Detective acquitted of lying about mobster

March 30, 2013 at 1:51 AM

MELBOURNE, March 30 (UPI) -- A former Australian police officer was acquitted Friday of lying to investigators about his relationship to a mobster beaten to death in prison in 2010.

Paul Dale, a former detective on the drugs squad in the Victorian police, has been battling legal charges since 2003, when he was suspected of collaborating with another police officer and a career criminal in a burglary in a Melbourne suburb that brought in more than $1 million in cash and drugs, The Australian reported. Dale escaped conviction in that case after the career criminal, Terence Hodson, and his wife were shot execution style in 2004.

Dale's most recent trial involved his relationship with Carl Williams, a Melbourne crime boss. Dale allegedly lied to investigators in 2007 and 2008.

Williams' death led to the collapse of murder charges against Dale in the Hodson case, the Australian said.

George Williams testified during the trial he drove his son to two meetings with Dale. He said the two men donned swimming trunks and talked while standing in the water.

Mandy Hodson, daughter of the slain couple, compared Dale's acquittal to "a scene out of a bad movie."

"It's not over, it's not over," she told the newspaper.

Greg Davies, secretary of the Victorian Police Association, called the outcome "stunning."

"They have all had a pretty good crack at him and he has come through without being convicted of anything, so certainly, so far as the letter of the law is concerned, he is entitled to call himself an innocent man and perhaps get on with the rest of his life," Davies said.

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