Aaron Bunch Journalist with Australian Associated Press | Collection of published work | + 61 484 008 119 | abunch@aap.com.au

Aaron Bunch
Qld police to appeal DV leaker’s sentence

Queensland police have sought permission to appeal the sentence handed to an officer for computer hacking after a court reduced the punishment.

September 28, 2020

Queensland police will attempt to appeal the sentence handed to an officer who leaked the address of a domestic violence survivor to her ex-husband.

Neil Glen Punchard, 54, used police computers to access restricted information about a friend and his ex-wife, who were going through an bitter break-up.

He received a wholly suspended two-month jail sentence last October after pleading guilty to nine counts of computer hacking in 2013 and 2014.

Punchard appealed the harshness of the sentence, saying he should have been fined with no conviction recorded.

District Court Judge Craig Chowdhury on September 1 agreed, ordering Punchard be sentenced to 100 hours of community service on one charge and 40 hours on another.

On another two charges he was convicted, but not further punished and no convictions were recorded.

The Queensland Police Service on Monday said it had sought leave to appeal Judge Chowdhury’s judgment.

“The decision to lodge the appeal was reached after careful consideration of the judgment and independent legal advice,” a spokesman said in a statement.

“This has taken some time due to the seriousness of this matter and the need to give it thorough consideration.”

Once the appeal process has been finalised, Commissioner Katarina Carroll will consider if Punchard can remain employed by QPS.

He remains suspended from duty.

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