The Keli Lane tapes: From prison, a murderer breaks her silence


abc.net.au

The Keli Lane tapes: From prison, a murderer breaks her silence

By Caro Meldrum-Hanna with Elise Worthington, Jaya Balendra and Julia Pursche

It’s not every day you receive a handwritten letter from a convicted baby killer asking you to reinvestigate their case.

But that’s exactly what happened in 2016 when Keli Lane penned me a letter from Silverwater Women’s Correctional Centre, where she’s currently serving an 18-year sentence for the murder of her two-day-old baby girl Tegan. The infant’s body has never been found and the case against Lane was circumstantial.

Lane, a former water polo champion turned private school teacher from Sydney’s affluent northern beaches, has never spoken publicly. She maintained her silence throughout a coronial inquest and her murder trial.

Her letter to me was entirely unsolicited.

An extract of the handwritten letter Keli Lane sent to investigative journalist Caro Meldrum-Hanna

She wanted me to apply an investigative journalist’s blowtorch to her claims, warts and all.

Why? Because Keli Lane says she’s innocent, that Tegan would now be 22 years old, that she’s out there somewhere, and that the man who she handed Tegan over to is out there as well. But Lane has also been found to be a serial liar.

Do you know more? Contact exposed@abc.net.au

Investigative journalist Elise Worthington and I decided to delve into this confounding case for the ABC’s new documentary series Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane, to test her claimed innocence, and to analyse the police investigation and the murder trial.

Over the course of several months, Keli Lane rang us to discuss her life and her case. We never called her, and Lane consented to her calls being recorded and published.

No topic was off limits.

CONTEXT During the 1990s, Lane fell pregnant and gave birth to three secret children

CM-H: What was that like Keli those final moments with Tegan just mother and daughter alone?

KL: It was awful… because I’d been there before and I knew how much it hurt. It was just so difficult to just make this decision again and basically to write myself out of it.

CONTEXT During the 1990s, Lane fell pregnant and gave birth to three secret children

CM-H: Can you remember what she looked like…

KL: (cuts her off) I was kicking myself too, why am I here again?

These phone conversations were extremely difficult to manage.

Firstly, they were largely unpredictable. Keli Lane could call at any time on any day. Following confronting or upsetting conversations, would we ever hear from her again?

Prison rules also limited phone calls to a maximum of six minutes duration, meaning the pressure was high.

So what did we learn about Keli Lane? What were the forces that shaped her? Why did she do the things she did?

Lane grew up in the 1980s on Sydney’s northern beaches. Tall, tanned and athletic, she was known as the local golden girl and is about as far away from a murderer as you can imagine.

She came from a highly respected family, her father Robert Lane was a policeman and coach of the local rugby team while her mother worked at the local hospital.

Keli showed an early talent for swimming, beach sprinting and surf lifesaving competitions but became a talented water polo player, spending years competing on state and national teams during the 1990s.

But her private reality was very different to her public persona. Behind the champion athlete’s public image was a deeply troubled young woman who was terrified of disappointing her parents and was extremely secretive.

In one revealing conversation, she explained in her own words how she had been conditioned to compartmentalise and ignore physical and psychological pain.

CONTEXT Keli Lane’s parents told Exposed they were completely unaware of her pregnancies

CONTEXT In her murder trial, prosecutors argued Lane had an overriding ambition to represent Australia in water polo at the 2000 Sydney Olympics

I was excellent at putting things into boxes and parking them because I had been, from a very young age, able to be different things for different people and trying to please people and I trained from a very young age and so I was under coaches from a very young age and taking direction and being able to put my emotions aside.

CONTEXT In her murder trial, prosecutors argued Lane had an overriding ambition to represent Australia in water polo at the 2000 Sydney Olympics

When things hurt, when you are training at 8, 9, 10 years old and physically you’re hurting you put that aside because you want to please your coach you want to please your parents you want to please the people who expect everything from you and your emotions really don’t come into it.

CONTEXT Keli Lane’s parents told Exposed they were completely unaware of her pregnancies

So I was excellent at hiding how I felt and what was hurting me

The incredulous moments in the Keli Lane case are many and varied. She’d been found to have told a litany of lies over several years to hide the fact that she’d fallen pregnant five times, had two terminations and given birth to three children during the 1990s, all before she’d turned 24.

She put her first and third child up for adoption, but Tegan disappeared without a trace the day Keli Lane left hospital with her in September 1996.

The fact Keli Lane told so many lies about the birth of her children made it hard for us to separate fact from fiction. She sprinkled truth among the lies.

I set a bit of a litmus test at the very beginning, when she rang us.

The test was this: if Keli Lane arced up and denied that she’d told all those lies, then I knew we were dealing with someone who was largely incapable of telling the truth and unable to face up to her conduct.

But she did the opposite. She agreed and accepted she was a serial liar and gave her own reasons for her behaviour.

CONTEXT Prosecutor Mark Tedeschi told the jury in Lane’s murder trial that she told 95 lies to cover up three secret and unwanted pregnancies

CONTEXT Lane was found guilty on three counts of making a false statement on oath in relation to her adopting out two other babies

CONTEXT Lane was 17 years old when she fell pregnant for the first time.

I was hurting, it wasn’t an enjoyable time, I wasn’t doing it light-hearted.

Those decisions affected me and they still affect me and they were important decisions.

The lies were around the shame or the embarrassment or the humiliation of the life I was leading no different to any other young person that makes silly choices or is covering up a part of their life.

CONTEXT Prosecutor Mark Tedeschi told the jury in Lane’s murder trial that she told 95 lies to cover up three secret and unwanted pregnancies

CONTEXT Lane was 17 years old when she fell pregnant for the first time.

But certainly by the time the police were involved, I’d been accused of making numerous lies, and some of them were from fear, from being pushed into a corner and not knowing the position I was in, not understanding the seriousness of what I was involved in.

CONTEXT Lane was found guilty on three counts of making a false statement on oath in relation to her adopting out two other babies

Lane might have accepted she lied and made mistakes, but she strongly denies she harmed her baby daughter.

Those closest to Keli Lane think the bizarre chain of events which consumed her life began in 1992 when, in her final year of high school, she became pregnant and had an abortion.

The only person she told was her boyfriend at the time. After this experience, Keli Lane never told anyone again she was pregnant.

People have always wondered why Keli Lane kept falling pregnant and having babies, with her sex life and her “promiscuity” becoming public fodder.

But she’s never been asked to explain it.

CONTEXT A psychiatrist who reviewed Lane’s pregnancies for the court in her trial found her actions represented “an attempt to gratify underlying emotional and psychological needs”.

I think It was something that just got out of control. I don’t know whether it was almost like a sabotage thing, or a self-harm thing.

I don’t think I consciously did.

CONTEXT A psychiatrist who reviewed Lane’s pregnancies for the court in her trial found her actions represented “an attempt to gratify underlying emotional and psychological needs”.

I certainly didn’t think, “Oh, I’m going to go out and do that again.”

I’d be crazy, literally, but I just think it was a carelessness and a lack of self-protection, and wanting to be with someone and wanting to have a relationship, and then drinking a lot. Drinking, and not using the pill correctly, or not asking my partner to use protection, and not having control I think, is the biggest thing.

Is not having control of the situations I was in.

I really didn’t understand the long term consequences for anybody. Friends, family, especially myself. I just shut down.

Lane had three concealed pregnancies and births between 1995 and 1999. We know that concealed pregnancies aren’t a crime and they do happen. But multiple concealed pregnancies? That’s rare.

Just how a young woman could manage that without anyone noticing, is difficult to understand.

You’d think that the concealment was extremely difficult to do. But Keli Lane told us the opposite of what we were expecting to hear.

CONTEXT Lane’s former teammates who noticed she was pregnant have expressed regret for never having confronted her about it.

CONTEXT Rugby player Duncan Gillies was Lane’s partner at the time. He maintains he was unaware that she gave birth twice during their relationship

CM-H: How did you conceal it? Was it a hard thing to do?

KL: Do you know what? I don’t even remember really putting that much effort into it.

It was like, of course, avoiding people was probably my biggest attempts. I was very good at isolating myself, so wherever everyone was going, I might only go for a little while, or I was going between training, work, home, Duncan’s, so I was really good at dodging everyone.

CONTEXT Rugby player Duncan Gillies was Lane’s partner at the time. He maintains he was unaware that she gave birth twice during their relationship

But I didn’t go and buy extra clothes, or I didn’t do anything outrageously different.

