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Court in the Act
28 August, 2008  
Hodgson nails Keelty

AFP commissioner Mick Keelty is hiding behind the skirts of Mother England’s police force. Much of the stuff he tells the Clarke inquiry is top secret has already seen the light of day. According to Haneef’s lawyer Keelty needs to come clean on some vital questions of police malfeasance

imageFrom Rod Hodgson (pic)

Dr Mohamed Haneef was arrested on Australian soil. His detention was at the hands of Australian police officers. They were acting under Australian law.

Yet AFP commissioner Mick Keelty says that John Clarke QC cannot publish one single AFP document for fear of offending the Metropolitan Police Service in the UK.

What Keelty says is completely wrong.

AFP documents containing MPS information have already been published in Australia and the UK. We know the MPS rang the AFP at 5 am on Monday, July 2, 2007, because the AFP told us that, nine days later.

We know what the MPS said in that call because the AFP has provided the minutes of the meeting of the National Counter-Terrorism Committee from July 3, 2007.

imageThe MPS, effectively, said:

“Can you help us locate a Dr Mohamed Haneef (pic) who lives at Pohlman Street, Southport. There’s a connection between a mobile number used by him, a year ago, and the attacks.”

Even though Keelty gave a copy of those minutes to Haneef’s lawyers, three months ago, he has now stamped it “Top Secret” and claims that Clarke will create an international incident if a single letter of it is posted on the inquiry’s web site.

Questions about the conduct of the AFP and Keelty are too important to be fobbed off by the commissioner’s inconsistent statements.

Information already on the public record raises questions that the AFP must answer. Anything less would be abandonment by the government of the principle of accountability by the AFP.

imageHere are four questions (of many) for Keelty (pic).

1. Why didn’t the AFP tell the courts and the Minister for Immigration that Dr Haneef had tried to contact London police involved in the investigation into the attacks in the UK at least four times on the day he was arrested? It’s a serious thing to leave out relevant matters which suggest the innocence of a suspect. Keelty should tell us why it happened. This won’t involve any top secret information. Those phone calls are part of the public record.

2. What happened to the email that Kafeel Ahmed (who died in the attempted Glasgow terror attack) sent to his brother, Sabeel? Why did the AFP not tell the courts and the minister about this email? Earlier this year, a London court found that this email proved Sabeel, the person to whom Haneef gave his SIM card, had no foreknowledge of the attacks in London and Glasgow and was not part of any terrorist organisation. This email is, possibly, the most important document in the whole investigation. The email proved that Sabeel was not involved in his brother’s terror plans and that Haneef’s giving of his SIM card was completely innocent. Yet, the AFP has never admitted receiving the document. If they did receive it, they certainly withheld it from the courts and Kevin Andrews. No trial in the UK is going to be affected by talk of this document. Its full text has already been published by the MPS in a court in London.

3. Why did the AFP allow the bail court and the public to be misled about where the SIM card was found? Misleading a court is probably the worst thing a police officer can do. On 14 July 2007, the bail court heard that the SIM card was found in the burning jeep in Glasgow. The AFP knew that this statement was wrong. A number of AFP officers were in court that day. Surely, they reported back to their superiors as to what was said. But no one in the AFP did anything to correct the record. The truth was revealed when the ABC broke the story, through journalist Raphael Epstein, six days later. No British police documents or information are necessary for Keelty to explain why he did nothing to correct the misinformation.

4. Why did the AFP fail to comply with the Crimes Act 1914 by refusing to provide Haneef with a lawyer after he’d asked three times during his first interview at the Brisbane airport? Why did the AFP withhold transcripts of five conversations with Haneef until forced by the Clarke inquiry to disclose them? And why did the AFP mislead Haneef about his right to be heard by a magistrate when the police were applying to extend his detention?

imageThe actions of commissioner Keelty have caused the Clarke inquiry to become a travesty of the “full judicial inquiry” that Kevin Rudd promised before he was elected Prime Minister.

Clarke (pic) has been placed in an impossible position where he is prevented from providing the openness that he wants.

The Prime Minister and the Attorney General must act now to give the inquiry the full powers it requires.

Maybe we’ll then hear some answers from Mick Keelty.

Rod Hodgson, Maurice Blackburn, Brisbane