Controversial ex-cop appeals convictions

CONTROVERSIAL ex-cop Chris Hurley has appealed his convictions for dangerous driving during a wild police chase, with his lawyers arguing they were an abuse of process.

The former senior-sergeant, who retired medically unfit from the Queensland Police Service two years ago, was in 2017 found guilty of two charges of dangerous driving over the pursuit where shots were allegedly fired at the getaway car.

Hurley had pleaded not guilty in the Southport Magistrates Court to the charges relating to the May 2015 night-time pursuit which followed the violent armed robbery of a taxi driver by a teenage couple wielding a tomahawk.

In an appeal hearing held in the Brisbane District Court on Monday, lawyers for Hurley argued he should be cleared of all convictions on the basis the trial magistrate allegedly made several errors of law.

Former Queensland police officer Chris Hurley was in 2017 found guilty of two charges of dangerous driving over the pursuit where shots were allegedly fired at the getaway car.
Former Queensland police officer Chris Hurley was in 2017 found guilty of two charges of dangerous driving over the pursuit where shots were allegedly fired at the getaway car. AAP Image - Regi Varghese

Lawyers for Hurley also argued the convictions should be vacated because the same police officer who investigated the officer in internal disciplinary proceedings, Detective Sergeant Suzanne Maree Newton, also prepared the brief for his criminal charges.

Defence barrister Jeff Hunter QC told the court the fact Sergeant Newton had used information obtained through coercive interviews with Hurley to prepare evidence for the criminal trial, was an abuse of process.

The court heard Hurley had been compelled to give evidence in disciplinary proceedings, which Detective Newton had later given to experts to prepare opinions for the trial.

They were later not called to give evidence.

The officer had also obtained amended witness statements for the trial after interviewing Hurley a second time, the court heard.

Mr Hunter described the conduct as "completely repugnant to ordinary natural justice".

He said the fact evidence derived from the internal investigation was "used to prepare a criminal charge" and the officer who brought the charge had also conducted the coercive interviews with Hurley was "grotesque and quite extraordinary".

QPS barrister Michael Nicholson argued during the hearing there had been no objection to the evidence lead at Hurley's trial in 2017.

Southport Magistrates Court was told during the trial several motorists had to swerve out of the way to avoid crashing with Hurley, who was driving an unmarked police vehicle on the wrong side of the road without flashing lights or siren.

But on Monday, the court heard it was possible Hurley believed he had his sirens on at the time.

Despite senior police ordering a stop to the chase, Hurley rammed the getaway car, causing it to spin into bushland.

Hurley was in 2017 fined $800 and disqualified from driving for six months.

He has been in the spotlight throughout his career, after being acquitted of the manslaughter of Cameron "Mulrunji" Doomadgee in a 2004 watchhouse death that sparked the Palm Island riots.

The Queensland District Court will deliver a decision on the appeal at a later date.