Home Siege Lindt Café Inquest Part 29: The Hearings Have Ended

Lindt Café Inquest Part 29: The Hearings Have Ended

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by Mary W Maxwell, PhD, LLB

Every inquest seeks to find the time, place, and manner of death of a person. Regarding the deaths of Tori Johnson and Man Haron Monis, I think it is an established fact that the place of death was the Lindt Café in the Sydney CBD. For Katrina Dawson, death occurred either in the café or in an ambulance on the way to hospital, or at hospital.

The time of death is not contentious; it was between 2am and 3am on December 16, 2014 for all three persons.  So we come to the main question: how did they die?

The EA Is Finally Triggered

All the deaths occurred at the very end of the siege. They occurred when there were only a few people left in the café: Monis, Johnson, Dawson, Mikhael, Win Pe, Hope, Hope, and possibly one other hostage.

So it is the events occurring from 2.03 onwards that matter. Recall that there had been an escape at 3.37 on the afternoon of December 15, and another about one hour later. We saw all those 5 people run out of the café in broad daylight.

The last escape occurred at 2.03 (the timing is not contentious) and included 6 or 7 people. It was in the dark. However, they all went out via the firewell, which had a CCTV camera in its ceiling, so we can make out who they were. Also, we saw these hostages for a moment in the streetlight as they emerged from the building.

It seems to be agreed by police and hostages that Monis fired his gun for the first time at 2.03am. Recall that he had been saying since morning that if any escaped he would shoot them or shoot the stay-behinds. Still, when that third batch of persons ran out, Monis fired only over their heads.

The shot hit a glass panel. The importance, for the Inquest, is that this shot put police on alert. Some cops thought just the one shot would be enough to start the Emergency Action. However their commander did not send them in at this point.

Was It Too Late?

At the Inquest much attention was focused on whether police should have stormed the café after just one shot. So for the moment, please formulate an opinion. Never mind the hindsight by which we know that the failure to capture Monis at this point led to the deaths of Tori and Katrina.

Just ask, was it proper to storm the café at that point? Would you have ordered it?

For me I suppose it was proper. Monis had demonstrated a willingness to shoot, even if aimed at the ceiling. As one police witness said “It showed us he had a functioning firearm.” If this was just a gunman on the street I assume police would have shot him down by now.

Note: when Curtis Cheng, an accountant, was shot by a 15-year-old outside the Parramatta Police station in 2015, the boy was killed by police straightaway. No questions asked. (I’ve often wondered why they didn’t just disable him.)

The Bomb in the Backpack

Of course there was the alleged problem of the bomb in Monis’s backpack. A reason to hold back from shooting Monis – it was said throughout that day — was the fear that a bullet received by him could pass through him to his backpack wherein was an “IED” (improvised explosive device), and harm everyone.

This seems to me to be disingenuous. Even apart from my belief that Monis was working for “the authorities” all along, (and therefore they knew there was no bomb), we see Chanel 7 people hovering across the street with cameras. They shouldn’t have risked being so close, should they?

Officer A, who admits to killing Monis said, under oath, that when he stormed the café, he believed his life was at risk. In Part 14, I quoted him:

“Did you see him fall?” Yes, at first I thought he was falling to a kneeling position but I checked and saw that he was dead. A large piece of his head was missing.

“Did you worry about your bullet causing the backpack bomb to explode?” When we initiated the EA, I was 100% certain he had a bomb. But I believed the bullets I fired at him would stay within his body.”

I expected the lawyers to quiz him as to why he felt confident about that, but they didn’t.

The Pause Before the Storming

So it’s 2.03am and a decision has to be made. The decision is “Do nothing.” Then the police say they heard a second shot at around 2.06. Some said it was a door slamming, or a table being thrown over but some said it was a gunshot. I do not know the final interpretation of that shot. But it, too, did not trigger an EA.

By the way, this coronial inquest is not like a trial at which a verdict is brought in and that settles the matter. Magistrate Michael Barnes now has to hunker down with volumes of material and reach the best conclusion he can, even if from contradictory material.

In any case, the period between Monis’ first firing at 2.03am, and 2.15am when the police teams stormed in, is the period in which Tori Johnson died.

I now move to my “findings” of two of the deaths under investigation at this inquest – those of Tori Johnson and Man Haron Monis – and will speculate on the death of Ms Dawson in a later article.

Conclusions Reached re Mr Monis’ Death

We heard testimony by three police officers who stormed the Café: “Dennis Albrecht” (head of team “Tango Charlie”), the shield bearer whom I called Shieldie (a man of colorful language), and Officer A.

