Alleged SAPOL Sex Offender Wade Burns Fails to Explain Which Part of Allegations Against Him are “Factually Incorrect”


Wade Burns: Another winner from SAPOL whose behaviour has led to yet another sexual assault controversy.

As discussed previously on this site, it was revealed in parliament recently that high-ranking SAPOL officer Wade Burns allegedly sexually assaulted a female colleague at a social function in 2017.

Burns, who is married and father of two adolescent boys, pleaded guilty to a list of agreed facts during an internal workplace investigation but was never criminally charged. His only ‘punishment’ was a demotion, from rank of chief inspector to senior sergeant in mid-2017.

He was later reinstated to the rank of inspector.

In textbook classic SAPOL fashion, the matter was hushed over.

Burns is current deputy president of the Police Association of South Australia (PASA), and is aggressively campaigning for the impending election that will decide the new police union president.

Burns, who pays continual lip service to the importance of “transparency” and “openness”, made no mention of the matter on his website Burns created the self-promoting website in order to bolster his chances of winning the union election.

When revealing the sordid affair in parliament, MP Frank Pangallo described it as the force’s “worst-kept secret”.

The day after the bombshell allegations, Burns issued a memo to union members declaring his campaign would continue and claimed “what was said – under parliamentary privilege – was factually incorrect”.

Burns accused Pangallo of using Parliamentary privilege to derail his union election campaign.

“It is … very clear that parliamentary privilege was used on behalf of others with a political agenda regarding the election outcome,” claimed Burns.

Burns provided no evidence to back his defamatory claim against Pangallo.

Pangallo called on Burns to apologise and withdraw the “outrageous and defamatory accusation” that he had used parliamentary privilege on behalf of others to affect the election outcome.

“I have known about the matter since before entering parliament and have not met with or communicated with any of the current candidates for the presidency,” he said.

Pangallo said Burns owed it to union members to ensure they had all relevant information before the close of voting on July 5.

“Mr Burns has based his election campaign around transparency and openness,” he said.

“If Mr Burns is so confident the recount of events that led to his demotion are factually incorrect, then he should have no problem seeking the Commissioner of Police authorise publication of the investigation and findings of the Tribunal (and review).”

“He can also explain, publicly, what I said that he claims was ‘factually incorrect’.”

On Thursday 20 June, The Advertiser newspaper asked Burns a series of questions, including which part of Pangallo’s statements were “factually incorrect” and whether he would ask police commissioner Grant Stevens to authorise publication of the investigation and findings.

Burns, who talks the big talk about transparency and openness, has not responded.

In a statement released on Friday 21 June, Stevens revealed that, despite Burns telling members in his June 19 memo that his misconduct “was not, nor was it ever, a criminal matter”, SAPOL’s Internal Investigation Section did commence a criminal investigation after allegations were received.

He claimed Burns may not have been aware that a criminal investigation was commenced.

“Following the criminal investigation, after considering all relevant factors including, importantly, the wishes of the alleged victim, the matter was not referred for prosecution. Subsequently, a misconduct investigation was undertaken,” he said.

In parliament, Pangallo stated Burns was appointed to head Project Equitas — a program designed to combat sexual discrimination, sexual harassment and predatory behaviour within SA Police — before the alleged incident.

Stevens claimed Burns “never held a position within Project Equitas”.

Stevens acknowledged that “In 2020, (then) Senior Sergeant Burns lodged a Police Review Tribunal appeal, challenging a decision by a SAPOL Selection Advisory Committee not to promote him to the rank of Inspector.”

“He was successful in his appeal and the tribunal ordered SAPOL to promote him to the rank of Inspector.”

Pangallo has now called for the police commissioner to “go further” and release details of the agreed facts of the 2017 internal investigation, to which Burns had “pleaded guilty”.

“Full disclosure in this matter is in the public interest,” Pangallo said.

According to Burns’ online profile, he is also currently Chair of the Governance, Nominations & Remuneration Committee at Woodcroft College and a Director of the Basketball South Australia Commission.

The allegations against Burns and the evasive manner in which he has so far dealt with them raise serious questions as to his suitability for these positions.


MP Frank Pangallo calls on police union deputy president Wade Burns to identify which aspects of bombshell parli assault allegations are ‘factually incorrect’. The Advertiser.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens reveals criminal investigation launched into Wade Burns. The Advertiser.

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