Port Arthur Massacre
PORT ARTHUR UPDATE
In the aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre, government went to great lengths to ignore or suppress all evidence suggesting that the official story of the day was unsubstantiated rubbish. Nowhere is this more evident than in the case of Wendy Scurr and husband Graeme, residents of the Tasman Peninsula, who with others fought to bring very serious distortions of the massacre to the attention of government and media, but were ignored. This report includes information Wendy, Graeme, and several of their colleagues are determined that all Australians should know about: Critical information the Tasmanian Government,and several bureaucrats, are equally determined will never see the light of day.
Wendy Scurr is a forthright lady with a sound track record of helping others at the "sharp end" of ambulance operations. During her twenty years with the St Johns Ambulance, and ten years with the Tasman Ambulance Service, as a volunteer ambulance officer, Wendy has seen and done just about everything, attending accidents and incidents so gruesome most people would prefer not to be given full details. As one of the first Port Arthur staff members to enter the Broad Arrow Cafe after the massacre, the carnage came as a shock, but Wendy's extensive prior experience enabled her to cope admirably with the injured and the dead.
Wendy Scurr also thinks and reacts like lightning. Within minutes of hearing the shooting start in the Broad Arrow Cafe, she rushed into the nearby information office and placed a call to police headquarters in Hobart. Not amused by initial police reluctance to believe she was telling the truth, Wendy simply shoved the handset outside the doorway and told them to listen to the shots over the phone. Police logged her call at 1.32 pm, a point of considerable importance later in this report.
It is obvious that anyone with the ability to react so quickly and pass information so accurately would be a prime asset to the police who swarmed over Port Arthur later in the day. Knowing that Wendy made that first critical telephone call and then entered the Broad Arrow Cafe to help the injured should have drawn the police to her like a magnet, but curiously did not do so. She offered the police additional information about the sequence of events but says her interview was abruptly terminated. On 15th October 1996 Wendy received a letter from the Director of Public Prosecutions stating she would not be required to give evidence at the trial of Martin Bryant, though it is hard to imagine anyone better placed to provide an accurate account of events that day.
It was the start of a long frustrating battle to get some of the more controversial aspects of the massacre out into the open, a battle Wendy, Graeme, and several others initially lost because of government determination to adhere to the "official line" agreed with the media. That official line included the gunman being inside the Broad Arrow Cafe for 90 seconds rather than the four to five minutes Wendy and her colleagues counted, but excluded the fact that several people were shot dead behind a door that would not open. The official line also excluded the fact that the only two policemen on the Tasman Peninsula were decoyed to a remote location just before the massacre started. And what about the startling news that out of the 20 fatalities in the Broad Arrow Cafe, 19 died from the effects of a shot to the head, fired from the gunman's right hip without benefit of a laser sight? Excluded of course, because the government would be unable to stop the avalanche of public comment on this impossible performance by an untrained left-handed novice like Martin Bryant.
The only personnel available to stop or interrupt the slaughter were two policemen, one stationed in Nubeena 11 kilometers from the Port Arthur site, (map) and the other at Dunalley, a small town to the north with a swing bridge capable of isolating the Tasman Peninsula from the rest of Tasmania. Shortly before the massacre both policemen were sent to the coal mines near Saltwater River, an isolated location on the extreme western side of the Tasman Peninsula, in response to an anonymous caller reporting a large stash of heroin. On arrival they found only glass jars full of soap powder, and reported this via the police radio net.
A harmless time consuming prank perhaps? No. Reliable sources in Hobart state that this was the only drugs decoy ever attempted on the Tasman Peninsula since police records began, and meaningfully point out that leaving glass jars of fresh soap powder was a very professional touch that backfired. Why would anyone assume the soap powder was heroin and place an emergency call to the police without checking the contents first? And why did the caller insist on anonymity? Graeme Scurr makes the valid point that it would be hard to select a more suitable remote location if specifically decoying the two policemen away from the Port Arthur historic site and Dunalley. A single glance at a map of the Tasman Peninsula proves his observation to be absolutely correct.