I don’t even know how it happened like that.

I don’t know how no one ever said anything to me.

CONTEXT Lane’s former teammates who noticed she was pregnant have expressed regret for never having confronted her about it.

To understand why she was making these decisions, we needed to understand the sort of community and society Lane was growing up in.

Girls who grew up with her have told us there was a lot of “slut shaming” back then in the northern beaches, it was a cliquey and gossipy place. On top of that was a highly competitive, sexually charged sporting and drinking culture, with some questionable dynamics between older men and younger women.

This phone call captured my attention because it felt like Keli Lane for the first time expressed some uncomfortable home truths about being a girl growing up in that environment.

CONTEXT Lane told us she would have 30-year-old men asking her out when she was 15 or 16

CONTEXT Lane went on to describe a culture of hazing, which she said was part and parcel of joining sporting teams in her time

As long as you won and you were successful, other things didn’t seem to matter.

It seemed that as long as you trained hard and played hard, you could celebrate hard, and that’s generally when these sort of incidences would occur.

CONTEXT Lane told us she would have 30-year-old men asking her out when she was 15 or 16

These out of control situations, especially getting into positions with men, or choosing to have sex with men, a lot of alcohol’s involved, and it all stems from being out of control.

CONTEXT Lane went on to describe a culture of hazing, which she said was part and parcel of joining sporting teams in her time

But none of this explains what happened to baby Tegan.

When police finally questioned Lane years after the birth of Tegan, she told authorities she’d given her daughter to her natural father, a man named Andrew Norris, with whom she had a brief affair.

She said after telling him she was pregnant he agreed, along with his girlfriend and mother, to take the baby. Keli’s version of events surrounding the birth of Tegan has changed over time but she says Tegan’s father, Andrew, came to the hospital and took custody of the baby in the foyer on September 14.

Lane said she remembered that crucial day very clearly. But the police and prosecution say her version of events was a fabrication and that she instead left the hospital and murdered Tegan in an unknown way and disposed of Tegan at an unknown place.

CONTEXT Lane initially told police the father’s name was Andrew Morris, a man from Balmain in Sydney’s inner west, who she claimed to have had an affair with for several months. She later said his name was Andrew Norris

CONTEXT Lane maintains she did not kill her daughter and says she hopes someone will come forward with her. Tegan would be 22 years old.

CM-H: Do you remember… What’s your last image of your daughter Tegan?

KL: She’s so beautiful and just, she’s asleep and she was tucked in this … she looked so little tucked in this capsule. I was very upset, I was crying, and Andrew was with …

CONTEXT Lane initially told police the father’s name was Andrew Morris, a man from Balmain in Sydney’s inner west, who she claimed to have had an affair with for several months. She later said his name was Andrew Norris

Mel and his mother were on the other …

When we went downstairs in the lift it was like a foyer area and there was a lot of chairs. They’d obviously been sitting in the chairs waiting and they stood up as we approached. And just as that feeling of, “Is this the right thing to do?”

I looked at them and, not to judge, but I didn’t know them. And I did have that moment of:

“Maybe I could just take her. Maybe I could just do it myself.”

But just so painful.

CONTEXT Lane maintains she did not kill her daughter and says she hopes someone will come forward with her. Tegan would be 22 years old.

Lots of people, including Keli’s own family, have found this story difficult to comprehend. A casual sexual partner, the girlfriend that he cheated on and his mother coming to take a baby from a hospital.

The phone had just cut out on our call, when she rings back it felt like there’s a different version of Keli Lane on the phone.

When she was describing saying goodbye to her baby she was emotional. But now, she’s composed and collected. It sounds like she’s recalling a story she’s thought about many times before with lots of detail.

CONTEXT Prosecutors argued Lane probably left via a fire escape and avoided the nurses station.

CONTEXT Hours later Keli Lane attended a friend’s wedding with her then boyfriend Duncan Gilles.

CONTEXT The taxi driver who Keli Lane says picked her up from Auburn Hospital has never been found.

CM-H: After you handed Tegan over to, you say, the natural father and his family.

KL: Yup.

CM-H: What did you do next?

KL: Well they left before me, they walked out and I stood there a minute, two minutes and I was very upset, and then I went out…straight out the…electronic doors or whatever they are. You know they pulled back. They pulled back, I walked out and just to the right I think it was there was sort of like a driveway type thing. And I just jumped in a cab and I said, “Venus Street, Gladesville”.

CONTEXT Prosecutors argued Lane probably left via a fire escape and avoided the nurses station.

CONTEXT The taxi driver who Keli Lane says picked her up from Auburn Hospital has never been found.

The cab was white.

I can’t tell you about like the signs or decals, but what I do know is that when we stopped at Venus Street I didn’t have enough money. And I had to run inside, and he said to me, “I’ll wait out the front love.” And I ran inside and took the money out of Duncan’s brother’s room. And it was all coins, it was in a cowboy boot he used to have. And I took all the coins out and ran it back.

CONTEXT Hours later Keli Lane attended a friend’s wedding with her then boyfriend Duncan Gilles.

Lane is clearly very good at compartmentalising and pushing down emotion and getting on with things.

So much was made in the media about Lane’s steely, emotionless demeanour when she’d come and go from court every day.

Her tough appearance seemed to defy what society expects of a woman and a mother and she was dubbed by the press as “the girl with the Mona Lisa smile”.

But Lane took me by surprise one day when she rang to discuss the years her life went off the rails, starting when she was 19 years old.

KL: A lot of personal issues and emotions around that slice of my life, those choices I was making, and it probably sounds selfish, but I feel really sorry for that person.

[gasping crying]

CM-H: Like you see it as a different girl or?

KL: I just feel it just put myself through so much pain and I hurt a lot of people in the process and I don’t feel good about that.

There is no forensic evidence linking Keli Lane to the death of baby Tegan and her body has never been found, but circumstantial evidence led to the conviction for murder.

Keli Lane believes she’s been wrongfully convicted, but all her attempts to appeal against her conviction have failed.

The only avenue left for Keli Lane is a judicial review of her conviction, or if fresh and compelling evidence is found.

Watch the first episode of Exposed: The Case of Keli Lane on iview

Credits:

  • Reporting: Caro Meldrum-Hanna, Elise Worthington, Jaya Balendra and Julia Pursche
  • Digital Production: Mark Doman
  • Development: Nathanael Scott
  • Design: Alex Palmer
  • Header image: Dean Lewins, AAP
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Frank Arkell-A look back at his murder and filthy secret life over decades


Frank Arkell: How a vicious murder unmasked a city’s darkest secrets

Posted

WARNING: This story contains graphic details that readers may find disturbing.

It was the death that could have pushed Wollongong over the edge.

In the late 1990s, the New South Wales city had become a cesspool of corruption and abuse involving civic leaders and Catholic priests, and was in the grip of a heroin epidemic, its streets littered with needles.

Then, 20 years ago on June 26, 1998, the gruesome bashing murder of former Wollongong lord mayor and state MP Frank Arkell helped break the curse that had dragged the steel city to its darkest depths.

Known as Mr Wollongong, Arkell, who was lord mayor from 1974-1991, had proudly coined the phrase ‘Wonderful Wollongong’ to describe the place he loved to work and play.

To many in high places he was the city’s saviour, but to others who knew his dirty secrets, including his predilection for young boys, he was a ‘rock spider’ who deserved what was coming to him.

‘I wanted to kill someone that day’

Arkell’s murder at the age of 62 came exactly a fortnight after the garrotting and decapitation of 59-year-old gay man David O’Hearn.

O’Hearn happened to live a few houses away from 19-year-old unemployed man Mark Valera — who was found guilty of both murders — in Albion Park, south of Wollongong city.

Police evidence revealed Valera posed as a gay man to gain access to Arkell’s West Wollongong home.

Once his quarry turned his back, Valera picked up a lampshade and hit his victim over the head with it more than 40 times.

Valera, who was wearing work boots, also kicked Arkell hard in the ribs, attacked his head with a glass ashtray, and strangled him.

Once the former mayor was dead, Valera punctured Arkell’s cheek and eye with badge pins found inside the home.

O’Hearn’s murder had been similarly brutal, verging on satanic.

His head had been cut from his body and his arm sawn off and used to draw a pentagram and an inverted cross in blood on the wall.

His body was cut down the front with a knife and his intestines removed.

“I had it in my mind that I wanted to kill someone that day,” Valera later told police. “I was really angry.”

A ‘very horrible’ man’s sickening demise

When asked later why he killed Arkell, Valera said he knew he was a paedophile.

