A Victoria police officer found guilty of assault, following Operation Ross, an IBAC investigation into allegations of excessive use of force by certain officers at Ballarat police station was sentenced on the 22nd of February in the Ballarat County Court.
Senior Constable Steven Repac received a 12 month good behaviour bond, with no conviction recorded.
IBAC’s investigation exposed serious police misconduct at Ballarat police station, and found Victoria Police missed opportunities to deal with ongoing, systemic issues at the station. Operation Ross commenced in March 2015 after IBAC received CCTV footage from Victoria Police showing the alleged mistreatment of a woman in custody in the cells of the Ballarat police station in January 2015.
IBAC Commissioner The Honourable Robert Redlich QC said the community rightly expects police officers to perform their duties and exercise their significant powers fairly, impartially and in accordance with the law.
“Operation Ross exposed serious deficiencies in the way this particular incident was handled, as well as concerns about the duty of care afforded to other vulnerable people at the police station,” Mr Redlich said.
IBAC’s investigation also found serious shortcomings in Victoria Police policies and practices including oversight regarding promotions, interventions when an officer has multiple complaints, and compliance with the strip search policy and the Charter of Human Rights, and made recommendations to Victoria Police to address these issues.
As a result of IBAC’s investigation, two police officers were charged in relation to the mistreatment of the woman. Following a trial which concluded last year, a jury found Senior Constable Repac guilty of one count of assault, but were unable to reach a verdict on the remaining charges against him, or the charge against the other officer.
As part of IBAC’s investigation, public hearings were held in Ballarat in May 2016, and a special report was tabled before Parliament in November 2016. Victoria Police’s progress report on IBAC’s recommendations is available on our website. Their final response will be shared on our website when it is available.
To report public sector corruption or police misconduct now, visit www.ibac.vic.gov.au/report or call 1300 735 135.