Within minutes of the two policemen reporting their position at the coal mines, the shooting began in the Broad Arrow Cafe. Wendy Scurr made her call to police headquarters at 1.32 PM, and there was then a short but understandable time lag before the police comprehended the sheer magnitude of the situation at Port Arthur and ordered their Tasman colleagues to proceed to the crime scene.
It is unlikely they left the coal mines before 1.36 PM and were then faced with a 30 minute drive to Port Arthur. By the time the officers arrived the operation was over, and both men were then pinned down by erratic gunfire from Seascape.
There was another sound operational reason for the decoy. Wendy Scurr is familiar with the emergency plan for the area and says that in the event of a major incident, the swing bridge at Dunalley would be closed to traffic, to prevent more vehicles straying onto the Peninsula and causing complications.
It is a sensible plan, and the command to operate the swing bridge and isolate the Peninsula would normally first be directed through the police officer at Dunalley. But once the bridge was closed to traffic, it would also prevent anyone leaving the Peninsula, including those involved in executing the massacre at Port Arthur. However, with the Dunalley policeman pinned down by erratic gunfire at Seascape, the bridge remained open to traffic after the massacre, and several people are known to have left Port Arthur and escaped across that swing bridge before the police could stop them. To this day their identities remain a mystery.
One of the most serious disputes centred on how long the gunman stayed in the Broad Arrow Cafe. Wendy Scurr and several colleagues were the best placed to make an accurate time estimate but they were repeatedly rebuffed. Why? Would it really matter if the gunman was there for four or five minutes rather than 90 seconds? Well, yes it would if trying to reinforce the absurd "official line'' that an intellectually-impaired invalid with a tested IQ of 66 and severely limited cognitive functions was the man on the trigger. People with intellectual disabilities are not known for their tactical skills, tending instead to move from one task to the next in an unbroken sequence. Only a professional would wait until the coast was clear before leaving the Cafe.
About the last thing that any professional would do is risk being tripped over outside the Broad Arrow Cafe by a large crowd of nervous tourists blocking his escape route. We know that the gunman was traveling light with only two 30-round magazines for the Colt AR15. He had already fired 29 rounds in the Broad Arrow Cafe, leaving only 31, far too few rounds to reliably carve a path through a large undisciplined mob of unpredictable panic-stricken tourists. A professional gunman would also calculate that if he left the cafe too soon, he might accidentally be filmed by one of the many amateur video cameras in use at Port Arthur that day.
The risks were too high and so the gunman waited for the right moment to leave the cafe, with the Tasmanian Government and media later helping to cover up this embarrassing time lag by repeatedly ignoring Wendy Scurr and her colleagues, and by deciding they were not required to appear in the Supreme Court as witnesses.
Was Wendy Scurr taking a wild stab in the dark with her time estimate? No she was not. Everything at Port Arthur ran like clockwork, especially the guided tours. The staff were punctual to the point of obsession and never left the assembly point outside the information office and cafe after the precise departure time.
When the shooting started there were about 70 tourists still waiting for their tour, which made the time 1.29 PM at the latest.
Wendy's call to the police was logged three minutes later at 1.32 PM. Then she went outside to look for cover in the bush behind the buildings. This took at least another minute, giving a minimum total elapsed time of four minutes, and more likely five. As several other colleagues present on the day also attest, the elapsed time was much longer than the "official" 90 seconds.
It was not until most of the milling tourists had dispersed from the area that the gunman emerged from the cafe, firing snap shots to keep the few remaining tourist's heads (and video cameras) down while he ran towards his next targets in the coach park. The gunman's professional tactics worked exactly as intended, and the only amateur video claiming to show "Bryant" at Port Arthur that day, has been scientifically proven a deliberate forgery.
Unfortunately, Wendy and her colleagues' determined stance did not sit well with the official line being promoted by the Tasmanian Government and media, and steps were taken to include the matter in: "An Inquiry by the Director of Public Prosecutions into The Door at the Broad Arrow Cafe and Related Matters." Where the critical elapsed time is concerned the DPP addresses the time the gunman was in the cafe shooting [based on amateur video audio], but does not address the possibility that the gunman may have lingered for other reasons. Though part of Wendy's claims in particular are included verbatim in the body of the report, she is not mentioned by name, although other witnesses favoring the official line are. No doubt such a pointed omission is quite legal, but it nonetheless seems most discourteous.