“He is a very, very horrible man,” he said.

Southern Highlands-based police inspector John Klepczarek was an acting sergeant at Lake Illawarra at the time and remembers going to both crime scenes.

“The O’Hearn murder is by far the most gruesome I have ever come across in my career in the NSW Police,” he said.

“Considering what kind of tragedies and murders we have seen in the Illawarra, that is saying something.

“The mental state of the person who committed those crimes I can’t even begin to imagine. The time and effort to commit those crimes, it was absolutely horrific.”

Valera was found guilty of the murders and sentenced, in December 2000, to two consecutive terms of life imprisonment, never

Dirty old town

Steen, a proud gay man who today runs a tea shop and theatre company in Wollongong, knew Arkell “quite well”.

“Being in the arts and community sector we came across Frank all the time and I have to say when you meet Frank, [he was a] charming, lovely person to talk to, very good at hiding what he was up to in his private life,” he said.

“You can’t deny Frank did a damn good job at promoting the town, but you can’t deny that he also did a good job at smudging its name on the way out.”

For Steen, Wollongong in 1970s and ’80s was a dangerous place.

“I myself was beaten over the head and left for dead in a creek bed just for what I was wearing, so you kept quiet and you kept everybody else’s secrets,” he said.

There were well known gay beats operating where hoons would turn up to bash so-called ‘poofters’ for fun.

In a city peppered with many Catholic Church-run schools, there was also the dark scourge of child sexual abuse, which authorities all too often turned a blind eye to.

“I can tell you as an absolute fact that it did happen in one school because I was a victim of it, and I was only eight at the time,” Steen said.

“And all they did was just move the priest to another school where he did exactly the same thing all over again.

“Thankfully he is behind bars now.”

The royal commission that broke the stranglehold

Well before the recent Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse came the Wood Royal Commission into Police Corruption, which was extended to investigate paedophilia.

It was a massive undertaking.

Starting in June 1995, it ran for 451 hearing days with evidence from 902 public witnesses, and cost an estimated $64 million.

The royal commission investigated claims Arkell and retired judge David Yeldham were potential paedophiles.

Arkell’s secret life preying on young boys did not become public until five years after he left public office, when state MP and anti-paedophile campaigner Franca Arena effectively outed him in state parliament.

She asked whether Arkell was W1, who was under investigation by the Wood Royal Commission for having sex with underage boys.

It set off a spiral of controversy that turned Arkell from a man who could do no wrong to a person widely despised and verbally attacked.

Yeldham took his own life in November 1996, while Arkell, who denied the allegations, was virtually forced into hiding before he had the chance to clear his name in court.

“Once the Franca Arena allegation became public, the charges then became public,” said Glenn Mitchell, honorary senior fellow in history at the University of Wollongong.

“Had he not been murdered in June 1998, some time in 1998 between June and December he would have been before a judge and jury in Wollongong Court defending the allegations and the charges against him.”

Probe uncovered rats’ nest

Some of the other names associated with paedophilia in Wollongong at the time included former mayor and businessman Tony Bevan, alderman Brian Tobin, parish priest Father Peter Lewis Comensoli and former Edmund Rice College principal Brother Michael Evans.

Bevan — reputedly known in paedophile rings as ‘Commander Hook’ — was investigated by the Wood Royal Commission three years after his death from cancer in 1991.

Tobin killed himself just two hours after being interviewed by investigators from the Wood Royal Commission paedophile team in 1996.

Evans also took his own life in Rockhampton in 1996.

“It was a sad time, a dark time, and with what was being uncovered in the Wood Royal Commission there was a feeling the place was pretty well evil,” current Wollongong Mayor Gordon Bradbery said.

Current mayor counselled ‘delusional’ Arkell

After the Arena bombshell, Arkell’s life started to rapidly slide downhill.

“Several graffitists had put ‘W1 equals wanker’ and other words that I can’t repeat painted on his front fence,” Dr Mitchell said.

“He was the subject of several prank calls, one of whom was Mark Valera, his eventual murderer.”

It was around this time a new Uniting Church minister assigned to work in Wollongong’s Church on the Mall and its associated food kitchen catering for those living rough met Arkell.

That minister, Gordon Bradbery, who is now the mayor, said he found the retired politician “delusional”.

“I sat with him for quite a while and was convinced he was heading towards full-blown dementia.”

The Mayor said the Catholic Church had had an immense influence on the city when he arrived in 1996.

“There were locations in Wollongong where we had intense power in the Catholic Church. It could control the narrative,” he said.

He said the shackles of the past were thrown off in part by the Wood Royal Commission, but also the later ICAC inquiry into sex for development at Wollongong Council and the growing influence of the university.

Path to redemption

The city’s transformation, brought on by the necessity to progress past a narrow reliance on ever-shrinking industrial base, opened Wollongong up to greater scrutiny from the outside world.

“What I think probably opened it up more than anything else was the work of the university, just the fact that people were coming in here and asking questions and expecting a higher standard of accountability, transparency and good government,” Cr Bradbery said.

This extended to the moral behaviour of its citizens, with murder and paedophilia scandals doing little to enhance the image of Wollongong as a desirable location.

The Wood Royal Commission and association media publicity helped bring the skeletons out of the closet, but many still feel even now it remains a work in progress.

“[Royal commissions] are a wonderful part of the process, but unfortunately I don’t think they go far enough, because there are still people at the top covering their tracks,” Steen said.

The murders of Arkell and O’Hearn at the hands of Valera were not the only murders going on at the time — they were simply the worst of a very bad lot.

A bizarre additional chapter of the double murder played out when Valera’s sister, Belinda Van Krevel, pleaded guilty in 2003 to soliciting her boyfriend Keith Schreiber to murder her father Jack Van Krevel while she was pretending to sleep in the adjoining bedroom.

Schreiber, now imprisoned for life, was also the best friend of Valera.

The murder triangle serves as a reminder of how things have changed for the better and the need to remain vigilant against secrecy and complacency.

For Dr Mitchell the journey has been a difficult but necessary one.

“We have come along a very gut wrenching and torturous journey, but I think the destination we have reached is probably a better destination than anyone could have dreamed of,” he said.

Topics: murder-and-manslaughter, history, crime, wollongong-2500

RSL Thieves deep in the pig trough-Now the inquiry


  • File photo: NSW Veterans’ Affairs minister David Elliott (left) and NSW Police Superintendent Mark Walton (AAP)

Allegations of financial misconduct in the NSW RSL’s fundraising arm will be investigated by an independent inquiry.

Retired Supreme Court judge Patricia Bergin will head the inquiry, to be announced by the NSW government later on Monday.

The NSW branch has been plagued by a series of financial scandals and allegations of fraud.

In December the state government referred former NSW RSL president Don Rowe to police over claims he used his corporate credit card to withdraw $200,000 in cash.

NSW Veterans Affairs Minister David Elliott made the referral after reviewing a damning interim report into claims senior figures at the NSW branch were stockpiling millions of dollars in consultancy payments instead of spending it on veterans.

The allegations had already sparked NSW Police fraud and Australia’s charities watchdog inquiries.

On Monday Mr Elliott told Fairfax Media: “Based on the emails, letters and conversations I have with veterans around NSW, as well as their sub-branches, there is overwhelming support for the government to intervene.”

“We want to clean up the mess and make sure it never happens again,” Better Regulation Minister Matt Kean said.

Mr Elliott and Mr Kean will address media on Monday afternoon


RSL NSW chief defends Anzac attendance
RSL NSW president John Haines has defended his decision to defy a state government request to not participate in Sydney’s Anzac Day commemorations.

NSW RSL spent $93,000 defending ‘homophobic attack’
The chief executive of the NSW RSL has described a decision to spend $93,000 defending a senior executive accused of vilifying a gay veteran as disappointing.


Ex-RSL NSW boss ‘spent $475k on expenses’
Senior RSL NSW figures received more than $2.5 million in “consultancy fees” from the organisation’s aged-care arm, an auditor’s report has confirmed.


Our site still under threat by pathetic anoms


Struggling with attack

IM A BLOGGER NOT A SOLICTOR. ANY HELP WOULD BE GREAT.

i HAVE THE ENTIRE SITE SAVED UP TO THE DAY…Sorry about caps I look down to type.

Our 3 sites are

aussicecriminals.com.au

aussiecriminals.com

aussiecriminals.wordpress.com (this one is free forever unable to be stolen)

 

Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale charged with extortion amid CCC investigation


Former Ipswich mayor Paul Pisasale has been arrested and charged with extortion amid an investigation by the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC).

