Sunday, September 4, 2011

19 Oct 2004 - "4 named over APS death - court hears of corruption"

Australian Protective Service whistleblower Gary Lee-Rogers may have died at the hands of four people named in court yesterday by a former NSW police detective who backed his claims of corruption in the service.

In evidence yesterday at a coronial inquest into Mr Lee-Rogers' death at Queanbeyan in 2002, retired detective senior constable Deborah Lee Locke identified four individuals, whose names cannot be published and were not read aloud under court order by coroner Jacqueline Milledge.

Ms Locke also revealed evidence, compiled from internal APS documents, which substantiated Mr Lee-Rogers' whistleblower claims of systemic mismanagement within the APS including the misuse of company credit cards by employees.

She accused the APS of corruption and collusion, tendering to the court the documents, including one from March 2000, which revealed that more than 60 firearms, 30 handcuffs and bomb-suit equipment had mysteriously vanished from the organisation. The audit report showed that 47 revolvers were gone, as well as two rifles, six shotguns, 18 batons, computers and mobile phones.

The missing weapons, as well as claims of mismanagement and workplace harassment, were among allegations Mr Lee- Rogers, a senior officer, was planning to use to expose what he called the "web of lies, corruption and collusion" that existed within his workplace.

Ms Locke said she believed Mr Lee- Rogers had died after months of bullying to shut him up by members of an "old boys club" that existed within the APS and possibly the Australian Federal Police. She did not believe his death was murder but rather manslaughter by several individuals who wanted to "send him a message".

Ms Locke, a 12-year NSW Police Force veteran who worked as a detective with the Kings Cross undercover drug squad and the Fraud section, said that from the medical evidence available she believed he was either punched in the face or smothered with a pillow.

From NSW Community News Network Archive

Saturday, September 3, 2011

2 Mar 2003 - "Did this man know too much?"

Gerard McManus

Sunday Herald Sun,

2 March 2003, pp. 37-38.

Gary Lee-Rogers blew the whistle on alleged corruption within one of Australia’s leading security agencies. It was, he said, a decision that could cost him his life. Friends believe it did.

WHY did Gary Lee-Rogers die? If his family and friends are to be believed, the anti-terrorist training officer was killed after trying to expose corruption and misconduct inside one of Austra- lia’s leading security organisations.

Sources say police believe Lee- Rogers, who was found dead in his Queanbeyan flat, outside Canberra, on October 1 last year, committed suicide with an overdose of insulin.

However, an autopsy that proved inconclusive, revealed a blood-tipped knife was found near Lee-Rogers’ bed. Blood was also found elsewhere in his bedroom and in his kitchen.

The mystery does not end there.

Earlier, in a series of chilling e- mails sent to friends and colleagues, the 45-year-old Australian Protective Services instructor predicted his own death at the hands of those whom he claimed had persecuted him relentlessly.

In one, from May last year, he wrote: “I am in fear of my life and know I will die ‘accidentally’ or ‘by my own hand’ within the next few months.

“Make it known that if I suicide there is someone behind my demise. I am expecting an accident at any time.”

In another e-mail written shortly before his death, he wrote: “You do not have to look outwards for terrorism and its agents; it is already here, look inside before it is too late.”

His landlady is said to have told Lee-Rogers’ estranged partner that she saw him shortly before he was found dead and that he had been so severely bashed he could barely walk.

His friends believe that bashing was carried out by people connected to law enforcement agencies, possibly even by members of the Australian Federal Police.

Australian Protective Services — which guards many of the nation’s most important buildings, including Parliament House, detention centres and international airports — has long had close ties to the AFP and was last year brought under its wing.

Lee-Rogers had also claimed a senior AFP detective, working in the ACT, forced a gun into his mouth and demanded he plead guilty to criminal charges that, he said, had been brought against him in an effort to discredit his claims of corruption.

“I have already had a gun placed in my mouth and you should know it was ... of the ACT police regional fraud squad who did it. Make it known he is a corrupt police officer,” he wrote to a friend.

The officer is still a member of the AFP.

Now, five months after resisting a thorough probe into the circumstances of his death, authorities in Canberra have agreed to a coronial inquest.

