Hoser corruption book vindicated - again.
Today (4th January 2003) the Age ran two major stories claiming that the gun that Killed Graeme Jensen at Narre warren in 1998 was planted by corrupt police. While this may come as a shock to some, it isn't news to the many thousands of readers of Raymond Hoser's book, Victoria Police Corruption, which was first released in 1999.
This best-selling book told the truth all along, even though the police and their friends in both of Melbourne's newspapers claimed that Hoser had made it all up.
We won't hold our breath waiting for the apology that is deserved, but most certainly won't be coming. It's also a bit of a pity that Age scribe John Silvester also refused in his article to credit Hoser and his book for getting the facts right three years before anyone else in positionsof authority in Victoria would make such a concession.
For the record, what follows is the exact text from Hoser's 1999 book followed by the two news clips in today's Age newspaper.
From Pages 410 -412 of Victoria Police Corruption
11 October 1988: Graeme Russell Jensen, 33, was killed. He was shot outside a Narre Warren shopping centre as he fled a Police stake out in his car. He had just been to a lawnmower shop. At the time detectives shot five shots from a Police service .38 revolver and two from a Police issue shotgun. Jensen died instantly from gunshot wounds to the right arm and a single shotgun wound to the rear lower skull, the latter of which was either shot as Jensen’s car drove away from Police or may have been fired after he had crashed his car and come to rest.
Police officer Rodney Grimshaw was accused of having planted a gun in the car after the shooting. Police have given conflicting accounts of events since the shooting. Two officers refused to give evidence at the coroner’s inquest on the grounds that it may incriminate them in a criminal offence.
Ironically, it appears Police bungled the operation even before they shot Jensen as it has since been revealed it was his associate Victor Pierce they were after.
Police claimed after the Jensen shooting that he was wanted for questioning over the murder of Armaguard Guard Dominik Hefti. He’d been shot twice by an armed robber at Coles New World Supermarket, Brunswick at 3 PM on 13 July 1988. However at a later inquest into Jensen’s death, Sergeant Peter Butts of the Armed Robbery Squad stated that at the time Jensen was shot the Police had no evidence that could be used in court to support the allegation he was involved.
The day after Jensen’s death, Jason Ryan (who later become a star witness in the Walsh Street trial) gave Police a statement accusing Jensen of being a part of the robbery and murder. Police forensic tests proved Ryan’s statement false and perjured. It appears Ryan had been induced by Police to make the statement.
Rodney Grimshaw (see above) was convicted in the Supreme Court of Victoria with making a death threat against a witness who was giving evidence in court against another Police officer. Grimshaw subsequently left the force.
In July 1993, eight Police, namely Robert John Hill, Glen Robert Saunders, Peter Leslie Butts, William John Coburn, Jeffrey Forti, Donald William Nash Smith, Rodney Thomas Grimshaw and Christopher Ferguson were charged with the murder. A ninth officer, John Edward Hill was charged as an accessory after the fact for impeding the proper investigation of the murder, having been the officer assigned to investigate it.
The prosecution appeared to be sabotaged to ensure acquittals, after a change in the head of the DPP from Bernard Bongiorno to Geoff Flatman. Edward Hill suicided before his trial. Charges against 7 officers were withdrawn by Flatman before they ever got to trial. Robert Hill (no relative to Edward Hill) was acquitted by a Supreme Court jury in August 1995. Allegations of prosecutorial sabotage arose following the sacking by Flatman of lead prosecutor Doug Meagher QC. There was then a savage reduction of the prosecution witness list before the trial by the replacement legal team. It was said this made the prosecution case too weak to be able to secure a conviction. The jury took just 16 minutes to deliver a ‘not guilty’ verdict.
A report making these allegations was submitted by Detective Senior Sergeant Bill Nash to the Police and DPP in April 1996. He’d spent two years assisting the DPP with the case. He said detrimental evidence was deliberately underplayed and that the DPP and Police had attempted to have a ‘show trial’ to bring the matter to the desired conclusion (acquittal). Nash said that Flatman and the DPP had deliberately disregarded ‘almost the entire evidence contained in the case statements’. Police knew at the time of the shooting that Jensen hadn’t committed the Hefti shooting, and that this evidence was kept out of the Hill murder trial. The Crown deliberately accepted as fact that Jensen held a gun when shot to ensure Hill was acquitted, even though such would have been effectively impossible given the way it was alleged Jensen was driving away from the Police at the time he was shot.
Among the important witnesses dropped from the list was armed robber and Police informant David John Keys, who’d made many detailed allegations against Police he’d paid off and whose evidence would have almost certainly strengthened the case against the Police. Nash said ‘the trial of Robert Hill was held to placate those critical of the Jensen shooting, and thereby deflect any criticism of the inability of the prosecutorial authorities to act’. Not surprisingly, Police refused to issue the report and the government buried it.
