A former police officer who had sex with a woman and allowed her to handle his gun at a police station has been sentenced to 20 months’ imprisonment but is being assessed for an intensive correction order
Mark Garner appeared before a Sydney court on Thursday after pleading guilty to two counts of misconduct in office.
Garner, 50, from the NSW Far North Coast, began a relationship with the woman after she went to Tweed Heads police station in June 2011 to say she had been sexually assaulted.
The former detective sergeant then had sex with the woman and used his Glock pistol as a sex toy during their intimate encounter.
He also accessed police files in an attempt to retrieve a laptop, which contained incriminating photos of himself and the woman.
The former police supervisor bowed his head and cried as Judge Ross Letherbarrow told the Downing Centre District Court that he had abused his position of power.
“It was a significant error of judgment. The offender abused a position of trust in relation to the victim,” Judge Letherbarrow said.
The court heard Garner suffered from depression and post traumatic stress disorder as a result of his time working as an officer who targeted outlawed bikie gangs.
The stress he endured resulted in a marital breakdown and he experienced a series of anxiety and panic attacks.
During the sentencing hearing, the court also heard that Garner had stopped drinking, had gone to a detox clinic and had “done his best” to restore his relationship with his family.
Judge Letherbarrow ordered that Garner be assessed for an intensive correction order.
An intensive correction order is a community-based punishment in which offenders must participate in rehabilitation programs, observe strict curfews, and undergo regular drug and alcohol testing.
The orders, introduced in July last year, also allow a court to set conditions such as a ban on drinking, travel restrictions, random breath tests and electronic monitoring with ankle bracelets.
Garner declined to comment about his sentence outside court.
He will next appear before the same court on March 20 to learn whether he is suitable for the order.