18 March 2003 - Hoser book vindicated again…
Yesterday a policeman, Wayne Strawhorn, who was adversely named several times in the book that the Victorian government has been trying to shred and destroy, namely "Victoria Police Corruption", appeared in court charged with several criminal offences. This again vindicates the corruption first exposed by Australia's leading corruption author Raymond Hoser.
While Strawhorn's exploits have been kept out of the mainstream media before yesterday, they were raised in Hoser's book as far back as 1999 (when it was published).
At the time, tabloid radio commentators such as Jon Faine, Steve Price and others labelled the material as wild conspiracy theories by Hoser.
Now that the Hoser material has been shown to be totally correct, the publishers Kotabi, have called for Faine, Price and others who repeatedly defamed Hoser and his book to recant and apologise for lying to their listeners.
However, knowing the reluctance of such persons to admit to error, an apology is not likely to be forthcoming.
Strawhorn features prominently in several chapters of Hoser's book, in terms of the Higgs, Debarros, and other matters.
Some parts of the many extracts are presented below, before the latest (and first) news clips from the tabloid media.
Notable again is how both the major papers failed to acknowledge that it was Hoser who first exposed the corrupt activities of Strawhorn, even though there is no dispute as to this fact.
FROM THE BOOK "VICTORIA POLICE CORRUPTION".
'(DeBarros) I also found out whilst working as an informer that inspector John McCoy, Detective Senior Sergeant Dave Harley and Detective Sergeant Wayne Strawhorn have been investigated a number of times during various operations, but have all walked away from allegations made against them.
The above mentioned Police Officers are known as the "Untouchables" by their own members and by members of the underworld.'
After DeBarros had his cover blown he went to Higgs and told him of his Police role. DeBarros then spoke to Higg’s lawyer. During a raid on Higg’s property, detective Wayne Strawhorn allegedly told Higgs that Debarros had made a statement against him. DeBarros later heard this from Higgs himself and denied having done so. He also said that Strawhorn had (allegedly) made the statement hoping that DeBarros would be killed. DeBarros said,
'Once you have been an informer, you are regarded as expendable.'
At the committal hearing, Reading’s counsel, Brian Walters and Jane Dixon said ‘The conduct of members of the Drug Squad in giving evidence which was untrue, and their conduct, particularly that of Harley, Strawhorn and Banks, in interviewing Leonard Reading after he was in custody without observing the requirements of the Crimes Act demonstrates a willingness to obtain evidence, and indeed convictions, at any price.’
AND FROM THE PAPERS TODAY
Policeman accused of making death threats
By COURTNEY WALSH
A SENIOR Victorian detective threatened to kill two officers and an informer if they said anything about his role in drug deals worth at least $55,000, a court heard yesterday.
The allegations were levelled against former long-serving drug squad Det Sen-Sgt Wayne Geoffrey Strawhorn during a bail hearing at Melbourne Magistrates' Court.
The father of three was arrested at home yesterday morning on seven charges, including conspiring to traffick a commercial quantity of pseudoephedrine and making threats to kill.
Prosecutor Boris Kayser told the court Mr Strawhorn held a gun to a police informer's head and threatened to hunt down and kill another former drug squad detective if he was implicated in the drug trafficking scheme.
He said the former detective believed Mr Strawhorn later mailed four .38 calibre bullets to his home, "one round being for each member of his family".
Mr Kayser said the slightly built, greying detective also told a witness he "would not rest" until a police corruption investigator was dead in a secretly recorded conversation last Saturday.
He told the witness he would kill the investigator himself, saying "Have to, only way to get satisfaction".
Mr Kayser said Mr Strawhorn instructed a colleague to buy the pseudoephedrine from a Croydon chemical firm on five occasions between October 28, 1999 and May 19, 2000.
The colleague bought 5.5 kg at $170 per kg that was later illicitly sold on the black market through a police informer for at least $10,000 a kg.
"None of these transactions were authorised by the Victorian police, nor were they recorded in any records held by the Victorian police," Mr Kayser told the court.
