Ex-police chief Mick Fuller should have declared racehorses to NSW government, watchdog report says

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The NSW law enforcement watchdog has found former police commissioner Mick Fuller should have declared potential conflicts of interest when revealing he was a co-owner of racehorses.

The watchdog said the failure warranted criticism, especially given Fuller’s stance, but did not necessitate a finding of gross misconduct or any further action against him.

He also backed down from criticism from the ABC, which reported in February that Fuller, who had aspired to join the Racing NSW board, had failed to tell the state government about his horse ownership. race.

The Law Enforcement Conduct Commission (LECC) investigated and, about a month after the ABC’s report, cleared Fuller of any wrongdoing.

The investigation, dubbed Operation Kurumba, also heavily criticized the ABC for what it described as a malicious campaign against the commissioner as he sought appointment to the Racing NSW board.

But the watchdog has since reopened its investigation and issued a new report on Tuesday. The new investigation came after a complaint from the ABC about the sufficiency of the original investigation.

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The new LECC report says Fuller “should have completed potential and perceived conflict of interest declarations that disclosed his racehorse ownership.”

“Mr. Fuller’s ownership or co-ownership of racehorses should have been declared by him to give rise to a perceived or potential conflict of interest,” the report said.

“In approaching the matter as he has, Mr. Fuller appears to have considered the matter only with reference to an actual conflict of interest and his own assessment that it was a ‘hobby’.

“However, his subjective state of mind was not determinative. The conflict of interest test extends beyond that to the application of an objective test.

The LECC also withdrew its earlier criticism of the ABC.

“It is fair to say that criticism of one or more news outlets for publishing stories regarding Mr. Fuller in February 2022 was not necessary for the purposes of the Kurumba Report,” the report said.

The report shows Fuller verbally informed then-Police Minister David Elliott that he was part-owner of a racehorse. Fuller said he did so because of his high-profile position, not because of a political requirement.

Fuller told the commission that Elliott told him he was “entitled to a hobby.”

The new report says it would be ‘open to the Commissioner of Police to consider prohibiting the possession of racehorses by NSWPF officers of any rank’, although such action is left to discretion. NSW Police Force.

The LECC has formally recommended that the force’s conflict of interest policy be amended to define racing and gaming as a high-risk industry. The policy should also address the circumstances under which ownership of a racehorse should be permitted for officers and the restrictions attached thereto.

Fuller was part of a racehorse syndicate that purchased racehorse Mad Magic in June 2015.

The syndicate of 14 included NRL coach Ricky Stuart and businessman Mark Bouris. Fuller’s share in the horse was 5%.

The horse ran but in early 2017, before Fuller was appointed commissioner, he broke his leg and had to be put down.

He also had a 2% stake in another racehorse, Once Epona Time.

– with the PAA

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