Roger Rogerson

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Roger Rogerson
Rogerson leaving the Supreme Court, June 2016
Born (1941-01-03) 3 January 1941 (age 81)
Other namesRodger the Dodger[1]
Occupationdetective (former)
EmployerNew South Wales Police (formerly)
Criminal statusImprisoned
SpouseAnne Melocco
Children2 daughters
AwardsPeter Mitchell Award
Conviction(s)Murder, drug trafficking, perverting the course of justice
Criminal penaltyLife imprisonment

Roger Caleb Rogerson (born 3 January 1941) is a former detective sergeant of the New South Wales Police Force, and a convicted murderer.[2][3] During Rogerson's career, he was one of the most decorated officers in the police force, having received at least thirteen awards for bravery, outstanding policemanship and devotion to duty including the Peter Mitchell Trophy, the highest annual police award.[4][5] During his time in office he was implicated in—but never convicted of—two killings, bribery, assault and drug dealing.[6]

In 1999, Rogerson was convicted of perverting the course of justice and lying to the Police Integrity Commission. He is also known for his association with other New South Wales (NSW) detectives who are reputed to have been corrupt, including Ray "Gunner" Kelly and Fred Krahe, and with a number of organised crime figures, including Abe Saffron,[7] Arthur "Neddy" Smith and Christopher Dale Flannery. Smith was a convicted heroin dealer, rapist and armed robber who claimed Rogerson gave him the "green light" to commit crimes in NSW, while Flannery specialised in contract killing.

In May 2014, Rogerson was remanded in prison after being charged, along with fellow former NSW detective Glen McNamara, with the murder of 20-year-old student Jamie Gao, and supply of drugs. Both pleaded not guilty in January 2015. Their trial was started in July 2015, but was aborted after two days because of the potential prejudice caused after McNamara's then-barrister Charles Waterstreet made a reference to Rogerson "killing two or three people when he was in the police force".[8][9] Following a retrial, both Rogerson and McNamara were found guilty of murder.[2] In September 2016, both were sentenced to jail for life for the murder of Gao.


Early life[edit]

One of three children, Rogerson grew up in the Sydney suburb of Bankstown (moving there from Bondi at six years old).[10] Rogerson's father Owen Rogerson emmigrated from Kingston upon Hull, England during his career as a boilermaker; his mother Mabel Boxley emigrated from Cardiff, Wales with her parents as a youth (her English born father Caleb Boxley was the reason for Roger's middle name).[11] Rogerson attended Bankstown Central School and later Homebush Boys High School. In January 1958, he joined the New South Wales Police Cadet Service.[12] He has two daughters by his first wife Joy Archer.[13]

Police career[edit]

Rogerson worked on some of the biggest cases of the early 1970s, including the Toecutter Gang Murder and the Whiskey Au Go Go Fire in Brisbane. By 1978, his reputation was sufficient to gain convictions based on the strength of unsigned records of interviews with prisoners (known as "police verbals"). He was brought in to investigate the Ananda Marga conspiracy case, despite having no connections to the Special Branch investigating the case. Tim Anderson, one of the three released in 1985, claimed the confession Rogerson extracted was fabricated, and that he and two other members of the Ananda Marga group were convicted in part because of Rogerson's fabrications.[14][15]

The Peter Mitchell Award was presented to Rogerson in 1980 for the arrest of escaped armed robber Gary Purdey. This was tainted by Purdey's claims that Rogerson assaulted him, prevented him from calling his solicitor and typed up to five different records of the interview.[14][dead link]

Rogerson was responsible for the 1981 shooting death of Warren Lanfranchi.[16] During the inquest, the coroner found Rogerson was acting in the line of duty, but a jury declined to find he had acted in self-defence. However, it was alleged by Lanfranchi's partner, Sallie-Anne Huckstepp, and later by Neddy Smith, that Rogerson had murdered Lanfranchi as retribution for robbing another heroin dealer who was under police protection and for firing a gun at a police officer. Huckstepp, a heroin addict and prostitute, appeared on numerous current affairs programs, including 60 Minutes and A Current Affair, demanding an investigation into the shooting. She also made statements to the New South Wales Police Internal Affairs Branch. Huckstepp was later murdered, her body found in a pond in Centennial Park, New South Wales.[16]

