Andrew L. Urban.
Tasmania’s Integrity Commission has dismissed my complaint against Assistant Police Commissioner Richard Cowling, in which I raise the contradiction between his statement to the media and the summary of facts presented in court, regarding Meaghan Vass recanting her statement made on 60 Minutes (March 10) in which she admitted witnessing the murder of Bob Chappell and stating Sue Neill-Fraser was not there.
I reported the police statement here on March 12: Assistant Commissioner Richard Cowling said police re-interviewed Ms Vass last week when the program’s promotional material suggested a new version of events. The version of events given by Ms Vass on 60 Minutes is contrary to her previous police interview, contrary to her sworn evidence in court and contrary to last week’s police interview,” Commander Cowling said. (emphasis added)
But the prosecution summary of facts tendered in court on April 18 (when Vass was appearing on a different matter) contradicts that: in that interview, Vass had only said “No comment” to all questions (other than admitting possession of a controlled plant.) See transcript
“The legislation which establishes the Commission only allows us to investigate ‘misconduct’ – which has a specific definition under the Integrity Commission Act (2009) (the Act),” writes Integrity Commission Director Operations, Michael Easton.
“While it is clear from your complaint, that you are concerned about the actions of Tasmania Police, the information you have provided does not indicate that misconduct, as defined in the Act, has occurred.”
1 – If the definition of ‘misconduct’ in the Act excludes reference to police making misleading and prejudicial statements the definition probably needs to be improved.
2 – My complaint was lodged in the absence of any evidence to support Assistant Commissioner Richard Cowling’s statement. Such a statement at such a time in the protracted case of Sue Neill-Fraser could be expected to be supported by at least an excerpt from the relevant interview with Meaghan Vass, to which he refers.
3 – Assistant Commissioner Richard Cowling’s public statement was issued prior to the March 21 hearing before Justice Brett in the Neill-Fraser appeal process. If his statement was factual and the DPP was not briefed to advise the court, Justice Brett would no doubt regard that failure very seriously. Is it not perverting justice? Is it likely contempt of court?
4 – After Commander Cowling’s statement, I sought a response from Meaghan Vass, and was advised that no, she did not recant her 60 Minutes version when interviewed by police.
I hope fellow readers might be interested in the ‘linked’ story [see below]. It’s about two Tasmanian police officers whose accounts of Meaghan Vass’s supposed interview in which one of these officers was apparently present and of which the other has apparently twice claimed publicly that Vass had repudiated her ‘I was on the Four Winds’ Four Corners interview and stat dec.
I’ve tried a couple of time to post my story here, on the Wrongful Convictions Report thread. But it hasn’t worked. I can’t work out why … I format my work so that it can be read, rather than being skipped over as a block of text, such as this that you are reading now. Maybe my formatting is the problem.
So if you’d like to read my ‘would-be’ post, perhaps (fingers crossed) you might see it here, on my Facebook:
Best wishes to all,
𝐀 𝐕𝐈𝐆𝐈𝐋 𝐌𝐎𝐑𝐍𝐈𝐍𝐆
It was in October 2017, just before Justice Brett began hearing evidence from witnesses in Susan Neill-Fraser’s now-successful application for leave to appeal her conviction. Then Detective Senior Sergeant Damien George, ‘sitting in the Brunswick Pub’ is said [by Andrea Brown] to have got Meaghan Vass to sign a prepared note which said that she was not on the 𝐹𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑊𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑠 on the night of 26Jan2009. The news of this note was published in 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐴𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑎𝑛 on the morning of 30Oct2017. This was just hours before Meaghan Vass was due to appear to give evidence on behalf of Sue Neill-Fraser.
That morning, in court, Mr Percy QC told Justice Brett that he had just learned of 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐴𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑎𝑛’s article. And now, before standing to call his first witness, Meaghan Vass, Mr Percy had been shown a copy of that note by his prosecution ‘friend’ [either of Mssrs Coates/Shapiro?]. Mr Percy advised his Honour that though he understood that Tasmania had “𝑛𝑜 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑐𝑡 𝑑𝑢𝑡𝑦 𝑜𝑓 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑐𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑙𝑖𝑘𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠” he would have thought that “𝑖𝑡 𝑚𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑘𝑛𝑜𝑤𝑛 𝑡𝑜 𝑢𝑠.”
This flow of information between Tasmania Police and 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐴𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑎𝑛 will be seen again later in my remarks.
