Monday, October 27, 2008

Good Cop, Bad Cop - Four Corners 27/10/2008

[Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.]

Sally Neighbour investigates what’s wrong inside Australia’s Federal Police.

Reporter: Sally Neighbour

(Excerpt of News footage of bombing at Sydney Hilton Hotel)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The Indian Prime Minister was among 13 Commonwealth heads of government staying at the hotel.

The bomb killed two garbage men and one policeman.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: In the aftermath of Australia’s first terrorist bombing, at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel in the seventies, a brand new police force burst onto the scene.

(End of Excerpt)

(Excerpt from Four Corners Episode, 1979)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: These police officers are members of the newly formed Australian Federal Police.

They’re part of a section of the force known as the Protective Service Unit.

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE OFFICER: That was a good entry, only lost one. What did you do wrong?

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: They’re training to be Australia’s frontline troops in the war against international terrorism.

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE OFFICER 2: You never know, that could happen any day.


SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The Australian Federal Police would become Australia’s premier police force.

But 29 years on, it’s them in the firing line.

In the wake of the Mohammed Haneef case, the AFP have found themselves derided as Keystone Cops, accused of incompetence, secrecy and playing politics.

WAYNE SIEVERS, FORMER AFP OFFICER: The pattern from the 1980s right through to Haneef is a culture of obsessive secrecy, the avoidance of accountability.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Commissioner Keelty, at one time lauded as a public hero, has even faced calls to resign.

PETER FARIS QC, FORMER CHAIR NATIONAL CRIME AUTHORITY: I think Keelty’s time is up and I think he should retire gracefully and if he doesn’t, um well then I think he should be sacked.

Page 1 of 16 EMMS - Transcript/Captions Details

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Tonight on 4 Corners, we examine the AFP’s rise, and its fall from grace, and ask what went wrong? Was it simply one mishandled case? Or do the Federal Police have serious problems that need to be addressed?

(On Screen Text: Good Cop Bad Cop, Reporter: Sally Neighbour)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Created in 1979, the AFP was a merger of the former Commonwealth police and the ACT police in Canberra, with the Federal Narcotics Bureau thrown in. Behind the show of bravado, it was a painful birth.

(Excerpt of footage from Four Corners Episode 1979 - an AFP officer is seen breaking through a window)

RAY COOPER, FORMER AFP INTERNAL AFFAIRS: It was chaotic. The organisations, didn’t know each other, they didn’t like each other, they didn’t and they had no, no sort of will to co-operate with each other.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The new force also inspired bitter and enduring hostility among state police, who resented its greater powers such as phone-tapping, and its move into glamour crimes like terrorism, the drug trade and fraud.

MIKE KENNEDY, FORMER NSW DETECTIVE: Well their nickname back in those days was the Plastics. We referred to them as the Plastics because basically they were incompetent, they weren’t real police, they didn’t engage in community based policing.

Everything had to be the biggest and the best, and that brand name protection, that media and marketing aspect of their organisation, where it was about style and it was never about substance.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The AFP had its first brush with scandal when major corruption was uncovered inside the Sydney office that housed the Federal Police Drug Unit in the late 1980s.

It’s an episode that still rankles with some of those involved, who say it set the pattern for much that has followed. Wayne Sievers was a member of the unit at the time.

WAYNE SIEVERS, FORMER AFP OFFICER: You had theft of drugs, you had people running with criminals, you had prosecutions that were compromised. You had a range of corrupt activities.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Superintendent Ray Cooper, now retired, was a commander in AFP Internal Investigations. He began an inquiry, only to have it shut down and handed over to the Sydney office, where corruption was endemic.

RAY COOPER, FORMER AFP INTERNAL AFFAIRS: I believe that the, that that purpose of, or one of the purposes of that group was to, was to get these, to discredit the informants and, and cover up the AFP’s activities in Sydney.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: And was that the AFP’s agenda as you saw it?

RAY COOPER, FORMER AFP INTERNAL AFFAIRS: Well I was told I was told by the Commissioner and others that you know, don’t, don’t make any trouble in Sydney because Sydney Drug Unit is the only Drug

Unit that is effective, don’t make any trouble in Sydney. We, we don’t want to make any trouble in Sydney.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The rot was left to fester until it erupted publicly several years later during the Wood Royal Commission into the NSW Police.

(Excerpt of News footage)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The most recent allegations of systemic corruption came from former federal

Page 2 of 16 EMMS - Transcript/Captions Details detective Alan Taciak who claims a long standing cell of corrupt Federal Detectives has been ignored.

(End of Excerpt)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: A separate inquiry was ordered into the AFP by a new Federal Government eager to squelch the scandal. It was conducted in private, its report never released.