Mr Pisasale was arrested by the CCC this afternoon in Ipswich and was taken to the Brisbane police watch house where he was formally charged with extortion and two other offences.

The CCC said the investigation was ongoing.

Prior to being charged, acting Ipswich Mayor Paul Tully said he and his colleagues were shocked by Mr Pisasale’s arrest.

“As I understand it, these are strictly personal matters — have nothing to do with the Ipswich City Council,” he said.

“It is a matter for Paul and his legal advisors and the Queensland judicial system.

“We had no warning that this could happen, but the city must go on and we’re going to provide positive leadership into the future,” Cr Tully said.

“Our sympathies do go out to Paul’s family who are obviously very concerned at this difficult time.

“I think people will still remember Paul whatever happens as the person who put Ipswich on the map, did a lot of economic development for the city.

Breaking the Brotherhood-Digging up the bad old days of systemic police corruption and graft supported by the Government of the time


Background Information

FEATURE Moonlight State: The honest cop who helped blow the whistle on Australia’s most corrupt police force by Mark Willacy | ABC News | 12 Jun 2017 – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-12/four-corners-moonlight-state-afp-protected-chris-masters/8607314

FEATURE The Bagman, the secret codes, and the payments to a secret brotherhood of bent cops by Mark Willacy | ABC News | 12 Jun 2017 – http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-12/fitzgerald-inquiry-files-reveal-inner-workings-of-corrupt-cops/8600046

Fact Check: Did Joh Bjelke-Petersen instigate the Fitzgerald inquiry? | ABC Fact Check | 20 Nov 2014 – http://www.abc.net.au/news/factcheck/2014-11-20/did-joh-bjelke-petersen-instigate-the-fitzgerald-inquiry/5889002

Journalism Matters: Fitzgerald inquiry resulted from basic reporting | The Courier-Mail | 7 Oct 2014 – http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/opinion/journalism-matters-fitzgerald-inquiry-resulted-from-basic-reporting/news-story/f34f2b0a95d86007fe12a9bd1a5c6c8a

Moonlight Reflections by Chris Masters | Griffith Review | Aug 2008 – Chris Masters reflected on the making and remifications of the Moonlight State investigation. https://griffithreview.com/articles/moonlight-reflections/

Queensland: Ten Years After Fitzgerald | Background Briefing | 16 May 1999 – http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/backgroundbriefing/queensland-ten-years-after-fitzgerald/3565808

The Fitzgerald Inquiry | Crime & Corruption QLD | 1989 – The Fitzgerald report was tabled in Parliament in July 1989. It made over 100 recommendations covering the establishment of the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission and the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) and reform of the Queensland Police Force. Download the report here: http://www.ccc.qld.gov.au/about-the-ccc/the-fitzgerald-inquiry

Police inquiry turns blowtorch back on accusers by Paul Bongiorno | The Bulletin Archives | 26 May 1987 – https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1363645-the-bulletin-police-inquiry-turns-blowtorch-back.html

Sir Joh says PM has dingoed out on electorate | SMH Archives | 28 May 1987 – https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1363976-smh-sir-joh-says-pm-has-dingoed-out-on.html

RELATED 4 CORNERS PROGRAMS

Beyond Bethany | 3 Mar 2008 – Twenty years on Chris Masters assesses the Joh Bjelke-Petersen legacy. Watch Online

The Moonlight State | 11 May 1987 – Chris Masters’ investigation into Queensland police corruption led to the Fitzgerald Inquiry, resulting in over 100 convictions and the police commissioner being jailed. Watch Online


“The Joke” was a system of protection involving illegal gambling, bookies, and brothels in QLD for more than a decade, probably decades


Updated June 12, 2017 14:19:00

It was Queensland, the year was 1987, and the State’s police force was riddled with corruption. The brotherhood of crooked cops who gave the green light to illegal gambling and prostitution believed they were untouchable.

“The level and systemic nature of it, reaching to all levels, including the highest political levels, was truly a shock to me.” Leading Criminal Investigator

There was a conspiracy of silence, from within the Queensland Government and all the way up to the highest levels of the force. The nature and the extent of the corruption sickened the honest cops, who operated in a world where they could trust no-one

Breaking the Brotherhood – Monday 12 June 2017

“‘Break his camera and break his mouth too!’ was the order.” Chris Masters, ‘The Moonlight State’ (1987)

It was Queensland, the year was 1987, and the State’s police force was riddled with corruption. The brotherhood of crooked cops who gave the green light to illegal gambling and prostitution believed they were untouchable.

“The level and systemic nature of it, reaching to all levels, including the highest political levels, was truly a shock to me.” Leading Criminal Investigator

There was a conspiracy of silence, from within the Queensland Government and all the way up to the highest levels of the force. The nature and the extent of the corruption sickened the honest cops, who operated in a world where they could trust no-one.

“There were times that I actually feared for my life and for the life of my family. It was clear to me that we had institutionalised corruption taking place.” Undercover Operative

A small band of brave crime fighters, and their families, took the enormous risk to trust a journalist with the State’s darkest secrets. The result was ‘The Moonlight State’, perhaps the most explosive true story ever told on Australian television.

“There is another side to the Sunshine State. Despite some wholesome attempts to pretend otherwise, the Queensland Government has not managed to stop the devil at the border. In the Sunshine State, sex is a great little earner.” Chris Masters, ‘The Moonlight State’ (1987)

Chris Masters’ landmark report prompted one of the most important anti-corruption investigations in Australian history, the Fitzgerald Inquiry, which led to the jailing of the Queensland Police Commissioner.

But the whole story of how the whistle was blown has never fully been told. Now the key players who put their trust in Chris Masters have come forward to tell their story, on camera, for the first time.

“I’m sitting there with my wife at home, because I knew when it was going to air, and I’m watching it. And I had this silly grin on my face, but it was also teary because we actually made it, we survived. The story got to air.” Whistleblower

“I believe that fate brought (us) together and that something had to be done.” Undercover Operative

The program also reveals the shocking lengths corrupt police went to, to try to silence the whistleblowers, and reporter Chris Masters.

“My son had been walking home from school and a car had pulled up beside him and told him that his father was going to be killed.” Undercover Police Officer

“Things got very scary, and a very powerful syndicate of organised criminals and corrupt police realised that they had an illicit empire to protect and they started to play nasty.” Chris Masters

Thirty years on from ‘The Moonlight State’, leading law enforcement figures warn that every police force today must remember the lessons of those dark days so they can never be repeated.

Breaking the Brotherhood, reported by Mark Willacy and presented by Sarah Ferguson, goes to air on Monday 12th June at 8.30pm EDT. It is replayed on Tuesday 13th June at 10.00am and Wednesday 14th at 11pm. It can also be seen on ABC NEWS channel on Saturday at 8.00pm AEST, ABC iview and at abc.net.au/4corners.

First posted June 12, 2017 13:43:00


Moonlight State: The honest cop who helped blow the whistle on Australia’s most corrupt police force – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


Moonlight State: The honest cop who helped blow the whistle on Australia’s most corrupt police force

June 12th, 2017 Updated about 2 hours ago

It was an unusual assignment, and Australian Federal Police officer Dave Moore wasn’t happy about it.

“I had a call to go and visit the assistant commissioner,” he recounted.

“He asked me to keep a lookout for a bloke by the name of Chris Masters from Four Corners.”

To Mr Moore, babysitting a journalist was not part of his remit.

“I’ll be honest, I told [my assistant commissioner] I didn’t want to do the job,” he said.

But an order was an order.

It was 1987, and the AFP hierarchy had information that Masters was in danger.

He wasn’t at risk from the criminal underworld, but from the corrupt members of the Queensland police.

“It was made very clear that they were concerned for Chris’s safety,” said Mr Moore, speaking for the first time about the AFP’s secret role in protecting the Four Corners reporter.

“So we put the resources of the AFP, discreetly, behind keeping a lookout for Chris.”

‘We were being watched and shadowed’

Masters was getting too close to a brotherhood of bent cops and their network of graft and corruption, an arrangement known as “the Joke”.

What was the Joke?

The Joke was a vast system of graft and protection involving illegal gambling, starting price bookmakers, brothels and massage parlours that stretched back decades in Queensland.The dirty money flowed to the police, particularly to several senior members of the infamous Licensing Branch, who in exchange for regular cash payments turned a blind eye to vice.

