My two previous posts have been about the Roseanne Beckett case about which I have been reporting since 2000. I've also recently published two stories in New Matilda: here and here.
As I wrote in my piece today, there is a problem with seeing the case through the prism of the charges laid against Roseanne. The complicated Crown case is in tatters. It's time to look at what the trial judge Jane Matthews referred to as the potential "terrible conspiracy" against her. It's time to shine a spotlight on the Crown.
Before you read these questions, read my story Victim of a terrible conspiracy.
Here's some of the questions which the Crown and Police need to answer.
Who is going to hold those responsible for convicting and then covering-up responsible? citizens and the media
Questions for the Crown:
Peter Thomas committed perjury in a serious criminal case that was happening at the same time as the Roseanne Beckett (Catt) matter. In 1993, Crown Prosecutor Nic Harrison alerted the most senior NSW Crown Prosecutor to the existence of a tape that showed Peter Thomas and another detective had misled a court in a case in which Christa Van de Meuwe and Ramon Bracamonte were falsely accused of conspiring to plant a bomb. Why was Peter Thomas not charged with perjury in this case? What advice did the NSW DPP give police about this matter? Did the Senior Crown Prosecutor Lloyd QC alert other Crown prosecutors who were relying on the evidence of Peter Thomas in the Catt matter and other cases to this evidence? If not why not? This information was available as fresh evidence by the time of the Roseanne Catt appeal, was it shared with the Defence or the Court? If not, Why not?
Barry Catt's children gave evidence that they had been present when police were watching pornograhic movies in Taree in the 1980s. Patrick Power was involved in negotiations with the two chidlren who withdrew their allegations shortly before Roseanne Catt's appeal. Child pornography and sexual abuses were significant issues in the case. After Patrick Power, Crown Prosecutor in the Roseanne Catt case, pleaded guilty to possession of a large amount of child pornography in 2007, what steps did the DPP take to investigate whether his involvement in child pornography could have affected his conduct of, and attitudes towards the trial of Roseanne Catt (now Beckett),during which Power was criticised by defence lawyers for being unfair and intimidating witnesses?
The then Attorney General Bob Debus forwarded a NSW Victims Compensation Board (VCB)file to the NSW Police for further investigation into allegations that a fraudulent claim had been made by Barry Catt who received $89,000. Did the NSW Police consult with the NSW DPP after receiving this referral? Once the NSW DPP became aware of the contents of this file, what action did lawyers representing the Crown take regarding inconsistencies between the VCB statements and previous evidence in the case? Do the Crown lawyers ever consider how the alleged fraudulent claim added weight to Roseanne Beckett's allegations that she had been framed?
Questions for the Police
At the time when Peter Thomas, lead detective in the case, resigned from the NSW Police force in 1991, senior police were aware that Peter Thomas had been found to have intimidated and threatened witnesses in the case. What steps were taken to warn the Crown against further relying on the evidence of Thomas in the case? Why did the police continue to actively present Peter Thomas as a credible witness during his appearance at the Davidson Inquiry.
From 1990, senior police were aware that allegations had been made that potential witnesses had been interviewed in a deserted house where one witness said Thomas's partner Carl Paget had a gun. A number of witnesses had made it very clear that they were fearful of Thomas and Barry Catt. As intimidation of witnesses is a serious offence, what investigations were carried out into these offences?
After police became aware in 1990, that allegations had been made that Barry Catt had been involved in showing pornographic films when children and police were present, what further actions did police take at the time to establish if there was ongoing activity of this kind?
In 2000, senior officers informed senior police and the Minister for Police that they had reviewed the case and that they considered that Roseanne Beckett (then Catt) may have been framed and could seek compensation. What action did you take following that warning? Did you communicate that advice to the NSW DPP? If not. why not?
Justice Davidson referred scores of phone calls between Crown witnesses during this inquiry to the then Police Commissioner Ken Maroney for consideration for proceedings against some of the Crown witnesses. Given then there was already ample evidence of the tendency of the ex-policeman Peter Thomas to intimidate witnesses or induce them to give false evidence, what actions were taken to further investigate this matter?
In 2007, a Crown witness Tracy Taylor swore a statutory statement that she had given false evidence at Roseanne's trial after being intimidated by two detectives. The NSW Attorney General referred this statement to the Police. What steps did police take to investigate the allegations? Did police interview her to establish the identify of these detectives? Did you investigate whether Thomas was present in North Queensland at the time when she alleged she was intimidated? Did you interview her sister who she believed also gave false evidence. Did you reinterview any other Crown witnesses who had given evidence at the 2004 inquiry into the case to see whether they were also intimidated?