During the 1990s, the Wood Royal Commission was set up to investigate alleged corruption within the New South Wales Police force. Initiated by independent NSW MP John Hatton, the commission came after decades of dramatic headlines about figures such as Roger Rogerson, whose relationship to Neddy Smith had led to accusations that the former detective had profited from the mass distribution of heroin by his supposed informant. Based in Darlinghurst CID, Rogerson had been based on the corner of Sydney’s King’s Cross, which functioned as a flourishing red-light district for the city’s underworld.
During the Wood Royal Commission, King’s Cross police soon emerged as central in the alleged web of endemic corruption, with Sergeant Trevor Haken identified as the bagman. According to investigators, Haken collected money from drug dealers such as Louis Bayeh, who would then be protected by a CID headed up by Detective Inspector Graham “Chook” Fowler. Facing the overwhelming authority of a Royal Commission, Haken quickly agreed to turn informant, recording highly incriminating tapes of his corrupt colleagues.
Along with the standard revelations of bribery and general police misconduct, it emerged that Larry Churchill of King’s Cross CID had been linked to a child sex abuse ring that included Robert “Dolly” Dunn. A former teacher who was later sentenced to 20 years in prison. On the outside, Dunn had been a close associate of former diplomat William Stuart Brown, who reportedly hung himself after being convicted of his own child abuse charges. Along with Brown, several New South Wales police officers died suddenly following the Wood Royal Commission, in circumstances which were ruled to be suicide.
In return for his crucial role in the inquiry, Trevor Haken received immunity from prosecution and was placed into witness protection along with his family. Haken briefly resurfaced in 2005 for an ABC interview, with the former police officer expressing regret at giving evidence to the Wood Royal Commission. Heavily disguised and claiming to be living in fear of his life, Haken described a life with little social contact, effectively ruined by his decision to cooperate with the investigation.