Ex-stripper dreams to be reinstated as police trainee denied

The NSW Court of Appeal yesterday dismissed her challenge to a February 2007 decision by the Industrial Court of NSW, which rejected her bid to have earlier court orders varied.

In 1999, the Industrial Relations Commission overturned a decision that gave the Police Commissioner the go-ahead to sack Ms Hollingsworth for failing to reveal her past as a prostitute and stripper when she applied to be a policewoman.

It ordered the police commissioner to include Ms Hollingsworth, then 32, in the next intake of police recruits, and to pay her $35,000 compensation.

In dismissing her challenge yesterday, Justice Kenneth Handley, sitting with Chief Justice Jim Spiegelman and Justice Keith Mason, said those orders were not carried out, as the position of student police officer had been abolished in the meantime.

The parties then came to an agreement that would enable Ms Hollingsworth to qualify for appointment as a probationary constable.

"She undertook not to enforce the orders if the commissioner performed his obligations under the agreement. But if he did not do so, her right to enforce them would not be waived," Justice Handley said.

But despite a number of attempts, Ms Hollingsworth failed to qualify for appointment as a probationary constable.

"It has not been suggested that this was due to any fault or neglect on her part, or on the part of the commissioner," the judge said.

Ms Hollingsworth unsuccessfully went to the Industrial Commission, which rejected her bid for a variance on the ground that there was no power to reopen those orders.

Justice Handley said the variations sought would have significantly changed the substance of the earlier orders.

"The practice of the Industrial Court and its predecessor has been to treat its orders as entered immediately they are pronounced orally in open court," he said.

"Whether this practice should continue or an alternative such as automatic deferred entry should be introduced is a matter for the Industrial Court."

In dismissing the application, the judge rejected a submission that the Industrial Court had an implied power to hear her case as it was the court of last resort.