RAY COOPER, FORMER AFP INTERNAL AFFAIRS: I thought it was wrong, very wrong. I don’t think the AFP can hold its head up about how it, how it can handle its own, well in those days how it can handle its own problems. Ah covering it up is in my view is not the answer.

(Excerpt of footage from December 1996)

MICK KEELTY, AFP COMMISSIONER: And hopefully that will lead to higher profile targeting -

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The officer in charge of implementing the inquiry’s findings was Assistant Commissioner, Mick Keelty, the rising star of the force. Keelty also won Government plaudits for carriage of the much-vaunted war on drugs. A graduate of the FBI training academy, he was one of a new breed of politically savvy professionals moving up the ranks.

(End of Excerpt)

WAYNE SIEVERS, FORMER AFP OFFICER: He was part of group of people who I’d characterise who came up from Canberra, who, who were keen to reinvent themselves as anti-corruption busters if you like. They were smooth, they were slick, they were polished and they were extremely ambitious people and they were prepared to form the necessary relationships with politicians to get on in this world.

(Excerpt of News footage of Commissioner Keelty being sworn in as Commissioner)

MICK KEELTY, AFP COMMISSIONER: I, Michael Joseph Keelty, do swear that I will be faithful and be a true -

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Mick Keelty was promoted to Commissioner in 2001. He had cemented his

reputation as a skilled investigator, a decent bloke and a canny political operator.

(End of Excerpt)

ARTHUR SINODINOS, FORMER PM JOHN HOWARD’S CHIEF OF STAFF: I think from day one he was conscious that he needed to make sure he looked after the various stakeholders that were relevant to the AFP. And the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister’s Office were important stakeholders from his point of view.

(Excerpt of footage of September 11 terrorist attacks in New York)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Keelty had been in the job only five months when the September 11 attacks on America took place, followed a year later by the Bali bombings.

(End of Excerpt) - (Excerpt of footage of Bali bombings aftermath)

(End of Excerpt)

DAVID BILES, FORMER CHAIRMAN, ACT POLICE CONSULTATIVE BOARD: It’s a terrible thing to say but the Bali bombing occurred and that was a blessing for the AFP in that they were able to act quickly and professionally and everyone admired the way they responded to that terrible event. Ah they’re probably one of the worst terrorism events that have impacted on Australia. So within about 27, 28 years the AFP moved from being an object of derision to an object of admiration.

Page 3 of 16 EMMS - Transcript/Captions Details

(Excerpt of footage of Commissioner Keelty in Indonesia)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The AFP’s work in Indonesia won universal praise. Most of the bombers were soon caught, and a string of further attacks was just as quickly solved. Commissioner Keelty was feted around the world, while a grateful nation rewarded the force with virtually whatever it wanted.

(End of Excerpt)

WAYNE SIEVERS, FORMER AFP OFFICER: The AFP was able to reposition itself as the premier intelligence fighting agency and that meant massive injections of money, capital, and a very close relationship with the Government.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: In the years since September 11, under the banner of the war on terror, the AFP has undergone enormous growth. Its staff numbers have more than doubled while its budget has quadrupled to almost $1.8-billion a year.

It now operates in 33 countries, and spends the bulk of its budget on national security and overseas deployments.

JOHN BROOME, FORMER CHAIR NATIONAL CRIME AUTHORITY: The question I ask is whether we’ve done this at the expense of the AFP’s core budget, whether they’ve taken their eyes off major issues such as drug trafficking, financial crime, issues such as child sex tourism, these kinds of issues which the AFP saw as its main work four or five years ago and which apparently now is not its core business.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Former chairman of the National Crime Authority, John Broome, says the shift is reflected in a dramatic drop in the number of criminals charged by the AFP. Cases sent to the DPP for prosecution have fallen by half, from more than a thousand to around 500 a year. And despite the AFP’s massive expansion, John Broome says there’s been a fall in its expertise.

JOHN BROOME, FORMER CHAIR NATIONAL CRIME AUTHORITY: We’ve seen both a growth in the number of AFP personnel with less than five years experience, and a reduction, at least in percentage terms, of those with say more than 15 years of experience. So we’ve lost some of the old heads, the wise heads, and we’ve seen them replaced with large numbers of relatively untried people.

(Excerpt of footage of Wayne Sievers campaigning)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: AFP veteran Wayne Sievers left the force eight years ago to pursue a career in politics.

WAYNE SIEVERS, FORMER AFP OFFICER: Good evening, and thank you all very much for coming here tonight, I'll just slip my glasses -

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: He’s now an outspoken critic of the Federal Police.

