Terry Lewis (police officer)

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Terence Murray "Terry" Lewis
Born 29 February 1928 (1928-02-29) (age 86)
Criminal penalty
10½ years
Criminal status released
Conviction(s) 16 counts of corruption and forgery

Terence Murray "Terry" Lewis (born 29 February 1928) is a former Queensland Police commissioner who was convicted and jailed for corruption and forgery as a result of the Fitzgerald Inquiry. He was stripped of his knighthood and two other awards in consequence.[1]

Lewis has continued to protest his innocence, and sued his former lawyers and pursued appeals.[2] However his appeals failed in August 2005.[3]


In 1976 Lewis was promoted from obscurity to the rank of Assistant Police Commissioner to Ray Whitrod. Whitrod refused to work with Lewis, and resigned in protest when the Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen insisted on Lewis's appointment. Lewis served as Police Commissioner from 1978 to 1987, receiving a knighthood, but was dismissed by police minister Bill Gunn in September 1987. Lewis was a close associate[4] of the corrupt former Police Commissioner Francis Bischof, and as a senior constable was in charge of the Juvenile Aid Bureau.[5] Jack Herbert had been the bagman, collecting bribes for police commissioner Lewis after 1980. Lewis himself had been a bagman for former commissioner Francis Bischof.[2]

Assistant Commissioner Graeme Parker later confessed to corruption and implicated Lewis on 16 September 1987.[6] Following the end of the Fitzgerald Inquiry, Lewis was charged in 1989 with 23 counts of perjury, corruption, and forgery.[7] After hearing evidence over five months, and having deliberated for five days, a District Court jury found that although Lewis had not lied to the inquiry, he had accepted bribes totalling $700,000 to protect brothels, SP (starting price) bookmakers, illegal casinos and in-line machine operators, and to prevent poker machines being legally introduced in Queensland.[8] He was also found to have forged Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen's signature on an official police document in 1981.


Judge Healy sentenced Lewis to the maximum jail term possible – 14 years on the 15 corruption charges and 10 years on the forgery charge – to be served concurrently, fixed a non-parole period of 9½ years, and fined Lewis $50,000 on each of the corruption charges. Lewis was paroled in 2002 after serving 10½ years. He has continued to protest his innocence, suing his former lawyers and pursuing further appeals.[2] However his appeals failed in August 2005.[3]

Awards and honours[edit]

Lewis received the following honours:

Knight-Bachelor.ribbon.png Knight Bachelor (confers no post-nominals): for his service to the Queensland Police, on New Year's Day, 1986.[9][10]
Order of the British Empire (Civil) Ribbon.png Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) He was appointed on 16 June 1979 .[11][12]
UK George Medal ribbon.svg George Medal (GM) 10 May 1960 for his apprehension of an armed man, when a Senior Detective Constable, along with three other police officers. Of the other officers Detective Constable 1st Class Glen Patrick Hallahan was also awarded the GM, while Constables Kevin John Morris and James Kevin Shearer were awarded the gallantry version of the British Empire Medal. The constables had initially attended an incident where a woman had reported that her husband was armed with a rifle, and was threatening to kill both her, and himself. The two detectives arrived later, and attempted to disarm the man, during which the gun was fired, with a shot passing between Hallahan's legs, they eventually managed to subdue the man.[13][14]
Queens Police Medal for Merit.png Queen's Police Medal (QPM) which he was awarded on 11 June 1977.[15][16]
National Medal (Australia) ribbon.png National Medal on 15 May 1986.[17]

Churchill Fellowship in 1968 for his work with the Juvenile Aid Bureau.[18]

A notice in the Queensland Gazette No. 69 of 26 March 1993 at page 1543 advised that the Queen had stripped Lewis of the Knight Bachelor, Officer of the Order of the British Empire and Queens Police Medal for Merit. He retained the George Medal that was awarded for gallantry and the National Medal awarded for service. Lewis became only the 14th person since the 14th century to be stripped of his knighthood.[1]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Whitton, Evan (1989). The hillbilly dictator: Australia's police state. Sydney: ABC Enterprises. ISBN 0-642-12809-X. 
  • Bishop, Steve (2012). The Most Dangerous Detective: the Outrageous Glen Patrick Hallahan and the Rat Pack, Amazon.com. ISBN 9781480253797
  • Condon, Matthew (2013) Three Crooked Kings, University of Queensland Press ISBN 9780702238918

Other sources[edit]