Wednesday, April 21, 1999

New South Wales: former detective gives evidence at Police Integrity Commission

MARK COLVIN:  No name is more associated in the public mind with New South Wales police corruption than the former detective, Roger Rogerson. Now, there are allegations that 15 years after leaving the force, the man who used to be friends with some of Sydney's most notorious criminals is still involved in a protection racket. Roger Rogerson vehemently denied the allegations at the Police Integrity Commission today. He branded the commission a star chamber and unleashed his fury on the media.

Rafael Epstein reports – and I should say that some people may find some of the language used disturbing.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN:  The former detective was clearly unhappy to be back before any inquiry. He told the security guard to, 'Get a fucking real job and don't fucking touch me.' As the guard ran a metal detector over him, Roger Rogerson said the guard would, 'be done for'. Later he personally insulted two journalists for their coverage of corrupt cops. One of his friends shouldered aside a TV cameraman and Mr Rogerson shouted out that the commission itself was 'bullshit' and a 'fucking joke'. The invective even flowed from the witness box when he described the Police Integrity Commission as a star chamber and a kangaroo court. On the street, before the cameras, he was more diplomatic when he spoke to ABC reporter, Lindy Kerrin(?).

ROGER ROGERSON:  Oh, they just love using my name. They think, you know, you just make all this stuff up.

LINDY KERRIN: But what can they get out of that?

ROGER ROGERSON:  They just hate me. They just hate me. I am a thorn in their side because, you know, I can stand up to them. I am not frightened of them. I am not frightened of the police because they don't do anything anyhow.

RAFAEL EPSTEIN:  No police identity is more associated, in the public mind, with corruption then Roger Rogerson. Once awarded the force's highest service medal, he was present at the shooting deaths of four criminals by police and was an associate of Arthur 'Neddy' Smith. He also knew and frequently met with the late Sydney crime boss, Lennie McPherson and with the now missing and believed killed hit-man, Christopher Dale Flannery. He was charged and acquitted with conspiracy to murder another detective and he was thrown out of the force in disgrace for associating with known criminals.

The current commission, the permanent creation of the Royal Commission into Police Corruption, has ended many police careers. But if its sensational allegations were proved true, it would mean Roger Rogerson is still involved in criminal activities and potentially with corrupt cops, less than six months ago – more than 15 years since he was last on active duty.

The central allegation is that Roger Rogerson was being paid by another one-time associate of Lennie McPherson's, to provide protection for a strip club and alleged brothel business in Central Sydney. The commission today, played a video tape of Mr Rogerson receiving money from a man called Alan Chrara the then manager of the city strip club. While Roger Rogerson said the money was pay-back for a $20,000 personal loan to a long-time friend, he couldn't remember the rate of interest or when the loan was finally paid off, something counsel assisting the commission called 'not very prudent business practice'. Counsel asked Mr Rogerson if he was in fact being paid protection money. He replied, 'How could I protect him? What senior police officer would accept money from Roger Rogerson?'

MARK COLVIN:  Rafael Epstein reporting.