Former Detective Sergeant of the New South Wales Police Force, found guilty of murder 2016
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
State's most famous corrupt cop back in headlines at age 73
It was in June 1996 when new police commissioner Peter Ryan, fresh off the plane from London, was asked how he would deal with someone like a Roger Rogerson in the force.
The commissioner, with a quizzical look, asked: ''Who is Roger Rogerson?'' The press tittered.
Roger Caleb Rogerson was the state's most famous corrupt cop.
Rogerson himself once quipped that he should change his name by deed poll to ''Disgraced'' as that was what the media constantly called the twice jailed former detective.
As a police officer, Rogerson was present on two occasions when police shot and killed people, and on another two occasions he shot and killed people himself. One of those was the heroin dealer Warren Lanfranchi, whom Rogerson shot and killed in a laneway in Chippendale in June 1981. He claimed he was acting in self-defence but Lanfranchi was unarmed. Rogerson's infamy was heightened after the screening of Ian David's series Blue Murder.
When asked about the famous scene where Lanfranchi was shot, Rogerson said: ''I mean, he made it out to be this f---ing conspiracy between the 18 coppers who were there that day, when really it was just a Saturday afternoon's work as far as we were concerned.''
Rogerson was also charged with conspiring with two criminals to murder undercover drug squad officer Michael Drury in 1989 but was later acquitted.
Rogerson was drummed out of the police force in 1986. His notoriety was further exacerbated by a sensational investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption which revealed Rogerson was on first-name terms with the major organised crime figures of the day including Arthur ''Neddy'' Smith, now jailed for life, and missing hitman Christopher Dale Flannery. He spent three years in jail after his 1990 conviction for perverting the course of justice over a $110,000 payment deposited by him into a bank account under a false name. After he was released from his second stint in jail in 2006 for lying to the Police Integrity Commission, Rogerson earned a crust on the speaking circuit as well as doing lucrative ''mediation'' work on the side.
Fellow mediator, underworld figure Mick Gatto, who was also once acquitted of murder, described Rogerson as a ''good mate''.
''I like Roger, what you see is what you get with him. I didn't know him when he was a cop but a couple of friends of mine are quite close to him.''
One of those closest to him is his friend of 25 years, ''Big'' Jim Byrnes. Only last year the 73-year-old Rogerson limped into court, on a crutch, to give evidence on behalf of the colourful businessman, who was accused by a Darling Point widow of taking advantage of her when he contacted to fund her litigation. Robert Newlinds, SC, for the widow, asked if it was common for people to request he carry out criminal acts on their behalf.
''[It's] not unusual at all,'' replied Rogerson. ''I'd deny I did anything in the past. It's what people think I did in the past.'' Mr Newlinds asked: ''Your position is you don't do that sort of thing?'' ''No, I'm getting a bit old now,'' he said.
Speaking of the ''cat and mouse'' game involving the police and Rogerson, his biographer Duncan McNab noted: ''The supposed mouse is 73 with a dodgy hip.''