article by SCOTT BALSON
6th April - 10th November 2001
Background note: You should follow this link to "Enemy of the State" for a full on-line briefing on the background to a politically compromised judiciary in Queensland and its implications on the state's democracy.
Note three investigations were initiated by the CJC over eleven months because the police would not respond to the real issue. The first resulted in a botched response from the Queensland Police Service (QPS) in April 2001. The CJC asked the QPS to "please exlain". The QPS demanded that their follow-up response which was rejected by the CJC as not answering the complaint , be censored under "Freedom Of Information" before being released to me. The CJC investigations and the ramifications are detailed below. It is of relevance that this censored letter signed by the Queensland Police Commissioner, R Atkinson, is addressed to the Chairperson of the CJC, Brendam Butler - reflecting the severity of the issues being investigated. When the uncensored version was sent to me in October 2001 - what a remarkable tale unfolded! Days later I received the official CJC report finding that no double standards had been applied by anyone in government. My letter in response and the CJC report can be seen at this link.
As the CJC would not answer my letter in response to their findings I referred the issue to the Parliamentary Criminal Justice Commission who demanded answers from the watchdog in November 2001. A scan of their letter is at this link. Follow up letters in January 2002 from the PCJC reveal its changing focus and the delay it was facing in getting a response from the CJC to their request for answers.
I initially complained to the Criminal Justice Commission about double standards in the judicial system in October 2000. The CJC took up my complaint after their investigations revealed that no police investigation had taken place into the allegation that The Bulletin had broken the law. My complaint questioned the lack of action taken against The Bulletin magazine when compared to the manner in which I was treated after being arrested in July 1999 under the Act later breached by this national Packer magazine. It took just two days, following a complaint by The Courier-Mail, for me to be arrested on the direct written instruction of Labor's Attorney-General, Matt Foley.
On the 27th March 2001 I wrote yet another demand to the Criminal Justice Commission for action to be taken on a formal complaint made by me five months earlier (in October 2000). During the preceding months (November 2000 to March 2001) five written requests for answers had been ignored by Peter Jones of the CJC. This had led me to addressing my demands (letter above) directly to the head of the CJC.This letter, revealing my frustration, apparently did the trick as it prompted the following response....
Scan of page one of the CJC response
Scan of page two of the CJC response
Scan of page three of the CJC response
Page two of the CJC response (see link above) raises three key issues that clearly reflect a politically compromised judiciary.
The first (see red and green lines) on page two of the above scan: The Bulletin magazine will not be charged. The only reason the magazine will not be charged is because the Queensland Police Service took over fourteen months to respond to a formal complaint lodged with them in January 2000. Their belated response to the Department of Public Prosecutions on the 28th March 2001 was made the day after the CJC demanded a response following my numerous requests for an outcome. This was some five months after the QPS had been asked to respond to my complaint that double standards applied. The QPS responded to the CJC enquiry on the 28th March 2001 - the same day that they responded to the DPP recommending charges be laid against The Bulletin. In effect my complaint forced them to respond to a formal complaint. If the QPS had taken note of the CJC when they requested a response in October 2000 The Bulletin could have been charged.
In contrast it took just two days, following a complaint made by The Courier-Mail to the Office of Crown Law, for the Attorney-General to order my arrest under the Act later breached by The Bulletin!
The second (see blue lines) on page two of the scan above: The CJC state that the correct process is for the police to advise the DPP before charges are considered by the Attorney-General. It is clear that the police had not participated in any investigation before I was arrested just two days after The Courier-Mail lodged a complaint with the Office of Crown Law.
The third is the fact, at this stage (see investigation #3 below where the CJC catch on), that the police and CJC completely avoid my allegation about double standards in the application of the law. My press release at this link spells out why this is the case. Interestingly, despite an intense airing over my arrest being given by all the media in Brisbane - they refused to respond to my press release or question why The Bulletin had escaped prosecution (see comments and links below).
The scan on the right is of the offending article carried in The Bulletin. No charges were laid against The Bulletin because of the incompetence of the QPS Solicitor. No withdrawal of the magazine, with a QLD circulation of over 50,000 copies was ordered despite a complaint being lodged on the day it came out. In effect the magazine continued to be sold for a week after a formal complaint had been lodged with the Office of Crown Law. Why didn't the DPP ever order its withdrawal?