Fellow police officer Michael Drury has alleged that Rogerson was involved in his attempted murder. Drury claims he refused to accept a bribe Rogerson offered in exchange for evidence tampering in a heroin trafficking trial of convicted Melbourne drug dealer Alan Williams. On 6 June 1984, Drury was shot twice through his kitchen window as he fed his three-year-old daughter. Rogerson was charged with the shooting and Williams testified that Rogerson and Christopher Dale Flannery had agreed to murder Drury for A$50,000 each. However, on 20 November 1989, Rogerson was acquitted.[17][18]

Rogerson received a criminal conviction, which was overturned on appeal, for involvement in drug dealing, allegedly conspiring with notorious Melbourne drug dealer Dennis Allen to supply heroin.[19]

After the police force[edit]

Rogerson was dismissed from the NSW Police Force on 11 April 1986 (had not seen active service since his suspension on 30 November 1984 as a result of the Drury investigation).[19] He was subsequently convicted of perverting the course of justice in relation to A$110,000 deposited by him in bank accounts under a false name. He spent nine months in jail in 1990 before being released on bail pending an ultimately unsuccessful appeal. He spent a further three years in jail.[20]

After leaving the force, Rogerson worked in the building and construction industry as a supplier of scaffolding. He also became an entertainer, telling stories of his police activities in a spoken-word stage show called The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, with former Australian footballers Warwick Capper and Mark "Jacko" Jackson.[21]

On 17 February 2005, Rogerson and his wife, Anne Melocco, were convicted of lying to the 1999 Police Integrity Commission. Rogerson served twelve months of a maximum two-and-a-half-year sentence. He was released from Kirkconnell Correctional Centre on 17 February 2006. Melocco was sentenced to two years' periodic detention for the same offence.[22][failed verification] Following his release from prison in 2006, Rogerson resumed his entertainment career with Mark "Jacko" Jackson by appearing in a show called The Wild Colonial Psychos with Jackson and Mark "Chopper" Read.[19]

In 2008, Rogerson reviewed episodes of the Underbelly series and Melbourne's underworld war in The Daily Telegraph[23] He also wrote about the 2009 series of Underbelly for the same paper.[24]

In 2009, he published an autobiography about his time as a detective, entitled The Dark Side, launched by broadcaster Alan Jones.[25]

Murder charge and conviction[edit]

On 27 May 2014, Rogerson was charged with the murder of Sydney student Jamie Gao, allegedly after a drug deal having gone wrong.[26] On 21 January 2015, he and his co-accused, Glen McNamara (also a former police detective), were committed to stand trial over the alleged murder.[27] On 6 March 2015, both accused were arraigned at a hearing in the NSW Supreme Court. Both pleaded not guilty to the murder of Gao and also not guilty to supplying 2.78 kilograms (6.1 lb) of "ice" (methamphetamine). The men were due for trial in the Supreme Court on 20 July 2015.[28] On the second day, the trial was aborted because of the potential prejudice caused after McNamara's then-barrister Charles Waterstreet made a reference to Rogerson "killing two or three people when he was in the police force”.[8][9]

A new trial started on 1 February 2016. On 15 June 2016, Rogerson and McNamara were found guilty of Gao's murder.[29]

On 25 August 2016, Rogerson and McNamara faced a sentencing hearing. The NSW crown prosecutor, Christopher Maxwell sought for the judge to jail Rogerson and McNamara for life, stating there was no distinction between a contract killing and killing for the purpose of financial gain[30]

One detective witness told the Daily Telegraph "it was like tracking the stars of Amateur Hour", regarding the killing of Jamie Gao. [31]

