“impugned evidence was obtained unlawfully” against lawyer Jeff Thompson says judge

Protection from unlawful surveillance by law enforcement is of significant public importance, stated Brett J in his judgement against TasPol in the five year old case of Hobart lawyer Jeff Thompson, which was dropped (nolle prosequi) on August 8, 2022, and described as “appalling illegal conduct of TASPOL” by Thompson’s barrister David Edwardson QC.

The following are extracts from the Reasons For Ruling, by Brett J.

“This ruling concerns the second step in the process required by s 138 of the Evidence Act to determine the defence objection to the admission of the recording of the conversation between the accused and Stephen Gleeson, conducted in a professional meeting room at Risdon Prison on 16 June 2017. The basis of the objection is that the covert recording of the conversation was in contravention of an Australian law, and that the proper application of s 138 of the Evidence Act requires that the evidence be excluded. That provision provides that evidence obtained in contravention of an Australian law is not to be admitted unless the desirability of admitting the evidence outweighs the undesirability of admitting evidence obtained in that way. My ruling of 28 March 2022 established that the recording of the conversation was obtained in contravention of an Australian law, in particular s 5 of the Listening Devices Act 1991. That conclusion followed from my determination that the warrant which had purportedly been issued by a magistrate under the Police Powers (Surveillance Devices) Act 2006, upon which police relied to authorise the recording of the conversation by surveillance device and which would have brought the recording within an exception to the application of s 5, is invalid on its face.”

#

“I am simply not persuaded that police took sufficient care to either inform the magistrate of the proper operation of the system nor to obviate any risks related to the potential for the recording and/or monitoring of unrelated private or privileged conversations. The public interest in ensuring that such conversations are protected from unlawful surveillance by law enforcement authorities is of significant importance.”

#

“Balancing all of the above factors, I am not satisfied that the desirability of admitting the impugned evidence outweighs the undesirability of admitting evidence obtained in the manner described. In making this determination, I have taken into account all relevant factors including the seriousness of the alleged crimes, and the effect of exclusion on the prosecution case. However, ultimately, I am heavily influenced by the considerable risks to privacy which were inherent in this proposal for covert surveillance, and the failure of police to consider and properly address those risks and to fully inform the magistrate of the circumstances of the surveillance which compounded those risks. In my view, had the magistrate been properly informed then even if a valid warrant had been issued, it is highly likely that it would, or at least it should have contained conditions sufficient to properly obviate the said risks. The evidence which was presented fell far short of satisfying me that police had any significant insight into these problems and their importance, nor that anything has been done since to address similar situations.”

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“The reality is that the invalidity of the warrant meant that the impugned evidence was obtained unlawfully … the impugned evidence is not to be admitted. I so order.”

###

In reporting the judgement, Amber Wilson of The Mercury quoted Brett saying “an intentional covert recording of a private conversation between a lawyer and a witness in a professional prison meeting room involved a “significant intrusion” into the privacy and professional privilege of that conversation, and if not lawfully authorised, “represented a grave contravention of the law by police”.

A technical services officer accepted he had capacity to turn the devices on and off to prevent them recording except at times relevant to the investigation, but said they were left on in case “technical issues arose” or if there was insufficient time to get into the prison to access the equipment prior to a scheduled meeting. 

Justice Brett said he did not find that explanation “persuasive”.

“ … Police were always going to have significant notice of any relevant conversation and be able to gain risk-free covert access to the relevant room with the cooperation of the authorities,” he said. “It is obvious that any meeting between Gleeson and any person of interest would need to be schedule with prison authorities well in advance …”

Justice Brett said the upshot was that “there would have been many sensitive and privileged conversations between lawyers and their clients, and perhaps other private conversations, which were completely irrelevant to this investigation” that were recorded. 

However the judge noted the mistake in the warrant had been “inadvertent”, with police believing they were acting lawfully and after having made a genuine attempt to obtain the relevant lawful authorisation.”

Reasons in full

ABUSE OF POWER
Comment by Andrew L. Urban

TasPol will welcome Brett’s ‘get out of jail’ card when he said the mistake in the warrant had been ‘inadvertent’. Some readers may wish to believe that. Behind the careful, constrained words of the judgement is the brutal reality that Tasmanian police acted illegally in their pursuit of a charge of pervert course of justice against Thompson, a lawyer associated with Sue Neill-Fraser. And that pursuit was a continuation of their actions to protect Neill-Fraser’s murder conviction engineered by Tasmania’s legal system, facilitated by TasPol, the prosecution and the courts.

