Home Siege Specific Testimony about Monis’ Ability To Cause the Death of Tori Johnson

Specific Testimony about Monis’ Ability To Cause the Death of Tori Johnson

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monis-gun2Profile of 12  gauge shotgun and sawn off shotgun

by Malcolm R Hughes

When Mary Maxwell reported on the police testimony given at the Lindt Cafe Inquest from June 2016, I became uneasy because some of the evidence did not back up what the public had been told — in quite specific terms — by the print and TV media.

The media also seemed to be pushing a particular agenda that is against the Constitutional law of Australia. That is they appear to want the Military to interfere with civilian law — in certain instances to take over the responsibility of the State Police Services. If this is allowed, in my opinion, that will be just the beginning of a true “police state.”

This is the very situation that these same institutions and their political partners preached against in my younger days, when they were demonising Communist countries (for political purposes, I now see). Today the wheel has turned to the same position in the Western World.

monis-gunMonis’ gun. The workings of the modified shotgun used in the Lindt Café siege inquest. Photo: Supplied to media by Inquest

As certain evidence reported by Mary, in my opinion did not fit in with the story being put to the public, I wrote to the Coroner, Magistrate, Michael Barnes, putting my concerns to him. I wanted to make sure of my understanding of the evidence presented.

I requested release of a transcript of Mr Lucas Van Der Walt’s evidence in regard to the death of Tori Johnson. The request was accepted but the staff released other than what I had requested.

This was lucky as I thereby came to find out some interesting points! (Note: I have since re-applied for the transcript that I originally wanted).

Mr Lucas Van Der Walt is a ballistics expert for the NSW Police Force. In his evidence of 2 September, 2015, he states that Mr Man Monis had numerous 12 gauge shotgun cartridges, 2 in the weapon and 21 in his pockets. There were also 5 cartridges that had been fired.

For those that know about shotguns, this may be something of significance. Of the 2 cartridges recovered from the Monis gun, 1 was in the magazine and 1 in the feeding chamber, but not actually in the chamber yet.

From court questioning:

“Q. That suggests that some action had occurred, which had ejected the previous used cartridge, but the new cartridge had not been fully loaded, is that so.

A. That might have been, or just the firearm falling, maybe, and the force of it striking the floor might have assisted in opening the mechanism and only partly feeding the next cartridge and not actually chambering it.”

The 12 gauge cartridges were of varying types of shot also made by different manufacturers and all about 20 years since manufacture. (1995 to 1999)

The above information should bring about several questions to any thinking person. Mr Monis arrived in Australia in 1996.  First, why would a person planning a hostage situation choose a shotgun as the weapon?

Why did he have cartridges produced for different uses, for his purpose of possible indoor shootings? Why would that person carry 21 live cartridges in his pocket?

I don’t imagine the large number of cartridges was meant to intimidate hostages, as these were hidden from view.

Also, such a large number of cartridges could not possibly be used before the hostage taker would be overcome (had he started firing).

It is known – or at least stated confidently by persons at the Inquest — that at least one shot was fired from the shotgun. That occurred at 2.03am on December 16 just as a group of hostages escaped out the side door.

As for any additional shots, I don’t know what forensic evidence exists to confirm that more than one shot was fired from the shotgun – that is, apart from the number of empty cartridge cases.

Surely correct forensic investigations would be able to supply the actual number of cartridges fired by the number and size of shotgun pellets retrieved from the ceiling and walls, or at the base of the glass panels or embedded in the furniture and or in persons.

Why would a potential hostage taker bring with him, already used cartridge cases to the scene? As mentioned above, 5 empty cartridge cases were submitted to the inquiry but only one confirmed shot was fired to my knowledge.

There is no mention in the evidence (I mean the evidence I have seen so far) where the 5 fired cartridges were retrieved from. That is, were they on Mr Monis’ body, on a table or about the floor?

The reason that I first applied for transcripts of Mr Van Der Walt’s  evidence was that in her Gumshoe article, Mary Maxwell, who attended court 30 June, 2016, reported that this expert witness stated that Mr Tori Johnson was “killed by a lead bullet to the head fired at close range.”

Mary Maxwell has since told me she is not certain of the wording she copied down in handwriting, which is why I am pursuing the June 30th transcript.  My contention is that if it was a bullet that killed Tori, it couldn’t have come from a “shotgun”. a shotgun fires lead pellets, not a lead bullet.

I also believe that had a shotgun been fired at his head, Mr Johnson would have had several pellets in his wound.

The cost of the transcript that provided the above evidence was $144.50 for 9 pages — $16.05 per page, rather expensive!). As I mentioned, I have applied for the transcripts of Mr Lucas Van Der Walt’s evidence given on the 30th June 2016.

I sent an email to the Coroner’s Office on the 8th November 2016 requesting this transcript, today’s date is 5th December 2016 and I have had no answer. I anticipate that the number of pages shall be larger than the previous transcript, but I am willing to bear the cost.

Of course I will inform Gumshoe when I resolve these worrying matters.

— Mal Hughes lives in Western Australia and is a regular contributor of articles to GumshoeNews.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 COMMENTS

  1. Mal, I am glad you checked up on me. I would have wished to see everything in print rather then trust my ears.

    It’s lucky you got the wrong pages. By the way, the Inquest learned that Monis had held a job for a while as a security guard in Australia, and that included some training in the use of guns.

