Keneally’s son guilty of fabricating evidence

The cop son of former NSW premier Kristina Keneally has learned his fate over accusations he fabricated a police statement. Picture: NCA NewsWIRE: Monique Harmer

The son of former NSW premier Kristina Keneally will “hold his head high” after being found guilty of fabricating a statement that wrongfully landed a man behind bars.

Daniel John Keneally was found guilty of falsifying the official report in 2021 about a phone call he received while working as a police officer at Newtown police station.

The 25-year-old was quiet while leaving Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday on crutches, with lawyer Paul McGirr telling the media they would appeal the finding.

“We’ve got to respect the process. Mr Keneally will hold his head high. This won’t be the last that we’ve heard of this particular matter,” Mr McGirr said outside of court.

“I can say that after sentencing, the matter will be appealed on the basis that my client, I firmly believe, never put something in a statement that he knew to be false.

Daniel Keneally, right, with lawyer Paul McGirr leaving court on Tuesday. Picture: NCA Newswire / Nathan Schmidt
Daniel Keneally, middle, with lawyer Paul McGirr leaving court on Tuesday. Picture: NCA Newswire / Nathan Schmidt

“It’s a very high hurdle for the prosecution to prove. We respect the courts decision, but the beauty of our system is well have an appeal right. We’re quite confident in the end result.”

The court was previously told Mr Keneally claimed the caller, Luke Moore, had made threats about wanting a rural detective “dead” and “as good as gone”.

Mr Moore is the founder of website I Sue Police and was imprisoned on remand for three weeks after the 12 minute call, before a recording cleared his name.

The charges were dropped and an apology was issued by the state before the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission charged Constable Keneally.

On Tuesday, Mr Keneally was found guilty at Downing Centre Local Court of fabricating false evidence with the intent to mislead a judicial tribunal.

Daniel John Keneally, left, with lawyer Paul McGirr. Picture: NCA NewsWIRE: Monique Harmer

The court was told Keneally had accepted in evidence differences between his statement and a recording of the call made by Mr Moore, with the issue being of intent.

Lawyer Paul McGirr, previously argued at hearing that Mr Keneally had unintentionally confused the phone call with material from Mr Moore’s website, I Sue Police.

The court was told the website allegedly contained allegations of, and threats to, a Goulburn police detective, though Mr Moore noted he did not advocate for violence.

Magistrate Rodney Brender said Keneally had not distinguished between material from the phone call and Mr Moore’s website, which he was viewing at the time.

“There is no plausible basis from any other sources for the information recorded in the statement, for example (Mr Moore) wanting him (the detective) dead,” he said.

“The material parts of the statement bare no relationship to what was said orally, nor was there any grounding for it to have been confused with what was said orally.

“He had the writing (from the website) available to him, and quoted from it in the very same statement. No information came from any other police officers.”

Luke Moore, the founder of website I Sue Police, was imprisoned on remand for three weeks. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw

Mr Brender said that despite Keneally’s “good character”, he could not accept his in court evidence or that the mistake could have been made “inadvertently”.

“The material he wrote had no other possible source and was relevantly a fabrication. It was deliberate. He must have known he couldn’t recall it having been said and it was false to say he did recall it,” Mr Brender said.

“He said he knew he couldn't distinguish 100 per cent between the website and the conversation, and yet he wrote the statement, including parts of which he could have had no recollection.

“The evidence of a threat to kill a policeman, he knew, would inevitably very likely lead to charges and a court process... it (his statement) is a fabrication and would mislead the relevant tribunal.”

Mr Brender refuted assertions by Keneally that he had been distracted by other duties at the time of the call, and had been overtired from the previous night’s shift.

“The conversation was a serious one, and was not trivial. He (Keneally) made a formal police statement within a few hours of the phone call,” Mr Brender said on Monday.

“He had experience in writing statements, for himself and others... he wasn’t districted from a call by other policeman. He hadn’t done back-to-back shifts.

Former NSW premier and shadow Immigration Minister Kristina Keneally. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Nikki Short

“While I accept the scientific evidence it’s possible for people to record conversations poorly because of stress, I don’t accept here that is what occurred.”

Crown prosecutor Daniel Boyle previously argued in court the phone call as recounted in Mr Keneally’s statement was “all wrong” and “didn’t happen”.

Mr Keneally admitted in court there were significant differences between the statement and the recorded call, and that he had been “incoherent”.

Constable is the son of Kristina Keneally, who served as the first female Premier of NSW from 2009 to 2011. He had been suspended with full pay.

Outside court, Mr McGirr told the media Mr Keneally would “hold his head high”. He will reappear before the same court later this year for sentence.