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

 

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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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Benjamin Moorhouse filmed more than 200 people in Sydney public toilets, court told


Man secretly filmed more than 200 people in Sydney public toilets, court told

 A man secretly filmed more than 200 people, including a girl and boy, in Sydney public toilets for his own “sexual gratification,” a court has been told.

Benjamin Moorhouse allegedly placed secret cameras under the sink of toilets at Parramatta and North Sydney train stations, and at a disabled toilet at Westfield Parramatta shopping centre, in February and March.

The 40-year-old, who was arrested on March 22, appeared at Parramatta Local Court on Wednesday, where his lawyer indicated he would plead guilty to all charges.

Moorhouse is charged with five counts of filming a person in a private act for the purpose of “sexual arousal or sexual gratification”.

Two of those charges are aggravated because the alleged victims, a boy and a girl, were under 16.

Moorhouse is also charged with three counts of installing a device to film people without consent.

It is further alleged Moorhouse “engaged in a private act” without the consent of the victims.

The 40-year-old, who was dressed in a suit when he appeared before a magistrate on Wednesday, later ran from the court complex wearing a hooded jumper, jeans and sunglasses.

 

One of the devices police allege was used for the filmingOne of the devices police allege was used for the filming Photo: NSW Police

Police say they found Moorhouse with a camera similar to those uncovered at the stations when they arrested him outside his Parramatta home a month ago.

Almost 100 people were filmed at a Parramatta train station toilet between February 13 and 14, while another 23 were filmed on the morning of February 10 in a toilet at North Sydney station, according to court documents.

The cameras were found by train staff.

About 100 people were also allegedly filmed in a Westfield Parramatta disabled toilet between March 17 and 20.

Moorhouse’s bail was continued until his next court appearance on May 31.

AAP


 

Ben MCormack ch 9 reporter and pedo buster busted himself


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF_8XKsXTf0

A Current Affair reporter Ben McCormack charged over child porn offences

update 9th May 2017

Channel 9 reporter Ben McCormack has bail continued after child pornography charges

Posted 53 minutes ago

A Sydney magistrate has continued bail for suspended Channel 9 reporter Ben McCormack, who was charged with child pornography offences.

McCormack, who worked as a journalist on A Current Affair, is accused of sending child pornography and engaging in sexually explicit conversations about children with an adult male.

His lawyer Sam Macedone told the Downing Centre Local Court his client was not in court because he was still in hospital, having been admitted for treatment after his arrest.

Mr Macedone tendered a medical certificate to the court.

The 42-year-old reporter was under investigation by detectives who say they were tipped off by the Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team.

They stopped him in his car at Moore Park in April, and shortly afterwards they searched a unit in Alexandria and the ACA office in Willoughby where they seized computers, a mobile phone and electronic storage devices.

Nine Network suspended him from his role as a reporter after his arrest.

The Commonwealth prosecutor told the court the charges were indictable offences carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years in jail.

The case will return to court in July.


  • Andrew Hornery
  • Nick Ralst

A Current Affair reporter Ben McCormack has been charged after he allegedly sent child abuse material and engaged in explicit conversations about children with another man online.

McCormack, a long time on-air talent for the Nine Network program, was stopped on Driver Avenue at Moore Park by detectives from the Sex Crimes Squad at 7.30am on Thursday and taken to Redfern police station.

A Current Affair reporter arrested

The 42-year-old had been under investigation by the Sex Crime Squad’s child exploitation internet unit and has now been charged with using a carriage service for child pornography material.

“Police will allege in court the man was engaged in sexually explicit conversations about children with an adult male and discussed child pornography,” NSW Police said in a statement.

A search warrant was executed at McCormack’s home at Alexandria, in the city’s inner-south, and officers also raided the Willoughby office of A Current Affair, at the Nine Network studios in Sydney’s north, on Thursday morning.

Police seized computers, a mobile phone, and electronic storage devices.

McCormack was granted police bail and will appear at the Downing Centre Local Court on May 1.

He has retained the services of high-profile solicitor Sam Macedone, who regularly appears on A Current Affair, where he is often seen commenting on legal matters arising from neighborhood disputes or scam artists

 

The police investigation into McCormack followed a tip-off from the Joint Anti-Child Exploitation team – a joint agency task force that cracks down on crimes against children.

His arrest and charging was part of Strike Force Trawler, a police operation that is using undercover stings to catch alleged online predators.

The strike force has arrested almost one person per week this year, with many more cases passed to local police.

Those arrested have been diverse: from teenagers to 70-year-olds, school teachers, fathers, defense force members, priests, police academy students and aspiring politicians.

McCormack’s arrest was the lead item on Channel Nine’s 3pm news bulletin.

The network reported that he had been questioned but not charged, although charges might be laid on Thursday afternoon.

Nine’s news and current affairs director Darren Wick confirmed to staff that police officers had been at the network’s Willoughby offices “investigating matters relating to a staff member at A Current Affair”.

He stressed that the investigation “does not relate to the program or Nine”. He said the network was co-operating with the police.

“However, we are not in a position to comment any further as this is an ongoing investigation,” he said in a note to staff sent out following the raid.

As a reporter, McCormack had doggedly pursued child sex offenders on ACA over the years.

In 2014, he sat in court as former Hey Dad! television star Robert Hughes learned of his guilty verdict. He also phoned Hughes’ victim Sarah Monahan, who had told her story on A Current Affair, to tell her.

with Georgina Mitchell


A Current Affair reporter Ben McCormack at centre of many media controversies

A Current Affair journalist Ben McCormack leaves Redfern police station yesterday. Picture: Adam Yip/The Manly Daily

THE veteran A Current Affair reporter at the centre of explosive child pornography allegations has been a magnet for controversy over his decades with Channel 9.

Police arrested and charged Ben McCormack, 42, yesterday for allegedly having sexually explicit conversations about children with another man, and discussing child pornography.

The scandal has rocked Channel 9, which was raided by police yesterday, but it is not the first time the reporter has made the headlines.

Nine Network reporter Ben McCormack is released from Redfern police station yesterday after being charged with sending child pornography material. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

Nine Network reporter Ben McCormack is released from Redfern police station yesterday after being charged with sending child pornography material. Picture: AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts Source:AAP

Throughout a 25-year career at the network, McCormack has broken major stories — some of which have been controversial and criticised.

