A Melbourne Magistrate’s court on Tuesday dismissed the case against a senior Victorian police officer, who was charged with sharing photos and details of former AFL coach Danielle Laidley’s arrest. 

Trigger Warning: This story has details of transphobic conduct and transphobic slurs, which might be distressing to some readers. For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14. For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

Detective Leading Senior Constable Murray Gentner (43) was one of the three police officers charged, after photos of Laidley’s arrest in May 2020, including mugshots, were widely shared on social media and by media organisations. 

The officers were charged with unauthorised access of police information, unauthorised disclosure of police information without reasonable excuse and misconduct in public office. One charge of taking photos of Laidley’s mugshots and distributing it was dropped by prosecutors. 

Pleads ‘Not Guilty’

Gertner pleaded not guilty to the other charges. According to The Age, during questioning, Gentner had told investigators that he had neither taken the original photo nor leaked it. He claimed to have found the mugshots online, which he then shared with colleagues in a Whatsapp group “SD1 Gentlemen’s Club”. 

Gentner was also alleged to have commented on Laidley’s charges and appearance and had called her “full-blown ice head and tranny”. The ABC reported that Gertner told investigators that he regretted having accessed Laidley’s photos because of the “s#*#storm” that followed. 

Magistrate Samantha Poulter dismissed the charges against Gentner on a legal technicality and said that he had not acted contrary to his duties as an officer. 

“The disclosure did not impede crime prevention, detection, pursuit of offenders or the like,” the ABC quoted the magistrate.

“On that basis I find that the prosecution has not established a legal duty not to disclose the information in those circumstances.”

Police Share Dani Laidley’s Photos

Former North Melbourne coach and player Laidley was arrested on May 2, 2020, from outside a St Kilda home and charged with stalking a woman. An inquiry was launched after an outcry over mugshots of Laidley were published in the media. 

Victoria police charged three police officers – Gentner, a senior constable from the Southern Metro Region and a constable from the North West Metro Region for various offences in relation to the photo leaks. 

The disciplinary board ordered eleven other police officers to pay Laidley between $500 and $3,000 over the leaking of the custodial photographs. The police also said that they would settle the breach of privacy case lodged by Laidley in Victoria’s Supreme Court. 

Laidley, who had transitioned and informed the court that she identifies as a woman, pleaded guilty to the stalking charges in November 2020. The court placed her on an adjourned undertaking of good behaviour for 18 months.

 

If you feel distressed reading the story, you can reach out to support services.

For 24-hour crisis support and suicide prevention call Lifeline on 13 11 14

For Australia-wide LGBTQI peer support call QLife on 1800 184 527 or webchat.

 

 

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