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Governor drops inquiry into gross misconduct allegations against former Police Commissioner

Former Commissioner of Police Stephen Corbishley (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

The Governor has dropped an inquiry into allegations of gross misconduct against Stephen Corbishley, the former Commissioner of Police, The Royal Gazette can reveal.

Rena Lalgie wrote to Pc Robert Butterfield, the police officer whose complaints about Mr Corbishley’s conduct prompted the investigation, on Monday to tell him her decision.

In the letter, Ms Lalgie said she had been advised that the legislation under which the inquiry was launched no longer applied since Mr Corbishley resigned on October 1 last year.

She referred to complaints made by Mr Butterfield in January and February 2021 and to the investigation she subsequently ordered under the Police (Conduct) Orders 2016. Mr Butterfield also made earlier complaints.

The Governor said the advice she received was that “in law, one of two consequences flow from this: either the Police (Conduct) Orders 2016 no longer apply so that there is no longer any power to continue an investigation or, at the very least, that there is now no power to take any further action at the conclusion of an investigation.”

Ms Lalgie added: “ … I think it is right to let you know that, in the circumstances, no further investigation of the allegations made is legally permissible or appropriate and, thus, the matter is now closed.”

Mark Monk, another police officer who made misconduct allegations against Mr Corbishley, received an e-mail from Government House on Tuesday advising him of the Governor’s decision to end the inquiry.

Both officers made their complaints about Mr Corbishley while suspended because of criminal and internal investigations into allegations that they made public a confidential court document with information about the commissioner’s private life.

Their homes were raided and phones and other electronic equipment were seized during the criminal inquiry.

The two officers denied wrongdoing and the criminal investigation was dropped without any charges being brought against them.

Mr Butterfield and Mr Monk told The Royal Gazette of their disappointment yesterday.

Mr Butterfield said: “I hold the Governor in high regard and appreciate her efforts as part of her duties to ensure those in high office are held to account.”

He added he was concerned that the investigation concerning Mr Corbishley was being discontinued.

Mr Butterfield said that in general, there should be a process by which those in high office could be held to high standards “without having to involve the Governor in the first instance”.

Mr Monk said that as well as complaints about Mr Corbishley, he and his wife, Tricia, had filed grievances about the conduct of Darrin Simons, the acting Commissioner of Police, and Gillian Murray, the former head of police discipline, but had heard nothing from Government House.

“We feel let down by the complaints system since nobody is being held accountable,” Mr Monk said.

He added: “Justice for us has been denied with the closing of my complaint about him.

“As we have had justice denied, we will be pursuing civil remedies to have these matters resolved.”

Ms Lalgie appointed former police officer Andrew Bermingham to carry out the investigation into Mr Corbishley’s conduct.

The Gazette understands that Mr Bermingham completed his inquiry and passed a report to the Governor late last year.

The newspaper has requested the report under public access to information legislation and a decision is due from the Deputy Governor by February 16.

There was no response from Government House to a request for comment yesterday.