He was the first journalist to confront Hey Dad! star Robert Hughes and grill him about child sex abuse allegations.

McCormack tracked Hughes down for ACA in Singapore in 2010 and questioned him about whether he did abuse children, including cast members of the popular Australian sitcom, which ran for eight seasons in the 1980s and ’90s.

Hey Dad! actor Robert Hughes is questioned by A Current Affair in Singapore. Picture: Channel 9

Hey Dad! actor Robert Hughes is questioned by A Current Affair in Singapore. Picture: Channel 9Source: Supplied

“I’m absolutely, totally shocked at the allegations and I deny, absolutely deny, everything,” Hughes told McCormack from his car.

A Current Affair’s reporting on the scandal helped lead to Hughes being sentenced to six years’ jail on 10 charges related to sexually abusing young girls.

While this was a genuine scoop, not all of McCormack’s reporting has been well received.

His bogus report on an “all-Asian mall” was widely condemned as racist and led to the station receiving a deluge of complaints.

Tracy Grimshaw presents Ben McCormack’s ‘All-Asian Mall’ story in 2012. The report turned out to be inaccurate.

Tracy Grimshaw presents Ben McCormack’s ‘All-Asian Mall’ story in 2012. The report turned out to be inaccurate.Source: Supplied

On November 7, 2012, McCormack reported that a shopping centre in Castle Hill, in Sydney’s northwest, had been taken over by Asian retailers and that Australian shopkeepers were being “kicked out”.

The media watchdog, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, found that the story was not only inaccurate, it was “likely to provoke intense dislike and serious contempt” of Asian people.

Stand-in ACA host Leila McKinnon was forced to give an on-air apology for the story.

A selfie from Ben McCormack’s Facebook. Picture: Facebook

A selfie from Ben McCormack’s Facebook. Picture: Facebook Source: Facebook

A Facebook photo of A Current Affair reporter Ben McCormack. Picture: Facebook

A Facebook photo of A Current Affair reporter Ben McCormack. Picture: Facebook 

McCormack’s reporting was slammed by public relations queen Roxy Jacenko last year when ACA ran with a story entitled “Resort Roxy”, which claimed she had checked into a $7000-a-night luxury retreat with her two children the same weekend her husband Oliver Curtis was sentenced to two years’ jail for insider trading.

“Just when we thought the soap opera was finally over, the Roxy and Oliver show goes on,” McCormack said in the report.

Ben McCormack on air for A Current Affair. Picture: Channel 9

Ben McCormack on air for A Current Affair. Picture: Channel 9Source: Supplied

“As her insider trader husband awaits classification within the jail system, within hours of his sentence Roxy has taken off. And you won’t believe where.”

So where was Roxy? According to the PR executive, she was hard at work in her office in Sydney.

“Really A Current Affair? … Looks like my bum and feet are firmly placed at my desk in my office. Perhaps stick to people’s fences encroaching on others’ boundaries!” she posted on Instagram.

McCormack’s journalism also made a splash in 2008 when he led a protest of disgruntled game show contestants to ambush David Koch and Melissa Doyle live on air.

ACA aired two segments in March of that year that claimed Channel 7’s short-lived National Bingo Night failed to pay participants on the show because the episodes in which they appeared were not aired.

McCormack and the angry contestants took the fight to Martin Place in Sydney and interrupted a live outside broadcast of Sunrise, yelling “Channel 7 doesn’t pay”.

Sunrise hosts Mel Doyle and David Koch are stunned as Ben McCormack leads a protest claiming that Channel 7 withheld money from contestants on its game show National Bingo Night.

Sunrise hosts Mel Doyle and David Koch are stunned as Ben McCormack leads a protest claiming that Channel 7 withheld money from contestants on its game show National Bingo Night.Source: Supplied

A security guard obstructed McCormack, while Mel and Kochie were rushed back into the studio.

ACA said contestants were duped out of $15,000 cash and a car, but a Seven spokesman dismissed the stunt as an “act of desperation to try and find an audience”.

McCormack also attracted controversy in 2011 for his part in a fierce ratings war with Channel 7 rival Today Tonight for the story behind a viral YouTube video showing a teenager body-slam a bully in an Aussie school ground.

A Current Affair journalist Ben McCormack on air. Picture: Channel 9

A Current Affair journalist Ben McCormack on air. Picture: Channel 9Source: YouTube

While both stations were criticised for opening their chequebooks to get the kids on camera, Media Watch actually praised McCormack’s interview with bullying victim Casey Heynes as “sensitive and moving”.

“It might even have done some good,” host Jonathan Holmes said at the time.

On his Twitter profile, McCormack describes himself as a “reporter, lifesaver, pilot, humanist, twin [and] boy band wrangler”.

When not on air, he is a decorated member of the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club.

An image from Ben McCormack’s Twitter page. Picture: Twitter

An image from Ben McCormack’s Twitter page. Picture: Twitter Source: Supplied

Channel 9 suspended McCormack yesterday in light of the child pornography allegations.

He was bailed yesterday to face a charge of using a carriage service for child pornography in court on May 1.

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Former priest John Joseph Farrell jailed for at least 18 years over child sexual assaults


This is what the bloody church does, try to hide away filthy disgusting sexual offenders for years. BUT the time is up for the pathetic excuse, up until now known as Father F…Real name former priest John Joseph Farrell


‘Clear evidence’ of Catholic Church cover-up over Father ‘F’: former DPP director

Updated about an hour ago

The former director of the NSW Department of Public Prosecutions (DPP) says there is “clear evidence” the Catholic Church covered up the crimes of a paedophile priest.

John Joseph Farrell, formerly Father “F” under a decades-old suppression order, was sentenced to a minimum 18 years’ jail after being found guilty of 62 counts of child sex abuse in Armidale in the 1980s.

Pressure is mounting on the DPP to investigate the Catholic Church over its role in the cover-up of Farrell’s crimes, with the possibility of further criminal prosecution of senior Catholic Church leaders.

Since 1990, it has been against the law to conceal serious offences under 316 of the Crimes Act.

“I think this is very clear evidence of continuing cover-up,” former DPP director Nicholas Cowdery said.

