Freckelton report to be released


By Sean Car

The findings of a council report investigating claims of sexual misconduct by former Lord Mayor Robert Doyle will be made available to his accuser after Victoria Police dropped its investigation last month.

Victoria Police confirmed on June 25 that no charges would be laid against the 66-year-old following a two-year investigation by the Sexual Crimes Squad into a complaint made by Kharla Williams.

Mr Doyle resigned as Lord Mayor in 2018 following accusations of sexual harassment by two councillors, which he continues to deny. In 2018, a separate council-initiated investigation conducted by Dr Ian Freckelton QC found Mr Doyle’s conduct towards the two councillors could constitute sexual harassment and gross misconduct.

Ms Williams made a formal complaint to both the council and Victoria Police regarding separate allegations about Mr Doyle’s behaviour at a Melbourne Health dinner in 2016, which was also investigated by Dr Freckelton.

After he resigned, Mr Doyle’s lawyers launched Supreme Court action preventing the council from publishing the findings of that investigation, which was later withdrawn in 2019. Then newly-appointed CEO Justin Hanney said last year that the findings would be made available to Ms Williams once the police investigation had concluded – a promise he reiterated on June 25.

“I acknowledge the courage Ms Williams has shown in taking this matter to Victoria Police,” he said. “In 2019, I made an assurance that the findings of the Freckelton report would be made available to Ms Williams once the police investigation was completed. The appropriate processes will now be put in place to make this happen.”

“I remain absolutely committed to everyone’s right to a safe, inclusive and healthy workplace and to processes that encourage and support women to report sexual harassment.” •

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