In the 1960s Donald Horne observed, “Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck.” This observation was followed in the 1990s by Paul Keating when he made his famous Placido Domingo speech at the Press Club, in which he noted that Australia has never had a great leader of the stature of an Abraham Lincoln, a Franklin Roosevelt or a Winston Churchill. While I loathe the prospect of agreeing with former Prime Minister Keating on anything, I find that I must on this point; Australia is a giant standing on the shoulders of pygmies. Our political leaders, public servants and that bastard that we call a legal system are keeping us as a nation down.
Like all good second rate managers our political leaders aim to employ people even less talented than themselves in order not to be shown up. Now think about this scenario for a minute; we have second rate politicians recruiting third rate public servants, who in turn recruit, what, third or fourth rate police. As we all joked at university, those who can go into private enterprise, those who can’t teach and the losers join the public service. Whilst a undergraduate student living at St Andrew’s College, the head student, a former Kings boy, failed first year arts so many times that out of sheer embarrassment the university had to ask him to leave. What did this powerhouse of superlatives become? A police officer, but to be fair he could stroke an oar – row that is!
I must seek my reader’s forbearance on my little detour into the world of a Spanish tenor, a former Prime Minister and an old Kings ‘man’. Don’t they all seem like characters from Cervantes? Well, there is a serious point to this post – the double standards, corruption and sheer lack of talent and integrity that is today’s Australian Federal Police (AFP).
Mind you a lack of talent should not be confused with a lack of ambition. Let’s take a look at a week in the life of the AFP. Let’s look at the week that has just passed, a week in which a NSW Supreme Court jury found that former AFP officer and senior investigator with the NSW Crime Commission Mark Standen, 54, conspired to import at least 300kg ($120 million worth) of pseudoephedrine and took part in the supply of 300kg of the substance. He was also convicted of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. Not bad for a day’s work, if you can get away with it, which in Standen’s case he didn’t … at least this time!
Over the course of the Standen trial the NSW Supreme Court heard evidence about systemic corruption within the AFP, corruption that I have been banging on about on Blak and Black for quite some time now. Corruption that has resulted in the fraudulent and malicious prosecution of Captain Fred Martens; a prosecution which resulted in Captain Martens spending nearly three years in jail for a crime that he did not commit; a prosecution which enabled the AFP to continue justifying their existence and per diems in PNG. The kidnapping and illegal rendition to Australia of Mr Julian Moti QC, the former Attorney-General of the Solomon Islands, enabling the AFP via RAMSI to justify their on-going existence and per diems in the Solomon Islands. The malicious and corrupt prosecution of Jill Courtney, enabling the AFP to continue its extravagant expenditure and per diems associated with their ‘get tough’ stance on alleged Middle Eastern (read Muslim for Middle Eastern) crime.
But, let’s not stop there. There are also the allegations from Portugal that the AFP and the ADF fomented unrest in Dili, justifying their on-going existence and per diems in Timor-Leste. Added to this are allegations that the AFP are directly or indirectly involved in the importation of drugs from Columbia, allegations that might be more fully explored in upcoming trials associated with the Standen matter and the to date unconfirmed allegations that they are involved in the importation of drugs from other regions.
Before moving onto my actual topic for this post, AFP double standards in the Martens case, it is worth considering the impact that the politicization of the AFP is having on the lives of every-day Australians. The illegal rendition to Australia of Moti was clearly politically motivated, a political motivation which flowed from Moti’s well publicized intention of expelling RAMSI from the Solomon Islands. An intention which, if carried into effect, would have resulted in among other things an on-going liability by the Australian Government to payout various contracts to RAMSI associated companies. A liability which could have run into many hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, remembering that the contracts with the RAMSI companies go until 2013 and Moti’s intention was to expel RAMSI at the end 2007, exposing the Australian Government to a potential liability of half the value of the original contracts.
Added to all of this is the situation with the former Commissioner for ACT Revenue, who was sacked, racially abused, intimidated and prosecuted by the AFP at the direction of the Australian Labor Party (ALP), because of his attempts to expose the ALP for its collusion in the theft and transfer of public monies from ACT Treasury to the ALP to fund party political activities.
Fred Martens – a case of AFP double standards
The same week that witnessed former AFP officer Mark Standen convicted of conspiring to import at least 300kg ($120 million worth) of pseudoephedrine and conspiring to pervert the course of justice also witnessed Captain Fred Martens in the Queensland Court of Appeal. In short, Captain Marten’s is appealing a decision by Queensland Supreme Court Justice Stanley Jones to strike out Captain Marten’s claim for damages on the basis that it was filed under the wrong legislation.
Justice Jones ruled the claim for $45 million should have been filed under Queensland legislation rather than federal law and the document had “shown little regard” for the rules governing legal procedures.
The claim, he said, should have been filed under Queensland’s Personal Injury Proceedings Act and because Mr Martens’ legal team had not followed the procedures required by that legislation, it must be dismissed. He also ordered Mr Martens to pay the legal costs of the government in relation to the claim.
This is all very fascinating given the comments made by the Queensland Court of Appeal when it quashed Captain Martens’ conviction for child sex tourism. This is incidentally, the same underlying charge for which Moti was illegally rendered to Australia to face trial on.
