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   Aug 24

Private detective Mick Featherstone fails to stop licence suspension

Mick Featherstone leaves the Brisbane Watchhouse after his arrest last year. Photo: Michelle SmithA former Queensland detective – charged over an elaborate kidnapping plot with Clive Palmer’s media advisor – has failed to prevent his private investigator’s licence being suspended.
Nanjing Night Net

Mick Featherstone held the licence from 1996 to February 2015, but it was suspended when he was charged over the kidnapping scheme.

Police claim Mr Featherstone, media advisor Andrew Crook and former Sydney Swans player Tony Smith were involved in a plan to lure a bank employee to an Indonesian island and get him to retract evidence he provided in a 2012 civil court matter.

Mr Featherstone was charged with retaliation of a witness, attempting to pervert the course of justice and attempted fraud.

The Department of Justice and Attorney-General then suspended Mr Featherstone’s private investigator’s licence, but not that of his private investigator company Phoenix Global.

In March, Mr Featherstone applied to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal for a stay of the suspension.

He said he was contesting the criminal charges, had no criminal record, believed the suspension would have a significant economic impact and that it had no public interest benefit.

Mr Featherstone said the department relied on inappropriate material, including a police QP9 document following his arrest. He said the QP9 was a guide to police prosecutors and not formal evidence.

However in a QCAT decision published on June 17, tribunal member Susan Gardiner refused his application.

“Mr Featherstone has been charged with serious offences that go to the heart of his suitability to be licenced as a private investigator,” she said.

“These matters must be tested and the public is entitled to maintain its confidence in other licence holders during that process.

“I accept that the only information before the decision maker was the QP9 document and that this is a potentially “one-sided” recitation of facts yet to be proven. I must balance this against the seriousness of the charges laid against Mr Featherstone and the need to protect the public interest.”

Ms Gardiner said Phoenix Global could continue operating, and that its “educated” client base shouldn’t draw conclusions about Mr Featherstone until his trial was finalised. The company has offices in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Mackay and Rockhampton.

Mr Featherstone and Mr Crook were arrested last year after detectives from the anti-bikie squad Taskforce Maxima uncovered the alleged kidnapping plot during a separate investigation.

Detective Inspector Phil Stevens likened it to “a Hollywood script”.

“This is one of the most elaborate and desperate schemes I have seen in 35 years of policing,” he said at the time.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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