– Six years after he was first accused of rape, St Kilda goalsneak Stephen Milne must have thought the matter had been dealt with and that he could move on with his life.
Then in June 2010, two former detectives went public, claiming police members with alleged links to the football club had attempted to sabotage their investigation into the 2004 rape accusations.
Scott Gladman told Nine News at the time that tapes of interviews with the two Saints were stolen from his desk and the alleged victim’s statement was leaked to the club during the six-week investigation.
The other former detective, Mike Smith, said some officers had taken an interest in the case because they wanted to do what they perceived to be a favour to the St Kilda Football Club.
“They wanted to be seen to be more important in their eyes to the club, and anything they could do to help the club, they’d do,” he said.
The Office of Police Integrity launched a probe into the initial police investigation, and then Chief Commissioner Simon Overland promised Victoria Police would reopen the investigation if it was believed that police officers had deliberately compromised the case.
Two years went by before the case burst back into life. In May last year, it emerged that the OPI had asked Victoria Police to review the original investigation of the alleged rapes.
The police integrity body said it did not have the power to weigh the evidence against Milne, but recommended Victoria Police do so. The specialist Sex Crimes Squad was given the job.
Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton admitted that perceived conflicts of interest – Saints players drank at the pub next door to the police station where the investigation was handled – meant the original probe should have been investigated somewhere else.
He also confirmed claims by the former detectives that exhibits and other evidence were missing from the Milne brief of evidence, but said he did not expect the new probe to result in charges against Milne or his teammate Leigh Montagna, who was initially accused of rape as well.
Three weeks later, on May 30th, the OPI released a brief report in which it found the original rape probe by police was not deliberately hampered or inappropriately influenced, but that relevant material was missing from the Milne brief of evidence.
Then came Tuesday’s bombshell.
After 12 months of investigation, the dedicated sex-crimes unit decided it had enough evidence to charge the 33-year-old St Kilda player with four counts of rape.
In the statement released yesterday, Victoria Police acknowledged the original investigation had been “substantially inadequate”.
“In recent years Victoria Police have implemented substantial reforms and improvements to our sex crimes investigative processes which has enabled a number of older investigations to be reviewed, offenders identified and charges laid,” it said.
“It is unfortunate for all parties concerned that this matter has taken so many years to progress, but having discussed with the alleged victim in this matter, we can confirm our decision to lay charges accords with her wishes.
“It is now important that the defendant in this matter be afforded the same procedural fairness any other member of the community would expect in these circumstances.” – Dan Oakes

About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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