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Major Victoria police bungle could see Dani Laidley court case thrown out after swearing-in error

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How a major police bungle could see the court case against a detective accused of leaking photos of Dani Laidley in a blonde wig and lipstick thrown out

  • Case against cop who allegedly leaked photos of Dani Laidley could collapse
  • A major police administration error has interrupted proceedings on Thursday 
  • Cops in case against Det Murray Gentner may not have been properly sworn in
  • Administration bungle means officers may have been working without authority 


A police administration bungle could see the high profile court case against the detective accused of leaking photos of Dani Laidley thrown out.

Detective Murray Gentner attended Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday to contest charges of misconduct by a public official, and accessing and disclosing police information without reasonable excuse.

He is accused of leaking images of the former AFL coach online.

The images of Laidley, wearing make up and a wig as well as an arrest mugshot, went viral on social media and online within hours of being taken at St Kilda Police Station in Melbourne.

The pictures of Laidley – formerly known as Dean Laidley – were part of a major internal police investigation within hours of being leaked. 

However, on the second day of the three-day hearing, the case was on the brink of collapse after it was revealed thousands of officers had not been sworn in correctly.

Detective Murray Gentner (pictured) attended Melbourne Magistrates' Court on Thursday after he was accused of illegally leaking photos of AFL coach Dani Laidely at a St Kilda police station last year

Detective Murray Gentner (pictured) attended Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Thursday after he was accused of illegally leaking photos of AFL coach Dani Laidely at a St Kilda police station last year

The revelations mean more than 1,000 Victorian officers have been working without the proper authority and could affect thousands of police matters.

Prosecutor Neill Hutton suggested the charges against Mr Gentner may have to be dropped if any of the officers who gave evidence or charged the detective had not been properly sworn in, the Herald Sun reported.

He said it would need to be determined if the lead investigator – Detective Senior Sergeant Josh Chadwick – was affected by the bungle when laying charges against detective Gentner. 

‘If there’s an issue with the swearing-in of Detective Chadwick, that may be fatal to the prosecution case,’ Mr Hutton told magistrate Samantha Poulter. 

Mr Hutton said the only charge that is likely to ‘survive’ would be the charge of misconduct in public office. 

‘It is fairly early on and I haven’t researched it, but it appears to me that charge six would survive regardless of the swearing in of detective Chadwick, as that’s not a charge that requires him to be a police officer to lay,’ he said. 

Det Chadwick began giving evidence on Wednesday and was due to continue Thursday before the administration error interrupted proceedings. 

Images of Laidley, wearing make up and a wig as well as an arrest mugshot, went viral on social media and online within hours of being taken at St Kilda Police Station (pictured, Dani Laidley poses with her partner on Instagram)

Images of Laidley, wearing make up and a wig as well as an arrest mugshot, went viral on social media and online within hours of being taken at St Kilda Police Station (pictured, Dani Laidley poses with her partner on Instagram)

Mr Hutton, in agreement with the accused detective’s lawyer, Christopher Carr, SC, suggested the case go ahead but asked Ms Poulter to defer a verdict until the issue is resolved.  

Detective Gentner, has pleaded not guilty to misconduct in public office, accessing a police database without reasonable excuse, and four counts of disclosing police information without reasonable excuse. 

Mr Gentner argues he never misused the police database and claims he found the mugshot photo and information regarding Laidley’s arrest online.   

Images of Laidley, wearing make up and a wig as well as an arrest mugshot, went viral on social media and online within hours of being taken at St Kilda Police Station.

The pictures of Laidley – formerly known as Dean Laidley – were taken after her arrest on stalking charges in May 2021. 

Mr Gentner is accused of sharing the mugshot from the police database with other officers in a WhatsApp group, named ‘SD1 Gentleman’s Club’. 

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