Officer's excuse for texting corpse pic

Last updated 14:33 04/06/2014
corpse landscape
Fairfax Australia

CHARGED: Police Constable Megan McNamara, centre, leaves Newcastle Local court on Tuesday.

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An Australian police officer who texted a photo of a half-naked dead body to her boyfriend to illustrate how bad her day was going is facing criminal charges for violating the dignity of a corpse.

Constable Megan McNamara started her shift at Maitland, New South Wales, 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 McNamara told a judge 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, she was exchanging texts with her boyfriend 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 her boyfriend, and was done without any intention to "offer the indignity".

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.

Newcastle Local Court Magistrate Robert Stone will hand down his decision at a later date.

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- The Southland Times

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