POLICE have been asked to investigate an anonymous email sent to a Country Fire Authority volunteer the day before she was due to give evidence to the Bushfires Royal Commission.
Second lieutenant at the Kinglake West brigade Karen Barrow says she felt shaken and intimidated by the note sent to her private email address on Sunday night.
Ms Barrow revealed the email yesterday when she appeared before the commission as a lay witness.
Under the subject line ''Good Luck at the Royal Commission'' and signed ''CFA VOL'', the email rejected aspects of a statement she gave to the commission last week about the management of the Kilmore East fire.
Her statement to commission lawyers was finalised on Thursday and circulated among other parties on Friday, but was not to have been made public until yesterday.
The emailer specifically referred to issues raised by Ms Barrow in her statement, including the use of an emergency radio channel and the Kangaroo Ground Incident Control Centre.
The email concluded: ''Take care … and take a breath.'' Then, in reference to February 7, it said: ''It was horrendous for all of us!!!''
Ms Barrow told the commission she felt intimidated and wanted police to investigate ''to the nth degree''.
Counsel for the Government, Kerrie Judd, SC, said the email had been passed to police and the Government agreed it needed to be followed up.
Ms Barrow later told The Age she was shaken after opening the email but quickly became angry. ''It was quite clearly deliberately sent the night before to unsettle me, and it did,'' she said. ''I started pacing the floor and got on the phone to a few people to make sure my response was balanced.''
The commission heard her personal email address was registered with the CFA.
Witness statements are circulated to lawyers appearing at the commission and are expected to be kept confidential until they are formally tendered as evidence. Ms Barrow's statement was only tendered yesterday.
Ms Barrow said the email made her more determined to give evidence. Although she was proud to be a member of the Kinglake West brigade, it only added to the embarrassment she felt to be part of the CFA.
''It really does beg the question: how many other witnesses have received a form of communication that is inappropriate? Whether it be email or verbal or telephone or anything, how many other witnesses may have received communication that has undermined their confidence in what they were saying?''
Garry Livermore, for the Government, said the Government planned to tender evidence that would be contrary to some of her assertions.
Ms Barrow has previously spoken out about her brigade's experience on Black Saturday. She sent a submission to the commission as a private citizen, reported in The Age in July, in which she described radio blackspots and breakdowns in the paging and communication systems.
Also yesterday, the commission was told the power line maintenance contractor used by SP AusNet to train its inspectors was not a registered training organisation.
SP AusNet's maintenance manager on February 7, Denis McCrohan, said he did not realise Utility Asset Management was not registered, as stipulated in its contract with the power company, until he was told by the commission's lawyers.
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