Policeman's kiss not in line of duty

IT was a farewell kiss that could turn out to be quite expensive for one of the Hunter’s most senior police officers.

Port Stephens crime manager Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox was on his way to work at Raymond Terrace police station after 6am on December 29, 2010, when he remembered he had left his reading glasses and a USB drive at home, the Industrial Relations Commission heard.

On returning home, after being gone only a few minutes, Detective Fox got out of his marked police car and walked to his wife who was waiting on the front porch with the glasses case, which had the glasses and the USB inside, Industrial Relations Commissioner David Ritchie said recently.

Detective Fox turned and began walking back to the car, which was still running, when his wife called him back for a farewell kiss.

He then fell and broke his leg.

Detective Fox appealed to the commission after the police force ruled that he was not hurt on duty and was therefore not entitled to full pay while he was off work.

Counsel for Detective Fox, Terence Ower, argued that Detective Fox was on duty because he had begun his journey to work in a marked police car with the police radio on and was ready to respond if needed.

Commissioner Ritchie ruled that Detective Fox was not on duty and was no longer on his way to work because he was back at home and was about to commence a second journey to work.

‘‘I do not find that this accident arose out of his employment or that his employment was a substantial contributing factor,’’ Commissioner Ritchie said.

‘‘I agree with the example given by [counsel for the police] of [a person] going out to his car in the middle of the night and trips, falls and injures himself could not be described as being in the course of his work.

‘‘The accident itself was most unfortunate for the appellant, but I do not find in his favour with respect to his [appeal].’’

The appeal was dismissed.

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