In its later and most lucrative form, the Joke was administered by Jack Herbert, who, by the time it all came crashing down, was passing on nearly $60,000 a month in protection money to police.

Herbert was estimated to have received more than $3 million in payments.

In early 1987 The Courier-Mail ran a series of articles about unchallenged vice in Brisbane.

Then in May, The Moonlight State program was broadcast on Four Corners, revealing that police were being bribed to protect vice in Queensland.

The next day the acting premier Bill Gunn called a judicial inquiry.

The Fitzgerald Inquiry would run for two years and hear from more than 300 witnesses.

Evidence from the inquiry would lead to four government ministers and police commissioner Terry Lewis being jailed.

Other police would go to prison, while senior officers — including the assistant commissioner Graeme Parker — would give evidence in exchange for indemnity from prosecution.

The Fitzgerald Inquiry would also lead to the establishment of Queensland’s first anti-corruption body.

Stretching back several decades, the Joke was a system of protection payments that flowed from brothel owners, SP bookies and illegal gaming operators into the hands of corrupt police.

It was worth millions, and the Joke’s tentacles reached right to the top of the Queensland force.

In late 1986, early 1987, Masters had been sniffing around Brisbane’s red light district of Fortitude Valley for weeks talking to pimps, prostitutes and disgruntled police.

His inquiries were making the brotherhood nervous.

“We were being watched and shadowed,” Masters recalled.

“I didn’t really know that until Dave started to point out people who were surveilling me.”

Mr Moore says he first met Masters “up at the Tower Mill [Hotel]”.

“It became quite apparent to me that there was someone paying quite a lot of attention to Chris across the road,” he said.

“We later found out it was a hired vehicle which was being used by officers of the [Queensland] Police Force.”

The plan to frame Chris Masters

As Masters got closer to cracking the Joke, the police brotherhood knew it had to destroy the Four Corners reporter before he destroyed them.

“They took him extremely seriously, to the point where they were on the brink of literally setting him up,” said Matthew Condon, the author of a three-book series on police corruption in Queensland.

“The plan was that they would plant an underage boy in Masters’ hotel room in the city and ultimately, whether they could prove it or not, the mud would have been thrown against Masters to discredit him.”

Masters would only be told of the plan to stitch him up many months later, after The Moonlight State had gone to air.

“I learnt of it through [former rugby league player] Tommy Raudonikis. He’d heard of it from a police mate and he then tipped off my brother Roy who told me,” Masters said.

“But when it was all supposed to happen I wasn’t in Brisbane, I was back in Sydney.”

The plan revealed the lengths the corrupt Queensland police brotherhood was prepared to go to protect the Joke.

It had flourished for years under the stewardship of a man known as “the Bagman”.

Jack Herbert was a former police Licensing Branch detective who for years was the conduit between the crooks and the cops.

He doled out hundreds of thousands in bribes to corrupt police.

Masters travelled the state speaking to and interviewing people about the Joke.

On May 11, 1987, The Moonlight State went to air on Four Corners.

“The pivotal thing about The Moonlight State and why it caused an earthquake was that for the first time, what Masters achieved, was a link between criminal figures, the underworld and corruption and police,” Condon said.

“That’s what caused so much drama and why it was an astonishing piece of television journalism.”

For Masters, the day after The Moonlight State would bring fresh drama.

“I wake up to the sounds of my own heartbeat,” he said.

“These are scary moments, sometimes the worst moments because you’ve done your best, you’re pretty much exhausted, but then a whole new battle begins.”

That battle would become the Fitzgerald Inquiry.

It would run for two years, hear from 339 witnesses and see the police commissioner, Sir Terence Lewis, jailed and stripped of his knighthood.

Also convicted were senior police and Valley kingpin, Gerry Bellino, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for paying bribes.

As for Jack “the Bagman” Herbert, he escaped jail by rolling over and telling all to the inquiry.

Watch Four Corners’ Breaking the Brotherhood at 8:30pm on ABC and iView.

The Moonlight State, the 1987 report that prompted the Fitzgerald Inquiry, can be viewed in full on the Four Corners website.

Topics: law-crime-and-justice, police, qld, australia

First posted about 4 hours ago

Contact Mark Willacy


en.wikipedia.org

Fitzgerald Inquiry – Wikipedia


The Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct (the Fitzgerald Inquiry) (1987–1989) into Queensland Police corruption was a judicial inquiry presided over by Tony Fitzgerald QC. The inquiry resulted in the deposition of a premier, two by-elections, the jailing of three former ministers and a police commissioner who was jailed and lost his knighthood. It also led indirectly to the end of the National Party of Australia‘s 32-year run as the governing political party in Queensland.

History

The inquiry was established in response to a series of articles on high-level police corruption in The Courier-Mail by reporter Phil Dickie, followed by a Four Corners television report, aired on 11 May 1987, entitled “The Moonlight State” with reporter Chris Masters. Both reports highlighted prostitution, gambling and possible police corruption.[1] With Queensland‘s Premier of 18 years, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen, out of the state, his deputy Bill Gunn ordered a commission of inquiry the day after the television report was broadcast.

The allegations aired in the media were not new; they had surfaced from time to time and some news organisations had been forced to pay damages to aggrieved people who alleged their reputations had been damaged (Bjelke-Petersen himself was notoriously litigious in response to unfavourable press coverage). Ian Callinan drafted the terms of reference for the inquiry as well as appearing before it.[2] While the terms of the inquiry were initially narrow, restricted only to the specific allegations raised against specific persons named in the media over a period of just five years, Fitzgerald used his moral authority to lever the inquiry into a position of being able to inquire into any relevant matter. The terms of reference for the Commission were extended twice.[1]

This enabled him to set a new precedent for commissions of inquiry and Royal Commissions in Australia generally, using innovative methods such as indemnities from prosecution for key witnesses to secure vital evidence. The inquiry was initially expected to last about six weeks; it instead spent almost two years conducting a comprehensive investigation of long-term, systemic political corruption and abuse of power in Queensland. Public sittings were held on 238 days, hearing testimony from 339 witnesses.[1]

On 28 August, a Licensing Branch sergeant, Harry Burgess implicated Jack Herbert, and assistant commissioner Graeme Parker. Parker confessed and implicated police commissioner Sir Terry Lewis on 16 September.[3]

The inquiry would eventually outlive the Bjelke-Petersen government. Mike Ahern became the new Premier after Bjelke-Petersen was deposed by his own party.[4] Evidence revealed by the investigation (including testimony from Bjelke-Petersen himself) caused significant political damage and an internal power struggle within the National Party, resulting in Bjelke-Petersen resigning as Premier after his unsuccessful attempt to have the Governor of Queensland sack all of his ministers after they deposed him as party leader.

The inquiry’s special prosecutor was Doug Drummond QC. It was Drummond who decided not to retry Bjelke-Petersen after the hung jury.

Findings

Fitzgerald’s report was submitted on 3 July 1989.[1] Based on the inquiry’s final report,[5] a number of high-profile politicians were charged with crimes; notably Queensland Police Commissioner (Sir) Terry Lewis was charged with corruption.

Bjelke-Petersen himself was charged with perjury in respect of evidence given to the inquiry. The jury in the case remained deadlocked, bringing about a mistrial.[6] In 1992 it was revealed that the jury foreman, Luke Shaw, was a member of the Young Nationals, was identified with the “Friends of Joh” movement and had misrepresented the state of deliberations to the judge. According to an ABC TV analysis, “A later inquiry conducted by Justice Bill Carter found the selection process had been manipulated by …ex-police officers …helping to put Joh before a jury led by Young Nationals member, Luke Shaw.”[7] A special prosecutor announced in 1992 there would be no retrial because Sir Joh, then aged 81, was too old.

Jack Herbert had been the bagman, collecting bribes for police commissioner Terry Lewis from 1980. Lewis himself had been a bagman for former commissioner Francis Bischof.[3] Lewis was convicted (and subsequently stripped of his knighthood).

Leisha Harvey former health minister, was charged with misappropriating of public funds as part of an investigation resulting from the findings of the inquiry. She spent one year in jail.[4] Don Lane, former transport minister, was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment for falsifying expense accounts.[4] Lane’s resignation resulted in the 1989 Merthyr state by-election. Brian Austin, another former health minister, was convicted of misappropriating public funds. Hinze’s resignation led to the 1988 South Coast state by-election.

