Tuesday, December 24, 2002


In 1978 and 1979 allegations arose that the Chief Stipendiary Magistrate Murray Farquhar was associating with criminal identities, in particular, that he had been attending the Randwick races with George Freeman and Dr Nick Paltos. In a 1978 NSW Parliamentary Select Committee hearing, testimony was received from the Attorney General’s Department that Freeman was either number one or two in the underworld, and that he controlled a large gambling network of more than twenty phone betting agencies with 200 telephones across Sydney.133 Paltos was later convicted of conspiracy to import 7.2 tons of Lebanese cannabis valued at $40 million. In 1986, after pleading guilty, he was sentenced for 20 years.

In 1992 Paltos was convicted of the offence of conspiring to pervert the course of justice. He apparently hatched this particular plan while serving the previous sentence. His cooffender in this case was Roger Rogerson.134

2.5 Policing in NSW 1970s to 1980s: The Barbecue Set

Police corruption within NSW was dominated at this time by a group of people reported to have included corrupt police, casino operators, SP bookmakers and a couple of politicians who held regular Sunday barbecues.140 Evidence tendered in the Wood Royal Commission indicated that the Barbecue Set, as they were known, included senior figures from CIB, who were very powerful within the Police Force.141

A prominent member of the Barbecue Set was Detective Sergeant Roger Rogerson
of the Armed Hold-Up Squad.142

This period was marked by a strong network of corrupt police, whose members wined and dined members of the Police Association, had strong influence with the media and were skilled at using those connections. These strong ties enabled those police who were so minded to maintain influence within the Police Force even after they had left it. Such influence was used to foster corrupt relations with criminals and to gain access to confidential information, especially by those former officers who became private inquiry agents. Also typical of this period was the expectation of officers that there would be no aggressive investigation of internal complaints. Wood remarked that this expectation lingered well into the early 1990s.143

From page 33 - 34

Roger ‘the Dodger’ Rogerson

By his own service record Detective Sergeant Roger Rogerson was a talented officer. In 1967 he became a partner in the Special Crime Squad while simultaneously he joined the Emergency Squad (later known as Special Weapons and Operations squad).171 

Rogerson worked on some of the biggest cases of the time – the Toecutter Gang murder and the Whisky Au Go-Go Fire in Brisbane. During this time he also made a number of important contacts in the criminal world, including Lennie McPherson, who was described in court at the time as ‘having the reputation of being a leader of organised crime in this state’.172

In 1974 Rogerson joined the Armed Hold-Up Squad and in an encounter that earnt Rogerson great credit, that same year he arrested a Melbourne robber called Christopher Dale Flannery. 173 

Rogerson’s career success continued and his position in the Squad put him at the centre of crimes of great importance. In 1976 he recruited an informant called Arthur ‘Neddy ‘Smith, who at that time was reportedly linked to a blooming heroin importation and distribution network.174

By 1978 Rogerson’s reputation was such that he was gaining convictions on the strength of unsigned records of interview with prisoners. Despite not being connected to Special Branch, Rogerson was brought in to interview Ananda Marga sect members when they were arrested by police for suspicion of conspiracy to murder following the Hilton Bombing. Tim Anderson later claimed that the confession Rogerson extracted was fabricated, and that he and others were convicted because Rogerson verballed them.175

In 1980, after being arrested by Rogerson, escaped armed robber Gary Purdey claimed that Rogerson assaulted him, prevented him from ringing his solicitor and typed up to five different records of interview. For this arrest, Rogerson was awarded the Peter Mitchell Award for the most outstanding piece of police work in any phase of duty.176

In 1981 Rogerson shot and killed a drug dealer called Warren Lanfranchi. The Coroner found that Lanfranchi had been shot while Rogerson was trying to arrest him, the jury having declined to find that the shot had been fired in self-defence.177

This event marked the beginning of the end of Rogerson’s career in NSW Police. In late 1982, the State Opposition leader John Dowd claimed in Parliament that Lanfranchi had been shot because he had ripped off police over a heroin deal. Rogerson supposedly rang Dowd at home to protest his innocence, even passing on a message through Dowd’s daughter.178

In September 1983 it is alleged that Rogerson approached Detective Sergeant Michael Drury of the Drug Squad to offer him a bribe of between $15,000 to $25,000 to drop charges against a Melbourne drug dealer called Alan Williams. Drury refused.179 

Rogerson apparently made a further series of approaches to Drury about this matter, each time Drury refused his advances. Then on 6 June 1984 Drury was shot while in his own home. It was subsequently believed that Williams, using Rogerson as negotiator, had hired Flannery to kill Drury.180

The initial investigation of the shooting lead by Superintendent Angus MacDonald who had trained Rogerson at Central Station in 1964. 181 was inconclusive and generated a whole new round of accusations. Charges were brought against Rogerson for attempting to bribe Drury, but Rogerson was found not guilty at trial in 1985. 182  Investigations were reopened in 1985 which lead to Rogerson’s dismissal from the Force in 1986 for impairing the efficiency of the force and improperly associating with known criminals. Criminal charges were also brought for attempting to pervert the course of justice and he was convicted in March 1990 for conspiracy. 183  In 1989 Rogerson was charged with conspiracy to murder Drury, but that charge was dismissed in trial in 1989.184

Rogerson denies he ever acted corruptly.

From page 36 

In 1993, the Independent Commission Against Corruption produced a significant report, known as Milloo, into the relationship between certain police and criminals. The ICAC further outlined Rogerson’s corrupt activities, looked at some allegations of ‘fixed’ police prosecutions and examined the treatment of a Police Service whistleblower.202 

Despite making quite specific allegations of ‘greenlighting’, no prosecutions followed. Some prosecutions and internal disciplinary proceedings did commence. However, the main outcome from Milloo was the disbanding of the Gaming Squad in 1994 and the adoption of a new Informants Management Plan and Internal Informers Policy for the Service. A new case management system was also introduced.203

From page 49 

The ICAC also uses seconded police officers as investigators. Section 3.1: Pre- Wood Oversight System of this report discusses some of the problems associated with this practice. The risk of seconded police officers leaking information still appears to be current. For example, the ICAC’s 1998 investigation into Liverpool Council was compromised because a police officer seconded to the ICAC passed information on through an intermediary police officer that alerted one of the targets of the investigation, former police officer Roger Rogerson. This matter was ultimately investigated by the PIC in Operation Oslo. Such compromises to security raise broader issues especially in relation to risk management and the credibility of targeted covert operations against police.

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