WAYNE SIEVERS, FORMER AFP OFFICER: Put simply, the lives of ordinary Australians are adversely affected, sometimes quite profoundly, when the powerful and the arrogant are unaccountable. The Australian Federal Police is one case in point.

(End of Excerpt) - (Excerpt of footage of conflict in East Timor)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Back in 1999, Sievers was in East Timor serving with the United Nations, when he received intelligence that military-backed militias opposed to independence were planning a massacre. The warnings were ignored by Australian authorities, and a bloodbath ensued.

Sievers and his AFP colleagues earned a group citation for bravery during the turmoil.

WAYNE SIEVERS, FORMER AFP OFFICER: We're here to do our job and we'll carry on.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: He later went public to criticise the authorities for failing to stop the slaughter. As a result, he was targeted for investigation for unlawful disclosure of Commonwealth information, causing him to resign in 2000.

(End of Excerpt)

WAYNE SIEVERS, FORMER AFP OFFICER: I understood then that our organisation was well and truly on the road to being political, that it was not giving the fearless and frank advice, that’s it was working in effect to look after the Government’s image.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Wayne Sievers is not alone in holding this view. It’s a concern that’s shared by many working police.

JIM TORR, CEO, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE ASSOCIATION: There is a concern that the broader public perceive the AFP to have been manipulated, that some in the broader public perceive that. That is a concern to us because everything we do, the most important thing to us is the trust of the public.

(Excerpt of footage of Madrid train bombings, March 2004)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Since the advent of the war on terror, policing has become highly politically charged. This was starkly illustrated in the wake of the al Qaeda train bombings in Madrid in March 2004.

(End of Excerpt)

(On Screen Text: Sunday 14 March 2004)

MICK KEELTY, AFP COMMISSIONER: If this turns out to be Islamic extremists responsible for this bombing in Spain, it’s more likely to be linked to the position that Spain and other allies took on issues such as Iraq.

(End of Excerpt)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: This seemingly simple observation by Commissioner Keelty provoked a political storm, because it was at odds with the Government's view and implied that Australia too could become a target because of its support for the war in Iraq.

ARTHUR SINODINOS, FORMER PM JOHN HOWARD’S CHIEF OF STAFF: I’d seen the interview ah and I rang the, the Prime Minister about it because I said I think this is going to cause us a problem. I spoke to the PM about that. And he said ‘Well ring Mick and let him know that I’m very concerned about this because ah you know, the way it could be interpreted, etcetera’.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Keelty came under withering attack, including this from the then Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.

(On Screen Text: 16 March 2004)

ALEXANDER DOWNER, FORMER FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER: He is just expressing a view which reflects a lot of the propaganda we’re getting from al Qaeda.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: After two days of it, both Keelty and the Government had had enough.

(Excerpt of footage of John Howard speaking on radio, vision of The Australia Newspaper, headline "PM sought Keelty Backdown")

Page 5 of 16 EMMS - Transcript/Captions Details

(End of Excerpt)

ARTHUR SINODINOS, FORMER PM JOHN HOWARD’S CHIEF OF STAFF: Well it had been agreed on the Sunday that if things got to a point where they needed to be clarified well there’d have to be some form of clarification.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Keelty’s statement of clarification said he’d been taken out of context, and echoed the Government’s line that terrorism seeks to attack our liberal democratic values, no matter what our involvement in East Timor, Afghanistan or Iraq.

The Government was clearly pleased.

(Excerpt of News footage from 19 March 2004)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Can you shake hands?

JOHN HOWARD, FORMER PRIME MINISTER: We did that downstairs, but I'm delighted to do it again. (Laughs) I have total confidence in the Federal Police Commissioner. I think he’s doing an excellent job.

(End of Excerpt) - (Excerpt of footage from ABCs Lateline)

ALEXANDER DOWNER, FORMER FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTER: He is an outstanding Australian. He’ll go down in history as one of the great police commissioners.

(End of Excerpt)

JIM TORR, CEO, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE ASSOCIATION: Some could argue there was an opportunity lost for the AFP to make a bigger point.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: So you think the Commissioner was seen to buckle too easily?

JIM TORR, CEO, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE ASSOCIATION: I think some took that view and I believe some of our members took that view.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR (to Arthur Sinodinos): So are you saying in effect it’s their job to do the bidding of the Government?

ARTHUR SINODINOS, FORMER PM JOHN HOWARD’S CHIEF OF STAFF: Um their job is to work within the framework of, of policy subject of course to not breaking the law.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: So is it their job to do the bidding of Government as long as it’s legal?

ARTHUR SINODINOS, FORMER PM JOHN HOWARD’S CHIEF OF STAFF: Ah in my view it is. SALLY NEIGHBOUR (to Jim Torr): How do police feel about being seen to be used for a political agenda?

