The Australian legal system has hit a new low in the famous "Truth on trial case".
This is the case where leading corruption author Raymond Hoser was charged and prosecuted for publishing the truth about police and judicial corruption in Victoria.
For those unaware, the 1999 books "Victoria Police Corruption (1 and 2)" totaling 1,536 pages were best-sellers that exposed the rotten underbelly of justice in Victoria and elsewhere.
Numerous people adversely named in the book have either been jailed for crimes first identified in the books or other crimes committed since.
Among the cast of notorious persons are several judicial figures in Victoria and elsewhere, including the drink-driving judge Jeff Shaw of NSW, Victorian Judge Tom Neesham, later found to have made improper sexual remarks to an audience and another Victorian judge also to have been busted for drink driving.
Hoser and publisher Kotabi were first charged with defamation (publishing wrong information), but proved to the Supreme Court that the material was all true and hence he won the case.
He was then charged by Hulls et. al. with contempt, as in he allegedly undermined public confidence in the legal system and must therefore be jailed or fined.
Judge Bill Gillard of the same court found in Hoser's favor and made remarks along the lines that such a prosecution reeked of fascism if it succeeded.
Not satisfied with this double loss, the Attorney General of Victoria, Rob Hulls, (the man pursuing Hoser for adversely naming close friends and associates of his, including police informer and self-confessed criminal and arsonist, Adam Anthony Zoccoli), recharged Hoser using double jeopardy for the same alleged crime of "contempt".
The second charge was identical to the first and should have been illegal, but Hulls and the later judges all ignored this obvious double jeopardy.
To ensure the desired result (guilty), Hulls made sure that the judge hearing the case was his close friend, Geoffrey Eames, who along with Hulls had a past life as a radical Labor Lawyer working in Northern Australia.
Eames ignored the facts and case law and came up with a cobbled judgement which was a collection of fiction and fantasy to declare Hoser guilty. Details of the judgement and the errors are in the media release archive athttp://www.smuggled.com for years 2001-2.
Hoser and his publisher appealed to the Appeal court of Victoria and Hulls effectively fixed that result as well by hurriedly elevating his friend Eames to sit on this higher court.
Hence other judges sitting on the appeal would therefore be loathe to make judgement against a fellow judge they would sit with on a routine and daily basis. (All admitted to sitting with Eames on appeal matters).
Among the three judges appointed to sit on this appeal was Frank Vincent, another close friend of Hulls who had also worked in northern Australia. In fact, about a year earlier, Vincent had publicly commended Hulls at a lawyers gathering for taking legal action against Hoser.
At the start of the appeal hearing, Vincent first denied the conflict of interest, but when Hoser produced a news report of his statements, Vincent then changed his tack and said he admitted the conflict but that it didn't matter and he refused to disqualify himself from the hearing.
Hence the judgement against Hoser was a forgone conclusion.
The ABC had commissioned a documentary on this scandalous case and a cameraman came from Sydney to film, but no documentary has been screened and it is believed to have been shelved.
Hoser took the matter to the High Court to seek leave to appeal. This was a move that cost a large amount of time and money.
Noting that the second of the allegedly contemptuous books had a chapter dealing with one of the judges (Ian Callinan) and prior malfeasance by him, Hoser asked for him to be excluded from the appeal and was told that he would be.
As of today's date, (3 June 2005), the High Court has told Hoser in writing that Callinan and fellow judge (Hayne) struck out the Hoser appeal without even calling a hearing.
Claims a judgement are available online (the claim made in the letter dated 31 May) don't appear to be accurate as the judgement is not on the site identified.
In countries like Indonesia, people are not prosecuted for publishing books that tell the truth about official corruption.
In countries like Indonesia, judges with clear conflicts of interest are not permitted to sit on cases where conflicts may arise.
In the Hoser books matter, we now have three cases in a row, where judges with known conflicts of interest have been allowed to sit on cases against Hoser so that judgement against Hoser can be effectively fixed and contrary to laws of natural justice and the obvious truth.
The Australian media has called for national days of protest at the Indonesian Legal system in terms of the Chapelle Corby case.
By contrast it has been silent on this far more damning case involving the Australian legal system or another case raised in the Hoser book (Victoria Police Corruption - 2), namely that of Chika Honda and friends (Katsuno et. al.) who were improperly jailed by the Victorian courts after being fitted up with drugs here in Australia in much the same way Corby claims she was fitted up in Bali.
The letter sent to the High court on this date as well as the relevant text from the book "Victoria Police Corruption - 2" (the book subject of this case) are printed below.
All should be read.
Please report on this case as widely and as accurately as possible.
