Australia

AFP writes to Scott Morrison to warn against delays in reporting allegations of criminal conduct

Australian Federal Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw has written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, warning that allegations of criminal conduct should be reported without delay.

His letter comes in the wake of serious allegations made by former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins, who says she was raped inside Parliament House in March 2019. 

The Morrison government has been sharply criticised for its handling of the allegations, including apparent failures to report the accusations to Mr Morrison. 

“I cannot state strongly enough the importance of timely referrals of allegations of criminal conduct,” Mr Kershaw said.

“Failure to report alleged criminal behaviour in this manner, or choosing to communicate or disseminate allegations via other means, such as through the media or third parties, risks prejudicing any subsequent police investigation.

“Any delay in reporting criminal conduct can result in the loss of key evidence, continuation of the offending and/or reoffending by the alleged perpetrator.”

Ms Higgins chose not to take a complaint over the alleged incident further with police at the time over concerns this would impact her career. 

Mr Kershaw said members, senators and their offices should refer any such matters referred to them “taking into account the rights and privacy of the victim”.  

More to come… 

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