Luke Batty, 11, dies in horrific attack by his father, Greg Anderson at Tyabb cricket oval


UPDATE 14/02/14

Victoria’s Chief Police Commissioner Ken Lay says police had been dealing with complaints against Anderson for at least a decade and there were five outstanding warrants for his arrest relating to domestic violence.

“We owe it to the community, we owe it to Luke, we owe it to Rosie to understand exactly what happened not only with police, but other services so the community can understand exactly what happened but I just hope that this may well be the next step to get so much better in the family violence space,”

 says police had been dealing with complaints against Anderson for at least a decade

says police had been dealing with complaints against Anderson for at least a decade

Killer dad Greg Anderson tormented family for years, faced arrest warrants and threatened to kill Luke’s mother

We can reveal that Greg Anderson should have been behind bars when he murdered his son.

Police failed to execute ­arrest warrants in the weeks leading up to Wednesday night’s horrific incident.

Anderson was a violent drifter who had tormented his ­estranged family for years.

The warrants were issued after he repeatedly failed to turn up at court on charges of assaulting Luke’s mum and threatening to kill her.

It is understood four separate warrants for his arrest were issued throughout January but police failed to apprehend him.

Victoria Police said that its investigations would look into “not only the events on the night, but also all relevant circumstances which preceded them”.

The force said it would not be commenting further.

On May 16, 2012, Anderson assaulted Rosie Batty by grabbing her by the hair, pushing her to the ground and kicking her before threatening her with a glass vase.

Ms Batty told police she feared her former partner suffered from some form of mental disorder.

Anderson was also arrested and charged after making threats to kill her on January 3 last year.

During the incident Anderson allegedly said to Ms Batty: “Right now I really want to kill you. I want to cut off your foot. I hope you have made a will.”

Anderson was arrested again by police on May 27 last year after attending his son’s football training.

Sources say Anderson, who was living in his unregistered car, had little to do with his son for years before re-entering his life and taking his mother through a long court battle.

Although known to Hastings and Frankston police, who felt sorry for Ms Batty, Anderson’s legal matters were ongoing so he didn’t have prior convictions at the time of his death.

Despite the incidents of domestic violence in the past two years, Anderson and Ms Batty had tried to work out ­access visits for Luke. In addition to the threats to kill and assault charges, Anderson was also facing a charge relating to accessing child porn.

He was arrested after viewing the porn at Emerald Hill Library on November 17, 2012.

Library staff noticed what he was looking at and raised the alarm. When Anderson was arrested he was found with a USB stick containing the child porn images.

Sources say Anderson had psychological issues but refused to be assessed or treated.

It is believed family had wanted Anderson to get counselling but he had refused.

Considering there were warrants out for Anderson’s arrest, questions have been raised as to whether he should have been allowed to have an access visit.

A man who shared a house with Anderson said he had to ask him to leave after being threatened with death.

The man, who did not want to be named, had lived with Anderson in Chelsea Heights since late last year but decided three weeks ago he had to go.

“We knew he had psychological problems but we found out recently how crazy he was,” the man said yesterday.

“He threatened to kill me. I had to take out an intervention order against him. I was meant to go

LUKE Batty was seen with his father after 6pm, when training finished, doing extra batting practice.

It is understood about 20 minutes later, the father was spotted bending over the motionless boy.

Police believe the child had been struck to the head with a cricket bat and attacked with a knife as he lay prone on the field. It was initially thought Luke may have suffered a sporting injury so ambulance officers were called. They were confronted by a bloodied, knife-wielding Mr Anderson.

Four police arrived soon after and were menaced by Mr Anderson, who reportedly asked to be shot as he advanced on them. Capsicum spray had no impact and, as he then closed on one policeman, that officer fired one shot to the chest, felling Mr Anderson.

Police then moved in and cleared the weapon away but Mr Anderson continued to struggle as paramedics tried to get him into an ambulance and off to hospital.

No car connected to the armed dad was found at the scene, leading police to believe he may have caught the train from Chelsea Heights to Tyabb. A premeditated suicide-by-cop scenario is one element of the probe into the tragedy.

The father made no attempt to leave the scene after the attack on his son and continued to advance on police as the risk of being shot escalated.

Police Association Secretary Greg Davies said there was then no option but to fire.

“There’s every likelihood this is suicide-by-cop. You’ve got a knife and they’ve all got firearms,” Sen-Sgt Davies said.

“It’s a police officer’s worst nightmare to see a young tacker apparently murdered by a man who turns out to be his father, who then advances on you with a knife. They (police) appear to have done everything possible to avoid this outcome.”

Veteran police were shocked at the brutality, one comparing it with the actions of child-killers Robert Farquharson and Arthur Freeman. “This is horrific and it’s in front of other kids,” one officer said.

HISTORY OF VIOLENCE
May 2012: Anderson unlawfully assaults Rosemary Batty at her home in Tyabb by grabbing her hair, pushing her to the ground and kicking her before threatening her with a glass vase. Later charged.

November 2012: Caught by staff at Emerald Hill library viewing child porn on a public computer. Charged by police with viewing child porn and two months later possessing child porn when officers find him with a USB stick containing the images.

January 2013: Anderson again attends Ms Batty’s home and allegedly threatens to kill her. Arrested later that day and charged.

April 2013: Fails to appear in accordance with his bail conditions at Frankston Magistrates’ Court.

January 2014: Warrants are issued for Anderson’s arrest after repeated failures to attend his court dates.

What a tragic awful crime, committed in front of kids and families who just finished cricket training. It must have been so hard for paramedics trying to save this cowards life after he had just murdered his own son in cold blood. My heart goes out to the mum who was also there and witnessed it…

WHY does this happen?

UPDATE 5.30 pm 13/02/14

Rosie Batty in ‘disbelief’ after son Luke killed on cricket oval by father Greg, who had history of mental illness

By Monique Ross

The mother of an 11-year-old boy killed by his father at a cricket ground in Victoria has spoken of her shock, and revealed her estranged partner had a history of mental illness and was the subject of an apprehended violence order (AVO).

Luke Batty with his mother Rosie

Luke Batty with his mother Rosie

Luke Batty was killed in front of horrified onlookers after a cricket training session at the oval in the small town of Tyabb, south-east of Melbourne, on Wednesday evening.

His 54-year-old father Greg was shot by police at the scene and died in hospital early this morning.

Luke’s mother Rosie Batty was at the cricket ground when the tragedy unfolded, after her son asked for “a few more minutes” with his father.

This afternoon she described her “shock” and “disbelief” and told reporters her estranged partner Greg was a man who loved his son but had suffered from an undiagnosed mental illness for two decades.

“Luke was nearly as tall as me. He was sensitive. He enjoyed his footy, he enjoyed his cricket,” she said.

Luke was nearly as tall as me. He was effervescent, he was funny. He wasn’t the best scholar but he was intelligent.

“He was effervescent, he was funny. He wasn’t the best scholar but he was intelligent. He enjoyed his school.”

She says Luke loved his father and “felt pain” because he knew he was struggling.

“He was a little boy in a growing body that felt pain and sadness and fear for his mum, and he always believed he would be safe with his dad,” she said.

“[I told him] ‘you’ll always love your dad. You won’t always like what they do or say, but you’ll always love your dad, and he’ll always love you’.”

Father had long history of mental illness

Ms Batty says she had known Greg for 20 years, and over that time his mental health deteriorated.

“[He went] from someone who brushed off losing a job to someone that was unemployable,” she said.

“He was in a homelessness situation for many years. His life was failing. Everything was becoming worse in his life and Luke was the only bright light in his life.”

She says Greg had been offered help, but he failed to accept it, instead choosing to “believe he was OK”.

She had an AVO against Greg, but says he loved Luke and there were no signs he would ever hurt their son.

No-one loved Luke more than Greg, his father. No-one loved Luke more than me. We both loved him.

“You’re dealing with someone who’s always had problems, and they start out small and over the years they get bigger, but he’s still the father,” she said.

“He loved his son. Everyone that’s involved with children would know that whatever action they take is not because they don’t love them.

“No-one loved Luke more than Greg, his father. No-one loved Luke more than me. We both loved him.”

She says people thought she was the one at risk, and some had urged her to return to her home country.

“Doctors, psychologists, everyone said to me, why don’t you go back to England and live there? But Luke wanted to be here,” she said.

“His school was here, his friends were here. And I had decided that was the right choice.”

‘Family violence happens to everybody’

Ms Batty says if there is a silver lining to be found in the tragedy, it will be increased awareness about the issue of family violence.

“I want to tell people that family violence happens to [anybody], no matter how nice your house is, no matter how intelligent you are,” she said.

“When you’re involved with family violence, friends, family judge you, the woman. The decisions you should make, the decisions you don’t make.

I want to tell people that family violence happens to [anybody], no matter how nice your house is, no matter how intelligent you are.

“You’re the victim, but you become the person that people condemn.

“The people here reading this will say ‘why didn’t she protect him, why didn’t she make certain decisions’.

“But when you actually finally decide enough is enough, and decide to go through a court process, you do not know what the outcome will be.

‘What I want people to take from this is that it isn’t simple. People judge you, people tell you what you should do. You do the best you can.”

She says she does not regret allowing Greg to have a relationship with his son despite the problems, as her “guiding star” was ensuring Luke knew he was loved by both of his parents.

Mother first thought it was an accident

Ms Batty says her son died after what was “just a normal cricket practice”.

“Most of the kids and parents had gone. Luke came to me and said, ‘could I have a few more minutes with my dad’ because he doesn’t see him very often and I said, ‘sure, OK’,” she said.

“There was no reason to be concerned. I thought it was in an open environment.”

She says when she realised something was wrong, she thought an accident had happened and tried to call an ambulance.

“I tried to ring but couldn’t ring because I was too stressed. I looked for help and I ran towards help, screaming ‘get an ambulance, this is really bad’,” she said.

“I thought Greg had accidentally hurt him from a bowling accident … and that Greg’s anguish was because he had hurt Luke accidentally.

“I was screaming, I was inconsolable.”

Paramedics called to the sports ground on Frankston-Flinders Road treated the boy but were unable to revive him.

Police are refusing to give more details of the incident, but some witnesses say a cricket bat was used.

Ms Batty says it was only later that she realised that what happened to Luke was not an accident.

“What I saw that I thought was Greg comforting Luke and helping him with what I thought was an accident, wasn’t necessarily what I saw,” she said.

“The full extent of what happened I don’t want anyone, other than the [coroner], to know.

“Luke was killed by his father. No-one else including myself needs to know the details of what he actually did.”

‘Police acted the way they needed to act’

Homicide detectives have spoken to several children who saw Luke die and then watched as police then shot his father.

Officers say they shot the man in the chest after he threatened them with a knife. Police say they tried to subdue him with capsicum spray but that did not work.

Greg, from Chelsea Heights, was flown to Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital, where he died about 1:30am.

Ms Batty says police did not do anything wrong.

“The police acted the way they needed to act. In the past Greg has been confrontational and difficult,” she said.

“The police had no other option.”

She says Greg had not violated terms of the AVO by attending the event.

“It was allowed from the intervention order. It was a public place, I believed he was safe,” she said.

“It was just a little cricket practice. There was people there, I believed he was safe.”

Ms Batty says she is grateful for the support of loved ones, and will soon be joined by family who are travelling to Australia from England.

February 13, 2014 12:02PM

EMOTIONAL friends have paid tribute online to an 11-year-old boy who was stabbed to death on the Mornington Peninsula last night.

Luke Batty was horrifically killed by his father during cricket training at Tyabb Cricket Ground about 6.30pm yesterday.

Paramedics frantically tried to revive the Grade 6 student, but he died at the scene from head injuries.

Tributes to the slain boy began pouring in on social media last night, with one Facebook page attracting nearly 6,000 members by 9am.

Carol Bennett said she was “so sorry that you were taken so early in your life and in such a horrific way.”

Tahila Williams wrote: “It’s sad to see such a young boy have his life taken away from him when he had done nothing wrong.”

Yvette Wagg said: “Very sad and shocked to hear this devastating news… Condolences to all”.

After the attack four police officers tried to subdue his knife-wielding father with capsicum spray before shooting him in the chest, witnesses said.

The Chelsea Heights man, 54, was taken to The Alfred hospital where he died about 1.30am, Victoria Police spokeswoman Natalie Webster said.

“I can confirm that the male that the police shot was the father of the deceased boy,” Commander Doug Fryer said last night.

The boy’s mother was at the ground.

“We’ve had an absolute tragedy here tonight,” Commander Fryer said from the scene.

“It’s a horrific scene.”

Speaking this morning, Commander Fryer said it had been a “shocking time” for the boy’s family, the witnesses at the scene and the officers involved.

“Our members were confronted by an incident that thankfully, it’s very rare when it happens, but when it does, they put their training into practice,” Commander Fryer told 3AW.

“They used an option that they thought appropriate and unfortunately we’ve now got two people dead.”

Commander Fryer said the boy’s mother, who was estranged from his father, was “in close proximity to where this happened”.

“I don’t know how a mother gets past losing her son in these sorts of ways,” he said.

Children were at the ground for cricket training and Commander Fryer said police wanted to speak to anyone who witnessed the incident.

“We spoke to a lot of people last night,” he said.

“Because cricket practice had just finished, we think there were probably kids down there and parents down there that may have seen something who we haven’t yet spoken to.

Luke’s classmates were told of his tragic death this morning when they arrived at Flinders Christian Community College in Tyabb.

The flag was flying at half-mast as parents, students and teachers rallied around each other.

Luke was remembered as a popular, happy child who loved life and enjoyed his sport at an emotional school meeting this morning.

Executive principal Jill Healey said the death of the popular Year 6 student was “an absolute shock and a tragedy”.

“There were lots of tears this morning,” she said.

She said the school community was coping as well as could be expected, and that counselling had been arranged for all those affected by Luke’s death.

Luke’s friends plan to hold a vigil for the 11-year-old at the cricket oval where he was killed.

The small community is reeling from the horrible crime and friends have already begun to bring flowers.

Taylor Cuthbertson, 15, said a friend of hers was a witness to the horrible scenes.

“He was just crying when he was telling me what happened.

“It’s so horrible.”

Emergency services were called to the oval on Frankston-Flinders Rd in Tyabb about 6.30pm yesterday following the vicious attack.

Witnesses said when officers from Mornington police station arrived, the father turned on them with a knife, forcing them to shoot him.

The man was flown to The Alfred hospital, where he later died.

The incident shocked the local community, with one resident describing it as “bloody horrific”.

Tyabb Cricket Club officials would not comment about the incident last night, saying it was “too raw”.

But the club’s junior cricket co-ordinator, Ron Dyall, said the boy — in grade 6 at Flinders Christian Community College — had played for the club for two or three years and was also an avid footballer.

Mr Dyall said he was devastated by what had happened.

“As his coach, I knew him pretty well,” he said.

“My own son plays in his team. I’m trying to figure out how to break it to him, and how we’re gonna deal with the kids.”

Local Wayne Murray, 64, said he heard what he thought was fireworks about the time of the shooting.

He said “a shiver (ran) down my spine” when he learned the sounds were gunshots.

“I heard a couple of pop pops,” he said.

“It didn’t sound unusually loud. I’ve never seen anything like this. It doesn’t happen here.”

Melissa, 37, who did not wish to give her surname, said her father had also heard gunshots.

“We heard helicopters going over the oval,” she said. “I have an 11-year-old. I was nearly in tears when I heard.”

Commander Fryer said four local officers were confronted by the knife-wielding man when they arrived about 6.40pm.

“They’ve attempted to use less than lethal force (OC foam). They’ve attempted to talk him down. That has been unsuccessful,” he said.

“They have then discharged a firearm, hitting that male once in the chest.”

Commander Fryer said police were still working to ­determine what caused the local boy’s death.

He could not confirm reports the boy was being beaten by his father with a cricket bat when police ­arrived, but said he suffered “significant injuries”.

 

 

 

About these ads

Child bride, 12, was married in her father’s house-here in Australia


This is just not on and is outrageous, a little girl only 12 years old married off to a 26-year-old. It is more common than we think and it HAS TO STOP NOW. This is criminal, and I do not care if you are a Muslim, Catholic, Buddhist or from Mars. This is AUSTRALIA and it is illegal in this country full stop. Protecting the children is paramount to anything else whether it be religious beliefs or so-called wishes of a child or parent! A bloody child wishing to get married, it’s ridiculous to entertain the thought

UPDATE 13/02/14

Father of 12-year-old child bride charged, but thinks has ‘done nothing wrong’

THE father of the 12-year-old girl at the centre of the Islamic marriage scandal appeared before a court yesterday charged with procuring his young daughter for sex.

The 61-year-old, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, “is of the belief he has done nothing wrong,” Raymond Terrace Local Court was told.

The court also heard the man had a disregard for NSW laws and believed his daughter was “in love” with her 26-year-old “husband”.

THE SHAME OF OUR CHILD BRIDE EPIDEMIC

MOSQUE SACKS IMAM WHO ‘MARRIED’ COUPLE

O’FARRELL WELCOMES ARREST OVER ‘MARRIAGE’

Magistrate Caleb Franklin rejected the man’s bail application yesterday, citing a strong prosecution case and the likelihood of a jail term if he was convicted.

Police charged the father with procuring a child for unlawful sexual activity and being an accessory before the fact to someone having sexual intercourse with a child.

“The defendant has a disregard for the laws of this state,” Mr Franklin said in denying the man bail.

The man’s Legal Aid solicitor said her client, an osteoarthritis sufferer, would find time in custody “very difficult”.

The court heard the man had co-operated with detectives in interviews but disputed much of the police facts including the allegations he facilitated the marriage.

His solicitor said her client claimed his daughter was a “very, very mature strong-willed woman” and he thought the man was about 18-19.

“He said ‘they’re in love and it’s a strong love’ and at this point he’s trying to be supportive of his children,” she said.

Charge sheets tendered in court allege the girl’s father procured her for sexual activity with her future “husband” from when the couple met at a Hunter Valley mosque in November last year until they were allegedly married on January 12.

Outside court, it emerged the girl wrote on a blog site her father told her to wear a hijab to school when she was 11.

“When I was 11 my Dad made the decision I should wear hijab to school,” she wrote.

“To be honest I didn’t want to wear hijab to school. I was afraid of what all the other kids would say or think about me. But when I went to school the next day it wasn’t that bad.”

Charges against the girl’s father followed the alleged wedding of the man’s then 12-year-old daughter in their family living room to a 26-year-old Lebanese man last month.

The girl’s “husband” is in custody charged with 25 counts of having sexual intercourse with a child.

Imam Riaz Tasawar from the Mayfield Mosque, who “married” the 12-year-old girl to the 26-year-old man.

Imam Riaz Tasawar from the Mayfield Mosque, who “married” the 12-year-old girl to the 26-year-old man.

The imam who allegedly performed the ceremony, Riaz Tasawar, 35, was charged with solemnising a marriage without authority and will face court in April.

UPDATE 11/02/14

Police have arrested and charged an imam accused of conducting the marriage of a 12-year-old girl in the Hunter Valley this year.

Detectives from the Child Abuse Squad arrested the 35-year-old Pakistan-born man outside Parramatta police station about 4.30pm on Monday afternoon, police said.

They charged him with solemnisation of a marriage by an unauthorised person.

Police will allege he agreed to conduct a ceremony after he was approached by a 26-year-old man, who was eager to marry the girl.

The 26-year-old, a Lebanese man who is living in Australia on a student visa, has   with 25 counts of having sexual intercourse with an underage child.

He is in custody and is expected to make an application for bail before Burwood Local Court on Wednesday.

It had been reported the imam had gone to ground.

“He was located outside the police station,” a police spokesman said.

“It wasn’t arrest by appointment or anything like that, just that we happened to find him outside the police station.”

The spokesman said the imam was not related to the girl.

The imam was released on strict conditional bail and is expected to appear before Parramatta Local Court on April 2.

The girl’s father needs his head read, he talks below, and then further down, how this crime was discovered.

THE Muslim convert father of the 12-year-old girl at the centre of a child sex case following her “marriage” to a 26-year-old foreigner confessed his unhappiness at their union, but said “it was not my decision” WTF ??? IS this father kidding himself? How could he allow this to happen

But the fifth-generation Australian man, who allowed the pair to be married by an imam in his Hunter Valley home on January 12, now says he fears she is going to “die” from a broken heart.

The man, 26, is behind bars tonight after being arrested by the Sex Crime Command's Child Abuse Squad after his marriage to a 12-year-old girl was discovered.

The man, 26, is behind bars tonight after being arrested by the Sex Crime Command’s Child Abuse Squad after his marriage to a 12-year-old girl was discovered.

He also addressed public outrage on the case following the 26-year-old Lebanese man’s arrest on Thursday, saying he might “cop a little bit of abuse off people but I will have to cope with that”.

“She was crying like I have never heard before, they were telling her she couldn’t see (the man) today or tomorrow or possibly forever,’’ he said. “She’s being restrained against her will in foster care.

