Farrell to be sentenced on Wednesday for information leaks
A DISGRACED state crime detective, who repeatedly leaked confidential NSW police intelligence to members of the Coffs Harbour community, is facing the prospect of jail time.
A Sydney judge has two days to decide whether Anthony John Farrell should spend time in prison or be released on a suspended sentence for the events which led to his arrest in May, 2011.
Documents tendered in court on Monday revealed he accessed seven intelligence reports on his friend - local businessman and body-building champion Andrew MacLeod - who was under police investigation for the alleged importation of steroids.
In one call, Farrell told his friend he was on a cycle of the substance Ethanate, was ready for another and wanted to know if MacLeod has "got any sh*t".
MacLeod said he had a product available - Stenazol.
Farrell goes on to say a man with the nickname "Billy Dollar" has been "busted" recently for possessing ethanate.
When MacLeod responds "That's scary, I feel like crawling into a hole and burning everything", Farrell says "Oh, it's not worth standing in a hole, mate, I'll always give you a heads up if I see that you're under notice cause I get all the...intel reports and stuff".
After receiving a call from MacLeod saying "Oh mate, I just had a bloody...heart attack" because he had been pulled over and searched by a highway patrol officer, Farrell promises to "look a bit harder" but warns he won't talk on the phone because "you never know what's going on".
Soon after, investigating police discovered Farrell had accessed seven intelligence reports relating to MacLeod on the police database system COPS.
A jury found MacLeod guilty last year of making a collusive agreement with a NSW Police Officer.
His suspended jail sentence is currently the subject of an appeal.
Within the offending period Farrell disclosed personal information about a person on the COPS system to another man.
He wrote in a text message that the person in question had a "big DV (domestic violence) history" but "no mental health, only depression" and warned "Info for ur (sic) eyes only, then delete dude".
He also gave a female Coffs Harbour retail worker the licence number and home address of a Woolgoolga customer who was the subject of a dispute over hired equipment.
Supported by his wife Angela and a full gallery of family and friends, Farrell remained expressionless as his defence barrister painted a picture of a man "of good character" whose dream career as a cop had been cut short.
He told the court Farrell would have to be placed in protective custody should he be sent to jail and asked the judge to consider a suspended sentence on the grounds of exceptional circumstances.
He said Farrell's quadriplegic sister relied on him to care for her and argued he had shown remorse by voluntarily resigning from the force in November last year and offering to give evidence in the prosecution of MacLeod.
He also argued and that his client may have been "boasting" to MacLeod without actually intending on following through on his offer to access information.
Judge Colin Phegan said that submission did not help his client as it suggested he was "not only corrupt but untrustworthy" if he didn't intend on carrying out an undertaking given to a friend.
He also questioned whether Farrell would have, in fact, enjoyed a long career in the police force as earlier evidence suggested he was struggling to deal with the trauma of child abuse cases and, as his wife had said in a statement, his job had "sucked the life out of him".
The Crown Prosecutor argued Farrell's circumstances were more serious than his co-accused as he had been a police officer, as opposed to a civilian, and the agreement reached between the two had been initiated by Farrell.
She said there was "limited evidence of remorse" and Farrell had been "more than happy" to release information on a number of occasions, even when the recipients said things like "I don't want to get you in trouble".
She also rejected the suggestion Farrell should not serve time because of his sister's circumstances and said third parties "always" experienced hardship when a family member went to jail.
Farrell will be sentenced on Wednesday afternoon.
See a special report on this case in this Saturday's Coffs Coast Advocate.