“I don’t see how you can get away from that.”

Farrell has offered to give evidence against senior Catholic leaders who have repeatedly denied covering up his child sex crimes.

In documents obtained by 7.30, Farrell insists he admitted to Reverend Monsignor Usher and Father Brian Lucas he sexually abused five boys between 1982 and 1984.

They have denied witnessing Farrell’s admission to child sex crimes.

Do you know more about this story? Email 7.30syd@your.abc.net.au

Farrell’s legal representative wrote to the Special Commission into Child Sex Abuse allegations in the Catholic Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle in October 2013, saying Farrell offered to give evidence “contrary to the accounts given by Fathers Usher and Lucas”.

“Importantly, such evidence supports the proposition of a ‘cover-up’ and may provide evidence of offences such as misprision of a felony and the failing to disclose information concerning a serious offence,” the letter reads.

The confession

On September 3, 1992, Farrell was called to a meeting with senior Catholic church leaders in the in the presbytery of St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney.

Present were Father Wayne Peters (now deceased), Reverend Monsignor Usher and Father Lucas, now the national director of The Catholic Mission.

They have said Farrell admitted to “nothing specific” and that Farrell spoke about his “sexual fantasies”, according to the Whitlam Report into the affair, commissioned by the Parramatta and Armidale Diocese in 2012.

“Farrell said nothing on that occasion where he mentioned any names or any matters of child sexual abuse,” Reverend Monsignor Usher told 7.30.

A secret internal letter about the meeting sent in 1992, signed by Reverend Peters and addressed to the Bishop of Armidale, includes details of graphic sexual abuse inflicted upon five boys.

“Some of the boys involved may bring criminal charges against the Rev Farrell with subsequent grave harm to the priesthood and the church.”

Reverend Monsignor Usher disputes the letter’s version of events.

“He [Farrell] talked a lot about homosexuality or gayness but whatever Wayne Peters wrote did not come out of that meeting,” Reverend Monsignor Usher said.

“He may have had access to other information.”

‘Facts constitute serious indictable offences’

Mr Cowdery said it was in the public interest that clergyman that may have known about crimes, yet failed to report them to police, are referred to the DPP on the basis of Farrell’s testimony and the 1992 letter.

“In that letter, there is a very clear description of facts that would constitute serious indictable offences,” he said.

“That is, criminal offences that carry a penalty of five years’ imprisonment or more.”

Associate Professor David Hamer, a specialist in the law of evidence at the University of Sydney, said it is at the discretion of the DPP whether or not to prosecute.

“I’d imagine that someone senior in the NSW DPP would take a very close look at any charges that were laid in this case,” Associate Professor Hamer said.

Father Lucas has always maintained Farrell did not make any admission that required going to the police, and did not agree to an interview with 7.30.

NSW Police Strikeforce Glenroe, the DPP, the Sydney Archdiocese and the Bishop of Armidale have all been contacted for comment.


Victim of sexual abuse by Catholic priest felt ‘completely abandoned’ by church

 8 Apr 2016, 5:46pm

Victims of a former Catholic priest who sexually abused children in northern New South Wales in the 1980s have described the devastating impact of his crimes in statements read out in court.

John Joseph Farrell, 62, is awaiting sentencing for 62 offences involving 12 victims.

One victim said in his statement, which was read by his mother, the abuse was compounded by the fact that when he reported what happened to him, he was not believed.

“I felt completely abandoned by the institution I had put so much faith in,” his statement said.

The victim said he had enjoyed a happy childhood until the age of 11.

“When I met Farrell, all of that changed,” he said in his statement.

He said the Catholic Church merely protected Farrell.

The man also said it was no coincidence he started drinking after meeting Farrell.

He said he developed chronic alcoholism, never engaged in study or long-term employment and has had 20 different homes in the past 25 years.

Victim ‘never had a proper relationship’ after abuse

Another victim said that having to re-live the offences against him was traumatic.

“I have never been able to have a proper relationship because of what happened to me,” his statement said.

My experience with John Farrell was always present in my thoughts and never was I prepared to reveal that I was a victim.

Child sexual abuse victim

Another victim who was raped by Farrell was overcome with emotion as he was preparing to read out his victim impact statement in the witness box.

His partner stepped up to read the statement on his behalf.

In it, he said the abuse continues to cause him problems with intimacy.

“I feel unclean until I’ve showered [after sexual activity],” he said. “John Farrell has shown neither remorse nor regret for what he has done to me and others.”

Most of Farrell’s victims were altar boys in the Moree area, but three of the victims were girls.

A woman who was sexually abused by Farrell said in her statement that was submitted but not read to the court: “I naively assumed that God must have been okay with it.”

“My experience with John Farrell was always present in my thoughts and never was I prepared to reveal that I was a victim,” she said.


Convicted paedophile priest John Joseph Farrell given sentence of 29 years for 62 sex crimes

A former priest will got to jail following his conviction on 62 counts of abuse.

A PAEDOPHILE priest, who raped one of his victims on the church’s altar, has been sentenced to almost three decade behind bars.

At Sydney’s District Court on Monday Judge Peter Zahra said former Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell “disregarded and took advantage” of his victims who he groomed over long periods of time.

Last month, Farrell was found guilty of 62 offences involving rapes and indecent assaults against three girls and nine boys over nearly a decade in the northern NSW towns of Moree and Tamworth.

As well as the 62 historical sexual crimes against children, a further 17 offences were taken into account when he was handed down a sentence of 29 years, with a non-parole period of 18 years.

He will not leave prison until 2033 at the earliest.

The disgraced ex-priest sat in the dock with his eyes closed as Judge Zahra told the courtroom how Farrell had assaulted his victims between 1979 and 1988.

Farrell was aware of, and exploited, the powerful position he held as a priest, the judge said.

Although some of Farrell’s crimes might have appeared to be spontaneous, they were in fact a result of the offender’s long-term grooming of the boys and girls which included gaining the trust of their parents, Judge Zahra continued.

At Farrell’s trial last month, the jury heard one of the victims, who was just 10 when the abuse began, was so trusting of the then-priest she convinced herself the assaults were “OK with God”.

The disabled victim, who can’t be identified, said in a statement tendered the court that the traumatising sexual abuse had continued throughout her teenage years.