“There’s nothing I can do at the moment, I’ve got the feeling she might die because she’s so hurt by all of this.”

The pair met at a Hunter Valley mosque late last year after the 26-year-old came to Australia to study at a nearby university.

He approached the mosque about marrying the girl but the Newcastle Muslim Association president Bikash “Shahriar” Paul said he was turned away because it was illegal and “wrong”.

He then approached the girl’s father — who converted to Islam about 18 years ago following a battle with drugs, gambling and alcohol abuse — through an intermediary, who told him of the man’s intentions.

He initially refused but agreed to let him come to his house to meet his daughter.

He said it was almost over before it began when she found out he was 26, but she changed her mind.

“She was saying she wanted to get married, I said before there was going to be problems because he was from Lebanon,’’ the father said. “I told him to go back to Lebanon, not nastily.”

The girl’s father said his initial concerns were more religiously guided than the man’s or his daughter’s ages.

However, he said the only way they could be in any type of relationship, let alone in the same room un-chaperoned, under “my interpretation of the Koran” was if they were married.

“My daughter was not going to change her mind, I couldn’t talk her out of it,’’ he said.

“Him being 26 was not a big concern to me because I was not marrying him. I was not happy with it but it was not my decision.”

He said the couple moved to western Sydney after the marriage. He said they tried to enrol his daughter at a local high school but were told to go to Centrelink to ascertain her guardianship.

The father said a social worker at Centrelink raised the alarm before police and the Department of Community Services intervened.

The man was refused bail at Burwood Local Court on Friday after being charged by Child Abuse Squad detectives with 25 counts of sexual intercourse with a child.

Her father, who was interviewed and released without charge, said he knew people would ask how could he let his 12-year-old daughter live with an older man, let alone marry him, but he didn’t “want to stop her happiness”.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Pru Goward said on Friday she was horrified by the case.

“In this country, little girls have rights and in particular they have the right to a childhood free from this kind of abuse,” she said

Alleged underage marriage uncovered when a 12-year-old child bride and husband, 26, tried to apply for spousal benefits

The Daily Telegraph
February 08, 2014

AN alleged under-age marriage was uncovered this week when a 12-year-old child bride and her 26-year-old husband tried to apply for spousal benefits, according to government sources.

Centrelink sources say the girl was removed from the home she shared with her 26-year-old “husband” hours after enquiring about what support would be available to a spousal visa holder on Wednesday morning.

Concerns also emerged after the man attempted to enrol the girl in a Western Sydney high school.

Newcastle Muslim Association president Bikash “Shahriar” Paul said the accused man was an “occasional” worshipper at a mosque in the Hunter Valley region north of Sydney, where he met the girl.

Mr Paul said he believed the man was originally from Lebanon but had moved to the Hunter Region to study computers at a nearby university about nine months ago.

It’s understood police will allege the marriage took place in a backyard in Sydney’s west on January 11.

After hearing reports about the charges yesterday morning on radio Mr Paul said he called the girl’s father who confirmed “it’s my girl”.

He said the girl’s father “was aware” of the marriage and that police had contacted him on Thursday but did not elaborate further.

The man was arrested by detectives from the Child Abuse Squad and charged with 25 counts of sexual intercourse with a child.

He was denied bail at Burwood court yesterday and will reappear next Wednesday.

Shocked residents in the western Sydney suburb where the couple lived expressed anger about the alleged offences.

One neighbour said before they moved in they had mistakenly gone to the wrong house for an inspection. She said she saw the girl wearing a pink hijab and her partner apologised for the intrusion.

A leading Islamic health services counsellor has warned that hundreds of children as young as eleven are being sent overseas to be married after being “shopped” on Facebook.

Ms Sharobeem, the Director of the Immigrant Women’s Health Services, said children were involved in illegal marriages both in Australia and overseas: “It’s far more prevalent and well-known than people think.”

Minister for Family and Community Services, Pru Goward conceded the problem was more widespread than the case identified yesterday, saying her department had heard of “significant numbers of unlawful, unregistered marriages in NSW, particularly in south-west Sydney, western Sydney and the Blue Mountains.”

“In this country, little girls have rights and in particular they have the right to a childhood free from this kind of abuse,” she said.

The legal marrying age in Australia is 18 unless a court has approved a marriage where one party is aged between 16 and 18.

Betting Scandal at Australian Open tennis


Margaret Court Arena

Betting Scandal at Australian Open tennis…More to come 15/01/2014

Betting Scandal at Australian Open tennis, just confirming facts.Involves placing bets, caught red handing on video…Someone is always watching dickhead…stay tuned more more

this is direct from the official Australian Open 2014 website.

Illegal gambling and match fixing

Tennis Australia has a zero tolerance policy on illegal gambling, match-fixing and the communication of sensitive information that may affect the outcome of a match, and will investigate all reported instances

Update 3pm 15/01/14

Man charged with Australian Open betting offences

Police are about to hold a media conference in Melbourne over alleged court side betting at the Australian Open.

A 22 year old man from the United Kingdom has been arrested and charged with one count of engaging in conduct that would corrupt a betting outcome.

He has been bailed and is due to face a Melbourne Court tomorrow.

Detectives from Victoria Police’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit and Melbourne Crime Investigation Unit will continue to monitor the event and are warning would-be punters to think twice about their conduct. This has me thinking could be hanger on or some wag in the crowd yelling out to a player ” Blah Blah to double fault every serve this game…

Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said people needed to be aware that this sort of activity was illegal in Victoria.

“Victoria now has specific legislation that covers offences related to cheating at gambling,” DC Ashton said.

“Offences include engaging in conduct that corrupts a betting outcome, facilitating conduct that could corrupt a betting outcome and use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes.

“These offences carry hefty penalties of up to 10 years in prison.

“We will be monitoring matches for the remainder of the tournament, so if you’re thinking of engaging in this kind of behaviour, think again.”

 

'Fixed' horse race revealed as LES SAMBA murder probe steps up


On the wrong track

August 7, 2012

A murdered racing identity, tainted jockeys and money laundering. Throw in gangster Tony Mokbel and no wonder police suspect corruption in the industry.

‘Fixed’ horse race revealed as murder probe steps up

Horse race at the centre of a betting investigation may have links to the murder of horse trainer Les Samba, police say, as a $1 million reward is offered for information.

LES Samba was a complex man: controversial trainer of thoroughbred horses, doting father, one-time male stripper, renowned judge of horse flesh, friend of gangsters, police target and one-time father-in-law of champion jockey Danny Nikolic.

Samba was also a man of many secrets. Most would die with him when he was fatally shot in February 2011 in Middle Park, an inner-city Melbourne suburb better known for its up-market Victorian-era houses than colourful racing identities and murder.

But investigations into unsolved murders, especially high-profile ones, have a way of not going away. As public pressure for arrests builds, detectives dig harder and harder, hoping for a clue that will lead them to a killer. Sometimes they’ll find things that they weren’t expecting.

It was one such finding that recently led Victoria Police command to quietly move the probe into Les Samba’s death from the homicide squad to a new group of investigators.

The Purana taskforce is best known for solving most of Melbourne’s very public gangland murders. But some in Australia’s multibillion-dollar horse racing industry know Purana for another reason. Between 2006 and 2009, during the taskforce’s quest to link Tony Mokbel’s money to murder or drug trafficking, Purana detectives became accidental experts in corruption in horse racing.

Among their discoveries was that a small number of jockeys, trainers and bookmakers had received substantial under-the-table payments from the Melbourne gangster.

It was potentially explosive information, but Purana’s priority then was murder and drug trafficking. So, apart from a brief flurry of activity in the form of interviews with racing identities and seizing a few assets linked to racing figures, much of the information it found about corruption in the industry – from illegal tipping by jockeys to money laundering by bookies – was boxed up and left to gather dust in the archives. Purana moved on to other matters. So, too, did those in racing, politics and the police force who believed the multibillion-dollar sport had been left tainted and vulnerable by the failure to weed out those whom Mokbel had corrupted.

But now that killing on a Middle Park street is again casting light in places some in racing have long preferred to remain in darkness and raised fresh questions about whether authorities have been doing enough to rid Australian sport of corruption.

About two months after Samba’s death, after a seemingly unremarkable race at Cranbourne in Melbourne’s outer south-east, a fresh police file was created. It dealt with suspicious betting, some very familiar names in racing and allegations of race fixing. Murder was, once again, leading police back to the track.

Purana taskforce detectives began investigating corruption in horse racing during a probe into Tony Mokbel’s drug trafficking.

Samba, who once worked with Sydney gangster Abe ”Mr Sin” Saffron, earned his early racing notoriety with his involvement in doping horses in the 1980s. Tax and policing authorities also kept tabs on him. Between 1999 and 2002, Samba was investigated by the National Crime Authority and the Tax Office over his failure to declare income of $1.2 million.

Samba was banned from training horses because of his link to corrupt racing identities and so focused on buying them for his wealthier associates, including Sydney property developer Ron Medich.

Former Victorian chief steward Des Gleeson recalls Samba as a man often close to controversy, but with racing in his blood. In 1969, Samba was the strapper for Rain Lover when it won the Melbourne Cup.

”He raced horses successfully right through New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria,” says Gleeson.

If Samba’s involvement in the sport was colourful, Mokbel’s activities in the racing world were technicolour. But both are examples of the ease with which bad men can shrug off scandal and remain closely associated with a sport whose integrity is supposedly more closely guarded than any other. Mokbel’s early introduction to the sport was as leader of the ”tracksuit gang”, a group of punters who bet heavily and frequented racetracks dressed in designer tracksuits. From there, he gained a strong foothold in the industry.

One prominent trainer who dealt closely with Mokbel’s drug trafficking brother Horty once told The Age that what the Mokbels did for a living was neither his business nor concern. The trainer’s indifference seemingly remained even when Horty arranged for a $475,000 horse bought by this trainer to be paid for in cash.

The stewards suspected what was going on, but had no powers to stop it. Their pleas for police help to curb Mokbel’s growing influence on racing in the early 2000s fell on deaf ears. It wasn’t until the gangland killings erupted and the Purana taskforce was assigned to map and destroy Mokbel’s crime empire that the true extent of his corrupting influence in racing began to emerge.

Between 2006 and 2009, Purana found information that suggested that Mokbel had paid licensed bookmakers in return for their help laundering his money.

Former detective inspector Jim O’Brien, the head of the Purana taskforce between 2005 and 2009, says Mokbel used third parties to punt for him and ”breaking down the amounts of those bets so that they weren’t subject to Austrac [anti-money laundering agency] reporting by bookmakers”.

Mokbel also corrupted jockeys by ”slinging” them cash payments in return for inside information about their mounts, a practice that can lead to a jockey being disqualified.

The biggest thing to flow from Purana’s confidential findings about Mokbel’s racing activities was a report by former judge Gordon Lewis in 2008. But despite the seriousness of the matters Lewis investigated, his inquiry had no real powers.

Lewis could not force people to be interviewed or to obtain evidence. His report was limited to broad findings, including the sensational claim that criminal activity in the sport was ”rampant” and that jockeys, trainers and bookmakers had formed inappropriate relationships with criminals.

Yet after the Lewis inquiry and Purana’s work, not a single bookmaker was charged or was stripped of their bookie’s licence. Nor was any jockey found to have ”tipped” to Mokbel subjected to further investigation or any penalty.

O’Brien says the failure to follow up on his taskforce’s early work exposed the sport to ”a potential threat going forward”.

Among the champion jockeys scrutinised over their dealings with Mokbel was one of Australia’s best riders, Danny Nikolic.

In the early 2000s, Nikolic had been one of several jockeys, including Jimmy Cassidy, who grew close to Mokbel. Nikolic rode several horses owned by the Mokbel family and, according to well-placed racing sources, fed Mokbel information that Mokbel used to inform his betting (an allegation understood to be documented in police intelligence files, but which Nikolic denies).

After the pair’s relationship petered out – a racing source says Mokbel lost big after a bad tip from Nikolic – the champion rider appeared to move to safer pastures. Marriage and fatherhood was on the horizon. In 2006, when Nikolic married his girlfriend Victoria, his new father-in-law, Les Samba, looked on.

In early 2010, Nikolic was again in the sights of racing authorities. Victorian stewards had gathered phone and betting records and believed that before several races, Nikolic had spoken to associates who then made ultimately successful lay bets (betting on a horse not to come first) on Nikolic’s mounts. The stewards suspected Nikolic had repeatedly passed inside information about his mounts to punters close to the Nikolic family.

But, without police powers, the best case they could mount was circumstantial. So, once again, they asked police for help and once again they were denied it.

”The police told [the stewards] … to go it alone,” according to one source, who says that one of the sticking points was that police said that no complainant (such as a punter who had lost money as a result of the alleged misconduct) had come forward to enable them to initiate an inquiry.

When the stewards presented their circumstantial case before the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board, they lost. The board found that ”the evidence relied on by the stewards as a basis for drawing an inference that Nikolic communicated the chances of his mounts raises suspicions about what transpired but harbouring suspicions about conduct is not sufficient to prove the charges”.

SAMBA appears to have had no idea someone wanted him dead. He’d travelled from Sydney to Melbourne in late February last year to attend the yearling sales and was staying at the classy Crown Metropol Hotel.

On Sunday, February 28, he made the short trip in his hire car to Beaconsfield Parade in Middle Park. He arrived about 9.30pm. A short time later, witnesses heard an argument and then gun shots. Samba died at the scene.

Within hours of the shooting, journalists were calling Nikolic asking if he’d heard that his former father-in-law (by then Nikolic had separated from Samba’s daughter) was dead.

”Obviously I’m very surprised and very shocked that Les has been killed,” he told one reporter.

”I didn’t have much to do with the bloke so I wouldn’t know anything about why this could happen.”

Nikolic would later voluntarily speak to police about Samba’s death. But homicide detectives would make their own moves as well. In early April, they searched the Gold Coast home of Danny’s brother, former trainer John Nikolic.

The police have disclosed nothing linking Danny or John to Samba’s murder, and The Age is not suggesting there exists any information of such a link.

Yet for reasons known only to them, detectives appear to have kept an eye on the pair. A fortnight after John Nikolic’s home was searched, Danny was riding at Cranbourne in Melbourne’s outer south-east.

It was an unremarkable race day: a relatively small crowd dotting the grandstand or watching events over pots and parmas at the trackside bar and bistro.

Even those closely surveying race six would have seen nothing out of the ordinary. Aside from raising some minor points, the stewards didn’t dispute the race outcome: the favourite, Retaliate, had come second, beaten by a horse called Smoking Aces ridden by Nikolic.

But if observers could have factored in the betting and the identity of those backing Nikolic’s mount, interest may have been stirred. Racing sources, including those with direct links to the race, say that associates of the Nikolic brothers punted relatively heavily on Smoking Aces. They won a combined total around $200,000. Something strange was going on.

Shortly after the race, the homicide detectives investigating Samba’s murder called in police chiefs. Yesterday, police revealed why, publicly confirming that as a result of inquiries undertaken during the Samba probe, detectives are investigating allegations of race fixing involving the ride of Smoking Aces at Cranbourne. (Several months ago, The Age contacted police with information about the race found while researching integrity in sport. Police requested nothing be published until this week.)

It’s understood that Danny Nikolic and another champion jockey, Mark Zahra, are being investigated about whether they conspired before the race to alter its outcome. Both jockeys, along with John Nikolic, have declined to comment on the allegations.

If police have been slow to move on racing corruption in the past, they are making all efforts to appear to be on the front foot in the wake of this week’s revelations. They recently moved the probe into the Samba murder and the alleged race fixing to the Purana organised crime taskforce. Yesterday, police posted a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrests of Samba’s killers.

One of Victoria’s most senior organised crime detectives, Superintendent Gerry Ryan, told The Age: ”We’ll leave no stone unturned. So that means we’ll look at a number of races and, you know, a number of areas that unfold as the investigation goes.

”It’s important … at the end of this investigation to make sure that the integrity in racing here in Victoria and nationally is squeaky clean.

”Certainly I believe that if we’re able to solve the race fixing and solve the issues that are emerging, we will certainly solve the murder.”

Second top rider faces probe

August 7, 2012

A SECOND champion jockey, Mark Zahra, has become embroiled in the Smoking Aces race-fixing scandal.

The Age can also reveal that the Australian Federal Police and the Tax Office are joining Victorian detectives in probing the 2011 murder of former horse trainer Les Samba and in an offshoot investigation into corruption in the racing industry.

It is understood that police are following a national and international money trail, and the role of the AFP will be to follow leads across Australia and overseas.

Racing industry sources also revealed that the Australian Crime Commission – the nation’s peak criminal intelligence body – has questioned up to a dozen figures in connection with the race-fixing probe.

Zahra and fellow leading jockey Danny Nikolic are under investigation by organised crime detectives over allegations that they helped fix a race last year.

Zahra is being investigated for allegedly conspiring to ride his horse, Baikal, in a way that would reduce the chances of the race favourite, Retaliate, and favour Nikolic’s mount, Smoking Aces.

The race, won by Nikolic, was held at Cranbourne in April last year. Punters associated with Nikolic collected up to $200,000 in betting returns.

Zahra is one of Australia’s leading jockeys and has just returned from a stint in Hong Kong to prepare for the Melbourne spring carnival.

Nikolic and Zahra have both declined to answer questions about the Smoking Aces affair.

Detective Superintendent Gerard Ryan said: ”Racing is not only limited to here in Victoria, it’s here nationally and internationally and we know that our jockeys travel the world, so we

need to have a look [at] exactly what they’re up to.

”The Australian Federal Police, the Australian Taxation Office and other law enforcement agencies are embedded into the Purana taskforce as a part of this investigation.”

Victoria’s racing integrity commissioner, Sal Perna, has called on state and federal authorities to do more to safeguard the sport.

In NSW and other states, the oversight regime is less independent and weaker than in Victoria, and Mr Perna, along with other anti-corruption experts, want national laws and standards to be introduced to protect racing and other sports.

Mr Perna said such inconsistencies ”can’t be good” for racing. ”We want the same standard to apply when it comes to integrity right across the board,” he said.

The Age can also reveal that convicted drug trafficker Horty Mokbel has resurrected his brother Tony’s ”tracksuit gang”, which was a group of big punters – including organised criminals and racing figures – who bet big and formed close ties with jockeys, bookmakers and trainers.

The Age has observed Horty and this new group of track-suited punters meet almost daily outside a suburban TAB outlet in Melbourne.

Among them was underworld identity Paul Sequenzia, who part-owns the most successful horse in harness racing, Sushi Sushi.

Mr Sequenzia, who had drug trafficking charges against him dropped in 2004, was also part-owner of Em Maguane, one of the first horses in Australia to test positive for the performance-enhancing drug EPO.

While members of Tony Mokbel’s old tracksuit gang are barred from Victorian racetracks and the Crown Casino – on the actions of former chief police commissioner Christine Nixon – Mr Sequenzia and several members of the re-formed group are not. This is despite police intelligence revealing they are a major threat to the integrity of racing in Victoria.

Yesterday, Victorian Racing Minister Denis Napthine and Racing Victoria chief Rob Hines defended the integrity of the sport, and federal Sports Minister Kate Lundy said she would assess the latest allegations before responding.

”Police are saying they’re looking at one race out of many, many thousands that are conducted in Victoria each year,” Mr Napthine said.

”I have every faith and belief that racing in Victoria is run at the highest level of integrity.”

Mr Hines called for the statutory authority to be given greater powers to weed out race fixers and wrongdoers and urged the industry to have closer relations with police.

He said he had ”no concerns” about what names might be uncovered during the investigations, but emphasised his belief that the $4 million a year spent by Racing Victoria on its integrity services ensured that the industry was overwhelmingly straight.

The biggest problem, he said, was Racing Victoria’s inability to act against unlicensed people if there was sufficient activity to warrant investigation.

He said a VCAT decision two years ago preventing Racing Victoria from acting against unlicensed individuals had stymied its ability to police the sport much as it would like.

”That is a limitation, a gap in the integrity system of racing.”

Stand down riders amid fix claims

August 7, 2012

RACING Victoria Ltd stewards should today stand down jockeys Dan Nikolic and Mark Zahra from riding indefinitely pending further investigations into the most dreaded curse that can befall horse racing, race fixing.

Such allegations against both Nikolic and Zahra, reported in today’s Age and featured last night in the ABC’s Four Corners program, are damaging like no other scandal could be for a sport that exists solely because some people have (enough) confidence to bet on horses. But confidence can be a fragile intangible.

The gambler is a predictable yet versatile beast. Wins are celebrated and losses mostly shrugged off. But one thing a gambler dislikes is being cheated. He won’t stop gambling but rather move on to something else. There are casinos, pokies and sports betting.

No matter the result of the police investigation into the Cranbourne race in April last year won by Nikolic aboard Smoking Aces, RVL must stand down any licensed person identified in the investigation. The presumption of innocence is a worthy ideal, but to uphold it in this case is to risk allowing the sport to be turned into a circus on the eve of the spring carnival.