    • “Q. That suggests that some action had occurred, which had ejected the previous used cartridge, but the new cartridge had not been fully loaded, is that so.

      A. That might have been, or just the firearm falling, maybe, and the force of it striking the floor might have assisted in opening the mechanism and only partly feeding the next cartridge and not actually chambering it.”

      The question is correct, the next cartridge (‘shell’ actually) had not been fully loaded. Which is consistent with insufficient energy to operate the system. In other words, the shortened barrel may have reduced the energy available to operate the self-loading function. Just like the shortened barrel of the M1 used in (I believe) the Queen Street massacre in Melbourne.

      The answer to the question is waffle “or just the firearm falling, maybe”.. “and assisted in opening the mechanism and only partly feeding the next cartridge”

      Yeah, right, enough force to eject the previous shell and then “partly feeding the next cartridge”, gimme a break. Or maybe he’s implying that the falling firearm may have opened the action to the locked and loaded shell that was in the chamber. Sounds like ‘plausible deniability’ from a witness, sometimes referred to as bullshit.

      I don’t suppose the ballistic report on the shotgun included some testing of the shotgun to see if it could function properly with the shortened barrel. Perhaps even a ‘drop test’ (which is usually used to determine if a firearm will FIRE when dropped, not partially operate the action).

      There must be a ballistic report for the firearm that was contained in the brief. I can’t imagine this ‘expert’ just showing up and giving oral evidence.

      • Terry, I just found this at smh.com.au, dated March 31, 2016:

        “On Thursday, [Fiona Ma] told the inquest that she heard a drinking glass smash, followed by Monis leaving the kitchen shouting, “What was that,” and firing a shot.

        “Ms Ma described how she realised she had a chance to escape after hearing a second shot, which she thought was fired at lights in the ceiling.
        “There was another gunshot and I heard, it sounded like it was him reloading the gun and I remembered Jarrod [Morton-Hoffman] telling me earlier that he thought it was a shotgun and he told me you can only fire two shots before you have to reload,” she said.
        “I thought if he is reloading now I can run out now, so I crouched-ran to the main entrance. “I pressed the green button and I ran out.”

        Terry, I think her departure took place at 2.11am; I got that from media and do not vouch for it.
        In some MSM videos we see 6 people escaping at 2.03am (Julie, Harriet, Jarrod, Joel, Puspendhu, Viswa). I defo heard at the Inquest that it was this escape that made Monis run out into the lift lobby and fire his “warning” shot over their heads. (Yet Monis does not appear in the publically available video taken from the ceiling of the foyer in which we see those 6 running out to Martin Place.)
        At some point after that — maybe 2.13am — there was an identification by some official outside, that a shot had occurred, killing Tori. I believe the police stormed in at 2.15, in response to the signal “Hostage down.”

        It is all a mishmash to me about these various gunshots. By the way, the Team Charlie leader said he found the cafe in total darkness as he stormed in.

        • “By the way, the Team Charlie leader said he found the cafe in total darkness as he stormed in.”

          They may have cut the power to the cafe so the police would have an advantage with night vision equipment.

          The forensic team that reviewed the cafe’ would have noted various shots in the wall, floor, etc. and would have put together the most likely scenario of the shots fired and where they hit. At Port Arthur there was a very good analysis of the shot sequences, who was hit and where, bullet frag wounds, etc. I would expect there was also such an analysis of the cafe’.

  2. Mal, in the US it costs 10 cents per page to get transcripts of federal court cases (Go to pacer.gov). Of course that is USD money, maybe worth 16 cent AUD per page.

    But yours cost 100 times that much. Did you recieve the material by post or by email?

      • “The cost of the transcript that provided the above evidence was $144.50 for 9 pages — $16.05 per page, rather expensive!)” – and sent by email!

        A copy of the day’s transcript is provided to the judge, prosecution and the defense attorney’s every day. The transcripts are readily available and could be photocopied very easily, but to pull them up on the computer and send 9 pages by email at $16.05 a page is ridiculous.

        A public inquiry? Hell, why not put the transcripts up on a webpage for the public to access – you know, make the hearings PUBLIC. Not everybody in Oz is going to be able to crowd into the court room everyday, how about some public service by the public service.

  3. Pardon me. The thousands of people who cared enough to buy a bouquet of flowers for Tori and Katrina. Don’t any of them care that the Mal Hugheses of this world have uncovered big new questions about those deaths?

    Doesn’t even one Sydneysider feel disturbed about it?
    Not even one, out of the thousands who were moved to create that memorial?

    • Bob, thank you for the references.
      Note: the person whom Monis is said to have killed was Tori Johnson.
      As far as I heard at the Inquest, the police take the blame for bullet fragments having caused the death of Katrina Dawson.

      At this point I personally think both deaths are unsolved and won’t be solved until aspects of the case are handled in the time-proven way.
      Today at the website of the NSW coroner we find:

      “The Coroner cannot find someone guilty of a crime. If, at any time during the course of an inquest or inquiry, the Coroner forms an opinion that a known person has committed an indictable offence in connection with the death the Coroner is required to suspend the inquest or inquiry and refer the matter to the DPP.” (This is elaborated in Section 78 of the Coroners Act 2009, NSW.)

      Of course we do not know if the Coroner in this case has “formed an opinion” about possible crime (other than crimes that were blatantly committed by Monis).

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