Once it became embarrassingly clear that the 2010 conviction lacked credibility – reflected in the absurd dismissal of the 2012 appeal – the entire Tasmanian legal system closed ranks and took an aggressive stance against anyone questioning it or supporting Neill-Fraser. This was one example.

Another was when police raided Sydney production company CJZ in November 2018. They collected over 500 hours of raw footage which investigated the disappearance and probable murder (or perhaps manslaughter) of Bob Chappell. The raw material was edited into the 6 episodes of Undercurrent on the Seven Network. The raid was intended not to discover any new evidence (8 years after the trial) but to try and find the filmmakers in an act of perverting justice and choke off any appeal. (The courts didn’t need any help with that task…)

The police demanded all the footage shot by Missing Man productions (Eve Ash’s company), who worked with CJZ Productions on Undercurrent. How did they know about it? Phone taps. Who authorised that process?  On what grounds was a warrant issued? On what grounds was the footage seized?

“Surveillance and secret phone tapping of a film crew, seizing 500 hours of film footage? Civil Liberties Australia believes the underhand purpose of this police bastardry is to try to protect Tasmania police’s own reputation,” says Bill Rowlings, CEO of Civil Liberties Australia. 

And all the while, giant legal elephants sat in the room, including:

The prosecution address to the jury was in breach of the legal rules and prosecution guidelines, and was seriously prejudicial. This error warrants the conviction being set aside.

 The judge’s summing up was in breach of legal rules and was seriously prejudicial. This error warrants the conviction being set aside.

Yet these egregious errors will not persuade the appeal court to hear another appeal.

Here, exposed in a nutshell, is the weakness of the legislation that grants convicted persons the right to further appeal. While the Tasmanian Government invited public and professional comment while preparing the legislation, it proceeded without implementing the improvements suggested, namely that the further appeal not be restricted to a requirement for fresh and compelling evidence. The requirement should have been broader, so that appeal courts could consider any matter that contributed to a miscarriage of justice. That was the whole point of the proposed legislation; it should be amended.

 

 

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12 Responses to “impugned evidence was obtained unlawfully” against lawyer Jeff Thompson says judge

  1. Geraldine Allan says:

    The significant value of independent elected representatives is once again highlighted by Kristie Johnston MHA’s single-handed and significant, efforts.

    Next state election, bring on Tasmania’s answer to the “Teal” group in 2022 Federal election.

    Yep Kristie the stench is overpowering.

    “Questions Over Tape Bungle Needs An Independent Commission Of Enquiry

    Kristie Johnston September 1, 2022
    This whole matter stinks of incompetence and cover-up, and adds one more sordid note to the travesty that has surrounded Sue Neill-Fraser’s murder conviction 12 years ago. In my view, there are three glaring aspects of this saga that demand answers.

    First is that a warrant Police obtained to secretly record a conversation between Sue Neill-Fraser’s former lawyer, Mr Jeffrey Thompson, and a Risdon prisoner has been found to be invalid. This activity five years ago, and police have been pursuing Mr Thompson through the courts ever since. Now, in a judgment from July this year, Supreme Court Justice Brett declared the warrant invalid because it failed to properly specify the alleged offence in respect of which it was issued. So what were the actual grounds for the issuing of the original warrant? What affidavits were relied on?

    In the interests of justice, it is important that suppression orders are lifted so that the public can see exactly why police went on to pursue Mr Thompson for five years based on this evidence.

    Secondly, we now find that police illegally left the surveillance device recording continuously at Risdon Prison for two months. This is not a technical breach and it beggars belief that at the time the police did not realise what they were doing was wrong. It is simply not believable that they didn’t download or monitor other parts of the recording – they would have had to in order to find the relevant meetings. What other illegal recordings do they have?

    The integrity of police is in shreds, surely. What were their motives when it appears they were so willing to undermine an important pillar of our justice system? There are so many question that need to be answered.

    Thirdly, there are serious questions over the independence of an inquiry commissioned by Tasmania Police themselves. Former Solicitor-General Michael O’Farrell cannot bring an objective and independent mind to this inquiry. Mr O’Farrell made written statements on 16 May 2017 rejecting assertions that Tasmania Police had acted improperly in its investigation of the Susan Neil-Fraser matter; however, we now know that Mr Thompson was at the time targeted by police investigation because of his involvement in the Neill-Fraser case and subsequently the police conducted this unlawful surveillance. Mr O’Farrell, in his former role as Solicitor-General, has been closely linked to Neil-Fraser case and as such is not independent. The Government must immediately establish a Commission of Inquiry to investigate this and all aspects of the Susan Neill-Fraser conviction because the public deserve to know the truth and have confidence in the justice system.”