It was revealed last night that Zahra and Nikolic are under investigation by the organised crime detectives over allegations that they allegedly helped fix the race in April last year. Zahra is being investigated for allegedly conspiring to ride his horse, Baikal, in a way that would reduce the chances of the favourite, Retaliate, and favour Nikolic’s mount, Smoking Aces.

Smoking Aces was backed from $10 into $5 just before the race. Zahra’s mount Baikal, who finished in front of just one horse, drifted from $7 to $14 by race time.

RVL chief executive Rob Hines confirmed yesterday that stewards will open an inquiry into investigations once they obtain information from Victoria Police, but stressed that the investigation was into one race only. That may be the case, but in these matters, perception is king, especially as the investigation into the Cranbourne race came about only following police probes into another criminal matter. The obvious question remains.

Although neither have been prominent in recent jockeys’ premierships, both are regarded as big-race riders.

Zahra was due to take his first mount since May at Geelong today, but the horse, Kukri, was scratched from race six. Nikolic is booked for one ride today – Dunharrow in race three – as well as two at Sandown Hillside tomorrow.

Racing Victoria seeks more power

August 7, 2012

RACING Victoria chief executive Rob Hines yesterday called for the statutory authority to be given greater powers to weed out race fixers and wrong doers, urged closer relations with the police and declared that transparency and the full pursuit of probity issues were in the interests of all concerned in the multi-billion dollar industry.

Hines said he had ”no concerns” whichever names were uncovered in the investigations into alleged race fixing – revealed yesterday by The Age – but stressed his belief that the $4 million a year that RVL spent on its integrity services ensured the industry was mostly corruption free.

The biggest problem RVL faced, he said, was its inability to take action against unlicensed personnel if there was sufficient activity to warrant investigation.

Hines added that, despite the adverse headlines it is good for racing to have these matters discussed in the open.

”I don’t think it’s a negative,” he said.

”We need a clean sport, we need people to believe in it and trust in our sport. The more we do to root out these issues the better the sport will be rather than try to push it under the carpet or not talk about it. We have to get on top of it. We welcome the Victoria Police’s renewed focus on this. We have been collaborating on this particular investigation for several months.

”The allegations pertain to one race only at Cranbourne. We have not been asked or made aware of any other races involved in this investigation. We are waiting for the police investigation to reach a stage where we can legally obtain the information and then use it as evidence to open a stewards inquiry.

”When these issues arise they are related to betting. When you have this much money, billions of dollars invested in an industry, there will always be a few people looking to take advantage for financial gain. That’s just life.

”The vast majority of our participants, whether they be licensed or unlicensed, do this genuinely and honestly.

”There is a small group that will be looking to take advantage. We have to try and keep on top of that group.”

Hines said that a VCAT decision two years ago preventing RVL from taking action against unlicensed individuals stymied its ability to police the sport as much as it would like.

“That is a limitation, a gap in the integrity system of racing. We cannot have jurisdiction over (some) people who are making their living out of racing through betting or being commission agents or whatever,” he said.

“We requested of the government immediately after that decision, and consistently over the past two years, that they find a way to provide racing with jurisdiction over unlicensed persons … they haven’t shut the door on us, but we would like the power.”

Hines said he didn’t believe that the allegations, in which controversial jockey Danny Nikolic has been named, would damage confidence in the sport as it heads into the spring carnival.

“It’s always unwelcome to have this kind of publicity. But I would rather have the publicity, and have people know that we are fighting these things and fixing these things than not have the publicity and it to be much more widespread,” he said.

“We do not believe there is endemic corruption in the sport. That would be very damaging for racing, and the message we want to get out to people is that over 4000 races a year this is one race and a small group of people trying to take advantage.”

Asked if the industry was prepared for what might be a messy fall out, Hines was adamant.

“I think it would be very good for racing if this is cleaned out. I have no concerns if there are people implicated whether through the Purana Taskforce or some other way and this comes to light. It can only be good for racing,” he said.

“We really welcome their renewed focus. In the last six months they have genuinely turned their attention to these matters. We have a good co-operation, its much better than it was.”

Police probe racing corruption

August 6, 2012

Nick McKenzie, Clay Hichens and Richard Baker

‘Fixed’ horse race revealed as murder probe steps up

Horse race at the centre of a betting investigation may have links to the murder of horse trainer Les Samba, police say, as a $1 million reward is offered for information.

POLICE are investigating a string of top Australian horse-racing figures, including champion jockey Danny Nikolic, for alleged race fixing in what is shaping as the biggest corruption scandal to hit the sport in decades.

Nikolic, at least one other leading jockey, a former trainer and several other well-known racing identities across Australia are under investigation by Victorian organised crime detectives for allegedly conspiring to fix the outcome of a race last year.

Detective Superintendent Gerard Ryan confirmed that police were investigating race fixing in Victoria involving a horse called Smoking Aces in 2011. The suspected race fix was uncovered during the probe into former trainer Les Samba’s murder and is understood to have yielded participants a total of up to $200,000 in betting returns.

After a joint Age/Four Corners investigation, it can also be revealed that police today will announce a $1 million reward for information leading to the arrest of Samba’s killers.

”I believe that if we’re able to solve the race fixing and solve the issues that are emerging, we will certainly solve the murder,” said Superintendent Ryan in an exclusive interview.

Other corruption issues tied to racing across Australia are also understood to be under scrutiny as a result of inquiries into the killing of Samba in February last year.

The suspected corruption being investigated involves race fixing, money laundering, tax fraud and tipping, in which jockeys are paid secret commissions for giving punters inside information. Some of the alleged conduct under investigation may breach criminal laws or the rules of racing.

Racing figures suspected of involvement in the Smoking Aces affair are believed to have arranged for two jockeys to ride in a fashion that would reduce the race favourite’s chances of winning and boost Smoking Aces’ chances of success.

So serious is the alleged racing corruption that Victoria Police has moved the Samba probe to the Purana organised crime taskforce.

”We’ll leave no stone unturned. So that means we’ll look at a number of races … and a number of areas that unfold as the investigation goes [on],” said Superintendent Ryan.

”But it’s important, at the end of this investigation, to make sure that the integrity in racing here in Victoria and nationally is squeaky clean.”

Samba was shot dead on Beaconsfield Parade in Middle Park on the evening of February 27 last year. Nikolic, a leading jockey and Caulfield Cup winner, married Samba’s daughter, Victoria, in 2006. They had separated some time before Samba’s death. The Age is not suggesting Nikolic had any involvement in the murder.

Nikolic declined to answer questions about Smoking Aces and did not respond to a list of questions sent to his lawyer on Thursday evening.

The revelations cast a cloud over the integrity of the nation’s multibillion-dollar racing industry and the regime in place to safeguard it.

Top police and racing officials – including former Victorian chief steward and AFL corruption consultant Des Gleeson – are calling on the federal and state governments to boost the anti-corruption regime in Australian sport.

Mr Gleeson called on governments to urgently fill major holes in the system by introducing a national sporting integrity body, nationwide standards and race and match-fixing laws.

“[This] should have been done yesterday .. before there’s an almighty scandal in sport in Australia,” he said.

The former head of Purana, Jim O’Brien, said the oversight of racing had been ”extremely poor”, partly due to the insufficient powers held by racing stewards and the absence of sustained police attention.

The former detective inspector described as surprising the failure of authorities to further investigate and hold to account racing figures identified by Purana – between 2005 and 2009 – as having been corrupted by drug boss Tony Mokbel.

“It’s not good for the industry and, you know it, it also creates a potential threat going forward,” Mr O’Brien said.

The Smoking Aces inquiry is not the first time Nikolic’s activities have been under scrutiny. In early 2010 Nikolic was charged by Victorian racing stewards with leaking information about several of his mounts to punters, who then successfully bet on the horses to not finish first.

The Age can reveal that, in that case, a request from stewards to police for assistance to help gather more evidence was denied. The stewards persisted with a circumstantial case, but Nikolic was cleared by the racing disciplinary board in June 2010 on the basis that the evidence presented was insufficient to prove the case.

Police began quizzing suspects, including trainers and jockeys, earlier this year in connection to the Smoking Aces case.

Superintendent Ryan conceded that, in the past, police ”did take our eye off the ball”, but he said Victoria was now leading the country in fighting corruption in racing and other sports. ”We needed to get back into this arena and we have.”

Victoria Police recently became the only force in Australia with a dedicated sport corruption response model, which is led by a superintendent and which can draw on experts including specialist detectives and forensic accountants. Two detectives have also recently been appointed to oversee all intelligence gathered about corruption in horse racing.

Superintendent Ryan said: ”Anyone that’s involved in any criminal enterprise in any shape or form and particularly in organised crime, we’ll come chasing it and we’ll make sure that the integrity in any sport, particularly racing … will be upheld.

”Whether it’s a jockey or a trainer or any person involved in it, we will chase them and we will charge them and put them properly before a court of law.”

Anti-corruption measures are much weaker in some states and sports than in others. Victoria is the only state with a full-time racing watchdog.

The NSW government’s efforts to introduce independent scrutiny of its scandal-tainted harness and greyhound racing industry have been beset by problems, with the most recent watchdog appointed, former NSW 0mbudsman David Landa, resigning in protest. He told an investigation by The Age and Four Corners that the oversight model in NSW was ”a fraud on the public” because it lacked any independence or powers.

The Age has been investigating corruption in racing since last year. After racing sources revealed concerns about a race involving Smoking Aces, The Age approached Victoria Police in April and was asked by senior police to withhold reporting on the matter until this week.

For more on the Age/Four Corners investigation, watch Four Corners tonight at 8.30

Inside Mail – 6 August 2012

KERRY O’BRIEN, PRESENTER: The sport of kings and the occasional crook.

Welcome to Four Corners.

Colourful racing identities have always been a part of racing, even though the term has often been a euphemism for shady characters who might be up to no good. Understandable when you consider the number of race meetings taking place around the country every day of the week. With billions of dollars changing hands each year.

Those billions invariably include an unknown amount of illegally obtained money, usually from drugs, that washes through the betting system and comes out clean. One drug baron is reputed to have laundered $80 million in this fashion.

Our story tonight shows how corruption and criminal behaviour on the track are widespread and increasingly difficult to scrutinise. But while horse racing authorities and police often have parallel interests, there’s far less co-operation than you might think, and that police are no taking a close interest in some of Australian racing’s best known names. One trigger for renewed police interest in the industry has been their investigation into the murder of racing identity Les Samba in Melbourne.

And Victoria Police today announced a reward of $1 million for information leading the arrest of his killer or killers.

Reporter Nick McKenzie has been investigating corruption in sport since last year and this investigation by Four Corners and the Age newspaper is the result.

NICK MCKENZIE, PRESENTER: It’s just after nine o’clock on a Sunday night as a guest at Melbourne’s exclusive Crown Metropol Hotel heads out in his hire car.

Les Samba, a colourful Sydney racing and business figure, is in town for the thoroughbred yearling sales.

But tonight he’s on his way to a fateful rendezvous.

DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDANT GERARD RYAN, VICTORIA POLICE: For some unknown reason he had an appointment in Beaconsfield Parade. And he went to that spot. Why he went there and who lured him there we don’t know. So that’s what we’re asking the public to ah really put those last few moments together for us.

JOHN SILVESTER, SENIOR CRIME WRITER, THE AGE: Now why you would decide to meet someone in a street when you were in a major hotel, you could have come in, they could have come to see you, have coffee. Perhaps he didn’t want to be seen with those people. That’s why he chose that what he thought was neutral ground.

NICK MCKENZIE, REPORTER: Samba had a history of dubious business and racing connections. He once worked for Sydney gangster Abe Saffron, and more recently was a close associate of Sydney property developer Ron Medich, who is presently facing murder charges in New South Wales.

JOHN SILVESTER: He certainly showed no indication that he was in fear of his life. However, he was a fellow who knew some very dangerous people. There were business dealings which were non-racing which could have gone pear shaped. He was entrepreneurial and so he went where the money was. So he had many colourful friends, some of them with short tempers.

(Reconstruction plays)

NICK MCKENZIE: As he parked his car and made his way along the dark street, Les Samba was apparently unaware that he was walking into an ambush.

(Sound of gun fire)

(Excerpt from ABC News report 27 February, 2011)

FEMALE REPORTER: Middle Park, one of Melbourne’s most affluent suburbs, last night became scene of what police say was a premeditated hit.

UNIDENTIFIED DETECTIVE: Ambulance unit attended the scene but this male was found deceased.

FEMALE REPORTER: Mr Samba began to run but was shot several times in the body and head.

DETECTIVE INSPECTOR JOHN POTTER, VICTORIA POLICE (27 February, 2011): This is a clearly horrific incident to happen in a residential street in Melbourne.

(End excerpt)

NICK MCKENZIE: One of the city’s most upmarket bay-side addresses became the site of a major homicide investigation over the following days.

Police seemed sure of an early breakthrough.

DETECTIVE INSPECTOR JOHN POTTER: We’re confident we will solve this case, we have a number of persons of interest that we’re looking at. And we’ll continue to work through this case.

NICK MCKENZIE: Almost 18 months later, the murder of Les Samba remains unsolved.

But tonight Four Corners can reveal that the police investigation has lifted the lid on allegations of organised crime networks and high-level corruption in horse racing.

Is it correct to say that it’s opened up a real can of worms in respect of racing corruption and if so, how big a can of worms?

DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDANT GERARD RYAN: What, what I can say is that we’ve had to have a look at the racing industry. And doing that as a part of our investigation we need to have a look at has organised crime influenced racing in Victoria and racing anywhere within Australia.

NICK MCKENZIE: Within weeks of the shooting, Les Samba’s daughter, Victoria, made an emotional public plea for information.

(Excerpt from press conference with Victoria Samba)

VICTORIA SAMBA, DAUGHTER: My dad has been taken from us in such a horrific way but no-one can take away the beautiful memories I have of him.

(End excerpt)

NICK MCKENZIE: Victoria Samba was married to leading jockey Danny Nikolic, who has steered his mounts to victory in some of the nation’s biggest races, including the Caulfield Cup.

Nikolic and Victoria Samba had separated some time before Les Samba was gunned down.

JOHN SILVESTER: Les had involved himself hands on in looking after his daughter which created some bad blood. And that’s one of the areas of course police naturally would look at.

Detectives soon turned their attention to Danny Nikolic, along with others in the racing world, hoping for any clue that would shed light on Les Samba’s murder.

(Question): Is Danny Nikolic or his brother John persons of interest in the ongoing investigation?

DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDANT GERARD RYAN: They’re people we have spoken to and we’d probably like to speak to further, as is a number of other people in the racing industry.

JOHN SILVESTER: In fact Danny Nikolic, the jockey, voluntarily went to police and spoke to them. And that was a long time ago and he hasn’t been charged. So he of course should be afforded the presumption of innocence.

RACE CALLER (Cranbourne): .. racing, great line out … fast away, Dubai Opera sped to the lead from Cyclone Sarah, Stacks on Max and Tycoon Rob going fast with Smoking Aces as they …

NICK MCKENZIE: Two months later, Danny Nikolic was back in the saddle for a race at Cranbourne on Melbourne’s south-eastern fringe.

RACE CALLER (Cranbourne): … Smoking Aces …

NICK MCKENZIE: His horse was called Smoking Aces.

RACE CALLER: … been getting back in the field by retaliating …

NICK MCKENZIE: During the race, the stewards responsible for guarding the integrity of the sport were watching closely.

RACE CALLER (Cranbourne): by Opera and Smoking Aces – first up from …

NICK MCKENZIE: To the eyes of experienced turf-watchers, it was a masterful win by Danny Nikolic on Smoking Aces.

(Question): So Patrick, how’s Nikolic’s run at the moment?

PATRICK BARTLEY, SENIOR RACING WRITER, THE AGE: Nikolic’s riding the, the absolutely magic race. He’s aware of the favourite, where it is. He’s aware …

NICK MCKENZIE: Watching that race, ah, um, would the average punter have sniffed something unusual?

PATRICK BARTLEY: I couldn’t see, no. I there was good and bad luck and it went the way of Danny and it didn’t go the way of the favourite.

NICK MCKENZIE: What was unusual was the relatively heavy betting on Danny Nikolic’s horse on the day of the race, and the identity of the punters who collected up to $200,000 in winnings.

What’s more, the stewards weren’t alone in scrutinising the outcome of the race.

(Question): Are you investigating race fixing?

DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDANT GERARD RYAN: That is one of the allegations that that has been levelled yes.

NICK MCKENZIE: And is there a certain race in particular under, under investigation?

DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDANT GERARD RYAN: There is a certain race under investigation that we’ve made aware of that we need to have a look at.

NICK MCKENZIE: And that’s the race at Cranbourne, the Ride of Smoking Aces?

DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDANT GERARD RYAN: That is correct, yes.

NICK MCKENZIE: The alleged conduct of certain prominent racing figures in connection to the ride of Smoking Aces here at Cranbourne casts a huge cloud over the sport.

It also raises questions about whether authorities and governments have been failing to safeguard an industry worth billions.

SAL PERNA, VICTORIA RACING INTEGRITY COMMISSIONER: The whole vision ofa sport, particularly racing, is that the best animal’s going to win on its own merits. And anything that detracts from that is disgraceful.

DES GLEESON, FORMER CHIEF STEWARD, RACING VICTORIA: Racing is entirely dependent, or significantly dependent on the gambling dollar. And it’s important that people have confidence when they do place a bet that they’re going to get a run for their money.

(Footage of a race meet)

NICK MCKENZIE: From gala metropolitan race meetings to mid-week country fixtures, racing is big business.

Last year Australians spent more than $14 billion betting on thoroughbreds.

The track has long been a drawcard for punters representing a cross section of society, including cashed up criminals, who’ve been targeting the sport for decades.

JOHN SILVESTER: Now in Melbourne your major gangsters can’t actually go and knock on the door at the Melbourne Club and come in and meet judges over stilton and port. But in the racing industry people just blend in and inside information is the currency of the day

NICK MCKENZIE: By the late 1970s Robert Trimbole had graduated from king of the Griffith marijuana trade to membership of a crime syndicate which imported millions of dollars worth of heroin into Australia.

JOHN SILVESTER: According to New South Wales intelligence reports, at one stage he had 13 jockeys on his payroll. His diary when it was seized had numbers of judges, racing officials, jockeys, race callers. And there were a serious of illegal phone taps put on his phone before he fled Australia in 1981. And those tapes showed him talking to jockeys routinely, getting tips and even sharing tips with police.

His bets used to be $20,000 cash. He still lost money. But it’s not about making a profit, because if you can turn say 100 per cent of dirty money into 75 per cent clean money through the track, you’re in front.

NICK MCKENZIE: From their first ride onwards, jockeys across the country are warned that the rules of racing prohibit them passing on inside information or tips about the races they’re competing in.

DES GLEESON: The jockeys are not permitted to tip and under the rules jockeys can’t receive any benefit at all, whether it be financial benefit or otherwise, from anyone other than the owners of the horses. So it’s generally considered that, you know, jockeys are there to ride the horses and give them every possible chance of winning but they’re not in the game for tipping horses and receiving benefits from doing that.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 1995 Australian racing faced a very public crisis.

Revelations that police phone taps had caught Sydney jockeys passing inside information to the head of a drug syndicate and allegedly fixing races hit the headlines in what became known as the Jockey Tapes Scandal.

BOB CARR, FORMER NSW PREMIER (in NSW Parliament, 1995): This government is determined to drive corruption from racing.

RACE CALLER: They won’t catch Jimmy Cassidy, he spears away running home .. Hot Zephyr in front and he’s going to make it six.. Cassidy, the man, the genius.

NICK MCKENZIE: At the centre of the scandal, one of the biggest names in Australian racing: jockey Jim Cassidy, who rode Kiwi from last place to a celebrated win in the 1983 Melbourne Cup.

RACE CALLER (Melbourne Cup, 1983): And here’s Kiwi … Kiwi is flying and Kiwi got up to win the Cup from Nobel Comment and Mr Jazz.

(Excerpt from ABC News 1986)

REPORTER: 6am, Rosehill Racecourse, another opportunity for Jim Cassidy to talk to the horses he’ll be riding at the weekend.

JIM CASSIDY, JOCKEY: By talking to the animal itself and letting it have confidence in you nine times out of 10 you’ve always got full control.

(End excerpt)

NICK MCKENZIE: When the Australian Jockey Club launched its own inquiry into the jockey tapes scandal, Jim Cassidy admitted he hadn’t just been discussing race tactics with his mounts.

(Excerpt from news report plays)

REPORTER: How you feeling Jim?

LAWYER: He’s got no comment …

NICK MCKENZIE: AJC chief steward, John Schreck, who led the investigation into the Fine Cotton scandal a decade earlier, brought disciplinary charges against Jim Cassidy and two other jockeys implicated by the phone taps.

He was not surprised that a subsequent New South Wales Crime Commission investigation found insufficient evidence to lay criminal charges.

John Schreck maintains it’s virtually impossible for a corrupt jockey to guarantee that a horse will win but it is possible to manipulate the outcome of a race.