Mr Percy then called Meaghan Vass, his first witness. Meaghan Vass on 27Apr2017 had made a statement in which she said she “𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐹𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑊𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑠 𝑦𝑎𝑐ℎ𝑡 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑛𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝐴𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑎 𝐷𝑎𝑦 2009 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑝𝑒𝑜𝑝𝑙𝑒” and that “𝑆𝑢𝑒 𝑁𝑒𝑖𝑙𝑙-𝐹𝑟𝑎𝑠𝑒𝑟 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑦𝑎𝑐ℎ𝑡”.
Meaghan Vass was visibly highly distressed while in court. Detective Damien George was sitting in the back row of the public benches, in Supreme Court 1. Vass told the court that her statement of being on the 𝐹𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑊𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑠 was all lies. She said she made that statement out of fear of being ‘put in a car boot’. But when Mr Percy began to ask her about the detail of her 27Apr2017 statement, which she was now apparently repudiating, she asked Justice Brett for a five minute break.
This request was granted and Meaghan Vass left the court. As she made for the door, she said loudly “𝐷𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑒𝑛, 𝐼 𝑐𝑎𝑛’𝑡 𝑑𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑦𝑚𝑜𝑟𝑒”. She returned and on resumption, agreed “𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑠ℎ𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑑 𝑏𝑒𝑒𝑛 𝑑𝑒𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ ℎ𝑖𝑚 [Damien George] 𝑖𝑛 𝑟𝑒𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑟” and that during that break she had spoken to him [Detective Damien George], albeit “𝑜𝑛𝑙𝑦 𝑏𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑓𝑙𝑦”.
To the propositions concerning that 27Apr2017 statement put to her by Mr Percy, she answered with the “𝐼 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑚𝑎𝑑𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑖𝑔𝑛 𝑖𝑡 𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑓𝑒𝑎𝑟” and the “𝐼 𝑐𝑎𝑛’𝑡 𝑟𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟” mantra. Meaghan Vass left the witness stand, walking from the court in her mother’s arms.
In October 2018, following a disturbance in Moonah which police attended, Vass was charged following discovery of 3.8 grams of cannabis in her handbag. She admitted that the cannabis was hers, that she’d got it from a friend in Glenorchy. She was told that she would be summonsed to appear in court and then having signed a notebook record of interview, was released.
That was in 2018.
In March 2019, Meaghan Vass was interviewed by 60 𝑀𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑡𝑒𝑠’ Liam Bartlett. Following the interview 60 Minutes screened promotional material regarding its forthcoming ‘𝑊𝑖𝑡𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑀𝑢𝑟𝑑𝑒𝑟’ program. Tasmania Police were informed of the 60 𝑀𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑡𝑒𝑠 story and asked to comment but declined to do so.
Andrea Brown (a friend/associate of MeaghanVass) has claimed that Damien George is a friend of Meaghan’s mother and that she (the mother) had spoken with him regarding [her] “𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑐𝑒𝑟𝑛 𝑓𝑜𝑟 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑑𝑎𝑢𝑔ℎ𝑡𝑒𝑟”. The next day Meaghan Vass was arrested in Claremont (under an ‘active warrant’) and taken to Hobart, where, following a search in which a small amount of cannabis was found in her purse/handbag, she was charged:
“𝑆𝑜 𝑀𝑒𝑎𝑔ℎ𝑎𝑛 𝑔𝑒𝑡𝑠 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑙𝑘𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑖𝑛 𝑐𝑙𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑠 𝑑𝑒𝑡𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑎𝑛 𝑢𝑛𝑚𝑎𝑟𝑘𝑒𝑑 𝑐𝑎𝑟 𝑎𝑡 𝑎 𝑏𝑢𝑠 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑝… 𝐶𝑙𝑎𝑖𝑚𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑎 𝑊𝑎𝑟𝑟𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑓𝑜𝑟 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑎𝑟𝑟𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑓𝑎𝑖𝑙 𝑡𝑜 𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑟… 𝐴 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑔𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑠ℎ𝑒 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑑 𝑢𝑝 𝑖𝑛 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑡 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑛𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑠𝑛’𝑡 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑑 𝑜𝑢𝑡… 𝑆ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑡𝑜𝑙𝑑 𝑠ℎ𝑒 𝑑𝑖𝑑𝑛’𝑡 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛 𝑔𝑜… 𝑆𝑜 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑎𝑟 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑏𝑎𝑔 𝑖𝑠 𝑟𝑖𝑓𝑙𝑒𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑦 𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑚𝑒𝑎𝑠𝑙𝑦 𝑏𝑢𝑑 𝑜𝑓 𝑚𝑎𝑟𝑖𝑗𝑢𝑎𝑛𝑎 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡𝑎𝑘𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑡𝑜 𝑔𝑙𝑒𝑛𝑜𝑟𝑐ℎ𝑦 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑝𝑠 ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑑 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑡𝑜 𝑔𝑜𝑜𝑑 𝑜𝑙 𝐷𝑎𝑚𝑖𝑎𝑛 𝐺𝑒𝑜𝑟𝑔𝑒 𝑤ℎ𝑜 𝑔𝑜𝑡 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑡𝑜 𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑛𝑡 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑙𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡…. 𝑆ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑎𝑦𝑠 𝑛𝑜 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑛𝑜 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑛𝑜 𝑑𝑜𝑢𝑏𝑡 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒 𝑒𝑥𝑝𝑙𝑒𝑡𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑠 𝑏𝑎𝑖𝑙𝑒𝑑…”
The police interview on March 8, 2019, was recorded on camera. It concerned the ‘bud of weed’ she was carrying. Then the video was stopped and she was asked by a detective (in reference to being on board 𝐹𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑊𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑠 at the time of Chappell’s death) to “𝑡𝑒𝑙𝑙 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑡ℎ” – to which Vass replied: “𝐼 𝑎𝑙𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑑𝑦 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒.” Two days later the 60 𝑀𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑡𝑒𝑠 ‘𝑊𝑖𝑡𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑀𝑢𝑟𝑑𝑒𝑟’ was screened.
