Victoria police finally has to admit fault

But they spent a lot of taxpayers' money trying to avoid doing so. It tells you a lot about their dishonest mentality. Note also their policy of not prosecuting Muslims. They are a parody of a police force

VICTORIA Police spent almost $300,000 of taxpayers' money on a failed attempt to beat an officer's complaint that he was called a "f---ing wog" by a superior.

Former senior sergeant Mario Benedetti, who last month won a bravery award for running into a burning house to save a sleeping couple, secretly taped the insults in 2008.

He said he would not have taken the matter further had he not been called a "wog" during a meeting with fellow officers. Mr Benedetti said even after he decided to take action, it could have been ended with an apology, averting the expensive 12-month legal stoush. "It's absurd that they spent that sort of money," he said.

Documents obtained by the Herald Sun under Freedom of Information show how police command continued to write big cheques before giving up and settling with Mr Benedetti, who quit the force earlier this year.

At the height of its spending, Victoria Police coughed up $85,000 in one month to defend four members against Mr Benedetti's claims there was a "sustained and systematic campaign to subject me to detriment on the basis of race, impairment, industrial activity and employment activity". Last November, police command told the Herald Sun it rejected Mr Benedetti's complaint and the allegations would be defended.

It was not the first time Mr Benedetti - the former officer-in-charge at Moonee Ponds police station - had stood up to top brass. In November 2008, he spoke out in anger after charges he laid against members of an out-of-control mob were quietly dropped, without consultation. He said at the time he suspected the charges might have been dumped because the youths set to face court were of north African descent. He said he was later investigated for speaking out.

Mr Benedetti was last month awarded the Royal Humane Society's highest honour for risking his life while off duty at a fire in Preston.

Police Association secretary Sen-Sgt Greg Davies said it was a shame the matter was allowed to drag on to such an expensive conclusion. "If you're going to settle something, it's good sense to do so before the matter runs out of control," he said.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said the force "recognises that litigation is expensive and can take time" and did everything it could to avoid that process. [Really???]


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