“I naively assumed that God must have been OK with it,” she said.

Another of Farrell’s female victims would often try to escape when he visited her family home.

She would run to a friend’s house which led to her family becoming angry with her for being anti-social, she said in her victim impact statement.

“I kept the abuse quiet from my family as I was afraid of their reaction,” she said.

She told the court she had been robbed of her dream of having a husband and child.

“I have had plenty of boyfriends over the years but have always found sexual relations with them to be unpleasant,” she said.

“Although I made my body participate in the actions, my mind would remain detached.”

Before abusing the girls, Farrell had preyed on nine altar boys at Moree in the early 1980s.

He had raped one victim on the church’s altar and targeted others in a local swimming pool and during car trips to nearby parishes.

Many of those sitting in the public gallery of the courtroom wept as the sentence was handed down, while others clapped as the judge imposed a non-parole period of 18 years.

— with AAP


smh.com.au

Ex-Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell jailed for 29 years for child sex assaults

Emma Partridge

John Joseph Farrell during a previous hearing.John Joseph Farrell during a previous hearing. Photo: Barry Smith

Victims stood and clapped as one of the most notorious paedophile priests in NSW was sentenced to 29 years’ jail after committing 62 acts of child sex abuse in regional NSW.

Former Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell, 62, sexually abused nine young altar boys and three girls between 1979 and 1988 in Moree, Armidale and Tamworth.

Victim Mark Boughton with his wife Belinda after former Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell was sentenced to 29 years in ...Victim Mark Boughton with his wife Belinda after former Catholic priest John Joseph Farrell was sentenced to 29 years in jail. Photo: Nick Moir

Farrell, also known as “Father F”, committed 27 acts of sexual assault, 48 acts of indecent assault and four acts of indecency.

Advertisement

The “predatory” former priest was sentenced to a maximum of 29 years but a minimum of 18 years at Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court on Monday.

He closed his eyes and showed no emotion during the three hour sentencing.

Victim Mark Boughton outside court.

Victim Mark Boughton outside court. Photo: Nick Moir

One of the people who clapped and cried was victim Mark Boughton and his wife, Belinda.

Outside court he said he hoped the outcome would allow himself and other victims to “have a life”.

“I’m very happy with the outcome; maybe it might show everyone else that they can stand up do the right thing and get these so called people off the street,” Mr Boughton said.

“Hopefully, everyone can get on, move on, have a life,” he said.

“Justice is served – he got what he wanted or what he needed, preying on kids. It’s not on – hopefully the world knows that now.”

During the sentencing hearing, Judge Peter Zahra spoke of how Farrell groomed many of his victims and exploited his position as a priest.

“The offender admitted he had a great deal of influence over the altar boys and he abused that position,” Judge Zahra said.

Judge Zahra said the offender, “disregarded and took advantage of the vulnerability of the child victims”.

“In relation to the altar boy victims, the offender knew there would be continuing opportunity because of the relationships he had developed with the victims and their parents.

“The offender created situations where he was confident he would not be detected even where his sexual abuse was, at times brazen in the extreme.”

During the trial, Crown prosecutor Bryan Rowe outlined a series of incidents in which Farrell groped, molested, raped or forced oral sex on the altar boys.

One altar boy who was indecently assaulted in a Moree swimming pool and later raped in the presbytery said, “It was the worst memory of [my] life.”

The victim went to report the sexual abuse to police in 2012 after viewing a Four Corners program.

He said he felt “embarrassed” and “ashamed” and said he hadn’t come forward earlier because “back in 1982 no one would have believed my words against a priest”.

Another victim had told the court that he was forced to perform oral sex on Farrell in a cellar when he was aged 10 or 11.

He said he told one of the brothers that he had been “hurt”.

Someone told him “they would sort it out” so the victim felt safe when he went back to church the following day.

But Farrell pulled his pants down at the altar and raped him.

“It felt like hours,” the victim said.

He said Farrell had threatened to kill him and his family if he told anyone about what had happened.

The former priest also molested three young girls. On one occasion he fondled the vagina of a little girl while she was at the dinner table with her family.

“The offender continued this conduct throughout the course of the meal during which he was engaging in conversation with other members of the family at the table,” Judge Zahra said.

Another victim, who was aged between nine and 11, was in Farrell’s bedroom at the presbytery when he was sexually assaulted with a toothbrush.

“I just want you to tell me if this hurts” or “how does this feel”, Farrell said at the time.

The victim cried and screamed out in pain.

Farrell was not suspended from public ministry until 1992.

His jail term will expire in 2044 but he will be eligible for parole in June 2033.


 

Bikie war at Melbourne prison as 300 armed inmates tear down fences separating rival gangs during riot over a smoking ban


 – and fears grow over notorious tattooed enforcer locked in isolation

  • At least 60 prisoners at Melbourne’s Metropolitan Remand Centre rioting
  • Rioters seen covering their faces, bashing doors and carrying large sticks
  • Unrest believed to be protest against ban on smoking set to be introduced
  • Notorious Australian bikie enforcer Toby Mitchell being held at the prison 
  • Corrections Commissioner said the ‘perimeter of the prison is secure’ 
  • There have been reports of up to 100 inmates still rioting inside the prison 
  • Up to two fires are reportedly burning inside of the building 

Prison riot: Corrections Victoria regains control of Melbourne Remand Centre after police storm facility

Updated 48 minutes ago

Corrections Victoria has regained control of the Metropolitan Remand Centre in Melbourne’s west, after a 15-hour riot that started around noon yesterday ended overnight.

Heavily armed police carrying shields stormed the maximum security prison around 3:00am in a bid to quell the rioting prisoners.

In a statement, Corrections Victoria said it was a difficult operation conducted under the cover of darkness to protect prison staff, Victoria Police and prisoners.

I think it’s fair to say that I am deeply relieved that no-one was seriously hurt

Wade Noonan, Victorian Corrections Minister

Several prisoners were hurt in the riot and were treated by medical staff.

A wall was knocked down, fires were lit and windows were smashed during the violence, involving up to 300 inmates, some of who covered their faces and carried sticks.

The riot is widely believed to have been sparked by the imposition of a smoking ban which came into effect today at the remand centre at Ravenhall.