Tasmania Police then apparently issued a statement to the effect that subsequent to the 60 Minutes program, Meaghan Vass had changed her story. Emily Jarvie (𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐴𝑑𝑣𝑜𝑐𝑎𝑡𝑒, 11Mar2019) wrote that:
𝐴𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝐶𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑟 𝑅𝑖𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑑 𝐶𝑜𝑤𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑠𝑎𝑖𝑑 𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑟𝑒-𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑒𝑤𝑒𝑑 𝑀𝑠 𝑉𝑎𝑠𝑠 𝑙𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑤𝑒𝑒𝑘 𝑤ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑚’𝑠 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑚𝑜𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑠𝑢𝑔𝑔𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑎 𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑠.
“𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑠 𝑔𝑖𝑣𝑒𝑛 𝑏𝑦 𝑀𝑠 𝑉𝑎𝑠𝑠 𝑜𝑛 60 𝑀𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑡𝑒𝑠 𝑖𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑟𝑦 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑝𝑟𝑒𝑣𝑖𝑜𝑢𝑠 𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑒𝑤, 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑟𝑦 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑠𝑤𝑜𝑟𝑛 𝑒𝑣𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑡 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑟𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑙𝑎𝑠𝑡 𝑤𝑒𝑒𝑘’𝑠 𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑒𝑤,” 𝐶𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟 𝐶𝑜𝑤𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑠𝑎𝑖𝑑.
“𝑊𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑒 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑓𝑢𝑙𝑙 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑓𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑏𝑜𝑡ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑜𝑟𝑖𝑔𝑖𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑐𝑢𝑟𝑟𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑣𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑔𝑎𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑟𝑒𝑖𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑆𝑢𝑒 𝑁𝑒𝑖𝑙𝑙-𝐹𝑟𝑎𝑠𝑒𝑟 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑜𝑑 𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑣𝑖𝑐𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑎 𝑗𝑢𝑟𝑦.”
Andrew Urban contacted Tasmania Police the next day and reported:
“𝑊ℎ𝑒𝑛 𝑟𝑒𝑞𝑢𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑟 𝑡𝑜𝑑𝑎𝑦, 𝑇𝑎𝑠𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑎 𝑃𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑑𝑒𝑐𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑣𝑖𝑑𝑒 𝑓𝑢𝑟𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑐𝑢𝑙𝑎𝑟𝑠 𝑎𝑏𝑜𝑢𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑒𝑤 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑉𝑎𝑠𝑠…”
Two days later, Justice Michael Brett accepted an application to reopen Sue Neill-Fraser’s leave-to-appeal application in order to include the new 60 Minutes/Affidavit evidence. Justice Brett said he did not view the 60 Minutes program but that he was aware of its contents. Director of Public Prosecutor Daryl Coates did not object to the re-opening of the appeal. He said it was unlikely he would need to call Ms Vass back as a witness in court, however, said he would make that decision upon receiving the new affidavits.
On 21Mar2019, Justice Brett granted Sue Neill-Fraser’s application for leave to make a second appeal. The Advocate (Sue Bailey and Emily Jarvie) reported that:
𝐴𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝐶𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑟 𝑅𝑖𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑟𝑑 𝐶𝑜𝑤𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑠𝑎𝑖𝑑 𝑇𝑎𝑠𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑎 𝑃𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑠𝑢𝑝𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑒𝑔𝑎𝑙 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑐𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑓𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 “𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑔𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑜𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑔ℎ𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑠” 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑖𝑟 𝑖𝑛𝑣𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑔𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠. [𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡]
“𝑃𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑟𝑒𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑒𝑤𝑒𝑑 𝑀𝑠 𝑉𝑎𝑠𝑠 𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑚𝑜𝑛𝑡ℎ 𝑎𝑓𝑡𝑒𝑟 60 𝑀𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑡𝑒𝑠’ 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑚𝑜𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑠𝑢𝑔𝑔𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑎 𝑛𝑒𝑤 𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑓 𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑛𝑡𝑠,” 𝐴𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑡 𝐶𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑟 𝐶𝑜𝑤𝑙𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑠𝑎𝑖𝑑.