The Queensland Police Special Bureau was formed on 30 July 1940 and renamed Special Branch on 7 April 1948. It was criticised for being used for political purposes by the Bjelke-Petersen government in the 1970s and 1980s, such as enforcing laws against protests (sometimes outnumbering the protesters or using provocateurs to incite violence so the protesters could be arrested[8]) and investigating and harassing political opponents.[9] It was disbanded in 1989 following a recommendation by the Fitzgerald Inquiry.[9] Special Branch destroyed its records before Fitzgerald could subpoena them.[9]

In large part due to public anger over the revelations in the Fitzgerald report, the National Party was heavily defeated in the December 1989 state election, which brought the Australian Labor Party to power for the first time since 1957.

Recommendations

The two most significant recommendations were the establishment of the Criminal Justice Commission (CJC) and the Electoral and Administrative Review Commission which was to review electoral boundaries.[1] The need for Freedom of Information legislation in the state was noted, as was the need to review laws relating to public assembly and guidelines for the disclosure of pecuniary interests of parliamentarians. The CJC was to be responsible for investigating specific individuals mentioned during the inquiry.

The police culture of the state was also criticised. Aspects such as loyalty to fellow police officers, police not enforcing laws against other police and criticism of other police being impermissible[clarification needed] were condemned because they led to misconduct, inefficiency and contempt for the justice system.[1] Many of the inquiry’s recommendations were implemented by Wayne Goss, the first Labor Party Premier of Queensland in 32 years.

Cultural depictions

Bjelke-Petersen’s trial was later the subject of a TV movie, “Joh’s Jury“.[10]

Margot Hutcheson painted a picture of the inquiry, Wasn’t the Fitzgerald Inquiry Fun?[11]

In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, the Fitzgerald Inquiry was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for its role as a “Defining Moment”.[12]

See also

References

Bibliography

  • Commission of Inquiry into Possible Illegal Activities and Associated Police Misconduct, “Fitzgerald Inquiry report”, Government Printer, Brisbane, 1989.

Further reading

FOR more than three decades, Queensland Police simply called it “The Joke”.

And for the crooked cops who were in on it, along with a cavalcade of pimps, gamblers, prostitutes, drug dealers and politicians, being part of the punchline was lucrative business.

When The Courier-Mail finally exposed the system of corrupt payments with the landmark reporting of journalist Phil Dickie in 1987, it was clear the operation had penetrated the highest echelons and darkest recesses of life in the Sunshine State.

Police Commissioner Terry Lewis and other corrupt officers were caught taking bribes from a pool fed by bookies and brothel owners, such as Geraldo Bellino.

Vic Conte

The main beneficiaries were the police. Courier-Mail journalist Matt Condon, who has written a best-selling ­trilogy about that era, wrote The Joke was an “elaborate, multi-million dollar scheme of kickbacks from illegal gambling, SP bookmakers, brothels and escort services”.

At its zenith in the mid- 1980s, the system’s meticulous bookkeeper Jack “the Bagman” Herbert was raking in so much cash he was running out of places to store it in his luxury, riverfront apartment at East Brisbane.

By 1987, he was chan­nelling about $56,000 a month to police to protect SP bookmakers, casino and brothel operators from any serious law enforcement.

By then, the system was brazenly operating in the open, secure in its institutional hold on the police force and protection from the National Party government of then premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

Bagman Jack Herbert

Detective Sergeant Tony Murphy

Dickie’s investigative skills eventually shattered The Joke’s sense of impunity as he exposed the chain of money flowing to the police’s notorious Licensing Branch.

Reports in The Courier-Mail and an expose by ABC journalist Chris Masters on Four Corners led to the Fitzgerald inquiry, which finally finished The Joke in 1989 as three government ministers and police commissioner Terry Lewis were jailed.

Want to see more?( 6 more photos in collection )Continue to full gallery

In the final instalment of his trilogy, All Fall Down, Condon details a 1984 document written by serving police that provided forensic insight into The Joke’s structure, operation, breadth and membership.

It traced the system back to the 1950s, when the force was riven by factional fighting between Irish Catholics and the Masons.

The Joke then flourished under Frank Bischoff, who was commissioner from 1958 to 1969. Bischoff initiated Lewis, who was a young detective at the time, into the system and groomed him as a future successor.

Police Commissioner Frank Bischoff.

Notorious poker machine king, businessman and yachtsman Jack Rooklyn.

Lewis readily accepted his new duties, becoming one of the notorious Rat Pack, which included Herbert and detectives Tony Murphy and Glen Hallahan.

Murphy, who later rose to be assistant commissioner, allegedly coined the term The Joke and ensured that the Rat Pack controlled its operations. He was known as The Godfather.

The rest of The Joke operated as a series of autonomous cells led by an officer known as a “control”. Controls answered to another control on the level above them but would not deal with any other person, insulating the Rat Pack from being ­exposed. Citing the document, which was sent to then opposition police spokesman Kevin Hooper, Condon said the Rat Pack used police resources to corrupt politicians, government departments and leaders of industry.

“Illegal tapping of phones and use of sophisticated electronic surveillance gear, control of illegal gambling, prostitution at all levels and the keeping of comprehensive files on citizens of prominence are all ways in which this group of men are able to get appointed to high rank in the department,” the document said.

“There is not a level of ­society that these men do not have contacts and informants who work for them either through fear of exposure or for monetary gain.”

Hector Hapeta

Graeme Parker

 

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CORBY ARRIVES HOME…LET THE CHAOS BEGIN


Like sands through the hour glass so are days of Schapelle Corby inc…. She will arrive back in Australia with as much controversy as she had the day she arrived in Bali longer than a decade ago. I still stand by the scenario her family was deep into the dope trade and a key link in Bali either let them down by not letting the weed through or that person was removed and stuffed up their nice little earner. The OLD mad in my view died gutless and said nothing…A true dog…Robbo

abc.net.au

Schapelle Corby arrives in Australia more than 12 years after drug trafficking conviction

By Patrick Williams and staff

Updated about an hour agoSun 28 May 2017, 6:02pm

Schapelle Corby has arrived home in Australia, touching down at Brisbane International Airport just after 5:00am, more than 12 years after she was convicted of taking marijuana into Bali.

Key points:

  • Schapelle Corby arrived at Brisbane International Airport about 5:00am
  • Mercedes Corby seen arriving at mother Rosleigh Rose’s house at Loganlea, south of Brisbane
  • Family spokeswoman asks for privacy as Corby readjusts to life back in Australia

Media and some of Corby’s supporters gathered at the airport from as early as 4:00am in anticipation of her return but she did not leave the terminal through the usual exit.

Instead, Corby and her sister Mercedes were taken off the plane first and whisked away in a black van with tinted windows, part of a larger convoy of eight vehicles.

Corby’s whereabouts are currently unknown as the convoy split up further down the Gateway Motorway.

Some of the vehicles went into Brisbane’s CBD while others continued on to the Gold Coast.

Corby’s security has since been spotted at the Sofitel in Brisbane where it is believed she is located.

Mercedes Corby arrived at her mother Rosleigh Rose’s house at Loganlea, south of Brisbane.

At Ms Rose’s house, one man was seen wearing a horror mask as he let people out of the property.

Spokeswoman for the family, Eleanor Whitman, said Corby’s “priority and focus” would now be on healing and moving forward.

“To all those in Australia and all those in Bali who have been there throughout this difficult journey, your support has not gone unnoticed,” she said.

“In the spirit of humility and the spirit of dignity, we ask all parties to show respect for the family’s privacy during this time.”

Corby and her sister arrived in Brisbane aboard Malindo Air flight OD157, not Virgin Australia as originally expected.

The flights arrived at roughly the same time, but the last-minute switch in Denpasar meant she did not share the plane with dozens of journalists who had booked on board.

In Brisbane, once it became clear Corby had left the airport unnoticed, one unidentified woman cheered.

“That’s the second time in 24 hours she’s fooled you,” she said referring to the media.

Corby was arrested in 2004 carrying more than 4 kilograms of marijuana in her boogie board bag and returns to Australia as a convicted drug trafficker who has served her jail time.

One of Corby’s key defences put forward by her legal team and supporters was that corrupt baggage handlers had placed the marijuana in her bag.

‘She was hiding her face, looked very nervous’

Brisbane man Tala Pauga, who was a passenger aboard OD157, said he recognised the Corby sisters as soon as he stepped on the plane.

“It’s like what you see on the media, that’s her face there,” he said.

Mr Pauga said the two were the first to be whisked off the plane once it landed in Brisbane.

