Out of control:   Corruption www.policecorruption.com....Previously covered-up info.

From Green-Left Weekly - September 8 - 1999.

Dynamiting the cone of silence
The books you should get hold of immediately...
Victoria Police Corruption (1 and 2) By Raymond Hoser, Kotabi Publishers, Melbourne, 1999 736pp (vol. 1) 800 pp. (vol. 2),
$33 each (+ $5 each if posted)
Order from <http://www.smuggled.com> or
e-mail <adder@smuggled.com>

Review by Sean Healy

Lots of people suspect the existence of massive police corruption and the abuse of power, some have had direct experience of it, but very few can "prove" it. Raymond Hoser, the author of exposés of official corruption such as Smuggled, Smuggled 2 and The Hoser Files, knew he was in for a difficult time when decided to document corruption within the Victoria Police.

Just how difficult was demonstrated on August 29, when the Victoria Police forced major booksellers in the state to take Victoria Police Corruption off their shelves.

The book had proved very popular; the first print run of 13,000 sold within days of its release. Police had attempted to seize the entire print run as it came off the presses but arrived too late. According to Hoser, police officers have rung mainstream media outlets to demand that the book not be publicised.

According to Hoser's solicitor, Alex Tees, the official justification for the ban was that the book was defamatory and an attempt to discredit the police.

Victoria Police Corruption's contents are almost entirely accounts of individual cases of police corruption and misconduct. The book is not without faults. Hoser's writing style is grating, there are frequent digressions from the topic, there is (inexcusably) no index, and he draws a long bow in some of his conclusions. Nevertheless, Hoser has produced dynamite. If even a quarter of the instances documented in the book are true, the police should be worried.

Hoser told Green Left Weekly, "None of this is made up. Much of it is already on the public record, in court transcripts and the media. Other material is from interviews I did with people (including police officers). It can be verified. I even have a 140-page bibliography available for checking."

Almost every crime imaginable is documented as having been committed by members of the Victoria Police. There are petty crimes and scams such as getting "freebies" everywhere, routinely getting away with drink driving and breaking windows to collect spotters' fees.

Hoser also alleges serious crimes such as conspiring with criminals, framing "whistleblowers", robbery, drug trafficking and importation, assault, gun smuggling and sexual assault. Then there is the downright murderous: the fingering of "protected" informants to other criminals, police shootings "in the line of duty", murder and conspiracy.

Most worryingly, Hoser documents how the "brotherhood" protects police officers who break the law. Very few of the cases discussed in the book resulted in criminal charges. In some cases, the accused officer was allowed to resign on full pension.

Hoser claims that moves against crooked cops have been stymied by the internal investigations department and that even the Victorian ombudsman's office, magistrates and coroners have, in many instances, protected police and prevented news of their activities filtering out.

According to the Bulletin, the Victorian ombudsman in one year received 11,000 complaints against Victorian police officers, most commonly for assault. Only eight were upheld.

Out of 42 fatal police shootings since 1982, the coroner found that in 38 police had no case to answer and were justified in their actions. Of the four cases that went to trial, one was withdrawn by the director of public prosecutions and one resulted in an acquittal. Of the two officers found guilty, both had shot other police officers.

Hoser presents many cases that indicate the extent of the "cone of silence" within the Victorian Police. Here are two.

In 1996, 14 women took legal action over serial rapes, allegedly committed by police, in the Victorian country town of Maryborough. A 12-year-old girl was allegedly assaulted at a blue light disco. Another woman was allegedly raped at gunpoint on a number of occasions in her dance studio.

Some women alleged they were assaulted after being pulled over whilst driving; others claimed they were raped in the police station; some said they were assaulted in their homes. Some women raised suspicions over the deaths of two women who had claimed they had been raped by police.

The women who complained claim they were subjected to systematic harassment by the police officers concerned and their "brothers". Many say they were pressured into withdrawing complaints. One woman said that police turned up at her workplace and interviewed her work-mates about her sexual history. Another had $12,500 in court costs awarded against her after a magistrate rejected her complaint.

Eventually, the deputy ombudsman investigated. He found that "evidence of criminality has been disclosed" in relation to 13 officers. Three were dismissed from the force, two were allowed to quit with full benefits, and eight remain in the force. One police officer, charged with four counts of indecent assault and rape, was cleared when the director of public prosecutions dropped the case, on what Hoser claims were spurious grounds.

The Maryborough police force was then given a clean bill of health by Premier Jeff Kennett and the police commissioner, Neil Comrie.

The second case Hoser examines involved the death of Jenny Tanner on November 14, 1984, from gunshot wounds to the head. She had been shot twice in the head and once in each hand. The prime suspect was Tanner's cop brother-in-law, Denis Tanner. The official police story was that it was suicide.

The report of the first police officer on the scene said it was more likely to have been a murder than a suicide. The report was amended, allegedly by the officer's superior. Another senior officer allegedly attempted to pressure the pathologist into recording suicide as the cause of death. The media were told it was a straightforward suicide and that Tanner was depressed, a claim her family and friends denied.

The coroner's inquest, conducted by Hugh Adams, revealed too many inconsistencies in the suicide story for it to become the official verdict. Instead Adams' report left the cause of death open but exonerated Denis Tanner of any culpability and improperly closed the case (for Adams also refer to other corrupt activity involving him in The Hoser Files).

On July 20, 1995, the bones of Adele Bailey were found down a mine shaft, in a location accessible only from the Tanner property. Bailey had allegedly been a girlfriend of Denis Tanner's.

By now, Tanner had fallen out with the top brass of the police -- according to Hoser, there had been one too many scandals. The Jenny Tanner case was reopened, Adams' report was quashed and a new coronial inquiry ordered.

The second coronial inquiry began on October 6, 1997. The proceedings demonstrated the extent of police collusion in covering up Jenny Tanner's death. Fifty witnesses were called. All the way up the chain of command, officer after officer claimed to know nothing about the cover-up; they clammed up when confronted with evidence to the contrary. Adams refused to take the stand on a legal technicality.

Nevertheless, the final coroner's report went no further than to admit that "the death was not properly investigated by police because a fellow Victoria Police officer was under real suspicion". No action was recommended or taken against any of the officers involved.

Denis Tanner was named in the coroner's report as "the person who shot Jenny Tanner". However, the director of public prosecutions issued a statement on March 18, 1999, that Tanner would not be prosecuted for his sister-in-law's murder. Tanner wasn't even dismissed from the force, only placed on indefinite leave and allowed to collect his full pay of $1100 a week.

Despite the evidence he presents in Victoria Police Corruption, Hoser doesn't believe that there will be an official investigation into his allegations, let alone a Royal Commission.

"The only inquiries that ever happen happen for reasons of political expediency", he told Green Left Weekly. "And Kennett has no political need to call one -- so why should he?"

To order these books NOW click here.

Police try to seize new corruption books - News Story - September 1999

Book Review - in The Strategy - October 1999

Book review in Nexus magazine

Kotabi Publishing's media release for the books "Victoria Police Corruption" 1 and 2

Victoria Police Corruption 1 and 2 Legal Statement (NSW Hansard)

Victoria Police Corruption - Contents

Victoria Police Corruption - 2 - Contents


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