of complaints against him for excessive force and was subsequently told he was to be terminated. He fought a long and costly battle in the Federal Court against his flagged dismissal and lost. The court backed the AFP's decision and the AFP then won a costs order against the officer.
Mr Walls was then told the officer and one of his relatives had threatened to reveal the dirt on people in the AFP if he was sacked. Mr Walls was even asked by superiors if he knew what the "dirt" might be?
But then an independent review of his case was ordered by the then AFP Commissioner Tony Negus.
The details of the review were kept secret, but resulted in the officer being "lawfully" reinstated to the AFP with a demotion in a secret deed of settlement.
Ms Walls was traumatised by attending fatal car crashes but also by coming face-to-face with the officer, when he was back at work and armed with a police gun, leaving her feeling sick and shaken.
When she spoke out about the case of her husband and how he had been bullied and harassed and victimised after making the complaint, she too became the target of a police internal affairs investigation. That investigation was stopped by former Commissioner Andrew Colvin when it became publicly known.
While the false allegations made against Ms Walls in that professional standards investigation have ended up in the compensation hearing, the name of the two people who made the false complaints has been kept secret.
The AFP have argued the redacted information could only be released if the whole case was kept under wraps with pseudonyms used for everyone involved - including the AFP - and the outcome also being kept secret.
"The AFP has failed to provide even the most basic information. The AFP has now failed to provide information in three separate lawful requests," said Ms Walls.
Ms Walls has written to the new Commissioner Reece Kershaw complaining that her treatment "flies in the face of any new age of transparency".
An AFP spokesman said they were unable to comment due to privacy reasons and the ongoing legal action.
Originally published as AFP accused of hushing internal threats in new case