Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Mark Standen mate's drug talk not serious, court hears

HE admits talking about an "unlawful scenario" in which illegal drugs could be imported into Australia hidden in a shipment of rice - but former Crime Commission officer Mark Standen said he did not believe his mate was serious. 

In the Supreme Court yesterday, Standen, who denies any knowledge of the alleged importation, rejected suggestions his evidence was "an entirely fresh set of lies" invented to exonerate himself, his informant Bill Jalalaty and third alleged co-conspirator, James Henry Kinch.

The trio are accused of plotting to import up to 600kg of ephedrine in a shipment of rice in 2008.
A former NSW Crime Commission assistant director, Mr Standen denies he was a party to the conspiracy because of crippling debts. It is alleged he hoped the drug sale would "wipe the slate clean".

The court heard yesterday that Mr Standen was in debt more than $200,000 at one stage, spending on average more than five times his weekly income.

Mr Standen has been giving evidence in his own defence for more than three weeks but yesterday Crown Prosecutor Tim Game SC began his cross-examination of the 54-year-old father of four.

Mr Game asked the accused about a $47,500 payment from Mr Kinch in late 2005-early 2006, which he did not disclose to the commission despite the receipt of such "gifts" being against its rules.

"Compromised is a state of mind," Mr Standen replied, adding that he did not feel at all conflicted by the informant's generosity.

"You didn't think to tell someone in the Crime Commission that there seemed to be an attempt to corrupt (you)?" Mr Game asked.

"You're right, I didn't think that," Mr Standen replied.

Mr Game also questioned why, following Mr Standen's four-hour recorded interview given to federal police shortly after his arrest, he had not mentioned anything about the "unlawful scenario" he now told the jury of.

He suggested that since then, Mr Standen had "realised the listening devices bear a meaning not consistent ... with what appears in the record of interview".

"I would disagree with that," Mr Standen replied.

Mr Game put it to Standen that he "had to come up with another story which implicates Mr Jalalaty and exculpates Mr Kinch". Mr Standen rejected the suggestion.

"The unlawful scenario is just shorthand for the fact that you can't (address) clearly incriminating conversations that take place over a nine month period," Mr Game said.

"The unlawful scenario is what happened," Mr Standen replied.

The trial continues.

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