HOW THE LAW IS APPLIED WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR?

HOW THE LAW IS APPLIED WITHOUT FEAR OR FAVOUR?

Although this man appears severely drug-affected, nevertheless, he has become a victim, and this victim deserves the protection of the law without judgment. He was ushered onto the road allegedly by the staff of the North Richmond Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR).

Police, however, seemingly have new investigative techniques.

There is apparently no need to interview witnesses or make decisions based on the facts; in other words, there is no need to conduct an investigation, as it was traditionally called, and they can make arbitrary decisions based on nothing much.

A sceptic may speculate that the investigation was knobbled or that the Police want to avoid any complex work.

But perhaps what the victim is, had a significant bearing.

Maybe the basic police philosophy of executing the law without fear or favour is obsolete.

Perhaps because the Victim is a very heavy drug user, it is not worth their effort?

As much as we despise illicit drugs and their use, we equally detest any action that would further harm addicts, including facilitating their addiction, as the MSIR does, but in this case, the matter goes to a whole new low in the care of addicts.

The incident  shows the victim being escorted from the MSIR precinct out onto busy Lenox Street Richmond, effectively ‘playing Russian Roulette’ with the traffic. The only reason the victim was not injured or killed was the responsible drivers of the vehicles at the time.

It was more luck than good judgment that a large commercial vehicle didn’t happen along at that moment as the outcome could have been disastrously different.

The CAA reported this serious criminal offence, Conduct Endangering Life, to the Chief Commissioner’s Office and subsequently to a senior police detective.

The offence reported was.

A person must not recklessly engage in conduct that places or may place another person in danger of death (Crimes Act 1958 s22).

Judicial College of Victoria:

This particular incident was substantially aggravated because the perpetrators were identified by witnesses to be allegedly employees/staff of the Richmond North Medically Supervised Injecting Room (MSIR), who would be well aware of the risk posed to the victim and have an elevated ‘duty of care’ for the victim, above the average person.

Although there is a legislated level of protection within the MSIR, if the victim used the MSIR to get into that state, it was, perhaps, negligent or deliberate indifference by the staff medically supervising the victim, which may negate protection. A matter that should be investigated.

Of further interest is whether the staff leading the victim onto the road acted on instructions. It would be gross negligence to instruct staff, knowing their actions could be illegal, as there is no protection for workers outside the MSIR. This aspect must be investigated.

Apart from the legal aspects, this behaviour by the MSIR is reprehensible in that, as a direct result of their actions, they placed the victim back in the community, which ultimately, Police and emergency services will have to deal with. All because the MSIR abrogated their moral and perhaps legal responsibility to the victim.

Alleged MSIR Staff is escorting the victim – more alleged MSIR Staff following- Witnesses to the event.

On the day following the reporting of this crime, we were contacted to say there would be no action as a prosecution would not be likely to succeed.

How these detectives formed that opinion without interviewing the potential witnesses, a process called an investigation, is beyond us.

Why up to five persons allegedly from the MSIR were not formally interviewed is staggering, let alone the many witnesses that appeared on the CCTV footage. Pedestrians’ and drivers’ vehicle registration details were available from the footage.

Before lodging the report, we asked several retired, experienced detectives to view footage of the incident we had obtained.

Their view of the circumstance was unanimous; there is an unambiguous ‘prima facia’ case of Conduct Endangering Life by three to four individuals, and the matter must be thoroughly investigated. The likelihood of a successful prosecution was optimistic.

By the actions of these individuals, it was clear the drug-affected person was being ejected from the MSIR vicinity, which happens to be a public place, and they have no power to do this.

The key to this ejection was the state of the addict, who was not in control of his actions and rational thought, something the people concerned were the MSIR staff would be aware of.

The offence of endangering life has several elements, as the Victorian Judicial College describes.

This offence has the following five elements:

  1. The accused engaged in conduct;
  2. The accused’s conduct was voluntary;
  • The accused’s conduct endangered another person’s life;
  1. The accused acted recklessly; and
  2. The accused acted without lawful authority or excuse (R v Nuri [1990] VR 641; Filmer v Barclay [1994] 2 VR 269; Mutemeri v Cheesman [1998] 4 VR 484; R v Wilson [2005] VSCA 78; R v Abdul-Rasool (2008) 18 VR 586; R v Marijancevic (2009) 22 VR 576).

Central to any investigation would be establishing the identity of those involved.

In this incident, given the quality of the evidence from the CCTV, the five elements would seem clear-cut, so how did the detectives decide that no offence was determined within a few hours (overnight)?

This matter must now be investigated by a competent, independent investigation team led by an experienced Officer above the rank of the original team. Essentially, that independence must extend to the MSIR, which we understand has a close working relationship with local Police. An investigation must be conducted in a manner to avoid bias.

The new investigation must not be established to determine that no offence was committed; unfortunately, often, the police response to critiques of their work, and investigators must prepare a brief of properly collated evidence to evaluate the circumstances and the facts accurately.

The actions of the allegedly MSIR staff, apart from being recklessly criminal, if involved, were a shocking breach of their ‘duty of care’ and finally exposed the reckless indifference the facility employs towards drug users.

The MSIR is a facility purely for the furtherance of drug use, as demonstrated in this incident. This victim may have even achieved his state in the facility, indicating that the ethos of the facility is devoid of any ‘duty of care’.

REPREHENSIBLE CONDUCT WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY – A DISGRACE

REPREHENSIBLE CONDUCT WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY – A DISGRACE

29th July 2023

In 2018, the full High Court found  – “Victoria Police were guilty of reprehensible conduct in knowingly encouraging [Gobbo] to do as she did and were involved in sanctioning atrocious breaches of the sworn duty of every police officer”.

Of course, they could not do that on their own and needed the support or involvement of Officers of the Court – Lawyers.

