Former policeman jailed for exchanging information for drugs
Former policeman David James Branov, who has been jailed for exchanging police information for drugs. Photo: Mal Fairclough
A policeman who released confidential police information to a drug dealer in exchange for quantities of the drug ice will spend at least two-and-a-half years in jail.
David James Branov, 42, was a senior constable at Fitzroy police station in 2009 when he developed an ice addiction to help cope with the stress of witnessing a fatal car crash, the death of a suspect in a fall and a woman’s death from a drug overdose, the County Court heard on Thursday.
To feed that addiction in 2012 and 2013 he released information about people and vehicles from Victoria Police’s Law Enforcement Assistance Program to a drug dealer, who supplied the police officer with ice.
Judge Gavan Meredith said Branov misled colleagues about investigations into the drug dealer and another associate, by entering fictitious information on the police database.
Judge Meredith said Branov and other police were involved in the theft of cash, casino chips and drugs, from either drug dealers they encountered or from the police station, where drugs were kept after they had been seized in raids.
The judge said Branov had betrayed the trust of the public and that his offending had undermined the public’s confidence in police.
“Your job was to enforce the law, not to exploit it,” Judge Meredith said.
When Branov was arrested last year at his home, he and his drug dealer were found in possession of police documents, drugs, drug paraphernalia, a gun and between $300 and $400 in counterfeit money. Branov, who resigned from the police force last year, pleaded guilty to 14 charges including misconduct by a public official, attempting to pervert the course of justice and aiding and abetting a drug trafficker.
Judge Meredith said Branov’s rehabilitation prospects were positive, provided he abstained from drugs. The judge acknowledged he would serve his jail term as a protected prisoner.
Branov was sentenced to four years, three months and 28 days in jail. He must serve two years and six months before he is eligible for parole.
A previous court hearing was told investigations into the conduct of other police officers were continuing
David Branov, 42, of Mill Park, was yesterday refused bail after allegedly committing serious offences while free on bail.
Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard the former senior constable gave up ice to secure a position in the force. He began using it again within two years on the job and remained an addict, the court heard.
Mr Branov, who is no longer on the force, has pleaded not guilty to more than 50 charges, including dozens of offences allegedly committed while on bail.
The court heard the suspended officer was arrested on April 29 after he was discovered being driven about in a stolen BMW while in possession of lock-picking equipment.
A search of his house turned up a swag of stolen documents, including drivers’ licences and a passport, the court heard.
Imitation guns, swords, nunchucks, hunting knives and a balaclava were also seized by detectives.
The new charges include theft, handling stolen goods, possessing the proceeds of crime, weapons offences, possessing counterfeit money, possessing housebreaking implements, going equipped to steal, and committing an indictable offence while on bail.
The court heard police believed he was an unacceptable risk of reoffending if released again.
Mr Branov was first charged just over a year ago when police alleged he stole more than $5000 worth of the drug ice from the Fitzroy police station and sold it.
He is also accused of selling sensitive information to criminals for $600 a month.
Magistrate Jelena Popovic was critical of Mr Branov for failing to comply with his bail conditions and said the community expected better from a serving police officer.
She also expressed concern at Victoria Police accepting him into the police force considering the revelations of his drug abuse at the time.
“I’m concerned you were accepted at all,” she said.
Mr Branov will return to court in July.
Monday, May 12, 2014
Former senior constable David James Branov, 42, of Epping, was arrested in April last year and charged with offences including perverting the course of justice, misconduct and drugs and weapons offences.
He was released on bail but was arrested again in April this year when he was a passenger in a stolen BMW containing stolen property which was pulled over by police.
A search of his house turned up stolen identification documents, lock-picking tools, Victoria Police badges, samurai swords and imitation firearms, the Melbourne Magistrates Court heard.
Branov on Monday pleaded not guilty to all charges against him, including one count of possessing child pornography.
Informant Detective Sergeant Jarrod Weddle told the court Branov told him he had a drug addiction he overcame to join the police force, but started using again because of the “stress of the job”.
“He told me he’d been a ice addict prior to joining the police force,” Det Sgt Weddle said.
“I think he needs to commit offences to support his drug habit.”