JIM TORR, CEO, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE ASSOCIATION: It’s probably the greatest insult you could give a constable, and to, as an organisation, to be accused of doing a Government’s bidding is an insult to an entire organisation.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Commissioner Keelty declined repeated requests by Four Corners to discuss the issues raised in this program . The AFP is quick to reject any criticism, and employs a large media management team to promote its successes.

Page 6 of 16 EMMS - Transcript/Captions Details

WAYNE SIEVERS, FORMER AFP OFFICER: The AFP’s management of the media is very good. It seems to me that um, whenever there’s a bad story about to happen, suddenly there’s a drug bust or a paedophile bust or something like that happens on the day or very approximate to the bad news that’s coming out and it drowns out the bad news.

A recent case was the seizure of more than five tonnes of ecstasy, trumpeted by the AFP in August as the world’s biggest bust.

(Excerpt of News footage of drug bust)

MICK KEELTY, AFP COMMISSIONER: There was a period of time where we got excited about 10 kilos, and now we're talking about tonnage.

(End of Excerpt)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Selected reporters were tipped off about the raids in advance and the AFP released its own footage of federal agents in action.

(Excerpt of footage of AFP officers in action)

But behind the scenes was a very different story. Victorian detectives who’d worked on the case were so furious at what they saw as the AFP’s grandstanding, that one of them fired off an internal grievance report to set the record straight.

(Excerpt from Internal Grievance Report)

According to this account, the seizure was the work of VicPol, the Australian Crime Commission and Customs, with virtually no help from the AFP.

It says the Federal Police failed to honour an assurance of providing intelligence, refused to form a joint taskforce, and initially said they could not assist.

By this account, it was only after the massive stash was found that the AFP demanded control of the investigation, in a deliberate strategy to manipulate the situation, to falsely claim full credit by the AFP.

(End of Excerpt)

PETER FARIS QC, FORMER CHAIR NATIONAL CRIME AUTHORITY: We do have a poisonous relationship between the AFP and the state forces because of this competition for publicity and credit for their work, and of course the only people who suffer from that are the public.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Within the AFP’s own ranks, there are loyal and long-serving insiders who’ve grown deeply disillusioned with how the force operates.

Gerry Fletcher is a serving AFP officer who’s been 33 years in the job. He holds a masters degree in prevention of transnational crime and is recognised internationally as an organised crime expert. In 2004 he was awarded the Australia Day Medallion for his loyalty and dedication.

GERRY FLETCHER, DETECTIVE-SERGEANT, AFP: It’s been my life. It’s been work that you can go and do and you feel you’re achieving or you have achieved.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: But it all came crashing down one day in May 2005.

JENNY FLETCHER, GERRY FLETCHER’S WIFE: Gerry rang me at work on the Friday, late Friday afternoon. He said ‘I’ve been suspended from the AFP’. He was in shock.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: And what was your reaction?

Page 7 of 16 EMMS - Transcript/Captions Details

JENNY FLETCHER, GERRY FLETCHER’S WIFE: I said you’ve got to be kidding me. You’ve been with the AFP 30 years. You’ve got to be kidding me.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Six weeks earlier Fletcher had had a meeting in a coffee shop with a well-known drug dealer who was under investigation by the AFP. Fletcher had previously been counselled about meeting informers alone, and had been told not to meet this particular criminal. He reported the meeting afterwards to his superiors, as per AFP rules.

But when the drug-dealer disappeared a month later, causing the collapse of the investigation, Fletcher was accused of tipping off the target. The accusation was false. It was made directly to Commissioner Keelty by NSW Crime Commission officer Mark Standen , who has since been arrested and charged with being part of a drug importation conspiracy.

JENNY FLETCHER, GERRY FLETCHER’S WIFE: There was a false allegation made against Gerry, his integrity was questioned after 30 years, his reputation was trashed.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: An internal inquiry found Fletcher had not released any information or engaged in corrupt behaviour. But the AFP sacked him anyway, claiming his meeting with the drug dealer brought discredit on the Federal Police.

GERRY FLETCHER, DETECTIVE-SERGEANT, AFP: I just couldn’t get over that, after 32 years, to me it felt like it was, it was a, a frame up, that there was a preconceived outcome before the investigation started.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Fletcher’s dismissal was overturned by the Industrial Relations Commission which found it was harsh and not done for a valid reason. The AFP gave him a job back, answering phones.

GERRY FLETCHER, DETECTIVE-SERGEANT, AFP: To me every investigation has to have integrity. Every investigation has to be accountable and transparent. Now with the Australian Government giving a section of money and amounts of money I should say, to the AFP to maintain integrity, it’s that is so that integrity cannot be interfered with or moulded to what they want.

