Tassie police chief cleared of charges

Tasmania's long-time suspended police commissioner Jack Johnston says a High Court decision clearing him of criminal charges means he has now twice been vindicated.

Tasmania's Director of Public Prosecutions Tim Ellis on Friday exhausted his final legal bid to have the top cop face two charges of disclosing official secrets to the state government, 16 months after Mr Johnston first stood aside.

Mr Ellis had sought leave to appeal against a permanent stay on the proceedings made by Tasmanian Supreme Court Justice Peter Evans who said in August the prosecution against Mr Johnston was doomed to fail.

The High Court in Melbourne on Friday rejected the application.

Mr Johnston said Friday's decision was a great relief for him and his family who he thanked for being "supportive and strong" throughout the process.

"I've always had complete faith in the criminal justice system and that system has now once again vindicated me," Mr Johnston told AAP.

"Justice Evans gave a decision that said the prosecution against me was doomed to failure and was in fact an abuse of process.

"The High Court has found no reason to overturn that."

Relations between the Ellis and Johnston camps could not be described as friendly, posing a tricky situation for ongoing cooperation between the state's police commissioner and its DPP.

Advertisement

Mr Johnston was asked if he had ever felt that he was the victim of a personal attack.

"During this last 15 or 16 months I've thought many things and felt many emotions and I'm not sure that there is any benefit to be served in dwelling on any single one of them," he said.

"When Evans J came down with his decision I was elated, so it's not only anger and disappointment and everything else, there's been the whole range of emotions right through the whole time."

Mr Johnston said he was looking forward to returning to work but there were a number of relatively minor misconduct matters against him to be decided by Premier David Bartlett.

"There are still some code of conduct matters outstanding against me that arise out of me being a bit grumpy I suppose at the time of being investigated and interrogated and maybe I said some things that were a little injudicious at the time," Mr Johnston said.

"But I look forward to the premier dealing with those as soon as possible now that the criminal matters have been dealt with in the way they have."

Mr Johnston said his lawyers would apply to the state government for his legal costs to be recovered and that the personal cost of the case had been quite significant.

"But I've got to say that the cost to me personally has been minimised by virtue of the huge public support that I've had from just so many people within the police service and outside it," he said.

Mr Johnston, 59, was arrested, charged and strip-searched before facing court for the first time in October 2008, after standing himself aside in August that year when an investigation into his alleged disclosure of official secrets started.

He pleaded not guilty in October 2008 to two charges of disclosing official secrets to the state government.

It was alleged that in April 2008, just weeks after his appointment, Mr Johnston gave details of an ongoing police investigation into corruption allegations against government MPs to then police minister Jim Cox and then premier Paul Lennon.

It was alleged the MPs being investigated would have benefited in their defence against the corruption claims with Mr Johnston's information.

There were ultimately no charges of corruption against the MPs concerned based on the complaint by a disgruntled senior public servant.