News, links, analysis and comments on Melbourne's Underworld

Friday, March 26, 2004

Herald Sun: Heat put on accused killer to talk [26mar04]

... the dreams in which I'm dying

Cartoon from The Australian
Cartoon: Not exactly funny, but then death isn't a laughing matter...
POLICE pressured the accused killer of a suspected underworld hit man to break the criminal code of silence over Melbourne's gangland murders.

Now, gentle reader, I ask you, is Dominic "Mick" Gatto likely to say a word about anyone or anything and break a lifetime habit?

Not bloody likely!

While Mick might be in jail as we blog, yesterdays analysis [scroll down] shows that perhaps a self defence argument might create reasonable doubt. So Mick has nothing to gain by naming names, and beside, he'd do serious time before he'd say a word. It appears the cops had met with Mick a number of times recently, but that's not unusual here, they often do and they rarely get squat.
OMBUDSMAN Bob Seamer said there could be links between the gangland killings and corruption in the police drug squad.

Well DUH! This alone could take up 10000 words, but here's the short version:
Is there a link between the Murders and the Drug squad charges?

Alternative title- "Is Your Head Up Your Arse?"
4 Corners [ABC TV]:
JONATHAN HOLMES: Tonight on Four Corners, the trap that was set for the speed dealers that instead has caught the Victoria Police in a tangled web of corruption.

The Melbourne underworld has been busy lately burying its dead. Whatever the myths may say, there's little honour among thieves. Drugs provide the money. Money provides the motive. There have been 22 gangland killings in the past six years. Last June, they buried Jason Moran, a member of one of Melbourne's most notorious crime families. Three years earlier, his half-brother Mark had met the same fate. But police have met the customary wall of silence - even from the man the Moran brothers are said to have shot in the stomach in 1999.

CARL WILLIAMS: They say it happened over money - that I was shot, everything like that. As I said, I don't know anything - who I was shot by, why I was shot.

JONATHAN HOLMES: You don't know who shot you?


JONATHAN HOLMES: Did you have your eyes shut or what?

CARL WILLIAMS: Yeah, I've got no idea who shot me. It's, you know...

JONATHAN HOLMES: It's nothing to do with you that those two men are dead now?

CARL WILLIAMS: Nothing to do with me.

JONATHAN HOLMES: Carl Williams hasn't been charged with any of Melbourne's underworld killings. But he is facing a charge of threatening to kill a policeman and two separate charges of major drug trafficking. Normally, he'd be remanded in prison to await trial. But he's free on bail. Many other people charged with major drug trafficking offences have also been set free - temporarily, at least. Among them: Milad Mokbel, charged with possessing the proceeds of crime - case struck out. His brother, Tony Mokbel, charged with trafficking and importing cocaine and hundreds of kilos of pseudoephedrine - free on bail, pending trial. Lewis Moran, Mark and Jason's father, charged with trafficking ecstasy, hashish and speed - free on bail, pending trial. David McCulloch, charged with conspiracy to traffic - free on bail, pending trial. And Carl Williams's father George, facing charges of trafficking speed - free on bail, pending trial.

GEORGE WILLIAMS: The Drug Squad are corrupt was brought out that the Drug Squad WAS corrupt.

JONATHAN HOLMES: The reason - their trials have been delayed while some of the the police whose evidence would be crucial to their prosecution are themselves in prison, or facing charges, or under investigation.

While there is not direct link between the corrupt coppers and the murders- here is the truth. No meaningful drug investigations are underway in Victoria at the moment. It's a free for all. There are crims out on bail, crims who will not get convicted for crimes they have committed (and the juries will be right to not convict crims accused by other crims -THE POLICE!) While the selling of raw materials for speed is a dangerous way to catch crooks, it can be done ethically and without corruption. What was missing here was any real permission, supervision and then combined with outrageously corrupt police. And now, Victoria's Chief Commisioner has kicked an own goal:
JONATHAN HOLMES: ... the new Chief Commissioner ordered a review of the Drug Squad and formally put a stop to controlled chemical delivery.

CHRISTINE NIXON, CHIEF COMMISSIONER: That it occurred at all is entirely inappropriate. And so that's why as soon as I became aware of it, we stopped it. I saw it as one of the most risk...risky strategies possible, and it'll never start again in Victoria Police.

Quick announcement to all speed cooks- ANY RAW MATERIALS YOU BUY ARE NOT FROM THE POLICE! Nothing fear, great idea Christine!

As stated earlier here on MU, it appears the Williams family are running some sort of media campaign that has all the hallmarks of a media liaison/publicist being involved. Four Corners again:
JONATHAN HOLMES: Williams is keen to portray himself as a normal family man. More importantly, he wants the chance to air allegations against the Victoria Police Drug Squad. For example, he claims that in May 2001 he was subjected to death threats by a Drug Squad detective.

CARL WILLIAMS: I'm taken from there past the police station down to a park, where I'm told I'm gonna be killed. "This is where you're gonna die, be killed." There was a big shipping container next to where they were pointing at.

JONATHAN HOLMES: Carl's father George also claims to be a quiet family man with a modest bungalow, an elaborate security system and a heap of allegations about police corruption. Like many others that Four Corners heard, most can't be aired in Victoria for fear of prejudicing future trials. George Williams has already complained to the Ombudsman that the Drug Squad stole thousands of dollars from his home. The complaint was not upheld.

