NT Police Commissioner retires after confidential settlement – Sky News Australia

NT Police Commissioner retires after confidential settlement - Sky News Australia

Northern Territory Police Commissioner Jamie Chalker has announced his retirement after agreeing to a confidential settlement with the NT government.

The settlement brings an end to the legal battle over Mr Chalker’s dismissal, preventing the matter from proceeding to a Supreme Court hearing.

Although the details of the settlement are confidential, Sky News has been told Mr Chalker was seeking more than a million dollars in compensation over the government’s botched attempts to have him dismissed.

Sources had previously revealed Mr Chalker was seeking payment for the rest of his existing contract, which expired in November, a “significant part” of a subsequent contract that he would have sought, as well as compensation for reputational damage and mental stress.

In a statement announcing his retirement, NT Chief Minister Natasha Fyles said the government is grateful for Mr Chalker’s service and wishes him well in the next phase of his career.

During his highly decorated 25-year career as an NT police officer, Mr Chalker was awarded a medal for bravery, ran investigations into homicide and organised crime and held several leadership positions.

Mr Chalker said it had been a “tremendous privilege” to have worked amongst the “brave, hard-working women and men” of the NT’s emergency services.  

I want to wish all of my colleagues the very best in the future and thank them for their ongoing dedication to all Territorians, Mr Chalker said.

The announcement means Mr Chalker will not present evidence to the Supreme Court – which had been due on Monday afternoon.

On April 1 Sky News revealed the government had asked Mr Chalker to resign saying he had lost its confidence.

For almost four weeks Chief Minister Natasha Fyles refused to say if she had confidence in Mr Chalker.

On April 17 Mr Chalker launched action in the Supreme Court to fight his dismissal.

At a hearing in Darwin his barrister, Arthur Moses SC, revealed Mr Chalker had been delivered a letter from Ms Fyles in late March which listed four reasons the government was seeking his dismissal.

These included a claim Mr Chalker had asked the Australian Defence Force to assist Northern Territory police to address crime in Alice Springs.

Mr Moses said this claim was wrong.  He said Ms Fyles might have meant to reference the Australian Federal Police, but even this was in dispute.

NT Police have since confirmed they have not sought the assistance of either the Australian Defence Force or the Australian Federal Police.

In an interview with ABC Radio National on January 24, Mr Chalker had been adamant he did not want the assistance of the ADF.

 “I’m not sure that the imagery of Australian soldiers, who are here to serve our country, dealing with First Nations people in a way that sees them having to arrest them and place them in police vehicles and alike, is the imagery we really want for Australia,” he said.

Senior Labor Party sources have told Sky News they are bewildered by the government’s handling of Mr Chalker’s departure.

“What on earth was this letter about?” one source said.  “Did they seek advice from the Solicitor General?  How did they get it so wrong?”

Senior figures in NT Labor 'gobsmacked' with Fyles lack of clarity

Ms Fyles has repeatedly refused to say whether the letter had been sent to Mr Chalker or what it discussed.

Another source said the issue had cast doubt on the leadership of Ms Fyles and the performance of her Police Minister Kate Worden, however any talk of a leadership challenge was played down.

Deputy Commissioner Michael Murphy is expected to remain as Acting Police Commissioner while a recruitment process begins to find Mr Chalker’s replacement.

Mr Murphy and former Assistant Commissioner Jeanette Kerr are expected to be candidates for the top job, although some are urging the government to consider an interstate candidate.

Source: skynews.com.au

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