Home Siege Lindt Café Inquest, Part 23: Why Bark Up the Wrong Tree?

Lindt Café Inquest, Part 23: Why Bark Up the Wrong Tree?


2588753300000578-2948234-NSW_Police_Deputy_CCatherine Burn, the NSW Deputy Police Commissioner

by Mary W Maxwell

If you want to see the difference between a Gumshoe report of the Sydney siege inquest and the Mainstream version, just choose any date for which I made a report and read the parallel one at ABC or the Murdoch-Fairfax Press. I often could not tell when I read them that they had attended the same session I attended.

Yesterday (August 15, 2016), the witness was Catherine Burn, the NSW Deputy Police Commissioner. Among the trivia the MSM pursued – indeed headlined — was the fact that she erased her text messages. When asked why, she said “Because I always do.” That sounded OK to me.

One reason I don’t care about her texting is that there is a plethora of other paper-trail stuff by which we can learn what she was doing that day – such as emails, phone calls., and her own log.

But the main reason why the text messages are irrelevant is that Ms Burn herself is irrelevant to this inquest. Don’t worry that she will be offended to read that. She will be amazed that at least one person understands her.

Fact: The Executive of the Police, of which she is a member, had no part to play, and is not supposed to have any part to play, in operations and no role in the decision-making by commanders who are, on paper, her underlings.

Sure, you may think it is reprehensible – even wicked — that such an arrangement exists. You may feel she should have  intervened, say, to sharpen up the negotiating process with “the terrorist in the stronghold.”

Well, OK, but then your beef is not with her, as it is not herself that mandated the separation between Executive and commanders on the ground. More on that in a later article.

I think it is a big clue…

The Questioning So Far

Ms Burn’s testimony was preceded by that of the man who took over from her at 10pm on the day of the siege, December 15, 2014. He is Assistant Commissioner Jeff Loy.

Loy is not quite of equal rank to Burn, but once he was in position as of 10pm, he had the same amount of authority to intervene as she did. In other words, zilch, zip, nada, cipher, goose egg, how can I put it – not a whole lot.

The Counsel who did the “examination in chief” was Jeremy Gormly, followed by Jason Downing, a young and vigorous “counsel assisting the coroner.”

At some point, I’ll “take you through” the questions posed to Jeff Loy and Cath Burn. For now, I want to go over the fact that no amount of cleverness on the part of the orchestra pit could get either witness to provide us with exciting answers to such questions as:

Were you in favor of implementing a DA (direct action) plan?

How dangerous did you think the terrorist (Monis) was?

How about that nifty mock-up at Holsworthy?

How much of a role did the defence forces play that day?

Not that they didn’t try. The lawyer for the Johnsons, Ms Gabrielle Bashir, and Mr Bolton for the Dawsons (in lieu of Mr Michael O’Connell) made bold to pose the above questions at some length.

At times they got knocked back by the ever-objecting police lawyer, Dr Ian Freckleton, but mostly they simply had a lack of success.

Gumshoe To Finish This Matter Soon

Commissioner Andrew Scipione was scheduled to appear at the Inquest in Monday but that has been put off till Wednesday and I have decided not to stay for it.  I already know that he will be able to say no more that “Cath” said.

I took her to be dead honest. Time may prove me wrong but every answer Deputy Commissioner Burn gave seemed correct and reasonable. She never blushed or squirmed. “Unflustered” is the word that best applies. (From my point of view, she is the zenith of which I am the nadir.)

Wow, it was impressive to watch, and a large contingent of cops turned out for her, so at last the 30 or so gallery seats were filed. (Typically it has been six.) Two hostages also joined the gallery today.

Also I saw at least 8 cameramen waiting outside from morn till eve to catch a photo of her. Isn’t that a waste of manpower?

The inquest will be over by the time you read this, or at least the public part.  However, Magistrate Michael Barnes did mention today that the lawyers could send more “submissions.”

I hope to make a couple of submissions, at least to Gumshoe News, analyzing the Inquest, and Editor McLachlan would welcome related contributions from readers.

Luckily the coroner has no specific deadline (imposed on him) as to the writing up of his Findings, and perhaps would take into consideration the unorthodox line (but it’s really an orthodox line, IMHO) put forth in this series.

— Mary W Maxwell has a forthcoming article, co-authored with Cheryl Dean, about a hypothetical Boston inquest.


Photo credit: dailymail.co.uk





  1. So as the sun sinks slowly in the west, the question did not get answered, s’fer as I could tell, at this Inquest: who called the shots at 2.13am on Dec 2014 at the Lindt Cafe?

    “The men on the ground” told us it must have been the Higher Ups and the Gal at the Top (Deputy Commissioner) said of course it was people Lower Down.

    I think I know who it was, and all’s you have to do to figure it out is read “Port Arthur: Enough Is Enough.”

    In 5 words: “Permission denied; this must happen.”

  2. Get lost overpaid main stream journos.
    Gumshoe has Ms. mre on the job and she does not charge 2-3 dollars per garbage print to do your job.

      • Berry, (and y’all), what do you say was LE’s duty that day?