Two staff members suffered minor injuries but “these were not as a direct result of interaction with prisoners” the department said in a statement.

This morning five fire trucks returned to the centre after a fire alarm was triggered due to a minor fire at the premises.

A statement from the Justice Department said there was no risk to prisoner or staff safety.

Two ambulances were also seen going into the centre and Ambulance Victoria said one man was being treated for chest pain.

Ambulance officials could not say if it was it a prison staff member or an inmate.

About 200 staff were evacuated from the facility and all of the state’s prisons went into lockdown as a precaution.

A large number of prisoners were transferred to other facilities as authorities assessed the damage to the prison.

Corrections Victoria will hold an internal review to the handling of the riot and Victoria Police is also investigating.

Victorian Corrections Minister Wade Noonan called the incident “unacceptable” and “dangerous”.

“This behaviour will not be tolerated,” he said.

“I want to assure the Victorian people that there will be a thorough investigation into what caused this riot, how this major security breach happened and the response to it.

“This criminal behaviour will not be tolerated.

“I think it’s fair to say that I am deeply relieved that no-one was seriously hurt and this is in no small part due to the efforts of our brave men and women in Corrections Victoria and Victoria Police.”

Corrections Commissioner Jan Shuard said all prisons across the state would remain in lockdown for the time being.

She said the smoking ban probably was the reason for the riot but that the ban would still be enforced from today.

Ms Shuard could not put a dollar figure on the amount of damage inside the centre but said prison cells, windows and units were damaged.

She said work had already begun to assess the damage and make repairs.

All 802 prisoners were accounted for.

Ms Shuard said most prisoners returned to their cells on instructions from police and corrections officials.

Police used capsicum spray to subdue those refusing to cooperate.

“I would say by the time we got to the end of the exercise there was around 50 prisoners out and about that we had to bring back under control but that took a long time,” Ms Shuard said.

“The numbers decreased as the day went on.”

Most prisoners returned to cells voluntarily

Ms Shuard said they were enacting a prison recovery plan to fix the damage and secure the prisoners in their cells.

“So we’ll go to a restricted regime for a period of time and then when we assess its safe to do so we will start moving back to a normal regime but it’ll take a while,” she said.

“Those people that might be involved in these incidents don’t get the same freedom of movement that they would’ve had previously.

Every Victorian should be in no doubt that those who have acted in a criminal way will feel the full force of the law.

Daniel Andrews, Victorian Premier

“There are very restricted regimes for people that cause disruption to the prison system.”

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane said police took their time, planned the operation to regain control of the prison and then executed that plan.

“It took several hours to give the prisoners who didn’t want to be involved in any confrontation with police and corrections staff an opportunity to return to their cells.

“The vast majority of prisoners on the night returned to their cells and as they were confronted during the evening the remaining prisoners surrendered and were accounted for.”

Assistant Commissioner Leane said some of the inmates involved would probably face new criminal charges.

“I think there’s quite a few of them [who] will be thinking that they may be doing some more time than they weren’t planning on doing, yes,” he said.

Ms Shuard also promised a wide-ranging review of the handling of the incident.

“If criminal acts have occurred within our prison that would be a matter for Victoria Police to pursue any charges,” she said.

Mr Noonan praised prison staff, police and emergency workers for their “bravery in a difficult and dangerous situation”.

“I want to assure the Victorian people there will be a thorough investigation into what caused this riot, how this major security breach happened and the response to it,” he said in a statement.

Premier angry about riot, promises independent inquiry

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said what happened at the remand centre was “completely unacceptable” and that criminal behaviour would be investigated and prosecuted.

“We’ll investigate what went on and how it was allowed to happen,” he said.

“The circumstances around this will be fully and frankly investigated with independent oversight.

“We’ve got to learn from this and ensure that everything that can be done to avoid it ever happening again is done.”

Mr Andrews said “very significant damage was done” that will come at “considerable cost” to the Victorian taxpayer.

“Every Victorian should be in no doubt that those who have acted in a criminal way will feel the full force of the law,” he said.

Fiona Patten, the leader of the Australian Sex Party, urged the Government to overturn the smoking ban.

“It’s naive to think that when you erode the rights of an individual who has precious little freedom in the first place, they are going to just sit back and take it,” she said.

“Obviously they are going to feel further marginalised and this is exactly what has led to the trouble at the Ravenhall Maximum security facility.”

But the Premier promptly rejected that idea.

“It will not be changed. You don’t reward that sort of appalling behaviour by bringing about policy changes,” he said.

Heavily-armed police have stormed a maximum security prison after 300 criminals began rioting over a smoking ban.

Officers wearing vests, helmets and carrying shotguns charged the prison about 3:20pm in an effort to retake control, after riots broke out around 12.20pm on Tuesday. A police drone also hovered above the centre.

Inside the prison, water cannons were used to control prisoners, which included rival bikie gangs locked in a bitter war, according to Channel Seven.  

Dozens of riot police stormed the centre and continued into the night with heavily armed police monitoring the entrance at 11pm,The Herald Sun have reported.

Fires burned well into the evening inside the maximum security prison complex.

On the loose: About 300 criminals are rioting and guards have been overrun at a Melbourne prison, with more than 100 officers trying to stop 

On the loose: About 300 criminals are rioting and guards have been overrun at a Melbourne prison, with more than 100 officers trying to stop 

Dozens of riot police stormed the centre and continued well into the night with heavily armed police monitoring the entrance at 11pm

Dozens of riot police stormed the centre and continued well into the night with heavily armed police monitoring the entrance at 11pm

Corrections Commissioner Jan Shuard said ‘the perimeter of the prison is secure.’

Cheering and shouting was reportedly heard from inside the prison walls at 9.15pm.

‘We have worked very closely with our staff across the state in the implementation of this smoking ban and they have been a part of the process,’ she said.

‘This is very disappointing that this occurred today, we have done an enourmous amount of work to prepare for this, we obviously have contingency plans for all events within our prisons.’

Up to two fires are burning inside of the building and 100 inmates are yet to surrender.

Two loud bangs were heard from inside the prison around 6pm but it is unknown what was the cause, The Australian have reported.

Other reports say riot police are used tear gas inside the prison and a group of about 15 criminals forced their way into the control room in the late afternoon, according to The Age.  