The Herald Sun July 27, 2023, pp1, 6-7, refers to a number of Justice figures demanding a review of the decision not to pursue charges in the Lawyer X case and notes that the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kerri Judd, had represented former Chief Commissioner, Simon Overland, in legal proceeding raising concerns about a serious conflict of interest. The calls for a review of the decision are supported by Senior legal officials, including a former Vice President of the Victorian Bar Council.

It should be noted that former High Court Judge, Geoffrey Nettle AC KC, has expressed serious concerns about the decision of Judd not to bring prosecutions.

The Community Advocacy Alliance Inc., (CAA), since January 2020, has published several articles on our website relating to the Lawyer X scandal, highly critical of the conduct of Gobbo and senior police involved in this fiasco and calling for those responsible to be held to account.  We are in total support of the calls for an independent assessment of the evidence, and if that assessment supports the laying of charges against police or anyone else, demand that this be done expeditiously.

Only then can we, the public, be confident that justice is not only done but seen to be done.

The current status puts perpetrators above the law.

****

Extracts from our articles are set out below with links to full articles.

YOUR MOVE PREMIER -LAWYER X

CAA | Jun 25, 2023, https://caainc.org.au/your-move-premier-lawyer-x/

When Law enforcement becomes law-breaking, there must be accountabilities. The continuing saga of the Lawyer-X criminality by law enforcement appears to be one of the most serious overreaches by serving police personnel in Legal History…

LAWYER X FAILURE TO PROSECUTEAN ABSOLUTE DISGRACE

CAA | Jun 22, 2023, https://caainc.org.au/lawyer-x-failure-to-prosecute-an-absolute-disgrace/

Once again, we see the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) refusing to act on clear and compelling evidence of the commission of criminal offences.

When the Special Investigator, Geoffrey Nettle AC KC, a former Justice of the High Court of Australia, the highest court in the Australian court hierarchy, recommends prosecutions, one could reasonably think that the evidence of the commission of criminal offences must be clear and compelling…

LAWYER-X ACCUSED MUST FACE COURT

June 23, 2023, https://caainc.org.au/lawyer-x-accused-must-face-court/

The continuing saga of the Lawyer-X criminality by law enforcement appears to be one of the most serious overreaches by serving police personnel in Legal History. How can it be that nobody is going to be held accountable?

LAWYER X – IT’S NOT JUST THE COPS

CAA | Dec 6, 2020, https://caainc.org.au/lawyer-x-its-not-just-the-cops/

From the outset, it must be made clear that the CAA does not support the use of lawyer Gobbo by the Victoria Police in the way it was done; it was unlawful, and Gobbo and the executive Police responsible must be held to account before the Law…

LAWYER X – THE AFTERMATH

CAA | Sep 2, 2020, https://caainc.org.au/lawyer-x-the-aftermath/

Nobel cause corruption’ (the ends justify the means) is as unlawful as the normal interpretation of corruption. It diminishes the role of the Police in our society, as has the behaviours of the Police executive who promoted and or failed to manage the Lawyer X calamity and whose leadership was lacking throughout…

MANAGING POLICE INFORMERS LIKE GOBBO & ALLEN

CAA | Feb 9, 2020, https://caainc.org.au/managing-police-informers-like-gobbo-allen/

Failing to recognise a loss of objectivity is evident in the Gobbo matter and a damming indictment of the police executives’ lack of competence. The buck, however, stops with the Chief Commissioner and in this protracted affair, no less than four Chief Commissioners failed to resolve or wheel in this train wreck, and each of them took the same Oath to the other Police involved…

THE GOBBO SHOW ROLLS ON…

CAA | Jan 4, 2020,  https://caainc.org.au/the-gobo-show-rolls-on/

Many Victorians were sceptical of the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants. As the process started, most public sentiment towards the Royal Commission was, it is a waste of time because even if the Police tactics were not kosher with lawyers, the end justified the means.

After all, we are not talking about the pillars of society, but murderers and drug lords being locked up, and that is a good thing, isn’t it?

As many Victorians have watched the evolution of this Commission, attitudes are changing…

****

The community is quickly realising that the old adage, ‘whether you are a prince or pauper, saint or sinner’, we are, and should all be, equal before the Law. Although in Victoria, depending on who you are, that principle is corrupted.

Culpability must also extend to those executives that conspired to cover up the actions of this artifice, whether by use of the legal system or otherwise, that only served to extend and exacerbate the original reprehensible behaviour. In many ways, their behaviour is more reprehensible than the original architects.

They all must have known what was going on. It is fanciful to suggest that authorising or orchestrating a cover-up without knowing what you are covering up beggar’s belief.

It is also bordering on fanciful that lawyers, particularly those who conspired with Victoria Police to hide the Gobbo matters using the Courts, didn’t know what was going on. Remember that lawyers are Officers of the Court, and with that goes obligations that some may well have breached.

Equally, there are no doubt senior Police Officers, many still serving, who were totally cognisant of what was happening and the criminal and moral culpability but chose to support or take no action against the perpetrators and are therefore equally complicit.

The Police’s disgraceful and conscious dismissal of their principles in their oath of office brings great shame on them and all Victoria Police, serving, and who have served – something they will have to live with forever.

The only way to deal with this matter is to purge the culprits and give genuine Police, Lawyers and the community some reason to have confidence in the Legal system by removing this dark shadow.

We can only hope and encourage that the day of reckoning is sooner rather than later.

YOUR MOVE PREMIER -LAWYER X

YOUR MOVE PREMIER -LAWYER X

26th June 2023

Premier, time to pick up the phone. Two quick phone calls will resolve the impasse in determining the gult or innocense of individuals involved in the Lawyer -X affair.

A demonstration of leadership.

The calls will not compromise the independence of either party. All that needs to be done is that advice is given for both parties to cooperate in the best interest of the administration of the Law.

Both parties are eminent legal professionals, so a quiet word from you and everything can move on.

The impasse that has evolved between the Director of Prosecutions (DPP) Kerri Judd KC and former High Court judge Geoffrey Nettle, Special prosecutor (OSI) tasked with investigating whether criminal charges should be made against a number of people in the Lawyer-X affair, does not serve our Legal process well.