The locked door behind which many people died is the main topic of the report, which fails to reach any convincing conclusions due to an overwhelming mass of conflicting data. On the balance of probability it seems likely the door failed to open because it was in poor condition, but unfortunately no-one can prove in absolute scientific terms that the door was not deliberately tampered with on the day of the massacre. The expert locksmith employed by the Inquiry to examine the door lock was unable to do so with the lock correctly in place, because someone unfortunately ordered the partial demolition of the Broad Arrow Cafe, including removal of the suspect door, before the Inquiry commenced.
There is one ambiguity in the report where the DPP states: "I was briefed by the police about the status of the doorway on the afternoon of the 28th April 1996 and informed that the door was locked for security purposes against petty theft." This sentence either means that the DPP was briefed by the police during the afternoon of the massacre itself, or that the DPP received a briefing at a later date referring to events on the 28th April. In an attempt to exclude the possibility of direct political contact with the police on the afternoon of the massacre, I called the office of the DPP at 11.05 am on 13 November 1997 and asked for clarification of this single point. His staff said the DPP was out to lunch, repeated my telephone number back to me, and promised to pass my request to him when he got back. For whatever reason, the Director of Public Prosecutions did not return my call.
A copy of his report was forwarded to Wendy and Graeme Scurr with a covering letter including the request: "It would be appreciated if you would treat the report as confidential." Why? The Inquiry was conducted in order to clarify matters for anyone concerned about events at Port Arthur. Much the same thing happened to the court transcripts of Bryant's pre-sentencing hearing in the Tasmanian Supreme Court, which are extremely hard to obtain.
Despite Federal Members assuring their constituents that the information is freely available in Hobart, that is not the case.
New South Wales farmer David Barton wrote to the Tasmanian Supreme Court asking for a copy of the transcripts, and was told in part:- "The information provided to you by Mr Truss [A Federal MP] is not correct ... a transcript may only be provided to a person who, not being a party, has 'sufficient interest'. Should you wish to correspond further I ask you to explain to me why you contend you have 'sufficient interest'... " This is not encouraging for those who wish to know what happened at Bryant's pre-sentencing sentencing hearing in November 1996. The events at Port Arthur had a run-on effect on the injured, on relatives of the dead, and on hundreds of thousands of sporting shooters, most of whom would much prefer full disclosure.
a direct result of this excessive secrecy there are very few Australians
aware of the awesome performance demonstrated by the gunman in the Broad
Arrow Cafe, with the normal excuse being the politically correct line
that disclosing full details would lead to more distress on the part
of the relatives of the dead. Unfortunately, this is also an extremely
effective way of silencing dissent on the part of those who might take
a very different view of events in the Broad Arrow Cafe. All Australians
have the right to know what happened that day, and a brief summary follows.
It is a very unpleasant matter, and those readers with a weak stomach
or a nervous disposition are advised not to read beyond this point.
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING MAY DISTURB SOME READERS
The gunman rose from his chair at one of the tables in the Broad Arrow Cafe,removed the AR15 and spare magazine from a sports bag, immediately killing Mr Yee Ng with a shot to the upper neck, and Miss Chung with a shot to the head.
Swiveling on the spot and firing from the right hip, the gunman fired at Mr Sargent who was wounded in the head, then killed Miss Scott with a shot to the head. The gunman continued through the Broad Arrow, next killing Mr Nightingale with a shot to the upper neck and Mr Bennet with a shot to the upper neck, with the latter bullet passing straight through and hitting Mr Ray Sharpe in the head with fatal results. Next Mr Kevin Sharpe was killed by a shot to the head and was also hit in the arm, with shrapnel and bone fragments from the second intermediate strike on Mr Kevin Sharpe then apparently wounding Mr Broome, and possibly Mr and Mrs Fidler.
Still firing from the hip the gunman swiveled and killed Mr Mills and Mr Kistan with single shots to the head, with shrapnel and skull fragments from those shots apparently wounding Mrs Walker, Mrs Law, and Mrs Barker. Again the gunman turned, shooting and wounding Mr Colyer in the neck, before swivelling and killing Mr Howard with a shot to the head. Next he shot Mrs Howard in the neck and head with fatal effect. The gunman turned back, killing Miss Loughton with a shot to the head, and wounding Mrs Loughton in the back. Moving towards the rear of the building the gunman shot Mr Elliot in the head, causing serious injuries.