THE AFP, which also speaks for APS, declined to discuss the case. “As the matter is before the NSW coroner it would be inappropriate to comment,” a spokeswoman said.

The NSW coroner is involved as Lee-Rogers’ Queanbeyan flat was outside the ACT.

Lee-Rogers’ mother, Aileen Leslight, 80, of Frankston, is demanding justice for her son.

“I definitely believe he was mur- dered,” she said this week. “What happened to Gary was something that should never have been done in this country.”

Mrs Leslight, a retired ballet pianist, said she believed her son was now free of the torment that had plagued the last two years of his life, but would not be at peace until justice was done.

“The biggest thing I’ve got to do now is to forgive them,” she said. “But I’ve got to find out first what they did so that I can forgive.”

The authorities’ treatment of Lee- Rogers’ family has also been criticised. Mrs Leslight and Lee-Rogers’ former partner, Kathleen Mills, who have been demanding a full-scale investigation since his death, only heard about the decision to hold a coronial inquest from the Sunday Herald Sun.

“You’d think they would at least pay us the courtesy of telling us, but no,” Ms Mills said. “It is very strange, but it has been strange from the beginning.”

As of Friday, there was still no official phone call or letter to inform Lee-Rogers’ next-of-kin of the inquest.

Ms Mills said she had occasionally doubted her former partner when he described how he was being perse- cuted by sections of the APS and then the police. Those doubts were dis- pelled by his death.

“All I want to know is what hap- pened to Gary,” Ms Mills said. “But in my heart now, I do not believe it was suicide.”

She said that, while she was estranged from Lee-Rogers in his last year, they were still engaged in phone- text tiffs right up until his last days.

“That’s one reason why I believe he didn’t commit suicide,” she said. “We were still arguing — that’s how I know he was OK.

“But he also said in those messages that he was going to ‘beat those bastards’.”

Events surrounding Lee-Rogers’ fall from grace as a highly regarded senior instructor with the APS make for puzzling reading, but the circum- stances of his death are even more disturbing.

He was one of the most qualified instructors in the APS. Before joining the organisation he worked for many years as a paramedic.

He was later to join search and rescue teams, and underwent security training in the US.

He was also qualified in scuba diving, flying and parachuting.

But in 1999, his career collapsed when he warned his superiors about problems within APS.

These ranged from small-scale racketeering, the promotion of badly trained or unprepared officers, and misappropriation of government funding.

More disturbingly, Lee-Rogers believed there were serious short- comings in security at facilities such as Sydney Airport and “other sensitive establishments.”

His warnings were made long before the terrorist attacks in New York and Bali.

Instead of acting on his warnings, the organisation is alleged by his

amily to have turned on him, leading to a 2 1/2-year ordeal that culminated in his death.

The names of members of the APS alleged to have committed fraud, as well as AFP officers who allegedly threatened Lee-Rogers, are recorded in his e-mails which have been obtained by the Sunday Herald Sun. The offi- cers still hold senior positions.

Lee-Rogers registered official complaints about the alleged harass- ment that followed his allegations, including being relegated to storeroom duties, and, Ms Mills said, he was eventually suspended without pay.

“From that moment on (when he first made a complaint) everything went wrong,” she said. “Gary’s life was gradually taken apart, bit by bit.”

The alleged campaign of harass- ment reached a peak on April 12, 2000, when the AFP charged Lee- Rogers with criminal offences relating to alleged false salary and overtime claims, and the theft of a first- aid kit.

He strenuously denied the charges, claiming they were fabricated as punishment for him trying to expose corrupt officers.

Without an income and unable to find work, Lee-Rogers gathered 26 witnesses to support his case. He also sought the support of Whistleblowers Australia, a voluntary organisation that campaigns against corruption.

BUT, according to another friend, Christina Schwerin of Morwell, the more determination Lee-Rogers showed in wanting to fight the charges, the more vicious the persecution became.

Lee-Rogers did not have the chance to clear his name — he died 38 days before his trial was to begin.

Ms Schwerin is convinced police officers were involved in his downfall. “You don’t expect police to be doing this sort of thing,” she said. “It’s like a public execution,” she said. “Gary wasn’t worried about the charges because he knew he would beat them.”