JOHN SCHRECK, FORMER CHIEF STEWARD, AJC: You can turn a good thing into a certainty by running the race in a way to suit the good thing. And so, therefore, the manipulation of a race is not impossible unfortunately. I’d like to tell you that it is, but it’s not.

NICK MCKENZIE: The stewards found Jim Cassidy guilty of conduct prejudicial to racing, by pretending to fix races in return for money, and disqualified him from setting foot on a racetrack for three years.

JOHN SCHRECK: He was making this suggestion to the person, the drug dealer guy, that he could fix races and all sorts of things. And of course he wasn’t doing that in, and he couldn’t do that, he wasn’t able to do that. Cassidy was just conning the guy, and successfully, which is not to Jim Cassidy’s credit of course, but that was what was going on.

NICK MCKENZIE: Jim Cassidy appealed against his disqualification, which was later reduced to a 20 month suspension.

JIM CASSIDY (archive footage): There’s life after racing but Jimbo will be back don’t worry about that.

RACE CALLER (Melbourne Cup, 1997): Doremus is coming at him, Doremus after Might and Power… Might and Power and Doremus they … oh it’s close Doremus runs, Doremus runs to the outside. Can he have done it a second time?

NICK MCKENZIE: By 1997 Jim Cassidy was back on the track and celebrating his second Melbourne Cup victory on Might and Power.

RACE CALLER 2 (Melbourne Cup, 1997): What a great finish; that is one of the great finishes in history.

NICK MCKENZIE: He was also forging a relationship with another big punter who would soon earn an even bigger reputation as a major drug trafficker. His name was Tony Mokbel.

DES GLEESON: He was big. Ah he was a big player. He was wagering enormous amounts of money and not only Victoria but right round Australia

JOHN SILVESTER: Tony Mokbel and Bob Trimbole were very similar. They loved the races but they were both extremely personable men. They were likeable. People liked to be with them.

NICK MCKENZIE: Leading crime reporter and author John Silvester, who documented Melbourne’s deadly gangland wars, witnessed Mokbel’s rise in the late 1990s.

As his drug empire grew, Mokbel became a regular at the racetrack, with a crew of cronies nicknamed the Tracksuit Gang who put down large cash bets on his behalf.

JOHN SILVESTER: These were a group of men who would place bets on horses up and down the eastern seaboard in a plunge. On one occasion all with sort of all $100 notes, and when they won they demanded to be paid with new $100 notes. And the Purana Task Force believe that the Mokbel industry, the company, put through $80 million in gaming over this period of time.

NICK MCKENZIE: Tony Mokbel’s influence was not confined to the betting ring.

Despite being charged with drug trafficking in 1998 and again in 2001, Mokbel was being seen around Melbourne, keeping company with leading jockeys.

Victoria’s chief steward, Des Gleeson, became so concerned he warned both Jim Cassidy and his younger rival, champion jockey Danny Nikolic, to stay away from Mokbel.

DES GLEESON: We spoke to quite a number of licensed persons, not only jockeys, trainers as well, and advised them to be careful with who they associated with.

NICK MCKENZIE: Do you think Mokbel was getting inside mail from jockeys?

DES GLEESON: No I don’t think so. Mr Mokbel won money, he lost money. He he was a big player but he wasn’t always successful. He lost huge amounts of money from time to time and I think he was an impulse punter as well. But we’ve no evidence that he was getting information from jockeys, no.

NICK MCKENZIE: But Des Gleeson did not know all that was going on behind the scenes.

He readily admits he was working with one arm tied behind his back, without police powers to tap phones, examine bank accounts or launch full police-style investigations.

DES GLEESON: The stewards don’t have the powers that the police have. We don’t have powers to intercept phone calls or anything like that. We don’t have powers to, as I said, speak to unlicensed persons. And that’s where we need the cooperation of the civil authorities if the need arises.

As Mokbel’s reach into the sport grew, racing officials formally asked police for help on two occasions. But their pleas fell on deaf ears.

DES GLEESON: When the racing squad was disbanded in late 90s there was a complete void until basically 2005 where we received very little information, if any information at all from the civil authorities. And that was disappointing from our perspective.

NICK MCKENZIE: And during that period Mokbel was growing his presence in racing?

DES GLEESON: He was, yes. He was at that time certainly. He’s – he was certainly gaining momentum during that period.

NICK MCKENZIE: With the police effectively sidelined, Mokbel’s relationship with the jockeys, trainers and bookies blossomed, and suspicions grew.

JOHN NOTT: Clearly Mokbel because of being privileged with information, he got four-to-one and seven-to-two and three-to-one, and Joe public wandering in and out of his TAB each day or getting onto his phone account for the market mover, he’d be copping the $3 or $3.10. And there’s the advantage to be had from so-called inside information.

NICK MCKENZIE: A 50 year veteran of trackside punting, John Nott often saw the tracksuit gang in action as they laid big bets for Tony Mokbel.

JOHN NOTT, PUNTER: I noticed that when he backed a Cassidy mount it went particularly well, often won or ran very well. But when he backed two or three others in a race and Cassidy was riding one of the short priced runners, I’ll say it never won or almost never won.

NICK MCKENZIE: Leading bookie, Frank Hudson, had no qualms about taking Tony Mokbel’s cash, even while Mokbel was free on $1 million bail after being arrested and charged with running a $1 billion dollar drug empire.

(Referring to photograph of Tony Mokbel and Frank Hudson)

After this photograph of Mokbel placing bets with Hudson was published by Melbourne’s Herald Sun in 2004, authorities finally moved to ban Mokbel from the track.

JOHN NOTT: There was certainly nothing done until the photo appeared in the paper. I mean he was standing beside Frank Hudson and it was almost a posed photo. So it was no secret.

NICK MCKENZIE: It was only amid the growing death toll of Melbourne’s gangland war that Tony Mokbel’s empire was systematically targeted by a new police task force named Purana.

(Question): Before Purana came along how focused was the Victoria Police in dealing with this Mokbel corruption in racing issue?

JIM O’BRIEN, FORMER HEAD, PURANA TASKFORCE: Well they weren’t. Basically the police department had dropped the ball on anything to do with the racing industry. There was no racing squad, there was nobody monitoring what was happening on the track. It became – basically we, it was a periphery to the investigation we were doing. So yeah there was, there was nothing.

RICHARD LINDELL: In 2005, the Purana taskforce got a new boss, Inspector Jim O’Brien.

O’Brien’s priority was uncovering Mokbel’s involvement in drug trafficking and murder as well as targeting his assets.

Purana discovered Mokbel was cleaning drug money by betting with bookmakers in a manner that would avoid the attention of anti-money laundering agency Austrac.

JIM O’BRIEN: We were well aware of his connection with racing in Victoria. But a lot of the time it was about using others to place those bets on his behalf and breaking down the amounts of those bets so that they weren’t subject to Austrac reporting by bookmakers.

DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDANT GERARD RYAN: There was information being passed on from people within the racing industry to certain individuals that probably placed bets on a knowledge basis that put them ahead of the average punter; that people were utilising bookmakers illegally; and that probably horses were in a third party name and things such as that.

JOHN SILVESTER: There were phone taps that police had which connected Tony with a number of jockeys and trainers. In fact I think seven prominent racing officials ended up being subpoenaed to give evidence at the Australian Crime Commission when they started to follow the money.

NICK MCKENZIE: Before long, police moved in on Mokbel’s assets, which ranged from sports cars to property worth millions of dollars.

Tax authorities also took action in connection to a unit in this apartment tower, which was ostensibly owned by bookie Frank Hudson but which Mokbel helped finance. Hudson was told to cough up unpaid tax linked to this property.

Purana also scrutinised the dealings of trainer Peter Moody, now famous as the trainer of Black Caviar.

In late 2007, Moody was leasing stables owned by the Mokbel family.

He’d also been training a horse called Pillar of Hercules, which was registered in the name of Moody’s wife and the wife of a Mokbel family associate.

But according to a Supreme Court affidavit lodged by Purana, the $475,000 horse had “in fact been purchased by Tony Mokbel’s brother Horty and its ownership details falsified so as to avoid detection by police.”

JIM O’BRIEN: It was paid for by money that was delivered in garbage bags.

NICK MCKENZIE: A bit of a red flag you’d think?

JIM O’BRIEN: Well you’d think that’s not the normal way people do business.

NICK MCKENZIE: In October 2007, Purana seized Pillar of Hercules, alleging in the same affidavit the thoroughbred was bought “as part of a large scale money laundering operation in an attempt to cover up the extent of monies derived from drug trafficking.”

DES GLEESON: That was one instance where we did work closely with the Victoria Police who gave us information in relation to the ownership of the horse. And we immediately stopped it from racing and the horse was sold.

NICK MCKENZIE: Do you think the trainer in question had questions to answer about his role in the affair?

DES GLEESON: Oh we did question Mr Moody at length about the whole scenario but no action was taken against Mr Moody at the time, no.

NICK MCKENZIE: Why not?

DES GLEESON: No evidence to support the charge being laid.

NICK MCKENZIE: Purana investigators also began to zero in on the money Mokbel was paying jockeys.

Four Corners has confirmed they gathered evidence that Mokbel had paid tens of thousands of dollars in secret commissions to jockeys in return for tips. Purana identified at least two leading jockeys were on the Mokbel payroll.

(Question): Why was it helpful for Mokbel to have that in inside information?

JIM O’BRIEN: Well it’s helpful in relation to him being able to launder his assets. I suppose if he’s got odds on favour it’s going to, even if it’s very short money, if he puts up $20,000 and gets $21,000 or $22,000 back he’s still, he’s cleaned that money. He’s got some, he’s got something to show ‘oh this money I won on a bet’ or, you know, ‘I had a bet on such and such a date and here’s a record of it and I can call that bookmaker at my trial if I ever get charged.’

NICK MCKENZIE: Four Corners has confirmed that Jim Cassidy privately admitted to investigators that he’d received almost $100,000 from Mokbel in exchange for tips.

But publicly, Cassidy has denied any improper dealings with Mokbel, instead calling him a friend who he respected.

JOHN SCHRECK: Even in those days, the whole world knew that Mokbel wasn’t much chop and I think it would’ve been better for a high profile race rider like Jim Cassidy to have been saying different things from that.

NICK MCKENZIE: In 2007 investigators also documented allegations that, like Cassidy, Danny Nikolic had enjoyed Mokbel’s largesse.

Nikolic rode at least five horses owned by Mokbel or his associates, but publicly denied ever leaking him any inside mail. No evidence to the contrary was ever produced.

Purana’s investigation should have been a wake-up call for racing. In a way, it was.

The Victorian government commissioned a report from a former judge, Gordon Lewis, which drew on Purana’s investigation into Mokbel to conclude that criminal activity in racing was “rampant”.

Lewis’s 2008 report called for an overhaul in the policing of the sport, finding that “bookmakers, trainers and jockeys” had “improper associations with known criminals.”

RACE CALLER: Racing now, Splendid Choice …

NICK MCKENZIE: But since the release of the Lewis report not a single bookmaker, jockey or trainer has faced any serious repercussions over their dealings with Tony Mokbel.

RACE CALLER: .. note with Hoss Amore winning and Jimmy Cassidy on board.

NICK MCKENZIE (question): How many people in racing, jockeys, trainers, bookies, licensed people actually have been held to account over their dealings with Tony Mokbel?

JIM O’BRIEN: None that I know of.

NICK MCKENZIE: Does that surprise you?

JIM O’BRIEN: Yeah it is surprising.

CHRIS MUNCE, FORMER JOCKEY (to press pack, 2006): Oh steady boys!

NICK MCKENZIE: The way Hong Kong dealt with the case of champion Australian jockey Chris Munce in 2006 stands in stark contrast to the failure of Australian racing to investigate jockeys, trainers and bookies linked to Tony Mokbel.

(Excerpt from News Story on Chris Munce)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (to press): Come on boys, out of the way)

REPORTER: The Melbourne Cup winning rider was detained at his house just hours before scheduled to board a flight to Australia.

(End excerpt)

NICK MCKENZIE: Chris Munce was arrested with betting details and thousands of dollars in cash in his pockets after lengthy surveillance by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption.

(Excerpt from News Story on Chris Munce)

REPORTER: Munce was one of seven people arrested after an investigation Hong Kong’s corruption watchdog the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Those detained included four suspected illegal bookmakers. ICAC alleges Munce either recieved or stood to receive almost $300,000 in exchange for tips he provided.

(End excerpt)

JOHN SCHRECK: In the Munce case, he was deemed to be an employee of the owner of the horse, and he was selling that information to others for profit and therefore was in breach of the law of the land. And went to jail for it.

NICK MCKENZIE: Was that a harsh penalty?

JOHN SCHRECK: Oh no, not at all in my opinion, not at all. No, he knew what the situation was when he went there, as all of them do that go there. And you do the crime, you do the time.

NICK MCKENZIE: Chris Munce was convicted and served 20 months in jail. The Hong Kong Jockey Club gave him an additional suspension which should have prevented him from riding anywhere in the world for almost a year after his release.

But New South Wales racing authorities allowed him back on the track with 10 months of his suspension still to run.

JOHN SCHRECK: The penalty wasn’t reciprocated by Racing New South Wales, it was by all the other states of Australia but not by Racing New South Wales. And so he was allowed to ride back in Australia pretty well straight away. The whole thing was most unfortunate, it should never have happened that way.

NICK MCKENZIE: Without the investigative backup enjoyed by their Hong Kong counterparts, in 2010 Victorian racing authorities were forced to ask again for police help.

Stewards suspected that Danny Nikolic was breaching the rules of racing by passing inside information about his mounts.

Four Corners can reveal that, once again, the Victoria Police declined to help, and left the stewards to go it alone.

REPORTER (2010): Authorities were alerted to Nikolic’s activities after suspicious bets were placed with the betting exchange, Betfair, which allows punters to bet on horses losing.

DANNY NIKOLIC (2010): Good mornnig everybody. I’m here to clear my name.

NICK MCKENZIE: The racing disciplinary board found there was insufficient evidence to prove the charges against Danny Nikolic and he was cleared.

DANNY NIKOLIC (to press, 2010): I was quietly confident, I know that I’ve done nothing wrong. So I was just hoping that the RAV (Racing Association of Victoria) board would see it my way. And I’m very happy now.

NICK MCKENZIE: Were the racing authorities correct to bring the case given they lost?

SAL PERNA: Ah yes, I think that was clearly vindicated by the Appeals and Disciplinary Board. When they heard the charges. The circumstantial evidence if you like, was very, very strong and the Board said that they were very justified in preparing that case.

INTERVIEWER: What couldn’t the racing authorities get in terms of evidence and why couldn’t they get it?

SAL PERNA: Look I think it’s fair to say that the content of the conversations between Danny and the people that were putting the bet on was the, the missing part.

SAL PERNA (to co-investigator): Which is the horse we’re looking at Paul.

PAUL: We’re looking at the one that’s second from the inside out of what we’ll call there barrier five. If you just watch the action of the jockey this should pretty well explain what I was talking about earlier.

NICK MCKENZIE: Sal Perna is Victoria’s full-time Racing Integrity Commissioner, a role created as a result of the Lewis report.

It’s the first appointment of its type in the country.

SAL PERNA (to co-investigator): So is he allowing himself to get boxed in there?

NICK MCKENZIE: While Sal Perna enjoys only limited investigative powers of his own, he’s been striving to get police and racing officials to work together.

(Question): Did you find when you first arrived that the police were sitting on information about corruption in racing that was not being passed to racing authorities and vice versa?

SAL PURNA: Yeah, I think that’s a fair comment.

Part of the difficulty with police releasing information is that some information’s protected by legislation, telephone intercepts for example. And that information can’t be given to non-law enforcement areas.

NICK MCKENZIE: Unbeknown to Sal Perna, a new controversy featuring some familiar names was just around the corner.

After the death of Les Samba early last year, Danny Nikolic continued riding, knowing he was under police scrutiny.

On the 12th of April homicide detectives raided the home of his brother John, a former horse trainer based on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

Two weeks later, Danny Nikolic was here at Cranbourne preparing for his ride on Smoking Aces.

RACE CALLER (Cranbourne): Racing… great line out, Tycoon …

NICK MCKENZIE: The race favourite was Retaliate.

(Footage of race plays)

RACE CALLER (Cranbourne): .. back on the fence… Retaliate has got horses all around him .. he’s last…

NICK MCKENZIE: Also riding in the race was jockey Mark Zahra on Baikal.

Four Corners can reveal that police are investigating whether Nikolic and Zahra had allegedly conspired to reduce Retaliate’s chances of winning, and improving Smoking Aces’ prospect of success.

RACE CALLER (Cranbourne): Smoking Aces wins first up from Retaliate, Dubai Opera third from …

NICK MCKENZIE: Figures linked to the race have alleged to Four Corners that associates of Nikolic had bet heavily on his mount, and that police have recently been quizzing jockeys, trainers and punters about the ride in question.

At a recent race meeting, Four Corners tried to interview Danny Nikolic, who’d just ridden a series of winners.

(at races): Danny I’m Nick McKenzie from Four Corners, We’re not actually here to ask you about today’s race …

DANNY NIKOLIC: Not interested …

NICK MCKENZIE: We’re here to ask you about Smoking Aces Danny. Can I ask you a couple of questions about Smoking Aces?

(Question): Is Danny Nikolic a person of interest in the race fixing investigation?

DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDANT GERARD RYAN: As I said it’s a current investigation and we’ll … I can’t comment on that particular phase of it at this stage

NICK MCKENZIE: Jockey Mark Zahra also declined to answer questions about the Cranbourne race.

Racing sources have confirmed to Four Corners that associates of Nikolic in Melbourne and interstate made bets on Smoking Aces that earned them a combined total of up to $200,000.

(On phone) G’day Paul my name’s Nick McKenzie, reporter for Four Corners, ABC TV. I’m investigating certain race which I believe you had something to do with Cranbourne last year involving ride of Smoking Aces, can I ask you a few questions about that?

Four Corners tried to speak with one punter linked to the win.

(Hanging up phone): No he’s hung up

DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDANT GERARD RYAN: We know that there are a number of identities that we need to talk to interstate and bits and pieces. But at this particular stage we’re concentrating on Victoria. But there are a number of areas that we know, what we need to have a look at.

Detective Superintendent Gerry Ryan is overseeing the police inquiry into the alleged race fixing and the Samba murder.

He’s revealed to Four Corners he’s called in Purana to tackle the fresh allegations of corruption.

GERRY RYAN: We’ll leave no stone unturned. So that means we’ll look at a number of races and you know and a number of areas that unfold as the investigation goes. But it’s important to, at the end of this investigation, to make sure that the integrity in racing here in Victoria and nationally is squeaky clean.

NICK MCKENZIE: Whatever the outcome of that investigation, the former head of Purana, Jim O’Brien, says authorities are yet to prove they can effectively combat corruption in sport.

(Question): How good has that job of protecting the integrity of racing been in your view?

JIM O’BRIEN: It’s not been good at all. It’s been extremely poor and in part brought about because you know the stewards themselves who look after those codes haven’t got the teeth – they’re not investigators for a start.

NICK MCKENZIE: But Gerry Ryan says authorities in Victoria have learned from the mistakes of the past.

DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDANT GERARD RYAN: Look, yes we can say that we did take our eye off the ball. And that’s why Purana is so strong today because we we realised that we needed to get back into this arena and we have.

NICK MCKENZIE: And those who say that the police will never be able to to catch a race fix they’re not up to the task?

DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDANT GERARD RYAN: Well that’s what they said about the gangland slayings and what, what’s happened there? We’ve put them all behind bars.

NICK MCKENZIE: Victoria’s racing integrity chief, Sal Perna, says that even if state police and racing officials get it right, if the rest of the country doesn’t follow suit, it will be for nothing.

(Question): If you’re a jockey in Victoria at the moment, you know, you can go interstate and possible have far less scrutiny over your activities.

SAL PERNA: Yes, I would agree with that.

INTERVIEWER: How unhealthy is that?

SAL PERNA: Well, it can’t be good. It creates vulnerabilities and we don’t want that. We want the same standard to apply when it comes to integrity right across the board.

In New South Wales, two harness racing stewards and a trainer are facing criminal charges over alleged corruption.

The state’s greyhound racing industry also has a history tainted by scandal.

Last year the New South Wales government appointed former ombudsman David Landa, to oversee the integrity of both racing codes.

But within months he quit both posts, believing his role amounted to window dressing.

DAVID LANDA, FORMER NSW INTEGRITY AUDITOR: I felt that apart from the role being ineffective and not capable of performing what I felt the legislators may have intended. It was a fiction and it was a fraud really on the public.

NICK MCKENZIE: A fraud on the public?

DAVID LANDA: Yes because they were led to believe that there was an integrity auditor capable of dealing with issues that ought to be dealt with, matters of integrity, matters of honesty, matters of fair dealing and that those powers were not able to be performed.

