Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission reveals its “Double Blind” investigation

by Jim Dowling

Dear friends,

For those of you with a long memory, on Sept 30th 2005 I had my face ground into a concrete floor by police for merely attending a public meeting, a debate between my local member, Peter Dutton and civil liberties lawyer Terry O’Gorman.

Over two and a half years later I received a final letter from the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) telling me that there was no evidence that police did anything wrong in turning my face into bloody mess, and that they had “acted in good faith” in arresting me. (Letter attached)

Now after more than 2 ½ years of wondering what was going on with the so called ”investigation” into my complaint, I have come to realise the CMC must be a very scientific body and were using the “double blind method” of investigation.

You see, the CMC finally informed me for the first time that my complaint really hinged on the magistrate hearing the police charges against me. They were waiting for Magistrate Kerry McGuiness to make a statement condemning the police for assaulting me etc. Now of course, neither I nor the magistrate Kerry McGuiness knew that this was the experiment the CMC was carrying out (the double blind aspect). In fact Ms MCGuiness was probably unaware that my CMC complaint even existed! But at last the CMC informed me that this was what they were relying on to come to their very scientific conclusion as to whether I had been viciously assaulted by police without reason, as I claimed.

In my naivety, I thought someone would investigate my complaint by doing an interview with me and the numerous witnesses who saw me being dragged out of the public meeting for no reason. I thought they might want to talk to the 3 people who were prevented from entering the room in which I was being assaulted. When the “investigating” police officer (the CMC passed my complaint on to the police to investigate themselves), Sergeant Hahne, finally rang me 14 months after the event to tell me he was investigating the incident, I asked him when he would be interviewing me. He replied that it would not be necessary.

Now of course, if the magistrate or I had known the CMC was depending on her to investigate and rule on my complaint, then either of us may have allowed our personal prejudices to influence the matter. For instance I may have asked her to make an adverse comment against the police. Mind you she did say in her summing up that the evidence of my 9 witnesses (including numerous lawyers and former attorney general Michael Lavarche) was perfectly credible. And given that their evidence totally contradicted the evidence of police and security guards, one can only assume that the latter lied. Of course Magistrate McGuiness did not say directly that the police lied in her summing up and the CMC could not dare deduce this themselves given that they had appointed MS MsGuiness main investigator (unbeknownst to herself). So the CMC ruled that the police “acted in good faith” in arresting me, despite MS McGuiness clear statement that I had done absolutely nothing wrong!

So there we have it. The CMC will never let a little blood, cuts, bruises and emotions get in the way of a simple scientific investigation! Many thanks to the Queensland justice system. If it wasn’t for real I am sure I would have had quite a few laughs.

Jim Dowling

2nd June 2008

The letter from the CMC follows:

PRIVATE AND PERSONAL

From: OFFICE OF THE Assistant Commissioner Misconduct 22 May 2008

To: Mr Jim Dowling

Dear Mr Dowling

RE: YOUR COMPLAINT

I refer to your letter dated 30 April 2008 raising concerns about lack of response to your complaint by both the Queensland Police Service (QPS) and the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) over the past thirteen months.

Your second letter dated 30 March 2007 (which was attached to your aforementioned letter) referred to correspondence you received from QPS dated 30 September 2005 and 13 March 2007 and mentions that you were contacted by a Sergeant Hahne who advised that he was investigating your complaint. I have contacted the QPS and asked them to advise you the result of their inquiries.

Magistrate McGinness found that the prosecution had failed to satisfy the elements of the offence of Breach of the Peace beyond a reasonable doubt, and therefore dismissed the charge against you. Having considered the evidence, the Magistrate held that your actions did not overtly display an intention to breach the peace. As a result of this ruling, the subsequent charge of obstruct was also dismissed.

You raised a number of issues in court including the discrepancy between what you and your witnesses alleged and what the police and security guards stated. After hearing the evidence, the Magistrate did not make any adverse comment against the police.

During your defence you raised the issue of use of force however both the police and security guards stated that any force used was in direct response to your resistance and lack of compliance. The police acted in good faith at the time of your arrest because they reasonably believed that you had committed an offence.

Your assertion that the police officers and security guards lied in court was based on similarities in the wording of statements and other documents. These issues were well canvassed by you at your trial. Again, the evidence of all persons involved was heard on oath and no adverse comment was made by the Magistrate.

You also raised the fact that you considered that Peter Dutton’s assistant Catherine Stevenson should be interviewed as she was not called as a prosecution witness. I note you were able to call witnesses at your trial.

The QPS considered that the preliminary inquiries conducted by them had established outcomes which were unlikely to change with a full investigation and the CMC agreed.