According to the e-mails he sent to friends, the alleged persecution by colleagues and police included house break-ins, as well as physical and verbal threats.

The character assassination is said to have reached extreme levels, with Lee-Rogers complaining one of hispersecutors signed him up to more than 400 internet pornography sites without his knowledge.

His passport was confiscated and his mother said this week he was not allowed to leave Canberra to visit her in Melbourne.

According to his e-mails, the persecution also involved “get well” cards sent to him with the message: “Hurry up and die.”

In other e-mails, he alleged that on several occasions an AFP policeman drove by his flat and drew his hand across his neck as if slitting his throat.

On another occasion, the officer was said to have stretched out his hand in the shape of a gun.

“He did this as though he was shooting me,” Lee-Rogers wrote.

Despite his accusations that people were out to kill him, authorities insisted at the time of his death that there was no evidence to suggest foul play.

Unofficially, police are said to be sticking to the theory that Lee-Rogers committed suicide with an overdose of insulin, which would not necessarily show up in a post-mortem examination.

The mystery surrounding his death increased with the release of an autopsy report written by Melbourne forensic specialist Michael Burke.

In it, Mr Burke wrote: “There is no evidence to suggest any other persons were involved in the death.”

Yet he went on to make an inconclusive finding, declaring the cause of death was “unascertained.”

However, Whistleblowers Austra- lia president Dr Jean Lennane, a trained physician, criticised the autopsy.

“There were several omissions, and no one appeared to have looked at his medical records,” she said. “The suggestion is that he died of an insulin overdose, but there is no mention of a syringe.”

Whistleblowers Australia also points out the report did not mention any markings from the alleged bashing, and there was no mention of scars left by an operation to remove a brain tumour in the late-1990s.

Mr Burke, who is a senior forensic pathologist at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine, declined to discuss the criticisms of his autopsy.

“Given that there is a coronial inquest, I think it would be inappropri- ate to comment,” he said.

ACCORDING to his report, Lee- Rogers was lying in his bed “in the fetal position holding a prescription of Prednisolone” — a powerful anti- inflammatory agent.

The only item of clothing men- tioned was a green tie, leading to suggestions he was naked.

However, the person who eventually found Lee-Rogers, a close family friend and former paramedic col- league, said he was wearing a T-shirt and jeans. Around his neck was also a number of medallions, including a Green Berets badge, a St Christopher’s medal, and one showing the image of a wolf.

Mrs Leslight’s suspicions were further raised when the medals were returned to her with apologies for the fact bloodstains had not been removed.

Mrs Leslight is also unhappy with a reference made by the pathologist that Lee-Rogers “had a history of alcohol- ism and depression.” She rejects this and wants it withdrawn. “He was ostracised earlier in his life because he didn’t drink,” she said. “He was definitely not an alcoholic.”

Ms Mills said she had known him to drink during only two periods in their relationship — when he was diagnosed with the brain tumour and again during the alleged persecution by police. “It is simply wrong to claim he had a history of alcoholism,” she said.

Nobody knows for certain the exact day Lee-Rogers died. His mother became concerned in late September after repeated attempts to contact him failed. On her request, Ms Mills went to the flat on Saturday, September 28, Grand Final day. “His mother rang me to tell me she had this feeling that Gary was dead,” Ms Mills said. “I went around there on the Satur- day afternoon and bashed on the door, but there was no answer. “He was found on the following Tuesday (October 1). “Now I know he was probably already dead inside.”

She and Lee-Rogers had lived together for almost six years, but their relationship could not survive the pressure imposed upon it by the alleged campaign of persecution, she said. Whether the people behind that campaign were also responsible for his death remains a matter of conjecture — for now.

2 Mar 2003 - "My son murdered over cover-up, says mum"

By GERARD McMANUS in Canberra 02 mar 03, The Herald Sun

A SENIOR government security officer was murdered because he threatened to expose corruption and misconduct in Australia's police and security agencies, his family claims.

