Pause in case against cop accused of leaks

·2-min read

A magistrate has paused a case against a Victorian policeman accused of leaking information about an anti-corruption probe until after Melbourne's COVID-19 lockdown lifts.

Commander Stuart Bateson faces three charges of disclosing to a junior officer restricted information that was the subject of an Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission hearing in 2018.

It was examining claims of improper influence in an internal police investigation looking at alleged harassment and predatory behaviour within the force.

Bateson allegedly discussed what he was questioned about by IBAC, as well as information relating to other officers under investigation, with a junior counterpart.

Part way through an online Melbourne Magistrates Court hearing on Tuesday, Bateson's barrister Marcus Dempsey asked for the case to be paused until it could happen in person.

Magistrate Simon Zebrowski agreed, telling the court the virtual hearing so far was a less than ideal arrangement.

Lawyers and Bateson cannot come to court in person until after lockdown is due to end at 11.59pm on Thursday.

Mr Dempsey requested the adjournment part way though cross-examining the woman to whom Bateson allegedly leaked.

The woman said Bateson in 2018 told her "we need to talk" and "that he had been called in and asked questions".

"He said if he spoke about the investigation he would go to jail," the woman told the court on Monday.

"I asked if it was PSC (Professional Standards Command) and he said 'no'.

"I asked if it was IBAC and he said he wasn't allowed to talk about it."

The woman added Bateson was "fidgety and nervous" and told her: "I haven't spoken about this, have I."

Prosecutor Sarah Thomas said Bateson had twice been served with a confidentiality notice relating to the IBAC investigation.

Bateson denied disclosing anything contrary to the law.

The case is due back in court for a virtual mention on Friday, with the aim of resuming in person from next Tuesday.

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