Further inquiries: 0412 777 211 (in Australia)
TO/ HIGH COURT OF AUSTRALIA,
MELBOURNE OFFICE OF THE REGISTRY,
ATTENTION: THE REGISTRAR OR ACTING REGISTRAR,
Level 17, Law Courts Building,
305 William Street,
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.
FAX: (03) 8600-3007
And 02 6273-3025
I have received a letter from your court on today's date stating that my application for leave to appeal has been dismissed.
This letter states that one of the judges who dismissed the application was Mr. Callinan.
You were advised several times previously that Mr. Callinan was adversely named in the book subject of these proceedings (Victoria Police Corruption - 2) the book allegedly in contempt of court and hence he must not be permitted to sit on this matter due to an obvious conflict of interest that would effectively prevent a judgement in my favor and in favor of the truth.
His prior actions making him unfit as a judge and that would make him want to judge specifically against this book are under the heading "The High Court" on pages 673-676 of "Victoria Police Corruption - 2" and deal exclusively with Callinan and prior wrong judgements, conflicts of interest not admitted to, gross political bias in judgements made and other seriously adverse matters.
You have not abided by my lawful instructions seeking a fair hearing in accordance with law and hence you are asked to immediately quash the judgement made late last month by Callinan and the other judge and re-list the matter before other untainted judges and/or before the full bench of the High Court.
Please PHONE me immediately on the above numbers to confirm receipt of the letter and confirm the actioning of the above lawful request and also return a written acknowledgement of same.
Below is from the book "Victoria Police Corruption - 2"
THE HIGH COURT
The one court in Australia for which there is some scrutiny of appointments is the High Court. This is because of the fact that it is the highest court in the land and the number of judges on it is relatively small, being just seven.
When the government of the day makes an appointment to fill a vacancy left by a retiring judge the opposition side almost always makes allegations about the propriety of the judge and that the appointment is purely political.
The appointment of Judge Lionel Murphy was one such case. An overtly political appointment, Murphy’s fitness as a judge came under question after he was convicted of perverting the course of justice and sentenced to 18 months jail.
That was the first time in Australian history that allegations serious enough to warrant the removal of a High Court judge were publicly raised. That’s not to say that all the other judges that have sat on the high court were as holy as the Vatican, but rather that their dirt was kept out of public view.
The next such case came up in 1997. The Howard Liberal government had the opportunity to appoint a replacement for the High Court. They made it known that they would be appointing a ‘capital "C" conservative’ to the bench. In other words the political nature of the appointment didn’t seem to be hidden. The reason they said was to reverse recent activism by the court including recent decisions expanding the grounds of ‘Free speech’, and implied rights as well as the Wik and Mabo decisions.
The man Federal Attorney General Daryl Williams selected was Queensland QC Ian Callinan. His Liberal roots were well identified and included his vigorous prosecution of Lionel Murphy in 1985 and prosecuting the retrial in 1986.
Callinan was appointed to the High Court in December 1997. Two months later he was publicly in strife over the way he was handling a case. It was his first major case. Callinan apparently lied in proceedings relating to the case of the Hindmarsh Island Bridge in South Australia.
Lawyers for the Aboriginal Ngarrinderjeri people launched a High Court challenge to stop the bridge being built.
Ngarrinderjeri lawyers applied to Callinan to disqualify himself on the basis of potential bias because they said he’d given legal advice directly to Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Senator John Herron and Defence Minister Ian McLachlan in late 1996. Callinan refused to disqualify himself saying that he’d given advice to a bipartisan parliamentary committee and not the ministers.
Ngarrinderjeri lawyers then lodged an unprecedented application to the full bench of the High Court to have Callinan removed from hearing the matter.
However on February 25, Ngarrinderjeri lawyers produced documents to Callinan which showed that Callinan had in fact presented direct advice to Herron. Callinan was forced to admit he’d previously lied and had made his decision not to disqualify himself on the wrong basis. He claimed it was a fault of his recollection and not a lie as such.
He then disqualified himself from further hearing the case.
However the result of the day’s hearing was enough to lead to Labor calls for his immediate dismissal from the High Court bench.
Notable is that before this conflict of interest had been proven, the Federal Government had said that they wouldn’t interfere with the independent umpire of the High Court in terms of making it’s decision. Perhaps the fact that they’d stacked the court in their favor may have had something to do with this assertion.
Shadow attorney General Nick Bolkus said the fact that a High Court Judge’s first decision was based on wrong facts was not a good start for the judge. The attack also turned onto the Federal Attorney General Daryl Williams who was accused of conspiring to keep the legal advice documents secret in order to improperly influence the course of the trial. Critics noted that legal rules demanded each side provide the relevant documents to the trial. Williams said the rules didn’t apply to him as he was not directly acting in the matter.