Emergency services remain at the location including fire fighters and Victoria Police special operations armed with shields and helmets.

Footage by helicopters above the Metropolitan Remand Centre at Ravenhill in Melbourne’s west, shows people covering their faces, bashing doors and carrying large sticks and bats. Black smoke was also seen in the sky above the centre.

Port Phillip Prison, a mere four kilometres away, was also put into lock down following a fire at their facility, but it has since been contained.

Going in: Heavily-armed police have stormed a maximum security prison after 300 criminals began rioting over a smoking ban

Fight back: Officers wearing vests, helmets and carrying shotguns charged the prison in an effort to retake control

Cheering and shouting was reportedly heard from inside the prison walls at 9.15pm

Emergency services remain at the location including fire fighters and Victoria Police special operations armed with shields

Smoke can be seen rising from inside the prison's perimeters and up to 100 prisoners are yet to surrender

Notorious Australian bikie, former enforcer Toby Mitchell, is being held in isolation inside the facility

Notorious Australian bikie, former enforcer Toby Mitchell, is being held in isolation inside the facility

Notorious Australian bikie, former enforcer Toby Mitchell, is being held in isolation inside the facility. Mitchell, an infamous member of the Bandidos gang, has survived two shootings – one in which he was shot five times in the back.

‘Police are currently responding to a disturbance at a correctional facility on Middle Road Ravenhall just before 12.30pm,’ a Victoria Police statement read.

‘We will thoroughly review how this came about, how we responded to it and what we might need to do in the future,’

Police workers from the Critical Incident Response Team are seen outside Ravenhall Prison

Pushing back: Riot police at the Ravenhall Prison in Melbourne

Dangerous situation: Critical Incident Response team members patrol outside the centre

Dark: Smoke billows from the Ravenhall prison into the sky

‘Staff have been evacuated as a precaution. The inmates remain contained within the grounds and a number of police units are currently on scene including the Air wing.’ 

Prisoners are also reportedly lighting fires and destroying other property. 

The centre has beds to house 723 people. 

Corrections Victoria released a statement on Tuesday afternoon saying prisoners breached the ‘secure inner perimeter’ at the centre.

Ready to go: An officer with a shotgun stands outside the prison before riot police stormed the centre

Heavily armed: Officers gather outside the remand centre as prisoners riot inside

Load up: Riot police prepare to enter the prison 

Load up: Riot police prepare to enter the prison 

Riot breaks out at Ravenhall prison over smoking ban

‘All staff have been accounted for and there are no reports of staff injuries at this stage,’ the statement read.

‘Police have secured the perimeter. There is no threat to public safety.’

It is believed the riot has been caused by a Victorian government plan to ban smoking in prisons, which is set to start on Wednesday. 

‘The smoking ban will occur tomorrow,’ the Corrections Commissioner said.

However, according to reports, the canteen at Ravenhill stopped selling tobacco on June 15.

Heavy duty: A police armoured-vehicle arrives at the prison

High alert: Hundreds of officers and guards are at the scene of the Ravenhill facility in Melbourne's west

The remand centre is located in Ravenhall, west of Melbourne's CBD

Footage captured by Channel Seven shows people covering their faces, bashing doors and carrying large sticks and bats

Aussie Peter Scully to face Philippines court on ‘depraved’ paedophilia charges; videos allegedly featured rape, torture


By North Asia correspondent Matthew Carney

An Australian man will face a Philippines court tomorrow to enter a plea on paedophilia charges described by authorities there as “depraved”.

Peter Scully allegedly ran an international paedophile ring from Mindanao in the Southern Philippines that raped, tortured and murdered children.

One victim was only 18 months old.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details which may be disturbing for some readers.

Scully first moved to Cagayan de Oro on the island of Mindanao in 2011.

Exploiting the poverty and desperation right on his doorstep, Scully approached Arlene Loyola and offered to give her eight-year-old daughter education and food.

Ms Loyola accepted the offer, but after two weeks she began to worry.

“I prayed and God told me to get her away from Scully and I did,” Ms Loyola told 7.30.

When Ms Loyola got her daughter back she had been bashed and badly bruised. Scully had repeatedly drugged and raped the girl.

Ms Loyola blames herself.

“I feel so ashamed and asked forgiveness from my child because she suffered so much,” she said, sobbing.

“She just wanted to go to school.

“I can’t sleep; I just can’t stop thinking about what happened to her.”

Customers paid $10,000 to view torture videos

But this was just the tip of the iceberg of Scully’s depravity.

Officers of the Philippines Bureau of Investigation showed 7.30 a dark old house with high walls in another part of Cagayan de Oro.

It was here Scully made the videos called The Destruction of Daisy.

He was selling the videos to online customers around the world for up to $10,000 a view.

We are pretty much sure that we have a very solid case and that he will be away for good.

Prosecutor Eric Nuqui

The full details of what happened at this house are too shocking to reveal.

But Angelito Magno, one of the lead investigators, gave 7.30 an insight.

“In one of these videos was an 18-month-old baby girl who was hanged upside down,” he said.

“She was crying all the time she was being tortured.”

Demand was so great for these sickening videos that six other foreigners, mainly from Europe, started to fund Scully.

But one made-to-order video proved to be Scully’s undoing.

In it, two girls, one 12 years old and the other 13, were forced to dig their own graves while being raped.

Mr Magno said the girls eventually led them to Scully.

“The two girls were able to escape and seek police assistance while they were still wearing chains, chains to their necks,” he said.

Mr Magno was part of the international team that arrested 51-year-old Scully in February, charging him on multiple counts of sexual abuse, cyber sex, torture, rape, human trafficking and murder.

In Manila, an investigation team is gathering all the evidence before the trial formally starts later this year.

They now have seven victims under witness protection who will testify against Scully in court.

Prosecutors confident Scully will go ‘away for good’

Eric Nuqui works at the Philippines Investigation Bureau and will be one of the lawyers who will be leading the trial against Scully.

“With the overwhelming evidence we have and with the prosecutors handling the case, we are pretty much sure that we have a very solid case and that he will be away for good,” he told 7.30.

The team in Manila and the Australian Federal Police are now working to identify and prosecute Scully’s customers around the world.

