Victorian Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton has come under fire over secret compensation payouts after it was revealed that a Rebel News security guard was awarded a massive six-figure sum for his wrongful arrest.
3AW Radio host Neil Mitchell flagged concerns about the secret payments with the Commissioner live on air this morning, later calling for more transparency around payouts awarded using taxpayer funds.
“I think we should have a right to know, particularly if the people have received the payout approve, and maybe only if they approve, a right to know from the police at least a total fund how much all up in the past year,” he said.
Patton told Mitchell in the interview that in “most cases”, it was the plaintiff, not the police, desiring to keep those settlement details private.
In a right of reply, Rebel News reporter Avi Yemini, who Victoria Police unlawfully arrested on multiple occasions, joined Mitchell live after Patton’s interview, calling out the Chief Commissioner over his comments.
“I think the truth is a scandal. Victoria Police cover up their shocking misconduct using public funds. And that’s not only the payout. Contrary to what Shane Patton claimed, in every case I personally know of, Victoria Police are the ones to attach the confidentiality clause as a condition of the settlement,” Yemini said.
Mitchell asked Yemini about his own negotiations with Victoria Police after he was arrested while reporting at lockdown protests in Melbourne.
“They were willing to pay me hundreds of 1000s of tax dollars just to avoid having to issue that apology for unlawfully arresting me on three occasions while I was reporting for Rebel News on the condition I would keep it confidential,” Yemini said.
“But I rejected that at every stage in the negotiation because for me, and my work, that piece of paper that you’ve got in front of you, that apology ... It’s more valuable than any amount of money. It’s essentially a licence for me to carry on doing my job. And if there’s any doubt of what I’m claiming, I challenge Shane Patton to release all the communication in our negotiation, including his internal discussion.”