Tuesday September 17 2013
– A bent detective jailed a decade ago after a clean-up of the disgraced drug Squad is again behind bars.
Former cop Matthew James Bunning appeared at the Heidelberg Magistrates Court on Thursday – the day after his 46th birthday – to face hundreds of charges of identity theft, Medicare fraud and creating false documents.
Mr Bunning is accused of rifling through bins to steal Medicare receipts and personal information, doctoring documents, and claiming tens of thousands of dollars in Medicare payments. He was also found in a car in Queens Road in June last year injecting methadone and steroids.
Many of the offences with which he is charged occurred while Mr Bunning was on bail. Detectives found a pair of police-issue handcuffs when they raided his Yallambie unit.
The former drug squad detective was charged in 2004 and sentenced to almost seven years’ jail for tipping off drug dealers about raids and accepting gifts in exchange for confidential police information.
Last week he had to be helped in to the dock, looking gaunt and walking with the aid of a frame. The life of a man once considered a promising detective spiralled out of control after he was injured during an arrest.
The injury required surgery that led to an addiction to morphine, which his family believe was over-prescribed.
Last week the court heard Mr Bunning was using up to $300 worth of heroin a day. His mother, Barbara, told magistrate Susan Wakeling her son was once a good police officer whose life had been ruined by his morphine addiction.
She said she wanted her son – who has a child – released into her care.
“He can stay as long as he likes. He has nothing,” Mrs Bunning said.
Ms Wakeling refused to bail Mr Bunning because she was concerned about his addiction. He is due to reappear in court on October 1st.
– Padraic Murphy