The issue is over the authority to prosecute, and in our view, the failure to give the Special Prosecutor power to prosecute was a significant failing.

Although we only have access to public information, we are bemused that the issue between the two legal heavyweights has tended to focus on the offence of Misconduct in Public Office. Undoubtedly, this offence could apply to many of the individuals accused.

We are somewhat mystified why the offence of Conspiracy to pervert the course of Justice has perhaps not been pursued, as it very obviously threaded through the whole artifice and would allow the Courts to properly dispense appropriate Justice depending on the roles of the perpetrators responsible for the entire artifice.

The Lawyer-X scandal has spanned many years at an eye-watering cost to the public purse without resolution, and the Special Prosecutor, a recommendation of the Royal Commission,  was a positive step to bringing the matter to a conclusion, resolved by the Courts, enabling a line to be drawn under the matter.

The community will be outraged at the expenditure without resolution of these matters by a court. Equally, the potential of the guilty walking free without accounting to a Court for what was described as egregious behaviour is unacceptable at any level.

The community is developing an increasingly jaundiced view of the lack of resolution in matters, particularly where corruption by officials of the State is inferred.

Further, without resolution, the deterrent effect, a critical function of the administration of the Law against repetition in the future, is lost, and the sanctity of Client Lawyer privilege is forever diluted and compromised.

There has been a series of Legal issues allowed to drift into the ether without a proper resolution,

  • The Red Shirts. Alleged misuse of public monies, which may have involved criminality, that may have unfairly interfered with the electoral process.
  • The Quarantine fiasco . Allegedly responsible for the deaths of over eighty Victorians during the COVID pandemic.
  • I-Cooks Foods What seems to be a conspiracy by Public Officers to shut down a private business because it competed in a market space the Government moved into.
  • Premiers Vehicle crash. Involving a cyclist, many suspicions and contradictions place serious concerns that the truth has not been told, and a cover-up of the facts was embarked upon.
  • The non-prosecution of politicians. A number of politicians clearly identified as rorting the system of parliamentary allowances, theft by deception. Officials would not hesitate to prosecute this behaviour if it happened outside of the political sphere.

The pattern is now actual, and the uncertainty created by non-resolution runs the risk of the whole Government being known for cover-ups, irrespective of whether there was one. The confidence of the community can become irreparably damaged.

Additionally, the attorney has very scant knowledge of the Legal system and is embarrassingly exposed as a lightweight on legal matters.

The trashing of legal professional privilege is a critical legal principle, and appropriate penalties must be imposed to reduce the likelihood of it ever happening again.

Ordinarily, we would be recommending that the Attorney General intervene; however, according to reports in the Herald Sun on 24th June 2023, Jacklyn Symes MP, our Chief Law Officer, Attorney General (AG), said,

“…it would be wildly inappropriate to give the OSI prosecutorial powers.”

“We have an investigative body; it’s not appropriate for an investigative body to then decide they are the prosecutor as well,” she said.”

This claim by the AG is remarkable in its naivety of the legal process and standard practices operating in our legal system.

Disgraceful from our highest Legal officer.

The AG is wrong in her assertions about prosecutions.

There is a proliferation of organisations within the government system that then have ‘wildly inappropriate powers’ as  investigators and prosecutors, including,

Police   –    Local government    –     VicRoads     –      IBAC    –    Health Department    –     Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department, and others, – also including some Government authorities.

The reality is that most prosecutions undertaken on the State’s behalf are made by agencies other than the DPP. The AG’s interpretation is breathtakingly mistaken.

The DDP’s role only becomes evident in matters that may end up in a Court higher than the Magistrates Court. The DPP Act give the DPP responsibility to act as the prosecutor in such matters.

Other than a direct presentment, rarely used, accused persons are subject to a Committal hearing, where a Magistrate rules on whether there is a Prima facie case for the accused to answer, a fail-safe part of our Legal system.

We call on the Premier to exercise leadership and either support the proposed Opposition bill on this issue or make a couple of calls to resolve this tiff between two professionals and allow the legal process to proceed.

It would be criminal of itself not to have this matter proceed and the multimillions of dollars invested in this process wasted.

REPREHENSIBLE CONDUCT WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY – A DISGRACE

LAWYER-X ACCUSED MUST FACE COURT

23rd of June 2023

When Law enforcement becomes law-breaking, there must be accountabilities.

The continuing saga of the Lawyer-X criminality by law enforcement appears to be one of the most serious overreaches by serving police personnel in Legal History. How can it be that nobody is going to be held accountable?

As serious as this issue is, the resolution casts a darker pall over the entire legal system and severely damages the cornerstone of its success, community confidence in the legal system.

When the Victorian Government appointed the Special Investigator, former Australian High Court Judge Justice Nettle, there was hope that what he found, would be addressed. The current Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Kerri Judd KC, is reported to be at an impasse with the Special Investigator with regard to the charging of key people in this matter.

Justice Nettle has impeccable credentials, being part of the full Bench of the High Court when it handed down the unanimous decision dealing with Police actions in and around Lawyer X. The Court determined there were ‘Fundamental and Appalling Breachers, of proper police behaviour’; and potential criminality by Police and others in the management of the informer Lawyer-X. After years of delays because, in part, the actions of previous Victoria Police administrations, in retrospect, were clearly designed to protect themselves, not action to facilitate a legal outcome.

It seems that some actions by Victoria Police were in the best interest of the Chief Commissioners of the day and other executive Police. It is not so clear that they served the proper application of the law.

A conflict of interest of mammoth proportions is now apparent.

Decisions by VicPol executives in legal matters seem to have been designed to protect Chief Commissioners who could be facing criminal charges, legal actions which were authorised by those very same Commissioners who may stand accused of unlawful acts. It is possible this protection went further than the Chief Commissioners and included legal entities of that time, some of whom are now sitting Judges.

