Sunday, November 28, 2010

Railroaded pilot seeks $45 million from Australian Government for wrongful conviction over alleged child sex offences

The incompetent and crooked Australian Federal Police again. This has long been a notorious case. The fact that the original conviction was comprehensively thrown out should mean he will get his money

An Australian pilot who spent almost 1000 days in prison after being wrongfully convicted of child sex offences will this week launch a $45 million lawsuit against the Australian government. The statement of claim by Fred Martens against the Commonwealth alleges Australian Federal Police withheld and removed evidence which they knew cleared him of the allegations.

Mr Martens' legal team expects to lodge the document in the Queensland Supreme Court in Cairns on Monday or Tuesday.

Mr Martens was jailed in 2006 for the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl in Port Moresby. Queensland's Court of Appeal quashed the conviction in 2009 after Mr Martens' family was able to obtain flight records which proved Mr Martens was not in Port Moresby at the time of the offence.

The statement of claim alleges AFP officers deliberately concealed the existence of the aviation records at Mr Martens' court hearings, despite them being readily available from PNG authorities.

It alleges the AFP was more concerned with successfully prosecuting Mr Martens than investigating the facts of the case. "The defendants failed to investigate the matter to find the truth but instead endeavoured to amass evidence to bolster a case against the plaintiff regardless of its truth or falsity," the document alleges.

Mr Martens said because his passport had been confiscated and his funds frozen while he was awaiting trial in Australia, he was not able to fly to PNG to prepare his own defence. He said a magistrate had ordered the AFP to investigate any leads raised by his legal team but the statement of claim alleges officers failed to do so.

"Had the defendants carried out competent and honest investigations the results of such investigations would have demonstrated that not only did the plaintiff not commit any offence against (the alleged victim) but that he could not have done so as alleged."

Mr Martens is claiming $45 million in losses, including for the death of his infant daughter Stephanie who died in PNG of malaria because he was unable to provide funds to care for her. The statement of claim also alleges that a number of Mr Martens' PNG businesses, which included the nation's Royal Flying Doctor Service, were lost or collapsed because he was not there to run them.

It also states he lost several large properties because he was not there to secure them. Mr Martens said the properties had since been taken over by settlers and removing them would result in violent confrontations.

The Australian government will have 28 days to respond to the statement of claim.


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