“𝐹𝑢𝑟𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑒𝑣𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑎𝑠𝑠𝑜𝑐𝑖𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑒𝑤 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑏𝑒 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑣𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐷𝑖𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑜𝑟 𝑜𝑓 𝑃𝑢𝑏𝑙𝑖𝑐 𝑃𝑟𝑜𝑠𝑒𝑐𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠.”
The Australian’s Matthew Denholm filed a story suggesting that Vass recanted to police when questioned by police on or about March 7 or 8. He told Andrew Urban:
“𝑀𝑦 𝑖𝑛𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑐𝑙𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑙𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑠ℎ𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑑 𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑑 (𝑜𝑛 60 𝑀𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑡𝑒𝑠).”
His article appeared on 15Apr2019. In it Denholm wrote:
“𝐻𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟, 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐴𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑎𝑛 𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑛𝑑𝑠 𝑀𝑠 𝑉𝑎𝑠𝑠 — 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑡𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑇𝑎𝑠𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑎 𝑃𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑎𝑓𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑚𝑜𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑎𝑙 𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 60 𝑀𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑡𝑒𝑠 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑎𝑖𝑟𝑒𝑑 — 𝑡𝑜𝑙𝑑 𝑜𝑓𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑒𝑟𝑠 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑐𝑙𝑎𝑖𝑚𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑒𝑤 𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑢𝑛𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑒.
𝑀𝑠 𝑉𝑎𝑠𝑠, 𝑤ℎ𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝐷𝑁𝐴 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑓𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑 𝑜𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑦𝑎𝑐ℎ𝑡, 𝑖𝑠 𝑢𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑟𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑜𝑑 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑡𝑜𝑙𝑑 𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑠ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑖𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑤 𝑏𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝑠ℎ𝑒 𝑓𝑒𝑙𝑡 𝑖𝑡 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑜𝑛𝑙𝑦 𝑤𝑎𝑦 𝑡𝑜 𝑚𝑎𝑘𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑔𝑜 𝑎𝑤𝑎𝑦.”
Andrew Urban (having contacted Meaghan Vass for comment?) then reported that she had “𝑑𝑒𝑛𝑖𝑒𝑑 𝑐𝑙𝑎𝑖𝑚𝑠 𝑎𝑡𝑡𝑟𝑖𝑏𝑢𝑡𝑒𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑡𝑜𝑑𝑎𝑦’𝑠 𝑇ℎ𝑒 𝐴𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑎𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑠ℎ𝑒 ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑟𝑒𝑐𝑎𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑑 ℎ𝑒𝑟 60 𝑀𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑡𝑒𝑠 𝑡𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑜𝑛𝑦 𝑎𝑑𝑚𝑖𝑡𝑡𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑠ℎ𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑜𝑛 𝑏𝑜𝑎𝑟𝑑 𝐹𝑜𝑢𝑟 𝑊𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑠 𝑎𝑡 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑟𝑖𝑚𝑒 𝑠𝑐𝑒𝑛𝑒 𝑜𝑛 𝐴𝑢𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑙𝑖𝑎 𝐷𝑎𝑦 2009. ” However the next day The Mercury on-published The Australian’s article from the day before, under the headline: 𝐻𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑙𝑒𝑠𝑠 𝐺𝑖𝑟𝑙 𝑖𝑛 𝑆𝑁𝐹 𝑐𝑎𝑠𝑒 𝑐ℎ𝑎𝑛𝑔𝑒𝑠 𝑠𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑛.
According to Andrew Urban, Meaghan Vass had denied recanting her 60 Minutes testimony and had named a Tasmanian detective she believed may have been behind “𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑙𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑚𝑜𝑣𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑐𝑟𝑒𝑑𝑖𝑡 ℎ𝑒𝑟”.
𝐀𝐋𝐋 𝐎𝐕𝐄𝐑 𝐁𝐀𝐑 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐒𝐇𝐎𝐔𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆?