GEORGE WILLIAMS: They was invited into my house. They're supposed to be upholding the law and they can rob your house. The money was there. And when the police left, the money weren't there. Now, I don't know if Casper the Ghost came and got it, but...someone got it.

JONATHAN HOLMES: For years, there have been these allegations of large sums of money being stolen, of large amounts of drugs being stolen, of some criminals being greenlighted and others not. And now those kinds of allegations that was always dismissed before as just what criminals say are beginning to be believed. They are being believed by the courts, by judges, by the public. That's got to be a problem for you.

CHRISTINE NIXON: No. They're also being believed by the police. I mean, we have major resources investigating these areas now. I don't have any reason to not investigate these matters. Why would I want to cover up corruption in Victoria Police? I come from here. I don't have any reason to. And so what we're doing is throwing as many resources in the most effective manner we can at these investigations.

It is, to say the least, a great big shitty mess. Crims running around on bail, cops acting in unethical, criminal ways and a Chief Commissioner who can't or won't stand up to them and a Police Minister with his head in the sand. Meanwhile, the Police Assoc walk a fine line between protecting their members, and protecting crooked coppers:
JONATHAN HOLMES: The Chief Commissioner insists that decisive action has already been taken. In late 2001, she disbanded the Drug Squad and replaced it with the Major Drug Investigation Division, the MDID, with new processes and systems. But she wasn't able to pick the members of the MDID with the freedom she wanted. The powerful Police Association insisted on the letter of existing employment agreements.

CHRISTINE NIXON: I think the Association, um, has a particular position to take and members to protect. I, on occasions, wish that they might think of the greater good rather than specific individuals, but that's not the way they see it.

PAUL MULLETT, SECRETARY POLICE ASSOCIATION: We don't want to get into an argument with the Chief Commissioner on this. What we want to say is with the Chief Commissioner, we supported the vast majority of the recommendations. Those recommendations were changes to work practices of the Drug Squad, issues to do with industrial agreements the Chief Commissioner herself would recognise that she has to comply with as the employer.

Well thats big of you Paul, now we have a structure we can agree on, how 'bout the letting the Chief Commissioner decide the personel? Not Bloody likely!
JONATHAN HOLMES: Peter Faris, prominent QC, former director of the National Crime Authority and populist weekly broadcaster, believes the Police Association has the Government running scared.

PETER FARIS QC: It's probably the most powerful trade union in Victoria. The Government's terrified of them. The Government should have stood behind Nixon and said, "These are the changes the Commissioner wants. They're going to happen, regardless of what the police union wants." So it's a lack of willpower on the part of the Government to stand behind the Chief Commissioner of Police. And that's a worrying thing.

Gentle reader, does your local council consult with the garbo about the best way remove rubbish? Do we let kids run their schools? No we dont! So why in God's name do we give the Police Assoc. a say in the way the police force is run here in Victoria.
From the Police Assoc's own website:
The Police Association was formed in 1917 due to police concerns over poor working conditions. At this time the Victoria Police Force received the lowest rate of pay of any Force in Australia and only 17 days annual leave compared with 28 days in New South Wales. In addition, a superannuation scheme providing police with pensions on retirement had been abandoned by the State Government in 1902 and was not reintroduced until 1923.

Following its formation, the Association worked on behalf of its members to obtain improved wages and working conditions. However, it was not until 1923 that the organisation was officially recognised by the Police Regulation (Pensions) Act.

Since this time, the Association has grown in size and stature and currently negotiates with the Chief Commissioner of Police and the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services and other relevant organisations on behalf of its members.

So why don't you do what your own mission statement outlines? The first two paragraphs are your raison d'etre, yet all you seem to do now is "negotiate"with the Chief Commissioner of Police and the Ministry for Police and Emergency Services and other relevant organisations on behalf of its members. Sure, worry about your members conditions, pay, super and the numbers of Police. Protecting all memebers even if blind freddy knows they are crooked coppers? Take that outside son!

JONATHAN HOLMES: Partially as a result of the Police Association's opposition, many members of the old Drug Squad have been retained in the new MDID. And a very recent case suggests that could be a problem. Just last September, an operation codenamed Galop was targeting a major ecstasy ring. They'd placed a house in Oakleigh East under surveillance. Inside, they believed, were large quantities of drugs or cash or both. A raid was imminent. But on the night of 27 September, the house was burgled and local police arrested two men nearby. One of them turned out to be an MDID detective, a member of the Operation Galop team and a veteran of the old Drug Squad's Unit 2. The other was his long-term police informer. They were charged with stealing a large quantity of drugs worth well over $1 million. The detective's boss, a sergeant in the MDID, has been charged as a co-conspirator. The new Assistant Commissioner (Crime) concedes that the charges have an all-too-familiar ring to them.

SIMON OVERLAND: Yes, that's right. And as you've pointed out, that matter is before the court and it's difficult, in those circumstances, for me to comment about that.

JONATHAN HOLMES: But surely...

SIMON OVERLAND: If those allegations were shown to be true - that's IF they're shown to be true - we would have to concede a mistake was made in that case.

Honestly what can you say about this without a string of extreme profanity? We here at MU do not believe that ALL members of the old Drug Squad are corrupt, but they are sure as shit doing everything they can to give that distinct impression.
Herald Sun: Heat put on accused killer to talk [26mar04]
Former drug squad head Wayne Strawhorn in courtThe Speed Trap- ABC 4 Corners
The Police Assoc. of Victoria

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