Acquitted Flori has Qld top cop in sights

Former Queensland police officer Rick Flori is awaiting the jury’s verdict in his misconduct trial.Police whistleblower Rick Flori believes Commissioner Ian Stewart’s position as Queensland’s top cop is untenable after he was found not guilty of misconduct.

Former Gold Coast sergeant Flori, 47, was acquitted of a single count of misconduct in relation to public office by a majority 11-1 jury verdict following a six-day trial at Southport District Court.

Mr Flori was charged after leaking CCTV footage of a violent January 2012 arrest during which officers bashed a handcuffed man in the Surfers Paradise station basement.

The prosecution alleged Mr Flori leaked the footage as part of a vendetta against Senior Sergeant David Joachim, an officer involved in the arrest, who had been promoted ahead of him in 2011.

Six years after the footage went public, Mr Flori’s supporters shouted “yes” and “justice” when the verdict was delivered following eight hours of deliberations.

Outside court, Mr Flori, who has since resigned, said Mr Stewart’s position was “absolutely” untenable.

He said the commissioner had questions to answer about his involvement in the decision to pursue a prosecution against him.

“He’s made public comment on the ABC and tried to pre-empt things in public and he was just not on the money, not right in any way,” Mr Flori said.

“The result is proof of that really.”

Mr Flori said he’d been vindicated by the result, which he felt would be a boost to any other police who wished to speak out about illegal conduct.

“I don’t regret it and I’d do the same thing, over and over again,” he said.

“This is the difficulty. The ethical standards command, the police service, the CCC (Crime and Corruption Commission), continued on this path – not necessarily to get me – but to send a message to those within the service ‘don’t say anything’.”

During the trial, Mr Flori’s barrister Saul Holt QC labelled the accusation of a vendetta by his client against Sen Sgt Joachim as nonsense.

Mr Holt said Mr Flori had made complaints about several other officers during his career and his behaviour towards Sen Sgt Joachim wasn’t exceptional.

He told the court Mr Flori’s motivation to leak the footage was “pure” and intended to ensure those responsible for the violent arrest were exposed.

“This incident is astonishing,” Mr Holt said. “The fact we know about it through the leak is a good thing.”

Mr Flori said he would leave his options open about taking legal action against the QPS.

He also refused to rule out returning to the service – but only in one role.

“I’d take a job but the only one I’d be taking is the commissioner’s job,” he said.