Anthony ‘ Tony ‘ Van GORP

Victoria Police Force

Sergeant – Resigned March 2010

30 years service

Stationed at Healesville, Victoria

Suicide – Service Firearm

47 old

Died  22 March 2010

 

Sgt Anthony van GORP, VicPol

Sgt Anthony van GORP, VicPol

Tony van GORP - Facebook photo

Tony van GORP – Facebook photo

 

Location of Healesville Police Station:

 

 

Policeman shot, killed by own gun at Healesville police station

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/policeman-shot-by-own-gun-at-healesville-police-station/story-e6frf7jo-1225844032667

UPDATE 5.36pm: A POLICEMAN found shot dead with his own gun at an outer Melbourne station was under investigation.

The officer-in-charge is believed to have been shot by his own gun at Healesville police station in Melbourne’s outer east about 9.30pm.

Victoria Police named him as Sergeant Anthony Vangorp.

Paramedics arrived to find the sergeant had suffered a gunshot wound to the head and had died at the scene.

A police gun was found nearby.

Emergency crews could not revive him.

The officer, who had more than 30 years’ experience in the force, had been under investigation and tendered his resignation on Friday after a probe into “disciplinary issues”.

The resignation took effect yesterday, and it is believed the officer took his own life after returning to collect his belongings last night.

Other officers at the station had left on an urgent job, leaving him at the station alone, before returning to make the shock discovery.

There are no suspicious circumstances, but Assistant Commissioner Ken Lay told Radio 3AW that investigators would examine how the former officer was able to get access to a police-issue firearm.

He said the death had come as a shock to his colleagues, and that he was well liked and respected.

It is understood the member leaves behind a female partner.

“This is pretty horrible for the local police, for the member’s family and for the broader community,” Mr Lay said.

“He was a well-known member up there. Overall, it’s a pretty sad event,”

He said the officer had spent much of his time in the eastern region in his “30-odd years” of service.

Mr Lay confirmed police management had been talking with the officer last week about “a number of issues”.

But he would not reveal details of the investigation “out of respect to the member, his family and the staff out there”, other than to confirm that it was not a corruption investigation.

He would not comment on suggestions that the officer was going to be sacked if he did not resign.

The homicide squad, ethical standards department and the Coroner are investigating, with police expected to prepare a report for the Coroner.

For more information on depression and to seek help on suicide prevention, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 http://www.lifeline.org.au, SANE Helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263) http://www.sane.org and Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 http://www.beyondblue.org.au.

with Matthew Schulz

 

Police officer found dead in station

Posted by: 3AW Radio | 23 March, 2010 – 9:48 AM

http://www.3aw.com.au/blogs/3aw-generic-blog/police-officer-found-dead-in-station/20100323-qrxj.html

THOMAS HUNTER: The police officer found dead at a station in Melbourne’s outer east last night has been named as Sergeant Anthony Vangorp.

The 47-year-old officer in charge had been under investigation for ‘‘serious discipline matters’’ in the week before his death, Victoria Police confirmed in a statement.

Two officers returning from divisional van duties found Sergeant Vangorp’s body at the Healesville police station about 9.30pm.

He had a gunshot wound to the head, believed to have been inflicted by a police gun, which was found at his side. His death is not being treated as suspicious.

Sergeant Vangorp, a 30-year veteran of the force, was alone in the three-member station at the time.

Deputy Commissioner Ken Lay said Sergeant Vangorp had tendered his resignation last week after being questioned by police management about “a number of issues’’, but not corruption.

He said the sergeant’s resignation became effective yesterday, and an investigation into his death would probe how he had access to a weapon.

‘‘He was actually there [at the police station] collecting his belongings,’’ Mr Lay told radio station 3AW.

‘‘He had spoken to a couple of members who were at the station while he was doing that. They had to sneak out and do a quick job. When they came back they, unfortunately, found what they found.

‘‘This is pretty horrible for the local police, for the member’s family and for the broader community. He was a well-known member up there.’’