    Thanks for your efforts for justice, Kristie.
    https://kristiejohnston.com.au/2022/09/01/questions-over-tape-bungle-needs-an-independent-commission-of-enquiry/?fbclid=IwAR0F9D5dKesnz-e0gp-SKwDThjnOj4YJshtaTyf9ZWATsB0hhB-n04_XsEc

    • Garry Stannus says:

      Thank you, Geraldine, for your comment. Can I add my own?

      Farrell fit for Purpose?
      8 May 2017: Thompson (& McLaren?) visit Gleeson in Risdon, Gleeson identifies a girl (from a photo-board) as being the girl he claimed had come to his car by the Sandy Bay rowing club on 26Jan2009. Thompson takes an affidavit from Gleeson. [The attempt to have Gleeson view another photo-board of male persons was interrupted by the presence of a prison office coming into the vicinity of the meeting.]

      11 May 2017: Richter, McLaren and Ash meet with the (Tasmanian) Premier, Will Hodgman, then acting Attorney-General Matthew Groom and Solicitor-General Michael Farrell. Richter presented a letter with a seven page attachment … the ‘Richter Dossier’. The meeting is not successful: Hodgman and Groom declining to retain their copies of the dossier. However, S-G Farrell retains his copy.

      [It is believed by some that the dossier which Farrell retained was then subsequently made known to TasPol – gfs]

      16May 2017: Farrell says:
      “[…] I have reviewed the report. The government rejects the requests.

      “The usual and proper authoritites to deal with matters of this nature are the Police and the Director of Public Prosecutions. Any suggestion that Tasmania Police are somehow incapable of investigating matters of this nature is entirely rejected. The State has every confidence in Tasmanian Police and its ability to investigate the matters raised in the report.

      “If you believe you have reliable and relevant material that may assist Ms Neill-Fraser in her current proceedings before the Supreme Court, then, on behalf of the State, I strongly encourage you to produce it either to Tasmania Police or to the DPP.

      “I enclose the report, as requested.

      “Yours sincerely,

      “MICHAEL O’FARRELL SC
      “SOLICITOR-GENERAL”

      [Four weeks later, Tasmania Police conduct unlawful surveillance in relation to the Susan Neill-Fraser matter.
      (https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=473397734839679&set=a.154265253419597%5D

      9 June 2017: Police “intercept a phone call between McLaren and Thompson in which they discussed, among other things, the purpose of the proposed meeting between the accused and Gleeson”

      13 June 2017: Constable Jago (TasPol) applies for a surveillance warrant…

      16 June 2017: Thompson visits Gleeson in Risdon. His time with Gleeson is recorded with both audio and video.

      My Comment:
      Farrell unfit for purpose!
      Michael Farrell (Solicitor-General of Tasmania) has possibly been instrumental in TasPol’s focus on McLaren and Thompson, Keefe and Gleeson. Likewise, they didn’t leave Vass out of the mix either.

      So, why would we want Michael Farrell, a man ‘with skin in the game’ to be a police choice for a so-called ‘independent review’?

      We want (sorry … I should have written ‘I want’) a wide-reaching Commission of Inquiry. Not just a patsy TasPol whitewash. We need a Commission of Inquiry to examine all aspects of Bob Chappell’s disappearance and of Susan Neill-Fraser’s conviction and ongoing imprisonment.

      Actual video and transcript (from audio recordings) show that Jeff is entirely innocent of the ‘pervert justice’ charges that police put on him. I believe that these records – in a Commission of Inquiry – would show the mirror on one of Tasmania’s Senior-Govt members, on TasPol and on the ODPP: there is – in my opinion – a valid case for supposing that they themselves have conspired to pervert justice.
      [http://www8.austlii.edu.au/…/cases/tas/TASSC//2022/55.html]

      • Garry Stannus says:

        Sorry, readers, for my errors regarding Michael O’Farrell’s name.

