Tuesday, December 1, 2009

“300kg cocaine trial evidence in 'disarray"

On 1 December 2009 Lisa Davies of the Daily Telegraph reported
“300kg cocaine trial evidence in 'disarray'”.

 She said the country's biggest ever cocaine trial is "in disarray", with the highly-secretive NSW Crime Commission now scrambling to get back crucial material that they "mistakenly" served on the defence 10 months ago, a court has heard. The documents, discussed in open court but not tendered by the Crown in its case against the accused, were given to lawyers for accused “golden gun” conspirator Luke Sparos on subpoena in February. Central Local Court has heard that the material contains detailed call logs of their crucial "rollover" witness who is the main informant against Sparos, Alen Moradian and a number of other men charged with the importation of more than 300kg of cocaine.

The court has previously heard that the material is extremely damaging to the Crown case, and includes evidence about the witness’s dealings with the NSW Crime Commission assistant director Mark Standen, the original officer in charge of Operation Schoale. Standen is due to face a Supreme Court trial in February for his own alleged drug important offences. Solicitor for the NSW Crime Commission Jarrod Whitbourn told Central Local Court this morning that the Crime Commission wanted the material back because they shouldn’t have them in the first place. "The synopsis that we are talking about was jotted down ... (and then) typed up notes that are stored on the disk by the person who is listening to the call," he said. "They don't purport to be a transcription, the purpose of the summaries is ... to determine if there's anything of interest to the investigation."

However, he also admitted that the Crime Commission had not realised the error until yesterday. The stunning admission came as the case was adjourned until Thursday, with the DPP to appeal a decision by Magistrate Geoff Bradd to force the same key witness to give evidence in court, not on video link as the Crown requested. Mr Bradd had sided with counsel for Sparos and Moradian yesterday - Philip Dunn QC and Winston Terracini SC respectively - who argued that it was imperative for him to give evidence in court as telephone intercepts showed his credit was seriously in issue. Mr Bradd ruled that it was “not in the interests of justice” to have the witness, being such a vital one, give evidence from a remote location.

The telephone calls, the two silks said, showed evidence of the witness calling upon his own drug connections and discussing his evidence with numerous people. Late today, Moradian’s solicitor Stephen Alexander was granted a short service subpoena by Magistrate Allan Moore, asking the Crime Commission to produce all telephone intercept material in their possession.

The total amount of the drug said to have been imported by the so-called "golden gun" syndicate is in excess 700kg, making it the largest ever syndicate of its type in Australia’s history.

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