The terms of reference for an inquiry into the unlawful use of surveillance devices in Risdon Prison downplay any wrongdoing by Tasmania Police involved in the operation, reports David Killick in the Hobart Mercury today (Sept. 30, 2022).
“The terms of reference tabled in Parliament on Thursday, contain a lengthy section labelled background/context, which makes it clear that the police only listened to one conversation, it was not subject to legal professional privilege, nothing they recorded unlawfully was retained and they took immediate steps to right their wrongs,” writes Killick.
The Clayton’s terms of reference will do nothing to allay fears expressed earlier that the review, to be conducted by former Solicitor-General Michael O’Farrell SC, who in 2017, while acting in that role, expressed confidence in Tasmania Police and its ability to investigate matters in the Neill-Fraser case, will not be free of bias.
The review follows the DPP dropping 5-year old charges of pervert the course of justice against solicitor Jeff Thompson when Justice Brett found the surveillance had been illegally obtained.
“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.”
The review will involve consideration of all surveillance device warrants issued to Tasmania police officers since 1 January 2012 which authorised the installation and use of a surveillance device in prison. It will consider the adequacy of information included in the applications for those warrants and compliance with any conditions or limitations imposed on the warrants. Mr O’Farrell will be requested to identify any improvements which could be made in applications for the issue of surveillance device warrants or the execution of such warrants to mitigate the risk of capturing private conversations unrelated to the investigation in respect of which a warrant is sought and to prevent access to or retention of any such conversations.
The review and report are to be finalised by 31 December 2022 and will be tabled in Parliament.
# Reference to the TV ad for the non-alcoholic Clayton’s made famous by its sales message, ‘Claytons – the drink you have when you’re not having a drink’
Who was the Magistrate who heard Gleeson’s plea of guilty?
Here is a link to the terms of reference (I hope they work and don’t get ‘dated’.):
…and a link to Brett J’s thoughts on the matter:
Here is Tasmanian MLC Meg Web speaking in the Legislative Council about the police surveillance in question. Meg does not waffle and calls for O’Farrell to step aside from the Review and for an Independent Government Inquiry into the matter. In 16 speedy minutes, she ‘nails it’.
[I also support calls for an Inquiry into the (police) investigation into the disappearance of Bob Chappell on 26Jan2009, the arrest and imprisonment of Sue Neill-Fraser, the manner in which her trial was conducted by members of the ODPP, the decisions of Justice Blow during that trial, the actions of the then Premier, the A-G and the S-G after being presented with the Richter ‘White Paper’ dossier and of course, matters of non-disclosure of evidence, possible police harassment of witnesses, spurious ‘pervert justice’ charges etc.]
Why aren’t Tasmanians screaming at their Government and Law Officers who are treating them as utter fools.How can so many thousands of Australian citizens cower down like pathetic imbeciles and let this flood of injustice swamp them.
Your Chief Justice and your DPP directly caused this shame on your community.
Wake up and demand your frightened little Attorney General get some moral/ legal guts and act.
So, the terms of reference are made public . It’s just another Tasmanian Government disgrace. To detail in an introduction which makes findings of fact, even before the “inquiry” begins , is only to be expected from the Tasmanian Government’s Ministers its Judiciary (Brett J excepted) and law officers. Is barrister O’Farrell SC deaf, dumb and blind to his own blatant bias and prejudgement of this matter. Surely, he is the shameful face of the Tasmanian bar. The Attorney General ,the Premier and the Police ” Minister” justly earn the mockery and the distain of all decent members of society
The terms of reference into an inquiry into the unlawful use of surveillance devices in Risdon Prison “stress that the police did nothing bad.” (Mercury, 30 September). Sound like there’s no need for an inquiry then. Ah, just a moment. “The only conversation listened to was one between Mr Gleeson (a witness in the Sue Neill-Fraser Case) and her lawyer (Jeff Thompson).” So it’s OK then for police to conduct unlawful surveillance in anything to do with the SNF Case but not in any others?
MY COMMENT: At this stage, we readers don’t yet know what the actual terms of reference are.
Killick’s “The terms of reference stress police did little or nothing bad. “The only conversation listened to by police was the conversation between Mr Gleeson and Mr Thompson on June 16, 2017,” the terms said.”
Aw, c’mon! … this can’t be the case, can it? … That an ‘independent inquiry’ being run by the chap who has already shown his thoughts on the Jeff Thompson / Sue Neill Fraser matter … has somehow accepted/has written terms of reference which accept that police did ‘little or nothing bad’ – with such terms of reference we can see that his findings will be that police did ‘little or nothing bad’.
C’mon … this is Tasmania … it wouldn’t happen here … or would it?
[PS: I’ll see if the actual terms of reference are available through the Parliament’s website – readers, if you have a link to the terms of reference, please let me know, here or on my facebook/email.]
[PPS: My reading of Brett J’s decisions/findings is that Jeff Thompson was not part of the alleged/spurious conspiracy to pervert justice. That was said to involve Gleeson, McLaren etc. It was Gleeson who was being ‘bugged’. Jeff Thompson – though innocent – was ‘the meat in the sandwich’. In any case, I don’t believe there was any conspiracy to pervert the course of justice … it is pretty obvious that the police, wanting to ‘double down‘ on their conviction of Sue, chose to regard anyone presenting new evidence which challenged the conviction … as seeking to pervert the course of justice.
