Roman Quaedvlieg's girlfriend pleads guilty over misleading corruption probe
Advertisement

Roman Quaedvlieg's girlfriend pleads guilty over misleading corruption probe

Former Australian Border Force commissioner Roman Quaedvlieg gave his girlfriend, Sarah Rogers, advice on getting a job at the government agency because "I think you have great talents ... and equally [because] I love you", court documents say.

During a later corruption probe investigating the circumstances of her controversial employment, Mr Quaedvlieg told her not to "stress about the consequences - there won't be any if you tell the truth".

Roman Quaedvlieg and his girlfriend, Sarah Rogers, who has pleaded guilty to misleading a corruption probe against the pair, arrive at the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on Wednesday.

Roman Quaedvlieg and his girlfriend, Sarah Rogers, who has pleaded guilty to misleading a corruption probe against the pair, arrive at the Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney on Wednesday.Credit:AAP

"There's nothing to hide or lie about. Just tell it as it is," he said.

Text messages between Mr Quaedvlieg, 54, and Ms Rogers, 24, were tendered in the Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday after Ms Rogers pleaded guilty to misleading investigators and disclosing the existence of, or information about, her summons before the Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity in 2017.

Advertisement

Mr Quaedvlieg, who sat beside her with his arm around her during the brief appearance before magistrate Karen Robinson, was sacked in March 2018 following the investigation and has maintained his innocence.

According to the agreed facts, Mr Quaedvlieg and Ms Rogers met online in March 2016 and first met in person a month later.

They began an intimate relationship in August 2016, the same month Ms Rogers applied for a Border Force Recruit Traineeship.

In the lead-up to the hearing before the Integrity Commissioner on June 29 and 30, 2017, Ms Rogers texted Mr Quaedvlieg, saying, "I really hate this. I really just can't deal [with] stress or anxiety that well and I always end up in tears."

The next day, Mr Quaedvlieg wrote, "It'll all be over in 12hrs. I feel sick for you; it's a crap situation for you to be in. Don't forget you're a witness, not the subject. There's nothing to hide or lie about. Just tell it as it is."

During the hearing she said Mr Quaedvlieg had put her on to the assistant commissioner as it wasn't appropriate for him to be giving her advice.

"Roman had nothing to do with … giving me advice on how to do things or where to look for, you know … " she told the hearing.

But after she handed over her phone, investigators claimed text messages between the pair showed she had given false evidence.

On August 5, 2016, she asked Mr Quaedvlieg's advice about referees and subject marks for her application.

Mr Quaedvlieg replied, "Actually I’ll talk to you about this tomorrow to give you better guidance."

The day before her August 29 video interview, Mr Quaedvlieg responded to her question about what to say with a number of pieces of advice about the process, including "Focus on APS 2/3 work level standards."

Ms Rogers failed the traineeship application but then applied for a position as an Irregular and International Employee (IIE) in October 2016, securing the role in December.

During October, Ms Rogers told Mr Quaedvlieg she'd spoken to the assistant commissioner, to which he replied, "Good babe. Won’t take much to get you on the job. But you have to let me know if you hit any speed bumps.

“My view is simple – do the IIE thing straight away and wait for me to tell you over the next couple of days [about] the assessment centre re-sit," he said.

"Plz know I’m doing this firstly bc I think you have great talents and will be an asset to enforcement wherever you work and equally bc I love you. X [sic].”

Her solicitor, Bryan Wrench, previously told the court Ms Rogers pleaded not guilty and that the prosecution case against his client was "nitpicky".

The court heard five hours of Ms Rogers' video-recorded interview would be tendered at a sentencing hearing on May 23.

"She’s crying, she’s emotional, she’s basically giving evidence against her partner," he said of the footage.

Mr Wrench said Ms Rogers' reasons for making the misleading statements would be explained at the future hearing.

Angus Thompson is a court reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Most Viewed in National

Loading
Advertisement