Jodie Minus and Matthew Miller
June 10, 2011 12:00AM
CRIME fighter Mark Standen was on such good terms with informant James Henry Kinch he was once invited to the drug-trafficker's house for curry.
The former NSW Crime Commission boss, 54, told the NSW Supreme Court yesterday the pair bonded from the day they met - four days after Kinch's arrest for drug importation and money laundering in 2003.
Mr Standen is facing an unrelated trial for allegedly conspiring with Kinch and food importer Bakhos Jalalaty to bring $120 million worth of pseudoephedrine into Australia in 2008.
Mr Standen told the court Kinch was brought to the commission's offices in Sydney on March 18, 2003, with the idea of developing a handler-informer relationship between the two.
Within weeks, Kinch tipped off Standen about a storage shed containing 72kg of ecstasy, two other sheds that contained evidence of previous drug activity and information about a 157kg ecstasy stash hidden in air cargo.
Mr Standen rated Kinch as "10 out of 10" and said he was "worth the effort" and a "valuable" informant.
In return, Mr Standen helped Kinch secure a deal with the Director of Public Prosecutions to drop the money-laundering charge if he pleaded guilty to drug importation.
Part of the reason for Mr Standen's success as a handler was his technique, which involved talking on a personal level with the contact and always being available.
"You treat them humanely . . . ask them about their family, make them comfortable", he told the court. "(This) establishes a level of trust."
Kinch would often phone late at night because he was lonely and wanted to talk, which was not surprising, Mr Standen said, since he was a foreign national in Australia with few friends.
"We spoke about his personal circumstances, his misspent youth . . . his dealings with criminals, his family, his son, both his daughters," he said.
The relationship became so close that Kinch refused to supply information to anyone but Mr Standen, despite attempts by Dutch authorities and the AFP.
When Kinch left Australia, he set up a hotmail account for the pair to communicate anonymously through draft emails because, Mr Standen said, he was concerned his criminal colleagues could become aware of their relationship.