Little known is that the day after Police charged over the Jensen shooting appeared at the Supreme Court, the building was broken into. Justice Bernard Teague was the first on July 24, 1993 to notice that the glass security door leading to the judge’s chambers had been smashed. The person who’d smashed the door had left a trail of blood. That the burglar had detailed knowledge of the set-up of the building was confirmed by the fact that the sophisticated security system had been bypassed.
Inspector John McCoy of the Crime department of Police was quoted as saying it was ‘fair to assume’ that the break in was linked to the appearance of the Police the day before. However, in spite of promised investigations, no Police were prosecuted over the matter.
On 26 May 1995, Sydney Police officer Said Morgan shot an unarmed man six times and killed him. Although charged with murder, he walked free at the end of the trial. The jury had acquitted him after just 30 minutes deliberation. His defence, which the jury bought, was that the man he shot in Sydney’s western suburbs was a suspected child molester. At the time of the shooting, the victim had no criminal record for child molesting or anything else. Three weeks after the acquittal, one of Morgan’s young boys said to a journalist ‘I’m daddy’ turning the fingers of both hands into pretend guns and pointing them at the journalist ‘bang, bang’.
END OF SECTION
And now the two stories from Today's Age newspaper.
Police accused of planting gun in 1988 shooting
January 4 2003
By John Silvester
But a policeman facing serious drug charges, Detective Sergeant Malcolm Rosenes, now claims the gun was planted by police.
Detective Sergeant Rosenes was in charge of the surveillance unit following Jensen when the suspect was shot. He was a serving drug squad detective when he was arrested in July, 2001, and charged with drug offences.
It is believed Detective Sergeant Rosenes has made a statement over the Jensen shooting to the Ceja taskforce - a police Ethical Standards Department team investigating allegations of drug squad corruption.
But Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon has handed the new claims on Jensen's death to the Ombudsman, Barry Perry.
When asked by The Age if he was reviewing the case Dr Perry said: "I couldn't comment."
Ms Nixon also refused to comment on the investigation.
Eight armed robbery squad detectives were charged with murdering Jensen but the charges were later dropped against all but one.
The detective who fired the fatal shot stood trial in the Supreme Court but was acquitted in 1995 when the prosecution failed to establish a strong enough case.
The Ombudsman is reinvestigating the 1988 police shooting of armed robbery suspect Graeme Jensen after new claims by a suspended detective that crucial evidence was planted at the scene.
Jensen was shot dead by police in Narre Warren on October 11, 1988.
The day after, two police were shot dead in Walsh Street, allegedly as a payback over Jensen's death.
Police maintained they fired on Jensen in self-defence when he threatened them with a rifle as he tried to escape in his Commodore station wagon.
An unloaded sawn-off .22 rifle was later found at the feet of Jensen inside his car after he was shot dead. A coronial inquest found that Jensen had possession of the gun when he was shot.
Fatally flawed: the death of Graeme Jensen
January 4 2003
By John Silvester
By the time Detective Sergeant Malcolm Rosenes reported for duty, on October 11, 1988, Operation No-Name had been under way for nearly six hours. Under surveillance was armed robbery suspect Graeme Jensen at a house in Moray Court, Narre Warren.
Eight armed robbery squad detectives had been in position from about 7.30am - but they could not act until they were sure the man in the house was their target.
What they needed was for the suspect to come out so they could confirm his identity. That was the job of the surveillance police.
They decided to use a textbook "box intercept" - when Jensen drove off, the detectives would use three cars to snare him. A car would pull up on each side, their noses slightly across the suspect's vehicle. The third car would block the rear.
That was the plan.
Jensen was no early riser - career criminals rarely are. He had breakfast in bed then rose about midday to watch a movie, The Postman Always Rings Twice.
Rosenes knew the target well; he was one of a gang of suspected armed robbers, including Jedd Houghton and Victor George Peirce, whom police had been watching since May.
But the police waiting in Narre Warren were chasing an innocent man. They intended to arrest him over the armed robbery of a Brunswick supermarket on July 11, 1988, where security guard Dominic Hefti was shot dead. Jensen was not even there.
But while Jensen did not kill Hefti, he was still capable of the most extreme violence.
Born in 1955, the youngest of five children, Graeme Russell Jensen lived with his parents until they split when he was seven.
He was 11 when charged with stealing from taxis. A policeman who dealt with Jensen in the early years wrote: "He is inclined to be smart and is apparently a show-off." But at his Children's Court hearing a welfare officer gave evidence that he was an outstanding athlete and a good student.
Jensen left school in third form. One of his few legitimate jobs was at a broom factory. He lasted only two weeks. Jensen saw his long-term career in crime.
At 14, he and four others used coat hangers to pull six fur coats, valued at the $2468, through a letter opening in the door of a Melbourne shop. At 15 Jensen became one of Australia's youngest bank robbers when he relieved the National Bank in Fitzroy of $1363. The arresting officer this time left a cryptic note: "This lad, in my opinion, will in the future become a very active criminal. He requires firm handling."
In 1977 Jensen was arrested in Canberra over three armed robberies totalling $70,000. The arresting officer observed: "Offender is a very dangerous type of person who, according to his girlfriends and other persons, always slept with his shotgun loaded under his bed.