It is understood Sergeant Vangorp had two adult children.

For help or information visit beyondblue.org.au, call Suicide Helpline Victoria on 1300 651 251, or Lifeline on 131 114.

 

Blog comments Your Say

  • This is just sad. Sad for his family, sad for his friends, his workmates, for the Police Force and anyone involved. This will seriously change many lives and leave very deep scars and pain for many years to come. My heart go out to his family, friends and to our members, just keep holding that thin blue line…
    Current Member Thursday 8 April, 2010 – 2:16 PM
  • This is just a complete tragedy for the family left behind, including the members. How dare force command act the way they have and wipe the blood from their hands without conscience. Unfortunately, this is not the only member to take his life due to the actions of the force in the last 6 months… so sad, condolences to the family.
    disillusioned tjf Friday 26 March, 2010 – 12:47 AM
  • This is a sad ingigdment on our community, police force and government. Although never a servicing officer I have over the years known many servicing officers and I refuse to use the term “members” as members belong to clubs! This is a true reflection of the political involvement into our once respected police force in Victoria and confirms the assumptions of many that our former and current Chief commiissioner and deputies are nothing more than puppets of the state. Mr. Overland is an appointed CC of the current state government as was his predecessor along with his deputies also, Mr, Lay although a well liked man is unfortunately a yes man that has risen to his current position by his inability to stand his ground on issues where he know’s wrong is being done. Yet he fully accepts his position and standing in the communmity regardless of the current situation within Victoria Police. It is a sad fact that we have so much violence on our streets, disrespect of community and police yet nothing is being proactively done to rectify the issues, just more spin.
    Police force or political representatives?

    Shane Thursday 25 March, 2010 – 9:56 PM
  • this is more politically correct rubbish from the higher up officials , Police officers are just Human and should be able to look at emails as long as they are Not outside the Law that applies to each and everyone of us , No wonder police are leaving faster than they can recruit them
    Wayne Harris Wednesday 24 March, 2010 – 5:47 PM
  • This is just another disgrace by Victoria Police. I was a member for 42 and a half years, I was pushed out the door. I suffered from Post traumatic disorder which came about after being involved in a number of serious incidents over the years including being shot at and other serious issues. I spoke to Christine NIXON prior to my departure about two issues that are close to me. the first being the treatment of our Indigenous Population by Victoria Police, and the second being the treatment of members and the lack of welfare support. Christine did not want to know about anything about it. My issues came to a head after I was forced by an Officer to Lock up a current serving member, who was also a mate of mine, after he found himself in a situation with serious mental health issues brought about by some tragic issues that he had been involved in as part of his work. Vale Tony VAN GORP, a mans man, and another senior member crunched by an unjust employer.
    Brian McCALLUM Wednesday 24 March, 2010 – 5:03 PM
  • This is a disgrace! The Vic Police force is leaving this poor mans family in a shadow of doubt. If all he did was misuse emails why on earth was he forced to resign?? Is this more of passed leaders culture surfacing here??
    alexas Wednesday 24 March, 2010 – 2:02 PM

I think police command have to come clean with this. I smell fish and they should be up front for the sake of the public and the family

  • Julie- Bayswater Wednesday 24 March, 2010 – 2:25 AM
  • My thoughts to the family and even more to the members on duty who are going to be disected and thrown out by ESD who will investigate this incident along with the homocide squad but for them 10 minutes. ESD is the biggest department in the Victoria police and you could easily put an extra 500 police on the street if you cut ESD by 1/3Seious misconduct can be a police officer getting a parking ticket or a speeding fine in his/her private vehicle susequently receiving 2 penalties civil and internal.Police management and ESD have no idea about staff management. ESD has and will always be seen as a path to promotion take down and discredit as many police as you can regardless of the parking ticket and you will fly through the ranks. Someone in ESD is now going to be the next chief commissioner for his tact on this.
    Martin – Chiangmai Wednesday 24 March, 2010 – 2:06 AM
  • So sad Tony. Condolences to your family and collegues. I just hope that your death is not in vain and that a full enquiry into the circumstances of your death are conducted in a proper manner. Those that are responsible for the “Witch-Hunt” that led to this tragedy should hang their heads in shame. ESD should not be investigating this matter. They were the ones who led the investigation into your ALLEGED misdemeanours and should not be allowed to be involved into what will ultimately be another cover-up. The comments by Mr LAY were extremely inappropriate, suggesting that you were under investigation for serious discipline matters. Let him explain what this means, as I believe the community has a different idea.
    Concerned Citizen Tuesday 23 March, 2010 – 8:43 PM

