Court could make MacLeod join former detective behind bars

COFFS Harbour businessman Andrew MacLeod will find out this week if he will join disgraced state-crime detective Tony Farrell behind bars.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has launched an appeal against the suspended sentence given to MacLeod last year when he was found guilty by a jury of making a collusive agreement with a NSW police officer.

In early 2011, Farrell accessed seven intelligence reports relating to MacLeod after the champion body builder started to suspect he was being trailed by police.

Intercepted phone calls revealed Farrell had offered to give MacLeod the "heads up" if he was "hot" and MacLeod had responded "a day late won't help me".

In a later phone call, MacLeod was recorded repeating information which bore a striking resemblance to the contents of intelligence reports accessed by Farrell, suggesting a local furniture dealer was importing steroids.

Farrell is serving a two year sentence in protective custody for misconduct and is expected to be released on parole in February next year.

In his sentencing hearing, Judge Colin Phegan noted that the difference between the two accused was that MacLeod had a younger family and evidence tendered in court suggested his business and 12 employees relied on him.

He accepted that MacLeod had gained little from the agreement other than "confirmation" police were investigating him, but said he and Farrell had still carried out a "planned criminal activity".

The court also heard that Farrell had offered to give evidence in the prosecution of MacLeod but the DPP "did not want to put a corrupt police officer" on the stand.

MacLeod was never convicted of any of the offences he was under suspicion of committing in the leaked intelligence reports.

He has served five-months of his nine-month suspended sentence he was given for the agreement he made with Farrell.

The DPP maintains he should serve actual jail time.

Flanked by his wife Rachael and a row of supporters, MacLeod listened as the defence barrister and Crown Prosecutor put their arguments to a panel of three judges in Sydney's Criminal Court of Appeal on Tuesday.

Judgement was reserved so both sides could have the chance to review and comment on Judge Phegan's sentencing remarks.

The case is expected to return to court by the end of the week.


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