Friday, November 26, 1982


(Other allegations in the transcripts are that Detective Sergeant Rogerson paid off another witness by giving him heroin, and that Warren Lanfranchi was murdered because he had ripped-off certain members of the police force in relation to a heroin deal.)

Legislative Assembly

Friday, 26 November, 1982



Mr DOWD (Lane Cove), Leader of the Opposition [10.35]: I move: That it is a matter of urgent necessity that this House should forthwith consider the following motion, viz.: That this House calls on the Attorney-General to institute a judicial inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Warren Charles Lanfranchi on 27 June, 1981, and Lanfranchi's relationship with drug running activities involving the Harry S. Baggs Group of Companies.

This matter is urgent because of the failure of two Ministers to provide any sort of reasonable answers to three questions put to them in this House over the past two days. This failure has added to the speculation and allegations circulating in the community about the death of Warren Lanfranchi and the connection between his death and major crimes such as drug-running and widespread corruption. It is also urgent because the Attorney-General has had before him since 4th December, 1981, a request for a judicial inquiry into the death of Warren Lanfranchi from two barristers, Ian Barker of Queen" Counsel and Tony Young. Yet the Attorney-General has still not directly responded to that request. The matter is made more urgent by reports that the Attorney-General has received advice from the Senior Crown Advocate, Mr Roger Court of Queen's Counsel, also recommending a judicial inquiry. The Attorney General has made suggestions only about holding a second coroner's inquest. The narrowness of such an inquest and the restrictions on admissibility of evidence at such an inquest have led this array of senior counsel to recommend against the Attorney General's proposal and to urge a judicial inquiry. A second inquest cannot provide the answers which this case requires.

There are a series of unanswered questions about Lanfranchi's death. The coroner rejected hearing evidence from a number of potential key witnesses: from journalists who conferred with police at the scene of the shooting, and who published verbatim accounts of comments made by Detective Sergeant Rogerson immediately after the shooting; from Lanfranchi's de facto wife, Miss Huckstepp, who knew the identity of a person with whom she had seen Lanfranchi dealing in heroin and who was already a central witness in the case; and from Lanfranchi's father, Keith, regarding the police raid on his home on 11th June, 1981, and regarding a conversation with his son on 21st June when Warren Lanfranchi said that he was in trouble with Detective Sergeant Rogerson and would have to borrow money to get Rogerson off his back. Similar evidence from Sallie-Anne Huckstepp was also ruled irrelevant.

Although the coroner allowed evidence from a witness D attacking the character of Warren Lanfranchi, comparable statements from two other criminals making serious allegations about certain police officers were ruled irrelevant. These problems demonstrate the inability of a coroner's inquest, with its restricted terms of reference, to get to the heart of this matter. In considering the urgency of this motion, the House should also be aware that the coroner's inquiry was not able to investigate the key event which led to the interest of police in Lanfranchi-a heroin robbery on 6th June, 1981. There are allegations that this heroin was stolen by Lanfranchi from a police courier. A major participant in that event was not called to give evidence, nor was a person who is alleged to have informed Lanfranchi that the police were after him for the heroin robbery. The person who drove Lanfranchi to the rendezvous with the so-called informer, witness G, was not called. A civilian eyewitness to the shooting was not required to give evidence, after a first attempt to subpoena that witness failed.

Further, several new facts and other evidence have become available since the inquest. For example, three transcripts of tape recordings of key figures are now available, at least one of which casts serious doubt on the credibility of a key police witness. Other allegations in the transcripts are that Detective Sergeant Rogerson paid off another witness by giving him heroin, and that Warren Lanfranchi was murdered because he had ripped-off certain members of the police force in relation to a heroin deal. In the opinion of Mr Barker, Q.C., and Mr Young, the coroner's inquest "had all the appearances of being run by the police force". The statements for the coroner were taken mainly by officers of the Armed Hold-up Squad. Detective Sergeant Rogerson helped to take a statement from a most significant witness, the man referred to at the inquest as G, a police informant who is a notorious criminal. During the hearing and on the night before the informant gave his evidence, Rogerson called to see him at his home, gave the informant a copy sf the statements that the informant had previously made, and talked with him about the case.