They have evidence that an Australian man offered Scully about $2,500 to rape a 13-year-old girl.

While the capture of Scully has been a success for the Philippines Bureau of Investigation, the reality is, with limited manpower and resources, they are struggling to cope with the flood of paedophiles entering the Philippines.

The Australian Federal Police say 250 Australians convicted of child sex offences have travelled to the Philippines in the last four years.

But Philippines authorities say they know of only 10.

Mr Nuqui said there was a problem in coordination in the Philippines.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m yet to receive information,” he said.

“Maybe they’re providing information to other (Philippines) agencies and we are not able to access it.”


Philippines police arrest, prepare to deport Australian fugitive accused of child molestation

Posted 27 Mar 2015, 11:24am

An Australian fugitive wanted for molesting a young girl in Australia has been arrested in Manila and will be deported from the Philippines.

Philippines immigration officials stopped 39-year-old Roy Woodward upon his arrival in an airport in Manila from Sydney.

An alert posted by Australian Interpol said Mr Woodward had been accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl and was set for sentencing by a local Australian court.

Following the arrest, an immigration intelligence official said Manila should keep a closer watch out for paedophiles and fugitives.

Another Australian, Peter Gerard Scully, is facing charges for the murder of a 12-year-old girl and sexual abuse of 11 children in the southern Philippines.

The Melbourne man is the key suspect in one of the most horrifying paedophile rings uncovered by police in the Philippines.

Mr Scully allegedly spent years sexually abusing and torturing young children and streaming his alleged crimes online.

If he is found guilty he will face life in prison.

The National Bureau of Investigation has launched a manhunt for four foreigners believed to have been working with Mr Scully since 2011.

The Philippines is a major hub of the billion-dollar global child cybersex industry due to its widespread poverty and legal loopholes.

The Philippines Justice Department secretary Leila de Lima last year said online child abuse was the leading cyber-related crime in the Philippines and made up 46 per cent of more than 200 cases.


Australian Federal Police says 250 Australians with child sex convictions travelled to Philippines in last four years

Updated 13 Apr 2015, 5:02pm

About 250 Australians with child sex convictions have travelled to the Philippines in the last four years, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has revealed.

Filipino police are currently pursuing a case against Australian man Peter Gerard Scully for what they allege are some of the worst child sex offences in the nation’s history.

The AFP was involved in the investigation and arrest and says 250 known Australian child sex offenders travelled to the Philippines in the past four years.

A spokesman has told the ABC that Australia alerts Filipino authorities when a sex offender boards a flight, but it is up to them whether to refuse entry.

Scully, 51, who has no previous convictions for child sex abuse, was arrested and charged with sexually abusing 11 children aged between 18 months and 13 years.

He allegedly spent years sexually abusing and torturing young children and streaming his crimes online, where the AFP says he charged between $US100 and $US10,000 for the videos he filmed.

The Melbourne man has also been charged with the murder of one of his alleged victims, a 12-year-old girl, along with rape, torture, human trafficking and violating cyber laws.

On Saturday, authorities in the Philippines said Scully was working with foreign accomplices in his child pornography operation and launched a manhunt for four foreigners believed to be involved.

The Australian embassy held an emergency meeting late last week in relation to the case.

Editor’s note 13/4/2015: An earlier version of this story said 250 Australian sex offenders had travelled to the Philippines in the last year.

Vile paedophile Gerald Ridsdale gives evidence at Royal Commission today


IN his own words, Gerald Francis Ridsdale was “out of control”, and spoke of his desire to be removed from situations where he had evil urges to molest small children.

Ridsdale — Australia’s worst paedophile priest — told church investigators after his first conviction in 1994 that he “went haywire” in the Victorian town of Mortlake where he’s believed to have abused every boy in school.

Asked by a Catholic Church representative what happened he said: “I got out of control again. I went haywire there. Altar boys mainly.

“It was no secret around Mortlake eventually about me and my behaviour; there was talk all around the place among the children and one lot of parents came to me.”

Ridsdale has been convicted for abusing more than 50 children over 30 years, but the real figure may be in the hundreds.

He is giving evidence before the child sex abuse royal commission’s Ballarat inquiry on from his jail cell.

In admissions being streamed live over the internet, Ridsdale has told the hearing he couldn’t control his sexual urges and was hoping to get “sexual instructions ” on how to relate to people from the church.

He said he’d always felt the need for intimacy and closeness. But the only intimacy he ever had with an adult came while he was in prison.

“I think I’ve always felt the need for closeness.”

He realised he was attracted to young boys not women while he was at Werribee seminary. Despite the realisation, he didn’t want to lose the “status” of being a priest.

Also while he was at the seminary he had a problem with masturbation and was told he needed to stop it “or leave” — but he says he couldn’t stop.

Gerald Ridsdale gives evidence by video link.

Gerald Ridsdale gives evidence by video link. Source: Supplied

Ridsdale said he never told anyone about his sexual abuse of boys, even during confession, because the “overriding fear would have been losing the priesthood”.

Asked what he specifically didn’t confess he said: “The sexual offending against children.”

The 81-year-old was aware what he was doing was a crime.

Speaking matter of factly, Ridsdale couldn’t remember the names of his earliest victims but is relying on court documents.

Asked whether he selected his victims by deliberately targeting “poor families”, Ridsdale agreed.

“It’s obvious to me now that there was a pattern of seeing victims as being vulnerable … but not always vulnerable,” he said.

He also agreed his usual method was to involve himself with multiple families with no father present and then use opportunities such as church camps and outings to abuse the children of those families.

He has told of “fondling and touching” young boys and once a complaint was made he was threatened to be shipped to the “missions”.

In another major development today, Cardinal George Pell has said he is prepared to give evidence at the Royal Commission in person if he has asked to, but so far he hasn’t been asked Sky News reported.

What the church knew about the abuse — and how it treated the news — has formed a major part of what the commission is investigating.

A series of letters and documents published on the sex abuse royal commission’s website reveal details of Ridsdale’s abuse and the response from the Catholic Church, including Ballarat bishop Ronald Mulkearns.

‘I went haywire with altar boys’

Gerald Ridsdale (left) arriving to court with George Pell Source: Supplied

Ridsdale has been convicted for abusing more than 50 children over three decades, dating back to his ordination in 1961.