That ‘police doubled-down’ view is clear to me, on reading Brett J’s views on the matter. Killick’s
… is in my view, incorrect: it was Gleeson that the police ‘thought’ (or claimed) was involved in a conspiracy – Jeff Thompson was not a part of that suspicion at the time of the issuing of the warrant.]
Garry, you no doubt already know this but it is worth noting here, that the police AND a Magistrate , dealing with Gleason’s plea of guilty, publicly, verbally in Court and on the court recorded transcript, declared Geoff Thompson as the principal perverter of justice by deliberately causing Gleeson to lie. The prosecutor told the Magistrate that Gleeson was just the pawn in Thompson’s criminal act. Without and shread of proof, the Magistrate we t ahead and found that statent as a fact, crucifying Thompson, and mitigated Gleeson’s penalty.
These twisted members of the Tasmanian “justice” system did that WHILST FULLY AWARE that Thompsn was awaiting trial. But named and judged him regardless.
This is a very important point you make. Plus I would observe that the basis for the charge of perverting evidence preempts that it was going to be false evidence ( in their judgement) however that action prevented the possibility of true evidence being uncovered in the process that was never completed. It seems a real possibility that Stephen Gleeson’s charge could well be a not guilty outcome if he had the resources and the wherewithal to fight the charge. ‘Pawn’ is a great word to explain how he was used to attempt to bring down lawyer Jeff Thompson. Then after 5 years of hell charges are dropped. Malicious comes to mind. Illegality is demonstrated in police methods but rather than highlighting systemic problems to be addressed openly, and with vigour, a sham inquiry is proposed that before it even starts states, (paraphrased), ‘nothing to see here’ which over years is the ‘go to ‘ response whenever corruption is exposed.
Yes, Rosemary: the point is that Jeff Thompson’s reputation was allowed to be traduced by those legal chaps prosecuting Steven Gleeson. It was before Jeff’s case got to trial (actually … it never did get to trial … because the prosecution discontinued the case) … but what was said in court during Gleeson’s case was in my view, prejudicial to Jeff.
I’ve seen video and written materials claimed by those prosecution types as being evidence of the charges against Jeff. They do not support the prosecution claims … in fact they show that Jeff acted properly and was seeking to promote the course of justice.
I view it as a contempt of court … yet it happened in one court while Jeff’s case was happening – and unresolved – in another.
When police misbehaviour is assisted by dishonesty in the prison system which damages the integrity of that institution, and does harm to the hard working people in the prison system it is a disgrace.
Additionally when dishonesty is engaged in a disingenuous Justice system it is a sad indictment of society as a whole.
And Steven, the surveillance(s) required the cooperation of prison admin/officer(s) to facilitate the installation, and thereafter to redirect Jeff Thompson/Stephen Gleeson into the room in which the covert camera & listening devices were installed 😡
I believe your comment is correct, Geraldine.
The integrity of the Hard working Australian Prison System ( especially the juvenile institutions and punishment establishments) is some thing all decent informed citizens are justly proud of– a bit of excrement in your tucker / bag over your head and a bashing / oops he fell over/ will turn one into a well rounded little barstard– then wait 30 years for an Appology. Yes JESUS loves me ?
The non-ethical standards mentioned in the excellent comment by Robert Greenshields are not untypical of Tasmania’s police and of the purposeful clumsy justice system in the State of Tasmania.
I believe and therefore allege that Tasmania’s Liberal party Attorney General is the impediment preventing a more robust & disciplined Police Force from functioning in this State, followed by the State’s homegrown Supreme Court judicature that typifies the bias-loaded carriage of justice in this State of Tasmania.
However, Justice Brett is a cut above & is by far the best adjudicator in this State’s Supreme Court’s many & varied case matters.
Great work Robert, Owen.
The timing of the release of this article is quite a coincidental, as apart from reading and being open to continuing on a path of education, earlier this week I payed the fee to be able to sit in on an ex NSW police officers talk on his experiences while employed in the job for 34 years, the majority as an investigator.
His career culminated (he resigned), post being charged, and found guilty after having illegally obtained evidence through a recording process. It interested me that during his time in the policing force he had steadily moved through the in house rank structure to within two levels of Assistant Commissioner, and yet his now transparently proven character had not apparently been questioned or exposed in all those decades.
From media reports, and news items, it is obvious that all state and territory policing forces in Australia have outrageous standards that are denigrating every section of our populations moral and ethical standards, and the regression will only continue unabated while the collusion and closing of ranks is looked upon as an acceptable cultural practice. It seems more than apparent to me that the in house allegiances go well beyond any sworn oaths to serve or protect our communities. I do not know if it is a broad example of collegial relationships gone astray, or outside preferenced influences holding a moronic sway. Whatever the driving forces, the ultimate outcome is a further degradation of our communities and our values.
I will continue to watch and read with interest, as I can only think, given the multitude of questionable amoral practices and undertaken processes, when will our elected and national leaders along with the petty officialdom supporting them, finally accept the observable, honest responsibilities of their inglorious positions?
Wholey crap and OMG !! Who would have thunk such a thing could happen in an apple Orchard 🍎 ?