This matter is also urgent because of the connection between the death of Warren Lanfranchi and the activities of the Hany S, Baggs group of companies. Lanfranchi was driven to the scene of his death by a person known at the coroner's inquiry as witness G. The car was owned by Fanhaven Pty Limited, one of the Harry S. Baggs companies. G himself is a long time associate of the major shareholder in Harry S. Baggs-James Richard White. This week the House has heard the type of answers given by the Minister for Police-he does not answer questions at all. The House should also be aware that witness G in this case also appeared in the Woodward Royal commission, where he was referred to as witness B.L. It is alleged, Mr Speaker, that B.L., or G, however we wish to refer to him, is in faet the notorious Sydney criminal, Neddy Smith, a dose associate of William Sinclair, whose activities are well known to this House. Sinelair has many significant associates, as the Premier would well know

The matter is urgent because the Attorney-General informed this House in April of this year that he was having urgent investigations carried out into the activities of the Harry S. Baggs companies. He told this House that White: had a history of convictions for stealing and false pretences and had at one time been a professional shoplifter. In July this year Mr Justice Powell, in the Equity Division of the Supreme Court, described White as the eminence grise behind the six Harry S. Baggs companies and as a person who will do and will say anything which suits his immediate purpose, whatever may be the legality or otherwise of the action taken or the truth or otherwise of the statement made. In April, also, the Attorney-General, in referring to the advertising for the Harry S. Baggs companies on Radio Station ZKY, gave the specious answer that "the ethical standards of that company (2KY) are such that I am sure they would have no association with persons involved in drug trafficking". Of course, there was a dispute between the left and right factions of the Labor Party, and the Hon. B. 1. Unsworth considers 2KY his own personal property.

This matter is urgent because Mr White has been allowed to go missing, despite the Attorney-General's assurances five months earlier that the investigations were urgent. White's passport was used, Eve months after these assurances, by a person leaving the country in September---one month before the Harry S. Baggs companies went into liquidation. Yet it is an obvious and early step in any such case to seek the withdrawal of a passport by the Commonwealth authorities. Both the AttorneyGeneral, on Wednesday, and the Minister for Police, yesterday, have totally failed to explain to this House why such action was not taken in this case. Instead, the House has been treated to the undignified spectacle of the Attorney-General trying to duck the issue and pass the blame on to the police and, by implication, his own ministerial colleague.

The Minister for Police, for his part, has failed to answer in any way the questions I put to him yesterday. He merely asserted that the substance of the evidence, notwithstanding the inadequacies I have mentioned today, has been referred to the Woodward and Stewart Royal commissions. But the terms of reference of the Stewart Royal Commission are too narrow to help in this case and, worse still, the Woodward Royal Commission went out of existence about a year ago-before Warren Lanfranchi was killed. Is this the sort of response the Minister feels is appropriate to give this House?

The matter is urgent because the Attorney-General has not acted with sufficient speed and diligence in pursuing the major figures behind the Harry S, Baggs group and the Lanfranchi killing. The Attorney-General has refused to respond to the qinion of leading barristers. He has refused to ensure that the deficiencies in the coroner's inquest are overcome, and has refused to act on subsequent related developments of a most serious nature. The Government's dilatory approach to these matters should be of grave concern to all honourable members of this House. How many years longer must we wait to have revealed the association between Sinclair, the Harry S. Baggs goup of companies, Rogerson and his group, and the killing that has occurred? Obviously only a resolution of this House will ensure a proper investigation of the matters raised in the House this week.

Mr WIYAN (Bass Hill), Premier and Minister for Mineral Resources f10.431: It is regrettable that the Leader of the Opposition, in the obvious absence of the Attorney-General 

Mr Rozzoli: Is the Attorney-General running way? 

Mr WWN: Et is regettable that in that cir~amstance the Leader of the Opposition chose to move ohis motion this morning, for I am certain that the Attorney-General would be quite prepared to take issue with him in relation to the motion. 

Mr Dowd: The Minister for Police and Emergency Services is in the House, 

Mr WRAN: In response to the totally uncalled for interjection by the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, may I say that the Attorney-General is in Hobart today, chairing a meeting of Attorneys-General of all the States and the Commonwealth. In other words, the Attorney-General is performing his official duties as chairman of the committee of all Attorneys-General in relation to the National Companies and Securities Commission. 

Mr Rozzoli: The Attorney-General, the Leader of the House, knew the House would sit today. He should be here. 

