Oz cop who sexually harassed women officers reinstated

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Melbourne, July 15 (ANI): An Aussie police officer, who is said to have sexually harassed and assaulted female officers and members of the public, has had his application for reinstatement approved by the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.

Sergeant Raymond Sewell is said to have grabbed the buttocks of a colleague's wife, asked to smell another colleague's breasts, and told "offensive and inappropriate" jokes of a sexual nature in front of a group of women.

On another occasion, Sewell is said to have undone the ties of a halter neck top of a woman as she waited for a drink at the bar.

He did all these things while attached to the Coonamble police station in late 2005 and early 2006.

Even though he apologized for his behaviour, Sewell was removed from the NSW Police Force in mid-2007 after 22 years of service.

But later that year, he applied for a review of his dismissal at the Industrial Relations Commission, and in May 2008 Justice Wayne Haylen upheld his claim, calling his dismissal "harsh and unfair".

"While it was found Sgt Sewell had lied during police interviews and the allegations against him had been proved, his behaviour during the two-month period in which the incidences occurred were an anomaly in his long police career," News.com.au quoted Justice Haylen as saying.

"This extraordinary behaviour largely took place while Mr Sewell was drinking to excess while taking medication.

"In his 22 years' service he had not exhibited such uninhibited and offensive conduct before going to Coonamble and did not again exhibit this type of conduct in the following 16 months.

"In his long period of service there is this period of approximately two months in which he acts in a way that is totally out of character.

"The evidence strongly suggests that he is unlikely to conduct himself in this way in the future," he added.

Haylen also said that Sgt Sewell, who used to consume up to seven drinks a night and has now given up alcohol altogether, should be given a second chance.

Last month, NSW police commissioner Andrew Scipione appealed against the IRC's decision to reinstate Sgt Sewell in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal.

But the IRC's decision was upheld by the full bench, comprising Chief Justice James Spigelman, Justice Robert Macfarlan (Macfarlan) and Justice Peter Young.

"No doubt the applicant (the NSW police commissioner) does not believe full justice was done to his reasons and arguments. However, there is no proper basis for a submission that (Justice) Haylen 'failed to consider' the mandatory requirements," Justice Spigelman said.

"I can detect no jurisdictional error," he added.

The appeal was dismissed and Scipione was ordered to pay Sgt Sewell and the IRC's court costs. (ANI)

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