The CJC's request for the police to explain why The Bulletin had not been charged dragged on - eventually the CJC were forced to send me the following explanation on the delay:
*Note: The CJC overlooked my request that the police explain why procedures were not followed in the lead up to my arrest (ie no investigation before I was arrested).
In mid-June I was contacted by the CJC's senior solicitor Mike O'Connor who said that they had at last received a three page report from the police. He said that he had recommended to his immediate superior, Helen Couper, (second in charge at the CJC) that the police be asked to respond to the allegations raised by me in my response to the first report dated 2nd April. The latest police report had apparently skirted around the issues relating to my arrest.
2nd July: Confirmation from O'Connor that the CJC Commissioner is now dealing directly with the QPS Commissioner to ensure that the allegation of double standards is addressed in the next report. The second 3 page report compiled by the QPS which skirted around the issue is being sent to me through freedom of information. (The QPS refused to release the report - see history below - 6th September 2001)
In the meantime, here is a scan of the CJC letter dated 27th June from Helen Couper, the Chief Officer, Complaints Section of the CJC.
Here is an extract from that scan:
I confirm Mr O'Connor's advice that the CJC has received a further report from the police service. Notwithstanding the receipt of the report, the CJC has determined to pursue further enquiries with the Police Service in relation to an issue which is not fully addressed in the available material. To that end the CJC has written to the Police Service seeking a further report. It is anticipated that upon receipt of the report Mr O'Connor will resume the process of examining the information that you have provided and you will be advised accordingly.
The elusive three page report from the QPS was withheld by the CJC under freedom of information laws which are anything but. As you will see in the letter from the CJC dated 4th July at this link the documents are being withheld from me under Section 51 of the Freedom of Information Act 1992... namely: Disclosure that may reasonably be expected to be of substantial concern (to the QPS if released to me).
Despite the decision by the CJC to release the three page report signed by the police Commissioner Atkinson and addressed directly to the Chair of the CJC, Mr Brendan Butler the CJC's hands are tied. The QPS refuse their request to allow them to send me the report without substantial censoring of the report.
CJC decision to release document after an appeal by the QPS
The CJC finally released the three page QPS report, uncensored, to me on 9th October 2001 as "no review application had been received (from the police)" this, despite the police's earlier objection to the report being released without censorship. When you read the document you will understand why they attempted to withhold it from me.
The scan of Russell Kenzler's covering letter is at this link.
Extract: "As no review application has been received, I am authorised to grant you access to the letter which is enclosed..."
Accompanying CJC schedule for FOI purposes
Page one of the QPS report
Extract: "The investigation (against The Bulletin) was completed in June 2000. On 11 June 2000 the investigating police officer, Detective Senior Sergeant McCrae, concluded the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1987 had been breached. Detective Sergeant McCrae however recommended no further action be taken in relation to the matter and that no action be taken to prosecute the publishing corporation or any of its employees."
Page two of the (heavily censored) QPS report
Extract: "The QPS Solicitor, shortly after receiving the material on 28 June 2000, also formed the view that an offence had prima facie occurred but the prospects of successfully prosecuting such an offence were remote. Consideration was also given to the outcome of any prosecution if his opinion about the prospects of any prosecution was wrong. Consideration was given to the public interest test, and to the costs associated with such a prosecution....
After contact by the officers from the Criminal Justice Commission (this was a belated response 5 months after my complaint to the CJC in October 2000 - see this link for background info and CJC letter) the QPS Solicitor determined to refer the matter to the Deputy Director of the DPP for his opinion. The Deputy Director of the DPP, very shortly thereafter, informed the QPS Solicitor that as the time limit for instituting a prosecution had expired, and whilst a prima facie case existed, it was unnecessary to consider the matter further. The limitation period expired in January of this year....
It is acknowledged that the QPS Solicitor has not written to the Director General, Department of Justice and Attorney General and informed him of the outcome of the investigation. That has now occurred. The QPS Solicitor has indicated that the delay rests with him and no other person within the Police Service. However I wish to reiterate that the delay was was in informing the Director General and not the prosecution."
