Class action on police ‘torture’ screams the headline from The Canberra Times on Christmas Eve. The newspaper reports that Mark Barrow, Solicitor from Ken Cush & Associates, a Canberra based law firm, has filed on behalf of eight clients in the ACT Supreme Court alleging that the Commonwealth of Australia and two former Australian Federal Police officers violated his client’s human rights and committed acts of torture against them while in Australian Federal Police custody. Return readers to this blog will note a recurrent theme emerging; more and more Australian Federal Police officers are being accused by the wider community of exactly the type of criminality Indigenous Australians have been alleging against them for a number of years.
In essence, Mr. Barrow on behalf of his clients, is alleging systemic abuse and misconduct by the Australian Federal Police who are accused, in separate incidents, of using capsicum foam in a manner which can only be described as repeated and deliberate acts of torture designed to intimidate and punish ‘clients’ being detained at the City Watch-House in 2006.
In Racists, Torturers and Common Criminals…The Australian Federal Police I discussed the circumstances which gave rise to Mr. Barrow’s current application. I briefly looked at the role of former sergeant John Arthur Birch who avoided a jail sentence in September of this year, because his barrister argued that he would be “bashed and buggered” in Goulburn prison. My heart bleeds for former sergeant John Arthur Birch as I sit here and consider how many innocent Indigenous and other Australians have been “bashed and buggered” in prison having received sentences of incarceration based upon the fabricated evidence of the Australian Federal Police.
In a relatively well known case which was tried before the ACT Supreme Court in the 1990s, a former United States Air Force Psychologist Mr. Frank Del Castillo was charged by the Australian Federal Police with murder. The allegation was that Mr. Del Castillo had murdered his wife’s lover. The Australian Federal Police assured the Canberra community that it had a ‘water tight’ case against Mr. Del Castillo, having obtained a statement from the deceased implicating the accused prior to the victim dying.
‘Water tight’ case my arse. The statement that the Australian Federal Police allegedly took from the deceased implicating Mr. Del Castillo was taken several hours after the victim had died! What did the Australian Federal Police use to source their statement from the deceased, a Ouija board or some other divination method, or did they just plain lie? Well the judge hearing the matter must have leaned towards the last as he directed the jury to bring down a verdict of ‘NOT GUILTY’ against Mr. Del Castillo.
At the date of writing this post there have been convictions or guilty verdicts over ten of the capsicum spray assaults by police Australian Federal Police Officers on watch-house detainees. Charges are still pending over one more alleged incident.
In a gutless reply from the Commonwealth, the Australian Government has denied liability for the Actions of its police force, the Australian Federal Police, which comes back to the very first point I made on this blog – who are the Australian Federal Police accountable too? If it’s not the Commonwealth and it’s not the Commonwealth Ombudsman, then who is it?
While we consider who the Australian Federal Police may or may not accountable to, let’s also consider the list of crimes and allegations against the AFP made by Australian Citizens and the international community:
- Dr. Mohamed Haneef, fitted-up on terrorist charges by the AFP in 2007;
- Mr. Julian Moti, former Solomon Islands Attorney-General, charges thrown out by Queensland Judge Mullins amid allegations of AFP corruption and witness tampering;
- Mr. Marten, an Australian Citizen who lived and worked in PNG and spent 940 days in jail because the AFP alleged he had committed rape in PNG. A heinous crime! What the AFP neglected to tell the Queensland Supreme Court was that immigration records proved that Mr. Marten was in Australia, not PNG at the times the alleged rapes took place;
- Mr. Frank Del Castillo, charged and prosecuted for murder on fabricated AFP evidence;
- The current class action involving eight claimants alleging the crime of torture against the AFP;
- The woman mentioned in my about page who was assaulted at the Waldorf Café in Canberra;
- The 400 corroborated statements I have collected alleging systematic racism and human rights abuses committed against Indigenous Australians by the AFP;
- The arrest of Mark Standen, a senior investigator with the NSW Crime Commission, who has been on remand since June 2008 charged with plotting to import a commercial quantity of a chemical precursor of the illicit drug ice. This has raised a flurry of questions about the accountability of the New South Wales Crime Commission and the AFP, from which many of its officers came;
- Professor Kennedy, a former NSW detective turned academic, who has also commented over the years about how a member of the 35-strong AFP Sydney drug investigation unit was allowed to take up a government job after admitting to stealing a kilogram of seized heroin displayed at a media conference
Yes, AFP corruption and criminality has extended to the wider Australian Community and you, I and everyone else living in Australia are the potential victims of this current and unabated wave of AFP crimes against the Australian and international communities.