We have been mulling over the recent arrest and release of a sex offender who was one of the 149 detainees released by the Federal Government.

It was reported in the media (HS and others) that Alfons Pirimapun, 44, was charged on Wednesday, the 28th of February 2024, with sexual assault, stalking and two counts of unlawful assault. This followed two incidents in Richmond.

The Prime Minister was under extreme pressure from all media because the suspected perpetrator was one of the detainees released by the Government. The story about the alleged offences was the lead headline in nearly every masthead in the country. Then suddenly, the heat was off. VicPol was backtracking without a reasonable explanation.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said on Thursday that “a process had commenced to formally withdraw the charges.”

The Commander sent out to front the media to mop up this apparent blunder has inadvertently raised the possibility that this was a political hit job to protect the government.

It was reported again in the HS, that Victoria Police Commander Mark Galliot apologised to Pirimapun at a press conference shortly after the charges were dropped while arguing,

“ It wasn’t a mistake to arrest him on Wednesday night.”

“I wouldn’t say it as a blunder; investigators had sufficient evidence to make an arrest,” he said.

“Yes, there was an error in arresting the person and remanded him, and as I said as soon as we found out, we rectified it and we apologise sincerely.”

What concerns us most is the speed with which an investigation has determined that sufficient evidence for an arrest and being remanded can be so quickly overturned that it sounds like a direction to withdraw the prosecution rather than a failure of the evidence collected.

The withdrawal of the charges provided substantial political capital for the Government.

If the error was so blatant as to be so obvious and so quickly acted upon, serious questions of political interference can be raised. Without the proper and full release of the circumstances, this view will persist.

Police take the arrest and charging of a suspect very seriously, so there are only two explanations: the Force was used politically to make this go away, or there was some catastrophic flaw in the evidence.

As far as political interference is concerned, there has been a strong whiff persisting for some considerable time about VicPol being politicised and the Police Force being used as a puppet by the puppet masters at Spring Street. This seems to have become more blatant, giving rise to the real worry that Policing in this state is an extension of the government and not an independent authority.

As for the flaw in the evidence, the indecent haste that determined the flaw leads to the suspicion that the brief could not have been adequately investigated. The statement by Galliot, “as soon as we found out,can be reasonably interpreted as being told.

The who told what to whom is critical for community peace of mind and assurances that have some veracity. Given that Galliot also said that they had no other suspects, this gives rise, in part, to a lie about the mistake in identity hinted at during his press conference.

We have not heard a sound from IBAC, the watchdog, in months, but perhaps their chain is too short. Perhaps we don’t have an IBAC anymore; it’s just a bureaucratic malaise keeping a low profile to avoid criticism.

We have experienced first-hand VicPol dealing with crime in a partisan way. A serious crime supported by CCTV footage was reported, and overnight, a decision was made. The following morning, we were advised that no offence had occurred. This was done without interviewing any witnesses, and there were many.

Of course, there may be a new way to conduct an investigation; gathering the evidence and interviewing witnesses seems no longer the way, but what would we know, a lot actually.

What was particularly galling was that the report from the CAA was considered independently by no less than five former very senior Police investigators, who were unanimous that a prima facie case existed for serious offences.

The issue was that the perpetrators were most likely employees of the Richmond Drug Injecting room, a particularly political ‘hot potato’ where adverse public opinion could ensue.

There was insufficient time for even a rudimentary investigation, so the Investigators were undoubtedly told to make it disappear. The government had buried or withheld the Ken Lay report they commissioned into the injecting room function, and any criticism, particularly of a criminal nature, by the facility’s staff would be politically damaging.

Making the issue go away would ‘curry favour’ with the Government.

We have often raised the issue of the ‘Separation of Powers’ issue, and failure to do so feeds suspicion of partisan bias, which is a dangerous predisposition for any Police Force in any free society where the rule of law applies.

This suspicion is not just some wild conspiracy theory when you take into account the alleged political influence in the Red Shirts saga, the criminal travel rorts, the failed George Pell prosecution, many aspects of the COVID response, and making the Gobbo affair prosecutions disappear, and the most blatant, the Road crash involving the Premier.

From this list, two conclusions can be drawn. If you offend and are a mate of the government or the incident can embarrass the political class, your sins will be overlooked, and prosecution is unlikely; if you are politically and ideologically opposed to the government, there is every possibility, no matter how improbable,  you will be prosecuted and pursued through the courts relentlessly, shades of a police state.

Given the way things are headed, a Royal Commission into Victoria Police and the role of successive Chief Commissioners in alleged Political influence would seem inevitable.

The underlying principle of the ‘Separation of Powers’ is our protection from a government ‘going rogue’ and engaging in criminal behaviour. When the police become joined at the hip to their political masters, the ‘blind eye’ principle becomes evident, a precursor to political criminality and the creation of a police state.

At what stage do the directions from Spring Street become. ‘a conspiracy, to Pervert the Course of  Justice?

We would argue that it is probable that the line has been crossed multiple times.

All criminal activity, particularly in Government, has a habit of being exposed at some stage. All it takes is a disgruntled Prosecutor or Police member to find their conscience, and the walls will tumble down. It might not happen today, but it can happen at any time.

In this instance, the police must explain how this incident occurred, given their advice that there wasn’t a blunder and that ‘investigators had sufficient evidence to make an arrest.’

Some things just seem unfathomable.