EXCLUSIVE: Former police commissioner Terry Lewis describes life behind bars

Fallen former Queensland police commissioner Terry Lewis went from the man who once enforced the law to being left at the mercy of Australia’s toughest criminals.

In an exclusive interview with Seven News, Lewis has spoken out about allegations of corruption and forgery for the first time since his incarceration.

In August 1991, Queenslanders sent their Police Commissioner of 11 years to jail after the well-documented Tony Fitzgerald Inquiry exposed the state’s seedy underworld in the 1980s.

Now, at 87, Lewis says he was not aware of the ‘crooked cops’ and refused to accept he was a negligent commissioner.

“I don’t have remorse other than the adverse effect it’s had on me, my family and some other people,” he told Seven News.

When asked if he felt he owed the people of Queensland an apology he was quick to say no.

Lewis speaking with Kay McGrath

“I don’t believe I do. I did everything I thought was possible and if I knew what was going on I would have done something,” he said.

Lewis described how other prisoners reacted to the news he would be joining them.

“Most of the prisoners had radios and they’d heard the fact that I’d been sentenced to 14 years,” he said.

“The prisoners of course were really yelling out ‘wait until we get you… it was very obscene what they’d do to me when they got me.

“You’ve got 14 years, ‘we’ll get you’”.

In a personal diary, Lewis recorded warnings from prison intelligence officers to be on guard at all times.

“They said it would be a great achievement if some prisoners got me – If they could kill me they’d go to the top of the hit parade, if you like,” he said.

“Putting glass in food is a very popular thing to do, ground up glass of course”.

Terry Lewis. Photo: Seven News

He told Seven News he had never spoken about his time in jail before, not even to his own family.

“Did anyone ever have a go? Oh they threw a few things at me and it was mainly verbal threats, I said early on in the piece if I was attacked I wouldn’t give up lightly…I would defend myself to the death”.

Joining him on the inside at the same time was Brisbane’s Underworld boss Hector Hapeta – Also known as the godfather of Brisbane’s prostitution.

Despite diary entries between 1991-92 claiming Lewis had spoken to Hapeta at least than 18 times, he denied it when speaking to Seven.

“He spoke to me when he was passing where I worked in Wacol, I don’t think it could have been that many times…I’d never met him before in my life,” he said.

To this day Lewis maintains his innocence.

He was released on parole seven years into his sentence.

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