NICK MCKENZIE: In the new world of internet betting, people can bet to win or lose, and on any number of other outcomes in almost any sport, anywhere.

SAL PERNA: They create opportunities for people to corrupt players, to do certain things that they can benefit from by betting on. We’ve also got a new model now with betting exchanges where you can actually bet on an animal to lose, and that hasn’t been part of the Australian culture today. So they do present challenges.

NICK MCKENZIE: The explosion of internet and exotic betting has sparked debate about the policing of sport across the country.

JOHN SCHRECK: horse racing’s not too bad, there are things go on that’s simply inexcusable, of course there are. But generally speaking it’s not too bad. So I don’t there’s any need for any national integrity controller all over the sport, no. I think the States should be left to their own device, that’s the way it’s been for 150 years and I think it’s been pretty good.

NICK MCKENZIE: Does there need to be a national body?

SAL PERNA: I think there does so that we can work together on it and address issues not only nationally but internationally. It’s about bringing in specialists that are, specialist investigators, specialist analysts and wagering analysts, and bringing in all the bodies together so they can share information and work out how to do it in a concerted way.

JOHN SILVESTER: The iron law of crime is where there is a demand there will be a supply. As soon as a Tony Mokbel is locked up there is someone else to take their place. So it’s about getting the structures right with racing because right now there would be somebody somewhere chatting to a jockey trying to get some inside information. And if he’s got a pocketful of drug money, then he’s got a better chance of getting the answer he wants to hear.

NICK MCKENZIE: Tony Mokbel is now serving a 30 year prison sentence for drug trafficking, but there’s another Mokbel still on the punt.

His brother Horty, another convicted drug trafficker, has been banned from racetracks and the casino by order of the Victorian government.

But over several weeks Four Corners observed him and a group of fellow punters in tracksuits placing numerous bets at a suburban Melbourne TAB.

Horty Mokbel’s regular companions include underworld identity and racehorse owner Paul Sequenzia.

Sequenzia, the brother in law of murdered gangster Mark Moran, had drug trafficking charges dropped in 2004.

Sequenzia is part-owner of a horse called Em Maguane, in 2009 it became one of the first horses in Australia to test positive for the performance enhancing drug EPO (Erythropoietin).

In the racing world, Tony Mokbel’s place is most likely already filled.

JIM O’BRIEN: There’s plenty of succession planning in criminal organisations and someone else will just step up and fill his shoes. So it won’t go away.

JOHN SILVESTER: Now it’s not just a matter of Tony Mokbel or Bob Trimbole but it could be a crime syndicate from anywhere in the world who could target a sport, one game, one event, one cricket match, one over, one ball, and that’s the new challenge.

NICK MCKENZIE: Despite commitments from the federal and state governments, there are still no specific laws dealing with match or race fixing.

Without a national sports integrity body some states and sports remain well behind the others when it comes to confronting the challenge of corruption.

(Question): How urgent are those changes needed?

DES GLEESON: Well, I think they should have been done yesterday but as soon as possible before there’ll be an almighty scandal in sport in Australia.

NICK MCKENZIE: That scandal may have already arrived.

The fallout from Les Samba’s murder and allegations of corruption at the highest levels in racing still has a long way to run.

DETECTIVE SUPERINTENDANT GERARD RYAN: Certainly I believe that if we we’re able to solve the race fixing and solve the issues that that are emerging, we will certainly solve the murder.

INTERVIEWER: Are you confident the murder of Les Samba will be solved?

GERRY RYAN: I’m confident it will be solved, yes.

KERRY O’BRIEN: Four Corners asked jockeys Danny Nikolic and Mark Zahra on the allegations raised by they both declined.

Bookie, Frank Hudson, and jockey, Jim Cassidy, also declined to be interviewed.

Four Corners also asked trainer Peter Moody to talk about his dealings with Horte Mokbel; he also declined.

End of transcript

Background Information

LATEST NEWS UPDATES

Top racing figures embroiled in corruption scandal | ABC News | 6 Aug 2012 – Police are investigating a string of top Australian horse racing figures, including champion jockey Danny Nikolic, for alleged race fixing, in what is shaping up as the biggest corruption scandal to hit the sport in decades. By Nick McKenzie, Clay Hichens and Richard Baker.

Police offer $1m reward over Samba murder | ABC News | 6 Aug 2012 – Victoria Police have offered a $1 million reward for information about the death of racing identity Les Samba… Purana Taskforce detectives are leading the investigation and believe it was not a random shooting.

$1 million reward announced – Les Samba murder | Vic Police | 6 Aug 2012 – Victoria Police has today announced a $1 million reward for information regarding the death of Les Samba in Middle Park on Sunday 27 February, 2011. Read the press release.

RELATED DOCUMENTS AND REPORTS

Purana Taskforce Affidavit | Oct 2007 – The Supreme Court affidavit lodged by the Purana Taskforce relating to the seizure of the racehorse Pillar of Hercules. [PDF 530Kb]

Own motion investigation into Greyhound Racing Victoria | Victorian Ombudsman | Jun 2012 – The Victorian Ombudsman, Mr George Brouwer, tabled this report in Parliament in June. Download the report here. [PDF 334Kb]

Combating serious crime and corruption in sport | ARC Centre of Excellence in Policing and Security | Nov 2011 – This paper details the actual and potential challenges, and impact, of gambling and corruption practices on sports in Australia.

Threats to the integrity of professional sport in Australia | Australian Crime Commission | Apr 2011 – Organised criminal groups currently have a limited presence in professional sports in Australia. However, there are vulnerabilities within the sector, with the principal threat to the integrity of professional sports being the use of inside information. A report from the ACC.

Sports Betting Review – Report and Government Response | 31 Mar 2011 – The report of the 2011 Review of Victorian Sports Betting Regulation completed by Mr Des Gleeson and the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Review are on the Department of Justice website.

A Guide to the Racing Industry in Australia 2010-2011 | ARB – The 2010/11 edition of the Australian Racing Fact Book was published by the ARB in December 2011. [PDF 2.73 MB]

Productivity Commission Gambling Inquiry | 23 Jun 2010 – The Productivity Commission concluded a public inquiry into gambling in June 2010. Read submissions and the full report.

Australian Racing Board Submission | 23 Jun 2010 - Read the ARB’s submission to the Productivity Commission Gambling Inquiry. [PDF 1506Kb]

Report on Integrity Assurance in the Victorian Racing Industry (Lewis Report) | Aug 2008 – In March 2008, Judge Gordon Lewis was commissioned to consult with racing industry controlling bodies and stakeholders with the objective of identifying options to ensure that integrity assurance within the industry is of the highest standard. Judge Lewis met with representatives from the major racing codes, police, media, government, industry associations and committees, appellate bodies, veterinary groups, individuals, and wagering companies. Read his recommendations.

ADDITIONAL READING

Dogs for revamp on bets at work | The Age | 21 Jun 2012 – Victoria’s greyhound racing industry will be overhauled after an inquiry found that some of the sport’s top officials engaged in punting on races and awarding multimillion-dollar contracts without due process. By Nick McKenzie.

Former dogs-racing boss placed bets, mismanaged | The Age | 20 Jun 2012 – Nick McKenzie Victoria’s top greyhound racing official engaged in inappropriate conduct by betting on races during his lunch breaks and overseeing sub-standard multi-million dollar contracts, according to a report. By Nick McKenzie.

Greyhound Racing NSW makes new Greyhound Racing Integrity Auditor | Australian Racing Greyhound | 7 Jun 2012 – GRNSW today announced the appointment of Graham Gorrie to the position of Greyhound Racing Integrity Auditor.

Video: Harness racing under scrutiny | 7.30 | 23 Aug 2011 - Claims of corruption have surfaced in the world of harness racing, sparking an investigation into more than 20 drivers, trainers and owners.

Opinion: Rogue operators make battle to maintain integrity of sport more difficult | The Australian | 16 Jul 2011 – This has been a chilling week for Australian sport. Its exposure to manipulation by cheats and criminals has been shown to be raw and dangerous. Corruption is but a few strokes on the computer away. By Patrick Smith.

Report finds organised horse racing industry is tainted by organised crime | Stateline Victoria | 15 Aug 2008 – The transcript of Josephine Cafagna’s 2008 report into horse racing corruption.

Top jockey took Mokbel cash in return for tips | Brisbane Times | 14 Jun 2008 – One of Australia’s leading jockeys, Jimmy Cassidy, accepted bundles of cash from alleged crime boss Tony Mokbel in return for tips about horses he was riding. By Nick McKenzie.

Fine Cotton mastermind scandal | The Daily Telegraph | 18 Apr 2008 – The mastermind of the infamous Fine Cotton Affair has struck again, with a multi-million dollar scam involving a $44 million horse race, a Gold Coast nightclub singer, a former rugby league great, an art swindle and Muslim terrorist death threats.

The day Munce had his meeting with destiny | SMH | 2 Mar 2007 – Chris Munce had one more appointment in Hong Kong before returning home to Australia in July. It was an appointment the Melbourne Cup-winning jockey wasn’t going to miss, but it would result in Munce’s life being up-ended.

RELATED FOUR CORNERS PROGRAMS

Own Goal | 8 Sep 2011 – The story behind Australia’s failed bid to host the World Cup and the impact it’s having on the beautiful game. Watch online.

In a Fix | 25 Oct 2010 – An investigation into the allegations of corruption and match fixing in the multi-billion dollar sport of international cricket. Flash Video Presentation.

50 Years: Horses for Courses | 10 Nov 1986 – Tony Jones’s 1986 report on racing, politics and the police prompted defamation charges. Watch online.

Protecting the integrity of racing

August 7, 2012

ONE WOULD be hard pressed to name a more symbiotic commercial relationship than that of betting and horse racing. Each derives huge financial benefit from the other. So it is, then, a matter of concern when that relationship is called into question through allegations of corruption.

The Age yesterday – in conjunction with Four Corners last night – reported that police were investigating well-known horse racing figures, including jockey Danny Nikolic, over the alleged fixing of a race at Cranbourne in April 2011, which was won by the horse Smoking Aces. The alleged tampering was uncovered during an investigation into the murder two months earlier of trainer Les Samba in Melbourne. There is no suggestion that Nikolic was involved in the death of Samba. There are, however, serious issues at play, such as allegations of money laundering, tax fraud and tipping, which involves jockeys disclosing inside information for commission.

Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said yesterday there was no endemic corruption in horse racing. But, in an industry that must be seen to be conducted without the merest whiff of corruption, this is a case where one is one too many.

More than 4000 horse races are held annually in this state. Racing Victoria, in its report for 2010-2011, said that although 9000 horses had competed, ”the headlines were stolen by one horse, Black Caviar”.

This is true. But, as The Age has revealed more than once, there is more than one story to the industry, and those ones sow the seeds of doubts in the public’s mind as to the probity of what they are watching. Detective Superintendent Gerard Ryan, who confirmed the investigation, said it was important ”that the integrity of racing … is squeaky clean”.

It is towards this latter point that, more broadly, Victoria seems to be making progress. There is a police ”sport corruption response model”, which looks promising on paper. The proof will be in its results.

It would be naive to believe that all sport can be entirely clean. With such large amounts of money at stake, the temptation to cheat is always there. That being so, there is merit in the calls for a national body, with anti-corruption powers, to be established to maintain sport’s integrity.

Commenting on the Smoking Aces disclosures, Racing Victoria’s integrity commissioner, Sal Perna, said: ”My immediate response is, is the industry that bad?” Purely on the numbers, no. Yet integrity in sport is only as strong as its weakest link. It needs to be protected comprehensively by all governments.

 

 

 

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

High-profile sex offender Dennis Ferguson spotted selling RSPCA biscuits in Sydney CBD


This creepy dirty sleazy slime ball has been caught out yet again. Shifty, sneaking and very very cunning.

He was NOT Fund Raising. He was FUN RAISING for himself. Sitting there checking out all the kids going by who get up close and personal when their unsuspecting parents come forward to support a well respected charity, the RSPCA.

Where are the checks on the snake belly’s we call paedophiles?  He uses his middle name instead of his first and he slips through the cracks???

I was flabbergasted to read this in the paper. let me assure you, they are out there doing this, he got busted by journo’s recognising his well known disgusting face. Imagine all the other slime-balls out there creeping and slithering around our community FUN RAISING for themselves!

Also, on a side note, check out his digs, not a bad apartment building for a career pervert who does not work. Guess who would be paying for his bachelor pad folks?

A timely reminder of my other site here http://aussiepaedophiles.wordpress.com/

THE grey-haired man named Ray held up a tin of kangaroo-shaped biscuits, trying to raise cash for the RSPCA.

Paedophile Dennis Ferguson was spotted selling biscuits and other items fund-raising for the RSPCA in Sydney

But this was no ordinary charity seller. It was Australia‘s high-profile sex offender Dennis Ferguson.

The Daily Telegraph yesterday spotted the 64-year-old convicted paedophile selling merchandise to the public at Circular Quay under the name Ray Ferguson.

His stall offered various animal-shaped shortbread biscuits, pens, stickers and badges for the RSPCA.

Passers-by would not have suspected anything untoward about the older man trying to make a dollar for charity.

But when approached yesterday, he confirmed he was Dennis Ferguson, using his middle name for charity work.

Ferguson was jailed for 14 years for sexually assaulting three children aged six, seven and eight in a Brisbane motel in the late 1980s.

Soon after release, he was caught wandering through a primary school in Parramatta – against his parole conditions – and sent back to jail.

“What’s the big deal? So I made a boo boo in the past, that’s over,” Ferguson said yesterday.

The RSPCA last night said it had no idea the man named Ray who signed up as a fundraiser for the “family-focused brand” was a child sex offender, and it would seek to revoke his volunteer permit.

“The RSPCA is associated with puppies and kittens which appeal to children, and our brand is family-focused,” a spokeswoman said.

“We would not want people thinking they can’t trust our volunteers.”

It is not the first time Ferguson has signed up for charity work under an alias since his release.

In 2010, he was found selling children’s toys in Kings Cross on behalf of Diabetes Australia, without proper authority.

As a result, police obtained an order requiring Ferguson to notify the Child Protection Authority before engaging in charity work that would put him in contact with children.

Ferguson refused to say yesterday whether he had notified police about his charity work. “They know about me, that’s all I will say,” he said.

Police said details of people on the Child Protection Register could not be made public.

Dennis Ferguson

Dennis Ferguson

Born Dennis Raymond Ferguson
5 February 1948 (age 64)
Charge(s) Kidnapping, sodomy, gross indecency, indecent dealing and carnal knowledge
Conviction(s) Child sexual abuse
Penalty 14 years (1989–2003)
15 months (2003–2004)
Status Released

Dennis Raymond Ferguson (born 5 February 1948) is an Australian man convicted of child sexual abuse. In 1988, he kidnapped and sexually abused three children, and was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment. Ferguson was forced on numerous occasions to relocate his residence from various locations around Australia, due to public hostility and news media attention

Criminal history

According to court records, Dennis Ferguson’s pre-1987 criminal history contains “many convictions for false pretences, various assaults on children and indecent assaults on females”, including five convictions for child molestation.In 1987 Ferguson was imprisoned in Long Bay Jail after being convicted on multiple fraud charges.

After being released from Long Bay Jail in July 1987, Ferguson, then aged 40, and his 23-year-old male lover, Alexandria George Brookes, abducted three children, two boys and a girl, from Sydney. Ferguson had previously got to know the children’s father, who was a fellow inmate in Long Bay Jail, and Ferguson was told that the children had previously been sexually abused. Ferguson and Brookes flew the children to Brisbane, and sexually assaulted them in a house in the Brisbane suburb of Kedron. The following night, Ferguson and Brookes moved the three children to a motel in the suburb of Ascot, where they again abused the children. Police arrested Ferguson and Brookes at the motel, where they found Ferguson naked with the children. Ferguson told police, “I can help you. Pornography. Kiddy porn, I can get you kiddy porn.”Ferguson claimed he was innocent, accusing one of the boys he molested of committing the crimes, but a jury found him guilty of all counts of abduction and assault of the three children. He was sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment, by a judge who noted there was no chance he would be rehabilitated

While in jail he refused to take part in rehabilitation programs, and attempted to obtain police photographs of his victims under the Freedom of Information Act. An order was obtained requiring Ferguson to report his whereabouts to police after fellow inmates reported plans by him to molest the eight-year old daughter of the family with whom he would reside after being released

In 2003, New South Wales Police surveillance located Ferguson in Parramatta Public School. Ferguson was forbidden from entering schools, and claimed he was distributing cleaning products for groups needing to raise funds. A court convicted him under the NSW Child Protection Offenders Registration Act, and he was sentenced to a further 15 months’ prison in the John Morony Correctional Centre. He was released in December 2004.

The following year, in November 2005, Ferguson was charged with sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl at her home in the Queensland town of Dalby. In a rare legal move, the judge granted Ferguson a bench trial (without a jury), as he considered Ferguson would not receive a fair trial by jury, due to the enormous amount of media coverage. The judge found that while the girl had been molested while Ferguson and fellow convicted child sexual abuser Allan Guy had been at her house, it could not be proved beyond reasonable doubt that Ferguson had been responsible, rather than Guyand that he should be released. The girl had clearly identified ‘Dennis’ as the perpetrator of her abuse.

Relocation

After being released from jail in 2004, Ferguson was forced to move from numerous locations in Queensland, due to public pressure and media attentionAngry residents forced him to flee the towns of Bundaberg, Toowoomba and Murgon. In February 2005, he settled in Ipswich with another pedophile, but was again found by neighbours and the media. There were reports of rocks being thrown at his house. A judge awarded Ferguson $2,250 in compensation from an invalid Ipswich pensioner who pleaded guilty to threatening to kill himOther protests have been more peaceable.

In July 2008, he moved to a rural property near Miles, Queensland, but after word of his location spread, cars began to arrive at the property, and the police were called after 60 people began chanting anti-Ferguson slogans.

In 2009, he moved into a public housing apartment in the Sydney suburb of Ryde where he was given a five-year lease. Some residents of the area were outraged at Ferguson’s presence, after news organisations revealed where he was living- near a primary school and playgrounds.Angry males shouted on the street, and police found a Molotov cocktail near Ferguson’s apartment building; Ferguson claims that one man broke into his house and assaulted him ]By 2010, neighbours had forced him to leave Ryde

New South Wales Police attempted to obtain a court order banning Ferguson from public pools and parks,after he began frequenting a pool during primary school children’s swimming lessons.While the safety order was denied by a judge, they did succeed in obtaining an order requiring him to notify the child protection authority before engaging in charity activities that would put him in contact with children, a precaution that was prompted after he was spotted selling children’s toys for a charity for which he had registered using his middle name, Ray.[19][21] Ferguson had been selling them without a legally mandated permit and police approval.

A program set up by the government agency Centrelink to reunite missing persons was suspended indefinitely in September 2009, after it was discovered that Ferguson had accessed the service to reunite with his 1987 criminal accomplice, Alexandria George Brookes.

Legislative changes

In September 2009, in response to public anger at Ferguson living in the Ryde area, the Government of New South Wales under Premier Nathan Rees moved to introduce legislation to allow the government to evict child sex offenders from public housing. Critics dubbed the legislation the Dennis Ferguson Act, and said it was created as a result of the state government caving in to vigilantism.

Time to ‘let Ferguson live in peace’

Posted Sat Mar 7, 2009 1:32pm AEDT

Queensland Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson says convicted paedophile Dennis Ferguson will be monitored daily after he was acquitted of a child-sex charge in Brisbane yesterday.

In a judge-only trial, the 61-year-old was found not guilty of molesting a five-year-old girl in her western Darling Downs home in 2005.

Commissioner Atkinson says it is time to let Mr Ferguson live in peace.

“He has to live somewhere that people would trust us to monitor him to keep a close watching brief on him,” he said.

“We will do that on a daily basis … hopefully people will just allow things to move forward now and not be concerned.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/03/06/2509851.htm

Ferguson acquittal sparks calls for paedophile separation

Posted Fri Mar 6, 2009 7:38pm AEDT
Updated Fri Mar 6, 2009 8:04pm AEDT

A child safety group wants the Queensland Government to keep known paedophiles away from each other, after today’s acquittal of Dennis Ferguson on a child sex charge.

The 61-year-old convicted paedophile had been accused of molesting a five-year-old girl in her Dalby home in 2005.

Mr Ferguson had gone to the property with fellow convicted paedophile Allan Guy.

He faced a judge-only trial in Brisbane after a court ruled it would be difficult to find an impartial jury.

In handing down her verdict, chief judge Patsy Wolfe said while the Crown had failed to prove Mr Ferguson was the perpetrator, the evidence suggested the girl was molested and Guy was responsible.

Mr Ferguson broke down in the dock and buried his head in his arms.

Outside the court, Carol Ronken from the child safety group Bravehearts said known paedophiles like Mr Ferguson and Guy should be stopped from banding together.

“We’re really concerned that he’s been able to liaise and hang around other sex offenders,” she said.

She also called on police to pursue Mr Guy.

