Australian Police Unspun

After pleading guilty to counts of perjury and three of disclosing a confidential hearing, the former media director for Australia's Victoria Police, Stephen Linnell, has been fined $A5,000 and sentenced to eight months in prison, suspended for two years. Linnell, a former journalist, became a friend of the then-assistant commissioner, Noel Ashby, after being appointed media director in 2003. In May 2007, Ashby was a suspect in an investigation by the Office of Police Integrity (OPI) into the leaking of confidential information. "When Linnell received a summons for a secret Office of Police Integrity hearing that was part of the leak investigation, he ignored the confidentiality notice attached and sought advice from Ashby. Then he repeatedly lied under oath when asked if he had told anyone he was appearing at the OPI hearing on September 25, 2007. And despite being warned not to discuss his testimony, he immediately talked tactics with Ashby," Sarah-Jane Collins and John Silvester report. Linnell admitted leaking information on an investigation into the murder of male prostitute to Ashby.