Profile 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’ 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