by Mary W Maxwell
It has been announced that NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione will be in the witness box of the Inquest on August 15, 2016. Today I looked at the press conference in Sydney that was broadcast soon after the storming of the Café. To my surprise, Scipione disavowed any connection to the decision to storm.
Scipione was asked “How was the decision made to enter?” He replied: “It was made by a team of experts. What we don’t do is compete with those who have to make that call. They made the call — because they believed that at that time if they didn’t enter there would have been many more lives lost.”
Then Scipione was asked “What had changed?”
He replied: Well I think that events that were unfolding inside the premises led them to believe that now was the time to actually deploy and they did.”
Then when asked to say more he added: “Well at this stage I understand that there were a number of gunshots that were heard which caused officers to move straight to what we call an EA – an emergency action plan — and that caused them to enter.”
This leads me to think this Police Commissioner will have to reveal who made the call and then the Inquest will have to put that person under oath.
It happens that Gumshoe is running three series at the same time – the present series on the Inquest, plus my Martin Bryant series and Dee McLachlan’s 9-11 series. Naturally, there is much cross-fertilization.
In the “Part 11” article of the Bryant series today, there was an important exchange about the Inquest. I will cut-and-paste much of that below so that it will be read by persons who are only following the Inquest series.
For now, here is a reminder of the topics covered so far in the Lindt Café Inquest series:
- Azal’s Theory that the siege was the work of the Deep State
- the testimony of a negotiator during the hostage crisis
- my baptism into courts inquisitorial
- the many overseas Youtube videos calling it a hoax
- Charlie Team’s assault at 2.13 am, through the firewell
- overview of an inquest’s mission
- perjury punished at other inquests
- questions from a curious citizen
- the expert witness on wound ballistics
- the lead-up to the siege (Monis’s background)
- the shield-bearer’s day of waiting at Martin Place
- “a coronial court seems to be not judicial”
- who can offer to be an expert witness?
- Officer A’s testimony (Philip St entry, killing of Monis)
- “kolodin”: a falsely accused “Islamic terrorists”
- Dr X testifying about conjured-up terrorist incidents
How Does One Find Out What Is in the Record?
I have been accused of playing the dumb blonde when I really know much about inquests. Not true. I am feeling my way, and I hope readers are feeling along with me.
I did say, in Part 12, that I think there is something inherently fishy about coronial courts. (And the coroner in this very case, Michael Barnes, made a a similar remark when he was coroner in Queensland!)
Still, in NSW, a coronial court is what we’ve got so we must operate in those confines.
I also have said that although it is the right of families to participate, and to cross-examine, I don’t quite see how the public gets to do any cross-examination.
It should not rest on the shoulders of the families’ lawyers to pursue, say, the question of “conjured up Islamic terrorism.” They have to stick with issues of interest to the death of the loved ones.
Today Terry Shulze, a retired NSW barrister, brought to our attention the fact of evidence in file, notably the police tape of gunshot sounds. A police person in the witness box described it to us – but who has actually listened to the tape? And would a skeptic want to try to shoot holes in the police person’s testimony?
I will now quote the exchange that appeared in a Bryant article (and I should mention that soon there will be an article entitled “Port Arthur Meets Sydney Siege”).
Mary Maxwell wrote, in Comments (replying to AJ Kierath about Martin Bryant at Seascape):
You have just made me think of an oddity about police negotiators. Here we see that it has been an official role for at least 20 years — Officer Terry McCarthy was told to keep the terrorist (Bryant) calm, and even promised him a way out “Yes, we’re trying to figure out a safe way for the helicopter to land near Seascape.”
But in the 17-hour Sydney siege of December 2014, the SIX police negotiators never came in contact with Monis, never offered him even a tiny temptation if he would release some Lindt Café hostages. When Monis himself initiated the plan to let one hostage go in exchange for a gesture from government, they didn’t even reply to him.