Branov is also alleged to have stolen drugs from the Fitzroy police station property office under the pretence of doing “spot tests”.
“While the bag was open the drugs would be removed and substituted with another substance,” Det Sgt Weddle said.
Branov is also accused of conspiring with Dean Murphy, 38, of Seddon, and Jamie McNally, 34, of Tarneit, to prevent a brief of evidence being used in court against McNally.
Det Sgt Weddle told the court detectives found a printout of police documents at a Dromana property in April last year.
The detectives were told “the occupant was paying a police officer $600 a month in exchange for information”, Det Sgt Weddle said.
Branov resigned from Victoria Police in November 2013.
Magistrate Jelena Popovic denied Branov bail and said she was severely concerned about items found in his possession including the weapons, lock-picking tools and identification papers.
“I have some concerns about the fact you were admitted to the police force,” she said.
Branov will appear in the Victorian County Court on Tuesday.
Fitzroy police under corruption probe, court told
May 12, 2014
Police officers suspended from duties at an inner-Melbourne station during a corruption probe are in the process of being disciplined by force command, a court has heard.
Officers based at Fitzroy police station had been suspended over the past year and were now being disciplined, Melbourne Magistrates Court heard of Monday. yeah “disciplined, that’s it…might sign up myself…bloody hell
Victoria Police last year suspended eight officers – six of them from the Fitzroy station – after thousands of pages of confidential police documents were found at three properties, which prompted an investigation into links between police and outlaw motorcycle gangs.
One of the officers at the Fitzroy station arrested in the probe was David Branov, who is accused of leaking information from the police Law Enforcement Assistance Program database to help an associate’s alleged drug trafficking enterprise.
Detective Sergeant Jarrod Weddle, from Victoria Police’s professional standards division, said investigators believed Mr Branov provided co-accused Dean Murphy with information the latter could use to chase drug debts, and conducted surveillance with him.
Detective Sergeant Weddle said Mr Branov had admitted stealing drugs from the property office at Fitzroy police station between 2010 and 2013, and that he had been an ice addict before and during his time as a police officer.
He rose to the rank of senior constable but resigned late last year, the court heard.
Mr Branov is also accused of thwarting a police investigation into Mr Murphy’s alleged drug trafficking and preventing a brief of evidence against another co-accused, Jamie McNally, going to court.
Mr Branov, 42, of Epping, on Monday pleaded not guilty to more than 50 charges including perverting the course of justice, theft, dealing with the proceeds of crime and possessing counterfeit money, child pornography, firearms and drugs.
Detective Sergeant Weddle did not outline how many of the suspended police officers had been disciplined. But he said several officers were suspected of being involved in criminal activity.
The court heard Mr Branov was arrested in April last year after police found confidential police files at a Dromana property.
Investigators were told the man who occupied the property paid a police officer $600 a month in exchange for the information.
Mr Branov was on bail over the corruption-related charges but was remanded in custody last month when a search warrant of his home found documents and goods that had been allegedly stolen from homes and cars.
He was arrested on April 29 when police intercepted a stolen BMW with him and two other men inside, the court heard.
Mr Branov was denied bail on Monday and remanded to appear before the County Court on Tuesday.
Deputy chief magistrate Jelena Popovic said the accused ought to appear before the Supreme Court given the seriousness of the allegations, which were “akin to the very, very large trafficking (cases) and murders”.
But Ms Popovic said it was practical for Mr Branov to appear in the same jurisdiction as Mr Murphy and Mr McNally, should their cases proceed beyond the committal stage.
Mr Murphy, 38, of Seddon, and Mr McNally, 34, of Tarneit are also charged with perverting the course of justice. Mr Murphy also faces charges of possessing drugs and weapons and Mr Branov to disclose information.
Mr Murphy and Mr McNally are due to return to court on May 27 after both had their cases adjourned so they could find legal representation.
Ms Popovic chastised both men for wasting the court’s time and police resources by not having lawyers with them in court. Both men are on bail.
A woman who is an associate of Mr Murphy’s on Monday pleaded guilty to drug trafficking and possessing a firearm. She was bailed to appear before the County Court in August.