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to order. 

Mr WRAN : The Leader of the Opposition made many assertions and startling allegations. How much is fact and how much is fiction, I do not know. 

Mr Schipp: Then the Government should agree to an inquiry into this matter. 

Mr WRAN: Perhaps the first inquiry will relate to the affairs of the honourable member for Wagga Wagga. 


Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Wagga Wagga to order. 

Mr WRAN; As I do not know how many of the startling allegations made by the Leader of the Opposition are fact and how many are fiction, I propose to bring those matters to the notice of the Attorney-General. Doubtless the Attorney-General will take the advice of law officers in relation to the matter. I shall ask the AttorneyGeneral to report to the House in due course. I do not know what matters are confidential and what matters will be, or have been, brought before the courts by the police or officers of the Corporate Affairs Commission and so on.

May I say that there was a spiteful and unnecessary reference to the Hon. B. J. Unsworth and radio station 2KY. Like the rest of the New South Wales public, from time to time I watch television, and have therefore seen the Harry S. Baggs advertisements on a number of occasions on television stations. No one has suggested that the television stations did anything improper by accepting those advertisements. I recall that when there was suggestion of improprietry on the part of that group of companies, and that was brought to the notice of radio station 2KY, the advertisements were cancelled. 


Mr WRAN: I do not know whether the Leader of the Opposition would make an allegation that radio station 2KY or the Hon. B. J. Unsworth has done anything improper. The fact is that the advertisements ceased to be broadcast. I thought the Hon. B. J. Unsworth acted promptly and properly in relation to the matter. I want to make it clear that I am certain the Attorney-General will examine the allegations and give them such weight as they deserve. I wish to say something else, because there is an impression in the Parliament, at least in the minds of some honourable members, that the Attorney-General is sifting through a huge number of files, poring over them and examining every word on every page, acting as if he were in a vacuum. 

The reality is that the Attorney-General of this State and the Attorneys-General of all other States and the Commonwealth have the assistance of their Solicitors-General and the various legal officers of the Solicitors-General and Crown Solicitors as well as the assistance of the Bar and the legal profession generally in relation to important matters. The continual suggestion that somehow the first law officer of the State impedes investigations is, quite honesty, beyond me. Anyone with a smattering of knowledge of the way in which the legal profession works and how the office of the AttorneyGeneral functions knows that it is absolute nonsense to keep suggesting that somehow or other the fist law officer of the State can act improperly in the ways in which it has often been suggested in this House. The sooner this sort of nonsense is stopped, the better. It reflects poorly on Opposition members, especially on a lawyer, as the Leader of the Opposition is, in a sort of way. It is about time members of this House understood the way that the office of the Attorney-General functions. These constant imputations are deplorable. 


Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to order. 

Mr WRAN: The Opposition is saying that the police are crooks and that the magistrate; who conducted the inquest was either a crook or inefficient or incompetent. Why is it that everyone Opposition members speak about is either a crook or incompetent. I cannot understand that conspiratorial mentality. 

Mr Punch: They have been dealing with the Premier too long. 

Mr WRAN: Does the Leader of the National Party want me to start on him? I could give his history pre-Gollins or in regard to offshore coal loaders and milk quotas. If the Leader of the National Party wants to engage in a little bit of mudslinging, I could talk about his performance, which is the worst performance in the history of this Home. 
Mr Punch: The Premier may do that at any time. 

Mr T. J. Moore: One could drive a fleet of Volvos through the holes in the Premier's argument. 

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the honourable member for Gordon to order. 

Mr WRAN: It is deplorable that the integrity and reputation of the principal law officer of the Stat------- 

Mr Punch: What integrity? 

Mr WRAN: -his advisers and the Solicitor General are constantly attacked by Opposition members, who are willing to say anything about anyone, and never stop doing so. It is absolutely deplorable for them to attack the integrity and competence of the magistrate who conducted the inquest. According to Opposition members everyone is either a crook or they do not know what they axe ddng. I know nothing of the facts of this mattes, apart from the bits I have read in the press from time to time and the little I have gleaned from questions that have been asked in the House. The matters raised by the Leader of the Opposition will be referred to the Attorney-General, who will obtain advice from his law officers. I have no doubt he will give the House the results of that. Urgency is refused. 
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