 

Cop mourned

http://mountainviews.starcommunity.com.au/mail/2010-03-30/cop-mourned/

By Kath Gannaway
THE death of Sergeant Tony Van Gorp last week sent shockwaves through the Healesville community.
Tributes have flowed for the popular, community-minded policeman who as officer in charge at Healesville for the past 15 years, played an active role in many community organisations, particularly local schools.
Sgt Van Gorp, 47, was found dead on Monday night (22 March) by two colleagues when they returned to the Healesville police station at around 9.30pm.
Victoria Police confirmed his death just after midnight, stating that a gun was found at the scene and that there were no suspicious circumstances. It was soon also confirmed that he had had taken his own life.
The Melbourne media went into meltdown, and the rumour mill in Healesville followed suit, as it was revealed that Sgt Van Gorp was under investigation for misuse of the police email system.
Speculation was fuelled by the fact that Sgt Van Gorp had tendered his resignation on 18 March after receiving a Section 68 notice from Chief Commissioner Simon Overland.
The notice was one of only two issued by Mr Overland following investigations by the Ethical Standards Department for what were said to be “serious discipline matters”.
A close friend of Sgt Van Gorp has told the Mail he believed the letter was an ultimatum – resign or be sacked.
Much of the reporting on the police email crackdown last week revolved around other investigations being conducted by the ESD relating to racist and pornographic emails which Mr Overland said would shock the community.
He went on record on Thursday however as saying that the email for which he had delivered the section 68 to Sgt Van Gorp was neither racist, nor illegal.
Mr Overland has strongly rejected accusations that the Section 68 was a heavy-handed approach saying the email was sufficiently ‘serious’ to warrant the action.
He gave no indication as to the direction the ESD investigations into Sgt Van Gorp’s matter would now take, or if and when the exact nature of the email would be made known.
More stories on pages 8 and 9

 

 

Anthony van GORP 2 - VicPol - Suicide 22 March 2010

 

 

Police officer’s suicide may have been avoided over email scandal

Simon Overland

Simon Overland has been implicated in the investigation over a police officer’s suicide. Picture: Greg Scullin Source: Herald Sun

UPDATE 3pm: POLICE command says action taken to discipline an officer who later took his own life was “right and proper”.

The Office of Police Integrity is investigating claims that senior police – including Chief Commissioner Simon Overland – overlooked legal advice about how to discipline a police officer who later killed himself.

Healesville sergeant Tony Vangorp fatally shot himself after he was told to expect a Section 68 notice during Operation Barrott, an OPI-Ethical Standards Department probe into pornographic, racist and homophobic emails circulating among police.

The rarely used 68s are rubber-stamped by the Chief Commissioner and demand recipients show cause why they should not be sacked.

The Victorian Government Solicitor’s office is believed to have issued formal advice to senior police that 68s would be inappropriate in those cases. Internal police lawyers gave top brass similar legal advice.

The OPI has been told police may have misapplied their powers by issuing no-confidence notices during the email scandal that swept the force last year.

The officers implicated are Supt Lisa McMeeken, Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius and Mr Overland.

Police Association boss Greg Davies said he was amazed to hear of the allegations Mr Overland had disregarded advice.

“If that’s right and if those actions have contributed in any way, shape or form to the death of Tony Vangorp the Chief Commissioner surely cannot remain in office, then there’s only one person that’s made that decision in blatant disregard for internal and external legal advice that said don’t do it,’’ Snr-Sgt Davies said.