Further doubts about Callinan’s fitness to be a High Court judge emerged on 15 July 1998. This time the doubts came from a fellow judge Phillip Goldberg of the Federal Court. In judgement, Goldberg said that Justice Callinan while working as a Brisbane QC in 1986 had helped property developer George Herscu obstruct and delay a payment of more than $5 million to a Brisbane builder, White Industries. Goldberg found that the law firm Flower and Hart acting on Callinan’s advice had launched ‘illegitimate’ fraud proceedings against the builder to forestall payment of the monies owed until the Hercu company declared bankruptcy and couldn’t pay. Goldberg said the legal action was an abuse of court process. Flower and Hart had allegedly lodged their writs knowing full well they couldn’t win them.
Goldberg said that Callinan had ‘acquiesced’ and ‘approved’ of the delay. He also said that the actions initiated by Callinan were ‘flawed and an abuse of process from it’s inception because of the illegitimate process for which the proceedings were instituted’. Callinan had been a witness in the proceedings in front of Goldberg.
White Industries had been in the Federal Court seeking $3.8 million from Flower and Hart.
Since the original Flower and Hart matter, Herscu had been jailed for corruption. His empire had collapsed with debts of $500 million.
Following the Goldberg’s rulings there were calls for an open inquiry into Callinan’s past. The Law Council of Australia made an unprecedented call for Callinan to be investigated under section 72 of the Constitution with the view to him being removed as a judge. The Age newspaper called for his immediate standing down. A Supreme Court Judge was quoted saying that the accumulation of findings against Callinan left Parliament with no reasonable option but to invoke section 72 and have an inquiry.
Lawyers with the Liberal leaning Law Institute of Victoria said that the allegations against Callinan were ‘too old’ to worry about and that there shouldn’t be an inquiry into the judge.
Attorney General Daryl Williams rejected the calls for an inquiry saying that as the alleged misconduct involved Callinan’s conduct as a lawyer and not a judge he wasn’t concerned about it. The other reason was because the federal government was about to call an election and didn’t want any controversy raging during the campaign.
ALP senator Nick Bolkus said that Mr. Williams’ reasons were ‘nothing short of pathetic’. He went on to say,
'They are a blatant attempt to protect a political mate’.
Meanwhile the media didn’t want to go too hard against Callinan for obvious reasons. A month earlier he’d settled a defamation action against the Sydney Morning Herald for a story published on 17 September 1994. The story was in relation to Callinan’s role in the Christopher Skase matter. Callinan had said he’d been defamed. The terms of settlement were not disclosed.
However, the following month, law firm Flower and Hart lodged an appeal against Goldberg’s findings in relation to itself. The firm alleged it had acted properly in the Herscu matter going on to say that it was ‘entitled to rely’ on Callinan’s advice. In June 1999, Flower and Hart's appeal to the full bench of the Federal Court failed. This effectively reinforced Goldberg's original judgement against Callinan.
Less than a month after the Goldberg judgement, Callinan was again in the spotlight over another messy Queensland case. This time it involved the will of the ailing and wealthy art collector Lady Peggy trout. When she was altering her will in 1987-88 one of the drafts showed she planned to leave her art book collection and white mink coat to Callinan.
The Queensland Art gallery in Brisbane, of which Callinan was a trustee was hoping to get more, including the $10 million collection of paintings, silverware, porcelain, sculptures and objects d’art from her Everton House residence.
Despite claims from the gallery that Lady Trout wanted to bequeath her collection to the gallery, that never occurred.
In a writ filed with the Brisbane Supreme Court, the gallery’s board of trustees were suing a Brisbane law firm Henderson Trout for negligence, alleging it had failed to alter the will to ensure the collection went to the gallery.
As mediation failed, the matter was set to proceed to trial. Callinan was expected to be called as a witness. However there were no allegations of impropriety against him in the matter.
DOING HIS JOB
Meanwhile as a Capital "C" conservative, Callinan did his job for his masters well. The first proof of his apparent servitude to his Liberal masters came during the heated wharfies dispute in May 1998. That was when Patrick Stevedores sacked its entire workforce of 1,500 wharfies. The Federal government backed the stevedoring firm in sacking the workers, but the workers took the matter to the Federal Court. Judge Tony North ruled in favor of the wharfies. Patrick then went to the full bench of the High Court.
Six out of seven judges sided with the wharfies and rejected Patrick’s appeal. The only dissenting judge was that capital "C" conservative, Ian Callinan.
Who said that courts and judges weren’t political or above bias?
END OF BOOK SECTION
Further inquiries: 0412 777 211
STOP PRESS - NO REPLY FROM HIGH COURT AS OF 17 JUNE 2005, MORE THAN A WEEK AFTER LETTER SENT TO THEM.
Non-urgent email inquiries via the Snakebusters bookings page at:
Urgent inquiries phone:
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia:
(03) 9812 3322 or 0412 777 211