Gary Lee-Rogers, an instructor with the Australian Protection Service, was found dead in his Queanbeyan flat, outside Canberra, on October 1 last year after telling friends his life was at risk.
A pathology report said the cause of his death was "unascertainable".

His family claims the anti-terrorist training officer had been trying to expose what he claimed was corruption and misconduct inside one of the country's most important security organisations, Australian Protective Services.

They also say he was hounded and persecuted first by the APS and then by members of the Australian Federal Police. The two organisations have since been amalgamated.

Mr Lee-Rogers' mother, Aileen Leslight, 80, of Frankston, said she had no doubt about the manner of her son's death.

"I definitely believe he was murdered," she said. "What happened to Gary was something that should never have been done in this country.

"They're trying to say it was suicide, but I won't have that, not after what they put him through."

Mr Lee-Rogers' former partner, Kathleen Mills, also believes there are many serious question marks over his death, and in the harassment from authorities.

"All I want to know is what happened to Gary," Ms Mills said. "But in my heart now, I do not believe it was suicide."

The Sunday Herald Sun has obtained documents that show Mr Lee-Rogers made efforts to report corruption and serious fraud inside the APS in 1999.

The APS is the federal specialist protective security provider. Its duties include protection of senior Australian officials and foreign embassy staff and visiting dignitaries.

Mr Lee-Rogers had letters, e-mails and affidavits showing he believed he was being victimised over the corruption report.

He believed charges brought against him of doctoring his pay slips and stealing a first-aid kit were a result of the corruption report. He strenuously denied the charges, but died 38 days before his trial.

During a 2 1/2-year bid to clear his name, Mr Lee-Rogers also received multiple death threats, had his home broken into and was severely bashed, his letters and e-mails show.

Letters to politicians, including to Attorney-General Daryl Williams, as well as frantic e-mails to friends, failed to protect Mr Lee-Rogers.

"I am in fear of my life and know I will die `accidentally' or `by my own hand', he wrote in one e-mail.

"I am at the end of my rope and I am sure that they will either kill me or make it so that I am ruined. I am in a world of pain and Fedpol (Australian Federal Police) are monitoring all e-mails and phone calls."

Five months after his death, Queanbeyan Coroner Peter Leonarduzzi has decided to hold an inquest into Mr Lee-Rogers' death. It has been set for early next month.

17 Apr 2005 - "New clue may save Schapelle"

Sunday Telegraph article re Gary Lee Rogers HERE

Friday, September 2, 2011

2 Sept 2011 - The Blak & Black blog talks about Gary Lee Rogers


3 Sept 2011 - Sydney Morning Herald Facebook Comment

Click on the image to enlarge & read.

Aug 2005 - Is this the last word on who or what killed Gary Lee Rogers?

Is this the last word on who or what killed Gary Lee-Rogers?

Jean Lennane President, Whistleblowers Australia Link here

I very much doubt it. Within days of the completion of Gary’s inquest on 20 and 21 April this year, where Senior Deputy State Coroner Jacqueline Milledge had severely criticised Gary as not being a genuine whistleblower, and Whistleblowers Australia (WBA) for informing Schapelle Corby’s legal team about the case, the issue of drug- running and other serious security failings at Sydney Airport blew wide open. Who would now believe there was no substance to Gary’s original complaints? And nothing serious enough to put his life at risk?

What I had informed the Corby legal team about was the anonymous phone call Gary received before his death, telling him that he “had tripped over evidence of drug importation through Sydney Airport, involving the old Commonwealth Police network. The caller named x and y” [both fairly senior members of the then Australian Protective Service (APS)]. I had also told them I thought it likely that such issues, and the potential for embarrassment to the re-merged APS/AFP (Australian Federal Police), could help to explain AFP head Mick Keelty’s apparent hostility and unhelpfulness to the Corby team and case.

Now ex-AFP officers and others are coming out with what they know on the airport drug issues. (Could one of them have been Gary’s anonymous phone-caller, whose very existence was pooh-poohed by the court?) I am hopeful it’s only a matter of time before we start hearing from people who know what really happened to Gary — something the inquest, as is not unusual in our failing system, didn’t manage to find out.