My case shows I would suggest that they’re not getting their value for their money.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: He may well be risking his job again by speaking out.

RAY COOPER, FORMER AFP INTERNAL AFFAIRS: They won’t like it. They don’t like anyone talking to the, to the media, they don’t like anyone airing anything in public. They ah, they have their secret society and if you speak out then, then they castigate you.

JENNY FLETCHER, GERRY FLETCHER’S WIFE: I believe that there were many senior people who believed that Gerry was the subject of a witch-hunt, but no one had the avenue to actually be able to go and say this is wrong, because if you put your head up you’re going to be in the same position as Gerry. Because you have a culture, headed by a Commissioner who doesn’t like to be told he’s wrong.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Mick Keelty’s style of leadership is the subject of growing debate within and outside the AFP. Keelty’s admirers describe a dedicated workaholic, hands-on to a fault, who inspires intense loyalty, and has built the AFP into a force to be reckoned with.

ARTHUR SINODINOS, FORMER PM JOHN HOWARD’S CHIEF OF STAFF: He’s probably been the Police Commissioner who’s been under the most intense pressure and media scrutiny of any


RAY COOPER, FORMER AFP INTERNAL AFFAIRS: Even with some of the issues that we’ve identified

Page 8 of 16 EMMS - Transcript/Captions Details today, he’s been in my view the best Commissioner the AFP’s had.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Keelty’s detractors talk of a presidential-style leader, who won’t tolerate dissent and shuns advice contrary to his own views.

WAYNE SIEVERS, FORMER AFP OFFICER: The AFP is essentially run by an all-powerful CEO. There is no understanding of somebody who raises a loyal voice in opposition or disputes a decision. It is essentially an authoritarian organisation and anyone who’s seen to question the current line that comes from the leader’s office if you like, and I might even describe it as a cult of personality, very soon finds themself on the outer.

And there are a number of very talented, very good people that I know of in recent years or over the years that have left the AFP because they’ve dared to voice a dissenting opinion.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The job of policing the AFP falls to the Commonwealth Ombudsman and the Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, a new agency with a modest budget and only 12 staff. Ombudsman John McMillan says it’s not an easy task.

JOHN MCMILLAN, COMMONWEALTH OMBUDSMAN: I have a very professional relationship with the Australian Federal Police but I do find it more of a challenge than I find it with other Commonwealth agencies. Ah my office is more likely to be told, including from senior levels, that we’re wasting the time of police and that we’re dwelling on trivialities.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: In his latest report, the Ombudsman describes one instance where an AFP agent began a sexual relationship with a female informant, and another where a number of police being posted overseas swore false statutory declarations to support each others’ passport applications.

In both cases, the AFP was unwilling to admit its members had done anything wrong.

JOHN MCMILLAN, COMMONWEALTH OMBUDSMAN: And our view very strongly was that it was inappropriate. If police are required to uphold the law, they need to uphold it individually and collectively in all instances. As an old adage, a true one, that those who bend the rules end up breaking them and so it is very important to take a stern line at any inappropriate behaviour by those who have the responsibility of enforcing the law.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The most intense scrutiny of the AFP’s performance has been prompted by its role in implementing Australia’s new counter-terrorism laws.

Since September 11, no fewer than 44 new anti-terror laws have been passed.
Commissioner Keelty has been a vocal advocate of the new laws.

(Excerpt of News footage)

MICK KEELTY, AFP COMMISSIONER: We obviously support the new legislation being passed -

(End of Excerpt)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: There’s been markedly less enthusiasm on the part of working police.

JIM TORR, CEO, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE ASSOCIATION: The laws are alien to decades, indeed you know, 100 years of policing experience; they’re alien to the office of constable. They are complex, procedurally very complex laws. You add enough procedures or complexity into a process and the likelihood of a technical error increases.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: AFP management has been eager to use the new laws. In one case an officer

Page 9 of 16 EMMS - Transcript/Captions Details testified that police were directed to lay as many charges under the new legislation against as many suspects as possible to test the laws.

JOHN BROOME, FORMER CHAIR NATIONAL CRIME AUTHORITY: I think that the AFP’s been under very substantial pressure. It’s been under pressure to produce results and by that most people mean arrests and charges.

WAYNE SIEVERS, FORMER AFP OFFICER: I think when you have to rely on extraordinary powers and at the same time you see a loss of skilled investigation capacity from the organisation, frequently as morale plummets, the reliance on extraordinary powers can sometimes make for a lazy investigator.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Australia’s biggest terrorism trial ended last month in Melbourne with mixed results, seven men convicted, another four acquitted and one to face a re-trial.