Is the Government trying to save itself from embarrassment, knowing that if this matter was to go to Court, it would expose those who received promotion or appointments by the Government while their illegal involvement, if any, in the Lawyer-X fiasco was known? The CAA has noted that legal practitioners who represented the Government or its Ministers and Senior Bureaucrats have been regularly promoted to the Bench after their work for the Government.

Interestingly, the media in Western Australia have reported that,

“Nicola Gobbo was prepared to plead guilty to perverting the course of justice and testify against Victorian police officers, including a senior figure in the gang-busting Purana taskforce, over their involvement in a “joint criminal enterprise.”

– WA Today, 21st June 2023.

The offer to plead guilty would only have only one purpose, to mitigate any sentence imposed.

The big concern for some is that once she achieved a benefit for offering to testify against the Police, who else will she then offer to testify against? What other intelligence on the activities of others could be made public to further her advantage?

A leopard doesn’t change its spots; once an informer, always an informer, and Gobbo will use the information (power) she possesses for her own benefit.

Offering to testify against the Police is simply the first card she is dealing with. No doubt she has many more to play.

If the evidence is not there, a committal hearing will determine whether there is a prima facie case. And then it is up to a Judge and jury. A Magistrate may determine that there is no prima facie case and dismiss the matter rather than have it unresolved. We acknowledge that the DPP has the power she has exercised, but that does not make the application of that power right.

The CAA strongly believes that the DPP’s decisions must be questioned as they appear not to be in the public interest. The public can reasonably expect this identified egregious behaviour to be determined by a court. It does not differ from any other heinous crime, and no statute of limitations applies.

Additionally, the argument about lapsed time is disingenuous as the Courts regularly determine the guilt or innocence of accused persons who may have committed offences decades ago, as with some sexual, fraud and capital offences.

The argument over whether there is a likelihood of a conviction in this matter seems somewhat premature as the briefs are not all finished. As is normal practice in complex matters, the DPP has been included in the investigative process; however, deciding before the race is run is problematic.

Running the cost argument is also disingenuous as the multi-million price tag already spent is a complete waste if the matters do not go to Court, particularly when the cost to finalise these matters is probably quite a lot less than was spent getting to this stage.

Even so, the arguments put forward by DPP Judd are tenuous because the broader community needs and is entitled to know the innocence or guilt of the people involved. We note that some continue to hold senior positions.

This is, and should form, the central piece of decisions by Judd as it reflects wholly on the Judicial system and the Police.

Corruption often hides in the shadows. To restore a measure of confidence in the legal system, the DPP must allow light to shine on the allegations. We cannot continue to operate in the dark.

LAWYER X Failure to Prosecute – an Absolute Disgrace

LAWYER X Failure to Prosecute – an Absolute Disgrace

Once again, we see the Victorian Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) refusing to act on clear and compelling evidence of the commission of criminal offences.

When the Special Investigator, Geoffrey Nettle AC KC  is a former Justice of the High Court of Australia, the highest court in the Australian court hierarchy, recommends prosecutions, one, could reasonably think that the evidence of the commission of criminal offences must be clear and compelling.

That the DPP could conclude that a court would not convict flies in the face of common sense.  Surely, given the qualifications of Geoffrey Nettle, a jury should decide guilt or innocence.

How can the DPP be made accountable for such an inexplicable decision?

Why should a long-suffering public not be outraged that perpetrators identified by Nettel do not face the courts?

The actions of Gobbo and, by extension, others, were found by the High Court as ‘Fundamental and appalling breaches‘, yet the DPP is unwilling to put the perpetrators before the Courts.

The Community Advocacy Alliance (CAA) calls for the immediate resignation of Kerri Judd KC.  Anything less means the State is condoning crime.

REDUCING THE ROAD TOLL – WORKING WITH THE COMMUNITY

REDUCING THE ROAD TOLL – WORKING WITH THE COMMUNITY

18 th June 2023

The Community Advocacy Alliance (CAA) is a group of retired police officers and concerned citizens who are committed to making Victoria a safer place.

Recently, CAA obtained statistics from Victoria Police regarding calls made to 000 reporting erratic driving or suspected DUIs. Dr. Ray Shuey, a former Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner for Traffic and a member of CAA, submitted the application for the data, which cost $440.00 and covers the years 2020 to 2022.

The data shows that in 2022, concerned community members made over 51,000 calls 000 about problematic road users. However, in 88.61% of these cases, the only response was a “Keep A Look Out” (KALOF) broadcast, with no further investigation being undertaken. Only 7.18% of cases were recorded as “enquiries pending,” but there was no follow-up on the outcomes of these enquiries. Only about 1,000 calls resulted in any real action, such as an offence detected, an offender apprehended, or a stolen car located, resulting in a success rate of approximately 2.21%.

Clearly, the community wants to make our roads safer, but the Victoria Police response is woefully inadequate. This issue was first raised within Victoria Police in December 2011 and again in June 2013 but little has changed in the intervening decade.

At the time of the 2011 report examples were cited where the only response would have been to Keep A Look Out For, but for further intervention. No doubt every reader would be able to recount their own similar experiences:

  • 2 x vehicles seen “dragging” along Ferntree Gully Road Glen Waverley, registration number of both vehicles provided. No vehicle available to attend, disposition recorded as AAC (All Apparently Correct). Analysis of LEAP data indicated that the probable driver of one vehicle currently had 19 demerit points and had recent criminal convictions for serious offences. His Dossier stated, “The subject person is into high performance drag cars. Currently doing up a LH Torana for street drags.” Contacted caller who stated she was a nurse at the xxxx Hospital and constantly saw people in emergency who had been involved in vehicle collisions. Stated she got her friend, who was a passenger in the car at the time, to ring 000 as she feared for the safety of other road users. Both prepared to make statements and attend court if required.
  • Vehicle observed driving dangerously on the Monash Freeway towards the city, correct registration number provided. 251 directed KALOF. Contacted 251 and requested that a unit be directed to investigate. 251 replied in email a short time later that the registered owner and the reporting person had both been contacted. The registered owner stated that the vehicle was being driven by her granddaughter. A further check revealed the granddaughter has numerous prior convictions associated with drug use. The reporting person provided additional details of the extent of the dangerous driving and stated she was prepared to make a statement.
  • Vehicle seen at 1100hrs in Chapel Street, Prahran, several callers reported the vehicle had driven through 2 red lights and overtaken a tram on the incorrect side of the road. Correct registration number provided. Units directed by 251 to locate vehicle, unable to locate, no further action taken. Checked LEAP, noted on registration pre-enquirer that at 1330hrs on the same day a member from Melbourne Highway Patrol had checked the vehicle. Contacted member who stated that the vehicle had been involved in a serious collision and the driver was taken to hospital. Stated witnesses had seen the vehicle travelling along St Kilda Road and overtake a tram and then collide with a tram stop. Driver possibly drug impaired or psychiatric issues. He had not been aware of the earlier incidents as they were on a different radio channel.

Another tragic example was cited in the 2013 report which had played out with tragic consequences with the death of a 70-year-old female driver. A drug affected driver was convicted of culpable driving. In a 10 day period before the fatal collision a number of calls were made to 000 reporting the driver. In sentencing the Judge made comment that despite numerous calls to police no immediate action was taken. Any of the incidents reported to police could have amounted to Reckless Conduct Endangering Life or Serious Injury, in which case it would have been open to Victoria Police members to arrest and bail the offender with conditions, thus providing an immediate response within existing legislative processes.

As pointed out in the 2011 and 2013 reports clearly the consequences of failing to adequately address this issue are serious, including preventable serious road trauma caused by these drivers, further serious driving offences being committed, disqualified or unlicensed drivers remaining undetected, and damage to the reputation of Victoria Police. Additionally, failing to address this issue means missed opportunities to reduce the road toll, raise perceptions of safety, identify and target recidivist offenders, target individuals who pose a heightened risk to community safety and increase confidence in policing.

An effective solution would be to properly investigate these calls, which are often supported by mobile phone or dashcam footage and/or other witnesses. If a caller did not want to provide a statement due to a relatively remote possibility of having to give evidence in court, a letter could be sent to the registered owner advising that their vehicle had been observed being driven dangerously, and on this occasion, no further action would be taken, but the incident had been noted. This would alert the registered owner that others had seen what had occurred and prompt them to reflect on their driver behaviour or who they authorized to drive their car. There would be a provision for a registered owner to query the event, but the identity of the person providing the information would be protected.

CAA has recently had discussions with Victoria Police about how to progress an effective solution to this unacceptable situation. It will likely require additional resources, but it is worth it for a safer Victoria.

It is up to the Police command to manage and prioritize existing resources, work with communities, share data, and make a transparent, cogent case for additional resources. This follows the an evidence-based policing approach in keeping with a Prevention and Community Empowered (PACE) policing model. The public wants to make our roads safer, and it’s time for Victoria Police to take a more effective approach to investigating calls to 000 regarding erratic driving.

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BEHAVING BADLY

DEPUTY COMMISSIONER BEHAVING BADLY

11th December 2022

As reported in the Herald Sun on the 8th of December 2022, Deputy Commissioner Neil Paterson allegedly apologised for an incident involving a Red Cross blood donation worker who was left deeply upset by an encounter with him. It is unclear to whom he apologised.

Simply put, this incident should never have occurred, and we doubt a remote apology will right the wrong. There is no indication that the Red Cross worker has accepted the apology, From the report, we would understand why she may not.

This incident occurred in a café area at Police headquarters where the Red Cross woman approached Paterson. She was there recruiting blood donors, doing her job.

Paterson berated the woman in an area where there would have been large volumes of police employees. As a Deputy Commissioner in Police Headquarters, the imbalance in the encounter was dramatic and for all to see.

Berating a worker rather than taking his concerns to Red Cross in a private capacity, and there are many avenues open to him to do that, is like confronting and berating a junior constable in the suburbs for the behaviour of VicPol during the Gobbo affair.

Mr Paterson has form in this area, having previously achieved comprehensive media coverage for his attack on a Police Sergeant nearing retirement because his religious beliefs oppose homosexuality.

The similarity in his previously exposed incident was also a substantial power imbalance between a Deputy Commissioner and a Sergeant.

Paterson is not employed to peddle his personal agenda. When he puts on his ‘Salute Blue’ suit, he becomes a servant of the Chief Commissioner and an example for other Police to emulate.

It is trite to say that Police, especially senior Police, must not allow bullying. With that, it is also obvious that they should not be bullies. The incidents, while against different people, appear to indicate bullying behaviours. CAA is not saying Paterson is a bully. This is a matter for others to determine, but CAA does say that the behaviours alleged reflect poorly on Paterson and Victoria Police

This incident has broader implications for Victoria Police and the Chief Commissioner.

He was putting the Chief Commissioner in an unenviable position where he is conflicted between supporting one of his most senior executives and his responsibility to maintain discipline and good order in Victoria Police.

Expressing support for Paterson could send a message to all Police that you can use your uniform to pursue personal values with impunity. And you can bet it would end badly if it took off.

This issue will not go away, particularly if other Police are disciplined for inappropriate comments. Their defence will be obvious.

The Chief Commissioner must formally admonish Paterson. This needs to be public, to rebuild the structural damage to VicPol Paterson has created.

Paterson’s behaviour is contrary to the neutrality expected of  Police. The CAA believes this behaviour brings ‘the Force into disrepute’ and further feeds the community’s perceptions of the lack of impartiality by the Police, magnified substantially because of his rank.

Would this behaviouir be toleated by Poilce Command for a more junior ranked police memeber.

The way the laws currently stand, only IBAC can take a complaint against any Police Commissioner, and CAA has little confidence they would do anything, making police executives seemingly beyond reproach, creating a protected species.

