Saturday, September 3, 2011

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.