On 2 September 2016, Justice Geoffrey Bellew sentenced Rogerson and McNamara to life in prison, with the statement "The joint criminal enterprise to which each offender was a party was extensive in its planning, brutal in its execution and callous in its aftermath". Lawyers for both Rogerson and McNamara indicated they would appeal against the sentence.[32] However, neither Rogerson nor McNamara formally lodged appeals, and in July 2019 Rogerson’s last application for an extension of time to do so was refused by the NSW Supreme Court.[33] However, Rogerson then lodged an appeal in 2020.[34]

Extortion allegations[edit]

During legal proceedings surrounding the trial against suspects involved in the 2009 contract murder of Michael McGurk, the Supreme Court heard evidence that, while in the Cooma Correctional Centre in 2014, Rogerson, McNamara, and Fortunato "Lucky" Gattellari attempted to extort Ron Medich, a businessman and suspect for masterminding the murder of McGurk.[35][36][37]

Involvement in the Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub fire investigation[edit]

Soon after the Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub fire on 8 March 1973, Sydney detectives Roger Rogerson and Detective Sergeant Noel Morey were called to Brisbane to assist in the investigation. This was because John Andrew Stuart, accused of lighting the fire, had said criminals from Sydney were behind the nightclub extortion attempts.[38]

In 1988 Roger Rogerson told a Bulletin reporter that he and the other lead detectives fabricated evidence. They did so because, although they 'knew' Stuart and Finch were involved, they had insufficient evidence to convict them. The police confirmed Rogerson was the 'mole' during an early 1990s secret investigation called 'Operation Graveyard'.[39] The journalist has refused to discuss the matter.[40]

Cultural references[edit]

Richard Roxburgh portrayed Rogerson in the 1995 TV mini-series Blue Murder and its 2017 sequel Blue Murder: Killer Cop.[41]


Plunkett, Geoff (2018). The Whiskey Au Go Go Massacre: Murder, Arson and the Crime of the Century. Big Sky Publishing. ISBN 9781925675443.