Whilst I appreciate that this is an unsatisfactory outcome as far as you are concerned, it is considered that it would not be productive to take any further action in the matter.

Yours sincerely

ROBERT WALKER

Assistant Director Police Program Complaint Services

4 thoughts on “Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission reveals its “Double Blind” investigation

  1. "Brendan, it's a verbal, pure and simple" ... says:

    The CMC’s chairman, Brendan Butler, once acted for the cops against me in his role as a Crown Prosecutor in the Supreme Court of Queensland. The police had brought politically motivated charges against me in Townsville during the Bjelke Petersen era and I had appealed to the Supreme Court in Brisbane to have the charges dropped because they were based on a false confession ( which was frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of process). A verbal was the only evidence the police had, they had already planted me with drugs but those charges had been dismissed during a magistrates court trial.

    Butler was convinced that the cops version of a record of interview with me was true.

    When a very experienced criminal barrister, now judge on the QLD Court of Appeal, saw him in the cloaking room one morning during the trial, and he said: “Brendan, wake up, it’s a verbal, pure and simple!”

    Butler would have nothing of it.

    Unfortunately the judge hearing the case, a civil lawyer with little criminal law experience, agreed with the one-time counsel assisting the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

    In fact, the poor deluded man presented the police verbal as a conspiracy on my part to hold police up to ridicule! All this at $1,000 a day. Butler submitted to the judge that I had this elaborate plan to confess to the cops, run the risk of incarceration, only to turn around later to say they had verballed me. And I’m supposed to have no faith in the Criminal Judicial system.

    So I had the misfortune of drawing two fool lawyers in the one trial — easily done I suppose, given the legal system is no more than a the big club.

    Fortunately, during a subsequent trial in the District Court, a jury could not agree that police had told the truth.

    Under the leadership of lawyers like Brendan Butler, the CMC is there to cover up injustice, not to find it.

    Ian Curr
    June, 2008

  2. About Mick Keelty ... says:

    It gets worse, Mick Keelty is involved in an unfair dismissal based on the complaint by accused drug dealer and assistant commissioner of the NSW Crime Commission:

    Mark Standen, the assistant director of the NSW Crime Commission, who was arrested and charged this week over his alleged masterminding of a massive drug importation plot, had made three separate complaints of corruption or misconduct against Mr Fletcher in the past decade. All were later dismissed.

    The last, made at a private meeting with Mr Keelty in 2005, accused Mr Fletcher of tipping off a Sydney drug boss, the now deceased Michael Hurley, to an AFP Crime Commission investigation. This prompted Mr Fletcher’s sacking.

    Possible scenario: Bent cops and drug lords have ‘dobbed in’ assistant director of the NSW Crime Commission for poaching their drug operation in the same way he set up straight AFP cop, Fletcher?

    See http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23808302-2,00.html

  3. Anger and moral outrage not enough ... says:

    Jim and Bernie,

    Officers of Australian Crime and Misconduct Commissions are too busy importing illegal drugs into Australia to be worried by crimes of assault by police.

    “Mark Standen, assistant director of the secretive and powerful NSW Crime Commission, was arrested yesterday at his desk … charged last night for his role in attempting to import enough ephedrine chemicals to produce more than $120 million worth of ice…”

    See http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23801058-601,00.html

    It should come as no surprise that the Fitzgerald Inquiry in Qld never investigated drugs in any serious way – apart from getting low level crims who were running prostitution in the Valley.

    It is little wonder that the birth-child of that inquiry — the Crime and Misconduct Commission — never investigates political crime like your assault by police and the limits placed on Democratic Rights.

    On reflection, I think that you are too kind on the magistrate, after all the evidence her finding was a ‘lay down misere’ to borrow a term from cards.

    By finding in your favour the magistrate swept everything away.

    The same same happened in the Mulrunji case, the copper got off his manslaughter charge and received up to $200,000 in compensation from the State, the QPS, the Police Union and police supporters out there everywhere.

    One more Murri down, rivers of tears that follow. Who cares – certainly not the state labor government while big profits are to be made mining on aboriginal land.

    BushTelegraph is full of such examples as yours.

    Anyway you know all this … the question is what is to done, anger is not enough. How do you get to the root cause of such actions by the State and resist them?

    Ian Curr
    June 2008

  4. Bernie Dowling says:

    The State Department of Local Goverrnment referred a story I was working on about corruption to the CMC.

    The council in question investigated itself and found it had done nothing wrong.

    The same afternoon the CMC dropped its investigation.

    The CMC media officer told me there was a lack of evidence for them to proceed.

    It is remarkable how difficult it is to gather evidence without conducting an investigation.

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