"When arrested also had the weapon fully loaded in his possession. Warning, will finish shooting a policeman or some other person he has a dislike to if given an opportunity. Treat with caution."
Jensen was sentenced to 10 years, six months, with a minimum of eight for the armed robberies.
According to underworld figure Lindsay Rountree, Jensen and his friend Victor Peirce were convinced police had embarked on a policy of systematically culling career bandits.
Rountree claimed the two decided to fight back, vowing to kill two police every time a known criminal was killed by police. Perhaps Victor would not have been so staunch had he known that his wife, Wendy, had an affair with Jensen.
Rosenes was sitting in a silver Nissan sedan reading his paper when Jensen finally surfaced at 3.20pm. Even professional gangsters have to attend to mundane chores: Jensen needed a new spark plug for his lawn mower.
It took him only three minutes to drive 2.4 kilometres to the nearby shop. Two surveillance detectives then wandered into the shop to confirm the suspect was Jensen.
Three unmarked police cars containing the eight armed robbery detectives cars barrelled in. But the third car, slowed by passing traffic, was a few seconds late. This enabled Jensen to gun the motor and hit reverse. Police later gave sworn evidence that they saw Jensen had a firearm on his lap.
They yelled at him to stop. He clipped a car as he reversed out of the Webb Street shopping strip, then flung the automatic into forward. One detective yelled: "He's got a gun." Jensen was then shot dead. His car crashed into a light pole.
What happened then remained a matter of conjecture for years.
An armed robbery squad detective went to the boot of his car and grabbed a towel. He gave it to a second detective, who said he found a sawn-off bolt action .22 rifle next to Jensen's legs. It was not cocked, not loaded and the magazine was upside down. Two bullets were also found on the floor.
It was later claimed the towel was used to hide the gun taken from the police car to plant in Jensen's station wagon. Police said it was to cover Jensen's body from public view. The towel was later destroyed without being tested for gunshot residue.
In his findings, Coroner Hal Hallenstein said: "There was suspicion and assertion expressed in inquest that the sawn-off .22 calibre rifle and two .22 calibre bullets had been planted there by police."
But ultimately Mr Hallenstein rejected the allegation. ". . . It is hard to envisage anything like those events unless Jensen had possession of a gun which had been seen by police members," he said.
"By considering Jensen's criminal history involving firearms and armed robbery and in the absence of any evidence of the firearm being seized, retained and planted as alleged, it is concluded in inquest that the firearm was in Jensen's possession prior to and at the time of intercept and prior to his fatal injury with resulting vehicle collision."
Rosenes would later admit that when he heard shots, "I froze in my position instead of hightailing it quickly and seeing if Jensen was making a getaway". But he soon gathered his composure.
Rosenes ordered his surveillance team to a meeting. He instructed them to write notes on what they had seen so they would have records for the subsequent investigations.
But those notes went missing. They were never found.
When Rosenes gave evidence in the Coroner's Court in March, 1990, he was unable to explain what happened to the missing notes.
At no stage did Rosenes indicate he had seen anything questionable on the day Jensen was shot. He didn't seem overly curious.
Next day, two police constables, Steven Tynan, 22, and Damian Eyre, 20, were gunned down in Walsh Street, South Yarra, in what detectives maintain was a payback for Jensen's death.
Victor Peirce, Trevor Pettingill, Anthony Farrell and Peter McEvoy were charged with the Walsh Street murders. They were acquitted.
The eight armed robbery squad detectives involved in the Narre Warren raid were later charged with murder.
The prosecution made a series of claims, including that the detectives involved "sought to impede their prosecution, conviction and punishment by falsely asserting that Jensen brandished a gun threatening one or more of them as he drove off in his car, and by placing a sawn-off rifle at his feet in the car to add credibility to the pretend justification".
The policeman who investigated the Jensen shooting, Detective Senior Sergeant John Hill, committed suicide two months after he was charged with being an accessory after the fact to murder in that he allegedly concealed evidence suggesting police were criminally liable. He always maintained his innocence and felt his integrity had been destroyed when he was charged.
The charges against seven of the police were dropped. The detective who fired the fatal shots was acquitted in the Supreme Court on August 9, 1995. It took the jury 18 minutes to decide the prosecution had not established a strong enough case for the trial to continue. It was 2494 days since Graeme Jensen left home to buy a spark plug.
The cost for the investigation, prosecution and inquest on Jensen was $4 million. Freedom of information documents show the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions paid 11 barristers a total of $1 million in fees.
Police later reviewed training procedures and launched Operation Beacon, a plan to try to avoid police being involved in fatal confrontations.
Rosenes was considered a plodder. He later moved to the drug squad and was arrested in July, 2001, for drug trafficking. Now he has made a statement calling into doubt the official version of events surrounding the death of Jensen. The matter has been handed to the Ombudsman, Dr Barry Perry, for re-examination.
END OF STORY
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