Australia's arrogant secret police again

Let's be glad that they do eventually have to substantiate their claims in court. On this occasion it was a court order that would have revealed their improper activities that caused them to drop a case. They couldn't risk facing the light of day

NEARLY five years after the nation's most infamous former detective, Roger Rogerson, was arrested while appearing on the comedy circuit with Mark "Chopper" Read and former footballer Mark Jackson, the corruption charges against him have been quietly dropped.

The South Australian police case against Mr Rogerson was shelved after disturbing allegations that the nation's most powerful law-enforcement agency had illegally tapped his phone and run a campaign of intimidation and harassment against the NSW ex-detective. The allegations of corruption about the activities of the Australian Crime Commission were considered so serious that the South Australian judge hearing the case reported it to the ACC, which in turn referred it to the corruption watchdog -- the Australian Commission on Law Enforcement Integrity.

Mr Rogerson's lawyer, Paul Kenny, said the results of that corruption investigation had never been made public. "I am concerned about the lack of transparency of any secret inquiry," he said.

Mr Rogerson, now 68 and still working doing the "odd club and pub show", said he was disgusted at the ACC's actions. "These agencies are not answerable to anyone -- they are out of control," he said. "It's just like the old saying, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

A spokesman for the integrity commission said it could not comment on operational matters. However, a secret report believed to be about the complaint was sent to federal Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus. The report dismissed the allegations of illegal activities, but reported "possible breaches of duty" and referred the matter back to the head of the ACC.

Mr Rogerson was arrested in 2004 while on tour with the comedy act Wild Colonial Psychos, in which he, Jacko and Read talked about their life experiences. Mr Rogerson's performances around the country were seen by some as an attempt to remake his persona from a decorated detective gone wrong to a lovable rogue.

Mr Rogerson was sent to prison for six months in 1985 for perverting the course of justice. And he was jailed in 2005 for 2 1/2 years for giving false evidence to the NSW Police Integrity Commission in 2000.

Police had waited for two years until he crossed the border into South Australia before charging him with "attempting to procure the abuse of public office". The South Australian charges related to an alleged approach by Mr Rogerson to a police sergeant to find the whereabouts of former Sydney bikie lawyer Justin Hill. Police alleged that in 2002 he had asked David Lawrence Mullen, 55, to help find Mr Hill's address so he could give it to a friend -- a process server -- who was attempting to serve the former lawyer with a court order.

Mr Mullen also had the charges of abuse of public office against him dropped. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was put on a good behaviour bond in the South Australian District Court. During the preliminary stages of the case, it emerged that the charges arose because the ACC had been tapping Rogerson's phone with what were alleged to be illegal warrants.

Former ACC officer Sam Foster gave a number of affidavits, which were filed in the District Court, alleging that one of his colleagues at the ACC was running covert operations on Mr Rogerson "like a personal vendetta" and had told his colleagues that he would "get Roger".

Foster is in jail after admitting to setting up drug dealers and robbing them, and other offences. But he has been accepted as a credible witness by the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions in a number of successful prosecutions of his co-accused. Foster's affidavits alleged that the ACC had continuously targeted Mr Rogerson over a number of years even though he was not doing anything illegal. "I was most concerned that the particular interception warrants in relation to Mr Rogerson have been improperly obtained and were being reapplied for and granted without proper foundation as no evidence or credible information of substance was forthcoming," he said.

In preparation for the trial, Mr Rogerson's legal team subpoenaed every telephone warrant used by the ACC and the information used to get the warrants. But not one of those subpoenaed documents was presented to the court. And the charges against Mr Rogerson were withdrawn just days before the matter was due to go to trial. Meanwhile, Foster waits in jail, still anxious to give evidence about the activities of the ACC.


Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me (John Ray) here

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