Proserpine police officer Manu Tenana.
Proserpine police officer Manu Tenana. Peter Carruthers

How this cop's Tinder 'look-ups' got him in trouble

A PROSERPINE cop hacked into the police database for information about Tinder hook-ups, with whom he was having sex while on duty.

Now Senior Constable Manu Tenana's future with the Queensland Police Service hangs in the balance as he faces disciplinary action by the organisation's watchdog.

His dodgy behaviour involved accessing QPrime 30 times over five years and came to light on February 22 last year, resulting in his suspension from the QPS. The married officer engaged in various affairs including with women he met on the popular mobile dating app after moving to Proserpine in 2016.

Police Prosecutor Sergeant Jay Merchant said an officer from Whitsunday Police Station spoke to a woman, who had met Tenana on Tinder and "had engaged in sexual activity while he was rostered for duty".

"That's really what led to an audit and investigation into (Tenana's) access to QPrime," Sgt Merchant said.

His shady conduct began in September 2013, just over 18 months after he was inducted into the QPS.

Mackay Magistrates Court was told there were multiple instances where he accessed QPrime for information about a former partner.

Sgt Merchant said this evolved into other charges where "searches led to relations".

The 38-year-old father of two pleaded guilty to 15 counts of using a restricted computer without consent causing or intending to cause detriment, damage or gain.

 

Proserpine Senior Constable Manu Tenana used QPrime to look up Tinder matches, who he also had sex with while on duty.
Proserpine Senior Constable Manu Tenana used QPrime to look up Tinder matches, who he also had sex with while on duty. Janessa Ekert

Sgt Merchant said Tenana, as a police officer, had been in a position of trust and authority.

"While it's not an aggravating circumstance of the charge, prosecution submits that it is an aggravating-type feature," Sgt Merchant said.

The Ethical Standards Command is investigating and a disciplinary process will begin now the court case has finalised. Tenana remains suspended pending the outcome.

Defence barrister Troy Schmidt said his client was genuinely remorseful for his actions.

"There are 15 charges. There are 30 accesses over a five-year period," Mr Schmidt said.

Tenana transferred to Proserpine from Brisbane after the death of his younger brother because he needed a fresh start.

"And he subsequently became very self-destructive," Mr Schmidt said. "He then engaged in a series of meaningless relationships. There's no suggestion the relationships were anything but consensual."

Since the offending Tenana has been taking part in ongoing counselling sessions to address his issues.

"He's presently assessing his options ... either way there will be a formal finding of misconduct against him," Mr Schmidt said.

"He's extremely embarrassed for his actions and he apologised to the court, community and his colleagues."

Prosecution pushed for a fine with convictions recorded.

"If no convictions recorded, then perhaps a community service order to reflect the ... breach of trust," Sgt Merchant said. Instead, Tenana was fined $2600 and convictions were not recorded.

"Your future in the police force, that's unknown ... (you) have and will suffer a heavy penalty," Acting Magistrate Ron Muirhead said.



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