PERTH PM [AAP]
WA Police have been accused of abusing their power by illegally detaining one of the men charged over the notorious Evil 8 case in which a girl was pimped out by her own father.
Two detectives admitted in the District Court to breaching WA’s criminal act when they kept Alfred John Impicciatore, 46, detained beyond the six-hour limit after arresting him on May 14, 2015.
The police could be humiliated in one of the state’s most high profile court cases if a decision due on Friday goes against them and their video interview with Impicciatore is deemed inadmissible.
He has pleaded not guilty to various charges, including sexually penetrating a child.
However, police say he made admissions about committing sexual crimes in the video interview.
Those confessions were made after the six-hour limit.
Detective Natalie Wynen organised for her manager, Senior Detective John McTernan, who helped arrest Impicciatore, to authorise an extension of his detention so she could interview him for longer.
However, such authorisations must be made by an independent police officer not involved in the investigation.
Impicciatore’s lawyer Mara Barone said it was a serious breach of powers by police officers desperate for a confession because they lacked evidence to charge him.
‘It is no excuse not to know the law,’ she said in the District Court in Perth.
‘And when it comes to matters of police abusing powers, it is not just a technical requirement to have an independent senior officer and impartial mind for authorising detaining a suspect.’
Det Sgt McTernan said it was an oversight on his part but he was aware of the law while Det Wynen said she was not aware of it.
It emerged the forms used by police to extend the detention of suspects do not specify that an independent signature is needed.
Prosecution lawyer Justin Whalley said it should be treated as a minor breach of the act because Impicciatore had been interviewed for less than half an hour past the six-hour limit and the detectives’ mistake was an honest one.
The other men in the case charged with abusing and drugging the girl, aged 11 to 13 at the time, include her father and five other men who are serving prison terms.