        While you are here, please note, regarding the above dates:

        9 June 2017: Police “intercept a phone call between McLaren and Thompson in which they discussed, among other things, the purpose of the proposed meeting between the accused and Gleeson”

        13 June 2017: Constable Jago (TasPol) applies for a surveillance warrant…

        16 June 2017: Thompson visits Gleeson in Risdon. His time with Gleeson is recorded with both audio and video.

        The obvious question to me seems to be:

        Did TasPol have a valid warrant to make that earlier phone intercept?

        SOURCES include:
        Marshall AJ’s remarks on sentencing Gleeson (2018 06 06)
        Kristie Johnson’s Facebook post (2022 09 01) at
        https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=473397734839679&set=a.154265253419597

  2. Joe says:

    It is pleasing to notice parts of the Tasmanian legal fraternity finally speaking out about some of the skulduggery going on in the background of the justice system, however I’m appalled at the claim that the internal investigation into the Risdon Prison debacle is independent with the appointment of Michael O’Farrell to undertake the review. This is the same Michael O’Farrell who received (and dismissed) the confidential white paper prepared by Colin Mclaren in 2017 outlining the many discrepancies in the conviction of Sue Neill-Fraser and seeking an inquiry, so rather than independent, it seems to me that Michael has rather a conflict of interest in this matter.

    Given the five long years it has taken to get the invalid warrant judgement, under suppression orders, that is the best Commissioner Hine offers. It is equally sad to see the vulnerable Stephen Gleeson used as a pawn in this sorry saga – once labelled an unreliable witness due to alcoholism by TasPol, now his guilty plea is leveraged to counter the bad PR this bungled mess has caused. What a joke!

    I hope the terms of reference for this ‘independent’ review covers the original warrant which must have been issued to tap Colin’s phone for conversations with Sue’s lawyer. That is a curiosity I am keen to know about.

    It is not only this underhanded tactic which has left me with low (read next to no!) confidence is Tasmania’s justice system. There are many other examples to draw upon to justify a call for justice system reform in this state – Helen Munnings and Jari Wise to name but two such examples.

  3. Garry Stannus says:

    For reasons – such as the lingering suppression order? – this WCR article has been held over for a week or so. There seems to have been some mistake, some ‘absurdity’ in Justice Brett having published his reasons for ultimately not recognising the police surveillance recordings as admissible: Brett J’s decisions were published on the Tasmanian Supreme Court website (26Aug2022?) … but it seems as if his very own suppression order was not lifted until yesterday … 30Aug2022).

    When this WCR article was first posted (and then withdrawn) I had posted the comment which now appears (August 26, 2022 at 1:28 pm) towards the bottom of this comment string. For the legal bits, you can find it below, but I think that the following is is worth re-posting – here and now:

    This might be the reason that the Crown told the Court recently that it would not be seeking to continue to trial.

    This does not mean that Jeff would have been convicted had the recordings been admitted and had the ‘pervert justice’ charges gone to a trial jury. 

    Having viewed the covert recordings [and other documentary material – gfs], it seems clear to me that Jeff did not try and manipulate Gleeson into an improper identification from the photo-boards.  I recall that Gleeson did (unprompted) actually make such an offer and that Jeff declined it.

    The police didn’t have a leg to stand on.

    The Inquiry which I think I heard announced on the radio as I drove home from work today, needs to be wide … we need it to include Jeff’s and Karen (Keefe)’s matters and we need it to include everything to do with the police, judicial and governmental handling of the Bob Ch. If an Inquiry could go wider, well… fair enough.

    • Geraldine Allan says:

      Garry, the announced inquiry is indeed a carefully worded TASPOL self-serving PR exercise, imho.

      Readers draw your own conclusions.

      MICHAEL O’FARRELL SC
      I preface the article by reminding readers to please recall then Solicitor-General Michael O’Farrell SC’s 2017 involvement in the CONFIDENTIALLY PROVIDED, that is, “… not pass it to the Tasmanian police.” White Paper.

      THE MEETING
      In 2017 a triumvirate comprised of 1) Premier Will Hodgman 2) Attorney-General Matthew Groom and 3) Solicitor-General Michael O’Farrell SC, met privately with Robert Richter QC, Eve Ash and Colin McLaren. Unnecessary to repeat here, yet Colin M detailed the meeting in his book Southern Justice; others have since referred to it.

      THE WHITE PAPER
      Briefly, it seems that both the Premier and Attorney-General “… declined to read the white paper and passed their copies back at the meeting. …”

      Nevertheless, S/G Mr O’Farrell kept his copy for about a week after which he returned it, with an accompanying reassurance that he held faith in Tasmanian Police [paraphrasing].

