State’s top cop grilled over horse racing interests
Police commissioner Mick Fuller has defended his past ownership of racehorses, rejecting suggestions of a potential conflict of interest.
Appearing at a NSW Budget Estimates hearing yesterday, the state's top cop was grilled over whether it was appropriate for police to have "interests in the gambling industry" given they had a role in policing the industry.
In responding to the questions by Greens MLC David Shoebridge who was chairing the hearing, Mr Fuller confirmed he had owned "two per cent of a trotter and two per cent of two racehorses, I think".
He said he had held racehorse syndicates with other police, but that he no longer held those interests. Mr Fuller denied suggestions he had ever had any interests in horses connected with controversial racehorse owner Damion Flower, the owner of successful sprinter Snitzel.
In responding to the questions, Mr Fuller joked how his professional counterparts were able to own racehorses.
"Judges can own them, politicians can own them, but poor battling police commissioners can't do anything," he said.
The grilling led to a colourful exchange between Mr Shoebridge and Police Minister David Elliott who interjected when Mr Fuller was asked about possible conflicts of interest.
Asked whether Mr Fuller had sought advice on "whether or not owning racehorses or being involved in the … gambling industry, may have a conflict of interest" in his job as police commissioner, Mr Elliott declared: "Excuse me, Mr Shoebridge, the Queen owns racehorses. Are you suggesting that she is not ethical?"
Mr Shoebridge also asked Mr Fuller if police were banned from owning shares in The Star, with the police boss - who declared he personally had no interests in the casino - stating he was unaware of any prohibition.
"I don't have any shares, if that's the question," he said.
"I think that the lack of faith in NSW Police is disappointing.
Asked after the hearing about his past racing interests, Mr Fuller said: "I wish I'd owned a winning horse."
Originally published as State's top cop grilled over horse racing interests