I believe the manner of death of Man Haron Monis was, as claimed, that “Officer A” shot him upon entry to the Café, and that it occurred at the officially claimed time: around 2.15am.

Officer A sounded to me like he was telling it honestly. Also, there was a video taken of this cop’s back, from across the street, which verifies his story (if you trust the chain of custody of the video!).

Although we did not see autopsy pictures of Monis, I go along with the statements of Dennis Albrecht and Officer A that much of Monis’ head was blown away. I think Louisa Hope reported seeing it, too.

I go along with Officer A’s narrative that he trained the red laser of his gun on Monis’ chest, shot him, and then moved it up to his head and shot again.

One thing I don’t understand is why Monis didn’t buckle over as soon as he was wounded in the chest. I also didn’t quite believe Officer A when he said he thinks Monis shot him — because he “flinched.”  Maybe the cop’s bulletproof vest would have that effect; I don’t know.

My doubt is based on the fact that for Monis to have carried out that shot, he would have been looking at Officer A in darkness. Monis, on the other hand, was “well-lit” by the light attached to Officer A’s gun.

If Monis at such a tense moment could have actually aimed properly at Officer A (when a huge amount of noise was happening from flash bangs), well, I give him credit!

In any case, for what it’s worth, I accept the official story of how Monis died.

Conclusion Reached re Mr Johnson’s Death

A better title for this section would be “Conclusion Not Reached re Mr Johnson’s Death.

As to who killed Tori, the leading candidate is Monis. As far as I know the Inquest (early on) never fully opened the question, other than pro forma. A couple of witnesses said they saw Monis kill Tori, and that was that.

It was certainly in the newspaper within a day that Tori was “executed” by Monis.

So why do I have any hesitations?

Firstly I need to do more digging as to the reports that Tori was told to get on his knees.

During my Port Arthur research I kept reading that Nanette Mikac was told to get down on her knees before being shot by the mad gunman (alleged to be Martin Bryant). People relay that as if it were a fact.

Yet, as I proceeded, I never found any record of a witness saying that. I think it was thrown in by the media for emotive effect.

However, in the current case, there is a video taken through the café window by a sniper in the Westpac building. It shows a man (Monis, apparently) putting a gun to the back of the head of another man (Tori, apparently). That video is available on the Internet. The two men are silhouetted.

I have also read that a sniper saw Tori fall, but I did not get any particulars about that in the courtroom and so far have not seen the sniper’s video of that (if there be one).

Secondly, I don’t see why Monis would do it. He was clearly a failure at that point. The government had ignored him (even refusing his demand to dim the lights in Martin Place) and, by now, 11 or 12 of his 18 hostages had escaped.

Recall that I see Monis as working for, not against, government. Maybe at this point he realized he had been had?

(We know that in the Boston Marathon case, Tamerlan Tsarnaev got a rude awakening when he was arrested in Watertown by the FBI. He yelled “Podstava” – Russian for  “This is a set-up.”)

Why Would Monis Kill Tori Johnson?

Anyway Monis had to have been fatigued, and it was dark.

I keep asking: what did he have to gain by snuffing out Tori’s life? I try putting myself in Monis’ shoes. He thinks:

“I’ll be accused of the crime of holding hostages and threatening them, but so far I have not hurt anyone. Heck, I even let them eat food, wander around, and message their families. I may be able to plead for my life. So I shouldn’t now bring down the full weight of the law against me by killing Tori.”

I don’t rule out that Monis killed Tori. It’s the best offer we have so far. And I also am aware that there are plenty of Manchurian candidates around –maybe Monis was one.

An early report in the Sydney Morning Herald, online, quoted Monis as saying, after killing Tori “Look what you made me do.”  I don’t know if it’s true or what it means. But probably we shouldn’t just ignore it.

For lack of any other plausible explanation – so far – I will agree that the official story of the death of Tori Johnson is correct: he was shot in the head at close range by Monis.

The Ball’s in Our Court

Commenters at Gumshoe, to earlier article in this series, have said that the police’s ballistics expert should have been challenged by an expert hired by the families. This did not happen.

I lack information on what Mr Johnson’s autopsy indicated as to the type of firearm that brought about his death. Was it Monis’ shotgun, that fires lead pellets, or a police gun that fires copper bullets, or something else?

We members of the public are entitled to know these things. This was, remember, “the day that changed Australia forever.”

The purpose of the Inquest is not to give the Murdoch press a chance to recommend that the army be used instead of the police. Nor was the Inquest undertaken primarily to help the families of the deceased.

