Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Honest officer Gerry Fletcher long fight for career

On 4 June 2008 the Daily Telegraph reported “Honest officer Gerry Fletcher long fight for career”.
It said, one of the country's top organised crime investigators spent three years and $60,000 fighting for his career after Mark Standen lodged what was found to be an unfounded complaint against him.

Detective Sergeant Gerry Fletcher was reinstated to the Australian Federal Police in March after being cleared of an allegation made by Standen that he had leaked information to cocaine kingpin Michael Hurley, blowing a major investigation into baggage handlers smuggling drugs through Sydney airport. Agent Fletcher's wife Jenny said she felt vindicated by Standen's arrest.

Then-Operation Rhodium, a joint investigation by the NSW Crime Commission, AFP and NSW Police to infiltrate Hurley's gang using 7kg of cocaine, was a disaster with 6kg of the drug going missing. Agent Fletcher, with more than 30 years' service in the AFP, had worked with Standen on a number of major drug investigations but was not working on Operation Rhodium when he received a phone call at work in April 2005 from a man wanting to meet. The man waiting at the coffee shop in full view of AFP headquarters in Goulburn St turned out to be Hurley, who was suffering from cancer and died in January 2007.

As soon as he returned to work, Agent Fletcher wrote a report for Standen at the Crime Commission informing him that Hurley said he would be leaving the country in four weeks. After Hurley fled the country, Standen lodged a complaint with the AFP claiming Agent Fletcher had leaked news of the investigation to Hurley. Agent Fletcher was dismissed from the AFP in February 2006 but cleared of any wrongdoing by the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, which in June 2007 ordered the AFP to reinstate him. Mrs Fletcher said: "I would like to see an investigation into the AFP's handling of the whole affair."

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