Former NSW Crime Commission assistant director Mark Standen loses drug conviction appeal
Former senior crime investigator Mark Standen has lost an appeal against his conviction and sentence over a major drug conspiracy.
The one-time assistant director of the New South Wales Crime Commission was jailed over the plot to import 300 kilograms of pseudoephedrine.
Standen was arrested in 2008 and sentenced to a minimum of 16 years in jail after a trial in 2011.
The court heard he plotted to use a rice shipment from Pakistan to import the chemical, which is used to manufacture ice and other drugs.
Today, the Court of Criminal Appeal dismissed all six grounds of Standen’s appeal, including his claim that the jury should have been discharged when its members raised concerns about the length of the trial.
Jury members sent a letter to the judge 15 weeks into the trial, which had originally been estimated to last for up to 14 weeks.
It read, in part: “The trial is having serious effects on our lives, emotionally, physically and financially, and additional stress is being placed in the current knowledge of being here for an infinite period of time.”
The trial judge rejected an application by Standen’s lawyers to dismiss the jury.
It was claimed at his appeal hearing that this resulted in a substantial miscarriage of justice.
But in its judgment, the Court of Criminal Appeal said: “There is no basis for concluding that any member of the jury was likely to allow his or her frustrations with the course of the trial to affect impartial judgment.”
The court dismissed suggestions the trial judge had erred in admitting certain evidence and that his summing up of the case was unbalanced.
The appeal against the total sentence of 22 years, with a non-parole period of 16 years, was also rejected.
The Standen case rocked law enforcement in New South Wales and prompted a special commission of inquiry into the crime commission.
Before his role with the crime commission Standen also worked for the Australian Federal Police and Customs.
Standen was not in court for today’s decision.
DISGRACED crime fighter Mark Standen will spend at least 16 years behind bars for his role in a drug importation conspiracy plot.
The former assistant director of investigations at the NSW Crime Commission was in August found guilty by a Supreme Court jury of plotting to import 300kg of pseudoepherine.
He will not be eligible for parole until June 2024, with Justice Bruce James taking into account that Standen has been in custody since his arrest in June 2008.
He was also convicted of taking part in the supply of the supply of 300kg of the substance, used in the manufacture of the illicit drugs speed and ice.
Justice Bruce James said in his sentencing remarks this morning that Standen had conspired with his informant, drug trafficker James Kinch and food wholesaler Bakhos “Bill” Jalalaty from between January 2006 and June 2008 to import the substance.
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The court heard the drugs were to be placed inside a shipping container filled with rice that would travel to Australia from Pakistan.
Justice James said that Standen “used his personal contacts (including those working at Customs) to make enquiries for the purpose of ascertaining whether the shipment of rice had come to the attention of authorities.”
The court heard it was an “abuse” of his role at the NSW Crime Commission.
“One of his duties (at work) was to investigate drug trafficking, the criminal conduct of the very sort in which he engaged,” Justice James.
Standen’s two brothers were at Darlinghurst courthouse to hear his fate this morning.
The Judge described Standen’s relationship his informant Kinch as one which “irretrievably” corrupted him.
His sentence followed a five-month trial that began in March this year.
FOLLOWING THE TRIAL OF THIS FORMER TOP COP’S DRUG TRIAL
Former investigator in court on drug charge
March 15, 2011
A FORMER assistant director of investigations at the NSW Crime Commission, Mark William Standen, allegedly conspired with two men, including a former informant, to import pseudoephedrine.
Mr Standen is also accused of taking part in the supply of 300 kilograms of the substance, and of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. All the offences allegedly occurred between January 2006 and early June 2008. He has pleaded not guilty.
A jury of six men and six women, sworn in at the Sydney Supreme Court yesterday, were told he allegedly conspired to import pseudoephedrine, believing it would be used in the manufacture of a prohibited drug.
The crown prosecutor Tim Game, SC, told the jury Mr Standen was accused of conspiring with two others, James Kinch, a former informant of Mr Standen, and Bakhos Jalalaty, a businessman. One business, BJ’s Fine Foods, was based at a Blacktown warehouse.
It is also alleged Mr Standen attempted to assist Mr Jalalaty to try to obtain possession of the substance in the warehouse, to take part in its supply and that he conspired to use his position or knowledge to help divert attention from the importation, and by instructing Mr Jalalaty what to say if he was arrested.
The jury was told the trial would take about eight weeks and might hear evidence from 45 witnesses, more than half of them law enforcement officers, including officers of the NSW Crime Commission.
Justice Bruce James told the jury the first few weeks of the trial would involve the playing of telephone calls and material from listening devices, and the reading of emails.
The judge also told the jury it was an offence to research the case on the internet, and he urged them not to communicate via Twitter or other social media. The trial is due to start on Wednesday.
Ex-top policeman received $100,000 in cash, court hears
March 16, 2011
The former assistant director of investigations for the NSW Crime Commission allegedly participated in a criminal agreement to import pseudoephedrine for financial reasons, the Crown prosecutor told the NSW Supreme Court in Sydney today.
Mark William Standen allegedly received more than $100,000 in cash from a former Crime Commission informer James Kinch. He was in “desperate” need of money, the court heard.
Mr Kinch allegedly provided more than $1 million to their accused co-conspirator, Bakhos Jalalaty, who owned a food business. It was not stated in court when this payment was made.
Mr Jalalaty invested about $580,000 of the funds in an investment company, but lost it, the jury was told.
A first shipment, containing rice, was a test run, and did not contain any pseudoephedrine, the prosecution alleges.