The Chief Commissioner is, in reality, the last bastion of the enforcement of proper standards. We invite him, as a man of integrity, to publicly rebuke Paterson for his obviously poor behaviour.

We also call on the Government to amend legislation to empower the Chief Commissioner to instigate and investigate complaints against his Senior Officers if required, even if that investigation is overseen by IBAC.

G-Tag   A NEW PARADIGM IN COMMUNITY SAFETY

G-Tag A NEW PARADIGM IN COMMUNITY SAFETY

29th October 2022 First Published 9th Feb 2016

‘It was claimed by Victoria Police that the G-Tag proposal submitted in 2016 was assessed and  piloted, however, the pilot was not of this proposal but a proposal with similarities that seemed suspiciously like a cover for a feasibility assessment for a commercial venture.

The G-tag has a far wider application, and the pilot did not facilitate testing of the concept.

Police at the time did not have the capacity to grasp the concept and to their discredit never bothered to check with the authors for clarity.

The current administration of VicPol seems more adroit than past administrations, and we hope for the benefit of all Victorians that they seriously consider this proposal.’

 – The G-Tag

Save Lives                                                                                                                                                          Reduce crime                                                                                                                                                         Cost positive and                                                                                                                                           Make Victoria a leader as an innovative State.

Introduction

For many people, their car is their most important and valued asset, and to have it stolen is devastating. Unfortunately, motor cars, whether stolen or not, are also commonly associated with crimes including hit-run, robbery, drugs, rape, murder, domestic violence and now Terrorism.

The relatively new experience of motor vehicles being used as a weapon either against Police or as a weapon of mass destruction, terror-related or not, is a recent phenomenon. However, the introduction of this new level of violence In the West has brought a new urgency to the G-Tag.

The G-Tag, when fully implemented, is the only stratagem that will stop vehicles from being used as weapons.

The Bourke Street massacre should be justification alone for introducing the G-Tag. Unless you live under a rock, we know that it will only be a matter of time before we experience the devastation of truck or car bombs, as is all too common elsewhere in the world.

The multiple killings, countless injuries, millions of dollars of theft and massive damage is caused because current legislation is focused exclusively on the driver, not the vehicle. Until that changes, the vehicles available to drivers will continue to wreak havoc.

The most creative solution dreamed up thus far by Government and Police in Melbourne is strategically placed bollards and reinforced concrete planters. A little underwhelming. They will create safe areas (but only from cars). Still, the vulnerability of people will then be focused on the areas unable to be protected, including every intersection in Melbourne at peak pedestrian times when pedestrians in large numbers cross are exposed.

There were 4,567,314 vehicles (ABS Data and includes all vehicles) Registered in Victoria in 2015 – a huge and valuable state asset that needs to be protected.

The traditional view is the risks posed by the motor car should be managed by legislation focusing on the driver. Unfortunately, the success of this approach is problematic at best, with very limited success.

‘The best way to reduce any crime is to increase in the perpetrators’ mind the likelihood that they will get caught – penalties in themselves have limited impact because the perpetrator does not commit the act to get caught and never expects to get caught.

When the probability of being caught fails to dissuade, we need the ability to intervene to minimise the impact of the behaviour.

Authorities (Police) should be able to safely slow down or stop particular vehicles in the interests of public safety and/or law enforcement,’

Without diminishing the current Law and Order response, there is a need to think through and discuss alternatives – that alternative is the vehicle.

GPS Tracking

GPS tracking is widely used in the community; the devices record and re-transmit their own location to a satellite-based global positioning system. These re-transmitted signals allow the identification of the vehicle, location, and route it has and is taking. It also communicates the vehicles speed.

That route can be recorded for days or weeks, and capable of identifying which vehicle was driven in a particular location at a previous time. This ability will allow Police to identify the vehicle used in a crime. As important as the current location of the vehicle, is the historical routes the vehicle has taken, which perhaps has more investigative value.

An example, and there are many, would be a drive-by shooting in the early hours. Witnesses can usually supply the time of the shots; with a G-Tag, the Police could identify which vehicles were driven in that location at the time given.

Central to this proposal will be the fitting of tracking devices to every vehicle. Although this forms part of the first stage of this proposal, it needs to be seen through the prism of advantages to the community, a safety and Crime Prevention/Minimisation strategy, albeit that an economic case may be produced for the system raising alternative revenue streams for the Government, a user pays system for registration. The latter is the most equitable method of raising revenue.

Setting the case for part one of this proposal – the G-Tag

The advantages of developing a GPS locating system, or G-Tag, for the entire Victorian road fleet will be no small feat; however, the return will be enormous.

Theft of Motor vehicles and machinery

With a G-Tag, stolen vehicles can be located quickly; the focus is on the property, not the perpetrator, which will serendipitously lead to perpetrators being detected rapidly. This will lead to a reduction in insurance costs. This would also reduce the demand for Police time and assist in arresting perpetrators.

G-Tags will influence the perpetrators knowing the chances of getting caught have escalated and may dissuade many would-be offenders.

In Australia, 49 vehicles are stolen and processed for scrap metal a week and one in four cars stolen are never recovered – $103 Million estimated value of cars never recovered. In addition, there are estimated to be 5 million cars on Australian roads that do not have immobilising technology. (Source -National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council.).

In Victoria, 14366 vehicle thefts were reported according to VicPol statistics – in 2014. In 2015 that number increased to 17090, an increase of 19%. The National average of vehicles not recovered is 31% (This figure could be substantially higher when including vehicles recovered damaged beyond repair – burnt out etc.) so extrapolating those figures to Victoria, over 5000 vehicles disappear every year, or nearly 100 every week.

