The West

The head of the powerful Corruption and Crime Commission yesterday launched a stinging attack on veteran Perth barrister and CCC critic Ron Davies, describing him as the Collingwood of Perth lawyers.

Giving evidence at a specially convened parliamentary committee hearing, CCC Commissioner Roger Macknay dismissed Mr Davies' evidence to the committee criticising its oppressive procedures and poor culture as "bar talk".

Mr Davies, who represented Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan in the CCC's investigation of his travel expenses, told the committee the CCC's investigators were "bad" and "zealots".

Mr Macknay, a QC and former long-serving District Court judge, yesterday described the comments as "a series of broad expressions of his own opinion".

"I would absolutely challenge the proposition that Mr Davies speaks for the legal community or is in a position to speak for the legal community," he said.

"I would suggest that if the police were a football team and Mr Davies was its forward, then Collingwood would come to mind."

The joint standing committee on the CCC called yesterday's hearing after Mr Macknay demanded while giving evidence on the agency's annual report this week that it be allowed to respond to attacks on its handling of complaints against police.

Using the opportunity, Mr Macknay said statements by former deputy police commissioner Murray Lampard about CCC investigations into police officers were "quite erroneous" and noted Mr Lampard left the police force four years ago. "I accept of course that his views are sincerely held but in many cases there's no factual basis for them," he said.

Mr Macknay said contrary to criticism, the CCC had issued only 15 Section 42 notices in the past two years requiring police to give evidence in secret.

While acknowledging the discontinuity in commissioners had resulted in delays to investigations occasionally, he defended the 18-month investigation into the Kevin Spratt tasering affair as ultimately resulting in Mr Spratt's conviction being set aside. "Mr Spratt, the unfortunate person who was tasered, gained benefit from that investigation," he said.

Mr Davies and Mr Lampard could not be reached for comment. The committee's report is to be handed down on Thursday.

The West Australian

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