Police Minister Graham Edwards said today an appeal would be lodged over the Industrial Relations Commission's order to have former police sergeant Desmond Smith reinstated.
Mr Edwards said he made the decision following written advice from Crown counsel which stated:
'On any view of the facts of this case, having regard to the seriousness of the assault on a juvenile in circumstances in which Smith was the senior officer in charge of the lockup and that there was demonstrated dishonesty by him in attempting to cover up his offence which extended to Smith's falsification of important official police station records, there is a reasonable prospect of success on an appeal challenging the decision of the Senior Commissioner to order that Smith be reappointed to the Police Force.
'I would recommend the filing of an appeal wherein the primary challenge is to the Senior Commissioner's failure to have proper regard for the need to maintain a high level of integrity amongst officers in the Police Force and that he accordingly failed to take account of all relevant circumstances when determining this application.
'As an alternative basis of appeal, I would also recommend a challenge to some of the Senior Commissioner's findings of fact, principally the finding that there was no premeditation in the assault but also to a number of other findings relating to the circumstances of Smith's history in the Fremantle Lockup, the matters surrounding his provision of a statement to superiors, genuine contrition and the reason for his lying and fabrication of the Occurrence Book.'
Mr Edwards said an application would be made to the president of the Industrial Relations Commission, seeking to stay the order for Smith's reinstatement until after the appeal.
"It has been suggested by some people that we should accept the umpire's decision, but in agreeing to the matter being heard by the commission all parties were aware that the process included an appeal mechanism," Mr Edwards said.
"It is arrant nonsense to suggest that I would waive the right to appeal if there were solid grounds to do so."
Mr Edwards said he was not prepared to defer any decision over an appeal just because an election was a few days away.
"To do so would be to shirk the issue and I believe the public needs to know where I stand."
Mr Edwards said he had advised the Commissioner of Police and counsel for Mr Smith of his decision.