Sacked policeman wins legal fight and right to workers compensation

It is easy to assume that allegations of police wrongdoing are true, and in some cases allegations are no doubt true, but not all. Here we have a case where a police officer was accused of wrongdoing, convicted, later cleared, and then not allowed to return to the job.   It makes no wonder he now suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and is likely to be medically retired.

Pension: Sacked policeman wins legal fight

A SACKED cop who has spent five years fighting to get access to his generous police pension and other entitlements has won his latest legal battle.

The Court of Appeal yesterday ruled Jamie Ross should be reinstated to his job as a constable, a move which entitles him to his police pension on retirement or for poor health, five years back pay and his superannuation.

The 39-year-old, who spent 13 years in the force, will almost certainly not return to the beat and will go on worker’s compensation leave, as he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder.

He was sacked in November, 2008.

At the same time he was ruled eligible to be medically discharged.

Officers who are sacked lose their pensions, while those who are discharged are able to keep them.

Mr Ross, who worked in the Hunter Valley, was sacked after he was convicted of assault for using capsicum spray on a teenager while he was handcuffed in the back of a paddy wagon in 2006.

The assault conviction was overturned five months after his sacking, and he applied to get his job back. Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione has been fighting Mr Ross through the Industrial Relations Commission, arguing that only officers who are fit for duty should be reinstated to their jobs.

Mr Scipione may decide to contest the Court of Appeal decision, taking the case to the High Court, as it has the potential to affect pensions for hundreds of other officers.

Legal sources said the commissioner feared the ruling could create a loophole to be abused by cops to ensure they didn’t lose their pension, which can be as much as 80 per cent of their normal wage.

Officers facing disciplinary action or criminal charges could apply for long-term sick leave or worker’s compensation leave before they were sacked.

Mr Ross is working as a delivery driver for a landscape supply company near Newcastle, awaiting the outcome of his legal battles. He said he continues to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.

“I’m obviously pleased that it went my way but it is quite likely they will appeal,” Mr Ross said.

Mr Scipione did not return calls seeking comment, nor did Police Association president Scott Weber.