While Mr Standen and Mr Jalalaty believed a second shipment, which arrived in April 2008, was “the live one”, meaning it contained the prohibited substance, no pseudoephedrine was found by authorities, Crown prosecutor Tim Game, SC, said.
He said pseudoephedrine could be used to manufacture speed or ice with the addition of other substances including acetone.
Mr Jalalaty had allegedly stored 1000 litres of acetone in his warehouse on behalf of Mr Kinch, but sold it in November 2007 at a loss, he said.
Mr Standen is facing three charges and has pleaded not guilty.
Mr Game has finished his opening and Mr Standen’s barrister Mark Ierace, SC, is to address the jury this afternoon.
Standen used office to question investor
March 18, 2011
FORMER senior Crime Commission investigator Mark Standen questioned a man in his office about a $580,000 investment by the businessman Bakhos Jalalaty which the man had allegedly lost, the jury in his trial heard.
Details of the attempts by Mr Standen to help Mr Jalalaty recover the money – including by hiring an American debt collector, and a man called Roger – were contained in a series of phone calls played in the Supreme Court yesterday.
Mr Jalalaty had allegedly been given more than $1 million by a former Crime Commission informer, James Kinch, to build up his business as a ”front” for the importation of pseudoephedrine Mr Standen, Mr Jalalaty and Mr Kinch were allegedly planning.
In one call intercepted by police, Mr Jalalaty told Mr Standen he had spoken to Roger about plans to follow home Bruce Way, the man with whom he had invested the money.
In another call, Mr Standen told Mr Jalalaty the debt collector had brought Mr Way into his office and had questioned him about the alleged fraud and Mr Way had provided details of his business partners overseas. ”We had a little chat … [but] it does not sound very promising,” Mr Standen said.
Later, Mr Standen told Mr Jalalaty he could ”ask the right questions” but said: ”I can’t use my position to do anything.” When Mr Jalalaty suggested there was a ”good way or a bad way” to recover the money, Mr Standen said: ”I don’t want to know.”
In later calls Mr Jalalaty is heard discussing financial difficulties with his wife, saying he needed to get $500,000, allegedly to repay Mr Kinch, while he is still seeking to recover the money invested with Mr Way.
The jury was also shown a fax sent to Mr Jalalaty by an allegedly fictitious company, MDL Food & Services India, in June 2007. The fax said the company – allegedly linked to the Dutch drug syndicate – had sent him samples of salt, coconut powder and other items.
The trial continues.
Way back when he was arrested in June 2nd 2008 this story ran
A DRUG cop arrested for allegedly plotting to produce mass amounts of “ice” has a gambling problem, the NSW Crime Commission says.
Mark Standen, one of the NSW Crime Commission’s most senior criminal investigators, was arrested at his desk in Sydney yesterday over his alleged role in trying to import enough ephedrine chemicals to produce more than $120 million worth of ice.
Mr Standen is due to face Sydney’s Central Local Court today charged with conspiring to import 600kg of pseudoephedrine to be illegally used to manufacture the drug ice.
NSW Crime Commissioner Phillip Bradley said Standen has a gambling problem.
“Yes, recently we became aware of that,” he told reporters in Sydney.
Mr Bradley said a number of cases Standen had worked on while under investigation would be reviewed, but denied there was a need for a royal commission.
“It’s very damaging, there’s no doubt about that,” he said at AFP headquarters.
“This is an isolated incident, one person engaging in crime,” he alleged.
Mr Bradley said he would not be standing aside from his position, and was not aware of any prosecution that had been compromised.
“I’m not aware of any basis for a retrial,” he said.Mr Standen, 51, is accused of working with a criminal syndicate in the Netherlands to bring in the chemicals hidden in a consignment of rice.
Australian Federal Police arrested Mr Standen as part of a series of co-ordinated raids in Europe, Thailand and Sydney.
Last week about 150 police, including six SWAT teams, raided homes and offices in four cities in the Netherlands and arrested 11 suspected senior drug criminals.
The AFP put the NSW Crime Commission building in lockdown yesterday as they raided Mr Standen’s office, also seizing documents.
Mr Standen and Sydney food importer Bill Jellatly, 40, were being held in custody and questioned late last night.
In a bizarre twist, the drug-making chemicals never made it to Australia, with a rival Pakistani criminal group suspected of double-crossing the plotters and offloading the haul before it was shipped to Australia.
It is believed the arrest for alleged conspiracy to import drugs follows hundreds of hours of telephone taps.
It is alleged Mr Standen used his position and knowledge of international crime to establish the best way to smuggle in the ingredients to make ice, knowing which cargo containers are searched and how to evade the latest crime-fighting technology.
He has sat in on confidential national law enforcement meetings with police chiefs, which every month discuss the latest organised crime and illicit drug intelligence.
Mr Standen, who police codenamed “Rupert”, has worked in law enforcement for almost 30 years, including for the AFP, which he left 12 years ago; Customs; the National Crime Authority; and the NSW Crime Commission, where he has held a senior and trusted position for almost a decade.
It is alleged he linked up with a Sydney food importer and well-known British identity James Henry Kinch – codenamed “Echo” – who was arrested on the weekend about to board a flight from Bangkok to Germany.
NSW Crime Commission chiefs were yesterday in shock at the possibility of such a high-security breach of the intelligence.
The AFP had been tracking the operation for more than a year after it was uncovered by Dutch officials two years ago.
Such was the international nature of the crime, police in the Netherlands and Australia liaised with police from the United Kingdom, the United States, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand and Singapore to follow the movements of the men and their haul.