Policeman Peter Fox loses appeal

ONE of the Hunter’s most senior police officers who broke a leg when he was summoned by his wife for a farewell kiss has lost an appeal to be deemed ‘‘hurt on duty’’ after the NSW Industrial Court ruled that he was not working when he fell.

Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox, who rose to national prominence recently when he called for an inquiry into the Catholic Church’s handling of child sexual abuse cases, claimed he was on duty when he turned around on his way to work at Raymond Terrace police station on December 29, 2010, to retrieve a USB drive and his glasses that he had left at home. He collected the items from his wife who was waiting on the front porch and was returning to his marked police car when she called him back for a farewell kiss. Chief Inspector Fox then fell and broke a leg.

Three justices of the NSW Industrial Court delivered a joint judgment in Sydney yesterday. They dismissed Chief Inspector  Fox’s appeal, saying that he was not on duty and the injury had no connection to his work.

‘‘The reference to the police vehicle being left running and the radio turned on did not establish ... that [Chief Inspector  Fox] was undertaking his duties,’’ the court heard.

‘‘In any event, the injury, in reality, occurred whilst [Chief Inspector Fox] was undertaking a non-employment activity: averting the return to his police vehicle to give his wife a kiss.’’

Chief Inspector Fox initially appealed to the NSW Industrial Relations 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, the Industrial Court heard.

The commission dismissed that appeal and Chief Inspector Fox appealed to the full bench of the Industrial Court.

Detective Chief Inspector Fox shot to prominence when he gave a series of television interviews regarding the police force and the Catholic Church’s handling of child sexual abuse cases.

His claims led to the state government creating a special inquiry and the federal government agreeing to hold a royal commission.