An employee searched her boss’ office for evidence in an investigation into an alleged nepotism scandal at the request of Queensland’s corruption watchdog, a court has heard.
In September 2014, the chief executive of the state’s largest public hospital service, Malcolm Frederick Stamp, was removed from his post amid allegations that he dishonestly arranged a job for his daughter Katy.
During their investigation, the Crime and Corruption Commission asked an employee of Metro North Hospital and Health Services to search Stamp’s office without any supervision, a committal hearing heard.
Four years after a warrant was issued for his arrest, Stamp, 69, arrived from the UK for the Brisbane Magistrates’ Court hearing which was adjourned until October.
Stamp’s defense team is expected to ask the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to drop the corruption charges after the last witness in the hearing – former CCC investigator Wayne Michael Steinhardt – appeared on Wednesday.
Senior Detective Sergeant Steinhardt – now with Queensland Police – said he believed Stamp’s office had been secured and relevant documents had been gathered for the CCC investigation.
But he said the unsupervised MNHHS employee was the only one who searched Stamp’s office after being questioned by the CCC.
“Did you or anyone under your direction actually enter the office and see if it remained secure?” asked defense attorney Saul Holt.
“No,” replied Detective Sergeant Steinhardt, who oversaw the CCC investigation.
“So the search of the office and securing of documents was done entirely by the Metro North civilian?” asked Mr. Holt.
“Correct,” said Detective Sergeant Steinhardt.
Stamp kept “old school” documentation as CEO of Metro North in A4 notepads containing handwritten notes, the court heard.
Det Sen Sgt Steinhardt agreed that they were “the kind of notes you want” for a CCC investigation.
But he said he was unaware of or involved in any effort to find any notepads in Stamp’s office or to check to see if the employee had missed any.
He was also unaware that two of Stamp’s notebooks that had originally been retrieved by the employee were now missing.
Det Sen Sgt Steinhardt was also reprimanded for telling the DPP that Stamp did not want to be interviewed by the CCC.
He was shown correspondence documentation indicating a willingness to cooperate with CCC from Stamp’s lawyers over the next few years, including a 24-page letter sent in November 2014.
“My understanding, based on the … letter, was that Mr. Stamp was not prepared to participate in a face-to-face interview with me,” Detective Sen Sgt Steinhardt said.
“The letter … was written in such a way that it acted as a face-to-face interview (and) any questions I had were to be emailed to his attorney.”
However, he confirmed that he had sent correspondence to Stamp’s attorneys in response to the letter and again in December 2014 indicating that he could arrange an interview.
He had no further contact with Stamp’s lawyers before leaving the CCC unit in July 2016.
Det Sen Sgt Steinhardt agreed that lawyers stayed in touch telling him that Stamp had to return to the UK in January 2015 due to visa dramas after he was sacked by Metro North.
Mr Holt questioned why newspapers were reporting that Stamp had fled the country and was a ‘fugitive’.
“He tells you he’s leaving the country, that’s the antithesis of running away isn’t it?” he said.
“When the media started reporting this nonsense, what did the CCC do about it?”
“It wasn’t my problem,” Detective Sergeant Steinhardt said.