Future of top cop still in doubt
Future of top cop still in doubt

Premier Colin Barnett will examine a report into the use of Police Commissioner Karl O'Callaghan's corporate credit card before deciding whether to offer him a new contract.

The Corruption and Crime Commission yesterday cleared Mr O'Callaghan of any misconduct in connection to the Perth Hills bushfire in February last year.

But a separate report into allegations that his corporate credit card had been misused was not made public despite the CCC finding no evidence of misconduct against the Commissioner.

Instead, the confidential credit card report will be passed to the State Government.

"The Government will review the (bushfire) report and wait to receive the details of the second commission investigation in relation to Mr O'Callaghan's use of his corporate credit card," Mr Barnett said yesterday.

"We note the commission has also found no evidence of a misconduct opinion in that investigation.

"Today's findings clear the way for discussions on the Police Commissioner's contract to commence."

Mr O'Callaghan said he felt relieved and vindicated by the CCC's findings and hoped he could move on after dealing with the investigations for the past nine months.

"Although I have been getting on with the job of being Commissioner of Police, this has obviously been something that has been in the back of my mind," he said. "As far as I'm concerned this is the end of the matter."

Allegations that Mr O'Callaghan lied about his knowledge of the Perth Hills fire to an inquiry and committee of Parliament were made to the CCC in November.

The Commissioner had repeatedly said he was first told about the fire at 2.30pm when called by a Fire and Emergency Service Authority manager.

But evidence to the CCC confirmed his first insight into fire came from then assistant police commissioner Wayne Gregson at 2.13pm after Mr O'Callaghan had asked for a fire situation report.

Mr Gregson, now the chief executive of FESA, told the CCC he relayed the severity of the Hills blaze to his boss, who was at the WACA Ground watching an international cricket match.

When called to an inquiry three weeks after the fire conducted by former Federal police commissioner Mick Keelty, Mr O'Callaghan did not mention the Gregson call.

Mr O'Callaghan later told the CCC it was because he couldn't remember the telephone calls.

"I have given evidence to the CCC, many hours of it, they have reported it, they found no misconduct - that is the end of the matter as far as I am concerned," he said yesterday.

The CCC said it would have been "prudent" for Mr O'Callaghan and Mr Gregson to have been "more open" when giving evidence to a parliamentary committee "in the interests of transparency".

"But they were under no obligation to do so," the CCC found.

Shadow attorney-general John Quigley said now that the CCC had cleared Mr O'Callaghan of misconduct "the acid is on the Premier" to extend his contract or readvertise the position. Mr Gregson did not comment on the report.

The West Australian

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