ELAPSED TIME 15 SECONDS...
The above sequence is the best the forensic scientists could deduce from the crime scene and there may be small variations, but in the final analysis they matter little. What does matter is that at this precise juncture the gunman had killed twelve victims and wounded a further ten in 15 seconds flat, using only 17 rounds fired from the right hip. Such a staggering performance is on a par with the best combat shooters in the world, and two retired counter-terrorist marksmen ruefully admitted they would be hard pressed to equal such awesome speed and accuracy. Both agreed that attributing such a performance to an intellectually-impaired invalid with an IQ of 66 and severely limited cognitive functions, amounts to nothing less than certifiable insanity on the part of Bryant's accusers. In military terms a fatal shot to the upper neck counts as a head shot, so for all practical purposes those who died during the first 15 seconds were killed by head shots fired with lethal accuracy from the gunman's hip.
Next the very professional gunman moved towards the area of the souvenir shop and killed Nicole Burgess with a shot to the head, then shot Mrs Elizabeth Howard through the chest and arm with fatal consequences. Swivelling around,the gunman killed Mr Lever with a shot to the head, and killed Mrs Neander with another shot to the head. Temporarily distracted, he fired back into the cafe area and wounded Mr Crosswell. Turning again he shot Mr Winter twice, killing him with a shot to the head. On his way back to the souvenir area the gunman wounded Mr Olson, then proceeded to the kill-zone near the locked door where he killed Mr Jary, Pauline Masters, and Mr Nash, all of them with single shots to the head.
At this stage the gunman had killed twenty and wounded another twelve with a total of 29 rounds. He then stopped firing and changed magazines in a most professional way. The magazine fitted to the AR15 held 30 rounds total, so by changing magazines after firing only 29 shots the gunman ensured that he still had a live round in the breech in case anyone moved, enabling him to kill that person instantly if caught unawares. Such professionalism is well known to counter-terrorist personnel. Critically, the gunman then waited motionless in the Broad Arrow Cafe with a fully loaded magazine, which brings us back to the differential between the verified time estimate of four to five minutes, and the inaccurate official claim of 90 seconds.
It is easy to see why government and media continued to rebut Wendy Scurr and her colleagues' insistent claims about the elapsed time and the door that refused to open. Either or both had the potential to open a Pandora's Box with catastrophic results, for there was no way the Tasmanian Government could openly and honestly investigate these matters without running the risk of "accidentally" proving that its villain of choice, Martin Bryant, was innocent of all charges. In addition, the drugs decoy and the stunning accuracy of the gunman in the Broad Arrow had to be swept under the carpet, before informed members of the public had the chance to realize the "lone nut" massacre was in reality a highly planned paramilitary operation with geopolitical motives, designed from the outset to undermine Australian national security.
In the view of this author, and others, the 5.56-mm Colt AR15 was deliberately selected for three specific reasons, one of which was its known ability to inflict horrific and highly visual injuries at close range, caused by its low-mass bullets traveling at extreme velocity. The nature of those wounds caused revulsion among police, emergency service workers and medical staff, thereby assisting the immediate drive by anti-gun lobbyists to have all semi-automatic weapons outlawed. As the leader of the National Embalming Team wrote: "Approximately 90% of all deceased persons had severe head trauma. The bullet wound was normally inflicted to the head with the resultant smaller entry wound and larger exit wound. Some of the deceased persons had an entry wound with no exit wound, the result of this was an explosion of the skull..." Despite her thirty years of ambulance experience, Wendy Scurr still remembers being shocked when she accidentally trod on shattered skull fragments, before being confronted with a human brain lying in a bowl of chips.
In the medium to long term the lobbyists and international power brokers will be unable to sustain their claim that Martin Bryant was the villain, because there is simply too much hard evidence proving the "official line" to be a criminal scam. Some American video evidence submitted to the Supreme Court has already been scientifically proven a forgery; deliberately submitted to the court in order to secure the conviction of Martin Bryant on all counts, in the event that he continued to plead "Not Guilty." Due to the seriousness of this offense, copies of the scientific proof have been sent by registered mail to departments which should take active steps to have the material reviewed and struck out of evidence, and then urgently implement strategies to ensure the future integrity of Australian national security.
