The officer in charge of planning security for the Sydney Olympics in 2000 has been removed from his post, after damaging allegations at the New South Wales Police Royal Commission that he covered up an alleged assault on a suspected cat burglar and sprayed him with Mace. Superintendent John Garvey has been 'stood aside' after being warned by Justice James Wood during evidence to the corruption inquiry. The removal of Mr Garvey, the top officer in the Olympic Security Planning Group, comes weeks before he was apparently due to observe arrangements and crowd control provisions in Atlanta. It has also again exposed the senior hierarchy to further allegations of impropriety. Mr Garvey has agreed he sprayed the suspect with Mace, but denies any wrongdoing, saying he used the Mace as a chemical restraint after an assault on an officer, and following the suspect's refusal to be fingerprinted. This is in direct conflict to evidence given by three other secret police witnesses, who say Mr Garvey is lying and the affair was covered up. They also say a subsequent internal affairs inquiry into the incident that cleared police of a sinister involvement was a cover-up. The allegations have not only dented the image of security planning for the Olympics, but mark a new low in what has developed into an embarrassing and morale-sapping royal commission. Mr Garvey is the third person of the rank of superintendent or above to be criticised in hearings. The inquiry is expected to finish before the end of July next year.