THE police officer in charge of the investigation into the activities of Warrnambool City councillor Jennifer Lowe yesterday admitted he never followed up one accusation Mrs Lowe made about her former boss.
Detective Senior Constable Gary Greene, of the Warrnambool police crime investigation unit, yesterday came under fire during the committal hearing of Mrs Lowe and her husband Robert Lowe in Warrnambool Magistrates Court.
Mrs Lowe, 37, was charged in July last year with 49 theft-related offences involving about $25,000. The thefts were alleged to have occurred while Mrs Lowe was the finance officer with the Worn Gundidj co-op.
Mr Lowe, 39, faced two representative charges, involving goods valued at just over $17,000.
The charges ballooned to almost 600 alleged offences after the use of a fuel card was broken down into individual transactions on the eve of the committal hearing on April 2 this year.
Yesterday, Detective Senior Constable Greene was grilled by defence counsel for the Lowes, Damian Sheales, for his handling of the investigation.
The police investigation took about two years. There are 19 witnesses being called to the committal and the brief of evidence is 1800 pages long, with the exhibits carted into court each day in a number of boxes.
Detective Senior Constable Greene explained under cross-examination that he had been tasked with investigating allegations made by Worn Gundidj co-op chief executive officer John Collyer in relation to Mrs Lowe.
He denied he was a puppet of the Collyers John Collyer, his wife Maree Collyer and their son Shannon Collyer.
Detective Senior Constable Greene said he had not inspected the co-op's complete financial records just the records supplied by Shannon Collyer and documents the police officer requested from him later.
John Collyer died last week and his funeral was held on Monday.
Detective Senior Constable Greene said it had not crossed his mind that the documents may have been altered, but he did note that some documents were not signed or dated.
He said some charges did not proceed because Mrs Lowe was able to provide explanations, such as for quarry products delivered to her home.
The policeman said Shannon Collyer had in fact been wrong in relation to some claims he made and in relation to some charges there was not enough evidence to proceed.
When asked by Mr Sheales if Shannon Collyer being wrong about numerous matters changed his confidence in Mr Collyer’s allegations, Detective Senior Constable Greene said: “not entirely”, but agreed it did have an impact.
Detective Senior Constable Greene said he received an abusive telephone call from John Collyer about how long the investigation was taking. He said he provided Shannon Collyer’s statement to John Collyer because he wanted their statements to be consistent.
The committal hearing before magistrate Ann McGarvie is scheduled to finish tomorrow.