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Marshall spoke to Police Commissioner about Chapman case


Premier Steven Marshall is under fire after admitting he spoke to Police Commissioner Grant Stevens about a police inquiry into his Attorney-General Vickie Chapman.

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Chapman has refused to stand aside despite police last week confirming they had handed an inquiry into whether she breached the state’s ICAC Act over to the Director of Public Prosecutions for “assessment”.

Marshall sought to hose down the matter today, telling ABC Radio Adelaide “the reality is the police have gathered their evidence, they’ve passed it to the DPP, they haven’t recommended prosecution as other people have been suggesting”.

Asked how he knew that, the Premier responded: “Well because I’ve spoken to the Commissioner.”

“The police force did what they were asked to do – they gathered that information and they passed it to the DPP for further assessment,” he said.

“There has not been any suggestion that there has been a prosecution pending. We’ve had two sets of independent legal advice which has said that there has been no breach to the ICAC Act… I fully appreciate this is a very complex piece of legislation.”

The admission prompted a scathing response from the Opposition, with Labor leader Peter Malinauskas saying the Premier’s contact with the commissioner was “completely inappropriate” on Marshall’s behalf  “and may amount to a gross misuse of power”.

“The Premier can’t just ask the Police Commissioner questions about open files that exist within police… but that’s particularly true when it relates to matters of one of his own cabinet members being investigated,” he told reporters.

“For the Premier to actively intervene by asking questions of the Police Commissioner is completely inappropriate.”

SAPOL today said the Commissioner had “nothing further to add” to comments made by police last week, that he “has sought and been provided with authority from the Deputy Independent Commissioner Against Corruption to make public comment concerning the allegation that the Deputy Premier breached section 56 of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Act, 2012”.

“Commissioner Stevens advises that an investigation has been conducted and the matter has been referred to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for assessment,” SAPOL said at the time.

In September, Chapman issued a media statement after Planning Minister Stephan Knoll refused to answer questions in an estimates hearing about senior staff at Renewal SA going on sudden leave.

The statement confirmed the Attorney had “enquired of the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption, Mr Bruce Lander QC, as to whether there is any further information that can be made available on this matter… he confirmed that there is not” .

Lander later issued a terse statement authorising media to publish the Attorney’s comments.

However, he later told InDaily he had instructed Chapman not to refer to his office in any public statement.

“My recollection of the subsequent conversation is that any statement made by the Attorney would not include reference to the ICAC and that the Attorney would say publicly that neither she nor the government could comment,” he said in a statement.

“I told her that I would not be making a statement.”

The Labor Opposition later referred to matter to SAPOL.

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