‘Drunk’ CQ lawyer accused of trying to bribe police
‘DRUNK’, shirtless, shoeless and “a rambling mess” was the behaviour of self-claimed “Queensland’s best criminal lawyer” who has been accused of attempting to bribe police to stop a drink driving investigation.
Douglas John Winning, 67, pleaded not guilty today to one count of official corruption in Rockhampton District Court.
It was alleged Mr Winning tried to bribe two Rockhampton police officers – Senior Constable Jesse Parkin and Constable Naomi Davies – who had intercepted Mr Winning driving while intoxicated.
His own defence barrister, Craig Eberhardt, described Mr Winning as “winning only in name that night”.
The agreed facts of the case was Mr Winning had a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .146 at 1.52am on February 17, 2019, and he had $300 cash in $50 notes in his possession at the time.
Crown prosecutor Nigel Rees said police witnessed Mr Winning driving and hitting a road sign in Frenchville just before 1am.
The court heard Mr Winning was pulled over on Elphinstone St near the Dean St intersection after he was seen driving erratically all over the road on Dean St and police “saw a street sign bounce off a vehicle”.
The vehicle had signficant damage to the bonnet and a front tyre was deflated when police inspected it and informed Mr Winning.
He was not wearing his glasses, which was pointed out by Mr Eberhardt.
Constable Davies said she smelt liquor when she first approached the vehicle and she administered a roadside breath test.
Mr Winning told police he had drunk two bottles of Bundaberg Rum in the prior 24 hours, along with taking his antidepressant medication which he had taken for 20 years.
He said he been drinking since Friday night after returning from Blackwater court and had also been asleep for many hours prior to driving in the early hours that Monday morning on February 17.
Mr Rees said Mr Winning waved around a fist full of $50 notes while saying the words the crown alleged was an offer of bribery.
Body worn footage of the incident played in court showed a shirtless Mr Winning behind the wheel of a VW wagon, later identified to the court by Mr Winning as belonging to the CQ Legal Centre, with a wallet looking object in his left hand and $50 notes in his right hand which he waved around and said “I can’t pay my way out of this, can I?”
Snr Constable Parkin said no.
Mr Eberhardt said regardless of the intoxication factor, that comment could be interpreted two ways.
“It could be a statement or it could be a rhetorical question,” he said.
The footage continued to show Mr Winning eventually exit the vehicle, tell the officers to stop calling him “Mr Winning” and instead call him “Doug”, before he put his arm around the shoulders of Snr Constable Parkin.
The officer shrugged Mr Winning off and asked him if he wanted to leave the cash in the car or take it with him to the police station, along with any other items.
Mr Winning, who still held the cash in his hand, then said “you want a lazy quid” twice.
The officer replied no.
During the course of three videos shown to the jury, Mr Winning spoke about his daughter being threatened by someone and he was driving to his former wife’s house to deal with the matter.
He also threatened to kill the person threatening his daughter, and told police he wanted to kill himself and was “f---ed in the head”.
The court heard Mr Winning also made unprofessional and inappropriate comments to Constable Davies, which he was repeatedly told were not appropriate.
He told police he was “Queensland’s best criminal lawyer” and “I act for the police”.
While giving evidence in court, Snr Constable Parkin said he knew Mr Winning from his ‘indirect’ dealings with the solicitor.
The footage showed Mr Winning also slapped his belly and spoke about superannuation and Constable Davies’s tattoo.
He also talked about his “brilliant” daughter who was studying law and was going to take over his law practice.
“A great many people have said or done crazy stuff after giving the Bundy a good nudge,” Mr Eberhardt said.
“The pissed ramblings of an old drunk man.”
Mr Eberhardt said police would not release Mr Winning from the watch house into his own custody out of a duty of care and concerns for his safety given his BAC and comments.
“He wandered off in his speech,” he said to Ms Davies during cross examination.
“You had to bring him back on a number of occasions.”
Former police officer Warren Williams, who was a watch house sergeant when Mr Winning was arrested for the drink driving matter, said Mr Winning pulled the money and car keys from his pocket, placed them on the counter, flicked a $50 note towards himself and another police officer and said “you are good c---s. Have a drink on me.”
He said the note was handed back to Mr Winning.
Mr Eberhardt said at no time did Mr Winning, while making the money comments and waving around the $50 notes, ask for the officers to stop the investigation, nor ask them not to charge him for drink driving.
He said neither officer asked him what he meant by the money comments, nor asked if he was offering the money as a bribe.
In an interview with Channel 9, played to the jury, Mr Winning said he took the money from the centre console of the car and waved it around as a joke.
Mr Rees said it wasn’t a joke as Mr Winning went to the trouble of pulling out the money.
“He was trying to buy his way out of his predicament,” he said.
“He’s not a lay person. He knows the law.”
Mr Rees said life experience showed alcohol lowered inhibitions and people’s “true beliefs” surfaced with a bit of Dutch courage.
The trial continues tomorrow.