But in a statement released today, a Victoria Police spokesperson said police were confident they had followed proper procedure.

“Victoria Police is confident that the steps taken in relation to Sgt Tony Van Gorp in March last year were right and proper. These included, in recognition of the strong public interest in the matter from the outset, asking OPI to actively oversight our investigations,” the statement said.

“However we do not believe that the interests of the Van Gorp family are well served by further speculation and unseemly criticism in the media.

“The coronial process, in which we have confidence, must be allowed to run its course.”

The spokesperson said police would await the findings of the coronial inquest before making any further comment.

Mr Overland said today he did not ignore legal advice about issuing a disciplinary notice to Sgt Vangorp.

“If there is an OPI investgation into that, that’s fine and I welcome that,’’ he said.

“I have absolutely nothing to fear or hide in relation to that particular case.’’

Mr Overland said he was the only person who could issue the rarely used Section 68 notice, and legal advice surrounding them was often contradictory.

He said Sgt Vangorp resigned after the notice was issued.

Premier Ted Baillieu said today Mr Overland had his full support.

“I haven’t seen the issue in detail but the answer is yes (I have faith in Mr Overland),” he said.

The Herald Sun understands that another 68 issued under Barrott – to a senior detective in Geelong – has been withdrawn.

Senior police were advised that a Section 69 notice, which refers suspect officers to a disciplinary hearing, would be a more suitable way to deal with those caught up in Barrott.

Eight officers were sacked and about 13 others fined or demoted after they were found with vile emails on their computers last year. Several have lodged appeals.

An OPI spokesman last night said the office was “actively oversighting Operation Barrott and associated matters”.

Sgt Vangorp, a 30-year police veteran, shot himself at his police station last March. His death is before the Coroner’s Court.

Of the six 68s issued in Victoria, only one has not been overturned.

In advising against 68 notices, one government solicitor cited a precedent involving a fraud squad member disciplined with a 69 notice for having similarly offensive emails on his computer.

Anyone with personal problems can call Lifeline on 131 114; Victorian Statewide Suicide Helpline on 1300 651 251; or Mensline Australia on 1300 789 978.

crawfordc@heraldsun.com.au
– with Amelia Harris, Stephen McMahon

 

Questions remain

By Kath Gannaway
Sgt van Gorp took his own life five days after receiving a rarely invoked Section 68 notice in relation to a probe into emails circulating among police.
The Section 68 notice demands that the recipient show cause why they should not be sacked.
Victoria Police issued a statement last week in response to claims made in the Herald Sun that the Office of Police Integrity was investigating whether senior police, including Chief Commissioner Simon Overland, had overlooked legal advice about the use of the Section 68.
Another option would have been a Section 69, which refers the recipient to a disciplinary hearing.
Sgt van Gorp’s brother, Fred van Gorp told the Mail he was pleased to hear the OPI was investigating the circumstances around the way his brother was disciplined.
“It is what we were hoping for from the start,” he said.
“The Section 68 is for criminals; police who have committed criminal activity, and what I am gathering from all this is that he should have got a Section 69 instead of the Section 68.”
Victoria Police however say they are confident the steps taken were “right and proper”.
“These included, in recognition of the strong public interest in the matter from the outset, asking OPI to actively oversight our investigations,” the statement said.
“The coronial process, in which we have confidence, must be allowed to run its course.”
Mr van Gorp however said he had not been advised as to whether the police report into his brother’s death had been handed over to the Coroner.
“I have been ringing the police for the last 17 months to find out and we’re still waiting,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Coroner’s Court told the Mail on Friday they could not do anything until the police had finished their part.
“We have not received anything from the police yet that has been logged as at Mid-March,” she said.
Detective Inspector John Potter of the Homicide Squad confirmed on Monday that the brief of evidence was finished, but said it was still under review.
He said that review was an internal police mechanism involving both the OPI and the Ethical Standards Department.
Det Insp Potter said the brief should be with the Coroner by early next month.

