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Top cop Bateson flags a fight, as Neil Mitchell urges prompt transparency

The top-ranking police officer charged with leaking restricted information has told Neil Mitchell he’s ready for a fight.

Commander Stuart Bateson has been suspended following the charges, which stemmed from an investigation by Victoria’s Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC).

It’s not yet known what Mr Bateson is accused of leaking, nor to whom.

Mr Bateson, head of Victoria’s Police’s highly publicised African-Australian Community Taskforce, has not spoken publicly since the charges were laid.

But in a text message exchange with Neil Mitchell he told the 3AW host “I am looking forward to fighting the charges”.

Meanwhile, supporters of Stuart Bateson have told Neil Mitchell they expect the matter to be “trivial”.

Click PLAY to hear Neil Mitchell’s full comments

“For example, if interviewed by IBAC you might not even be allowed to tell your family that that’s happened,” Neil Mitchell said.

“This may be a procedural matter, we just don’t know, and of course he’s entitled to the presumption of innocence.

“And we should know as soon as we can. We should get this out there publicly in everybody’s interest, the sooner the better.

“Secrecy around these things makes people think the worst.”

Regardless of the result, Neil Mitchell fears the saga may impact Mr Bateson’s promising career prospects.

“Even if acquitted, the damage to his reputation may last; he was a chance to be a future chief commissioner, this may be the end of that, which is a pity. There’s not many like him.”