Page three of the QPS report
Extract: "On 29 July 1999 the Attorney General gave written authority for the police to institute proceedings against Balson....
In summary the QPS would not, and should not, have prosecuted the matter (against Balson) and the subsequent expiry of the time limit had no bearing on the matter."
The correct procedures were not followed when the Attorney General ordered my arrest. The police, as they state above, would not and should not have prosecuted the case against me if they had been asked to investigate it. They clearly were not involved in the process leading up to my arrest. Consider that statement in light of the earlier comment in the CJC report sent to me on 28th March 2001:
"A proceeding for an offence against the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act 1978 can only be commenced with the authority of the Attorney-General. The Attorney-General obtains advice from the DPP. The DPP provides advice having regard to evidence gathered during an investigation by the QPS. It is then in the discretion of the Attorney-General whether to give authority to commence proceedings."
It is clear that the police had not participated in any investigation before I was arrested - just two days after The Courier-Mail lodged a complaint with the DPP.
Note: The QPS refused to allow the CJC to keep a copy of the report. The CJC's Steve Gutteridge compiled the report which was signed by the Chairman of the CJC Brendan Butler. Many factual errors are in the report which raises other related issues. I cannot disclose these until after the Supreme Court case, but you can see a scan of the report below:
My letter in response to the Chairman of the CJC:
12th October 2001
Att: Mr Brendan Butler
Criminal Justice Commission
cc Helen Couper, Steve Gutteridge, Creswicks Lawyers
Dear Mr Butler
I thank you for your report dated 10th October which was penned nearly a year after my initial complaint which alleged double standards in the application of the law (18th October 2000).
The report reflects some very serious and fundamental errors of fact. These errors are at the very heart of your finding that the various government departments were impartial in the decision a) to charge me and b) not to charge The Bulletin magazine.
I have scheduled a meeting with my legal team for next week. We will be discussing these errors in the light of the delay it has taken for the CJC and the QPS to respond to what was, once, a very simple question.
I have documented evidence for my lawyers which should have been made available by the QPS to Mr Gutteridge when he was compiling this response signed by you. I understand from Ms Couper that the QPS refused to allow your staff to have a copy of the report on which this response is based. I understand that Mr Gutteridge was only allowed to view the report at the QPS and from that viewing formed the assumptions that you have come to in your letter/report of the 10th October 2001.
When I spoke to Ms Couper earlier this week I made it clear to her that if I felt that there had been a cover up by the CJC/QPS I would recommend to my legal team that this be raised at the Supreme Court hearing once my case against the State of Queensland and Queensland Newspapers goes to trial.
My recommendation to my legal team is that we take this course of action as I believe that the CJC have failed the test of impartiality and that any further meetings with you will be pointless. However, I reserve the right to take up your offer to meet with senior members of the CJC if my legal team recommend that I do so.
I am so sorry that it has come to this decision as I do believe that some members of your staff, like Mike O'Connor, tried hard to get to the bottom of the issues I raised. I would refer you to the Lindeberg Petition and the concerns raised by Kevin Lindeberg about the role of the CJC.
My follow-up letter sent to the CJC on October 18th
It should be noted that my arrest and court cases was seen as newsworthy by all TV stations and the print media - until I was found not guilty. The book ENEMY OF THE STATE carries nearly 30 pages of related news articles and transcripts.
All TV stations dismissed the double-standards story as "not news worthy".
ABC Radio ignored the press release.
Chris Griffith of The Courier-Mail told me that he had a "Great story" after receiving my press release and scan of the CJC report.... He spent Monday 9th April gathering facts and put forward a story which was never run - it was stopped by the chiefs-of-staff (read the disgraceful, unethical editor Chris Mitchell). In this original story he graphically compared the intimidation of me by the police during and after my arrest to the lack of action against The Bulletin. This, I was told, and the CJC's failure to pursue the issue, was to be the focus of the story.
