Thursday, May 12, 2011

Accused investigator had rapport with informers

By Geesche Jacobsen Legal Affairs
May 12, 2011
Source The Australian 

THE head of the NSW Crime Commission, Phillip Bradley, and other senior staff tolerated Mark Standen's ''laxity'' in complying with commission rules because of ''his operational results'', the Supreme Court has heard.

An assistant director at the commission until his arrest in June 2008, Mr Standen was ''the best investigator'' who had ''a very good track record [in] … getting information from informers'', a former colleague, Tony Newton, told court yesterday.
Phillip Bradley Head of the NSW Crime Commison

Phillip Bradley Head of the NSW Crime Commison
Mr Standen developed ''a close personal rapport'' with the informants he managed, and often took risks in dealing with them, including meeting them alone, travelling in their cars and visiting their homes, he said.

Mr Standen is accused of conspiring with a businessman, Bill Jalalaty, and a former informant, James Kinch, to import pseudoephedrine and to pervert the course of justice. He is also on trial for allegedly taking part in the supply of 300 kilograms of pseudoephedrine.

There was a big cultural difference between the Australian Federal Police and the NSW Crime Commission, said Mr Newton who, like Mr Standen, had worked at both. ''There are a lot of agencies where people will think of ways not to do things. I always felt that the Crime Commission was one of those places where they looked at ways to get things done,'' he said.

Because of the focus on results there was ''more tolerance'' for paperwork not being in order especially for Mr Standen, Mr Newton said. ''He was very effective, and because he was effective, I suppose at the sharp end of things his laxity as far as his paperwork was concerned was tolerated by the senior management there.''

Staff were supposed to produce a report every time they met an informer outlining details and any information obtained, but Mr Standen complied with the requirements ''irregularly'', he said.

When the informant management policy was being reviewed in March 2007, Mr Newton said Mr Bradley told him that Mr Standen's laxity was being tolerated because of his results.

Mr Newton also said Mr Standen would sometimes pay informants' money for expenses out of his own pocket.

''I know that he did have a very close relationship with a lot of them and that's how he was able to get the information he was able to get, get the operation results that he got. And I would often ask him: 'Why is this particular person speaking with you?' He would just say: 'I get on with them, they like me.' ''

Mr Newton also said he would sometimes pass on money for Mr Standen to informers - from hundreds of dollars to $30,000. While he initially said that ''no receipts'' were obtained, Mr Newton later said he believed all proper procedures were followed. ''To a certain extent … we flew by the seat of our pants on many occasions,'' he said initially.

The trial continues.

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