18Apr2019: Meaghan Vass appeared in court before Deputy Chief Magistrate Michael Daly on the two charges of possession of drugs. The prosecutor, Miss Goodwin, tendered to the court a summary of facts (relevant to the charges). A transcript of Miss Goodwin speaking in court records that concerning the interview following the 8Mar2019 arrest, Vass agreed that the Ziplock bag and blue container containing a small amount of cannabis and some cannabis residue were hers. Prosecutor Goodwin told the court that Vass “𝑃𝑟𝑜𝑣𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑑 𝑛𝑜 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑞𝑢𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑝𝑢𝑡 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑒𝑟. ”
It may be of interest to readers to know that Deputy Chief Magistrate Daly had, in an unrelated matter (November 2018), criticised TasPol’s practice of charging defendants a processing fee to be allowed to see the evidence against them; and in December 2018 said the “𝑏𝑖𝑧𝑎𝑟𝑟𝑒 𝑛𝑎𝑡𝑢𝑟𝑒” of the police disclosure stance made him “𝑠ℎ𝑎𝑘𝑒 ℎ𝑖𝑠 ℎ𝑒𝑎𝑑”.
(Due to enter a plea on a drink driving charge, a lawyer had told Magistrate Daly that he and his client were ready to proceed immediately but could not because police had indicated documents requested would not be disclosed until closer to the hearing date. Magistrate Daly then ordered police to provide defence with the information).
The ABC report quoted Magistrate Daly as saying that “𝑴𝒚 𝒗𝒊𝒆𝒘 𝒐𝒇 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒐𝒍𝒊𝒄𝒆 𝒅𝒊𝒔𝒄𝒍𝒐𝒔𝒖𝒓𝒆 𝒔𝒚𝒔𝒕𝒆𝒎 𝒊𝒔 𝒕𝒉𝒂𝒕 𝒊𝒕 𝒐𝒑𝒆𝒓𝒂𝒕𝒆𝒔 𝒐𝒖𝒕𝒔𝒊𝒅𝒆 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝒍𝒂𝒘.” The report also quoted Deputy Police Commissioner as saying in a statement that “𝑒𝑣𝑒𝑟𝑦 𝑎𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑚𝑝𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑚𝑎𝑑𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑐𝑙𝑜𝑠𝑒 𝑖𝑛𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑖𝑛 𝑎 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒𝑙𝑦 𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑛𝑒𝑟”.
Andrew Urban wrote an ‘𝑂𝑝𝑒𝑛 𝐿𝑒𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑟’ 𝑡𝑜 𝑇𝑎𝑠𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑎𝑛 𝐴𝐺 𝐸𝑙𝑖𝑠𝑒 𝐴𝑟𝑐ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑀𝑃 citing:
“𝑤ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑒𝑎𝑟𝑠 𝑡𝑜 𝑏𝑒 𝑎 𝑓𝑎𝑖𝑙𝑢𝑟𝑒 𝑏𝑦 𝑇𝑎𝑠𝑃𝑜𝑙 𝑡𝑜 𝑎𝑑ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑟𝑢𝑙𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑙𝑎𝑤. ”
and in “𝑂𝑝𝑒𝑛 𝑙𝑒𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑟 2 𝑡𝑜 𝑇𝑎𝑠𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑖𝑎𝑛 𝐴𝑡𝑡𝑜𝑟𝑛𝑒𝑦 𝐺𝑒𝑛𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑙 𝑅𝑒 𝑇𝑎𝑠𝑃𝑜𝑙 & 𝑀𝑒𝑎𝑔ℎ𝑎𝑛 𝑉𝑎𝑠𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑟 𝑆𝑢𝑒 𝑁𝑒𝑖𝑙𝑙-𝐹𝑟𝑎𝑠𝑒𝑟” released a transcript of Prosecutor Goodwin (18Apr2019) telling Magistrate Daly that Meaghan Vass:
“𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑐𝑎𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑑 𝑏𝑦 𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎𝑠𝑘𝑒𝑑 𝑎 𝑠𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑒𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝑞𝑢𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑠ℎ𝑒 𝑎𝑔𝑟𝑒𝑒𝑑 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑖𝑡𝑒𝑚𝑠 𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑒 ℎ𝑒𝑟𝑠.” and that Vass had “𝑃𝑟𝑜𝑣𝑖𝑑𝑒𝑑 𝑛𝑜 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑜𝑡ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑞𝑢𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑝𝑢𝑡 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑒𝑟.”
Andrew Urban made a complaint to the Integrity Commission regarding Commander Cowling’s reported claim that Vass had recanted from her 60 Minutes statement. Two weeks later Susan Neill-Fraser’s appeal was lodged.
