Pension denied: injured policeman working as lawyer

A CENTRAL Coast lawyer who hoped to apply for a police pension almost 15 years after he resigned has failed to prove that he left the force as a result of his injury, the NSW Industrial Court has heard.
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Robert John Locker, 49, was struck by a car that went through a give way sign at Wamberal in March 1990 when Mr Locker was a highway patrol officer, the court recently heard.

He suffered fractures to his right foot as well as ligament damage that caused pain and discomfort for many years after, Justice Conrad Staff said.

Mr Locker studied law and became a police prosecutor in 1995 before resigning to take up a law clerkship in 1998.

He was admitted as a solicitor two months later and has a practice at The Entrance.

Mr Locker applied for a ‘‘certificate of incapacity’’ last year that would have qualified him for a ‘‘hurt-on-duty’’ police pension, Justice Staff said.

SAS Trustee Corporation, which operates the superannuation scheme for NSW public servants, refused to issue the certificate.

Mr Locker appealed that decision and argued that he resigned as a police officer because he felt he could not perform his duties, but Justice Staff dismissed the appeal saying that Mr Locker’s real reason for resigning was to start a new career.

‘‘The reality of [Mr Locker’s] position was that he was studying law over the four-year period that he was a police prosecutor,’’ Justice Staff said.

‘‘Upon resigning from the NSW Police Force he was immediately employed in a law firm. The clear inference in my view is that by 1998 [he] had chosen a different career path.’’

Mr Locker said his duties as a prosecutor included having to carry the same equipment as a general duties officer in case he had to make an arrest, but the court heard evidence from a senior officer who said he had never heard of such a requirement of prosecutors.