(Excerpt of News footage)

UNIDENTIFIED LAWYER: It's wonderful to live in a democracy where a jury obviously pays this level of attention, to matters like this and worked this hard.

(End of Excerpt)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The convictions were an important win for the police after a series of failed prosecutions, like the case of Sydney medical student Izhar Ul-Haque.

His charges of doing terrorist training were dismissed when Justice Adams ruled that he had been kidnapped and falsely imprisoned by ASIO agents, and subjected to oppressive conduct by Federal Police.

(Excerpt of News footage, after Izhar Ul-Haque's trial)

ADAM HOUDA, IZHAR UL-HAQUE'S LAWYER: This has been a moronic prosecution right from the start. The terror laws were introduced supposedly to capture terrorists, not brilliant young men like Izhar Ul-Haque.

From the beginning this was no more than a political show trial, designed to justify the billions of dollars spent on, on counter-terrorism.

(End of Excerpt)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: After the collapse of the Ul-Haque case, Commissioner Keelty ordered an inquiry presided over by retired NSW Chief Justice, Sir Laurence Street, who now works as a professional mediator.

(To Sir Laurence Street) What was Commissioner Keelty’s brief to you when he set up your inquiry?

SIR LAURENCE STREET, FORMER NSW CHIEF JUSTICE: Well it’s in his terms of reference. The terms of reference are there in the report but it certainly didn’t include and ah this was made, I made this very clear at the outset we were not investigating Ul-Haque.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The report highlighted inadequate information sharing and trust issues between ASIO and the AFP, along with a range of operational flaws. But it did not address the most disturbing issues raised by the case.

(To Sir Laurence Street) Did you examine the gross breach of powers that Justice Adams referred to?


SALLY NEIGHBOUR: What about the false imprisonment and kidnapping?

Page 10 of 16 EMMS - Transcript/Captions Details


SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Did you examine the oppressive conduct of the AFP?


SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Or the fact that ah, that one of its officers gave untruthful evidence?

SIR LAURENCE STREET, FORMER NSW CHIEF JUSTICE: Well now you’re putting adjectives on them. Ah when I saw, no, I'm not embracing those adjectives.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: No, oh well those were Justice Adams’ words that I’m quoting.

SIR LAURENCE STREET, FORMER NSW CHIEF JUSTICE: Well I still don’t embrace those adjectives.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: So none of those issues was within your terms of reference?


SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Why do you think the AFP didn’t ask you to investigate those matters?

SIR LAURENCE STREET, FORMER NSW CHIEF JUSTICE: Probably because Commissioner Keelty knew my philosophy and that I would not be prepared to undertake an inquiry to attribute blame and who’s right and who’s wrong.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Do you think that’s why he chose you?

SIR LAURENCE STREET, FORMER NSW CHIEF JUSTICE: Oh I have no idea, I have no idea. I would, I had some judicial experience and that was important.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Of all the terrorism cases, the spotlight has focused most intensely on Dr Mohammed Haneef.

HON SIR GERARD BRENNAN: Well the state has the right to employ to the full, it's arsenal of legal weapons to repress and prevent terrorist activities, it may not use indiscriminate measures which would only undermine the fundamental values they seek to protect.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The Haneef case is currently the subject of an inquiry by former NSW Judge John Clarke QC. A disturbing picture is emerging of how the case went so badly wrong.

Haneef’s saga began on the 30th of June last year, when a jeep driven by his second cousin Kafeel Ahmad exploded in flames at Glasgow airport.

Two days later Dr Haneef was arrested at Brisbane airport, where he was waiting to board a plane to India.

Four Corners has obtained the audio recording of Haneef’s interviews with the Federal and Queensland
Police, starting at Brisbane airport.

(Excerpt of audio from police interview 2nd July 2007)

POLICE OFFICER: Do you agree that I told you that you are under arrest for assisting a terrorist organisation or supporting a terrorist organisation?

DR MOHAMMED HANEEF, FORMER TERRORIST SUSPECT: I really don’t, I haven’t supported any organisation.

POLICE OFFICER: I'm just asking you, do you agree that that's what I said to you, when I placed you under arrest.

DR MOHAMMED HANEEF, FORMER TERRORIST SUSPECT: I don't really understand what, what you

Page 11 of 16 EMMS - Transcript/Captions Details mean, I haven't supported any of the terrorist organisations, or anything.

POLICE OFFICER: Okay, we're going to want to ask you a lot of questions okay?


POLICE OFFICER: Probably not quite now, what we initially want to do is conduct a search of you.


POLICE OFFICER: And also your luggage here.


(End of Excerpt)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The Law Council of Australia says Haneef should never have been detained in the first place.

