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No conviction, $6000 fine for gangland cop who leaked corruption secret

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The policewoman, who gave evidence in court, said Mr Bateson visited her home in August 2018 to warn her she might be called and coached her on what to say. There were two other disclosures, once in his car.

“He said that I may be called in and spoken to,” she told the court.

“He said that I was to be honest.”

She said she felt intimidated and pressured.

“I felt coached because he said, ‘If I were asked, I would say.’ Given the age difference and the significant rank difference, and this was clearly work-related, I felt quite pressured to oblige.”

Stuart Bateson at a press conference about the Bourke Street massacre in 2017.

Stuart Bateson at a press conference about the Bourke Street massacre in 2017.Credit:Eddie Jim

A spokesperson for IBAC said confidentiality notices, and the preservation of them, were critical in order to keep restricted matters confidential and prevent prejudicing investigations, reputations, safety and fair trials.

“Police officers would generally recognise that breaches of confidentiality notices have the potential to jeopardise IBAC’s ability to investigate and expose corruption and misconduct,” the spokesperson said.

Mr Bateson had been with Victoria Police for 32 years.

He was a Valour Award recipient and was commended for his leadership in responding to the Bourke Street massacre in 2017.

His role with the Purana taskforce investigating the gangland war in the late 1990s and 2000s became the basis for the character Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Owen, played by Rodger Corser, in the Underbelly series.

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The work of the detectives from Purana has been heavily criticised in the recent royal commission that exposed Victoria Police’s use of Lawyer X, the pseudonym given to Nicola Gobbo, the former defence barrister who gave up information about her own clients, including drug traffickers Tony Mokbel and Carl Williams.

Mr Bateson’s lawyer Belinda Franjic told a plea hearing last month that her client’s “glittering career” had come to an end.

The court heard Mr Bateson had been suffering from chronic, long-standing and undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder.

“This wasn’t some high-flying cocky senior police officer thinking he was above the law and could do what he wanted, this was a man who was highly professional, highly successful but who was expiring a substantial amount of inner turmoil,” Ms Franjic said.

Actor Rodger Corser played a character based on Stuart Bateson in the <i>Underbelly</i> series.

Actor Rodger Corser played a character based on Stuart Bateson in the Underbelly series.

But prosecutor Sarah Thomas said Mr Bateson was one of the most senior officers in the state and his crimes were “considered and calculated”.

“He did think he was above the law,” she said.

“He was aware of the consequences of his actions.”

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