Police officer who breath-tested his own wife at crash scene but failed to charge her when she was three times over the limit loses bid to get his job back
- Police man let his wife off the hook after she tested over legal limit after crash
- The man lost an appeal for his job to be reinstated after he failed to charge her
- Queensland tribunal heard the public confidence in police needed to be upheld
A former policeman who failed to charge his wife for drink-driving after testing her at the scene of an accident has failed in his bid to get his job back.
Benjamin Shannon, 29, had appealed to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal last month after the Assistant Commissioner of Police called for his dismissal last year as a result of the incident.
But his appeal was rebuffed after the tribunal heard that reinstating him to serve as a police officer would ‘undermine public confidence in the integrity of officers and the service’.
The then-Senior Constable was called to Mount Louisa in Townsville, in far-north Queensland, by his then-wife, Amber Rose Shannon, after she crashed her car in June 2019.
Mr Shannon (pictured) pleaded guilty to one count of refusal by a public officer to perform his duty, before being stood down from his job by the Assistant Commissioner of Police last year
Shannon arrived at the scene and breath-tested his now ex-wife while another officer stayed in the police vehicle.
She blew 0.14 – or three times over the legal limit – but Shannon had put the breathalyser in ‘training mode’ which meant the reading couldn’t be downloaded properly.
He then failed to charge her for the offence.
The ex-cop pleaded guilty to one count of refusal by a public officer to perform his duty at Townsville Magistrates Court in 2020 and slapped with a $2,500 fine.
He was subsequently stood down from the Queensland Police Service for misconduct in March 2021.
The court heard that Mr Shannon had suffered a loss of $8,000 along with being publicly humiliated as a result of the case.
At his appeal the tribunal heard he had no previous disciplinary problems during his seven years as an officer, but it accepted there were critical failures in Mr Shannon’s decision-making process at the time.
His use of police resources also was a factor in the tribunal’s decision to uphold his dismissal.
‘The aggravating feature in Mr Shannon’s matter was that the behaviour occurred whilst he was on duty, involved the use of a police-issued alcometer and enabled his wife to avoid a possible charge of driving under the influence of alcohol,’ a tribunal member said.
Mr Shannon’s wife tested at three times over the legal limit but he failed to charge her for the offence