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A NSW Police inspector, whose identity is to be kept secret by the courts for 40 years, will fight charges he drunkenly crashed his car in the NorthConnex tunnel after allegedly downing more than 20 drinks at work events in Sydney.
The man, who holds a senior role in the police force, did not appear for his first court hearing – and the courts refused to release basic information about the allegations against him.
Detective Inspector “AB” was charged in November over the drink-driving crash in Sydney’s NorthConnex.
Nine News and the Herald last month revealed the inspector had allegedly crashed a work car at about 2am on May 13, 2023, after drinking at work functions in The Rocks.
The inspector allegedly drove the damaged Kia Sorento to a nearby street in Wahroonga and abandoned the vehicle.
Warwick Anderson, solicitor for AB, entered not guilty pleas on the inspector’s behalf on Thursday.Credit: Emma Partridge
He was charged with high-range drink-driving and driving under the influence one day before a six-month time limit would have prevented charges being laid.
NSW Police convinced Hornsby Local Court, using secret evidence, to suppress the inspector’s name to the letters “AB” for 40 years early this month despite a legal challenge by the Herald.
Inspector AB was not legally required to appear at Hornsby Local Court on Thursday when the drink-driving case came before a magistrate for the very first time.
Instead, AB’s high-profile police lawyer Warwick Anderson appeared in court on his behalf and entered pleas of not guilty.
Anderson told the court he had been negotiating with the Director of Public Prosecutions, which is conducting the case. The full brief of evidence, which contains the police case against AB, had yet to be provided to Anderson before the court met on Thursday.
The registry at Hornsby Local Court refused to release the charge notices which contain the basic allegations against AB including the time and location of the crash.
The court said the documents could not be released because of the suppression orders made earlier this month.
The case will return to court early next year.
Last week the Herald revealed documents showing AB had filled out internal police forms about the crash which omitted any mention of alcohol.
The form submitted by AB was used to create an insurance claim which was initially approved – until senior police blew the whistle on AB’s alleged drinking.
The insurance claim lodged by Inspector AB in August omitted any reference to alcohol in the NorthConnex crash.
CCTV of AB at two venues in The Rocks allegedly captures him consuming more than 23 standard drinks.
A specialty intoxication report, ordered by the police investigating the crash, concluded AB’s blood alcohol level would likely have been five to six times the legal limit.
But AB wrote on his form that he “fell asleep” at the wheel, and made no mention of drinking before the crash.
Internal documents show more than $40,000 of damage was caused to a crash barrier in NorthConnex.
The unmarked and heavily modified police vehicle, allegedly crashed by AB in May, sat in a holding yard until October as police investigated the crash. It was considered a write-off, and the total value of the damage to the vehicle is not known.
The insurance bill, AB later said to a very senior officer, was likely $100,000.
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