 

Inquest

http://mountainviews.starcommunity.com.au/mail/2011-12-06/inquest/

By Kath Gannaway
Sgt van Gorp, 47, took his own life at the Healesville police station on 22 March 2010.
He had resigned from Victoria Police five days earlier, after he was issued with a Section 68 notice of no confidence by then Commissioner of Police Simon Overland.
Sgt van Gorp was under investigation at the time for misuse of the police email system.
Mr Olle told a packed court at a mention hearing on Wednesday 30 November that an inquest into Sgt van Gorp’s death “ … would appear to be the antithesis of what Sergeant van Gorp would have wanted in life”, but did not elaborate on the basis for that statement.
He said the hearing was to help determine whether it was necessary or appropriate to conduct an inquest.
He said the police investigation brief submitted to him was thorough, containing 64 statements and addressing, among other matters the circumstances in which Victoria Police made decisions to serve the Section 68 notice.
He noted that Victoria Police had subsequently made changes to the process involved in serving no-confidence notices.
Mr Olle allowed 14 days for submissions.
“Subject to submissions from interested parties in this matter urging a different view, it appears that the facts and circumstances are clear and that the conduct of an inquest would be beyond the scope of my statutory obligations,” he said.
Sgt Van Gorp’s partner Gayle Shelley and his brother Fred van Gorp were in the court, but declined to comment on the matter pending further submissions.
A further hearing will be held on 16 December.

 

Van Gorp inquest call

By Kath Gannaway and Melissa Meehan
THE Police Association is pushing for an inquest into the apparent suicide of Healesville Sergeant Tony van Gorp.
Theo Cassamatis, representing both the Police Association and partner Gayle Shelley and brother Fred van Gorp, told the Melbourne Coroners Court on Friday that the court brief was just the beginning of the story.
He said without an inquest, the true circumstances of Sgt van Gorp’s death at Healesville Police Station in March last year and the reasons for the way he was treated would not be revealed.
“Unless that question is answered, as to why this man was targeted, whatever amendments are put in place that they are as susceptible to failure or error as those in place when Tony van Gorp was issued with the Section 68 notice,” Mr Cassamatis said.
“The answer why can only be achieved by interrogating those who have made statements.”
Mr Cassamatis dismissed what he called a misconception that an inquest is not what Sgt van Gorp wanted.
“The circumstances surrounding his death have already been aired,” Mr Cassamatis said.
“The people of Healesville know all too well why he ended his life.”
Dr Ian Freckleton SC, representing the Chief Commissioner made the point that some things may come out that could reflect badly on Sgt van Gorp but acknowledged that other than the email incident he had a flawless 32 year history in the force.
Coroner John Olle said he would take both arguments into consideration and come back with a decision in the new year.
Sgt van Gorp’s partner Gayle Shelley and his brother Fred were among family members at the hearing.

 

 

Van Gorp inquest call

By Kath Gannaway and Melissa Meehan
THE Police Association is pushing for an inquest into the apparent suicide of Healesville Sergeant Tony van Gorp.
Theo Cassamatis, representing both the Police Association and partner Gayle Shelley and brother Fred van Gorp, told the Melbourne Coroners Court on Friday that the court brief was just the beginning of the story.
He said without an inquest, the true circumstances of Sgt van Gorp’s death at Healesville Police Station in March last year and the reasons for the way he was treated would not be revealed.
“Unless that question is answered, as to why this man was targeted, whatever amendments are put in place that they are as susceptible to failure or error as those in place when Tony van Gorp was issued with the Section 68 notice,” Mr Cassamatis said.
“The answer why can only be achieved by interrogating those who have made statements.”
Mr Cassamatis dismissed what he called a misconception that an inquest is not what Sgt van Gorp wanted.
“The circumstances surrounding his death have already been aired,” Mr Cassamatis said.
“The people of Healesville know all too well why he ended his life.”
Dr Ian Freckleton SC, representing the Chief Commissioner made the point that some things may come out that could reflect badly on Sgt van Gorp but acknowledged that other than the email incident he had a flawless 32 year history in the force.
Coroner John Olle said he would take both arguments into consideration and come back with a decision in the new year.
Sgt van Gorp’s partner Gayle Shelley and his brother Fred were among family members at the hearing.

