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Police Misconduct as a Breach of Public trust: the Offence of Misconduct in Public Office

Davids, CM, and McMahon, M 2014, Police Misconduct as a Breach of Public trust: the Offence of Misconduct in Public Office, Deakin Law Review, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 89-121.

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Title Police Misconduct as a Breach of Public trust: the Offence of Misconduct in Public Office
Author(s) Davids, CM,
McMahon, MORCID iD for McMahon, M orcid.org/0000-0002-5822-3173
Journal name Deakin Law Review
Volume number 19
Issue number 1
Start page 89
End page 121
Total pages 33
Publisher Deakin University
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Publication date 2014-12-01
ISSN 1835-9264
Summary Until relatively recently, the common law offence of misconduct in public office has been regarded as anachronistic. The offence was perceived to have been supplanted by specific statutory offences that could more appropriately deal with criminal conduct by public officials. However, there has been a revival of the offence with successful prosecutions occurring in Australia, England and Hong Kong. Many of these contemporary cases have involved police officers. Examination of these cases reveals that the circumstances in which misconduct in public office has been identified have been diverse, including the unauthorised disclosure of confidential information, the use of false search warrants and the sexual exploitation of vulnerable persons. In many instances, police officers were charged with other criminal offences in addition to charges relating to misconduct in public office. The matters prosecuted as misconduct in public office typically involved matters that were serious and/or could not be adequately prosecuted as other criminal offences or as breaches of police regulations governing conduct. Consequently, despite the proliferation of statutory criminal offences in the 20th century it appears that there continues to be a place for the offence of misconduct in public office. It criminalises misconduct by police officers that may not be adequately dealt with by other offences and recognises the public trust dimension of wrongdoing by these officials. However, a continuing and fundamental challenge is to determine the appropriate definition and scope of the offence.
Language eng
Field of Research 180110 Criminal Law and Procedure
Socio Economic Objective 970118 Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2014, Deakin University, School of Law
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30067671

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Law
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.