Wednesday, May 11, 1994

Royal Commission Into New South Wales Police Service

Royal Commission Into New South Wales Police Service

Extract Suspension of Standing and Sessional Orders 11 May 1994

Mr HATTON: No relation. He, frighteningly enough, was the chief investigator to the Woodward Royal Commission after the death of Donald Mackay and his job was to assist the Royal Commissioner with investigations into the mafia in the Riverina area. Others included John Openshaw, former detective sergeant; Nelson Rowatt Chad, former detective inspector; Bill McDonnell, former detective inspector; Kenneth Selwyn, former detective senior sergeant; Baden Brown, former detective sergeant; John James, former superintendent; Colin John Perrin, former deputy commissioner; Tracey Perrin, believed to be a current serving senior constable; John William Duff, former detective sergeant; Roger Caleb Rogerson, former detective sergeant; Norman Maroney, current serving assistant commissioner; Russell Cook, current serving assistant commissioner; Glen Johns, then serving, now former senior constable; Reginald Mahoney, believed to be a current serving superintendent; Daryl Wilson, believed to be a current serving chief inspector; Trevor Gore, believed to be a current serving inspector; William Hooke, former senior constable; Wilfred "Billy" Tunstall, then serving, now former senior sergeant; Tony Murphy, former Queensland police assistant commissioner; Alan Smith, then serving, now former sergeant; John Haeta, former New South Wales detective sergeant and former Northern Territory police detective.

Honourable members who know anything about corruption in the New South Wales Police Service will recognise the names of those who have since been charged, some convicted, some discharged from the service, and those who left the service under suspicious circumstances or whilst under investigation. All information concerning suspicious circumstances surrounding these officers was conveyed to the New South Wales police commissioner on more than one occasion. Project Buckshot examined the activities of and the links between a significant number of well and lesser known criminals and persons of criminal repute in New South Wales and elsewhere, one of which was Abe Gilbert Saffron and another Bruce Hardin. People who have been in this Parliament for a long time will remember Bruce Hardin, as will former Attorney General John Dowd, because he received a crime intelligence unit report on the antecedents of George Freeman, which was leaked by Tony Lauer when he was in the crime intelligence unit and tabled in part in this Parliament.

Whilst Project Buckshot was originally a wholly Australian Bureau of Criminal Intelligence conducted probe, regular briefings were given to Police Commissioner John Avery; the then Assistant 

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Commissioner, Professional Responsibility, Tony Lauer; and Chief Superintendent Cole. ABCI officers, whom I could name, briefed senior New South Wales police on more than one occasion on operations that had been conducted by elements of that unit under the specific direction of Chief Superintendent Cole, who was then Staff Officer to police commissioner John Avery. I understand that the ABCI in Canberra has much of this information on file. Arrangements were made in 1990 for ABCI officers to attend Commissioner Avery's office. Present were Commissioner Avery, Assistant Commissioner Lauer, Chief Superintendent Cole, ABCI officers, Australian Federal police and Northern Territory and New South Wales police. An analysis and overview were given, with recommendations.

A special unit of four officers was set up under Operation Seca. In early 1991 New South Wales police Minister Pickering was briefed over a period of days with others, including Barry Thorley, who was then a member of the board of the State Crime Commission and later to become chairman of the Police Board. The House should remember that former Judge Thorley, as chairman of that board, was also in a position to vet officers who were given promotion. Operation Seca came to an end and was taken over by the New South Wales Crime Commission, led by Detective Inspector Schuberg. Schuberg, I believe, later worked for the Independent Commission Against Corruption. This operation was then to be called Operation Asset. The Hon. Ted Pickering had every faith in Schuberg, who later worked for the ICAC. Schuberg and Lauer had, as arranged by Sturgess, briefed Pickering when Pickering was in Opposition. Even then Lauer was the politician. Minister Pickering's faith in Schuberg may well have been misplaced: his faith in Lauer certainly was.

Pickering as Minister briefed the press in closed session. Members of the press will remember this - it was dramatic. Minister Pickering was seeking their co-operation. He had every faith in this high level operation that was going to expose a network of corrupt police in New South Wales. As part of Operation Asset, Diane Elphinstone and Mr Lionel Radom, civilian analysts attached to the commission, were provided to access all the holdings from Project Buckshot and briefed thoroughly by Detective Sergeant Smith. After Schuberg, Elphinstone and Radom had gained access to ABCI holdings, the relationship between the ABCI and the New South Wales Crime Commission cooled, I am reliably informed. The ABCI felt that it was being obstructed from free access to current information. Surveillance operations on what were large and corrupt networks of police were scaled down. The heady days when the press were called together and given secret briefings came to nought.

Pickering was duped and misled. Operation Asset was white-anted by senior New South Wales police. It was progressively narrowed to become a skeleton of its former self. Operation Asset was structured from the outset to establish one issue only: the existence of links between Keith John Charles Kelly and narcotics trafficking. This was to the almost exclusion of other persons - and the House should remember that the corruption was widespread and that there were a number of tainted New South Wales police officers. I believe the number of officers was so great that this operation simply had to be curtailed. The enormity of the curtailment and the final closure of Operation Asset can be seen when, for the sake of brevity, I refer to some of the information shared between the law enforcement agencies.

ABCI officers prepared a report into a series of allegations against Wilfred "Bill" Tunstall, then a serving senior sergeant attached to Parramatta police station. These allegations, received from a number of sources, alleged involvement by Tunstall and other police officers in a number of suspicious deaths, including the murder of a prostitute at Strathfield in the early 1980s and the apparent suicide, but alleged murder, in 1990 of Noel Patrick Hogan, a former police officer turned private investigator. We are not talking about remote periods of time, we are not talking about history; we are talking about the graduation of officers into the senior ranks of the New South Wales Police Service. We are talking about what they know, what they did not tell the parliamentary committee, what they did tell their Minister and the way in which they duped Minister Pickering. I do not say that Tunstall is one of the officers who graduated, however.

The allegations further claim involvement by Tunstall, Roger Rogerson and John Haeta in the supply of heroin to prostitutes and that those men had been actively involved in facilitating the importation of heroin through Darwin and its distribution throughout Australia. Additional allegation surrounded Tunstall's involvement in the disappearance of a used car salesman-cum-heroin dealer named Harvey Francois Jones. These allegations included that Jones was lured into a meeting with Rogerson and John Openshaw - two notorious names now - in order to pay a bribe to have a firearms offence dropped and that he was abducted and thrown from a light aircraft somewhere off the coast. The allegations included that Tunstall had been involved in the cover-up of the facts.

The report raised points of concern over Tunstall's involvement in each incident, such as to warrant additional inquiry by the New South Wales Police Service in order to either substantiate the allegations or clear Tunstall once and for all. Director Askew, who had then taken over, I think from Mr Chalker, as the director of the ABCI, had hand delivered the report, code named Probe Viscount, to Commissioner Tony Lauer personally. Some several months later Director Askew received a visit from Detective Chief Superintendent Merv Schloeffel, Detective Superintendent Bob Myatt - now becoming well known to members of this Parliament, both through the Frenchs Forest incident and through the ICAC - and another detective inspector. All those officers were from the New South Wales Internal Police Security Unit. 

They attended the ABCI to  Page 2291

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