ICAC finds corrupt conduct against Corrective Services Officer

Tuesday 27 July 2010

The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has made corrupt conduct findings against Senior Corrective Services Officer, Sebastian Wade, for smuggling and attempting to smuggle contraband including alcohol and cannabis to inmates at the John Marony Correctional Centre (JMCC).

In its report on the Investigation into the smuggling of contraband into the John Morony Correctional Centre, released today, the Commission found that on at least four occasions between mid-2009 and January 2010 Mr Wade obtained contraband from associates of two inmates and gave them to the inmates in return for payment ranging from $300 to $1,000.

His attempt to smuggle contraband into the centre on another occasion for a third inmate was aborted when the ICAC alerted NSW Police and he was apprehended and arrested.

The Commission is of the opinion that consideration should be given to obtaining the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) with respect to prosecuting Mr Wade for offences of receiving corrupt payments from associates of three inmates, and offences of giving false or misleading evidence to the ICAC. The Commission is also of the opinion that Corrective Services NSW (CSNSW) should give consideration to taking disciplinary action against Mr Wade with a view to his dismissal.

The Commission's report notes that the security manager at JMCC received information from an inmate on 27 April 2009 that Mr Wade was being paid $500 to bring steroids and prohibited drugs into the centre for inmates. On 10 June 2009, the ICAC received a report from the Commissioner for Corrective Services containing this information.

During the course of the Commission's inquiry, the ICAC's lawful surveillance activities found there was a likelihood that Mr Wade would attempt to smuggle contraband into the JMCC on 25 January 2010. The Commission alerted the NSW Police and Mr Wade was subsequently apprehended and searched by the Police shortly after entering the centre. The Police found a quantity of cannabis and a bottle containing alcohol in his possession. The Commission later found that Mr Wade intended to take these materials into the JMCC and give them to an inmate in return for payment.

The ICAC has made 14 corruption prevention recommendations to improve the security measures at correctional centres with a view to preventing this type of behaviour, including that CSNSW uses passive alert dogs during random searches of custodial correctional officers while the officers are on parade at the start of their shift, in addition to any other occasions where random searches using passive alert dogs might be performed. The Commission also recommends that CSNSW uses passive alert dogs as part of random searches of staff lockers and staff vehicles.

Another recommendation is that the Premier introduces an amendment to the Public Sector Employment and Management Act 2002, and any other relevant legislation, to give the Commissioner of CSNSW non-reviewable powers to remove custodial corrections officers on the basis of a loss of confidence in an officer's suitability to continue as a corrections officer, similar to the power currently held by the Commissioner for NSW Police under the NSW Police Act 1900.
 
The Commission held a public inquiry as part of this investigation over three days between 27 and 30 April 2010, at which Commissioner the Hon David Ipp AO QC presided.

Fact sheet 

Investigation report