What the statistics do not show is the hardship caused and the danger posed to the community

Community safety – a G-Tag will assist

  1. Victims of Domestic violence-. They can be better protected by tagging perpetrators’ vehicles in the G-Tag system to warn Police of the perpetrator heading toward the victim. In addition, using postcodes to quarantine victims will enable Police to intervene when postcode boundaries are crossed by perpetrators breaching a Family Violence Order—alerting Police to reduce the risk to the victim.
  2. Missing Persons-. G-Tags can locate vehicles of missing persons before self-harm. Suicidal victims are generally found after their demise when the family have contacted Police over concerns, but Police driving around searching every nook and cranny has historically been demonstrated as ineffective and usually does not end in locating the individual before it is too late.

G-Tags will have the ability to save lives with the chance of getting professional help to desperate people.

Rural application-                                                                                                                                             The application in Rural and remote Victoria is very sound; consider being able to locate a tractor on a large remote property or a driver overdue to destinations, particularly in times of natural disaster. This will also reduce the number of unnecessary searches.

The applications of G-Tag technology can be extended to include watercraft and recreational vehicles.

Technology instead of human resources.                                                                                                      The thousands of man-hours expended by emergency services, particularly Police, can be dramatically reduced in multiple circumstances by the G-Tag Policing will become more efficient and effective, reducing pressure on Police resources.

Criminal activity –                                                                                                                                        Terrorism Investigations would have the advantage of monitoring vehicles with G-Tags without intrusion to better understand the risks posed by suspects.

The use of vehicles as a weapon in Terrorism is commonplace in the current war zones. It is likely to appear in Australia at some stage and being prepared will save lives.

  1. Criminal Behaviour –There is a current spate of home invasions where perpetrators physically confront victims in their homes by forced entry to gain access to keys to steal high-end motor vehicles. This type of activity (home invasion) is on the rise; there is a substantial risk of serious harm, if not the death of a victim. The ability to track these vehicles by G-Tag and immobilise them is very attractive to the victims and Police.
  2. Illicit Drugs must be transported in vehicles at some stage. Access to G-Tag technology will provide invaluable assistance in managing the importation and trafficking of drugs.
  3. Hoon drivers –can be monitored and removed from our roads. Known hoons’ vehicles can be tagged in the G-Tag system, and an alarm indicating when like tagged vehicles are identified by the system to be congregating can give Police the opportunity to intervene before the dangers escalate.
  4. Police Pursuits – This technology virtually eliminates the need for pursuits, and G-Tag disabling the car by G-Tag reduces risk to the Community, the Police and even the offender.
  5. Emergency vehicles – can easily and reliably be located and managed when civil emergencies occur. E.g. incident managers could recognise the precise locations of fire appliances during bushfire outbreaks to direct them to where they are most needed – or away from impending danger.
  6. Arial surveillance – Currently undertaken by the Police Airwing, there are limitations with availability and response times. The G-Tag will not replace the need for Arial Surveillance as a Policing tool. Still, the G-Tag will significantly enhance the effectiveness of the Air Wing, reducing operating costs.
  7. Legal implications – The data recorded in the G-Tag system has evidentiary value, as do E-Tags and Security Cameras. The potential for the improved data available from G-Tags will provide data of strong evidentiary value for Prosecution and Defence in equal benefit, further improving our judicial system.
  8. Revenue streams

The advantage of this system is it would allow the Government to use this mechanism to charge registrations on a user-pay basis, the most equitable mechanism. In addition, implementing part two of this proposal would eliminate the need for enforcement of recalcitrant individuals by placing the vehicle in ‘limp home’ mode until the financial liabilities are met. This capacity could also be extended to other civil liabilities related to traffic.

Setting the case for Part 2 of this proposal using G-Tag.

The first part of this proposal using converted E-Tag’s will only reach a percentage of the Victorian fleet unless a case can be presented for voluntary take-up of G-Tags based on the E-Tag system, although not totally limiting will reduce the overall potential of the program. However, the advantage of converting E-Tags to G-Tags will ensure a rapid introduction to the program.

Part 2 introduces more sophisticated G-Tags (technology is currently available) that are hard-wired into the vehicle’s electronics and fitted where they cannot be easily removed or interfered with. This technology adds a new layer where the vehicle’s electronics can be activated remotely to put the vehicle into limp home mode (reducing its top speed to 80KPH) before activating the engine immobiliser to halt the vehicle. The only limitations will be that certain vehicles do not have the limp home mode and would be stopped at a safe place or shut down when stationary.

The upgraded G-Tags would need to be fitted to all new vehicles, pre-delivery (amending Vehicle Standards)and second-hand vehicles as part of the roadworthy process. In addition, a moratorium would be required to set a reasonable time that all vehicles must comply, similar to other safety initiatives, including seat belt introduction.

Stage 2 will allow Police to intervene to stop the commission or continuance of a crime, which is the primary role of the Police.

The issue of re-establishing the vehicle’s functionality when recovered, or is no longer a threat, is again a technical issue that should not prove insurmountable. If it can be switched off, it can be switched back on; it is just a matter of protocols.

The cost debate

There is a cost, but as this is an innovation, the technology development costs of G-Tag would be well offset by marketing the initiative interstate and overseas. In addition, a fee for service arrangement, assisting set up and a fee for intellectual property would generate substantial income.

Part of the development costs could be covered by the Insurance Industry and TAC, who both stand to gain considerably. In addition, there would be nominal cost recovery from the users in installing a device into the existing fleet – manufacturers would be required to fit the device pre-delivery on all new vehicles.

An offset to the toll operator’s contribution (modifying E-Tags)will be the income generated when tracking devices are fitted to the Victorian fleet to include the E-Tag function in the G-Tag, effectively the E-Tag would be redundant.

With savings achieved to the State economy, the overall cost will be well offset. In addition, recurring fees would be partly recovered by beneficiaries, namely Insurance companies, Toll operators, TAC and the user.

Car owners will have to bear some costs, subsidised for Welfare recipients, but the price should not be prohibitive, somewhere under $200.

The proposal to introduce a pay-as-you-use system for registration, third-party and comprehensive Insurance and fuel excise currently avoided by the increased uptake of Electric Vehicles will contribute to the setup and recurring cost of the system.