Meanwhile, Queensland police have warned people not to harass Mr Ferguson, who has been run out of three Queensland communities in the past.

Deputy police commissioner Kathy Rynders says officers will monitor Mr Ferguson daily but it is unclear how long the surveillance will last.

She says Mr Ferguson will have to tell police his address.

His lawyer, Terry Fisher, says Mr Ferguson now wants to be left alone.

“It is my client’s hope that the conclusion of this trial will afford him the opportunity to live without constant media harassment and public intrusion,” he said.

‘Children need protection’

Police officer Heather Steinberg, who is running as an independent candidate in the Brisbane seat of Redlands, says the public should be concerned about today’s acquittal.

She says the Police Minister must ensure the community is safe.

“The children out there need to be protected,” she said.

“[Police Minister] Judy Spence said to us as a community we need to teach our children how to protect themselves from this type of situation.

“What’s the Government done about it? Absolutely nothing.”

http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/03/06/2509206.htm

Ferguson not guilty on child abuse charge

By Jason Rawlins

Posted Fri Mar 6, 2009 11:14am AEDT
Updated Fri Mar 6, 2009 1:39pm AEDT

Notorious Queensland paedophile Dennis Ferguson broke down in the dock after being found not guilty of molesting a child.

At a judge-only trial, Mr Ferguson was accused of going to a five-year-old girl’s home on the western Darling Downs in south-east Queensland in 2005 and molesting her.

He had been at the Dalby home to talk to the girl’s mother about a sales business and was with another convicted paedophile Allan Guy and his wife.

Brisbane’s District Court Chief Judge Patsy Wolfe handed down her verdict at around 10am AEST.

Judge Wolfe said the evidence pointed to the girl having been molested but she said the Crown had failed to prove the identity of the person responsible.

She also said the girl’s description of where the offence took place and who was involved pointed to Guy being the perpetrator.

Mr Ferguson broke down in the dock and buried his head in his arms.

His lawyer Terry Fisher says Mr Ferguson now wants to be left alone.

“It is my client’s hope that the conclusion of this trial will afford him the opportunity to live without constant media harassment and public intrusion,” he said.

The verdict has prompted calls for the real offender to be pursued.

Outside Brisbane’s District Court, child advocacy group Bravehearts spokeswoman Carol Ronken called on police to pursue Guy.

“There should be an investigation into Allan Guy – whether or not he is a party to that,” she said.

Ms Ronken also wants the Queensland Government to prevent Mr Ferguson associating with other paedophiles.

Queensland Treasurer Andrew Fraser says police will continue to monitor Ferguson but he will not be accommodated at taxpayers’ expense.

“As I understand the matter, now that he’s been found not guilty by the judge, Mr Ferguson is no longer in the custody of the state,” he said.

“I understand from police that they will be monitoring his movements and they’re able to provide further comment on that.

“I don’t propose to comment on the operational matters of police.”

http://archive.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2009/QDC09-049.pdf

 

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/qld/QDC/2008/224.html

Queensland District Court Decisions

Ferguson v. Watterson [2008] QDC 224 (19 September 2008)

Last Updated: 23 September 2008

DISTRICT COURT OF QUEENSLAND

 

CITATION: Ferguson v Watterson [2008] QDC 224
PARTIES: DENNIS RAYMOND FERGUSON

(applicant)

v

NOEL BOYD WATTERSON

(respondent)

FILE NO/S: 40 of 2008
DIVISION: Civil
PROCEEDING: Application for criminal compensation
ORIGINATING COURT: District Court Ipswich
DELIVERED ON: 19 September 2008
DELIVERED AT: Ipswich
HEARING DATE: 2 September 2008
JUDGE: Richards DCJ
ORDER: The respondent is ordered to pay the applicant the sum of $2,250 by way of compensation
CATCHWORDS: Criminal compensation – where other factors have contributed in a significant way to an injury
COUNSEL: Mr P E Smith for applicant

Mr P Boustead for Crown Law

No appearance for the respondent

SOLICITORS: Fisher Dore for the applicant

No appearance for the respondent

[1] The applicant is a sixty year old man who has previously been convicted of sexual offences against young children. He was released from prison in New South Wales on 15 December 2004 and returned to Queensland in December 2004 initially living in the Brisbane area with friends. From December 2004 to January 2005 he moved to Ipswich and was living with a friend in temporary accommodation.
[2] During the days leading up to this offence he and his friends had been subjected to an extreme amount of harassment from the media who had in turn engendered public support to hound the applicant out of town. On 1 February 2005 he was helping friends move to rental accommodation in Murgon. He was the subject of further abuse on that day in Murgon and was told by the police he would be safer if he left and he returned to Ipswich. When they arrived back at Ipswich there were members of the media and a crowd of people outside the premises waiting for them. The applicant could not see what was going on as he was under a blanket in the rear of the vehicle but he was told that Mr Watterson was in the crowd and that Watterson did not like him.
[3] Because of the hostility of the crowd outside the house they drove immediately to the Yamanto Police Station. When they arrived the media was there as well. His friends went into the police station while he stayed under the blanket in the car. They requested assistance from the police and then they went back to the Ipswich address driving around to the back of the premises. The media and the respondent were still there. The car was stopped and as he lay under the blanket he heard many people yelling things like, “Get out you filthy kid fucker”, “You’re dead”, “We don’t want you here.” He became scared that if he got out of the car people would hurt him. He heard the back door of the car being opened by the applicant and he heard the applicant and others yell at him, “Get out of here!”.
[4] Things quietened down a bit and he eventually left the car and entered the house. As he went to the house he heard more abuse and people yelling that he was dead and that they would get him. The respondent was one of those who yelled at him saying, “No sleep tonight Mr Ferguson, the black fellas in Murgon never got you but I will”. He was scared that people would break in and injure him and that the media were inciting the crowd.
[5] When the police arrived the yelling and the rock throwing stopped. He remained in the house all night and throughout the next day he was worried that Watterson would break in and injure him or burn the house down. He was especially concerned once he saw television footage of Watterson threatening him and trying to get him out of the car. He was taken away from the house the next day.
[6] On 19 October 2005 the respondent pleaded guilty to one charge of making threats, contrary to
s 359 of the Criminal Code.
[7] Mr Ferguson applies for compensation under the
Criminal Offence Victims Act 1995. The Act came into force in December 1995 and was established to provide compensation for an applicant’s injury consequent upon a personal offence committed against the applicant[1]. The scheme was introduced to ensure compensation for all victims of crime. It does not provide that compensation be awarded only to victims who are good citizens. The explanatory notes of the Act when introduced into parliament in Bill form provides insight into the purposes of the criminal compensation scheme:

 

“The principle reforms are:

(b) court applications will be dealt with informally;

(c) amounts will be assessed according to a “compensation table” with the objective of simplifying the process and reducing the inconsistencies in the awards made.

 

The system for compensation is intended to provide some measure of compensation in a summary way to the victim of a crime without the delay, cost and formality of a civil action for damages, for example, for assault or trespass.”

[8] It would be a very rare case that a victim of crime would be denied compensation altogether. In Hohn v King [2004] QCA 254 the court discussed this proposition at paragraph 100:

 

“The behaviour of the victim of the crime is relevant and is one of the matters to be taken into account. However, the legislation is not in terms limited to “good citizens who are the innocent victims of criminal behaviour”. Crime, its causes and incidents, is more complex than such an attitude would suggest. Demographically, the group responsible for the majority of assaults, young people, particularly young males aged 15 to 24, is the same group most likely to be victims of assault. As s 25(7) recognises, criminal offending does not only occur in a world neatly divided between the innocent and guilty, the good and the bad, but one which contains many shades of grey. Compensation awarded to victims of crime does not depend on a simplistic approach but takes into account all the relevant factors including any behaviour of the applicant which contributed, whether directly or indirectly, to the injury.”

 

[9] The first question in this case is whether the offence of making threats under the Criminal Code is a personal offence as defined in the Criminal Offence Victims Act[2] Compensation is only payable for offences committed against the person of someone. This phrase was considered in detail in RZ (by his litigation guardian) v PAE (2007) QCA 166 at paragraph 45:

 

“For an offence to be an “offence committed against a person of someone”, it is not necessary that there be actual contact with the body of the person. To return to an earlier example, the offence of robbery is frequently committed by pointing a weapon at victims and threatening them with violence in order to obtain property with no actual physical contact with the person or body of the victims. Such victims are commonly awarded compensation under the Act because the offence to which they were subjected is planning an indictable offence committed against the person of someone within s 21 of the Act. An attempted robbery involving threats alone is no less an indictable offence committed against the person of someone than a like offence involving some actual bodily contact.

 

Although the respondent’s offence against the appellant child did not involve physical contact with or a threat of physical contact with the child’s person or body, it was certainly not an offence against property. The respondent proposed that the child let the respondent “suck his dick”, an act which, had it been carried out, would unquestionably have involved the child’s person or body. It is not suggested (nor could it sensibly be) that, had the attempted offence actually been committed, it would not have been “an offence committed against the person” of the child. The respondent desisted before committing the principle offence and in committing the offence of attempted indecent treatment of a child did not make physical contact with the child but the thirteen year old heard the forty six year old respondent’s graphic proposal to procure the child to commit the indecent act permitting the respondent to suck the child’s penis; the child apprehended the proposal knowing something of the respondent’s criminal history for like offences and offences of serious violence; the child understandably became upset. In these circumstances the respondent’s attempt to unlawfully procure the applicant child to commit an indecent act was offence against the child’s personal body and “an offence committed against the person” of the appellant child under s 21 of the Act.”

[10] That interpretation of those words is consistent with the remedial nature of the Act:

 

“To provide compensation to injured victims of crime against the victim’s person.”

[11] Whilst taking into account the actual language of and the meaning open on the words of s 21, they should not be construed narrowly if that would prevent the discharge of the legislative purpose of the Act; Khoury v Government Insurance Officer (NSW) [1984] 165 CLR 622 at 638. The words of that section make it very clear that this offence is an offence against the person of someone and in fact Mr Boustead for the Crown has not challenged that interpretation of the Act. It is clear that the act of threatening to kill Mr Watterson was a threat to be taken seriously and one that would constitute an assault by threat.

[12] He is therefore entitled to compensation under the Act. It is clear from the facts of the matter that he did not contribute to the offence. He did not commit any act on that day to incite the crowd to violence or threats. He remained hidden from the sight of the crowd during the day and the only incitement to the crowd was the fact that he had previously committed offences and been released from custody at the completion of his term of imprisonment. At the time of the offence he was simply endeavouring to move into a house as an invited guest.
[13] The applicant in his affidavit says that he was especially scared of the respondent breaking in because he had seen him on the television and he thought he was the ring leader in all the threats and rock throwing in the house over the two day period that this harassment took place.
[14] The applicant was interviewed by Dr Michael Beech, a psychiatrist on 30 May 2008. Dr Beech has provided a report in relation to this application. Dr Beech notes that in January 2005 the applicant was the first person placed on the Child Protection Offender Register and from that stage he began to experience harassment from the media. He was unable to keep his appointments with Dr Rosevear, his psychiatrist, as the media would stake out the doctor’s room. He was also unable to associate with friends so his support network was curtailed. At that stage he had physical symptoms including feeling generally nervous, headaches, dizziness and palpitations. He would suffer blackouts and his memory would lapse. He had been to Murgon to help his friend move from Ipswich and while he was there a reporter and cameraman came to the house. He chased them away and then the reporter called the police. The police arrived as did neighbours who in effect forced the police into removing him and he was taken back to his Ipswich address where there were media and a crowd outside.
[15] Dr Beech refers to his symptoms as follows:

 

“His physical health remained compromised. He said that his sleep was disturbed by initial insomnia and was broken throughout the night. He had distressing dreams of being accosted and attacked in public. His eating was disturbed and his weight fluctuated. He became fearful of going out in public. He said he was very wary when out of the house. He would only travel to Brisbane during broad daylight for arranged visits. He would go directly to the visit and return straightaway to Miles. When he visited Brisbane, he would change the place where he was due to stay overnight on short notice to avoid detection. He would stay at places where he knew there was good security. This went on for sometime.”

 

[16] The history of Mr Ferguson’s harassment is complicated. On multiple occasions during previous incarcerations he has been attacked by prisoners. Some have been convicted of grievous bodily harm and there have seven incidents of serious assault. He has been knocked out and badly beaten during the attacks. He still has continuing intrusive memories of some of these attacks and they make him anxious. As a result in prison he is anxious and easily startled. He now fears that he will also be attacked in the community as well as in the prison.
[17] There are also events from his childhood which he would not discuss with Mr Beech but they are apparently unsettling memories. Dr Beech saw a report from Dr Rosevear which has not been put before this court but it indicated that he has counselled the applicant on many occasions.
[18] In 2003 a report indicated that he showed signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder consistent with the fact that he had been repeatedly bashed and attempts were made on his life in prison. There was also history of child abuse which had not been resolved. In a further report in 2005, Dr Rosevear stated he continued to see Mr Ferguson in relation to his stress. He had phoned him on many occasions because he could not attend due to fear of public harassment. He had considered suicide and he believed that Mr Ferguson displayed evidence of chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
[19] Dr Beech opines that his chronic Post Traumatic Stress Disorder would likely have arisen from earlier events including prison assaults. He describes anxiety prior to the 2005 incident, avoidance and thoughts of persecution and in 2003 was noted to be nervous, hyper-vigilant and had difficulty concentrating. He said there is also a history of abuse noted by Dr Rosevear and intrusive memories that are highly suggestive of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that goes back to childhood. He had past episodes of depressed mood with features consistent with either a major depressive episode or an adjustment disorder. He says:

 

“In my opinion, the incident in 2005 is likely to have added to burden of morbidity that Mr Ferguson had already suffered up until that time. The incident was one of many traumatic and frightening events that had occurred in his life. It happened when he was already anxious about previous bashings and feared a conspiracy to harm and prevent his allegations of negligence proceeding. He already feared for his safety. It is likely I believe that his anxiety had been further aroused by the events in Sydney and heightened by the events in Murgon. He had by the time he arrived back in Ipswich become fearful of public harassment.

 

These pre-existing circumstances I believe made him vulnerable to further anxiety and distress when he was threatened in Ipswich. They were further aggravated by his poor eyesight, being covered by a blanket, being accosted by a crowd, and being trapped in a car. To this sense of helplessness was added his belief that the crowd was being incited and that there was no help at hand…

 

I believe however that it has added to his PTSD and exacerbated and expanded it. He described continuing anxiety and recollections of the event. It has now made him more anxious about being in the community generally, more so than before. Prior to his return to custody, his avoidance was increased. It is likely to worsen again if he is released into the community.”

[20] He was unable to quantify the damage done by the 2005 events. More particularly he is unable to quantify the damage done by Watterson.
[21] It is said that the events of 2005 led to the exacerbation of his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, the harassment was occurring on an almost daily basis and not just at the Ipswich address. Even on the day in question the harassment was produced not only by this respondent but by others present including the media. The resultant mental and nervous shock cannot all be placed on the shoulders of this respondent.
[22] In Say & AZ; Ex parte AG 2006 QCA 462, Holmes JA discussed the difficulties in trying to apportion compensation where there was more than one cause. Her Honour stated there at paragraph 23:

 

“Where there is a single state of injury produced by a number of factors, some or all of which warranted a reduction in the award, the court must do its best to make allowance for their contribution although the evidence may not lend itself to any precision. Often a broad brush approach, or the kind adopted by Thomas JA in Sanderson v Kajewski will be necessary. The exercise may be one of discounting, or fixing another percentage on the compensation scale to allow for the role of other factors, rather than necessarily a strict process of apportionment. In that exercise, it is legitimate to consider the nature of the other contributing factors. Given that the Act scheme is to require an offender to compensation his or her victim, it would be reasonable to suppose that contributing causes entirely independent of the respondent will be given considerably more weight than those merely reflecting part of the continuing of offending. Whether there ought to be any discount to reflect the fact that other behaviour of the respondent has contributed to the applicant’s state of injury will depend on all the circumstances, which may include the nature of that behaviour, how closely stipulated it was to the relevant offences and the relationship of victim and offender in which it occurred. The basis on which any reduction or compensation is made must have of course been clearly identified”.

[23] Because an apportionment is impossible to do clearly in this case, a broad brush approach will have to be applied. Whilst one of a crowd, the respondent was at the forefront of the harassment, the one opening the car door and the one making death threats which were clearly audible to the applicant. Further he was later on television reinforcing the nature of those threats and his intention to carry out the threats if given a chance. He was, in effect, the public face of the harassment over the two day period and a person who lived in close proximity to the house in which Ferguson had sought refuge.
[24] Of course, there was also the stress occasioned by the harassment that occurred in Sydney and Murgon with which Mr Watterson was not at all tied.
[25] The applicant clearly suffers from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and would be entitled to an award of 30% of the scheme maximum if this were the only cause of his disorder. However, taking into account the fact that there were many other incidents of harassment and trauma caused to the applicant both before and since these events, that award would have to be discounted considerably.
[26] In my view, the award should be reduced to 3 % of the scheme maximum and I order that the respondent pay the applicant the sum of $2,250 by way of compensation.


[1] S19(1)(a)

[2] s21 of the Act


 

New technology, the media and criminal trials – Let’s talk about it


Here is an interesting article folks that I found that comes at a time when the media and the internet are colliding with the long-held protocols of the old school legal system of the last century, who needs to catch up with who I wonder?

Where are we headed with blogs like this? the instant twitter commentary from courtrooms, the insatiable thirst for the information, good bad or ugly. You all know I am a believer of  Major Trials being telecast to those who want to and indeed need to watch them. Just like some have an interest in Question Time in Parliament and some do not. make it available, what is there to hide?

By Peter Gregory

July 06 2012

Are we now behind the times?

On an overseas crime website was the personal and criminal history of a man known to the Victorian public.

At the time, he was before the courts on a serious charge. The trial judge had warned jurors not to look up the internet, because they were to return a verdict only on the evidence they saw or heard in the courtroom.

Put simply, the judge’s warning was part of delivering a fair trial. If accused of crime, you are judged by a jury of your peers.

They base their decision on the material presented to them in the courtroom. Almost always, that means no reference to the previous convictions of the person on trial, or neighbourhood gossip about a case, or the wise pronouncements of media commentators.

The legal system’s assumption is that jurors, not being trained as lawyers, will find it harder to put aside prejudicial information. If you were a juror on a rape trial, and learned that the accused person had been convicted (separately) of rape six months earlier, what would you think about this case?

“Guilty,” said one student when this question was posed during a seminar some years ago. That is why jury members are told not to follow media reports, do their own research, or talk to their families about the case. They are also instructed to be wary of social media, like Twitter or Facebook.

“If your family is like mine, everyone will have an expert opinion,” one judge would say at the start of a Supreme Court trial.

“You can blame me. If they ask about the evidence, you can say the judge told you that you are not allowed to discuss it.”

Journalists would get very nervous about their court stories, fearing they might be fined or worse if they revealed information that the courts believed was likely to be prejudicial.

In one case, five media organisations were fined a collective $670,000 after reporting that a man arrested over three New South Wales murders in 1989 had confessed. The reports were likely to interfere with the administration of justice, it was found.

These were simpler times when a big worry for publishers was the potential to mix up the conservative court story written for local audiences with a more comprehensive account prepared for interstate editions.

If the Victorian jury was protected from prejudice, all was well. If a stuff-up occurred, media lawyers were sent to court to apologise.

More than 20 years later, safety and conservatism sound like foreign concepts.

The crime website which featured the Victorian suspect was not the worst by any means. True, its advertisements for criminal-related merchandise, including DVDs, calendars and magazines, was distracting, but his segment was a fairly sober summary of his court appearances, material from interviews and legal debate about his future.

Numerous other websites talk about criminals and killers. Some are moderate and feature court decisions. Others appear to follow the “hang ‘em high” school, practised with or without a trial.

Still wary of the legal process, mainstream media websites monitor or ban comments being made about court-related stories.

Inflammatory remarks can raise difficulties for many institutions which have embraced social media and the internet to engage with the public.

Bond University professor Mark Pearson recently analysed problems with the Queensland Police Facebook site, which was flooded with hard-nosed commentary following a high-profile arrest.
“I fear it will not be long before a savvy defence lawyer seizes the opportunity to use such prejudicial commentary as grounds for appeal, perhaps resulting in a trial being aborted at great public expense or even a verdict quashed,” he told The Australian newspaper.

So, what can the courts do?

Last month, the New South Wales Criminal Court of Appeal allowed a media challenge to court orders that would have forced news websites to remove thousands of archived stories about a conspiracy to murder trial. The Sydney Morning Herald said the court upheld the argument that the orders were futile because “vast swathes of information on the internet are essentially beyond the court’s control”.

“It is something of an irony that the (media organisations)…are, on one view, the only people against whom an order could properly have been made,” the court said in its published judgment.

While NSW law might let prosecuting authorities seek suppression orders over prejudicial material published online by local media, that permission could not validly apply to the world at large.