 

 

 

 

Tony’s truth unheard

http://mountainviews.starcommunity.com.au/mail/2012-02-21/tonys-truth-unheard/

By Kath Gannaway
THE two people closest to Tony van Gorp, his partner Gayle Shelley, and his brother Fred van Gorp, have maintained a dignified silence over the past two years.
Behind the scenes, they’ve grieved, fought for justice and the reputation of the Healesville police sergeant, and for changes to Victoria Police disciplinary processes to ensure what happened in Healesville on 22 March, 2010, never happens again.
The grieving is their own, but they had hoped that the inquest they and the Victorian Police Association were calling for would deliver the answers and changes they and other police wanted.
As they sat in the Coroner’s Court in Melbourne on Wednesday, 15 February Ms Shelley bowed her head several times as Coroner John Olle read out his decision. Fred van Gorp looked resigned; perhaps even defeated.
With his decision the Coroner put an end to any resolution on the question of accountability of the Chief Commissioner of Police at the time, Simon Overland, and the right or wrong of issuing the Section 68.
“He had 31 years’ experience, but it didn’t seem to account for anything in terms of what happened. Tony was just backed into a corner; he felt like he had nothing else,” Ms Shelley said.
“I was with him when he went to the (Police) Association. He lived on his public image, it was part of him, and when he got the notice, he realised he had let people down, and I suppose he let himself down,” she said.
“He knew there would be consequences … everybody makes mistakes but it (the Section 68) was designed for criminal (behaviour) and what Tony did certainly was not criminal,” she said, adding that she felt those issues have been brushed under the carpet.
Nonetheless, with their usual dignity, they say they have accepted the Coroner’s decision, but hope with the ongoing investigation the Coroner will at the very least address what they believe was a critical failure by Victoria Police – the lack of welfare provided to Sgt van Gorp after the delivery of the Section 68.
Admitting disappointment, he said however the Coroner’s response was a balanced one.
“Hopefully any future findings will ensure this never happens to another police officer again and that anyone put in that position gets adequate support and counselling,” Mr van Gorp said.
“We know now that we are not going to get an inquest, and perhaps we can move on a little bit from there,” he said.
In response to the Coroner’s comment that his findings would include Sgt van Gorp’s presence at the police station on the night of his death, both Ms Shelley and Mr van Gorp reflected with the benefit of hindsight, and say no-one could have known what was coming.
“Tony and Gayle had been planning on going on trips, and he was planning a fishing trip the next day … we didn’t expect it.
“It was a unique position (at Healesville police station) as officer in charge for 15 years, and while that’s probably something that needs to be addressed in the future, I don’t hold anyone (at Healesville) responsible for what happened on that night,” he said.
Ms Shelley said his colleagues had gone through great personal hardship over Sgt van Gorp’s death. “No-one is to blame there,” she said.
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or SANE Helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263).

 