The system could, therefore, potentially protect innocent victims from financial hardship due to vehicle damage – Potentially, the initiative could be cost-positive.

Technology

Anybody who owns a smartphone or has a Satellite navigation device is acutely aware of the power and application of technology.

Currently advertised on the internet for $35 is a tracking device that can be attached to a vehicle and linked to a smartphone. The technology exists and is small and relatively cheap.

With the increasing sophistication of motor vehicles and their reliance on computers to manage their engines, an opportunity exists to intervene in a vehicle’s performance. A large part (and increasing) of the Victorian fleet are vehicles that have an inbuilt “Limp Home Mode” in their computer systems designed to protect the engine from further damage should a fault be detected

It is a matter of connecting the dots.

  • If we can identify a vehicle using GPS locating technology by a G-Tag, we only need to develop a mechanism to access the vehicle’s computer via the G-Tag to activate the “Limp Home Mode” or the vehicle” Immobilisation technology”. A SIM card is the solution.
  • By designing and fitting an aftermarket, G-Tag to attach to the vehicle’s electronics, the vehicle’s function can be remotely managed.
  • The power supply for the G-Tag is then secured for the vehicle’s life.
  • The simplest method to communicate with vehicle electronics is by a SIM card in the device using the mobile network to communicate with the car’s computer.

 The Issue of Privacy

In the 1980s, a very vocal minority saw themselves as the keepers of our privacy, objecting to installing the eight CCTV cameras for a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Melbourne. They vocalised on the prying eyes and the abuse that would occur should the cameras not be removed immediately after the conference was finished- “It’s a Police State” was the group’s mantra.

Their plaintive cries are now somewhat humorous when we look around at the number of cameras that watch us daily, but there is no community concern as it has been demonstrated that they serve the greater good, and law-abiding citizens do not care if they are watched. Indeed, governments actively encourage more expansive use of CCTV in public places, and the take-up of private CCTV systems – including those monitoring public spaces – is impressive.

This initiative has a distinct advantage over CCTV cameras. The Cameras have a deterrent effect and assist with identifying perpetrators, but they cannot stop or prevent the continuation of a crime – the G-Tag can.

Anybody worried about the movement of their vehicle being monitored should realise there are over 5 million vehicles in Victoria, so nobody would have the time, the resources or the interest to monitor every vehicle – it will be enough just monitoring vehicles that are of particular interest- law-abiding citizens just hide in the crowd.

Furthermore, although not common knowledge, most high-end vehicles sold in recent years already have this technology and are used as part of the aftermarket service provided by the manufacturers as a mechanism to update electronics and identify the need for roadside assistance.

Effectively a reasonable percentage of the population drive around oblivious that their movements are being or are capable of being monitored by a third part.

Impact on Judicial processes.

Implementing this system will provide the Judiciary with an alternative to sentencing offenders (by regulating vehicle use), particularly for the less serious traffic infringements and criminal activity in some cases.
Currently, lives are ruined financially and otherwise by fines and driving restrictions that cause offenders to lose employment and the capacity to pay fines.

Unintended double jeopardy can ruin many young people’s lives. Correcting bad behaviour by bad outcomes lessens, and in certain circumstances destroys the chance of future compliance. Instead, in desperation, it can lead, particularly young people, towards crime and drugs to escape what they see as a hopeless situation from which they see no escape.

The G-Tag system can be used to manage the use of a vehicle to certain roads and/or times to allow Offenders to continue in employment, enabling them to pay the fines but still having their mobility curtailed to serve as a punishment.

We are not suggesting this facility become run-of-the-mill but for cases where a driver may exceed .05 after a reading shows residual alcohol or drugs in the low range. Or where breaches of Licence offences and registration matters can be managed without ruining lives.

The increase in penalty recovery would justify offenders retaining employment and avoid forcing people onto welfare and damaging the States productivity.

Recovery of Civil compliance fines could also be improved. For example, a vehicle disabled by G-Tag would rapidly encourage compliance.

System Security

There will need to be legislation that includes safeguards for privacy and safeguards against tampering with the system, either the physical equipment or any signal emitted.

Conclusion

The G-Tag is a proactive and novel proposal, but there is a myriad of far more radical ideas that once seemed farfetched that are now accepted as the mainstream norm, world wide web, television and the telephone!

We now accept security cameras as a way of life and the dreaded speed cameras as an acceptable inconvenience that serves the greater good.

It will take leadership and innovative thought to implement this proposal; however, the advantages to the community make it a worthwhile project.

This is an innovation that will save lives commensurate with its implementation,

  • Minimise Police pursuits by number and duration.
  • Enable the arrest of mobile criminals safely.
  • Monitor criminal activity.
  • Determine the identity of perpetrators when the crime was not witnessed, but a vehicle was involved (historical footage of the scene)
  • Tag domestic violence perpetrators and protect victims with an electronic shield.
  • Reducing a criminal’s ability to use a vehicle in committing a crime.
  • Reducing criminals’ ability to burn stolen vehicles to hide DNA.
  • Locate missing people intent on self-harm.
  • Increase revenue through greater enforcement of civil compliance.
  • Locate and save people in natural disasters.
  • Reduce police resources in trying to locate missing persons.

“I have worked hard to own my car, and if it gets stolen, I would be very happy that it could be located and disabled as soon as it is reported (minimising damage to it). It would be a bonus that the low life that did it was caught.”

A view that the overwhelming majority of Victorians would share.

An additional attraction of this technology is that it will allow a user-pays system to be developed in lieu of registration and other taxes as a reliable and equitable mechanism to tax road users.

Recommendation

That VicPol and Government establish a working party to prepare the business case for this proposal, including the fiscal imperatives that will make this proposal not only practical but cost positive. An approach ANZPAA and Standards Australia should be considered as well as drafting legislation to establish a G-Tag Authority to develop the technology and design the model for the ongoing management and operation of the system.

Ivan W. Ray

Chief Executive Officer

Community Advocacy Alliance Inc