Lisa Davies From: The Daily Telegraph March 17, 2011 12:00AM
AS he sat at his desk in the secretive headquarters of the NSW Crime Commission, Mark Standen's own computer was tracking his every move.
For months, a covert device inside his computer was taking a snapshot of his screen every 10 seconds.
It was how police allegedly linked Standen - a senior narcotics investigator with 30 years crime fighting experience - to an international drug cartel.
Australian Federal Police officers saw him accessing secret emails between co-conspirators as they allegedly plotted to import 300kg of pseudoephedrine into Australia. Standen is accused of using well-known English drug trafficker and money launderer James Kinch to help source the drug supplies offshore.
The pair had met in March 2003 when English-born Kinch was arrested for drug offences in Sydney, Crown Prosecutor Tim Game SC told the jury yesterday as he opened the case.
Before long he was registered as an informant to the NSWCC, and he was "handled directly by the accused", Mr Game said.
Along with Standen's friend Bakhos "Bill" Jalalaty, who ran a semi-legitimate import business, the trio allegedly conspired over many months - even once meeting in person in Dubai - to import at least 300kg of the border controlled precursor pseudoephedrine, which can be manufactured into the illicit drug speed or ice.
The drug, the court heard, was to be sent in a consignment of rice shipped from Pakistan through Jalalaty's business BJ's Fine Foods.
But Standen will tell the jury he had nothing to do with the drug ring, with his barrister Mark Ierace SC saying there was "no ulterior criminal purpose" to his actions. In fact, Standen will tell them he wanted to get out of investigating and intended to join Jalalaty in his import business. "Regardless of whatever Mr Jalalaty and Mr Kinch expected to be in the second container, the accused expected it to contain only rice," he said.
It wasn't just Standen's work computer that was under surveillance.
All his telephones were intercepted and a listening device was even inserted in the handset.
The jury will hear those calls and recordings, but Mr Ierace warned them Standen at times was "humouring" Jalalaty - taking what he said about things to do with the business "with a grain of salt".
The court heard the trio used hotmail accounts - not actually sending emails, but saving messages in the "drafts" folder.
Standen will explain this as being Kinch's idea, having "expressed concern that his safety might have been compromised" if people knew he was a police informant, Mr Ierace said.
Behind it all, Mr Game alleged, was Standen's "desperate need for money".
The case continues