Letter from Jane Hartwig Senior Investigation Officer for the Ombudsman of the Northern Territory regarding Complaint against Senior Constable Westra van Holthe and Mr Michael Rowley and sale of Toyota Troop Carrier dated 14 February 2004
Tabled paper 1286
Tabled papers for 11th Assembly 2008 - 2012; Tabled papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled By Christopher Burns
Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory under Standing Order 240. Where copyright subsists with a third party it remains with the original owner and permission may be required to reuse the material.
10. The investigator spoke to Mr Neil McAuslan of the Kurra Corporation (Central Land Council), which, as you are aware, is the body which distributes royalties received, to its clients in the region. It makes payments to vendors on behalf of its clients, for such items as motor vehicles. These payments are made by purchase order upon receipt of an invoice from the vendor. Mr Rockman is a CLC client. In relation to the sale of this particular vehicle, an invoice was submitted to the CLC by S/Const Westra Van Holthe (not B/Sgt Wenn) as vendor. Mr McAuslan checked his records back to 2001 and advised that the CLC had no record of any payment to B/Sgt Wenn in relation to the sale of motor vehicles. The only record that the CLC has which involves B/Sgt Wenn is in relation to: this transaction (in which the involvement is via an undated letter written to the Kurra Corporation by B/Sgt Wenn stating that on 4th March 2003 he facilitated the sale [of the vehicle] on Mr Westra Van Holthes behalf). The JRC is satisfied that the investigation has made sufficient enquiries to establish that there is no evidence that B/Sgt Wenn has sold (as principal or agent) four or more vehicles in a 12 month period and therefore that he is a motor vehicle dealer (licensed or otherwise) within the meaning of the Consumer Affairs & Fair Trading Act. This complaint is therefore not sustained and no further action will be taken in relation to it. The JRC does however, have concerns that B/Sgt Wenn facilitated the sale of this particular vehicle on behalf of S/Const Westra Van Holthe, and the appropriateness of this in relation to the NT Police Force Code of Conduct is discussed later in this report. 3. You also allege that someone had unlawfully provided a Motor Vehicle Registry computer print-out containing your personal details to Mr Rockman without your permission. Section 276B of the Criminal Code Act defines the crime of unlawful access to data. It states that a person who unlawfully accesses data held in a computer with intent to gain a benefit or advantage, whether personally or for a third party, is guilty of a crime and liable for imprisonment for 10 years. B/Sgt Wenn did have lawful access to the computer information both in his role as a police officer and also his function as an agent for the Motor Vehicle Registry. He says he provided Mr Rockman with a print out of the registration screen. At issue here is whether or not his access of the MVR computer system in these circumstances constitutes an unlawful acpess of data. The JRC notes that of all the personal information contained in the MVR computer screen print-out provided to Mr Rockman by B/Sgt Wenn, only one piece of information was not already available to Mr Rockman via other, publicly accessible MVR documents, or the telephone directory, and that is your date of birth. Nevertheless, the purpose of B/Sgt Wenn providing this document to Mr Rockman was solely to assist in the private sale process and did not form any requirement of the normal MVR process. It is therefore possible that he has committed a crime contrary to S.276B of the Criminal Code Act. Again, whether B/Sgt Wenn has strictly speaking committed the offence stated above is a matter for a Court. Initial indications are that there is good reason to investigate the possibility of a prosecution. The JRC is advised that this matter has
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