Another passenger, Rowena Arias, said she was surprised to see Corby on her flight – who wore a scarf and had her head down in business class.

“She was hiding her face, looked very nervous,” she said.

Ms Arias said fellow travellers were told not to take photos of Corby.

Corby becomes overnight Instagram success

More than 200 police officers and private security guards made sure Corby was deported from Indonesia last night without a hitch.

There had been chaotic scenes as she negotiated her way to the Bali airport via the parole office where she signed forms guaranteeing her freedom.

She carried a bag with a picture of missing New South Wales boy William Tyrrell on the front, but the Where’s William campaign has distanced itself from Corby.

“While the Where’s William campaign appreciates that Schapelle Corby has shown concern regarding little William’s disappearance and in using her release as a convicted offender from Bali as a media opportunity to increase awareness that William is still missing, we are not happy,” a statement on the campaign’s Facebook page read.

“William’s family and their campaign to support the NSW Police in their investigation in the search for William have absolutely no association with Schapelle Corby, her supporters or her family and had no prior knowledge of Miss Corby’s intention to use William’s image in this way.”

Now Corby is back on Australian soil, she can speak freely but not for profit, with proceed of crime laws meaning she cannot sell her story.

The 39-year-old set up an Instagram account recently and began posting photos during her last hours in Bali.

She had tens of thousands of followers within hours, with the comments posted overwhelmingly supportive.

Topics: international-law, laws, law-crime-and-justice, drug-offences, crime, brisbane-4000, bali, australia

First posted earlier today at 5:16amSun 28 May 2017, 5:16am

Contact Patrick Williams

More stories from Queensland

corby with tyrell sticker.jpeg

https://www.instagram.com/schapelle.corby/

Thank god she was able to leave Bali quietly…NOT 27/05/2017

Schapelle Corby’s release from Bali and return to Australia

Large police entourage escort Corby to parole office

Cindy Wockner, Charles Miranda and Shaya Laughlin in BaliNews Corp Australia Network

CONVICTED drug smuggler Schapelle Corby has been told she is free to go after signing in at the Parole Board one last time, in a high-level police operation.

The final paper work for her release has been signed at the Parole Office in Denpasar. She is now a free woman.

Corby has begun her long-awaited journey to freedom, leaving her Kuta home amidst dramatic and chaotic scenes, where she was bundled into a car.

Dozens of police and media and surrounded Corby as she was taken out the gate of her home in Kuta and shoved into a waiting black car with her sister Mercedes.

She had a scarf around her head, wore dark sunglasses and carried a handbag with a picture of missing Australian boy William Tyrrell.

MORE: Schapelle Corby Instagrams her journey to freedom

Schapelle Corby leaves the Prosecutors office in Denpasar a free woman. Picture: Nathan Edwards

Schapelle Corby leaves the Prosecutors office in Denpasar a free woman. Picture: Nathan Edwards Source:News Corp Australia

Schapelle Corby leaves the Prosecutors office with police and Mercedes behind her. Picture: Nathan Edwards

Schapelle Corby leaves the Prosecutors office with police and Mercedes behind her. Picture: Nathan Edwards Source: News Corp Australia

Schapelle Corby leaves the Prosecutors office in Denpasar. Picture: Nathan Edwards

Schapelle Corby leaves the Prosecutors office in Denpasar. Picture: Nathan EdwardsSource: News Corp Australia

Schapelle Corby leaves while still covering her face with sunnies and a scarf. Picture: Nathan Edwards

Schapelle Corby leaves while still covering her face with sunnies and a scarf. Picture: Nathan Edwards Source:News Corp Australia

Tyrell disappeared at the age of three from Kendall, on the New South Wales mid-north coast in 2014.

Bemused locals and dozens of Australian tourists barely caught a glimpse of Corby amid the crush of cameras as her car snaked its way out her laneway, surrounded by police running on foot.

As part of the convoy there were two trucks, five police cars plus the vehicle transporting Corby. It was the first time Corby had been seen in public in 10 days.

The journey from her home to the parole board took about 40 mins aided by police stopping trafffic at major intersection.

Schapelle Corby getting into the van to got the the parole office. Picture: Channel Nine

Schapelle Corby getting into the van to got the the parole office. Picture: Channel NineSource: Supplied

Police securing Schapelle Corby (holding handbag) leaving the house in Kuta lane to go to Parole Board with a picture of William Tyrell on the bag. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro

Police securing Schapelle Corby (holding handbag) leaving the house in Kuta lane to go to Parole Board with a picture of William Tyrell on the bag. Picture: Lukman S. BintoroSource: News Corp Australia

Shortly before 6pm Bali time, parole officials emerged from the office to hold up the freedom letter, telling her that her 15-year drug trafficking sentence was at an end.

It was the moment Corby has dreamed of for the past 12 years and eight months – the day, shortly before her 40th birthday, that she would no longer be a prisoner.

Schapelle Corby's freedom document. Picture: Supplied

Schapelle Corby’s freedom document. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

Corby entered the parole office, again shrouded by a scarf and spent about 40 minutes inside with officials, signing her paperwork and the all important freedom letter.

Earlier police had locked arms around the car to push back media as she left her home.

Corby’s brother Michael, wearing an old man mask, sat on the fence, taking photos of the scene.

Corby’s conviction and release from jail was chaotic and so was her release yesterday.

Before she left the home, Schapelle’s sister Mercedes told News Corporation; “Schapelle is holding up well”.

Police secure the car that take Schapelle Corby from the house to the Parole office in Denpasar, Bali. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro

Police secure the car that take Schapelle Corby from the house to the Parole Office in Denpasar, Bali. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro Source: News Corp Australia

Michael Corby wearing a mask photographs media just before Schapelle Corby leaves her home in Kuta. Picture Supplied

Michael Corby wearing a mask photographs media just before Schapelle Corby leaves her home in Kuta. Picture Supplied Source: Supplied

And, finding her voice for the first time, Corby broke her three-year public silence and created a brand new Instagram account. Her first post was a photograph of her two beloved dogs, Luna and May, with the comment: “Going to miss these two. My puppies #Luna&May”.

Within minutes of News Corporation revealing the Instagram account, Corby had thousands of followers.

Police secure the car that take Schapelle Corby from the house to the Parole office in Denpasar, Bali. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro

Police secure the car that take Schapelle Corby from the house to the Parole office in Denpasar, Bali. Picture: Lukman S. BintoroSource: News Corp Australia

Schapelle Corby leaves her home in Bali before being deported. Picture: Channel Seven

Schapelle Corby leaves her home in Bali before being deported. Picture: Channel Seven Source: Supplied

And whilst Bali’s Governor Made Mangku Pastika and local parliament members instructed officials not to give Corby any special treatment, yesterday’s scenes showed it was the opposite.

More than 100 police were involved, four police cars lead and shadowed her convoy from home to the parole office to the airport, dramatic rehearsals were held earlier in the day.

“Today Corby is free,” Surung Pasaribu, the Corrections chief at Bali’s Law and Human Rights Ministry announced with some enthusiasm shortly before the show started.

“Since midnight she was free, I think there is no problem.”

Corby en route to parole office

On the issue of Corby’s new Instagram, Mr Pasaribu said it was no problem.

“I don’t think it is a problem, but I don’t follow Instagram and I don’t really understand this Instagram even on my proper mobile phone I don’t have it,” he said.

He said the overwhelming response by authorities for Corby was at the behest of the Australian Government in Bali.

Governor Pastika also said that her safety must be protected at all times during her departure from Bali tonight.

Police arrive at the home of Schapelle Corby before her deportation. Picture: Channel Seven

Police arrive at the home of Schapelle Corby before her deportation. Picture: Channel Seven Source: Supplied

It comes as more than 50 police, with tactical vans, sirens blaring and whistles blowing, conducted a dramatic rehearsal at Bali’s parole board yesterday.

Police also arrived at the laneway near her Kuta home to conduct a check. The actions in tthe lead up to her release gave a very strong impression that this was a special case.

News Corp Australia has obtained a copy of the notes from a special high level meeting held yesterday to discuss plans for Corby’s release.

Police arrive at the home of Schapelle Corby before her deportation. Picture: Channel Seven

Police arrive at the home of Schapelle Corby before her deportation. Picture: Channel SevenS ource: Supplied

The head of Bali’s Law and Human Rights Ministry, Ida Bagus Ketut Adnyana, this week briefed the Governor and members of the legislative assembly. He told yesterday’s meeting that the the Governor and parliament members had urged there be no impression that Corby is getting any special treatment.

