A former police officer who tried to take action against corruption in his own ranks before lying about his role in burying a body has avoided going to jail for drugs delivered to the wrong address.
Rodney Stewart DeFilippis sent a package containing methylamphetamine by registered post, listing himself as the sender in August 2020, a Brisbane court heard on Friday.
The contents – 28 grams of substance containing a low percentage of methamphetamine – were found after the package was delivered to the wrong person who told the police.
Before officers searched DeFilippis’ home, the 65-year-old contacted Australia Post to find the package, saying it contained passports and jewellery.
The scientist-turned-police officer in New South Wales found himself with mental health issues because of the stress “of witnessing terrible things that included corruption”, his lawyer Christopher Wilson said.
DeFilippis also has a criminal history dating back more than two decades, with convictions primarily for possession of cannabis, but also for selling methamphetamine to an undercover police officer.
But in 2009 he was arrested after confessing to a friend wearing a police wire that he had buried the body of a Gold Coast businessman in bushland in northern New South Wales around 20 years earlier.
The alleged killer had died when DeFilippis was sentenced the following year to two years behind bars for aiding and abetting the unlawful killing, with authorities unable to prove whether it was murder or manslaughter.
Before being sentenced, DeFilippis lied at a coroner’s inquest and corruption watch hearing about his knowledge of the case.
“He continues to say nothing about it,” Wilson said.
Judge David Kent said DeFilippis’ serious criminal record was outweighed by his commendable policing during which he made “attempts to take action against corruption in the NSW Police Force”.
The former officer had performed an “ill-advised favor for a friend”, forwarding him the package he was suspicious of while receiving no benefit.
There could be no one better than DeFilippis – as a longtime former police officer and someone involved in the drug trade – to spot a suspicious package, Judge Kent said.
“If anyone was going to touch a wrapped package, it was him,” he added.
When sentencing DeFilippis, he said, “Your level of gullibility and I’m sure you now regret taking these actions is at an extreme.”
DeFilippis was sentenced to two years behind bars, with Judge Kent ordering his immediate parole.
Australian Associated Press