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.

Macca: Five companies want new Surat Basin gas land

QGC's Kenya water treatment plant was officially opened today.

Race is on for CSG companies to drill on new land in the Surat Basin

What happened to Jason Vance?

Rockhampton man Jason John Vance went missing in the Barakula Forest in 2013.

Inquest to investigate missing Rockhampton man

Government opens up new lands for gas supplies

Two new parcels of land in the Surat Basin will be developed

Local Partners

Man airlifted, Warrego Hwy shut after machinery incident

UPDATE: A man pinned by a piece of heavy machinery has been airlifted to a Brisbane hospital after suffering serious injuries in the incident near Chinchilla.

What to expect at Birds of Tokyo's Ipswich gig

The band will perform at the Racehorse Hotel on Friday.

BAND member Glen Sarangapany talks music, pub grub and doing shoeys

What public holidays are left in 2017

Ipswich residents will get the day off tomorrow for the show.

IPSWICH residents will get tomorrow off for the show

Caitlyn comes home to launch debut album

Gympie's Caitlyn Shadbolt will launch here debut album Songs On My Sleeve at an exclusive all-ages concert in Gympie on Friday, May 26.

Win tickets to Caitlyn's album launch

Boyfriend loses it over sex lie

SEVEN Year Switch’s Stacey told a fib about her sex life. When the lie found its way back to her boyfriend, there was hell to pay.

Why Crowe’s thankful for those ‘bulls**t’ rumours

Russell Crowe and Terri Irwin in 2007.

Crowe and Terri Irwin have been dodging dating rumours for years now

MOVIE REVIEW: King Arthur - Legend of the Sword

Charlie Hunnam in a scene from the movie King Arthur: Legend of the Sword.

Why the critics have got Guy Ritchie’s King Arthur all wrong.

Concert death toll revised up to 22, tour suspended

There have been multiple confirmed deaths after 'explosions' heard at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester

"We saw blood on people when we got outside."

Casual Keanu says fame is ‘cool’

Keanu Reeves in a scene from the movie John Wick: Chapter 2.

NOBODY expected much of John Wick when it was released in 2014.

Ariana Grande breaks her silence after fatal blast

According to reports quoting witnesses, a mass emergency evacuation was prompted after explosions were heard at the end of US singer Ariana Grande's concert in the arena.

The entertainment industry is in shock after attack on concert

Pitch Perfect star suing Woman’s Day over ‘liar’ articles

Actor Rebel Wilson outside court on Friday.

REBEL Wilson's career destroyed by grubby campaign, court hears.

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!