From the first week of the inquest I have been convinced, by the attitudes and behaviour of many of those involved, that what happened is known to some. This doesn’t prove he was deliberately murdered — he was so ill it wouldn’t have taken much to kill him — but in the words of forensic pathologist Dr Duflou, “Something has happened before death, in my view, in that apartment.”

Brief history of the case (for more details refer to reports in the Whistle, January and July 2004) In September 1999, APS officer Gary Lee-Rogers made a report on security failings at Sydney Airport. He also reported problems with missing equipment, and other alleged misconduct in the APS. Within a few weeks his career was over; he had been (illegally, as it turns out) suspended without pay, and charged with a number of criminal offences — charges which over the next two years had to be progressively reduced owing to lack of evidence. The only one remaining for his trial which was to have been on 4 November 2002 was that of allegedly forging his supervisor’s signature on overtime sheets to obtain moneys he was not entitled to.

A witness who supported Gary’s claim that his supervisor had given him an electronic signature to use would have made that charge also difficult to sustain; and there would have been grave fears within the APS that if Gary continued to insist on pleading not guilty, and mounted an aggressive defence, his original complaints would become public, with enormous embarrassment for the APS, which was in the process of re-merging with the AFP, presumably to negate any such exposure by being able to claim the restructure would have fixed any problems.

After two and a half years of typical whistleblower torment and persecution, Gary’s physical and mental health had broken down, and he spent several weeks of the last few months of his life in hospital, mostly because of Mark Latham’s complaint — recurrent pancreatitis. His final discharge from Queanbeyan Hospital was on 21 September 2002. He was last known to be seen alive on 26 September, also the last day he made or answered any phone-calls. His body was found on 1 October, having been dead 2-4 days.

The Coroner’s finding

The inquest finished on 21 April 2005 with the finding by Coroner Milledge that “Gary Lee-Rogers died between 26 October [sic] 2002 and 30 October [sic] 2002 at unit 1/5 Charles St, Queanbeyan, NSW. The cause of death is natural of an unknown aetiology.”

In my opinion, this is a truly extraordinary finding. While there were indeed a number of possible causes of natural death (albeit from illness exacerbated by the stress of his two and a half years of persecution as a whistleblower), homicide was certainly not excluded, given the many strange and unexplained happenings, appearances of the death scene, and the hopelessly inadequate police investigation. And how can you make a definite finding of any cause when the cause of death isn’t known?

Even the date of his death isn’t known. He was last seen alive on 26 September, (unless he was murdered later) and didn’t make or answer any phone calls after that — unusual for him if he’d been conscious and functioning. However there were at least three possible known causes of prolonged coma, as well as other possibilities that the perfunctory autopsy could easily have missed.

An item of evidence referred to by the Coroner in her introduction, but not mentioned or accounted for in the decision, was that “I was also troubled to read the statement of Emma Kate Richardson where she refers to a verbal altercation at the flats that may have involved Mr Lee-Rogers on 28 September 2002”. Ms Richardson attempted to give this statement to police in their initial door-knock when Gary’s body was found on 1 October, but it was ignored by the officers who called at her flat and only came to light when a different officer visited some days later. Even then there was no attempt to see if she could pick Gary from a photo line-up, or his alleged assailant, AFP agent Anthony Maguire.

The “also” in the Coroner’s statement refers to “Among the many deficiencies in the police brief I was particularly concerned with the inadequacy of the investigation into the Federal Police Officer’s movements on the night he allegedly assaulted the deceased.” Coroner Milledge was formerly a NSW police officer, so presumably has some expertise in police investigation. However the quoted statements, which would seem to conflict with her decision, are typical of many such throughout the preamble.

She seemed often to want to have a bob each way, praising Gary and Whistleblowers Australia, for example, as great people one minute, and vilifying them as manipulative bullies the next. No such each-way bets with her legal team, though — “Mr Shevlin and Mr Saidi I would trust my life to those men, absolutely.” Which doesn’t do much for the idea of decisions based on objective assessment and analysis of the evidence.