The girl, or should I say woman, at the centre of the allegations against Captain Fred Martens’ is one Daphne Musa. According to Blak and Black’s ‘wantoks’, Ms Musa is currently living at Gorobe Settlement, 2 Mile Hill, Babili Port Moresby, where she is happily married with 3 Children.
What, or rather who, is missing from this picture is the baby girl born to Ms Musa at Cairns Base Hospital in 1998. The child born to Ms Musa in 1998 is the product of a relationship she had with Australian citizen, Mr Tom Long, who was working in Port Moresby in the mid to late 1990s.
Information made available to Blak and Black indicates that when Ms Musa arrived in Australia to give birth at Cairns Base Hospital in 1998 she carried with her a PNG passport which recorded her year of birth as being 1981, making her about seventeen when she gave birth in 1998 and about sixteen when she fell pregnant to Australian citizen Tom Long in PNG.
The PNG birth certificate tendered into evidence by the AFP at Captain Fred Martens’ criminal trial for the same Daphne Musa recorded her year of birth as 1983. This would have made her about sixteen when she gave birth in 1998 and about fifteen when she fell pregnant to Australian citizen Tom Long in PNG.
The charge brought against Captain Martens relating to Ms Musa was that between the first and the thirty-first of December 1997, Fred Martens had sexual intercourse with Daphne Musa. I agree that this would be a very serious crime if it were true, but it wasn’t true, at least not in the case of Captain Martens.
So significant was the prosecution of Mr. Martens to the Australian Government that it rated a significant mention in the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions Annual Report 2006 – 2007:
Frederick Martens was an Australian citizen and pilot, aged 56 years of age at the time of the offences. He flew aircraft carrying passengers and cargo to and from Bensbach Wildlife Lodge in the Western Providence of Papua New Guinea. He had a business relationship with a traditional land owner of that area and had offered to arrange for the education in Australia of the land owner’s daughter, who was aged 14 years. On the pretence of flying the girl from the remote village Morehead to Port Moresby to arrange for her travel documentation, Martens took her to a Port Moresby club and then back to his house in Port Moresby. He had sexual intercourse with her on a date between 10 September 2001 and 16 September 2001.
Martens was charged with having sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16 years, while outside Australia in Papua New Guinea, contrary to section 50BA of the Crimes Act 1914.
Martens pleaded not guilty to the offence. After a fully contested committal, the matter was committed for trial to the Supreme Court of Queensland in Cairns. The trial commenced on 23 October 2007 and lasted five days. Martens was found guilty.
On 30 October 2006, the defendant was sentenced to five and a half years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of three years. The defendant appealed against his conviction and sentence, but on 20 April 2007 the Queensland Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal. The Court described the girl as ‘an unsophisticated village girl still at primary school in a remote part of Papua New Guinea’. It noted that the maximum penalty was 17 years imprisonment and that the defendant had not cooperated with the administration of justice and had showed no remorse. The Court described the defendant’s behaviour as ‘exploitative, predatory and despicable’ and noted that the offences had ‘a very significant detrimental impact’ on the girl.
The Court described the defendant’s behavior as ‘exploitative, predatory and despicable’. Again, I can only agree with the court sentiments, if the charges were true
and the prosecution not tainted by others self-interest. My question is, if Captain Marten’s behavior was so ‘exploitative, predatory and despicable’ as to warrant a lengthy passage in the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions Annual Report 2006 – 2007, why has Tom Long never been prosecuted for the same crime as Captain Martens, given that on the basis of the passport tendered into evidence by the AFP his conduct must also have been ‘exploitative, predatory and despicable’.
Could it be that the Martens’ prosecution was political? Or is it simply a matter of fact, which the AFP is and was then well aware of, that Ms Musa’s real date of birth is 1981, making her sixteen when she apparently had sex with Tom Long? If so, the AFP would also have known that she was at least sixteen and not fourteen when she allegedly had sex with Captain Martens. So Commissioner Negus, which one is it?
My wantoks assure me that Ms Musa’s actual year of birth is 1981 not 1983. This has been confirmed by her mother.
Before I go on, it should be noted that as a prelude to his annual report, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions notes that:
The DPP is responsible for the prosecution of crimes against the laws of the Commonwealth and the recovery of the proceeds of that crime. The DPP is independent of the political process…
… In considering whether to prosecute any one of those referrals, the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth is applied. The Prosecution Policy contains a twostep test which must be met before prosecution action can be pursued. First, there must be sufficient evidence provided to the DPP by the investigative agency to justify the conclusion that there is a reasonable prospect of obtaining a conviction. If that first limb of the test is met, then the matter will be prosecuted unless it is not in the public interest to do so. Public interest factors, which are set out in the Prosecution Policy, are numerous, but it is fair to say that if the matter involves an allegation of serious wrongdoing, it is unlikely that the DPP will decide that the matter should not be prosecuted in the public interest.
I take it from the Director of Public Prosecutions’ comments that 2011 or 2012 will witness an investigation into, and the prosecution of, all those AFP officers who are alleged to have colluded to pervert the course of justice in the Martens’ case. Or will an organisation that prides itself on being “independent of the political process” become the willing playing of AFP and ALP corruption?