      SMH ARTICLE August 22, 2017
      This article summarises it far better than I can.
      https://amp.smh.com.au/national/death-on-the-derwent-secret-file-could-prove-yacht-killers-innocence-20170822-gy1pix.html <https://amp.smh.com.au/national/death-on-the-derwent-secret-file-could-prove-yacht-killers-innocence-20170822-gy1pix.html
      “… Despite years of intense media scrutiny of the case, the contents of the white paper have been a tightly held secret. Richter requested that Hodgman and the others in the room – Tasmania's acting attorney-general Matthew Groom and the solicitor-general Michael O'Farrell SC – not pass it to the Tasmanian police.
      Hodgman and Groom declined to read the white paper but agreed that O'Farrell should review it. Richter flew back to Melbourne and waited for a reaction.

      It came this month, although not in the manner Richter expected.
      Witnesses named in the white paper who helped compile or corroborate aspects of Vass's statement – her associate Karen Keefe, a lawyer Jeff Thompson, and another man who must remain anonymous, Witness X – have all been arrested by Tasmanian police and charged with perverting the course of justice. …”

      ASSISTANT CoP, GLENN FRAME
      Shortly, very shortly, thereafter, TASPOL’s then Assistant CoP, Glenn Frame, released a statement with content that appeared to be sourced from the White Paper. Further on in the same article, Robert Richter QC request O’Farrell “not pass it to the Tasmanian police” appears to have been disrespected.

      “…The police activity in the past month suggests the potential evidence Richter hoped would prompt Hodgman into action has instead been used by Tasmanian detectives to make a series of arrests.

      According to a source working with Richter, rather than being used to outline a case to clear Neill-Fraser, the contents of the white paper has instead been used to demolish it.

      In a statement, Assistant Commissioner Glenn Frame says a "complex investigation" that began in February led to the charging of "three people who we allege intended to fabricate evidence in support of the Supreme Court appeal of Susan Neill-Fraser".
      Frame also indicates "the material contained in the white paper" is central to the charges against Witness X, Keefe and Thompson.
      But because "the matters are before the court," Frame says he can't provide further details.

      Frame does, however, flag "the possibility of further charges." Both Colin McLaren and Eve Ash have told friends they anticipate being raided or arrested.

      Assistant Commissioner Frame also says that the white paper has not been provided by Sue Neill-Fraser's legal team "directly" to Tasmania Police but that a team of detectives with no connection to the original murder probe have investigated "material provided to the DPP."

      Ho hum!

      THE MERCURY 31/08/22 REPORT
      I now return to the what some may consider alarming excerpt from The Mercury 31/08/22 report, insofar as “… Commissioner Hine announced an independent review would be conducted by former Solicitor-General Michael O’Farrell SC “to ensure appropriate processes have been followed”

      “Tasmania Police to undergo independent review in the wake of device scandal

      TASMANIA Police Commissioner Darren Hine has announced the force will be subject to an independent review in the wake of revelations it illegally left a surveillance device recording continuously at Risdon Prison for two months.

      Commissioner Hine said police respected the Supreme Court of Tasmania’s decision to exclude evidence against Sue Neill-Fraser’s former lawyer, Jeffrey Ian Thompson, after finding the material had been obtained under an invalid warrant.

      “While this was a technical breach of legislation and Tasmania Police did not listen to any other conversations not covered by the warrant, we acknowledge the importance of our community having trust and confidence in our organisation,” he said.

      “As such, we have taken immediate steps to address the issue identified and a review of procedures to ensure there is clear guidance to police officers in relation to the use of surveillance devices has been completed.”

      Commissioner Hine announced an independent review would be conducted by former Solicitor-General Michael O’Farrell SC “to ensure appropriate processes have been followed”.

      He said a resulting report would be made public.

      Commissioner Hine also said while the two surveillance devices were active for two months, “the only occasion it was monitored” was on June 16, 2017, during the targeted conversation between Mr Thompson and prisoner Stephen John Gleeson.

      He also noted Gleeson pleaded guilty to the crime of perverting the course of justice as a result of that conversation, and was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment.

      The commissioner’s comments came amid a number of calls for an independent inquiry into the matter, with critics slamming the revelations as “extremely disturbing”.