I see total insincerity by government in regard to “negotiating” with Monis. If the whole thing was for show, why negotiate? On the other hand, if it was a genuine hostage situation, why not try every method of communicating with him?
We always read, don’t we, that the authorities have to do their best to save the lives of hostages? So far the Inquest has shown that NOTHING WAS DONE. Nada, zip, nothing.
Terry Shulze, replying at 1.35pm, wrote:
I note your reference to the Inquest – so, did anyone ever find out who was calling the shots from Canberra? Did the Police ever release the audio tape of the gunshots from the Cafe’? Did the Police ever release the autopsy photos and report from the deaths in the Café?
I’m particularly interested in this alleged single shot/bullet to the back of the head of Tori. The only known shot of Monis was a warning shot over the heads of the escaping patrons, so what killed Tori? Are the counsel representing the families calling for the audio tapes and autopsy photos?
This Inquest seems to have a bunch of smoke and mirrors, let’s get to the real nitty gritty, instead of hearing from expert negotiators from overseas.
Mary Maxwell, replying at 2.12pm, wrote:
Dear Terry, I’ll attend the Inquest, dv, on Aug 15, when the witness is Scipione. If they do not ask him point blank “Who was the boss that day, who made decisions?” then we will know it is defo smoke and mirrors. Talk about tragic if that is so.
I guess you could ask Mr O’Connell representing the Dawsons, or Ms Bashir representing the Johnsons, if they have called for the audiotape and autopsy photos.
Your questions are wonderful. I see on the Inquest website that the media is given access to all the documents. I’d like Dee to register as media. I consider my attendance as that of citizen.
P.S. I don’t quite agree that “the only known shot of Monis was a warning shot…” Isn’t it the case that that shot is “known” in the same way that the ballistics report of the shooting of Tori is known? What did you mean by “known”? What avenues of verification are open to us? Gosh, we are so dependent on police honesty.
Terry Shulze, replying at 2:33 pm, wrote:
From Part 5 of your series –
“Nonetheless, a moment did arrive when the decision was made to storm the Café. It seems to have occurred after the last batch of hostages escaped around 2am (about 6 of them; there were 5 earlier ones; this left 7 more in situ, plus Monis). A shot was fired by the terrorist as they left.
Dennis noted that the shot demonstrated two things: One, that Monis had a functioning firearm, and Two that he had shot way above their heads into the glass panel, apparently not trying to kill anyone.”
Terry Shulze added, at 2:57 pm:
“I guess you could ask Mr O’Connell representing the Dawsons, or Ms Bashir representing the Johnsons, if they have called for the audiotape and autopsy photos.”
My recollection of the rules of evidence is THANKFULLY receding into the abyss of time, however, the alleged ‘expert’ has given a report based upon an audio tape – the actual audio tape is the ‘best evidence’ of what is on that tape.
The same applies to the forensic evidence of the wound to Tori – a shotgun wound is significantly different to a .223 wound – a picture speaks a thousand words.
Also, if Jeremy Gormly is counsel assisting the inquiry, he should be assisting the inquiry. He should be up front in asking these questions.
What Has Cicero To Do with It?
I named this article Somnium Scipionis, the dream of Scipio, after Marcus Tullius Cicero’s history of the lead-up to the attack in Carthage, simply because the name is practically the same as that of NSW’s police commissioner.
That said, might as well let Tully have the last word(s):
“Where there is life there is hope.”
“Any man is liable to err, only a fool persists in error.”
“No one can speak well, unless he thoroughly understands his subject.”
“It is a great thing to know our vices.”
“Men decide far more problems by hate, love, lust, rage, sorrow, joy, hope, fear, illusion, or some other inward emotion, than by reality, authority, any legal standard, judicial precedent, or statute.”
“Freedom is a possession of inestimable value.”
Well, thar ya go.
Mary W Maxwell is an aged Catholic in South Australia.
Photo credit: www.dailytelegraph.com.au