Remember: we are running the show.

— Mary Maxwell’s discussion of the death of Katrina Dawson will appear soon.

Photo credit: P. Newman
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33 COMMENTS

  1. Remember whom you’re dealing with.
    The photo above shows that a girl with a pen and notebook used her passport to gain admision tickets to the Inquest hearings.

    I never even tried to read the paperwork that preceded anyone’s testimony, and I heard the testimony of only eight witnesses. The rest I made up! Yes that’s what we’re dealing with. True to my Gumshoe style, I brought OTHER knowledge to bear here.

    Please read my Fraud Upon the Court for summaries of criminal cases, researched by dedicated maniacs (I mean that nicely) and you will see how a court has the power to control “truth.” For example, April Gallop’s case against Cheney for 9-11 was dutifully scrubbed by a District Court judge. Quite eye-openng.

    • Whoops. I don’t mean I “made up” any part of the Inquest story. I mean I concocted a picture that includes such things as worrying about how the structure of the inquiry affects a case.

      Believe me if you’ve never been to an Inquest it’s so diconcerting that there is no adversarial flavor! All the players are massively polite. One day a family member got angry in the courtroom. I thought that was great.

      I’ll just say it once again: there may be an LLB after my name but coronial courts are newbie city for me. I may have even missed the whole point. Time will tell.

  2. ” I try putting myself in Monis’ shoes. He thinks:

    ““I’ll be accused of the crime of holding hostages and threatening them, but so far I have not hurt anyone. Heck, I even let them eat food, wander around, and message their families. I may be able to plead for my life. So I shouldn’t now bring down the full weight of the law against me by killing Tori.”

    this is ridiculous- you can’t hope to know what Monis thought and in any case- Monis would have effectively faced life in bars if he ever walked out of that cafe. Australia has no greater punishment than life behind bars- no death penalty. Not only would he have been found guilty of terrorist offenses due to the siege- he was facing multiple sex offense charges- and a trial over the murder of his ex-wife. His world was falling apart.

    If you think about it- it explains his actions: he did the siege in order to make himself a martyr- via suicide by cop. He pledged allegiance to ISIS (via facebook) – even though he was a Shiite Muslim from Iran- not Sunni ISIS. In so doing he hoped to attach himself to the ISIS juggernaut- he was a narcissist- and planned to turn his tawdry murder/suicide into some kind of holy religious act. Like the coward he was he no doubt planned to die- there was no way out of that siege for him- and that’s almost certainly what he wanted- and it’s exactly what happened.

    Until I see any solid evidence to the contrary- this remains the simplest explanation of the causality of the Lindt siege.

    • The other day you said there was no special killer-ring owned by Cheryl Hersha (though I think there was) — the problem being that Mary couldn’t prove it.

      Now you say Monis “hoped to attach himself to the ISIS juggernaut.” Were you in touch with him or something? I was at least “in touch” with Hersha by way of having read her book.

      • No- I wasn’t in touch with him: Monis pledged allegiance to Isis on Facebook a few days before the siege.

        As for Cheryl- the person who was mind controlled and trained in martial arts- from the age of 7- a cross dressing helicopter pilot- with a poison ring-and a gun- the honeypot killer… Well if anyone told me that story: I would be demanding some evidence. Sounds like a cheap thriller- not reality.

    • ‘ until I see any evidence to the contary…’
      ‘……. suicide by cop….’ (very ‘in’ the US these days for explantions for US enforcenent)
      As you admit to speculation, as does Mary!
      Nice to know that you can asume to read Monis’ mind and motives and equal Mary’s whiteboard theories.
      Evidence please? You a remote viewer?

      • – hm- for some reason ‘remote viewing’ is not acceptable as a form of evidence in a court of law, Ned.

        No I based my assessment on the known facts about Monis: he was facing multiple charges, he had a history going back to Iran of criminality and unstable mental health. In Australia he had a long history of bizzare and narcissistic behavior. This is all well known.

        As for ‘suicide by cop’ yes cops may claim that fraudulently in some case (think unarmed victim) in many cases people do use police to ‘commit suicide’. You just run at them with a knife or gun- and bang- the big sleep.

        Monis chose to dress up his murder suicide as an act if martyrdom- he was a religious nut case after all- but at the end of the day he was just an unstable, violent criminal facing a life behind bars.

        If you think any of that is not true: let me know which bit.