APS/AFP problems

The inquest, through the Coroner, gave WBA unprecedented access to internal APS files in this case. A couple of highly relevant files had mysteriously gone missing, and the first 8-9 pages were missing from several others as shown by the remaining pages having been renumbered. (Counsel representing the AFP explained this by saying it is not unusual for the AFP to have missing pages and renumbered files!) However there was a lot of most valuable, and potentially highly embarrassing, information still there. The files were contained in two large satchels, the volume of which would have prevented most people from ploughing through them all. However they had failed to allow for the presence of ex-fraud squad whistle- blower detective Debbie Locke, who was prepared to spend many hours studying them in detail, and even transcribing crucial items in longhand, as she was — rather strangely — not permitted to photocopy them.

Some very revealing memos and emails detailed Gary’s persecution by the APS. Crucially, an audit had been conducted because of complaints “by a disgruntled employee” — unnamed, but presumably Gary. The audit showed over $300,000 worth of equipment missing, including over 50 firearms, which have never been found. (Is arms-smuggling going on through our airports too?). It also showed that a recently-ex-APS senior officer had been paid over $300,000 to recruit 20 APS officers for Sydney Airport. The contract had not been advertised or put out to tender in any way; and as the audit stated, the cost was some ten times what would have been expected. There was no evidence of any action having been taken to correct this or recover the money, let alone to discover whether those awarding the contract had shared in the largesse.

It is hardly surprising that no-one on the bar-table seemed interested in getting this information out into the open, so it was left to whistleblower Debbie Locke to do it in her evidence. This was not a popular move; and possibly contributed to the Coroner’s decision to put a permanent suppression order on WBA’s submission that covered some of it.

Who were the bullies?

According to the Coroner, it was WBA, whose “inclusion made this inquest almost unbearable in many respects” in part because “both Lennane and Locke treated those decent, hardworking and committed men [her legal team, Shevlin and Saidi — S/S] like the enemy. They continually questioned their impartiality in dealing with issues at Inquest. They used all the tactics they accuse others of employing when wishing to demean and discredit a whistleblower.”

Indeed, as the only volunteer parties at the bar-table of eight taxpayer-funded lawyers, Debbie and I seem to have had a remarkable impact. Because we were abusive and unpleasant to them and the Coroner? Everything we said in her presence is on transcript; and after the first week Shevlin and Saidi refused to speak to us off the record, even to answer the simplest housekeeping questions, apart from a couple of occasions when they pounced on us, loudly verbal, for some alleged misdeed. And the friendly, bantering end-of-day chat outside the courtroom on 22 April last year that we had thought could mend some bridges turned into a serious accusation of “Whistleblowers allegedly recording conversations” as police report I 21233465 states.

Why S/S should have got so excited and alarmed about the possible recording of what they were saying, e.g. that Saidi wanted to be played by Sean Connery in the movie of Debbie Locke’s proposed book about the case, with Sharon Stone as the Coroner, isn’t clear. Could they have been worried about throwaway remarks about Gary being a “liar” and “wanker” coming from the supposedly neutral Crown Solicitor’s office? Or Saidi mentioning to Debbie Locke that he could be the one signing her husband’s cheque (in his compo case against the NSW Police)? Unfortunately, we weren’t in fact recording it. This didn’t stop the Coroner stating that, among our other crimes, “They secretly taped meetings between Whistleblowers and my legal team.”

The follow-up to that incident was also mentioned critically by the Coroner, where “ is alleged Saidi and Shevlin were hiding behind a tree making notes about Ms Locke and Dr Lennane. I visited the courtyard and could not find a tree let alone one capable of hiding two substantial figures.” There was no attempt to check the whereabouts of the tree with us before making that statement. When we went afterwards to check for ourselves, where we remembered seeing them emerge from behind the ‘tree’ (actually a 2.5m high, dense, wide shrub) as we were doing our usual end-of-day filming session with independent filmmaker Steve Ramsey a year before, we found the ‘tree’ had gone (!) and only a recently-cut stump remained. No doubt Mr Saidi had forgotten its existence, or surely he would not have allowed the Coroner to be misled by its absence into thinking it was never there. No doubt it was also pure coincidence that the ‘tree’ had been cut down before the hearing occurred, but no wonder whistleblowers get ‘paranoid’. (Photos of the ‘tree’, with S/S emerging from behind it, and the stump, are available on Debbie Locke’s website,

