A police officer is facing criminal charges after allegedly leaking controversial photos of AFL icon Dani Laidley while she was in custody.
A cop has been charged with criminal offences over allegedly leaking photos of former North Melbourne coach Dani Laidley while she was in police custody.
A Victoria Police leading senior constable was charged on Wednesday with unauthorised access of police information, four counts of unauthorised disclosure of police information and one count of misconduct in public office.
He allegedly shared photos of Ms Laidley — who was then known as Dean Laidley — while she was in police custody in a blonde wig, make-up, and female attire.
It was not then publicly known Ms Laidley was transgender.
The photos were widely circulated, and the leak was slammed by Victoria Police chief commissioner Shane Patton as “appalling”.
A Victoria Police spokesperson said the leading senior constable had been suspended and was due to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on March 30.
“The investigation into these serious acts of misconduct remains ongoing,” the spokesperson said.
“Due to the number of Victoria Police employees who received or forwarded the images, as well as those who shared the social media posts, the investigation has taken longer than originally expected.”
Internal investigators interviewed 274 Victoria Police employees to determine who was responsible for the photo leak, the spokesperson said.
They said of those investigated:
• One leading senior constable was charged on Wednesday with criminal offences
• Three people, including two police officers and one police custody officer, remain suspended and face potential criminal action
• Forty-six people, including 39 police officers and seven public servants, will face internal disciplinary action; and
• The remaining 224 people have been cleared of any criminal or internal disciplinary action after it was determined they had been sent the photos after they appeared on social media.
Ms Laidley was in police custody in May 2020 after being arrested and eventually charged with stalking because of repeatedly texting and calling a woman and waiting outside her home.
She pleaded guilty and was put on an adjourned undertaking to be of good behaviour in November.
The AFL icon was coach of North Melbourne from 2003 to 2009.
Her career began as a player for the West Coast Eagles in 1987 before moving to North Melbourne at the end of 1992 where she helped them take the premiership in 1996.
She was coach of North Melbourne for seven years and his since been part of coaching teams at Port Adelaide, St Kilda and Carlton.