Cop with PTSD told to retire or face being sacked

A FORMER Rockhampton police officer diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder was told he would be sacked if he did not retire, a court has heard.

Details emerged on Friday in Brisbane Supreme Court about how former Rockhampton cop Mark O'Donnell's employer ordered him to be assessed by a psychiatrist to determine whether he was fit to work.

This order came after his employer raised suspicions about Mr O'Donnell's condition and post-traumatic stress diagnosis.

After assessing Mr O'Donnell, the psychiatrist sent a report to the police bosses deeming the officer unfit for work.

Mr O'Donnell was then told to retire or he would be dismissed, the court heard and he has taken his former bosses at the time, police deputy commissioner Brett Pointing and the police commissioner Ian Stewart, to the Supreme Court to review the decision.

The laws surrounding the commissioner's ability to dismiss the officer were debated during Friday's court hearing.

The commissioners' barrister Patrick McCafferty argued the police bosses were legally allowed to make the decision based on the medical report.

But Mr O'Donnell's barrister Matt Black argued this denied his client natural justice because Mr O'Donnell was not entitled to view the psychiatrist's report.

Mr Black also argued the commissioner did not consider whether Mr O'Donnell could be transferred to another position.

"There is no reference to consideration of alternative appointment or a question of whether the applicant would be sufficiently fit for alternative appointment," he said.

But Mr McCafferty argued Mr O'Donnell had opportunities to gather his own medical assessments but he did not.

He also said the commissioner was not obliged to give Mr O'Donnell the psychiatrist's report.

"There is no obligation on the commissioner or the prescribed authority to have regard to anything else other than the content of the report in the exercise of discretion (in the legislation)," he said.

The court also heard Mr O'Donnell had faced previous disciplinary action within the police force.

- APN NEWSDESK



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