The outrageous Whistle But it seems it’s not only whistleblowers who get paranoid. The subject that took up a large part of the 28 pages of transcript from a special extra hearing called at short notice on 31 August last year, was my previous reports on the case in The Whistle. And whereas on S/S the Coroner says “I’ve got nothing but good things to say about them as far as their ethical position is with regards to any inquest and dealing with any members of the public or any group. I’ve never had any complaints before. And, as I say, I trust them with my life. But if Dr Lennane wants to continue to write letters and chip away at things and publish things that [sic] untrue well she can brace herself because I’ve had enough of it. You know, in the old days you’d say you’d read the riot act to somebody, we’ll let Whistleblowers know that the riot act is being read to them because I will not tolerate it again.” And there are many, many more pages in similar vein or worse. “And I can tell you this, Miss Locke, and you can tell Dr Lennane this, she is on the edge of me considering whether I should be taking some action against her. I am tired of all the smears. I am tired of the intimidation. I am tired of all the obstacles she is putting in our way to try and do a good job.”

“You know, Dr Lennane is the first one to throw brickbats at people and complain about people, but her conduct is shabby, absolutely shabby. And if she is the public face of Whistleblowers well you want to rethink your position because she is doing Whistleblowers no good service.”

Serendipitously I was out of town and unable to get to the hearing, much apparently to some people’s disappointment. However it was clear that an undertaking had to be given on behalf of WBA not to publish any more outrageous reports in T h e Whistle, or the Coroner would remove our privileged status of being allowed to examine witnesses — the reason there was no report after the hearing last October. This was also because, as seemed to be the Coroner’s pattern, she “read the riot act” to us at regular intervals, (was this just to keep the boys happy?) then did what they didn’t want; in this case made us formally a party to the proceedings. Unfortunately that pattern seemed to have stopped when she made her final decision.

One could interpret her behaviour as indeed being that of a victim of bullying. But by WBA, who had no direct access to her, or by her legal team, who did? And who deeply resented WBA’s presence and our insistence on including evidence they didn’t want to hear? “I was committed to embrace Whistleblowers Australia at Inquest and allow them the opportunity to inspect documents and examine witnesses. Counsel assisting and his instructing solicitor advised me against it...”

So what were the heinously outrageous statements in those Whistle reports which had this extraordinary effect? “The first newsletter that I read, I think I told you this, I got so angry I was shaking. And I don’t get angry very much. I’ve got to tell you. I don’t get angry very often at all. But I was livid, absolutely. Just to think that the hard work that’s gone into this inquest and to be treated like that is just appalling, absolutely appalling.”

Unfortunately space prevents reprinting the reports in full. However one such item was the opening sentence of my report on the second week. “The inquest resumed on Monday 19th April 2004, and closed at lunchtime on Friday 23rd.” This to me was simply a statement of fact, but got the remarkable, repeated response: “But it’s just the attitude, it’s the approach. And it’s the publications, the constant publications with the criticism. I must say that was terribly hurtful what she said ‘Oh, and it was all finished at lunchtime on Friday.’ No recognition that we’re working hard. You know, just slurs all the time. I believe that things should be published but I’ve got to tell you I am thinking at this moment of putting a non-publication order on any of the evidence that’s in this.” “But stupid things like, you know, ‘finishes at lunchtime on Friday’ as though we’re doing nothing. You know, oh here they go, they’ve swanned down to Queanbeyan, they’ve done a week, they’ve done almost a week’s work but they’ve had to leave early on the Friday.”

The last sentence of the first report also caused some offence. “With Gary’s inquest half over, many, many unanswered questions remain. Most may never be answered. The Coroner seems to be trying to do a good job. We need to work on those advising her to get them to give her both sides of the story.” It seems it was this that she interpreted as meaning she was simply a puppet in their hands, rather than what it really meant, that decisions, like computers, are only as good as the information supplied.

With my psychiatrist’s paranoia, I have to wonder whether such extreme — and on the fact of it unwarranted — reactions mean I must have hit a nerve I didn’t know was there. Judge for yourselves.