Inquest denied

By Kath Gannaway
THERE will be no inquest into the death two years ago of Healesville Police Sergeant Tony van Gorp.
Sgt van Gorp, 47, was found dead at Healesville Police Station on 22 March, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He was under investigation in relation to misuse of the police email system and had been issued with a Section 68 (no-confidence) notice by the then Chief Commissioner of Police Simon Overland, five days before his death.
Sgt van Gorp’s partner Gayle Shelley and the Police Association had sought an inquest as part of Coroner John Olle’s ongoing investigation, partially to determine why Sgt van Gorp had been singled out by Commissioner Overland for what was seen as harsh and unusual treatment, and to restore his reputation.
Coroner John Olle ruled on Wednesday, 15 February, at the Coroner’s Court in Melbourne that the matters raised were beyond his jurisdiction in terms of an inquest and said he was satisfied that the cause and circumstances of Sgt van Gorp’s death could be established without one.
Coroner Olle said he had considered submissions from Ms Shelley and the Police Association (the applicants), as well as from the Chief Commissioner of Police in making his decision.
He said the basis for the applicants’ submission included a need to determine why the Chief Commissioner had considered dismissal as the appropriate action, to dispel claims that new procedures since introduced were appropriate and to bring about changes to legislation, including the removal of Section 68 notices.
While the submission made by the Chief Commissioner of Police neither argued for or against an inquest, it contended that an examination of the Chief Commissioner’s powers of dismissal were outside the scope of the coroner’s jurisdiction and that there was no evidence of systematic defects which needed to be explored as part of an inquest.
In relation to Sgt van Gorp’s reputation, he said the reputation of an individual was outside both the scope and legitimate purpose of an inquest, and outside the control of the coronial process.
“How matters are reported in the media cannot be controlled and have the potential to be very disturbing and intrusive to family members,” he said.
He said having examined the 963-page brief of evidence, he found no evidence to suggest that anyone who knew Sgt van Gorp thought less of him as a result of his behaviour.
While Ms Shelley said she was sceptical about the submissions put forward by the Commissioner of Police, and that she felt the issues around the Section 68 notice had been swept under the carpet, she said she accepted the decision.
Police Association secretary Greg Davies said the association was still vehemently opposed to the Section 68 process and had been in negotiations with the government in terms of a range of issues that needed to be addressed by the government, rather than by police. He said those negotiations were continuing.
He noted that the coroner had said his preliminary view was that the facts and circumstances of Sgt van Gorp’s death were clear and that an inquest was beyond his statutory obligations.On the matter of whether there was a systematic defect (in issuing the section 68) Mr Davies said the door was not closed on that question.
“He (the Coroner) is not saying there is no systematic defect, but that there is no systematic defect that requires an inquest. He may determine independently of an inquest that there is, or he may not,” he said.
He said the association accepted the coroner’s decision and would wait on the outcome of the investigation to see what end result would be. Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or SANE Helpline on 1800 18 SANE (7263).
>>> For more on Van Corp inquest issue see Page 3.

 

 

Partner wins compensation over police sergeant’s suicide

The former de-facto wife of a respected 30-year policeman who shot himself at work has won a six-figure compensation payout from Victoria Police’s WorkCover insurer.

One of Sergeant Tony Van Gorp’s children will also receive compensation after police settled both claims before a contested County Court trial this week.

Sergeant Van Gorp died on March 22, 2010, at the Healesville Police Station five days after he was served with a notice of proposed dismissal for misconduct.

Then chief commissioner Simon Overland issued the notice after Sergeant Van Gorp, 47, was found to have received, stored and sent pornographic and inappropriate emails.

Gayle Shelley told Fairfax Media she was relieved the case was resolved, but was “extremely disappointed” that Mr Overland “elected to single Tony out so dramatically”.

“Tony was a dedicated member of the Victoria Police Force for 30 years and we now want to honour the work that he did and the person who he was,” she said.

A coroner later found that “everyone, including police colleagues, appeared to agree with (Sergeant Van Gorp) that the (notice) was ‘heavy handed’ for the behaviour he engaged in”.

In his findings last May, published today by The Age for the first time, the coroner John Olle said that in the days before his death he was very well supported by family, friends and colleagues.

Sergeant Van Gorp had regarded his behaviour as stupid but thought the notice was “heavy handed”, Mr Olle said.

He said it was clear he was “suffering” from the abrupt end of his career – his resignation was accepted and effective on March 27 – but no one, including a doctor and a psychologist, believed he was at risk of self harm.

He found that the “evidence suggests that Victoria Police were aware” the effect of the notice of Sergeant Van Gorp would be “shocking”.

Mr Olle further said that central to his actions on the night of his death was that he believed “people would think less of him “over the notice but that his perspective “on this matter was not supported by the evidence …”

Ms Shelley, who had been Sergeant Van Gorp’s partner since 2004, sued after Victoria Police’s insurer rejected her initial claim.

