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Artz case: senior police at odds over evidence

A discrepancy between two senior police officers has emerged on the fourth day of the committal hearing of the former police officer accused of leaking information about a terror raid to The Australian.

Senior Sergeant Peter Greaney has refuted statements by his immediate supervisor, Greg Bowd, about when he became aware that there had been a security breach in an investigation known as Operation Neath.

Detective Inspector Greg Bowd, the former head of the security intelligence group at Victorian Police, had told an inquiry by the Office of Police Integrity that he had not been properly informed about information on the terror investigation falling into the hands of The Australian’s Cameron Stewart.

However Greaney, who was the team leader of the special intelligence group’s African and Middle East section, told the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court this morning that Bowd’s claims were wrong because he had personally informed Bowd beforehand that Stewart had informed one of his officers that he had sensitive information about the investigation.

The officer concerned, Simon Artz, is now facing charges of leaking information to Stewart. The leaks informed a front-page scoop in The Australian on August 4, 2009. The story was published hours before raids on several terror suspects.

The police accused the paper of jeopardising the safety of the officers concerned. The Australian Federal Police claimed the story prevented the police further investigating the matter and making more arrests.

Bill Stuart, barrister for Atrz, alleged that Bowd was aware of the security threat when he went into a joint management group meeting at noon on July 31, four days before the raid even though Bowd had claimed that he wasn’t and had blamed Greaney for not informing him.

In questioning this morning Stuart asked: “It seems Mr Greaney that Mr Bowd had forgotten or left out a briefing you had (already) given him about Mr Artz?” Greaney replied: “Yes.”

Stuart also asked Greaney whether Bowd had expressed anger to him that he had not been properly informed about the security breach at the time. Greaney claimed that he had not because Bowd had in fact been informed according to proper procedure and had asked him to provide further information in a formal information report.

The hearing continues.

CORRECTION: This story originally billed Detective Inspector Greg Bowd, as the head of the security intelligence group at Victorian Police — that has now been amended to “former.”

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