The Australian: Senior Victoria Police officer charged over leaking of Dani Laidley custody photos

A senior Victoria Police officer has been charged with criminal offences over leaking photos of former AFL star and coach Dani Laidley in custody, while scores of others are facing disciplinary action.

Victoria Police said a senior detective leading senior constable from Southern Metro Region had been charged with one count of unauthorised access of police information, four counts of unauthorised disclosure of police information and one count of misconduct in public office.

The officer will front Melbourne Magistrates Court on March 30 next year.Two police officers as well as one custody officer remain suspended and face potential criminal action, while there are 39 officers and seven public servants facing internal disciplinary action.

Photos of Dani, formerly known as Dean, Laidley were taken of the former North Melbourne coach wearing a wig and a dress in custody after she was arrested on stalking charges St Kilda in May.

The images were circulated within Victoria Police before they made their way to social media before being picked up be the press.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said the investigation had taken longer than expected due to the sheer number of officers who received the images of Laidley, with 274 people interviewed over the photos.

“One of the main challenges investigators have faced is determining who received or forwarded the photos taken at the station, versus those who were sent links once they appeared on social media,” the spokesperson said.

“Victoria Police has so far interviewed around 274 Victoria Police employees, with further inquiries still outstanding.”

An additional 224 people were cleared after investigators determined they’d received the photos of Laidley after they appeared on social media.

The investigation remains ongoing.

Laidley was given an 18-month good behaviour bond, with Magistrate Jack Vandersteen taking into account the publicity surrounding the unauthorised release of the photos.

Laidley was a renowned defender for West Coast and North Melbourne from the late 1980s, and coached North Melbourne from 2003-2009.

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