22 December, 2014. 13:12
ERROL PARKER | Editor-at-large | Contact
A SANTA AT Western Sydney shopping centre has been arrested in front of horrified shoppers this morning.
In a mid-morning operation, police swooped on the suspect while he was working as a Santa at Westfield Parramatta.
Police allowed the man to change out of his costume to minimise the trauma to the children and other shoppers.
The accused, Stephen Dale Scott, was detained by detectives from Task Force Credo after being charged with insider trading and corruption offenses.
It is alleged by NSW Police and ICAC that Mr Scott used his position in his family’s plumbing business to obtain a financial benefit through adversely affecting the official functions of Sydney Water Corporation, where he worked as a contractor.
Mr Scott started working as a Santa after he was dismissed from his family’s business for being “totally unreliable” and “perennially late”.
In recent weeks ICAC investigators have been taking statements over a particular construction deal in which Mr Scott was engaged as a consultant – including expenses incurred in other business pursuits in claims made on SWC for work on the North West Growth Centre.
Lawyers for Mr Scott have released a statement saying that their client “vehemently denies all charges” and vows to clear his name.
“Officers from Task Force Credo detained my client while he was working as a Santa, which was totally unnecessary,” says lawyer Michael Donaldson.
“The charges were completely unrelated to his position within Westfield and the arrest has irreparably damaged his character and future career prospects,”
“People often jump to conclusions and assume the worst when people working with children are arrested.” he said.
A spokesman for the NSW Police says that the force will not apologise for protecting the public.
“Mr Scott is a danger to society and we removed him from it as soon as we got the arrest warrant,” says the spokesman.
“Insider trading costs the economy over a billion dollars each year – or one hundredth the damage caused by alcohol,”
“The NSW police and ICAC acted in a correct and lawful manner regarding the arrest of Mr Scott and we will not be apologising for anything.”
Mr Scott is due to appear briefly in court tomorrow for a bail hearing.
This is honestly a utter joke! You’s can leave many creeps out there walking free but what this mans case is worse? I have a lot of respect for our government police force etc…. But everything just seems to be a joke now. I believe that the NSW and the ICAC do need to apologise not only to the man but also to the public. What you did could of waited, for the love of god honestly he was Santa making children and parents happy it could of been a child’s first Christmas and having a Santa arrested and seeing that so young could effect them. I don’t know about you but it dosent look like you’s thought things through. I still respect you’s but you make me not proud to be living in this country and that’s pretty sad for me to say that cause I love this country with all my heart!
Joan, realistically I doubt whether the Police had this as the first option. The report indicates that his own family business sacked him for being “totally unreliable” and “perennially late”. Would have been easier for Police to have him attend an appointment – but how many appointments did he fail to attend with Police before they took this option. Maybe he made lots of promises (personal and business) where he has been unreliable. The other issue is “who dobbed” that he was working as Santa – maybe the previous employer. Always room for speculation but I restate, “..doubt whether the Police had this as the first option…”
They can’t deal with these sort of charges by summons to court?? The guy didn’t hurt anyone, he’s not a “danger to society”. Arresting the guy while he’s at work just seems unnecessary and affects his future employment for no reason.
mmm… NSW Police and ICAC knew who he was and where he lived. Why not wait til he got home from work and arrest him then?
Seriously arrest him after his Santa job but not like this..
Those poor kids could be traumatized after seeing that..have a heart its Christmas its not like he killed, raped or done something so devastating to be taken away like that.
I know you have a job to do but so does he. Im sure hes not going anywhere and im sure you will find him when he finishes his shift..like come on! Poor man im sure hes feeling so embarrassed and witj regret what hes done but fair go let him finish the job.