Ex-cop denies work Christmas party groping

·2-min read

After she was allegedly groped by a colleague at a work Christmas party, a former Victoria Police officer was pressured to take her accused attacker home.

Michael Lamb, a retired police sergeant, denies indecently assaulting the woman, who was then a more junior senior constable, at the party in December 2009.

The pair and other police colleagues from Hastings Police Station had been on a four-hour all-inclusive cruise before deciding to continue celebrations at the Somerville Hotel.

The woman and Lamb, then 43, sat on a table next to each other.

At some point in the evening Lamb put her hand between the split of her dress and squeezed her right upper thigh, prosecutor Bruce Nibbs told the opening day of Lamb's County Court trial on Monday.

She pushed his hand away and Lamb later repeated the action, putting his hand higher up her leg, the jury heard.

Mr Nibbs said the woman pushed Lamb's hand away again and told him "don't" in a firm voice.

"She made it clear she didn't want any of this from Mr Lamb," he said.

Lamb again put his hand on her right leg and rubbed his fingers on the inside of her upper thigh, just below her underwear, Mr Nibbs said.

"(Her) reaction was to grab the hand and tell him to 'f*** off'," he said.

The woman felt nervous, uncomfortable, intimidated and scared about what had happened and went to speak to security and another police officer.

She allegedly told her partner later that Lamb had demanded to be driven home.

Mr Nibbs said witnesses would allege Lamb had appeared "miffed" about being dropped off first and seemed to want to be driven home last.

Three other police were also in the car with Lamb and the woman.

A security guard insisted that she take other police members in the car too, to ensure nothing would happen, Mr Nibbs said.

Lamb's barrister Geoffrey Steward said Lamb denied doing what was alleged, and had pleaded not guilty.

"Secondly, an issue in the trial - a really big issue in the trial - is what you make of (the woman) and whether she's a truthful, reliable and accurate witness, or none of those things," he said.

Mr Steward said the security guard had been described as a knight in shining armour who had rescued the woman.

The man, who will give evidence, remembered that night and in particular the woman's long dress with the slits on either side.

"We, as the defence, don't give two hoots about the dress or how revealing or otherwise it was, but he remembers the dress," Mr Steward said.

"But he also doesn't remember there being an incident at all."

The trial continues.