Another item in The Whistle reports that caused offence, not only to the Coroner, but also the NSW Police legal team, was about detective John Moore’s promotion. It reads: “Police investigation. This was allocated to a junior officer in Queanbeyan, Detective Senior Constable John Moore. WBA expressed concern to a NSW Police Assistant Commissioner about this at the time, pointing out that it put Moore in an impossible position, as there was a question of homicide by an AFP officer. ... Moore’s junior status has since been remedied by his promotion to sergeant — hardly adequate; many whistleblowers might have their own interpretation of a promotion in such circumstances.”

They took offence at what they took to be an implication that Moore’s promotion was “corrupt”; and were at pains to show that it was already in train long before our objection.

Not wanting to make things worse at the time, when we were under so much attack already, I refrained from explaining what I had really thought most whistleblowers’ interpretation might be — that an officer who had saved his own and a fellow service potential embarrassment by failing to find anything in his investigation, was being suitably rewarded. Certainly, despite NSW Police DI Bailey’s and the Coroner’s extensive (and well- justified) criticism of his investigation, Moore’s career seems to have prospered — at the time the inquest finished he was an Acting Inspector.

Presumably he’s learned from Gary’s case not to put crucial items of evidence in the lost property section (Gary’s mobile phone, with its evidence of threats made to him, and by whom) and — one hopes — not to leave them, without examining them, for 4-5 months until they are destroyed. And for all we know he has other talents that amply justify his continued promotion.

I accept that Moore’s promotion to sergeant was already under way before we raised our objection, i.e. it was not done “corruptly.” However any whistleblower would wonder what chance Moore would have had of the promotion proceeding if he’d found evidence incriminating police and had insisted on proceeding with it.

What they didn’t want

1. There would not have been an inquest into Gary’s death without WBA’s and media intervention. Local Coroner Lenarduzzi indicated he did not intend to hold one, although Gary had been telling WBA and others for a year before his death that his life was being threatened, and had said that if he were found dead it would not be suicide. The autopsy, done in Canberra by a visiting pathologist from Melbourne, in our opinion nowhere near thoroughly enough for such a case, and which according to normal guidelines for a suspicious death should have been done at the expert forensic centre in Glebe, failed to find the cause of death.

2. Without WBA’s intervention, witnesses called for the inquest would not have included anyone with a favourable opinion of Gary. “Character assassins” called to give evidence included men who’d been rivals for some woman’s affections ten or more years before. His mother however would not have been called. She is in her eighties, and too physically frail to make the journey from Melbourne to Queanbeyan, but was repeatedly misrepresented at the bar table as not wanting to give evidence. Then when she made her wish to give evidence clear by writing directly to the coroner, there were claims that she was mentally impaired following a stroke. An important item of her evidence, given by phone link-up in the last week of the inquest, unshaken in cross-examination, but not mentioned by counsel assisting the coroner in his final submission, or the Coroner’s decision, was that she had spoken to a male officer at Queanbeyan police station who identified himself as “John Moore” in June 2002, three months before Gary’s death, who said there was indeed a contract on Gary’s life, and they knew who it was, “someone in Sydney.” John Moore, the officer in charge of the NSW police investigation into Gary’s death, denied any prior knowledge of Gary, although Gary had been reporting to Queanbeyan police station twice a week for two years as a condition of his bail.

3. This piece can only scratch the surface of the nearly 2 cubic metres of documents produced so far in this case. Our 39-page submission to the inquest has a lot more detail, but at the insistence of various other members of the bar-table, has been suppressed, together with the two submissions written by them in reply, because “Their unsubstantiated allegations, their wild accusations that they have presented to me in the submission are not in anyone’s interest.” This criticism could hardly be sustained if anyone with an open mind were allowed to read it; but as the suppression order stands, they can’t. Quite a neat trick when you think about it, accusing us of writing something so bad that no-one can be allowed to read it to see if the accusation is true.

So for more details you’ll have to wait for Debbie’s book — Gary Lee- Rogers is dead — and the film.

Note: All quotations in italics are taken directly from the court tran- scripts. Precise references available on request.