Suppression orders might cover material on internet sites beyond the control or awareness of local publishers.

Imagine the SMH finding all the international crime websites, and persuading them to take down some of their murder summaries because an Australian prosecutor was worried about them.

A Law Council of Australia committee, of which this writer is a member, outlined some other problems in a submission made to the Federal Government.

The media and communications committee said information could not be effectively censored or removed once it was available online. Material was often republished or cached on other sites. Monitoring archives for past publications would be costly and a significant exercise, and in many cases would have little practical effect, the committee argued.

Removing mainstream material might also bump the relevant information contained on less reputable websites up the search engine list for determined researchers.

“Suppression and non-publication orders that that operate to censor or remove historical reports by mainstream media organisations can lead to (the other) websites being elevated in lists of search results carried out, for instance, on the names of accused persons, and thus perversely increase the risk of prejudice to forthcoming trials,” the committee said.

If censoring the media does not work, the focus returns to juries. Jurors can be fined for looking up the internet during trials, if they decide to ignore judges’ warnings.

On its website, the Judicial College of Victoria has quoted court decisions describing jury members as “robust and responsible”, not “fragile and prone to prejudice”. But it warns that the availability of internet databases posed new problems for protecting jurors from prejudicial information.

Could that mean sequestering the jury – staying at hotels, not at home – for the whole trial, to keep it away from outside influences? Would that happen at all trials, or just the ones that attracted massive media attention?

One of the court decisions suggested keeping juries together during the proceedings would protect the open court principle and avoid prejudice. The accommodation costs in a long hearing, and the associated pressure to avoid mistrials, would be very likely to create their own problems.

What are your thoughts readers?

New technology, the media and criminal trials – Let's talk about it


Here is an interesting article folks that I found that comes at a time when the media and the internet are colliding with the long-held protocols of the old school legal system of the last century, who needs to catch up with who I wonder?

Where are we headed with blogs like this? the instant twitter commentary from courtrooms, the insatiable thirst for the information, good bad or ugly. You all know I am a believer of  Major Trials being telecast to those who want to and indeed need to watch them. Just like some have an interest in Question Time in Parliament and some do not. make it available, what is there to hide?

By Peter Gregory

July 06 2012

Are we now behind the times?

On an overseas crime website was the personal and criminal history of a man known to the Victorian public.

At the time, he was before the courts on a serious charge. The trial judge had warned jurors not to look up the internet, because they were to return a verdict only on the evidence they saw or heard in the courtroom.

Put simply, the judge’s warning was part of delivering a fair trial. If accused of crime, you are judged by a jury of your peers.

They base their decision on the material presented to them in the courtroom. Almost always, that means no reference to the previous convictions of the person on trial, or neighbourhood gossip about a case, or the wise pronouncements of media commentators.

The legal system’s assumption is that jurors, not being trained as lawyers, will find it harder to put aside prejudicial information. If you were a juror on a rape trial, and learned that the accused person had been convicted (separately) of rape six months earlier, what would you think about this case?

“Guilty,” said one student when this question was posed during a seminar some years ago. That is why jury members are told not to follow media reports, do their own research, or talk to their families about the case. They are also instructed to be wary of social media, like Twitter or Facebook.

“If your family is like mine, everyone will have an expert opinion,” one judge would say at the start of a Supreme Court trial.

“You can blame me. If they ask about the evidence, you can say the judge told you that you are not allowed to discuss it.”

Journalists would get very nervous about their court stories, fearing they might be fined or worse if they revealed information that the courts believed was likely to be prejudicial.

In one case, five media organisations were fined a collective $670,000 after reporting that a man arrested over three New South Wales murders in 1989 had confessed. The reports were likely to interfere with the administration of justice, it was found.

These were simpler times when a big worry for publishers was the potential to mix up the conservative court story written for local audiences with a more comprehensive account prepared for interstate editions.

If the Victorian jury was protected from prejudice, all was well. If a stuff-up occurred, media lawyers were sent to court to apologise.

More than 20 years later, safety and conservatism sound like foreign concepts.

The crime website which featured the Victorian suspect was not the worst by any means. True, its advertisements for criminal-related merchandise, including DVDs, calendars and magazines, was distracting, but his segment was a fairly sober summary of his court appearances, material from interviews and legal debate about his future.

Numerous other websites talk about criminals and killers. Some are moderate and feature court decisions. Others appear to follow the “hang ‘em high” school, practised with or without a trial.

Still wary of the legal process, mainstream media websites monitor or ban comments being made about court-related stories.

Inflammatory remarks can raise difficulties for many institutions which have embraced social media and the internet to engage with the public.

Bond University professor Mark Pearson recently analysed problems with the Queensland Police Facebook site, which was flooded with hard-nosed commentary following a high-profile arrest.
“I fear it will not be long before a savvy defence lawyer seizes the opportunity to use such prejudicial commentary as grounds for appeal, perhaps resulting in a trial being aborted at great public expense or even a verdict quashed,” he told The Australian newspaper.

So, what can the courts do?

Last month, the New South Wales Criminal Court of Appeal allowed a media challenge to court orders that would have forced news websites to remove thousands of archived stories about a conspiracy to murder trial. The Sydney Morning Herald said the court upheld the argument that the orders were futile because “vast swathes of information on the internet are essentially beyond the court’s control”.

“It is something of an irony that the (media organisations)…are, on one view, the only people against whom an order could properly have been made,” the court said in its published judgment.

While NSW law might let prosecuting authorities seek suppression orders over prejudicial material published online by local media, that permission could not validly apply to the world at large.

Suppression orders might cover material on internet sites beyond the control or awareness of local publishers.

Imagine the SMH finding all the international crime websites, and persuading them to take down some of their murder summaries because an Australian prosecutor was worried about them.

A Law Council of Australia committee, of which this writer is a member, outlined some other problems in a submission made to the Federal Government.

The media and communications committee said information could not be effectively censored or removed once it was available online. Material was often republished or cached on other sites. Monitoring archives for past publications would be costly and a significant exercise, and in many cases would have little practical effect, the committee argued.

Removing mainstream material might also bump the relevant information contained on less reputable websites up the search engine list for determined researchers.

“Suppression and non-publication orders that that operate to censor or remove historical reports by mainstream media organisations can lead to (the other) websites being elevated in lists of search results carried out, for instance, on the names of accused persons, and thus perversely increase the risk of prejudice to forthcoming trials,” the committee said.

If censoring the media does not work, the focus returns to juries. Jurors can be fined for looking up the internet during trials, if they decide to ignore judges’ warnings.

On its website, the Judicial College of Victoria has quoted court decisions describing jury members as “robust and responsible”, not “fragile and prone to prejudice”. But it warns that the availability of internet databases posed new problems for protecting jurors from prejudicial information.

Could that mean sequestering the jury – staying at hotels, not at home – for the whole trial, to keep it away from outside influences? Would that happen at all trials, or just the ones that attracted massive media attention?

One of the court decisions suggested keeping juries together during the proceedings would protect the open court principle and avoid prejudice. The accommodation costs in a long hearing, and the associated pressure to avoid mistrials, would be very likely to create their own problems.

What are your thoughts readers?

It is funny how anything Peter Slipper says Just does not seem to add up…UPDATES ON HIS CONS


UPDATE 05/05/12

Peter Slipper pleaded to retain ongoing use of paper Cabcharge dockets.
NOW WHY WOULD HE DO THAT?

EMBATTLED Speaker Peter Slipper pleaded to retain ongoing use of paper Cabcharge dockets despite high-level government concerns they could be “easily misused”.

In the latest twist in the scandal that has engulfed the Gillard government, it can be revealed Mr Slipper personally challenged a ruling in April 2006 to scrap paper vouchers in favour of electronic cards.

The Queensland MP is under Australian Federal Police investigation over his use of Cabcharge and has stood aside as Speaker until the Cabcharge and sexual harassment allegations, both of which he denies, are investigated.

Mr Slipper – who has in the past been forced to repay more than $20,000 in entitlements – was one of only two federal MPs using paper Cabcharge dockets when the Finance Department recommended they be axed. Out of how many MP’s at Canberra and around the place…Remember this was in 2006. And he still clinged onto the SCAM potential up until the present day…

Using the excuse it was all the driver’s fault as they did not have the electronic gadgets to do instant, accurate and accountable dockets. This has suited this despicable excuse of an MP down to a T.

I have pages of stuff about his off the record journeys to purchase booze, drink booze, wine and dine and get pissed (not to mention doing the same in Parliament House for years…His exploits are legendary.

His bid to try to retain the dockets raised suspicions with Howard government figures keen to crackdown on misuse of travel entitlements.

In a memo, finance said the vouchers were open to abuse due to “unclear handwriting” and “inadequate information for reporting purposes”.

“Cabcharge vouchers are also very difficult to trace and, in the event of being lost or stolen, are easily misused,” the department said in a letter to then Special Minister of State Gary Nairn. Mr Slipper tried to persuade Mr Nairn to allow him to continue to use the paper dockets.

“I had a call from (Mr Slipper) arguing the case to keep Cabcharge vouchers,” Mr Nairn said yesterday.

On April 5, 2006, in an email headed: “Cabcharge voucher books”, Mr Slipper wrote: “Hi Gary, you will recall we spoke about this issue recently and (I) was wondering whether there had been a successful outcome? Peter.”

Mr Slipper, whose Queensland electorate of Fisher is about 90 minutes drive from Brisbane, argued that his hire car arrangements required the use of Cabcharge vouchers.

Mr Nairns’ staff contacted two limousine companies – including Mr Slipper’s preferred supplier Oakcorp – which both confirmed they accepted Cabcharge through electronic transactions.

Mr Nairn, who lost his seat in 2007, pointed to a range of flaws with the vouchers and told a Liberal colleague: “I really couldn’t justify keeping the voucher system going.”

The AFP is investigating claims Mr Slipper would sign Cabcharge vouchers but leave his long-term Sydney driver Antwan Kaikaty to fill out other details – including the amount.

The Speaker is also facing sexual harassment allegations after male adviser James Ashby launched legal action in the Federal Court.

Mr Slipper declined to comment on the claims last night and requested “copies of this correspondence and details of concerns of the Department of Finance”.

It is funny how anything Peter Slipper says Just does not seem to add up. Here is an article from the Financial Review (who should know their stuff)

By Pamela Williams

Many dozens of limousine and taxi fares paid by the Speaker Peter Slipper for widely differing journeys in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and Canberra have been for identical sums of money, raising new questions amid the cascading claims and allegations levelled against the most senior office-holder in the Australian Parliament in the past week.

An analysis by The Australian Financial Review  of taxi and limousine charges in 14 pages of documents released by the Department of Finance reveal what appear to be patterns in Cabcharge vouchers signed by Slipper in 2010 and 2011.

Sixteen different journeys taken by Slipper between January 2010 and January 2011 in Canberra, Sydney or Brisbane – with trips as varied as suburb-to-suburb, city-to-suburb or airport-to-suburb, and using seven different car or taxi companies – each cost $75.68.

For example, on a warm summer’s day (27 degrees) on Friday, January 8, 2010, the Sydney firm of RSL Cabs took Slipper on two trips: one from the airport to the city, and another from the city to the airport. In a striking coincidence, given the ebb and flow of Sydney’s traffic swarms, the fare each way was exactly $75.68.

It was perhaps an expensive run for Slipper, given the average taxi fare between downtown Sydney and the airport – while far from predictable – is about $30 to $40. It seemed unfortunate and almost against the odds for Slipper to take two taxis charging identical city-to-airport fares of $75.68 at different times, on the same day.

If Slipper were a betting man, he might have seen a sign that he could beats the odds when exactly a year later, back in Sydney, he took another RSL taxi on January 7, 2011 – noted suburbs-to-suburbs (but presumably different suburbs to a year before) – and the fare yet again was exactly $75.68.

Another 12 trips by Slipper between January 2010 and March 2011 all cost precisely $85.77 each. These ranged from a journey from Parliament House, Canberra, to the suburbs, three other trips described as suburbs-to-suburbs or suburbs-to-airport, using car companies as disparate as Babylon Investment Group, Canberra Hire Cars, Marcellus K Gill and Oakcorp Limousines, which services south-east Queensland.

In Canberra, Slipper took three trips using Canberra Hire Cars between November 2 and November 5, 2010, and each trip cost exactly $65.59.

A figure of $95.86 was the exact cost of 22 different trips by Slipper between March 2010 and March 2011. A trip on July 27, 2010, with his favoured Queensland limo service, Oakcorp Limousines, from Brisbane to the suburbs was paid by Slipper using his taxpayer-funded Cabcharge card. The bill was $95.86. The fare for a trip with Oakland Limo on March 19, 2011, from the airport to Brisbane was $95.86. The fare on January 20, 2010, from the Canberra suburbs to Parliament House was $95.86. So, too, was a trip on April 22, 2010, with Brisvegas Limos from the suburbs to Brisbane.

Slipper took 24 trips between February and July 2010 from his home in Buderim, Queensland, to Brisbane or Brisbane airport (or the other way from Brisbane to Buderim) where the fare was $327.95 on each occasion.

Five of these trips were with Lazmar Limousines and the other 19 trips were with Oakcorp limousines. The fares, however, were were all the same.

During the same time frame, Slipper took a further seven trips between Buderim and either Brisbane airport or Brisbane city, all with Oakcorp, with the exception of one ride with Lazmar. On all these trips – regardless of whether they were from Buderim to Brisbane or vice versa – the fare was exactly $338.05 each time, suggesting a most precise taxi meter operating in the vehicle.

During eight limo trips with Lazmar or Oakcorp between August 2010 and June 2011 (again Buderim-Brisbane, Brisbane-Buderim), the fare was exactly $287.59.

In 2010, trips on January 19, January 31, February 5, and March 6, using four car companies (A.L. Prosser, Babylon Investment Group, Marcellus K Gill, and Oakcorp Limousines) to be driven variously from Brisbane airport to the suburbs, as well as other suburb-to-suburb fares, all came to the same amount: $146.32. A year later, United Yellow Cabs SA took Slipper suburbs-to-suburbs, and that, too, was $146.32.

Slipper’s cars rarely list the suburbs he visits on his Cabcharge receipts unless the destination is Buderim or Brisbane. Seven trips in 2010 (January 19, 30, February 24, 27, March 19, July 11 and July 27) using cars in Canberra, Brisbane and elsewhere, stated only airport-to-suburbs, suburb-to-suburb, with one exception of Brisbane-to-suburbs – all with the same fare of $126.14.

Slipper’s drivers appear to have an almost eerie ability to take travel routes in different parts of Australia where the fares match up to the last cent. For example, on April 15, 2010, Darwin company Taxis Top End appeared on Slipper’s Cabcharge with a bill for $70.64. On November 2, 2010, Canberra Hire cars charged Slipper for a trip suburbs-to-city at $70.64. Just four months later on March 10, 2011, Babylon Investment Group appeared on Slipper’s taxi docket for a trip suburbs-to-suburbs at $70.64.

Slipper’s travel between his Buderim home and Brisbane by limousine, mostly using Oakcorp Limousines but sometimes using Lazmar, also revealed some surprising differentials.

The online calculator for Yellow Cabs in Queensland estimates the fare between Buderim and Brisbane at $215.

But on 70 trips taken between January and July 2010, Slipper paid fares ranging from $312.82 (nine trips) to $322.91 (eight trips), $327.95 (24 trips), $333.00 (nine trips), $338.05 (seven trips), $348.14 (five trips). All of these fares were paid with Slipper’s electronic Cabcharge card.

But Department of Finance records also list other fares using the same limousine service, Oakcorp Limousines, for travel between Buderim and Brisbane during 2010 and 2011 which Slipper paid with a Cabcharge docket filled out by hand.

Covering the period August 2010 to May 2011, the fares paid with paper dockets supplied to the cab driver by Slipper range from $236.36 (13 trips) to $245.45 (25 trips), $250.00 (eight trips), $254.55 (six trips), $259.09 (four trips), $263.64 (three trips) and $268.18 (three trips). These fares, paid manually, are almost $80 to $100 less than those paid electronically.

Slipper did not reply to questions last night about the reason for the disparity.

One astonishing overlap in Slipper’s travels occurred during a trip to Perth in the winter of 2010. On July 1, according to Freedom of Information records now unravelling Slipper’s travel, he arrived in Perth and took a cab from Swans Taxi Co-Op at 11.11am, travelling to East Perth and paying a fare of $40.36. Almost simultaneously, at 11.12am Slipper picked up an Avis hire car in Perth which he kept for several days, returning it on July 3 and paying $348.72.

Other oddities in Slipper’s hire car use have emerged in a Financial Review investigation. For November 14, 2010, Oakcorp Limousines submitted two manual vouchers signed by Slipper – both airport-to Brisbane on the same day, and both for $86.36.

Then on November 19, 2010, Slipper signed a manual docket for Oakcorp Limousines for travel from Brisbane to Buderim – at a cost of $86.36.

He also signed a manual docket for what appears to be a wholly different trip – from Brisbane airport to Brisbane for $245.45 – suggesting a mix-up in his dockets.

On February 5, 2011, Slipper signed an electronic Cabcharge bill for Lazmar Limousines for a trip from Brisbane to Brisbane airport – for $297.68 – a journey for which he usually paid between $68 and $86 (although regularly up to $136, an amount perhaps startling to Brisbanites).

On two consecutive days in July 2010, Slipper stacked up four limousine trips between Buderim and the airport or Brisbane CBD. Three of these took place on just one day, July 27. The records suggest that Slipper took a car from Buderim to the airport on July 26 (at a cost of $333). He presumably flew to Canberra. The next day, July 27, a commonwealth car took Slipper on a 34-minute trip early in the morning. He then flew back to Brisbane, where he took a limo from Brisbane airport to Buderim ($327.95).

Still on July 27, Slipper travelled from Buderim to Brisbane (348.14) before turning around to head back to Buderim ($343.09). He somehow also found time on the day to notch up two limousine trips between Brisbane and the suburbs ($126.14 and $95.86).

At the end of 2010, a rather more startling picture emerges.

According to the records, Slipper travelled on December 29, 2010, using Oakcorp Limousines from his home in Buderim to Brisbane. He paid using electronic Cabcharge a fare of $287.59. On the same day, December 29, 2010, Slipper also signed a manual Cabcharge to pay Oakcorp Limousines for the same trip from Buderim to Brisbane at a cost of $245.45. No records exist showing a return trip in between from Brisbane to Buderim.

The Speaker stood aside this week after a welter of allegations – yet to be tested in court – that he had abused his relationship of power with an adviser in his office.

The adviser, James Ashby, has filed a civil suit claiming that Slipper pressured him for favours during a string of encounters at Slipper’s Canberra flat and through text messaging. Ashby also alleged Slipper had handed bundles of Cabcharge dockets to car hire drivers in exchange for journeys taken earlier this year. These are separate from the travel records released by the Department of Finance, referred to here. The furore that has since enveloped Slipper has been enough to see him stand aside as Speaker, casting the minority Labor government into unknown territory as the federal budget looms.

Last night, though, Slipper released copies of the Cabcharge dockets he says were referred to in Ashby’s affidavit. He said they clearly show that he had signed and filled out all elements of the dockets himself in his own handwriting. He described the criminal allegation regarding the Cabcharges as a complete fabrication.

It is funny how anything Peter Slipper says Just does not seem to add up. Here is an article from the Financial Review (who should know their stuff)

By Pamela Williams

Many dozens of limousine and taxi fares paid by the Speaker Peter Slipper for widely differing journeys in Victoria, NSW, Queensland and Canberra have been for identical sums of money, raising new questions amid the cascading claims and allegations levelled against the most senior office-holder in the Australian Parliament in the past week.

An analysis by The Australian Financial Review  of taxi and limousine charges in 14 pages of documents released by the Department of Finance reveal what appear to be patterns in Cabcharge vouchers signed by Slipper in 2010 and 2011.

Sixteen different journeys taken by Slipper between January 2010 and January 2011 in Canberra, Sydney or Brisbane – with trips as varied as suburb-to-suburb, city-to-suburb or airport-to-suburb, and using seven different car or taxi companies – each cost $75.68.

For example, on a warm summer’s day (27 degrees) on Friday, January 8, 2010, the Sydney firm of RSL Cabs took Slipper on two trips: one from the airport to the city, and another from the city to the airport. In a striking coincidence, given the ebb and flow of Sydney’s traffic swarms, the fare each way was exactly $75.68.

It was perhaps an expensive run for Slipper, given the average taxi fare between downtown Sydney and the airport – while far from predictable – is about $30 to $40. It seemed unfortunate and almost against the odds for Slipper to take two taxis charging identical city-to-airport fares of $75.68 at different times, on the same day.

If Slipper were a betting man, he might have seen a sign that he could beats the odds when exactly a year later, back in Sydney, he took another RSL taxi on January 7, 2011 – noted suburbs-to-suburbs (but presumably different suburbs to a year before) – and the fare yet again was exactly $75.68.