After parents complained to then Ballarat Bishop James O’Collins about Ridsdale in 1961, O’Collins told him: “If this thing happens again then you’re off to the Missions” and sent him to Mildura. The royal commission was also told Bishop Mulkearns knew in 1975 that Ridsdale had abused boys — but did not act until 1988.

Among the other documents are a letter from Ridsdale to Bishop Mulkearns about stepping down from parish work in Horsham, 11 April, 1988: “I confirm my request to step down from parish work in this diocese so that I may be removed from the kind of work that has proved to be a temptation and a difficulty for me.”

In a letter to a victim in 1979, Ridsdale wrote as if they were lovers and told him some good would come from his abuse, the Herald Sun reported.

“I don’t know how much you know about me or how much you’ve guessed, but you’re the first person I’ve ever wanted to open up to. You’re the first kid I have been honest with and warned off (a bit late unfortunately, but I suppose all experiences bring some good out in us),” he wrote.

Bishop Mulkearns wrote to Ridsdale in November, 1988, after Ridsdale had faced a suspension from some duties for a year. Mulkearns noted Ridsdale had been doing some work helping isolated families but said it was not a good idea for him to celebrate reconciliation or baptism.

Australia’s worst paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale.

Australia’s worst paedophile priest Gerald Ridsdale. Source: Supplied

“With regard to the problems which have arisen, it could possibly be asked at a later date whether you continued to administer sacraments and it would be to be able to state that you had not been involved at this level with people.

“I hope I don’t sound too harsh in the above, but I feel that it is most important that we honour the undertakings which have been given and that we do nothing at this time which might rebound on us later.

“I have every hope that nothing more will eventuate, but we have to do our part to ensure that it does not.”

Ridsdale will not be asked about his offending, after being convicted in four separate court cases of abusing more than 50 children. But the royal commission and victims want to know who was responsible for moving Ridsdale from parish to parish, allowing him to continue to offend.

A victim, who was abused by other clergy in the Ballarat diocese, said victims wanted the truth made public about who essentially facilitated the abusers.

“We’d love to know how high it went up the tree as well and if those people are still in power now,” the victim told AAP.


Child sexual abuse inquiry: Notorious paedophile Gerald Ridsdale feared confession would cost him priesthood, royal commission hears

Updated about an hour ago

One of Australia’s most notorious paedophiles, Gerald Ridsdale, never revealed the extent of his offending to avoid being stripped of his priesthood, the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Abuse in Ballarat has heard.

The elderly Ridsdale is giving evidence to the inquiry via video link from Ararat prison, where he is serving an eight-year sentence for the rape and abuse of children, some of them as young as four.

He told the royal commission he could not remember committing some of the offences and had forgotten the names of some of his earliest victims.

Ridsdale revealed he “didn’t confess the sexual offending against children” because he had a great fear of losing his priesthood.

“I was a very proud person … it just would’ve been devastating,” he told the commission.

He also told senior counsel assisting the commission, Gail Furness SC, he could no longer recall being abused himself as a child, despite making statements to that effect in the 1990s.

Ridsdale said statements he made in 1994, about being abused by members of the clergy, including a Christian Brother when he was 11 or 12 years old, would have been correct at the time.

The inquiry is examining what the Catholic Church knew about the extent of Ridsdale’s offending as he was moved from town to town.

He was quizzed at length about whether or not people were warned about his offending tendencies as he was moved from between schools around western Victoria, in the 1960s and 70s.

When asked by Ms Furness if anyone was notified at Mildura, when he was relocated there from Ballarat, he answered “I don’t know”.

Ridsdale did say he was warned by clergy in Ballarat before being moved to Mildura, “if this happens again you’ll be off to the missions”.

Ridsdale recalled abusing choir boys in Mildura, and later at Swan Hill, when he was again moved on.

“Yes … there would probably be another couple [of victims] there,” he told Ms Furness.

But Ridsdale said as far as he knew, no-one in Swan Hill was aware of his offending, and he would not know if anyone at his next location, Warrnambool had been warned.

He said he was told “in the usual manner” that he would be relocated and that there was “no consultation”.

Ridsdale unable to control his sexual urges

Ms Furness also asked Ridsdale about his sexual urges.

He told the commission he felt bound to become a priest because of family expectations, but had problems controlling his sexual urges from the beginning.

Ridsdale said he would make confessions that he had masturbated, and was hoping to receive some “sexual instructions” from the church about what was appropriate during his training as a priest.

“Did you ever feel the need for intimacy, hugging and closeness?” asked Ms Furness of Ridsdale’s time at the Werribee seminary, where he started out.

“I think I’ve always felt the need for closeness,” Ridsdale responded.

He said he had had one adult relationship for three years, with a fellow prisoner.

Ridsdale said he was aware his offending against children was a crime.

“Did it occur to you at the time that you were hurting the children?” commission chairman Justice Peter McClellan asked Ridsdale.

“Your Honour, I just don’t know … I don’t know what I was thinking,” Ridsdale said.

Ridsdale told the inquiry the church should report crimes to the police.

He was asked if the church should have notified authorities of his own offending over the years.

He replied: “What I’ve done and the damage that I’ve done … I’d say, definitely yes”.

Ridsdale said while he had come to the view now that crimes should be disclosed, when he was a priest, “everything told in confession was to be kept secret”.

Inquiry probes Ridsdale’s relationship with Cardinal George Pell

Ridsdale told the royal commission the fact Cardinal George Pell accompanied him to court on child sex abuse charges in the 1990s was insignificant.

He said he could not recall much about his relationship with the then Father Pell in Ballarat in the 1970s, except he “would’ve met him, because he was Ballarat born-and-bred”.

“I can’t remember him being there … I can’t remember him … I never had much to do with him,” Ridsdale said of Cardinal Pell.

“We needed some people to come along [to court] for support … I don’t see it as having a very big significance.”

Ridsdale said his barrister asked Cardinal Pell to go to court, and he did not ask him himself.

He said, at the time, he did not know if Cardinal Pell knew about the nature of his charges, and he did not know, what Cardinal Pell planned to say.

He said his legal team was “clutching at straws.”

The hearing continues.

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