Just days ago, Andrew Urban’s ‘𝑊𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑔𝑓𝑢𝑙 𝐶𝑜𝑛𝑣𝑖𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑅𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡’ contacted Meaghan Vass and reported that Meaghan Vass says she will say in court what she said on 60 Minutes, that she was on board Four Winds (the crime scene) when Bob Chappell was killed – and Sue Neill-Fraser (who has been convicted of his murder) was not. Meaghan Vass is quoted as saying:
“𝐹𝑖𝑟𝑠𝑡𝑙𝑦 𝐼’𝑑 𝑙𝑖𝑘𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑠𝑎𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝐼 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑚𝑎𝑑𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑦 𝑠𝑡𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑚𝑒𝑛𝑡 𝑜𝑓 𝑎𝑛𝑦 𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑑 𝑡𝑜 𝑎𝑛𝑦𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑒 60 𝑀𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑡𝑒𝑠.
“𝐼𝑓 𝐼 ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑔𝑜 𝑡𝑜 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑡 𝐼 𝑤𝑖𝑙𝑙 𝑠𝑎𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑠𝑎𝑚𝑒 𝑎𝑠 𝐼 𝑠𝑎𝑖𝑑 𝑡𝑜 60 𝑀𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑡𝑒𝑠 – 𝑎𝑠 𝑖𝑡’𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑡ℎ.
“𝐼 𝑤𝑖𝑠ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑤𝑜𝑢𝑙𝑑 ℎ𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑒𝑛 𝑞𝑢𝑖𝑐𝑘𝑒𝑟 𝑓𝑜𝑟 𝑆𝑢𝑒 𝑎𝑠 𝑠𝑖𝑛𝑐𝑒 60 𝑀𝑖𝑛𝑢𝑡𝑒𝑠 𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔𝑠 𝑠𝑒𝑒𝑚 𝑡𝑜 𝑏𝑒 𝑡𝑎𝑘𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜𝑜 𝑙𝑜𝑛𝑔 𝑡𝑜 ℎ𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑒𝑛.”
Each of the above sentences/statements are collected/formed from the public record. I have attempted to truthfully and accurately marshall them into some order. The gist of my comments concern the matter of Assistant Police Commissioner Richard Cowling’s apparent claim that after the recording of the 60 Minutes interview, Meaghan Vass had repudiated the truth of it.
s4 (1)(a) of the Integrity Commission Act 2009:
(𝑎) 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑡, 𝑜𝑟 𝑎𝑛 𝑎𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑚𝑝𝑡 𝑡𝑜 𝑒𝑛𝑔𝑎𝑔𝑒 𝑖𝑛 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑡, 𝑜𝑓 𝑜𝑟 𝑏𝑦 𝑎 𝑝𝑢𝑏𝑙𝑖𝑐 𝑜𝑓𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑒𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑜𝑟 𝑖𝑛𝑣𝑜𝑙𝑣𝑒𝑠 –
(𝑖) 𝑎 𝑏𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑐ℎ 𝑜𝑓 𝑎 𝑐𝑜𝑑𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑡 𝑎𝑝𝑝𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑏𝑙𝑒 𝑡𝑜 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑢𝑏𝑙𝑖𝑐 𝑜𝑓𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑒𝑟; 𝑜𝑟
(𝑖𝑖) 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑢𝑏𝑙𝑖𝑐 𝑜𝑓𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑒𝑟’𝑠 𝑓𝑢𝑛𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑜𝑟 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑒𝑥𝑒𝑟𝑐𝑖𝑠𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑢𝑏𝑙𝑖𝑐 𝑜𝑓𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑒𝑟’𝑠 𝑝𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑠, 𝑖𝑛 𝑎 𝑤𝑎𝑦 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑖𝑠 𝑑𝑖𝑠ℎ𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑡 𝑜𝑟 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑟𝑜𝑝𝑒𝑟; 𝑜𝑟
(𝑖𝑖𝑖) 𝑎 𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑢𝑠𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑖𝑛𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑜𝑟 𝑚𝑎𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑎𝑐𝑞𝑢𝑖𝑟𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑛 𝑜𝑟 𝑖𝑛 𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑛𝑒𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑒𝑟𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑚𝑎𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑢𝑏𝑙𝑖𝑐 𝑜𝑓𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑒𝑟’𝑠 𝑓𝑢𝑛𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑜𝑟 𝑒𝑥𝑒𝑟𝑐𝑖𝑠𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑝𝑢𝑏𝑙𝑖𝑐 𝑜𝑓𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑒𝑟’𝑠 𝑝𝑜𝑤𝑒𝑟𝑠; […]
The Police 𝐶𝑜𝑑𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝐶𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑡 ( https://www.police.tas.gov.au/about-us/abacus/2-code-conduct-examples/ ) states that police officers must “𝑏𝑒ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 ℎ𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑙𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑔𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑦”. It states that:
42(1) . 𝐴 𝑝𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑜𝑓𝑓𝑖𝑐𝑒𝑟 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑏𝑒ℎ𝑎𝑣𝑒 ℎ𝑜𝑛𝑒𝑠𝑡𝑙𝑦 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑖𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑔𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑐𝑜𝑢𝑟𝑠𝑒 𝑜𝑓 ℎ𝑖𝑠 𝑜𝑟 ℎ𝑒𝑟 𝑑𝑢𝑡𝑖𝑒𝑠 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑃𝑜𝑙𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑆𝑒𝑟𝑣𝑖𝑐𝑒.