      Greg Barns SC, the chair of the Prisoners Legal Service Tasmania, said while he welcomed news of an independent review, he was concerned it was being done at the request of Tasmania Police itself.

      “We are concerned to ensure the terms of reference are broad enough to ensure that if there has been any unlawful downloading of material, that is identified and those individuals whose privacy has been breached will be notified,” he said.

      Rosalie Woodruff, the Greens spokesperson for Justice, said “Tasmanians also need clear, detailed explanations of what changes will be made”.

      “Police will have digitally captured many sensitive and privileged conversations between clients and their lawyers, and potentially other parties including psychiatrists, psychologists, and religious guides,” she said.

      “These secret open-ended recordings have the potential to erode trust in police and the state’s justice system. As a consequence of this bungled process, evidence in relation to serious allegations has not been allowed to be admitted to court. This is a lose, lose situation for justice.”

      The Australian Lawyers Alliance called for a commission of inquiry into the matter.

      “The findings indicate that Tasmania Police engaged in a gross violation of confidential communications between inmates of Risdon Prison and their legal representatives,” Fabiano Cangelosi, Hobart barrister and spokesperson for the ALA, said.

      “Such conduct had the capacity to undermine the administration of justice.”

      Covert listening devices illegally left at prison

      COVERT listening devices set up at Risdon Prison, which secretly recorded a conversation between Sue Neill-Fraser’s former lawyer and a potential witness in her second murder appeal, were installed unlawfully under an invalid warrant.

      The devices, it can now be revealed, also recorded all conversations in a prison meeting room over the course of two months – not just the one targeted by the warrant.

      Supreme Court judge Michael Brett has now revealed his reasons for discharging the criminal case against lawyer Jeffrey Ian Thompson on August 8, over two counts of perverting the course of justice.

      It can now be revealed the case against Mr Thompson was dropped after Justice Brett found evidence against him was not legally obtained by Tasmania Police.

      Mr Thompson had pleaded not guilty to both counts and was due to stand trial before the case was abandoned with a nolle prosequi.

      It can now also be revealed the surveillance devices allegedly were left recording continuously and “would have recorded all conversations conducted in the meeting room” over the course of two months until they were removed on August 17, 2017. …”
      End of Excerpt.
      https://www.themercury.com.au/truecrimeaustralia/police-courts-tasmania/covert-listening-devices-were-left-running-illegally-at-risdon-prison-for-two-months/news-story/37792fc5d3b74860f2ba4e8dc5698c8f

      • Garry Stannus says:

        Thank you, Geraldine. You have posted an excellent selection. There is quite so much, that I will not comment on any particular part of your comment.

        In general, you and I both know that while the inadmissible recording could not be admitted as evidence against Jeff Thompson, we know that the actual contents of that recording did not in any way incriminate Jeff. In fact, it exonerated him … as it was to him (not the other way round) that Gleeson suggested being willing to make a ‘helpful identification’ (my words, not Gleeson’s).

        Jeff declined the offer, packed up and left. He was always innocent of the charge that TasPol tried to stick on him.

        The evidence that showed Jeff’s innocence never made it to a jury … because the police had already made it inadmissible, due to leaving the surveillance running for a couple of months … beyond the parameters of the warrant.

        I want in ‘Inquiry’ (aka as a Royal Commission) and I don’t have any confidence in a police-sponsored, so-called ‘independent enquiry’. We have to find out much more than how TasPol tried to stitch Jeff up … there is Karen (‘charges dropped’) and Gleeson (‘rolled over’ when encouraged to consider his bail prospects on that unconnected matter) … and of course, Sue’s ‘matter’. We need a Commission of Inquiry into the ‘whole box and dice, Geraldine.

  4. Geraldine Allan says:

    For now I refer readers to Andrew’s 12 February 2019 article, as per below link.

    Today, having now read all 5 Brett J decisions published this week, the article written 3.5 years ago, seems to me to preempt what the recent decisions now confirm.

    There’s nothing in my comments in this post that I would change; I would add more detail of course, having attended all Jeff’s hearings over the looooong cruel 5 years.

    Well done WCR 👏👏👏for hanging in there.
    Geraldine

    https://wrongfulconvictionsreport.org/2019/02/12/abuse-of-power-tasmania-style/

  5. Keith says:

    Is this a sign that things are starting to unravel in Tasmania, or am I being overly optimistic?