  1. ^ "Roger Rogerson: A life of crime and comedy". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 2 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b "Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara found guilty of the murder of Jamie Gao". The Sydney Morning Herald. 15 June 2016. Retrieved 15 June 2016.
  3. ^ "Disgraced former detective Roger Rogerson arrested at Sydney home, charged over alleged Jamie Gao murder". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 7 June 2020.
  4. ^ Investigation into the relationship between Police and Criminals: First Report (PDF). Independent Commission Against Corruption. February 1994. ISBN 0-7310-2910-0. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 July 2005. Retrieved 25 February 2006.
  5. ^ Rogerson, Roger (3 April 2008). "Q&A with Roger Rogerson". Retrieved 10 April 2007.
  6. ^ A bizarre twist has Rogerson answering questions of murder. The Northern Star, 31 May 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2016
  7. ^ Taylor, Grant. The Weekend West, 20–21 February 2016, p.9. "[A former WA detective said] he was introduced to Mr Rogerson [in June 1975] at the Raffles Hotel in Applecross just days after Shirley Finn [a Perth brothel keeper] was killed. Drinking with Mr Rogerson at the Raffles was [Perth vice-squad head] Bernie Johnson and Saffron"
  8. ^ a b Bibby, Paul. "Jury discharged in trial of Roger Rogerson, Glen McNamara for Jamie Gao murder", Sydney Morning Herald, 28 July 2015. Retrieved 29 March 2016
  9. ^ a b Partridge, Louise Hall and Emma (15 June 2016). "What the Rogerson jury didn't hear". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  10. ^ Rogerson, Roger Caleb (2009). The Dark Side. Kerr Publications, Melbourne, 2009. pp 31-33
  11. ^ Rogerson 2009 pp 31-33
  12. ^ Rogerson 2009 p 35
  13. ^ Rogerson 2009 p 10
  14. ^ a b see Take Two by Tim Anderson, 1992, "Take Two". Archived from the original on 22 September 2013. Retrieved 2013-09-21.>
  15. ^ "Research Report on Trends in Police Corruption" (PDF). Police Integrity Commission. Parliament of New South Wales, Australia. December 2002. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  16. ^ a b Morri, Mark (28 May 2014). "Disgraced Sydney detective Roger Rogerson is a consummate storyteller who loves a beer, writes Mark Morri". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  17. ^ Goodsir, D. Line of Fire: The inside story of the controversial shooting of undercover policeman Michael Drury, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 1995. ISBN 1-86448-002-5.
  18. ^ Hole, Jacquelyn (21 November 1989). "Jury Finds Roger Rogerson Not Guilty". The Sydney Morning Herald. No. 47,495. p. 3. Retrieved 6 March 2015 – via Google News.
  19. ^ a b c Ansley, Greg (21 August 2004). "Comedy caper beyond a crime". The New Zealand Herald. APN New Zealand Limited. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  20. ^ Jacobsen G., McClymont K. "Novel end as Rogerson gets two years to finish thriller". Sydney Morning Herald, 19 February 2005. Retrieved 29 March 2016
  21. ^ Cashmere, Paul, (27 October 2003). "Who Are The Good The Bad and The Ugly?" at the Wayback Machine (archived 21 May 2007) Undercover Music News; Undercover Media Pty Ltd. Archived from the original on 27 October 2003.
  22. ^ I could have been chief: Roger Rogerson at the Wayback Machine (archived 29 May 2007).; Nine National News. 13 March 2006. AAP. Archived from the original. Retrieved 9 May 2010.
  23. ^ Rogerson, Roger (26 March 2008). Roger Rogerson reviews 'Underbelly' and blogs live; Daily Telegraph blogs.
  24. ^ Rogerson, Roger (23 February 2009). Roger Rogerson reviews the third episode of Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities; Daily Telegraph blogs. Retrieved 9 June 2010.
  25. ^ Goodsir, Darren. "Roger Rogerson myth can stand no longer", Sydney Morning Herald, 27 May 2014. Retrieved 29 March 2016.
  26. ^ "Roger Rogerson charged over Jamie Gao murder; Gao shot twice in the chest, police allege". News Limited. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  27. ^ Oriti, Thomas (22 January 2015). "Former detectives Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara face murder trial over Jamie Gao death". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  28. ^ "Rogerson pleads not guilty to murder". AAP. 6 March 2015. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
  29. ^ Partridge, Emma (15 June 2015). "Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara found guilty of the murder of Jamie Gao". Sydney Morning Herald.
  30. ^ Margetts, Jayne (25 August 2016). "Jamie Gao murder: Rogerson and McNamara should be jailed for life, prosecutor says". ABC News.
  31. ^ "Gao was person of interest for years: AFP - 9News".
  32. ^ Hoerr, Karl (2 September 2016). "Jamie Gao murder: Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara sentenced to life in prison". ABC News.
  33. ^ "Roger Rogerson likely to die in jail after court declines time extension to appeal". 7News. 18 July 2019.
  34. ^ Scheikowski, Margaret (21 September 2020). "Roger Rogerson's murder appeal to start". The Canberra Times. Australian Community Media. Retrieved 29 May 2021.
  35. ^ McClymont, Kate; Cormack, Lucy (26 April 2018). "As Medich is jailed, the man who organised the hit demands to be released". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  36. ^ Hoerr, Karl (7 February 2017). "'Former NSW cop Roger Rogerson recruited to extort money from property developer, jury told". ABC News. Australia. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  37. ^ Begley, Patrick (7 February 2017). "Roger Rogerson part of $25 million plot to extort Ron Medich, court told". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
  38. ^ Plunkett 2018, p. 204.
  39. ^ Plunkett 2018, p. 253.
  40. ^ "Secret files detail 'fake report' on Whiskey Au Go Go blaze – The Australian (1 September 2018) – The Whiskey Au Go Go Massacre". Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  41. ^ Byrnes, Holly (11 July 2017). "Roger Rogerson telemovie Blue Murder: Killer Cop fast-tracked to air by Channel Seven". News Corp Australia Network. Retrieved 25 March 2018.