Charged: Police Constable Megan McNamara, centre, leaves Newcastle Local court on Tuesday. Photo: Darren Pateman
A police officer who photographed a half-naked corpse using her mobile phone, then sent the image to her boyfriend, said she wanted to show him the stresses and "issues" she was facing at work, Newcastle Local Court heard on Tuesday.
Constable Megan McNamara started her shift at Maitland on April 27 last year when she and a colleague were called to a home where an elderly man had died.
He was found lying on the floor with no pants on.
The deceased had suffered a chronic illness and it was later determined that there were no suspicious circumstances, but Constable McNamara told Magistrate Robert Stone that there was a delay in a death certificate being issued - so she took the photo in case it was needed later.
Later that day, Constable McNamara exchanged text messages with her then de facto, when he sent her a picture of a bolt that had broken while he was repairing a vehicle.
She replied with a text saying, "If it's any consolation my day sucks too", and the picture of the deceased attached.
Constable McNamara pleaded not guilty to offering an indignity to a corpse and using a carriage service to send offensive material.
Her solicitor, Lizzie McLaughlin, said the offering of the indignity was not "to" the deceased, but to the de facto, and was done without any intention to "offer the indignity".
Ms McLaughlin also argued that while sending the image was in poor taste, it was not offensive to a reasonable person.
Earlier in the hearing, Constable McNamara agreed that material collected during the course of her work was strictly confidential and should not be released to anyone outside the police force.
She said she sent the image for personal reasons and not to cause any offence to the deceased.
Mr Stone will hand down his decision at a later date.