A police chief who ignores evidence! Aint that just fine and dandy? I can find no mention of Chief Jabbour on the AFP site but Jabbour is a Lebanese surname and Ramzi is a Muslim given name so I am guessing that Chief Jabbour is a Lebanese Muslim. So his appointment could well have been an affirmative action one -- in which case we must not be surprised that it was a low-quality appointment. Maybe we should be more careful about appointing Muslims as police chiefs. The world has after all had a few other problems from Muslims this century too. There are quite a few things about Muslim thinking that are stupid from a Western viewpoint
The Australian Federal Police's counter-terrorism chief "lost objectivity" when assessing the case against Mohamed Haneef, ignoring or cynically interpreting evidence that strongly pointed to the former terror suspect's innocence. The long-awaited report into the Haneef affair by retired NSW Supreme Court judge John Clarke QC criticises the AFP's lead investigator, the then national manager for counter-terrorism, Ramzi Jabbour, as "unable to see that the evidence he regarded as highly incriminating in fact amounted to very little".
Mr Clarke accuses Mr Jabbour, who was sent to Queensland from Canberra to take carriage of the 700-person investigation, of selectively, even cynically, interpreting the evidence against Dr Haneef. He is found to have downplayed facts that may have weakened the case against the Indian doctor - such as Dr Haneef's attempts to contact a police officer in England after failed terror attacks in London and Glasgow in June last year. Mr Clarke further criticises Mr Jabbour for dismissing the concerns of his junior investigators, who concluded that Dr Haneef's professed ignorance about the British terror attacks was genuine.
The Clarke report, released yesterday, criticises senior bureaucrats and police for failing to pass on information pointing to the innocence of Dr Haneef, who was held in custody for nearly a month, and for viewing the most benign evidence as suspicious.
The report makes 10 recommendations, but does not call for disciplinary action. It was accompanied by a suite of changes announced by Attorney-General Robert McClelland, including a new statutory authority to review terror laws, parliamentary oversight of the AFP and extending the remit of the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security to probe the AFP's conduct. The report clears then immigration minister Kevin Andrews of improper conduct in cancelling Dr Haneef's visa, but expresses "mystification" as to why Mr Andrews did it directly after Dr Haneef was granted bail.
The Immigration Department is criticised for failing to directly pass to Mr Andrews an ASIO assessment that found no evidence against Dr Haneef. Instead, the ASIO assessments were conveyed to Mr Andrews via his chief-of-staff, Michael Toby - one of the few witnesses who refused to give evidence to the government-ordered inquiry. Another witness who did not give evidence was John Howard's senior adviser, Jamie Fox, who did not receive permission from the former prime minister to give a statement to the inquiry.
Mr Clarke also finds it "troubling" that Howard government attorney-general Philip Ruddock did not seek to reconcile the conflicting assessments of Dr Haneef by the AFP and ASIO, despite both agencies falling under his ministerial responsibility.
But the report clears the AFP of acting in the service of its political masters and notes the investigation was "bedevilled" by its reliance on overseas information. Dr Haneef was arrested on July 2 last year after his mobile phone SIM card was linked to failed terror attacks in Britain. He was charged with a single count of recklessly supporting a terror organisation, but the charge was withdrawn 25 days later for lack of evidence. Mr Clarke finds the AFP was arguably within its rights to arrest Dr Haneef at Brisbane Airport, given the information available. But he criticises Mr Jabbour for ignoring the concerns of more junior officers.
Dr Haneef, who is expected to seek compensation, said an apology from the Government would be "very welcome".
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