Notorious NSW cop returns to dock on murder charge

July 16, 2015 8:16 pm

 Roger
Rogerson and another former NSW officer, Glen McNamara, will go on
trial next week, charged with murdering Jamie Gao. Photo / Thinkstock

He was one of the most notorious police officers of recent times, his
exploits inspiring the hit TV mini-series Blue Murder, but now it is
Roger Rogerson’s turn in the dock.
The former detective sergeant has been charged with murdering a young student and dumping his body off a beach.
In
a case already riveting the NSW police force, the criminal underworld
and the wider Australian public, Rogerson and another former NSW
officer, Glen McNamara, will go on trial next week, charged with
murdering Jamie Gao in what police allege was a botched
multi-million-dollar drug deal.
During his colourful career,
Rogerson, now 73, was rarely far from controversy. He received 13
bravery awards and was lauded for his success in cracking cases, but was
dogged by rumours about his relationship with criminal informants, such
as Arthur “Neddy” Smith, an armed robber and drug kingpin.

Although he shot dead one man (drug dealer Warren Lanfranchi)
and was convicted of killing another (former police officer Michael
Drury), the only charges that ever stuck were perverting the course of
justice and lying to the Police Integrity Commission in 2005.
Until,
perhaps, now. Police investigating the murder of 20-year-old Gao, who
the defence claims belonged to an Asian criminal gang, say they have
security camera footage of Rogerson and McNamara entering a storage unit
in southwestern Sydney with Gao in May last year.
Ten minutes
later, the two former officers were allegedly filmed dragging a silver
surfboard cover out of the lock-up and loading it into the back of a
station wagon. Six days later, Gao’s body was found floating off a
southern Sydney beach.
According to police, officers found nearly 3kg of methamphetamine – worth millions of dollars – in McNamara’s car.
They
allege Gao was lured to the meeting by McNamara and Rogerson, and was
carrying this amount of the drug with him at the time.
Rogerson
was found to have acted in self-defence when he killed Lanfranchi in an
inner-city Sydney alleyway in 1981. His conviction for murdering Drury
in 1984 was overturned on appeal.
He and McNamara have pleaded not guilty to the murder charge, as well as to charges of conspiracy to murder and supplying drugs.
Rogerson worked on celebrated cases in the 1970s involving criminals such as Sydney’s “Toe Cutter Gang”.
After
being dismissed from the force in 1986, Rogerson joined the
entertainment circuit, touring a show called The Good, The Bad and The
Ugly.
He also released a book, entitled The Dark Side, about his murder investigations and his time in jail.
To
the frustration of NSW crime geeks, Blue Murder was not permitted to be
shown in the state until 2001, because of outstanding charges against
Smith.

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