Dumped ex-top NT cop denied affair
A former Northern Territory police commissioner denied having a sexual relationship with a travel agent under investigation for corruption when confronted about it by his successor, a court has heard.
John McRoberts is charged with perverting the course of justice over an investigation into former Crimestoppers NT chair Xana Kamitsis, and faces a maximum 15-year jail term if found guilty.
McRoberts was forced to stand down in January 2015 for allegedly derailing the case into the former Latitude Travel boss, who was jailed for fraud in December that year.
But at McRoberts' committal hearing at Darwin Local Court on Monday, current Police Commissioner Reece Kershaw said McRoberts denied ever having an affair with Kamitsis.
The court heard that McRoberts refused permission to execute a search warrant on Latitude Travel, but while he was away in November 2014 officers arrested Kamitsis and "paraded" her in front of the media.
Mr Kershaw, who was acting police commissioner at the time, said he wasn't briefed about the highly publicised raid and was "shocked" when the chief minister's media adviser called him saying Kamitsis was "sitting in a cell".
Mr Kershaw said when he quizzed his superior about the romance allegations, McRoberts reassured him they weren't true.
"He was very taken aback," Mr Kershaw said.
The court heard six months earlier McRoberts revealed that he "mixed in social circles" with Kamitsis, who had been identified as one of 27 individuals allegedly rorting a pensioner travel concession scheme to the tune of $5 million.
However, Mr Kershaw said at the time he believed it was "no impediment to the investigation".
"Mr McRoberts said 'if she has to be charged, she has to be charged'," he said.
"In my mind there was no issue. That did not alarm me at all or cause me any concern at that point in time."
Mr Kershaw said he wasn't suspicious of McRoberts' hesitance to execute the search warrant as he agreed there were "reasonable questions" that needed answering first.
"Certainly I was ready to go but I was lower down (in rank)," he said.
"It's pretty daunting to go against the commissioner... you would not normally push through unless it was a life and death situation."
Corrections Commissioner Mark Payne also gave evidence, saying when he as then assistant commissioner searched Kamitsis' phone, he found no signs of a tip-off about the investigation from anyone.
Kamitsis was released from prison into home detention last November after serving time for ripping off the NT government of more than $120,000.
High-profile witnesses including former chief minister Adam Giles are expected to give evidence during the three-day proceedings, where Judge John Neill will decide whether McRoberts has a case to answer in the Supreme Court.