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Guerin stood down as more ‘Vernon Demerest’ posts emerge

Article image for Guerin stood down as more ‘Vernon Demerest’ posts emerge

The head of Police Professional Command has been stood down on the same day new ‘Vernon Demerest’ posts emerged.

One day after Assistant Commissioner Brett Guerin admitted to Neil Mitchell he had made vulgar commentary under a false name online, police chief Graham Ashton today told him to take leave.

“In accordance with his obligations under the Victoria Police Act, Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton has referred a matter involving allegations against Assistant Commissioner Brett Guerin to IBAC,” a Victoria police statement read.

“Whilst the matter is being assessed, the Chief Commissioner has directed AC Guerin to step aside from his role as the Assistant Commissioner for Professional Standards and take leave.

“As the matter is now with IBAC for its consideration it would not be appropriate to comment further.”

Mr Ashton’s order came after Neil Mitchell spoke to a former police officer, Andrew Coyle, who claims he was trolled by someone using the name ‘Vernon Demerest’ in 2016.

‘Vernon Demerest’, a fictional character played by Dean Martin in the 1970 movie Airport, was the fake name Mr Guerin used while making his vulgar rants.

3AW has no evidence Mr Guerin made the 2016 comments to Mr Coyle.

Mr Coyle today told Neil Mitchell someone under the name ‘Vernon Demerest’ trolled him after Mr Coyle commented on Facebook that Victoria Police management had a poor reputation in the corporate world.

“That’s when I started getting messages from ‘Vernon Demerest’,” Mr Coyle said.

“(The person posting under ‘Vernon Demerest’ was) defending police and defending corporate management of police.”

He believes the person who was messaging him under the name ‘Vernon Demerest’ was a current or former Victoria Police member.

“I knew it was a serving member. They made comments about me,” said Coyle, who served in the force from 1990-2008.

And then a new persona — and more mystery — came into play: Clive Howlett-Jones.

Click PLAY to hear Andrew Coyle explain more with Neil Mitchell