          • Minus was facing over 40 charges of sexual assault with 7 alleged victims. He was on bail for sending horrible hate mail – for which he was convicted. He was also facing accessory to murder charges. He wasn’t convicted: as the trials have gone- because he is dead. I have no doubt he would have been found guilty seeing the evidence against him.

          • donwreford, are you saying that the elitism/skullduggery of the Age is wholly dependent on willing victims? I couldn’t agree more.

            Powerlessness/hopelessness is the life blood of said machine and it comes in a range of guises. Giving way to it in any way, shape, or form is as good as selling your soul to the devil, be it ASIO or ISIS.

        • What I find fascinating Jacques is not the behaviour of Monis, but the behaviour of those in charge of ending the siege. Now we might not be able to mind read Monis as he was most likely unstable. But we can assess the ordinary folk that were in charge of ending it. But they behaved in the most extraordinary fashion. Why keep from the public the “sexual predator’s” identity then and keep the country in the dark for (I think) 11 hours and hype the “terrorist”. Meanwhile they are building mock-ups of the café 40 minutes away. Mmmm.
          THEN—Why inform us that there are excellent negotiators handling the situation when they make ABSOLUTELY NO contact. Ordinary people making unusual decisions.
          What is so strange is that if they knew who he was, and knowing his history — surely you would phone up and say/ask:
          “How can we end this Monis… we know about your wife, let’s talk about that, and the letters…you want a flag?… we can order one from Mosul for you… may take a couple of days…what about letting out a few hostages… what’s in your back pack Monis? Oh you say it’s a bomb… you don’t want to blow yourself up now… how did you make it… you don’t really have a bomb… “.
          What happened? Why BS the public and say they have excellent negotiators in process.
          That to me is the most extraordinary behaviour. So extraordinary that it smells like a stand down.
          I’d like a hostage negotiator to write in and cite any other case where for nearly a day they pretend to negotiate — tell the public they have excellent people on the job — but make ZERO contact.

          • No one can know exactly what goes on behind closed doors but the shambles on the shopfront is a fair indication.

          • The shomozzle that was the police action during the siege is not necessarily evidence of a plot- it can easily be explained as standard incompetence. There is a long history of police incompetence in many matters- and much of the seemingly strange actions of the so called ‘negotiators’ etc can be explained by this.

            I actually stayed up late the night the siege ended watching it on the ABC. If you were watching that livestream you would have noticed some 5-10 minutes before the end there was an increase in activity on the street: several ambulances were moved in closer to the cafe- and then a man in a bomb disposal suit walked up the street. Just after that there was some flash of light from the cafe and seconds later the police burst in letting of a multitude of flash bang grenades.

            A minute later some police emerged with a lady and were giving her CPR on the pavement. She was rushed off an a stretcher.

            It seemed to me that the police were preparing to storm the cafe- when they suddenly had to move before they were ready (Monis shot Tori after several hostages made a run for it?).

            It makes sense to me that the police planned to end the siege that night one way or the other- they didn’t want to have central Sydney blocked off for another day- and by that time Monis would have been very tired- so the police would have planned to make their move in the middle of the night when Monis was at his most vulnerable. It seems events in the cafe forced the police to act before they were ready, hastily and sloppily.

            It was surreal: as on the ABC they said “It looks like the siege is over and everyone is safe’, but even while they said that you could see the police giving CPR to the lady on the pavement.

            What I saw that night- is all consistent with the story that emerged at the inquest. Inconsistencies in police testimony can be put down to CYA (Cover Your Arse).

          • Jacques–“The shomozzle that was the police action during the siege is not necessarily evidence of a plot”
            Correct.
            Their actions at the end (last hour) are consistent with both incompetence AND a stand down.
            The question (which you never addressed) was—-WHY did they not negotiate for 17 hours when they said they were and when they should of.

          • Their actions throughout the siege MAY be consistent with a stand down order. However there are other explanations: the question as to why little or no negotiations took place may simply be that the people in charge decided they did not want to negotiate with Monis. You may think they ‘shaould have’ but they may have felt otherwise. The operational decisions are for them to make – and wthout evidence we cannot second guess what they should or shouldn’t have done. This is just our opinion- we are not experts- and we are not in charge. We may well be right- but that’s another matter and hindsight is 20/20.

            It is likely the police were in contact with he office of the PM- Tony Abbot. At that time Abbot was doing very poorly in the polls- and was trying to ‘look tough’ on national security and terrorism matters. There may well have been a harsh attitude towards any negotiating with an ‘isis’ operative. They certainly had no intention of meeting any of Monis’s demands- and this is quite common. I

            What may look like a ‘stand down’ to you could simply be inertia on behalh of the authorities: inaction can be a sign of incompetence and confusion as much as a deliberate strategy.

