Saturday, April 16, 2011

Vindictive West Australian cops still targeting the innocent victim of their own corruption

They framed Mickelberg to get a conviction many years ago but still appear to hate him for his role in exposing their corruption. The two cops principally concerned in the original fraud are now dead but an entirely justified foul smell still hangs over the entire force -- materially assisted by subsequent corrupt prosecutions (such as the Mallard case) that have not led to significant disciplinary action against the cops concerned

THE man wrongly jailed for the 1982 Perth Mint Swindle has been acquitted in the West Australian Supreme Court of stealing a $16.80 roll of tape from a hardware store.

Ray Mickelberg was found guilty by a Perth magistrate in August 2010 of stealing a roll of orange 30-metre tape from a Bunnings hardware store in Innaloo.

Mr Mickelberg had used three strips of tape to repackage a box for a ceiling fan he had opened to inspect the item while at the Bunnings store.

Although he was originally charged with the theft of the $309 ceiling fan, Magistrate Giuseppe Cicchini dismissed the charge, but convicted the 64-year-old over the theft of the tape.

Mr Mickelberg, who represented himself, successfully appealed the conviction in the WA Supreme Court on Friday, with Commissioner Kevin Sleight finding he had an 'honest claim of right" over the tape. It meant Commissioner Sleight agreed that although Mr Mickelberg used the tape while it was still the property of Bunnings, he did intend to pay for the roll.

Commissioner Sleight said the issue of honest claim of right was not raised by Mr Mickelberg or the prosecutor during the case, so it was not considered by the magistrate. "Therefore, I conclude that Mr Mickelberg did not receive a fair trial and accordingly an injustice has occurred," he said in his judgment.

Mr Mickelberg, who along with his brothers Peter and Brian were framed by detectives and wrongly convicted in 1983 of stealing more than $650,000 in gold bullion, said the "ludicrous" charge showed that WA police were still after him. "That's why this state has got such a shocking track record of miscarriage of justice," he told reporters. "Every citizen realises if you stand and fight in this state you will be hunted down, just like I have been.

"If it hadn't been my name at Bunnings that day I wouldn't have been charged, it's as simple as that, but (police) saw a chance to get back at me and they took it."

In the original trial, Magistrate Cicchini found that the prosecution's key witness, Bunnings security guard Ian McKeagg, was not a "witness of truth", lacking reliability and credibility.

Mr Mickelberg said Bunnings and WA police would have known Mr McKeagg's evidence was perjured and said he would launch legal action against the hardware chain as well as the security guard. "It's my turn to use the judicial system against those who falsely accused me and I put Bunnings on notice," he said. "They might be a large corporation worth hundreds of millions, but I'm coming after them and I'm coming after them with force. They will pay for what they did to me."


Bent and secretive NSW police body resisting investigation of its practices

POLICE started investigating the apparent leak of information about an inquiry into alleged misconduct at the NSW Crime Commission within days of a series of articles appearing in the Herald about the state's most secretive crime-fighting agency.

Details of the Crime Commission's reaction to the Herald articles about the seizure of criminals' assets emerged in documents tendered in the Supreme Court this week.

The court is hearing an application by the Crime Commission that the Police Integrity Commission be prevented from holding public hearings into its "practices and procedures" for asset seizures, an inquiry that allegedly exceeds the PIC's powers.

The Crime Commission wrote to the PIC on February 16, referring to the articles, asserting that non-publication orders made in earlier secret hearings had been breached and a criminal offence had been committed. There was a possibility the "suspected offender" was employed by the PIC, the Assistant Commissioner, Peter Singleton, wrote.

In a second letter, Mr Singleton called for relations between the two commissions to remain "on a professional and cordial basis". He reminded the PIC that the Crime Commission had for many years provided it with "valuable" intelligence voluntarily, but said confidentiality needed to be assured. "Breaches of confidentiality of [the Crime Commission's] material poses a real risk to life as well as to effective investigation of organised and serious crime," Mr Singleton wrote.

The PIC Commissioner replied, expressing concern about the alleged breach, and reporting he had referred the matter to police.

A week ago the Crime Commission dropped its attempt to seize mobile phones, SIM cards and telephone records of two Herald journalists. The documents also reveal that:

The PIC inquiry started with an investigation into the relationship between a forensic accountant at the Crime Commission and a lawyer;

The PIC investigated the complaint by a Sydney law firm against an officer of the Crime Commission in June 2008;

As early as 2000 the Crime Commission had received legal advice that its practice of paying legal expenses out of criminals' assets was legal.

Lawyers for the PIC and the Crime Commission put their case before the court yesterday as to whether the law prevented the PIC exercising its functions to prevent misconduct and examine systemic problems at the Crime Commission, or if it could only investigate specific allegations of misconduct.


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