News

Augathella sergeant’s failure to act was reprehensible

A HERVEY Bay man who went missing and died in the desert could have been saved if a senior police officer had acted on information he received about an abandoned vehicle.

But disciplinary measures against the policeman are being appealed by the Crime and Misconduct Commission, which claims the sanctions against Sergeant Andrew Ernest Thomas did not "adequately reflect the gravity of the misconduct".

Barry Powell, 64, was driving from Perth to his home in Hervey Bay in 2009 after undergoing surgery when he became lost in Wyandra in Queensland's south west.

On December 6, Wyandra resident Andrew Wilkinson called police to report seeing an abandoned vehicle, which belonged to Mr Powell.

Sergeant Andrew Ernest Thomas took the call and was given the registration number of the vehicle.

It wasn't until December 10, when Mr Thomas was told a search operation had started at Wyandra, that he remembered the conversation he had had with Mr Wilkinson and told other officers.

Mr Powell's body was found about 650m from his car on the morning of December 11.

In a disciplinary hearing held on November 20, it was found Mr Thomas had failed to take appropriate action after being told about the vehicle.

As a result of the hearing, Mr Thomas received a two-year suspended sentence and if there was further misconduct he would be demoted from sergeant to senior constable. He was also transferred to Toowoomba.

During the hearing, Mr Thomas said he had banged his head on an air-conditioner and other matters "simply overtook" his mind.

He said he had only received information relating to an abandoned car, not a missing person.

Mr Powell's cause of death was recorded as undetermined and there were also some inconsistencies as to the possible time of death.

Mr Thomas said during the hearing he did not feel there was a sufficient link between his inaction and Mr Powell's death.

In the report, that failure was denounced as being "reprehensible" by Deputy Commissioner Ross Barnett.

"You are a senior officer with lengthy experience in policing in remote locations," the documents read.

"You would be acutely aware of the very harsh environment within the Augathella division and the extreme impact such conditions can have on someone who is lost or stranded.

A date for Mr Thomas' hearing is yet to be set but a compulsory conference is set for March 6.


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Not a day at the races

A Day at the Races

Gallery 107's latest exhibit contains some interesting pieces.

40 years of caring, now this Ambo needs your help

Peter Fiechtner is searching for the woman who he helped bring into the world on his first job as a full-time paramedic in 1974.

Paramedic Peter Fiechtner is on a treasure hunt.

Crowds, sun and fun at bush carnival

Lachlan Heath, Ryan Parrott and Caraline Parrott duke it out for the top three places during one of the sack races at the Brigalow Bush Carnival on Saturday morning. 17/09/2016

All the action from the Brigalow Bush Carnival

Local Partners

Bizarre court defence: 'I've been kidnapped, Your Honour'

A Roma man has used the defence that he was kidnapped as character evidence in his self-represented court case.

Auto Fest roars into town

Jade Bruce's attempt at the suspension challenge at the Chinchilla Auto Fest on Saturday. 24/09/16

Chinchilla Auto Fest draws hundreds

Not a day at the races

A Day at the Races

Gallery 107's latest exhibit contains some interesting pieces.

40 years of caring, now this Ambo needs your help

Peter Fiechtner is searching for the woman who he helped bring into the world on his first job as a full-time paramedic in 1974.

Paramedic Peter Fiechtner is on a treasure hunt.

Crowds, sun and fun at bush carnival

Lachlan Heath, Ryan Parrott and Caraline Parrott duke it out for the top three places during one of the sack races at the Brigalow Bush Carnival on Saturday morning. 17/09/2016

All the action from the Brigalow Bush Carnival

Darting to victory at Roma club

IN ACTION: Roma darts competition.

Roma darts successful in Wednesday competition.

Roma man Craig McKnight needs your help

LITTLE FIGHTER: Roma's Craig McKnight, who has cerebral palsy, needs your help to afford a vehicle that can transport his wheelchair.

Roma's Craig McKnight is just like any other 25-year-old.

Spring gardens all in bloom

GREEN THUMBS UP: Brian and Val Matthews have taken out Grand Champion Garden in the Chinchilla Horticultural Society's spring garden competition for the sixth time.

Chinchilla's best and brightest gardens

Classic car auction draws buyers from US, Dubai

"He wants everyone to enjoy the cars, the collection got too big'

Conner's food distraction leads to elimination

Australian Survivor contestant Conner Bethune.

HUNGER gets to castaway as Australian Survivor's tribes merge.

Bonus point gets Dan and Carleen over the line on The Block

Dan and Carleen in their winning living and dining rooms in a scene from The Block.

BABY boomers win living and dining week as show hits halfway mark.

Olivia Wilde having a girl

Olivia Wilde revealed she is expecting a baby girl.

Michael Palin: Terry Jones dementia is 'painful' to see

Michael Palin has found Terry Jones' decline "painful to watch"

Daniel Radcliffe hoped for haircut anonymity

Radcliffe thought shaving his head would make him more anonymous

Jim Carrey slams 'shameful greed' of lawsuit

Jim Carrey has slammed the "shameful greed" of White's ex-husband.

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Rocky proves prime real estate in latest REIQ report

Kas Woch sold this Wood St home in Depot Hill for $107,000 in August.

A new investor's market as Rocky house prices hit lowest in state

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record