Another 12 trips by Slipper between January 2010 and March 2011 all cost precisely $85.77 each. These ranged from a journey from Parliament House, Canberra, to the suburbs, three other trips described as suburbs-to-suburbs or suburbs-to-airport, using car companies as disparate as Babylon Investment Group, Canberra Hire Cars, Marcellus K Gill and Oakcorp Limousines, which services south-east Queensland.

In Canberra, Slipper took three trips using Canberra Hire Cars between November 2 and November 5, 2010, and each trip cost exactly $65.59.

A figure of $95.86 was the exact cost of 22 different trips by Slipper between March 2010 and March 2011. A trip on July 27, 2010, with his favoured Queensland limo service, Oakcorp Limousines, from Brisbane to the suburbs was paid by Slipper using his taxpayer-funded Cabcharge card. The bill was $95.86. The fare for a trip with Oakland Limo on March 19, 2011, from the airport to Brisbane was $95.86. The fare on January 20, 2010, from the Canberra suburbs to Parliament House was $95.86. So, too, was a trip on April 22, 2010, with Brisvegas Limos from the suburbs to Brisbane.

Slipper took 24 trips between February and July 2010 from his home in Buderim, Queensland, to Brisbane or Brisbane airport (or the other way from Brisbane to Buderim) where the fare was $327.95 on each occasion.

Five of these trips were with Lazmar Limousines and the other 19 trips were with Oakcorp limousines. The fares, however, were were all the same.

During the same time frame, Slipper took a further seven trips between Buderim and either Brisbane airport or Brisbane city, all with Oakcorp, with the exception of one ride with Lazmar. On all these trips – regardless of whether they were from Buderim to Brisbane or vice versa – the fare was exactly $338.05 each time, suggesting a most precise taxi meter operating in the vehicle.

During eight limo trips with Lazmar or Oakcorp between August 2010 and June 2011 (again Buderim-Brisbane, Brisbane-Buderim), the fare was exactly $287.59.

In 2010, trips on January 19, January 31, February 5, and March 6, using four car companies (A.L. Prosser, Babylon Investment Group, Marcellus K Gill, and Oakcorp Limousines) to be driven variously from Brisbane airport to the suburbs, as well as other suburb-to-suburb fares, all came to the same amount: $146.32. A year later, United Yellow Cabs SA took Slipper suburbs-to-suburbs, and that, too, was $146.32.

Slipper’s cars rarely list the suburbs he visits on his Cabcharge receipts unless the destination is Buderim or Brisbane. Seven trips in 2010 (January 19, 30, February 24, 27, March 19, July 11 and July 27) using cars in Canberra, Brisbane and elsewhere, stated only airport-to-suburbs, suburb-to-suburb, with one exception of Brisbane-to-suburbs – all with the same fare of $126.14.

Slipper’s drivers appear to have an almost eerie ability to take travel routes in different parts of Australia where the fares match up to the last cent. For example, on April 15, 2010, Darwin company Taxis Top End appeared on Slipper’s Cabcharge with a bill for $70.64. On November 2, 2010, Canberra Hire cars charged Slipper for a trip suburbs-to-city at $70.64. Just four months later on March 10, 2011, Babylon Investment Group appeared on Slipper’s taxi docket for a trip suburbs-to-suburbs at $70.64.

Slipper’s travel between his Buderim home and Brisbane by limousine, mostly using Oakcorp Limousines but sometimes using Lazmar, also revealed some surprising differentials.

The online calculator for Yellow Cabs in Queensland estimates the fare between Buderim and Brisbane at $215.

But on 70 trips taken between January and July 2010, Slipper paid fares ranging from $312.82 (nine trips) to $322.91 (eight trips), $327.95 (24 trips), $333.00 (nine trips), $338.05 (seven trips), $348.14 (five trips). All of these fares were paid with Slipper’s electronic Cabcharge card.

But Department of Finance records also list other fares using the same limousine service, Oakcorp Limousines, for travel between Buderim and Brisbane during 2010 and 2011 which Slipper paid with a Cabcharge docket filled out by hand.

Covering the period August 2010 to May 2011, the fares paid with paper dockets supplied to the cab driver by Slipper range from $236.36 (13 trips) to $245.45 (25 trips), $250.00 (eight trips), $254.55 (six trips), $259.09 (four trips), $263.64 (three trips) and $268.18 (three trips). These fares, paid manually, are almost $80 to $100 less than those paid electronically.

Slipper did not reply to questions last night about the reason for the disparity.

One astonishing overlap in Slipper’s travels occurred during a trip to Perth in the winter of 2010. On July 1, according to Freedom of Information records now unravelling Slipper’s travel, he arrived in Perth and took a cab from Swans Taxi Co-Op at 11.11am, travelling to East Perth and paying a fare of $40.36. Almost simultaneously, at 11.12am Slipper picked up an Avis hire car in Perth which he kept for several days, returning it on July 3 and paying $348.72.

Other oddities in Slipper’s hire car use have emerged in a Financial Review investigation. For November 14, 2010, Oakcorp Limousines submitted two manual vouchers signed by Slipper – both airport-to Brisbane on the same day, and both for $86.36.

Then on November 19, 2010, Slipper signed a manual docket for Oakcorp Limousines for travel from Brisbane to Buderim – at a cost of $86.36.

He also signed a manual docket for what appears to be a wholly different trip – from Brisbane airport to Brisbane for $245.45 – suggesting a mix-up in his dockets.

On February 5, 2011, Slipper signed an electronic Cabcharge bill for Lazmar Limousines for a trip from Brisbane to Brisbane airport – for $297.68 – a journey for which he usually paid between $68 and $86 (although regularly up to $136, an amount perhaps startling to Brisbanites).

On two consecutive days in July 2010, Slipper stacked up four limousine trips between Buderim and the airport or Brisbane CBD. Three of these took place on just one day, July 27. The records suggest that Slipper took a car from Buderim to the airport on July 26 (at a cost of $333). He presumably flew to Canberra. The next day, July 27, a commonwealth car took Slipper on a 34-minute trip early in the morning. He then flew back to Brisbane, where he took a limo from Brisbane airport to Buderim ($327.95).

Still on July 27, Slipper travelled from Buderim to Brisbane (348.14) before turning around to head back to Buderim ($343.09). He somehow also found time on the day to notch up two limousine trips between Brisbane and the suburbs ($126.14 and $95.86).

At the end of 2010, a rather more startling picture emerges.

According to the records, Slipper travelled on December 29, 2010, using Oakcorp Limousines from his home in Buderim to Brisbane. He paid using electronic Cabcharge a fare of $287.59. On the same day, December 29, 2010, Slipper also signed a manual Cabcharge to pay Oakcorp Limousines for the same trip from Buderim to Brisbane at a cost of $245.45. No records exist showing a return trip in between from Brisbane to Buderim.

The Speaker stood aside this week after a welter of allegations – yet to be tested in court – that he had abused his relationship of power with an adviser in his office.

The adviser, James Ashby, has filed a civil suit claiming that Slipper pressured him for favours during a string of encounters at Slipper’s Canberra flat and through text messaging. Ashby also alleged Slipper had handed bundles of Cabcharge dockets to car hire drivers in exchange for journeys taken earlier this year. These are separate from the travel records released by the Department of Finance, referred to here. The furore that has since enveloped Slipper has been enough to see him stand aside as Speaker, casting the minority Labor government into unknown territory as the federal budget looms.

Last night, though, Slipper released copies of the Cabcharge dockets he says were referred to in Ashby’s affidavit. He said they clearly show that he had signed and filled out all elements of the dockets himself in his own handwriting. He described the criminal allegation regarding the Cabcharges as a complete fabrication.

Our Recently passed Diggers in Afghanistan-Please go visit


Hi everyone I hope you are all enjoying ANZAC day around Australia.

I have always had a page here dedicated to the Aussies who have died in combat over in Afghanistan, it was one of the early things I did.(Menu-Aussie Crimes-Diggers Roll of Honour)

I went to bed last night thinking I should make that a sticky page for ANZAC DAY.

Hopefully readers will have a browse and pay a few minutes respect to the diggers who were killed in what I consider Overseas crimes against us! I thought…

Well I just remembered that thought at lunchtime, and have spent a few hours trying to work out how to get a “Page” to stick when someone comes to the site.It seems it only works with posts…(I hate pages…grrr)

This will stick to the front page, in honour of these great Aussies, until tomorrow…All the best to the loved ones mourning their loss today!

SO PLEASE TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO GO HERE AND READ ABOUT SOME GREAT AUSSIES WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES FOR US WAY TOO SOON!

Thanks

http://aussiecriminals.wordpress.com/afghanistan-roll-of-honour/ and here http://www.defence.gov.au/vale/index.htm

Our recently passed Diggers

Asylum Seekers get "The Aussie home starter pack"


Asylum seekers awaiting their refugee claims are getting tax payer funded starter packs for their tax payer funded rented homes ( at an average rental cost of $416 a week)

How many of this lot are queue jumpers, purely illegal immigrants, families on the move here from all the good stories on the grapevine. Australians are known as givers but no SUCKERS and we are being sucked in, left right and center with this bullshit.

It is a slap in the face to every poor old pensioner and family in the suburbs living on devon sandwiches to get by each week.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said the Government was being responsible in providing basic provisions while asylum seekers’ claims were being assessed.

Something like this, for starters maybe?...Java 16 Piece Living Package from $3,999.00

 

“People do not get to keep the goods. They remain in a house when a family moves out and are used by the next people who move in,” he said. (Sure and the next lot will want new stuff like the last lot got, we cant go upsetting these queue jumpers can we…)

“These people are not allowed to work.” (No they are not allowed to come by boat illegally either…Of course some go and work, cash is cash, blood is blood if you know what I mean…)

The Red Cross provides the packages. (Kiss goodbye to any more donations from thousands of hard working Aussies)

“They are basic supplies. We are not talking about luxury here,” the Red Cross’s spokesman, Michael Raper, said. (If only all the old people and pensioners and sacked workers and families I know had all this guaranteed for them.

The assistance is on top of free doctors’ visits, dental care, pharmaceuticals, and education, and payments of up to $433.25 a fortnight.

If they are not working, get free friggin everything, why do they need all the cash? Aussies will be dropping dead today from heart attacks, grief, malnutrition and heat exhaustion I guarantee it.And they are just the pensioners who have no money to eat or turn their air-conditioners or fans on to stay cool in the summer. Excuse me but our Government has turned into a bunch of fucking soft marshmallows, too worried about how the world sees them and far less concerned with their own bloody citizens.

How do you feel about this situation folks?

Check this list out

Beds, fridges, mattresses, couches and items such as alarm clock radios, clothes hangers and containers for biscuits are being bought in a “household goods formation package” that contains more than 60 items.

The package includes a television with a minimum screen size of 53cm.

A family of five in community detention is eligible for goods valued at $7100.

Families of more than nine can receive up to $9850 in furnishings, the federal Opposition said after Senate hearings this week.

Asylum seeker families in Sydney arrive to a hamper of bread, butter, milk, eggs, other essentials, and cleaning products. Families with a baby can access a $750 pack of basic supplies, while phone and electricity connections are also paid for.

The assistance is on top of free doctors’ visits, dental care, pharmaceuticals, and education, and payments of up to $433.25 a fortnight.

Asylum seekers are not allowed to work.

In Sydney suburbs, 97 homes are being rented at an average cost of $416 a week. Nationally, almost 1600 asylum seekers are being housed in community detention.

Range $7100-$9800 depending on size of family (in actual fact the first list IS basic, as long as the government made sure all Aussie had this basic set in their homes, both young and old.

Washing machine

Fridge

Lounge, min 4-seat

Table & chairs, min 5 piece

Coffee table

Radio alarm

Wall clock

Heater or fan

TV, min 21-inch

TV stand

DVD player

Phone

Bed base, mattresses

Bedside tables

Mattress protectors

Wardrobe, if none built in

Clothes hangers

Pillow, pillow cases

2 blankets per person

Quilt

2 sheet sets per person

2 towels per person

2 face washers per person
Microwave

Rice cooker

Toaster

Electric kettle

Frypan or wok

Pots and pans

Knife set

Dinner ware including plates, mugs, bowls, cutlery and glasses, min 16 pieces

Chopping board

Ovenware

Baking items

Glass container set

Measuring cups and spoons

Salt and pepper shakers

Colander

Salad bowl

Food storage, 15 pieces

Canister set: sugar, bread, biscuits, tea, coffee

Kitchen utensils: Slotted spoon, ladle, egg flip, potato masher, wooden spoon, vegetable peeler, scissors, can
opener, tongs, whisk, grater

Dish cloths

Tea towels

Pot holder, oven mitts

Mop and bucket

Broom, dustpan, brush

Toilet brush

Iron and ironing board

Indoor rubbish bin

Vacuum cleaner, bagless

Laundry basket

Clothes pegs

Shower curtain

Shower caddy

Cleaning bucket

Smoke detector

Fire extinguisher

Fire blanket

First aid kit

CAN BE ASKED FOR

Rugs

Additional heaters/blankets

Additional fans

ITEMS WHICH CAN BE APPROVED

Computers and internet access
 
Mobile phones

Bicycles, skateboards, rollerblades

Sewing machines

Student desks

iPod or other music storage device

Game consoles

Baby kit: Mattress, blankets, towels, baths, high chairs and prams worth $750

Where does it END Here is a selection out of the Paper this morning…How REAL Aussie’s feel about this bullshit, their has been thousands of comments in all the newspapers…

  • John Boileau of Glen Waverley Posted at 12:04 AM Today

I would think there would be quite a lot of our Pensioners who would appreciate the same treatment.

Comment 1 of 327

  • Jack schitt of melbourne Posted at 12:12 AM Today

I am gob smacked. lo.g workjng Aussies continually geting shafted and.taxed. and our hard earned taxes are spent how ????

Comment 2 of 327

  • dem o’cracy Posted at 12:24 AM Today

Since when is a television with a minimum screen size of 53cm not a luxury item? I’m not donating to the red cross anymore.

Comment 3 of 327

  • Wally Shaw. of Brisbane Posted at 12:26 AM Today

Why did I not recieve this booty while I waited for my pension to be processed ???

Comment 4 of 327

  • DY of Melbourne Posted at 12:26 AM Today

I feel sick…..

Comment 5 of 327

  • Andrew Cameron of Melbourne Posted at 12:27 AM Today

We are about to go into recession, no doubt about it!!! Reign in this incredible spending on these people and look after you’re own backyard. Border control, hell, border mines!!! Stop them. We are in serious trouble, we are not the land of opportunity, we are the land of misguidedness and political gamesmanship. Anything for a vote.

Comment 6 of 327

  • dingo of gold coast Posted at 12:28 AM Today

that will stop them from coming

Comment 7 of 327

  • LXP Posted at 12:28 AM Today

These non-stories irk me. It’s just the cost of providing a basic standard of housing from scratch – should it be required. Whilst I wish we could send assylum seekers to second hand furniture auctions and op shops it just doesn’t work like that.

Comment 8 of 327

  • john white Posted at 12:35 AM Today

when i am getting my packet?useless socialist losers

Comment 9 of 327

  • Kmw of Melbourne Posted at 12:43 AM Today

Good!

Comment 10 of 327

  • Tommy of The Lucky country no- more! Posted at 12:43 AM Today

Spend the money on a cheap no-frills air -fare back to the place they belong! I don’t want them here.

Comment 11 of 327

  • jdoen Posted at 12:46 AM Today

What a total load of bull. No wonder the worlds destitute populations will want to come here. The people running this country today will have a lot to answer for. They couldn’t run a chook raffle.

Comment 12 of 327

  • Master of Melbourne Posted at 12:50 AM Today

Keep them coming and keep spending our money on fake refugees…

Comment 13 of 327

  • geomac of Gippsland Posted at 12:54 AM Today

The red cross provides the packages .The government goods provided remain the property of the government for the next family to use . The asylum seekers are not allowed to work if or until they are accepted as genuine . All this seems sensible so why do we pay huge amounts for detention centres ?

Comment 14 of 327

  • Lisa Posted at 12:57 AM Today

That’s it, I have absolutely had it. Election NOW please so AUSTRALIANS can come first again. Is this an early April Fools joke? Please?

Comment 15 of 327

  • Mariann rural Victoria of 3377 Posted at 12:58 AM Today

No wonder they are pouring into Australia by the boatloads. How about some of our homeless or low-wages families, or pensioners, who don’t have these things.How about giving them televisions, phones, free power and Drs., dentists, hospital treatment etc. Oh no! I forgot, we have to wait 2 or 3 years for dental treatment, in the meantime your teeth rot in your mouth. As for surgery, it doesn’t matter what the pain is doing to the thousands while they wait/or even die while waiting. The Federal Government is making it heaven for the illegal boat people, of course they want to pour into our country, they don’t get all these freebies (that ordinary Australians cannot get) in other countries.

Comment 16 of 327

  • jenny wall of Melbourne Posted at 1:07 AM Today

I hope the hundreds of people who have just lost their jobs do not have to wait for weeks on end while Centrelink processes their claims, and they too have access to emergency funds for food and rent.

Comment 17 of 327

  • Paul Chrystie Posted at 1:07 AM Today

my god havent they been through enough than the the herald sun harrasing them and suggestibg they havent paid they’re private health rebate. get a life hs

Comment 18 of 327

  • raymond of melbourne Posted at 1:09 AM Today

basic supplies?The assistance is on top of free doctors’ visits, dental care, pharmaceuticals, and education.basic supplies hey?what a load of rubbish….pensioners in this country cannot get free dental and its supposed to be a basic supply?or free medication either….is it any wonder they are flocking here illegally by the boatloads..i would do the same thing to iraq or afghanistan..if these basic supplies were on offer there.

Comment 19 of 327

  • no way Posted at 1:18 AM Today

I cant be reading this article right can i

Comment 20 of 327

  • illegal aliens Posted at 1:20 AM Today

tell that to Obama next time you talk. They are illegal aliens and why the current government does not treat them as such is not fair dinkum.If the ANZACS were here today they would be spewing.election now.

Comment 21 of 327

  • Gus of Camberwell Posted at 1:33 AM Today

Why are refugees being provided ‘containers for biscuits’ when many of our own pensioners can’t even afford the biscuits. Something is not right with this country.

Comment 22 of 327

  • enough Posted at 1:35 AM Today

you have to be kidding me

Comment 23 of 327

  • Jason K of Kew Posted at 1:45 AM Today

Australians are loosing their jobs and they get a hand out. Fair deal, NOTTTTT

Comment 24 of 327

  • John Posted at 1:46 AM Today

I thought there was a shortage of rental properties in Melbourne ?, at least that’s what charity organisations are telling us, if these same charities can find rental accomodation for these people why can’t they do the same for Australians ?, could it be that it’s more profitable for them to put asylum seekers first seeing as they recieve funding from the govt to look after these people ?…Also, why are we supplying these people with brand new furniture etc, what’s wrong with second hand ? …Shame on the Govt and shame on the charities …

Comment 25 of 327

  • Whistleblower of Melbourne Posted at 1:52 AM Today

Let me get this straight. We are providing free accommodation telephone and electricity,$10,000 worth of goods to settle in and 200 bucks a week the food as well is free medical care dental care pharmaceuticals and schooling for their children. No wonder they’re coming here by the boatload. They must think we are bloody stupid!

Comment 26 of 327

  • Tom of Melbourne Posted at 2:00 AM Today

OMG, what a slap in the face to our struggling aged pensioners. This farce needs to stop now.

Comment 27 of 327

  • michelle of melb Posted at 2:01 AM Today

What! That’s it! Enough is enough. I urge every Australian taxpayer to stand up and so no. We’ve had enough of seeing our hard earned money being frittered away on queue jumpers. Make them work for what they want like everyone else.

Comment 28 of 327

  • Tony of Mentone Posted at 2:14 AM Today

No wonder they keep coming in droves and I’ll bet there is much more we don’t know about.

Comment 29 of 327

  • L Posted at 2:22 AM Today

What about hard working normal Australians? We all could benefit from this and we actually work and are contributing members of society! This is so so wrong, why should we tax payers pay for these people!

Comment 30 of 327

  • MAGGILLA of Gladstone Park Posted at 2:23 AM Today

Looks like their better off than our pensioners,can I claim asylum also, I want to get away from GILLARD…

Comment 31 of 327

  • Had enough Posted at 2:26 AM Today

You’ve got to be kidding. I work and pay tax so does my wife. Why can’t we get these benifites. This gov sucks. Election now.

Comment 32 of 327

  • BomberBrock of Ocean Grove Posted at 2:26 AM Today

And real Australians struggle to put food on their tables, struggle to pay bills and get nothing after paying years of taxes. This article forgot to mention the free cigarettes to. I wouldn’t mind a hand out of $230 a week, free rent, bills payed for, a 53cm tv. Once they get their visa, they all end up on welfare for life. No wonder they come here in their thousands. Austrlia the lucky country, if you are not born here. Bowen how can you defend this rubbish, time to go Labor.

Comment 33 of 327