HARD TASK: Detective Inspector Graeme Parker and Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Humphrey leave the courtroom yesterday. Picture: Darren PatemanARCHIVE of Herald reports
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A SENIOR Newcastle police officer denied having any animosity towards whistleblowing colleague Peter Fox, and didn’t consider him for a role on a taskforce investigating child sex abuse because he was working in a different command.

Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Humphrey appeared before the Special Commission of Inquiry in Newcastle yesterday and moved quickly to dispel suggestions that senior police had it in for Mr Fox.

“I have no animosity towards Peter Fox, not one single bit,” he told the inquiry.

“He is a good detective.”

Later, when asked why Mr Fox was overlooked for a role on the police strike force set up to investigate claims of sex abuse cover-ups by Catholic clergy, Mr Humphrey said “at no point was he shut out”.

“It was very important that DCI Fox and his material [that he had collected during earlier investigations] be included, but not at that point, not on day one,” he said.

Mr Humphrey said that Mr Fox was not considered for the strike force at first because he was working in the Port Stephens police command and the investigation was being run in Newcastle.

Asked later if he thought Mr Fox had leaked sensitive information to journalist Joanne McCarthy, Mr Humphrey said “it was fair to say that [the pair] had a relationship” which wasn’t within the boundaries of police media protocols.

Mr Humphrey also gave evidence that while acting in the role of commander in Newcastle, he attempted to extradite disgraced priest Denis McAlinden from Western Australia to answer questions regarding his abuse of young girls in the Newcastle area almost two decades earlier.

Told that Father McAlinden was sick, Mr Humphrey said, “I didn’t care how sick he was, I wanted him extradited.”

Father McAlinden died before he could face charges in Newcastle.

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