“Although the direction from Bali Governor is that the deportation should run normally, but safety must be maintained as she was an ex drug convict that has become a highlight in her country, and it is not impossible she become a target of drug syndicate,” Governor Pastika said.

And the plans are that when Corby leaves the parole offices, the convoy of cars taking her to the airport does not drive fast, for reasons of safety and also in order to reduce the time she will need to wait at the airport for her flight home. An ambulance will shadow the convoy.

Surung Pasaribu, head of corrections, talks to media at the Bali Parole Office in Denpasar. Picture: Nathan Edwards

Surung Pasaribu, head of corrections, talks to media at the Bali Parole Office in Denpasar. Picture: Nathan Edwards Source:News Corp Australia

SCHAPELLE JOINS INSTAGRAM

Schapelle Corby has today created her own public Instagram account — which has more than 40,000 followers.

She wrote her fourth post — a selfie with her sister, as she approached the airport, writing: “Almost at the airport with my @mercedescorby.”

Selfie of Schapelle Corby and her sister Mercedes in the car on the way to the airport before being deported. Picture: Instagram

Selfie of Schapelle Corby and her sister Mercedes in the car on the way to the airport before being deported. Picture: InstagramSource:Instagram

She wrote her third post as she approached the parole office, writing: “Good bye to this parole paper work. Approching parole office for the last time.”

Schapelle Corby’s third post from her new account. Picture: Instagram

Schapelle Corby’s third post from her new account. Picture: InstagramSource:Instagram

Her second post shows her “Bali family” who she has thanked.

Second Instagram post from Schapelle Corby's instagram account. Picture: Instagram

Second Instagram post from Schapelle Corby’s instagram account. Picture: Instagram Source:Instagram

Her first post, as she remained holed up in her Kuta home counting down the final hours to freedom, was a photo of her two beloved dogs, Luna and May.

Schapelle wrote: “Going to miss these two. My puppies #Luna&May”.

Instagram page set up by Schapelle Corby today before her release. Picture: Instagram/Schapelle Corby

Instagram page set up by Schapelle Corby today before her release. Picture: Instagram/Schapelle CorbySource:Instagram

Among those making comments on the account was her sister Mercedes, who is with her inside the home now and will accompany her on her final journey home.

‘WE HOPE SHE DOESN’T REPEAT THIS’

Surung Pasaribu, chief of the correctional department of the Law and Human Rights Ministry, said the overwhelming response by authorities for Corby was at the behest of the Australian Government in Bali.

“The consulate general said to us, ‘Please save my citizen’, so security is Indonesia’s responsibility to secure her to the airport so we will protect her for this while she in this country,” he said, adding “it was not special, just duty”.

“We just hope she doesn’t repeat this (drug smuggling) again and God also wants human beings doing mistakes to come back to the right path.”

He said he thought Corby was different to other prisoners staying at the ‘Bali international prison’.

He said once Corby signs her release she will be handed over to immigration officers who will escort her out of the country.

“I hope that we as Indonesians can always uphold human rights for anyone coming to Indonesia,” he said.

Normally the Parole Office has just two staff working on a Saturday but for Corby, chiefs called in 30 personnel from their usual day off.

Cindy Wockner on Schapelle Corby and her imminent return to Australia

CORBY’S HEAVY POLICE ESCORT

Around midday today, about 20 police were given a final briefing of procedures for the Corby exit in the parole office courtyard before dramatically, with sirens, horns and whistles blaring, they performed a full dress rehearsal with an armoured convoy of vans and trucks carrying another 30 police troops.

Police officers simulate the transport of Schapelle Corby from the Bali Parole office in Denpasar to the airport by Indonesian Immigration for deportation to Australia. Picture: Nathan Edwards

Police officers simulate the transport of Schapelle Corby from the Bali Parole office in Denpasar to the airport by Indonesian Immigration for deportation to Australia. Picture: Nathan Edwards Source: Supplied

Two armoured tactical cars were in the convoy with one expected to carry Corby. People outside the parole gates were asking what’s happening, with local media and police yelling back “Corby, Corby” to which locals knowingly nodded.

“The marijuana queen finally leave,” said one local cafe worker passing by as police blowing whistles forced people to move on.

Present also was Titiek Sudaryatmi, the head of the parole office, and her staff many of whom have been involved specifically in the Corby case for many years.

Police officers arrive at the Bali Parole office in Denpasar to prepare for Schapelle Corby’s departure. Picture: Nathan Edwards

Police officers arrive at the Bali Parole office in Denpasar to prepare for Schapelle Corby’s departure. Picture: Nathan Edwards Source: Supplied

Denpasar police chief Hadi Purnomo told News Corporation today it was planned to use the same vehicle which has been used previously to transport police murder suspects, Byron Bay woman Sara Connor and her British boyfriend David Taylor.

Known as a tactical vehicle, Mr Purnomo said it was planned to use that vehicle “for security reasons”.

“The car is usually used to take prisoners,” he said, adding that the Corby family had not sought this.

The heavily armoured police tactical vehicle that could be Schapelle Corby’s ride to freedom. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro

The heavily armoured police tactical vehicle that could be Schapelle Corby’s ride to freedom. Picture: Lukman S. Bintoro Source: News Corp Australia

“No, not the family, we will use it for security reasons,” Mr Purnomo said.

The villa where Schapelle Corby has been living in Bali, Indonesia. Picture: Getty

The villa where Schapelle Corby has been living in Bali, Indonesia. Picture: Getty Source: Getty Images

Mr Widiada said four police cars would escort Corby from her home to the parole board and then to the airport.

More than 100 police will be deployed in the operation to ensure Corby’s freedom ride goes smoothly and there are no injuries or incidents.

Police officers arrive at the Bali Parole office in Denpasar to prepare for Schapelle Corby to report one last time. Picture: Nathan Edwards.

Police officers arrive at the Bali Parole office in Denpasar to prepare for Schapelle Corby to report one last time. Picture: Nathan Edwards. Source: Supplied

The office at the Bali Parole office in Denpasar where Schapelle Corby will sign the paperwork allowing her to be deported to Australia. Picture: Nathan Edwards

The office at the Bali Parole office in Denpasar where Schapelle Corby will sign the paperwork allowing her to be deported to Australia. Picture: Nathan EdwardsSource: Supplied

Police also conducted a dry run at the parole offices of what the Corby arrival could look like to ensure she could make a quick entry and exit of the building.

At least 50 police are to be stationed at this location with others controlling the busy thoroughfare out front, at times chocked with Saturday shoppers, media vans and local onlookers, many eager to see the large police presence and marvelling at a low flying drone recording the scene.

Police spent some time walking about the building and streets looking at security measures.

Originally published as Schapelle Corby is a free woman


Corby leaves Bali villa to begin return

 
Lauren FarrowAustralian Associated Press

Schapelle Corby has left her Kuta home to attend the corrections office where she will report for the final time before she is deported to Australia.

These are the final steps in the journey that started 12 and a half years ago when she was caught at Denpasar airport with 4.2kg of marijuana in her boogie board bag in October 2004.

She was initially sentenced to 20 years in jail and spent more than a decade in Kerobokan prison.

Corby, 39, is now considered a “free woman” after her parole period ended just after midnight.

Head of Bali’s Law and Human Rights Office, Ida Bagus Ketut Adnyana, says Corby will be escorted to corrections in Denpasar to report for the last time and sign her release letter.

At around 6.30pm, she will go to the airport where she is due to board a 10.10pm Virgin flight to Brisbane.

Bali officials have said her sister Mercedes is “expecting a lot from security officials”, citing security concerns around the large media contingent on the Indonesian island and anyone else who “objects to her release”.

Officials say they want to keep her time at the airport brief, citing “security concerns”.

They are expecting around a quarter of the passengers on the flight to be from the media.

Mercedes Corby and her bodyguard, who has protected the likes of the Dalai Lama and Roger Federer, are expected to join her on the journey, as are correction officials.

She is expected to land in Brisbane – to another large media contingent – at 0545 on Sunday.

Her departure marks the end of the case that has put a strain on the often tumultuous relationship between Indonesia and Australia.

“Not only was it a major political issue between our two countries, it defined the bilateral relationship for a number of years,” President of the Australian-based Indonesia Institute Ross Taylor told AAP.

It also revealed Australia’s “distorted perception” of Indonesia as a very “narrow one” – with “Schapelle Corby, Bintang Beer, Bali, terrorism and boat people” becoming synonymous with our neighbour, he added.