        Also, who do you say should have responsibility for the solution to a problem of a person taking other persons hostage and threatening to detonate a bomb?

        I mean, if it were not a psy-op?

        • Unrealistic expectations re Po conduct are hand-in-glove with the pro- disarmament fantasy of a guardian-angel-cop-behind-every-tree .

          The question that needs to be asked is, how successful would the initial hold-up have been had any of the victims been armed?

          What sort of response could have been expected from a Unit beleaguered by a mixed message?

  3. The nature of the ritual may be summed up by the fact that no court has any means of penalising any Law Enforcement officer re the death/injury of any innocent at any crime scene.

        • I guess they may be protected from civil suit by way of the sovereign immunity of the state. I emphatically state they cannot be protected from criminal indictment. In Australia only the monarch “can do no wrong.”

          In USA you can sue under civil rights law for infringement of your rights by anyone especially police, inddeed ESPECIALLY police. That’s a federal law; perhaps many of the states have copied it.

  4. is it not the job of the media to bog our minds down with side-tracks, distractions, blind alleys….anything to keep us away from the real issues? If what you say about Ms Burn’s position is indeed the case Mary, then that picture sums up perfectly the use of the Straw (Wo)man method by the Telegraph.

    • Thank you, Paul, please keep reminding us that media is a major, if not the major, player in all this psy-op stuff.

      Until I saw the selfie provided by Dee, I didn’t think they would play up D.C. Burn as incompetent. She is easily one of the most intelligent persons — actually, IMO, the most intelligent and articulate — who was on the stand during my visits.

      That is not to say I condone her lack of involvement. I consider it bizarre. But as i said it is like having “an independent DPP.” The whole structure is a sick joke. And it (the broken chain of command) is what enables the “Permission denied” author to go unnamed, unidentified.

      Who the hell dunnit? Who held back on “committing an EA.” I guess everyone in the orchestra pit assiduously avoided that question. Sure they seemed to ask it a lot, but they asked it of people who could not answer it.

      Even as we speak, the last bit of the hearing is taking place. Maybe someone will get brave and say “Commissioner Scipione, who, exactly, ordered the 2.14am storming of the cafe?”

      Granted, Freckleton will jump up and say “We can’t discuss this in open court,” but at least if it is done in closed court (to which the Johnson and Dawson family are privy) someone will have heard it. One of Katrina’s brothers is a barrister.

      • “One of Katrina’s brothers is a barrister.”

        Yes. Sandy Dawson, who works for Kerry Stokes who runs channel 7, who were given a ringside (camera-side) seat for all of us to watch and tremble, what with the Lindt Cafe right opposite and all that. And just in time for the well-rated Morning Show too. I wonder just how powerful a motivator grief can be?

  5. Correction: I said Jeff Loy is Assistant Commissioner. No, he is Acting Deputy Commissioner of NSW Police.

    More importantly, I said we should find out who gave the order to storm the Cafe (implying that we want to know who held back on that for 17 hours). The answer was given months ago at the Inquest, but I did not see it till I read today that the Police Forward Commander said that he did it. He added “I could never mitigate the risk of the bomb.”

    His name is suppressed. Not that it matters (per my conspiratorial view), as he was taking commands from someone else anyway. What a strange world we live in. Thousands of pages of documentation and not one waterboarding of the FPC to find out whom he obeyed.

  6. Mary, your comments re the media are well known to we enlightened ones, however there are millions within Australia alone who “know nuffing”.

    The so called investigative journalists still cannot grapple with the idea in regards to, at Port Arthur, the State Government commissioning a 22 corpse mortuary vehicle, for that event only. There were at least three, possibly four personages at Seascape. They being Martin Bryant, someone shooting at police, while “Jamie” was on the phone, and a person atop another building firing at the helicopters. The BMW car and Seascape building were both set ablaze by an SOG officer.

    All these and many more issues were easily discovered by real investigators, who have informed our Government investigative agencies, to no avail.

    George Orwell told us in his book 1984, that this is what was going to happen. Black was going to become white, truth would be recognised as evil and lies would be normal behaviour. We are now well beyond 1984 and the news media are doing there best to uphold Mr Orwell’s prophetic warnings.

    • Aussiemal,
      There is no such entity known as a genuine investigative journalist who is prepared to report on anything other than; naughty banks, underpaid migrant workers, sad greyhounds, footballers behaving badly, a few crooked selected business types, some personalty with sex enigmas, refugees, paedophiles and their protection rackets, etc.
      But anything concerning the realities of government/s murdering citizens with ‘false flag’ events and the ‘salivation’ of the public to kill based on lies for ‘whoremongering”, invasion and killing is out of bounds for alleged journo investigators and the running dog shock jocks, even allowing for the public pretences of some shock jocks pretending to be investigating, by raising half hearted bogan interests to gain an audience to flog their advertised wares.
      A ‘Walkley’ for a report on a approved topic is a shoe in.
      A ‘Walkley’ for an exposure of the falsity of the official government 911 conspiracy theory will place some journo as the Australian of the year……….. it will eventually happen.

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