24 June 2010

Police station raided on rape case

Victoria's police watchdog has raided a suburban police station and seized files relating to the failed rape case involving St Kilda footballers Stephen Milne and Leigh Montagna.

The Office of Police Integrity (OPI) raid took place at the Brighton criminal investigation unit in Melbourne's south, where rape allegations involving Milne and Montagna were investigated in 2004.

Former detective senior constable Scott Gladman, who led the 2004 investigation, on Monday alleged he was threatened by senior police who wanted the case dropped.

Another former detective who investigated the allegations, Mike Smith, on Tuesday night backed the claims made by Mr Gladman.

Police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland said on Tuesday the case against Milne and Montagna could be reopened following the allegations made by the former detectives.

Victoria Police spokeswoman Sergeant Creina O'Grady confirmed the raid had taken place.

"All I can tell you is that it's an OPI investigation assisted by Victoria Police," she said.

"We won't be making any comments relating to the specifics of the ongoing investigation."

The OPI could not immediately be contacted.

The Nine Network reported that OPI investigators swooped on the police station on Thursday afternoon and discovered "an alarming amount of material (from the files) that simply wasn't there".

The missing material included reports prepared by the unit chief on the decision to abandon the original investigation, a report by Mr Gladman, master tapes from records of interview and items missing from the original brief of evidence from senior police, Nine said.

Police diaries were among the items seized by investigators, Nine said.

Milne, 30, and Montagna, 26, were the subject of a police investigation for two months after an alleged incident involving two women in March 2004.

The two men, who denied the allegations, were interviewed by police but never charged.

Police said there was insufficient evidence to charge the pair on advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

In a statement on Tuesday, Mr Overland said: "If we believe that the original investigation might have been compromised or interfered with in any way then we will, of course, revisit it.

"We will be speaking to the victim and keeping her informed throughout."

On the same day, Assistant Commissioner Steve Fontana said complaints of interference were made at the time of the investigation, but he did not know what action was taken.

AAP 24 June 2010

Admitting incompetance / cover up.

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