The Currency Lad: RC Threatens To Prosecute Furnished Room

Theatre of accountability at its finest today with Lawyer X Royal Commissioner Margaret McMurdo warning Victoria Police it could be charged with a criminal offence for refusing to produce evidence. The whole point of a royal commission, of course, is that its extraordinary powers make all relevant witnesses quake in fear at what may befall them if they persist in any kind of recalcitrancy or legerdemain. If, in other words, they get cute. But some people aren’t so easily frightened; some people truly are above the law.

Victoria Police could be charged with a criminal offence after admitting on Tuesday it had not given the Lawyer X royal commission more than 1000 documents about a former drug squad detective once charged over a double murder.

The documents relate to notorious ex-detective Paul Dale, who was about to questioned for the fourth day by the inquiry into the police’s use of informers, and should have been tendered to a commission supposed to shed light on one of the Victoria Police’s darkest chapters.

For VicPol, Justin Hannebery QC told the Commission that material relating to Dale was voluminous and his client had decided that much of it was – for all intents and purposes – none of Justice McMurdo’s business. Not surprisingly, this didn’t please the commissioner:

“Can I suggest to you and those instructing you, remind your clients [Victoria Police] that this notice to produce, and their obligations under it, which are ongoing, that it is an offence not to comply with it and an agency of the crown, under the inquiries act, can be charged,” Ms McMurdo said.

But just when you think police officers might be held to the same strict standards as you and me or that they might be perp-walked in cuffs for criminal contempt or perverting the course of justice …

Under the state’s Inquiries Act, failing to produce documents without a reasonable excuse or refusal to comply can carry a maximum two years in jail.

The royal commission said if a charge was laid, it would go to Victoria Police as the “state agency” and would be served on the Chief Commissioner’s office, but Commissioner Graham Ashton would not be personally charged.

Imagine how much more cooperative VicPol would be if the notice to produce was a buck that stopped at the commissioner’s own desk.

As things stand, however, at law it seems that regardless of what happens on his watch, Archbishop Ashton is untouchable.

UPDATE: D’oh. Did I write “Archbishop Ashton”? I meant Commissioner Ashton.

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11 Responses to The Currency Lad: RC Threatens To Prosecute Furnished Room

  1. stackja

    “Archbishop Ashton”

    would be in trouble but not the commish.

  2. Dr Fred Lenin

    Doesnt the buck stop at the. Chiefs desk? If an army is defeated its usually the general that carries the can ,cant see why a paramilitary unit is different. Perhaps they are busy concocting “evidence “ against the Pell appeal ,gotta save face you know ,cant have the cops ,DPP and trial judge exposed ,can we?

  3. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    The royal commission said if a charge was laid, it would go to Victoria Police as the “state agency” and would be served on the Chief Commissioner’s office, but Commissioner Graham Ashton would not be personally charged.

    Can we investigate using Go Fund Me to bankroll research of the legal avenues available here, and if necessary, private prosecution and civil suits?

    After all, barratry and champerty & maintenance are no longer illegal…

    We can get Izzy Folau as the front and hype man.

  4. Old Lefty

    And I understand that the High Court has ruled that acts of attainder are invalid in Australia. Nonetheless, Comrade Andrews has his AGs department working in bills to keep Gobbo’s clients in gaol even if the appeal courts free them. I expect they will try to slip one in for Pell while the are at it.

  5. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    And I understand that the High Court has ruled that acts of attainder are invalid in Australia.

    I’m not sure that they are. Read Duncan v NSW.

    If it’s not a “law” then…Parliament and the executive can do as they please.

    It goes down to what a “law” is under the lawmaking power of each State constitution. It is also recognised that the States do have very wide-ranging powers, even ones that seem contrary to the rule of law. The High Court ruled it did have the power to strike down obscene laws (BLF case), but it then declared that the Imperial Parliament intended for those powers to create these laws to actually exist…

    Yes, eek. The power they have is ridiculous, enormous and contemptible.

  6. Rob MW

    The royal commission said if a charge was laid, it would go to Victoria Police as the “state agency” and would be served on the Chief Commissioner’s office, but Commissioner Graham Ashton would not be personally charged.

    So they are going to put a piece of paper in jail ? Lock em’ all up and save the trees !

  7. rickw

    Vik Pol

    The trustworthy clowns given 600 assault rifles by the state.

  8. jupes

    Under the state’s Inquiries Act, failing to produce documents without a reasonable excuse or refusal to comply can carry a maximum two years in jail.

    The royal commission said if a charge was laid, it would go to Victoria Police as the “state agency” and would be served on the Chief Commissioner’s office, but Commissioner Graham Ashton would not be personally charged.

    Obvious question: So who gets to spend two years in the slot?

    No one? Well what is the point of this stupid law?

  9. nfw

    Police above the law? Come on. Next you will be saying off duty police are not fined for speeding, illegal parking and the like. It’s almost the same as thinking Their ALPBC journalists (they are certainly NOT reporters) are not above the law.

  10. Bruce

    Lewis Carroll would have had a field day with this rock-show.

    For those not familiar with his work:

    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43909/the-hunting-of-the-snark

    Concert version:

  11. Cynic of Ayr

    And this is why governments create Quangos, to remove the “hands on” component.
    Consider if the RC wanted documents from, say, the Queensland Harbor Board, (insert another thousand or so similar) and they refused?
    “The Board” is a Government entity. It’s not a group of people.
    Business Boards are similar, but government have created laws that circumvent this, saying “People” are responsible for their actions whilst on a Company Board.
    Not so Government Boards. They are not “Business” as such. However, they are regardsd as “Business” when some pesky tax payer wants to know something about it, it then it becomes “commercial in confidence.”
    Government pass thousands of pages of legislation every year. It is inevitable that most of it interacts with past legislation, but no one knows just what that interaction is, until someone stumbles across it, as has the RC right now.
    Obviously, the RC thought she could sue a person, as per the law, not realising there was another law which said she couldn’t.

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