Convicted: Book thrown at former cops

TWO disgraced Wodonga policemen who concocted an elaborate plot to get one of them out of a $244 speeding infringement have been convicted and fined.

Melbourne magistrate Luisa Bazzani said the case served as a stern warning to all public officials that they were not above the law.

Ben Hamilton, a former senior constable and dux of his 2003 police squad, was fined $5000.

His close mate Mark Deegan, a former leading senior constable, was fined $4000.

Yesterday they appeared via video link from Wangaratta.

Each had pleaded guilty on Wednesday to misconduct in public office.

Hamilton also pleaded guilty to a speeding charge.

Charges of conspiring to and attempting to pervert the course of justice were dropped.

A third officer, who cannot be named, has pleaded not guilty to related charges.

Hamilton and Deegan were decorated officers with unblemished records when they “foolishly” concocted a story to get Hamilton off a speeding fine in July last year, Ms Bazzani said.

A speed camera detected Hamilton’s private car travelling at

134km/h in the 110km/h zone of the Hume Freeway between High Street and Melrose Drive, Wodonga, as the pair made their way back from a semi-automatic pistol transition course at Wangaratta.

When he received a fine and a one-month driving ban in the mail a few months later, Hamilton, 37, did not want to end up stuck behind the Wodonga police station desk due to the licence suspension, so he devised a plan with his mate to get off.

He and Deegan, 46, came up with a story that Hamilton had been trying to catch up to a known criminal whom they had seen driving ahead of them on the night in question.

Deegan later used the internal police database, LEAP, to look up personal details of a known criminal, the officers then telling their superior officers that they had spotted the man speeding.

Ben Hamilton and Mark Deegan.

Ben Hamilton and Mark Deegan.