Task Force Protect Statement, South Australia

Statement from Assistant Commissioner Peter Harvey regarding Task Force Protect.

“On November 20, South Australia Police commenced Task Force Protect, and established a task force which initially comprised of 20 investigators and analysts.

On the first days of the investigation, the team focused on identifying potential offences, and or evidence relating to, or arising from actions and comments made by an individual to contacts tracers within SA Health.

The initial investigation indicated the first conversation with contact tracers was misleading. That conversation was central to information provided by SA Health to decision makers preceding the lockdown.

The criminal investigation also indicated the male person changed his initial version regarding simple contact with a pizza box, to confirm he had in fact worked at the Woodville Pizza Bar. This revised version was initially uncovered as a result of investigators working with contact tracers.

The initial conversation and the circumstances surrounding it have been the continued focus of the task force. That focus has included a criminal interview with the suspect under criminal caution. The exact content, context and intent of the initial conversation between contact tracers and the male person cannot be substantiated.

This means the facts of the conversation cannot be presented to a court without that first-hand account of the conversation between contact tracers and the male person, the task force investigators have insufficient evidence to prove an offence.

The suite of available evidence, which investigators do have, has been provided to the Department of Public Prosecution and senior SAPOL prosecution members.

In very simple terms, from that point on, the advice provided back to investigators is that based on limited evidence available for presentation to a court, the matter would not likely succeed or progress.

Based on that advice no criminal charge will be laid by the task force investigators against the male suspect at the centre of the investigation.

From a criminal investigation perspective, this matter is complete.”

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