ROSS RAY QC, PRESIDENT, LAW COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA: There is no common law power to arrest someone and detain them while you carry out an investigation. You must have that reasonable belief that an offence has been committed.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: So on the information publicly available, was his arrest unlawful?

ROSS RAY QC, PRESIDENT, LAW COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA: Ah, yes, it was certainly not justified.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Within hours of Haneef’s arrest the politicians had seized on it.

(Excerpt of News footage from 3 July 2007)

JOHN HOWARD, FORMER PRIME MINISTER: I just wanted to make a couple of brief comments about the taking into custody of a man at Brisbane airport last night, the Attorney General and the Federal Police Commissioner have already briefed the media and the Australian public on this issue.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The running commentary continued as Haneef’s detention was extended day after day, under the unique provisions of the terrorism laws.

JOHN HOWARD, FORMER PRIME MINISTER: There are people within our midst who would do us harm and evil if they had the opportunity of doing so.

(End of Excerpt) - (Excerpt of News footage from 6 July 2007)

MICK KEELTY, AFP COMMISSIONER: It is quite a complex investigation and the links to the UK are becoming more concrete.

(End of Excerpt)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The media and political frenzy only heightened the pressure on the police who were actually working on the case.

JIM TORR, CEO, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE ASSOCIATION: It was an incredibly gruelling and intense period. One of them, had 40 hours without sleep, one of our members, such is the chain of the unbroken interviews and while Mr. Haneef’s resting, they’re still gathering material to prepare.

(Re-enactment of Police interview with Dr Haneef)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: As the investigation entered its second week in July last year, it became steadily

Page 12 of 16 EMMS - Transcript/Captions Details clearer the evidence wasn’t stacking up.

On about July 10th, a senior AFP officer wrote to his superiors, that having reviewed the material in possession of the investigation team, he did not believe there was sufficient evidence to charge Haneef. On July 12th, Commissioner Keelty had a private phone conversation with the Commonwealth DPP, who

was waiting for a plane at Melbourne airport. Keelty said he didn’t think there was a case against Haneef.

The same day, the Immigration Department noted, preliminary advice from the AFP is that there is insufficient evidence to support a criminal charge.

ASIO had already advised that it did not have information to indicate Dr Haneef had any involvement in, or foreknowledge of, the UK terror acts.

STEPHEN KEIM, SC, DR HANEEF’S BARRISTER: If ASIO, the most suspicious of organisations had come to the view by the July the 11th that there was nothing to be suspicious about with Dr Haneef ah then there was absolutely no basis for anyone to be suspicious about it.

(Re-enactment of meeting between prosecutor and AFP officers)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: On Friday the 13th of July, a prosecutor from the DPP’s office was summoned to AFP headquarters in Brisbane to advise on charging Haneef.

He was given a 48-page briefing paper, plus police statements, charts and other records.

But crucial evidence of Haneef’s innocence was missing, an emailed letter in which the Glasgow bomber Kafeel Ahmed apologised to his brother Sabeel for not having told him of his plans.

STEPHEN KEIM, SC, DR HANEEF’S BARRISTER: If the document that completely exonerates Sabeel Ahmed wasn’t provided to the DPP, then the DPP wasn’t provided with the most relevant document because Dr Haneef is charged with providing a sim card 12 months before anything happened with about $40 credit on it to Sabeel Ahmed.

Sabeel Ahmed is completely innocent of anything to do with the terrorist attacks, so Dr Haneef’s giving the sim card to Sabeel, to Sabeel Ahmed, must be a completely innocent act, so that document was the most crucial bit of evidence that proved Dr Haneef was innocent.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Inside the AFP office the tension was rising. Unless Haneef was charged, he would be released the following day. The prosecutor said it was a hothouse atmosphere, in which he felt unspoken but extreme pressure from the police.

Mid-afternoon the prosecutor rang his boss, who advised him not to approve a charge against Haneef. According to the DPP’s submission the prosecutor misunderstood the instruction.

He later drafted the wording for a charge of providing resources to a terrorist organisation. He gave this to the police, but stressed that there were weaknesses in the case and deficiencies in evidence.

(Excerpt of Police recording of interview with Dr Haneef)

POLICE OFFICER: What we're your thoughts when you were told that your daughter was sick in hospital?

DR MOHAMMED HANEEF, FORMER TERRORIST SUSPECT: I was, um, worried about my daughter and I was thinking of going to India to visit them.

(End of Excerpt)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Late that day, the police sat Haneef down to interview him again. The questioning lasted 12 hours, from four in the afternoon till after four the next morning.

Page 13 of 16 EMMS - Transcript/Captions Details

(Excerpt continued)

POLICE OFFICER: So let me just clarify, your daughters in hospital, your wife's not in hospital?

