The son of former NSW premier Kristina Keneally felt anxious about being treated differently because of his mother’s job when he allegedly faked evidence that led to a man’s wrongful imprisonment, a court has heard.
Police allege Daniel John Keneally fabricated evidence in 2021 while he was working as a police officer in Sydney’s inner west.
The 24-year-old is accused of falsely claiming Luke Moore had threatened to kill a police officer during a phone call to Newtown Police Station in February.
The police officer was wearing a navy suit and white shirt when he appeared in Sydney Downing Centre Local Court on Monday to fight the allegations.
Mr Moore, who the court heard is the founder of website ISUEPolice, called the station to discuss illegal strip searches on February 24, 2021 and the constable answered.
The 24-year-old filed paperwork claiming Mr Moore had made threats about wanting a rural detective “dead”, “gone” and “off the planet” during the 12-minute call.
Mr Moore was subsequently charged and imprisoned for three weeks before the charges were dropped and the state issued an apology.
Constable Keneally was charged after the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission launched an investigation. He has pleaded not guilty to the charge of fabricating false evidence with the intent to mislead a judicial tribunal.
He told the court he believed Mr Moore had made death threats against the rural detective in the “rambling and incoherent” call.
However, the 24-year-old conceded the recording of the phone call did not contain any threats of violence or mention of the rural detective’s name.
His lawyer Paul McGirr argued he had made a mistake by conflating the phone call with the contents of the ISUEPolice website, which he was browsing while talking to Mr Moore.
Constable Keneally told Mr Moore his website was “quite interesting” during the call, but he told the court it had actually made him “stressed and extremely concerned”.
“I felt genuine concern for what was on the website and the nature of the phone call,” he said.
“I was concerned for the safety of the people mentioned on the website.”
The police officer told the court he had wrongly recalled Mr Moore making threats during the call, and said he had been distracted by the website and a police database search.
He said he made a mistake but maintains he did not purposefully fabricate the report in order to mislead a judicial tribunal.
“I believed what I wrote in the statement but there were aspects of what I wrote in which I wasn’t 100 per cent confident … if it came from the website or if it came from the phone call,” he said.
The 24-year-old told the court he had been stressed and experiencing “a constant feeling of anxiety” at his job when he wrote the report.
He said he had struggled with being treated differently by colleagues and the public because his mother is former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally.
Ms Keneally served as the first female Premier of NSW from 2009 to 2011 and as Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Australian Senate from 2019 to 2022.
Mr Keneally told the court he had informed his superiors about the phone call, he told the court he felt “pressured” to make an official report about Mr Moore.
His boss, Acting Sergeant Daniel Tileski, told the court Mr Keneally came into his office to tell him about the call, which the sergeant believed was from a “lunatic”.
Likewise, his colleague constable Jessica Riley told investigators in August 2021 that she believed the person on the call was “rambling” and it could be a hoax.
Constable Keneally will continue to give evidence on Tuesday for the second day of the hearing before Magistrate Rodney Brender.
He is currently suspended from the NSW Police with full pay.