In fact a censored version of the story omitting any reference to me ran in The Courier-Mail a week later in a section edited by Griffith on the 17th April 2001 -
(Page 14 - The Bottom Line edited by Chris Griffith)
The CJC is investigating the police service for inaction in its investigation of a complaint involving The Bulletin magazine and now convicted pedophile, former Labor MP Bill D'Arcy. The Bulletin, in its January 18,2000 issue, named D'Arcy as facing sex charges, an alleged breach of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Act which forbids the publication of names of people charged with child sexual offences. However the police report was not presented to the Director of Public Prosecutions until March this year, three months after the 12-month statute of limitations for prosecuting this offence had expired. This was despite the complaint to police having been initiated on the day of publication.
All reference to me or the fact that I had made the complaint to the CJC about the lack of action against The Bulletin was carefully omitted by this trashy paper. From the email below you will see that censorship is an ongoing daily occurrence by the scumbags who call themselves chiefs-of-staff at The Courier-Mail:
36 Jensen Street
Cairns Qld 4870
Attn to:- Scott Balson
I don't know if you are aware of the recent articles in the Courier Mail regarding the thirteen electrocution deaths that the Ombudsman is investigating as the second report has been released to the Courier Mail and a very short article was provided in the Courier Mail regarding the one hundred and twenty eight page report that has been forwarded to the Police Commissioner for his action of the possible laying of criminal charges of perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice against the Director General of the Department of Mines and Energy.
The Courier Mail has been privy to copies of the correspondence and reports provided to the complainants who are the relatives of the deceased employees but this rag has not allowed all of it stories written by their own jurnos to be published as it is too damaging to the Labor Government.
I have been in contact with a gentleman by the name of Bob Grimley as he is the sole representative for twelve of the relatives and deals directly with the Ombudsman, his Deputies and and the Coroner and Bob is also one of the parents who has lost his son in a workplace accident by electrocution.
Bob has attempted to expose the rampant corruption that exists at the very senior levels of the bureaucracy and is doing quite well with the Ombudsman no discovering the truth of the lies and cover up in the various departments responsible.
He is having trouble with getting media exposure and was very disappointed today after being assured by the jurnos in the Courier Mail that a major article would be published in Saturday's edition (14th April 2001).
The power brokers in the Courier Mail would not print the article that was written for them and is doing the Governments bidding again and suppressing any damaging information that should be published that the Queensland public should be fully aware of as the deaths by electrocution were due to the incompetence, ignorance and straight out corruption in the Government and its Departments and who were totally responsible.
I suggested to Bob that the internet could be the very medium to be used to publish all of the Ombudsman's reports as he does get a copy of all reports released by the Ombudsman even though the Government will never have these reports tabled in Parliament.
The reports are not made available by the Ombudsman to the general public either and if they can not get the exposure they deserve it will be very neatly buried in one of the Ministers officers and will not see the light of day.
The new Minister responsible for the Division of Workplace Health and Safety has appointed a two man committee to review the overall operations of the Division and the Electrical safety Office but he as a Minister of this Labor Government will not expose anything that will discredit the Government to severely.
Can you suggest any way in which these reports can be published on the internet as this may be the only way in which they get the publicity they deserve as these people have lost thirteen of their loved ones at work due to the failure of the Government and the Public Service and this is exactly what the Ombudsman has stated in his reports.
Scott, can you please provide some assistance or advice to Bob Grimley as he, at sixty five years of age, would appreciate any suggestions on how to get the exposure he deserves and he has conducted his campaign for three years after loosing his own son in the same way as many others after he started to do his investigations.
He also only has very very limited computer skills as his wife uses the computer but she only has basic knowledge to.
He can be contacted on 32690250.
Their are another eleven reports to be released by the Ombudsman's office and the third report is far more damaging than either of the first two and I would expect that they will only get worse but will be continued to covered up at the highest levels in the Government and its Departments.
Tony Moore of the Queensland Times showed no real interest in the police's failure to act against The Bulletin..
Email from Greg Roberts of the Sydney Morning Herald:
I have read the CJC material with interest. There does seem to have been a bit of double standards here. Whether it is something that's a bit local for Sydney and Melbourne readers is something I will need to chew over, but I will take it on board.
wk 61 07 33081147
fax 61 07 33081159