DR MOHAMMED HANEEF, FORMER TERRORIST SUSPECT: My wife is there at the hospital as well,


POLICE OFFICER: And who's (inaudible) get advice from?


POLICE OFFICER: Your child only.

(End of Excerpt)

PETER RUSSO, DR HANEEF’S SOLICITOR: They left me with the impression that they’d run out of questions, that they were really going over old ground, where I felt where they’d taken it as far as they could and there was nothing new in the material.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Afterwards, the Federal and Queensland police on the case held a final crucial meeting. According to the Queensland police submission, they discussed that Haneef’s explanations were plausible.

The Queensland officers stated that they believed there was insufficient evidence to charge. At this point the leader of the AFP team Ramzi Jabbour made a phone call to AFP senior management in Canberra.

He passed on the Queensland police view there was insufficient evidence.

He then put the phone down and announced that he was going to charge Haneef.

STEPHEN KEIM, SC, DR HANEEF’S BARRISTER: The inference that one is likely to draw is that Mr Jabbour was given very strong advice by somebody in Canberra, superior to him, so we don’t know whether it goes to the very top of the AFP or whether it, it’s, it’s ah Deputy Commissioner or whatever that it was appropriate for him to lay a charge despite everybody else having the view that there, there was insufficient evidence.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Four Corners has obtained a separate inside account of the investigation, which says this. The investigators doing the interview refused to charge Haneef, for lack of evidence, and as a result he was charged by the senior officer of the entire investigation.

It says this is a very strange occurrence, and notes the level of micro-management of the case was immoderate to say the least.

It concludes, the decision to charge was not supported by the many police dealing with the evidence.

JIM TORR, CEO, AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE ASSOCIATION: The actual arresting officers have come to feel to an extent as if they’re the face of all that’s wrong about Australia’s draconian terrorist laws and that they’ve gleefully and recklessly gone out and used powers that they shouldn’t have.

That’s not the case at all, that’s not the way it unfolded at all and that’s why we’re looking forward to Justice Clarke’s report.

(Excerpt of News footage of Dr Haneef emerging from custody)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: When the case against Haneef collapsed two weeks later, the Director of Public

Page 14 of 16 EMMS - Transcript/Captions Details
Prosecutions was forthright about his office’s failings.
(End of Excerpt) - (Excerpt of News footage from 27 July 2007)

DAMIAN BUGG, DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS: On my view of this matter a mistake has been made, I’ll now take further steps to enquire as to how that mistake occurred.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: There has been no such admission from Commissioner Keelty.

MICK KEELTY, AFP COMMISSIONER: The police investigation has been thorough, I make no apology for that, nor should I in a terrorism investigation in this country. We have done our job well in this instance. We have done our job professionally.

(End of Excerpt)

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: For Gerry and Jenny Fletcher, the Haneef saga seemed like a case of déjà vu.

JENNY FLETCHER, GERRY FLETCHER’S WIFE: My personal opinion is that somewhere along the way someone failed to say stop. It’s where the position comes that everything that’s put in front of you says we have nothing, this man is innocent, someone failed to call a halt, and went down a road that was immoral and it was wrong.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: It took the AFP another year, and more than $8-million, to decide that Haneef was no longer a suspect. Commissioner Keelty’s response to the furore, which was to call for a media blackout on terrorism cases, was the last straw for some critics.

PETER FARIS QC, FORMER CHAIR NATIONAL CRIME AUTHORITY: I think Keelty’s performance in the Haneef case was disgraceful and I think he was a significant component in it all going wrong.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: Do you think his position is tenable?

PETER FARIS QC, FORMER CHAIR NATIONAL CRIME AUTHORITY: No, I don’t think his position is tenable. I think he’s had his run.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: The Rudd Government has stated publicly that Commissioner Keelty still has its support. But privately the Government began casting about for a successor earlier this year, approaching at least two possible candidates for Keelty’s job. Ultimately though the issue is not the personality at the helm of the Australian Federal Police. It’s the performance of the organisation he leads.

JOHN BROOME, FORMER CHAIR NATIONAL CRIME AUTHORITY: This is an organisation whose budget’s grown from under 400-million six years ago to more than 1.7-billion in this current financial year.

That needs some kind of scrutiny as to whether it’s doing, what it’s doing well, could it do it better, is it well targeted? I don’t think you can leave those judgements alone to the organisations involved.

JENNY FLETCHER, GERRY FLETCHER’S WIFE: From my personal experience I’m very sorry to see the AFP be called into question the way it is because there’s so many good people, there really are.

SALLY NEIGHBOUR: What issues do need to be looked at do you believe?

JENNY FLETCHER, GERRY FLETCHER’S WIFE: The accountability and the independence and the  integrity of investigations.

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