  6. Robert Greenshields says:

    A relatively scant view of national news articles this week, and in the past month, again confirms the conspicuous audacity of the rampant cultures of criminality within our nations policing forces, and among those entrusted with authority to maintain moral and ethical standards of prudence.

    Sue Neill Frasers ongoing diabolical circumstances have, if honesty and integrity are still to be respected, been initiated, created, and consolidated off the back of unprofessionalism, and cowardly conformity to a stratified and echelon based incredibility, that only belongs in the darkest days of British Imperialist bludgeoning, exploitation, deceit and unmitigated extortion, as has been well recorded.

    While still cringeworthingly creating a misrepresented image of astute expertise, competence, and thoroughness, irrespective of the inability through what can only be described as fundamental cowardice, by obedient members to take a stand against obvious perjury and false swearing, including by conveniently omitting to highlight relevant information and facts, is reinforced by the apparent seamlessly ascribed fabrication of perceived events by the prosecution, police, and the sadly, seemingly, the incredibly gullible jury, along with the extremely undependable and questionable Tasmanian judiciary who officiate in the loftiest of authoritative positioning. Basically, the seamless proposition presented fits more than tidily into the phrase; “if it is to good to be true, then it probably isn’t”.

    It is a transparent misnomer to believe, given the continuity of exposed long term cultured criminality and corrupted practices, that any policing forces, anywhere in this nation, is anywhere near capable of honestly and impartially investigating crime, and living with integrity, or by the rule of law and order. Tasmanian officialdom in the supposed justice domain is proving the inadequacy at all levels, and meanwhile Sue Neill Fraser languishes. Still hanging like a caged, criminalised political opponent, high up and outside the walls of a castle in Medieval Britain.

    Maintain the faith Sue. You are not alone.

  7. Garry Stannus says:

    [As I’ve noted elsewhere on WCR today – Garry]:

    I’ve read Justice Brett’s decision not to admit the recordings of the prison conversation between Jeff Thompson and Steve Gleeson.  He relied on the three sub-sections of:  s  138 of the Evidence Act 2001.

    Sub section (1) reads:

    138.   Discretion to exclude evidence improperly or illegally obtained
    (1)  Evidence that was obtained –
    (a) improperly or in contravention of an Australian law; or
    (b) in consequence of an impropriety or of a contravention of an Australian law –
    is not to be admitted unless the desirability of admitting the evidence outweighs the undesirability of admitting evidence that has been obtained in the way in which the evidence was obtained.
    In a nutshell, the recordings of the Jeff Thompson’s meeting with Steve Gleeson were ruled inadmissible because the surveillance equipment was left running for over a month … and thus potentially infringed on the privacy of others who (subsequently) used the room.

    Thus, as I understand Brett’s earlier (March 2022) decision, the warrant issued to police to bug the prison room where Thompson met Gleeson was invalid

    Thus, the evidence from the recordings had not been legally obtained.

    Thus the evidence from the recordings could not be admitted unless Brett used a discretion available in s 138.

    The discretion can be exercised if “…the desirability of admitting the evidence outweighs the undesirability of admitting evidence that has been obtained in the way in which the evidence was obtained.”

    Effectively, Brett J found (June 2022) that the desirability of admitting evidence obtained by the use of an invalid warrant did not outweigh the undesirability of admitting the recordings which had been obtained on an invalid warrant.

    That is my take on Justice Brett’s ruling. He had ruled [http://www6.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdoc/au/cases/tas/TASSC//2022/55.html] that the audio and audio-video recordings of Jeff Thompson’s meeting with Steven Gleeson in Risdon Jail were not admissible.

    This might be the reason that the Crown told the Court recently that it would not be seeking to continue to trial.

    It seems that the case against Jeff Thompson was abandoned because of a police/prosecution’s ‘own goal‘.

    Even so, Jeff would not have been convicted had the recordings been admitted and had the ‘pervert justice’ charges gone to a trial jury. 

    Having viewed (at court) the covert recordings and having reviewed relevant documentation, it seems clear to me that Jeff did not try and manipulate Gleeson into an improper identification from the photo-boards.  I recall that Gleeson did (unprompted) actually make such an offer and that Jeff declined it.

    In my view, there was no evidence at all on which a jury could have convicted Jeff. If the matter had gone before a jury, I would have expected – based on the facts (whether admissible or not) – a ‘not guilty’ verdict. The whole matter should never have gone this far … years of an innocent man’s life.

    Why isn’t the Tasmanian Law Society railing against this and why is it not supporting Jeff?

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