            As I said before- I think if you could find that livefeed the ABC broadcast on the night- and watch exactly what happened at the end- you can see a confuesed and rushed operation consistent with poor decision making and a lack of leadership. This is also consistent with the testimony given at the inquest by the officers that took part in the final storming.

            I think there has been a limited cover up of the extrmely poor handling of the siege- and the possible involvement of the PM’s office in the flawed decision making.

            If you ask me: the police should have shot Monis earlier. They claim they were concerned he had a bomb- however I believe they should have made an educated guess that an unstable idiot like Monis- who could not organise an ISIS flag for himself before the siege- and quite stupidly had to ask for one as part of his demands- definately couldn’t organise a working bomb.

            there were also claims that snipers were worried they couldn’t affectively shoot through the glass at Lindt because it used to be a bank and had armoured windows. I imagine the army has rifles that are capable of shooting through such windows (though I don’t know that sure sure)- but in any case- It was certianly odd to see that some months after the seige a vandal through rocks through the Lindt cafe windows- and didn’t seem to have any issues breaking them:

            http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-03/man-charged-over-vandalism-lindt-cafe-in-sydney-martin-place/6516784

            Agian- this inconsistency is not necesarily evidence of a false flag- it could be more evidence of CYA and police incompetence.

            personally I hate the ‘incompetence theory’ that is used to explain how 9/11 occured: NORAD failed, The FBI failed, the CIA failed, the Air Force failed, the NSA failed, the airline security failed, the FFA failed, the architects of WTC 1, 2 and 7 failed, the building themselves failed, etc, etc, etc. The fact is incompetence can be used as a cover for false flags attacks- but actual true incompetence is also very real- and can be the explanation of certian failures.

          • If Monis is such a flawed character or as some say a idiot? we would surmise that if some one was intelligent acting as a terrorist they would have a lot of millage in creating a national epoch, the terrorist should take heart that you can be so insignificant and become a name of fame, today in the imperialist countries the media only has the few who are either in touch with the inner circle of media or are exalted to become famous through luck or having been in the right family for becoming and terrorism offers fame to those who are the outsiders of a society that offers little or drudgery and no hope to the forlorn.

        • Remote viewing not acceptable in a court of law, gee, you could have knoked me over with a feather.
          Loook up remote viewing, it relates to trying to predict/access the future.

          • which is- as far as I have ever seen – is impossible. If someone had that power I would imagine they would be stupendously wealthy: tomorrow Lotto numbers anyone?

          • Jacques, as you cannot see very far, leave the subject to those of us who can see much further and have experienced it.
            I am happy to leave you uninformed. Good luck.

          • @ jacques

            “which is- as far as I have ever seen – is impossible. If someone had that power I would imagine they would be stupendously wealthy: tomorrow Lotto numbers anyone?”

            i knew you’d say that.

            and, I know exactly what you’re thinking right now.

            You’re thinking I don’t know what you’re thinking.

            Race four, number 6, it’s a sure thing.

  3. if Tavistock has influenced this scenario you will never know the truth, but you can know the mind of how Tavistock function and most likely your worst fears are the reality? of what is.

  4. I still say that the most important item to investigate is whether Tori Johnson was shot in the back of the head at close range by a bullet. A shotgun at close range would have filled his head with numerous lead pellets. Once we have the answer, that the bullet did the damage, we know with 100% certainty that Tori was not killed by Monis and that then we know Monis killed nobody. It is all so simple and dependent on an autopsy report.

    • Dear Mal, I am loathe to comment as I do not want to be seen as having the Inquest’s research in my hands. I don’t. (They have autopsy reports.) Still, I did just come across the notes I took from Lucas Van der Walt’s expert testimony. He said they found no copper in the head wound of Tori and that is how they made the judgment of what gun it came from. (All police guns have copper bullets.)
      Please no not consider my statement definitive!

  5. As Jaques admits Monis had a criminal record in Iran, so why is it the Federal authorities, defied a request from Iran for his deportation? What were they intending to use him for? Maybe this was a psy-op to influence Australians to hate all Muslins thus willing to accept ADF action in Muslin countries thereby committing a war crime.

  6. The nature of the procedure can be summed up by the complete absence of any inquiry/finding as to when/how the siege-weapon was sourced.

    For the purposes of protecting the public against violent crime the question of governmental negligence/deliberation is irrelevant.

    • I’m in full agreement here. Also, how he was able to move so freely with said weapon, given his history and visible public profile.

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