Mr Strawhorn, who was dressed casually in a grey polo shirt and blue jeans in court, was suspended three weeks ago on full pay when he returned from England on February 18, exactly 29 years after his first day in the job.
His pay was suspended yesterday.
Mr Strawhorn served with the drug squad from 1986 to 2001. He is a member of the major fraud squad.
He did not speak during yesterday's court appearance.
Geoff Chettle, for Mr Strawhorn, argued his client should be granted bail on exceptional circumstances, including the risk he faced from other prisoners if remanded in custody.
"He was significantly involved and behind most of the major drug squad arrests or convictions in this state," the lawyer said.
"A lot of people are currently in prison as a result of the efforts of Mr Strawhorn and his team."
Mr Chettle said his client posed no risk of fleeing and had been the sole carer of his children since the death of his wife 10 years ago.
He said no illegally obtained money had been linked to his client's bank account and said the prosecution's case relied on witnesses with "vested" interests.
"It is not a case that could be considered hopeless . . . for the defence," he said.
Magistrate Lisa Hannan remanded Mr Strawhorn in custody overnight and will hand down her decision on the bail application this morning.
Former detective on drugs, kill-threat charges
March 18 2003
Victoria's most experienced drug squad detective was behind bars last night on charges of trafficking drugs and threatening to kill.
Wayne Geoffrey Strawhorn, 48, a suspended detective senior sergeant, yesterday faced the Melbourne Magistrates Court charged over pseudoephedrine deals worth at least $55,000.
Strawhorn is also charged with threatening to kill a senior police corruption investigator, a former colleague who is his co-accused, and a registered police informer.
A magistrate will rule today whether Strawhorn, a senior sergeant with 29 years experience in the police force, should be granted bail on seven charges, including a count of conspiring to traffick a commercial quantity of pseudoephedrine and three counts of threat to kill.
Strawhorn, who was arrested yesterday, worked in the drug squad for 15 years before joining the major fraud squad in May 2001.
Prosecutor Boris Kayser told the bail hearing that Strawhorn allegedly instructed a former drug squad colleague to buy pseudoephedrine from a Melbourne chemical firm on five occasions between October 1999 and May 2000.
At the time, Strawhorn headed the chemical diversion desk, set up in the 1990s to halt the distribution of chemicals to illegal drug markets.
Mr Kayser said that Strawhorn's former colleague, whose name was suppressed, bought 5.5 kilograms of pseudoephedrine from Sigma Pharmaceuticals in Croydon for $170 per kilogram, which a registered police informer sold on the black market for $10,000 a kilogram. Mr Kayser said none of the alleged transactions were authorised or recorded by Victoria Police.
He said that after Strawhorn's colleague resigned from the police force in December 2000, Strawhorn allegedly threatened to kill him if he revealed the drug deals and allegedly sent him four police-issue revolver bullets .
"If you say anything about me, I will hunt you down and kill you," Strawhorn allegedly said.
Strawhorn also allegedly held a revolver to a police informer's head and threatened to kill him if he disclosed anything.
Mr Kayser said that in a secretly taped conversation last Saturday, Strawhorn told a witness that he "would not rest" until a senior police corruption investigator was dead.
"Are you going to kill him yourself ?" the witness asked.
"Have to. Only way to get satisfaction," Strawhorn was alleged to have replied.
Geoff Chettle, for Strawhorn, told the court that police had not yet presented evidence of any money from drug deals in any of Strawhorn's bank accounts. Investigators had not yet analysed his financial records.
Mr Chettle said his client should be granted bail because of his exceptional circumstances. He said that as the former detective had been responsible for many major drug-related arrests, being put on remand would be "a nightmare".
Mr Chettle also questioned the credibility of the prosecution witnesses, as admitted co-conspirators of his client.
He also said that any delay in the delay in the assessment of financial evidence for trial warranted the granting of bail, as did the fact that Strawhorn was the sole provider and carer for his three children.
Strawhorn faces one count of conspiring to traffic a commercial quantity of pseudoephedrine, conspiring to traffic pseudoephedrine, trafficking pseudoephedrine, three counts of threatening to kill and one count of theft. Magistrate Lisa Hannan will rule on the bail application today.
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