𝑀𝑒𝑚𝑏𝑒𝑟𝑠 𝑚𝑢𝑠𝑡 𝑏𝑒 𝑡𝑟𝑢𝑡ℎ𝑓𝑢𝑙, 𝑓𝑎𝑖𝑟 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑖𝑚𝑝𝑎𝑟𝑡𝑖𝑎𝑙 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑎𝑐𝑡 𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑦 𝑎𝑡 𝑎𝑙𝑙 𝑡𝑖𝑚𝑒𝑠. […]
My remarks were initially prompted by the Editor’s ‘𝐼𝑛𝑡𝑒𝑔𝑟𝑖𝑡𝑦 𝐶𝑜𝑚𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑖𝑜𝑛 𝑑𝑖𝑠𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑠𝑒𝑠 𝑐𝑜𝑚𝑝𝑙𝑎𝑖𝑛𝑡’ article
[https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2019/08/04/integrity-commission-dismisses-complaint/] and a comment in that thread by ‘Gruntle Massey’ concerning the Integrity Commission’s definition of misconduct. In my view, there is an apparent conflict between Assistant Police Commissioner Richard Cowling’s two public statements alleging Vass has recanted on her 60 Minutes interview and those of Meahgan Vass and Police Prosecutor Goodwin’s statements which are to the contrary.
It is disappointing to read that Andrew Urban’s complaint to the Integrity Commission of Tasmania has been dismissed by its Director of Operations, Michael Easton, because “the information he had provided “𝑑𝑜𝑒𝑠 𝑛𝑜𝑡 𝑖𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑐𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑡ℎ𝑎𝑡 𝑚𝑖𝑠𝑐𝑜𝑛𝑑𝑢𝑐𝑡, 𝑎𝑠 𝑑𝑒𝑓𝑖𝑛𝑒𝑑 𝑖𝑛 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝐴𝑐𝑡, ℎ𝑎𝑠 𝑜𝑐𝑐𝑢𝑟𝑟𝑒𝑑.”
I submit this comment to 𝑊𝑟𝑜𝑛𝑔𝑓𝑢𝑙 𝐶𝑜𝑛𝑣𝑖𝑐𝑡𝑖𝑜𝑛𝑠 𝑅𝑒𝑝𝑜𝑟𝑡 from the north of the state, while in Hobart, people gather in vigil to mark the tenth year since Susan Neill-Fraser was arrested and imprisoned.
– Garry Stannus
Thank you Garry for an excellent response and overview of the working of the police in Tasmania in this case. The Integrity Commission is a toothless tiger and does not follow what it has been set up to do so people continue to get away with not being accountable for their actions.
When will justice occur and hold those who place pressure on Meaghan and those who simply continue to tell lies accountable? When will the people of Tasmania say – enough is enough? This could happen to any one of you !!!!
What will stay with me is the image of the police raid on the private investigators’ property, the confiscation of data and records and even their equipment. The officers involved ought to have been wearing swastikas on their sleeves and death’s-head badges in their hats. True Gestapo methodology. In Australia?
When the whole affair is at an end and Sue Neill-Fraser is vindicated I hope that Eve Ash and Colin McLaren are awarded The Order of Australia or something to acknowledge their perseverance.
And as for the certificate that was awarded to the successful arresting officer, it was only a piece of paper after all.
The state of politics in Australia at the present time gives me no confidence that justice will be done in any situation. Vested interests rule, and it doesn’t matter who has to pay the price.
Yes, shamefully none of the major political parties (& even some not so big ones) haven’t covered themselves in glory. It’s only the likes of Andrew Wilkie who stand against the shameful goings on. Do the majors wonder why they’re not liked? They need a very large broom put through them with an ICAC in place!
One has to come to terms with the constant implacable stand that the collective Executive level State departments will defend each other, no distinction to the seriousness of the matters involved.
A number of individual directors and management individuals sit on multiple boards across this State, each director or manager well know each other on this small separated from the mainland of Australia.
Hence they will defend any and all challenges directed to a particular government agency which will also see a closing of the ranks where each department is soon in a synchronous defense mode with their reluctance to aid persons that have dared to challenge one or more of Tasmania’s State departments.