A major dispute between the parties centred on the appropriateness of the dismissal procedure, whether it caused or contributed to any mental injury and exposed Sergeant Van Gorp to the risk of harm.

Ms Shelley’s lawyer, Craig Sidebottom, of Slater & Gordon, told Fairfax Media that the “manner in which Victoria Police dealt with Tony was both unprecedented and heavy handed”.

“The power of dismissal that resided in s68 of the Police Regulation Act should have only be exercised by the Chief Commissioner very sparingly and ought be reserved for cases involving major corruption or criminal offence.

“Section 68 is a draconian provision. There were far better alternatives available to the Chief Commissioner when dealing with these issues.”

A police spokeswoman told Fairfax Media that ‘‘as Victoria Police is not a party to the proceedings, it is not for us to comment’’.

‘‘Tony Van Gorp’s death was a tragedy and Victoria Police extend our sympathy to his family and friends,’’ the spokeswoman added.

 

 

Partner wins compensation over police sergeant’s suicide

Date  

Steve Butcher

 EXLUSIVE

The former de-facto wife of a respected 30-year policeman who shot himself at work has won a six-figure compensation payout from Victoria Police’s WorkCover insurer.

One of Sergeant Tony Van Gorp’s children will also receive compensation after police settled both claims before a contested County Court trial this week.

Sergeant Van Gorp died on March 22, 2010, at the Healesville Police Station five days after he was served with a notice of proposed dismissal for misconduct.

Then chief commissioner Simon Overland issued the notice after Sergeant Van Gorp, 47, was found to have received, stored and sent pornographic and inappropriate emails.

Gayle Shelley told Fairfax Media she was relieved the case was resolved, but was “extremely disappointed” that Mr Overland “elected to single Tony out so dramatically”.

“Tony was a dedicated member of the Victoria Police Force for 30 years and we now want to honour the work that he did and the person who he was,” she said.

A coroner later found that “everyone, including police colleagues, appeared to agree with (Sergeant Van Gorp) that the (notice) was ‘heavy handed’ for the behaviour he engaged in”.

In his findings last May, published today by The Age for the first time, the coroner John Olle said that in the days before his death he was very well supported by family, friends and colleagues.

Sergeant Van Gorp had regarded his behaviour as stupid but thought the notice was “heavy handed”, Mr Olle said.

He said it was clear he was “suffering” from the abrupt end of his career – his resignation was accepted and effective on March 27 – but no one, including a doctor and a psychologist, believed he was at risk of self harm.

He found that the “evidence suggests that Victoria Police were aware” the effect of the notice of Sergeant Van Gorp would be “shocking”.

Mr Olle further said that central to his actions on the night of his death was that he believed “people would think less of him “over the notice but that his perspective “on this matter was not supported by the evidence …”

Ms Shelley, who had been Sergeant Van Gorp’s partner since 2004, sued after Victoria Police’s insurer rejected her initial claim.

A major dispute between the parties centred on the appropriateness of the dismissal procedure, whether it caused or contributed to any mental injury and exposed Sergeant Van Gorp to the risk of harm.

Ms Shelley’s lawyer, Craig Sidebottom, of Slater & Gordon, told Fairfax Media that the “manner in which Victoria Police dealt with Tony was both unprecedented and heavy handed”.

“The power of dismissal that resided in s68 of the Police Regulation Act should have only be exercised by the Chief Commissioner very sparingly and ought be reserved for cases involving major corruption or criminal offence.

“Section 68 is a draconian provision. There were far better alternatives available to the Chief Commissioner when dealing with these issues.”

A police spokeswoman told Fairfax Media that ‘‘as Victoria Police is not a party to the proceedings, it is not for us to comment’’.

‘‘Tony Van Gorp’s death was a tragedy and Victoria Police extend our sympathy to his family and friends,’’ the spokeswoman added.

http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/partner-wins-compensation-over-police-sergeants-suicide-20130409-2hjhz.html

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