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28th October 2001


Mr. Hedley Thomas, (Re: Cops and Robbers)

I read with interest your article about Police Corruption and can only say
that the fundamental problem is being ignored and the analysis is not being
done. I have made my own study of the problem and I here detail my own
conclusions.

The real problem of corruption starts with the courts. Courts are not honest
places and witnesses are not always honest even after having taken the oath.
Public Policy demands that our courts and the institutions of government are
held in high respect by the community. One would assume that to achieve this
respect there would be made every effort to ensure that our institutions are
deserving of it. But, alas, this does not happen. Instead a culture of
"cover up" has developed.

This culture is supported by legislation, procedures and the culture itself.
Section 154 of the Justices act restricts access to court transcripts. Only
those people who have an interest in the case, at the discretion of the
registrar, are entitled to a copy of the transcripts at $2.80 per page. The
transcripts in a small magistrate's court hearing can cost $400+. The State
Reporting Bureau owns the copyright of all transcripts. The rules of
copyright ownership restrict further the access and opportunity to copy and
distribute material that shows Police Corruption. Defendants who appeal
against their convictions in the Magistrate's court need the transcripts
which will often cost more than $1000.00. Without the transcripts their
chance of successful appeal is massively reduced. Innocent people are
kangaroo courted and can not afford to right the wrong done to them in
court.

Legislation limits the opportunity of those in jail from telling their story
to the media or anyone other than a solicitor. Solicitors depend on the
"system" for their livelihood and so are not prepared to "rock their boat'.
Do not rely upon a fair go and help from a solicitor when you have been the
target of Police Persecution.

When it becomes obvious to magistrates that the Police Officer has been
caught out, the magistrate invariably makes a finding of FACT. "I find that
the Police Officer gave his evidence openly and honestly". This finding of
fact, in law is a FACT and can not be disputed unless it is appealed. This
finding of FACT removes a defendant's chance of winning a malicious
prosecution claim against the Police. It protects the crooked lying police
officer. But worse still, there is no right of appeal against this finding
of FACT.

When there is a dispute between the evidence of the police and the evidence
of the defendant magistrates invariably find on the balance of probability
(they have to believe one or the other) that the defendant's evidence lacks
credibility. The magistrates then go on to find beyond reasonable doubt,
based on the now sieved evidence presented to them, that the defendant is
guilty. Police with years of practice at giving evidence in court can be
very credible no matter what they are saying.

A technique that does not always work, but is the only one I have
discovered, for cross examining a lying Police Officer is a two pass one.
After the Police Officer has given his evidence in chief it becomes the turn
of the defendant to cross examine the Police Officer. The technique is to go
over the evidence in chief in minute detail, pin the Police Officer down to
every point. Questions like "Where precisely were you when you saw ...". Get
these details drawn on maps and diagrams. On the second pass test the
feasibility of the evidence given by the Police Officer: "How do you explain
that from where you were standing it was impossible for you to have seen
.... (what you say you saw)?'. By this methodology there is some chance of
minimizing the damage crooked Police Officers do in court.

Always complain and detail the complaint about crooked Police. Cause them
lots of explaining. Increase the stakes and the cost. When confronted by a
Police Officer who is lying make the trial last as long as possible. My son
was wrongly booked for crossing double white lines, his trial lasted 3 days
and the transcripts show that the Police Officer was lying but the
Magistrate still found my son guilty. My son was unable to establish enough
discrepancies in the Police Officer's evidence as he was competing with an
officer with 20 years experience at giving evidence as a witness. On another
matter in court we did get this same Police Officer "disciplined" and his
"partner" put on "management", what ever that means?

One way of fixing the justice system is to make it mandatory that every
witness wear one of the new brain wave lie detectors (ECG lie detectors).
People telling stories and lies use a different part of their brain than
when they are telling the truth. I personally would want every witness to
wear an ECG lie detector while in the witness box and I would expect every
Judge would want to know their witnesses were telling the truth.

I have observed that there are different scenarios as to why people get
charged. They range from:-

1. They were seen doing something wrong and are booked for it,

2. They are seen doing something wrong and are booked for something
worse (ie speeding fine upped from 74 to 91kph).

3. They were not doing anything wrong but in the opinion of the Police
officer are good for it and so are booked.

4. They will not do as they are told (play ball) by a Police Officer
and so are harassed, have their home searched, invited to private meetings,
are charged (pay protection, distribute drugs, do break and enters).

5. They are a threat to crooked cops so they are charged and put away
on remand, then sent to jail.

The real problem is in the nature of the system. Putting $1000's of dollars
of opportunity in front of people and giving them little possibility of
getting caught is where the real problem lies.

The concept of "Investigating Officer" must be removed from criminal
investigations. It is the power of the "Investigating Officer" that leads to
corruption. The Investigating Officer has:-

1. Control over the investigations assigned to him,

2. The opportunity to choose the investigations he is interested in,

3. Control of the information he collects in his investigations,

4. Compliance and respect from his peers and boss; they allow him to do
it his way.

5. He is the authority over his investigations, he tells it as he has
it be.

6. The information he collects is held secret,

7. He has the discretion as to how he investigates and what he
investigates.

This means that where a corrupt Police Officer is investigating a known drug
dealer all the information from the public goes to him. He can then visit
information providers and tell them that "they are wrong and had better
watch out or they will be charged with malicious complaint". The information
about the situation is in his control so he can put into the Police records
that which helps him continue to manage his earner. He has discretion as to
how he conducts his investigation and he can use this discretion to maximize
his earnings. When the time comes and he can no longer "hold it together" he
can then charge the dealer and if the dealer is a compliant type, minimize
the charge to that of a user, so the problem is solved. Then the dealer
starts again and things continue.

If the dealer does not want to play ball, the corrupt Police Officer can
charge the dealer with a serious offence, have the dealer held on remand,
then sent to jail where no one is allowed to comment about what has been
happening.

The community needs to believe their Police are honest and Public Policy
demands that the community have confidence in out government institutions.
Naturally any information and details that may cause the Public to believe
otherwise is rejected, until it can not be rejected any longer and then
enormous damage in our society has been done. The corrupt system caused
youth to lose confidence in our system of government and the Police. Angry
people, dealt an injustice by the system want to hit out, and deliberately
go out to hurt others and themselves. Others suffer so much stress that they
become incapacitated by chronic stress and cost the community large sums in
Medical, Legal, Political and social security services.

It is not uncommon for Crooked Police Officers to work together and have the
drug distribution in a particular area organized. Ignorant youths become the
front line dealers who go through a process and eventually get put away when
they, through time and their foolishness, become too hot. The legislation
protects the Police and supports this type of corruption.

The fault is not with Police for being bad, the fault is with the system.
Delegating authority absolutely to a Police Officer as the Investigating
Officer is where the system is at fault. Many businesses in the private
sector have management systems and staff are delegated to perform tasks. I
can not understand why this management type of system is not being used by
the Police Service.

The solution lies in fixing the system and that is why we elect Politicians.
But a lot of our Politicians are Lawyers who have a self interest in
maintaining the adversarial system and so it is not repaired and so
injustices and corruption continue to haunt our society.

Regards Trevor Croll

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