A private investigation conducted by myself on the behalf of a past deceased woman by her then-personal best friend and supporter had created the combination of Tasmania’s State departments inhibiting my investigation into the serious disconformities and maladministrations I had discovered.
Importantly the State’s legal society and its practitioners all support the State government position in this State of Tasmania, one could easily suggest that a form of incestuous relationship was extant (see below) among the principals of each State government department.
However, my having read copies of all the contentious correspondences that had been retained by the then-personal best friend “had provided the proof that the majority of Tasmania’s legal practitioners form a sort of unbecoming brotherhood, so they, along with the judiciary officials and the State’s police department so unified that its combined forces that became a very difficult walnut to prise open.
Ordinary persons are not accepted as professionals or holders of university degrees so are unanimously considered to be persons lacking credibility, then there is the situation of an extreme bias being held against those nominal citizens as to be non-credible persons by Tasmania’s exclusively influential higher levels of society.
Even so, the State departments would not capitulate to the discovery of facts that had been established by myself, then despite my presentations were based on fact which I had provided to the said State departments, this situation devolved into some form of a privilege held by senior government officials not to be held accountable.
I have dwelt in Tasmania for some 17 years and have a keen memory of so many incidents of this kind.
The State of Tasmania has no ultimate ruling authority, therefore, it can exempt itself from the most unconscionable decisions that are chosen by this hegemony, will inevitably be agreed to.
The definition under the Act
misconduct means –
(a) conduct, or an attempt to engage in conduct, of or by a public officer that is or involves –
(i) a breach of a code of conduct applicable to the public officer; or
(ii) the performance of the public officer’s functions or the exercise of the public officer’s powers, in a way that is dishonest or improper; or
(iii) a misuse of information or material acquired in or in connection with the performance of the public officer’s functions or exercise of the public officer’s powers; or
(iv) a misuse of public resources in connection with the performance of the public officer’s functions or the exercise of the public officer’s powers; or
(b) conduct, or an attempt to engage in conduct, of or by any public officer that adversely affects, or could adversely affect, directly or indirectly, the honest and proper performance of functions or exercise of powers of another public officer – but does not include conduct, or an attempt to engage in conduct, by a public officer in connection with a proceeding in Parliament;
Under sub section (b), it does not appear Cowling’s action are excluded.
Misconduct of this subtle nature is quite endemic in police forces simply because they are not true professionals – lazy, arrogant, and with poor attention to detail. This is evident in most prosecution briefs brought against people that are unsuccessful, yet the officers concerned are never brought to account for their sloppy work, because it is near impossible to prove the malicious intent of misconduct. They will simply say “I believed to the best of my ability…” or “I was led to believe……”, so then if that is attempted to be invesitgated down the line the trail becomes too murky and/or obtuse.
It reminds me of those murderous police in the USA who continue to shoot and often kill unarmed civilians. They just say “I feared for my life” and their courts always seem to uphold it. Its a wonderfully privileged life to be a real life God, and wear a uniform and a weapons belt , rather than a boring old white robe as depicted in the scriptures.
It sure is a lovely little system of self protection that the governments of the world have made for themselves. Elitism is alive and well.
Andrew, perhaps forget the seemingly inactive (according to a recently published report anyhow) Tasmanian Integrity Commission with its restrictions and definitions. State Police in ANY jurisdiction in Australia must abide by a code of conduct which presumably prohibits making misleading, false or prejudicial statements publicly. Perhaps your complaint should be redirected to the Minister for Police? However I do not hold my breath for an ethical response from anyone in Tasmania after what has transpired since 2009 in the SNF case ! ……it would be very interesting to hear from The Hon. Michael Ferguson M.P. in regard to your query/complaint.
This could be a line to pursue. Breaches of conduct of State public servants is investigated by Work Based Relations. If unhappy with the result then one can escalate the matter to Court I think. Feels like a merry-go-round, doesn’t it?
Andrew does the cover up run through all levels of government including the Integrity Commission???? They certainly do not act under what their name implies. I suggest that this was clearly a case of perverting the course of justice and Acting Commissioner Cowling should face charges the same as others in this case have. Clearly the Integrity Commission is another toothless tiger in Tasmania!!!!
I think that the police would have video recorded their interview of Meaghan on 8th March when they questioned her about her 60 Minutes statement. There is no cover up here. Other than detective Sinnott, none of the other police officers working on this case were involved in the case 10 years ago. Your imagination is working overtime.
This is about the statement the Acting Commissioner provided – a misleading statement deliberately released. WHY?????????
As for a cover up – no other explanation possible!!!!
Simply unbelievable. Cooking their own goose? We can only hope….