Life wouldn’t be the same without Senator Wild Bill Hefferlump getting into the exciting world of paedophilia, kiddie porn, judges and the law. Here he is at a recent bout of Senate Estimates ramming home the message to Commonwealth DPP Chris Craigie.
Senator Heffernan: I was appalled by that stuff in Sydney. The internet has made it very difficult to deal with this stuff. Some of that was just so graphic and disgusting. There are a whole lot of very prominent people, some of them key legal eagles, who gave – and this is their business – character references. Ian Barker QC said that it was no big deal, that this guy should be let go and that it was a victimless crime, whereas in fact it is very much a victims’ crime. If there was a request put in by the police to put a judge in the federal jurisdiction under surveillance, would that be a matter that would concern you as the federal DPP?
Chris Craigie: It is a matter for the investigative agency, not something that would be appropriate for me to comment upon. I should declare an interest in this. You mentioned a number of people who gave references for Dr Power. You should be aware, lest there be any sense of subterfuge about this …
Heffernan: There is not …
Craigie: ... that Dr Power received references from many people who knew him professionally and who gave comments about his prior good character. If you look down the list you will probably find mine. That should be on the table, lest you be misled.
Heffernan: I am aware of that. We all have human failures and we all give references.
Senator Barnett: Do you have many failures?
Heffernan: I have got plenty of human flaws. Hands up all those who have not. No hands went up. There is something that troubles me about this case – in fact, there are several cases. In those lists of referees, there were three people – you are not one of them – who were named in police intelligence documents who were judges. There were 27 people, including 17 lawyers and three judges listed in police documents. I have handed those to the Attorney General’s Department, and they have on two occasions generously handed them back. The AFP has still got them. These police intelligence documents raise serious issues about their behaviour. Three of those people were referees. That is fair enough. So I am concerned about what is the subliminal message – turning the blind eye? I could read some graphic throw-away remarks by legal eagles about some of this stuff. But you have no direct say about, no interest in or no comment on circumstances involving a judge who has been named in police documents as having picked up boys at the toilets opposite Marcellin College in Randwick. This is a judge who sat in judgment on a father …
Senator Chris Evans: Madam Chair, I do not want to interfere with proper lines of inquiry, but the Office of the DPP is here to answer on issues relating to their responsibilities. Senator, I warn you again about parliamentary privilege …
Heffernan: No-one is going to be named.
Evans: I think you are getting very close to it.
Heffernan: No-one is being named. I have become very cautious.
Evans: I am glad to hear that, because I think in the past there has been some lack of caution.
Evans: I think we made it clear that the role of the estimates committee is to ask questions of officers in relation to their responsibilities. Whatever Mr Craigie’s personal views or attitudes, while they may be of interest to me over a beer, they are not the subject of estimates hearings. So I suggest that you might reflect on that.
Heffernan [pic]: I am.
Evans: Madam Chair, I think you need to take a close look at whether the questions are in order.
Heffernan: May 2007, I put on notice three questions which have never been replied to – but I will deal with that later.
Chair: Were these questions to the DPP?
Heffernan: I will deal with that later, I think. This particular …
Evans: Senator, for the officers not to be misrepresented or confused, are you saying the DPP has failed to respond to questions?
Heffernan: No. I will have to check.
Chair: Do you have the numbers of those questions that have not been answered?
Heffernan: I will get the secretariat to dig them out. I will deal with that later, if you do not mind. I want to go back to the principle of knowledge and the role of the DPP’s office, given recent experiences. This particular person, this judge, sat in judgment of a father who was found guilty of interfering with his own daughter, including the insertion of a rifle barrel. The court proceedings were suppressed. This is a judge whose has been recorded in police intelligence as having picked up kids in the toilets opposite a college in Randwick …
Chair: Senator Heffernan …
Heffernan: Can I just say that I am not naming anyone.
Chair: Order! Senator Heffernan. Do you have questions of the DPP?
Heffernan: I do have a question. I am coming to the question.
Chair: Let us come to the question quickly then.
Heffernan: That judge gave a non-custodial sentence to the father. He found him guilty and sent him back to the matrimonial home. As the DPP federal, do you think that is a fair thing? Do you think that was a reasonable judgment?
Craigie: It is not appropriate for me ever to comment on the free exercise of a judicial discretion, let alone in a state matter …
Heffernan: I did not say what jurisdiction it was in.
Craigie: It would not have been a Commonwealth offence in any event, and it is simply totally inappropriate for me to comment on a matter of that nature.
Heffernan: All right. Thank you very much.