If steps are not taken, more registered mail copies will be sent to more departments, allowing the author to compile a list of those government departments determined not to take steps to protect Australian national security and the lives of Australian citizens, even when provided with absolute scientific proof that they must do so. Details of the scientific proof itself, and a full list of those Government departments which refuse to take adequate steps to secure the future defense of Australia, will be published in full during late 1998. Anyone willing to help with the expensive printing and registered mail costs, should send a post office money order to me at: 45 Merlin Drive, Carine, Western Australia 6020, made out to "J. Vialls".
All of this is unlikely to worry those lobbyists, public servants, and members of the media who nowadays believe their own propaganda that the police have literally hundreds of eyewitnesses who will step forward in a flash to positively identify Bryant at Port Arthur. Unfortunately for all of the above, Wendy and Graeme Scurr have contacted dozens of key witnesses present at Port Arthur on the day. At the time of going to press, neither had managed to find a single witness prepared to state that he or she could positively identify Martin Bryant either carrying or firing a weapon of any kind at Port Arthur on the 28th April 1996.
Oh dear... The only video positive identification was forged, and all of those eyewitnesses we were told about failed to positively identify Martin Bryant at Port Arthur after all. How can this be? Basically by means of the Tasmanian Government sitting on the real evidence,while pumping vast quantities of misinformation to an eager but thoroughly inept media. There is now also convincing hard evidence that the gun control proposals accepted by Police Ministers in May 1996 were prepared before the massacre, by an ideological senior bureaucrat with United Nations connections. As the truth about the massacre and the predetermined gun controls slowly but surely percolates through the Australian community, the backlash against both Coalition and Labor MPs will be savage. The Australian people will not tolerate being deliberately misled by their own elected representatives, especially on a matter of such overwhelming importance to national security.
Detective writer Arthur Conan-Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes series, once wrote: "When you have ruled out the impossible, then whatever remains, no matter how improbable, is the truth." We know that it was impossible for intellectually-impaired Martin Bryant to suddenly metamorphosize into the lethal equivalent of a highly trained counter-terrorist marksman, so we also know that Martin Bryant was not responsible for the mass murder at Port Arthur.
Though improbable, the truth is that a premeditated operation was launched at Port Arthur with the express intent of murdering sufficient innocent citizens to set a new world record. The motive should be obvious, at least to anyone who has recently watched more than $300 million of taxpayers funds being spent on removing defensive weapons from the hands of Australian citizens.
The author is an independent investigator with thirty years direct experience of international military and oilfield operations.
Footnote: My thanks to Graeme Scurr, who used his full power of attorney to relay Wendy's evidence and supporting documents to me.
Graeme is still striving, as he always has, to achieve justice for the staff at the Port Arthur historic site, now that the fickle media caravan has moved on and forgotten them.
Readers will remember that in the immediate aftermath of the Port Arthur massacre, politicians developed collective verbal diarrhea in the House of Representatives as they joined the feeding frenzy designed to undermine Australian national security by removing defensive weapons from the hands of the public. Nowadays all that has changed, and despite serious questions about the mass murder and the murderers remaining unanswered, the collective verbal sphincter has locked tight, presumably on government orders.
Recently the Federal Member for Wide Bay, Warren Truss, used the letters column of the South Burnett Times to attack my independent investigation into the Port Arthur massacre, which used military science to prove that Martin Bryant was incapable of killing the victims in the Broad Arrow Cafe. In his letter, Mr Truss tried to explain his reasons for refusing to ask questions in the House of Representatives on behalf of his constituents.
So that Truss and other Federal Members can be better informed, and thus able to do their duty to their constituents by asking meaningful questions in the House about the sequence of events at Port Arthur, I am providing these additional critical points:-
Just how much hard scientific proof is required to move a Federal Member into asking questions in the House of Representatives on behalf of his constituents I do not know, but Mr Truss might do well to focus on the last point which deals with tendering false evidence to the courts for the express purpose of securing a conviction. This is an extremely grave offense which (in Western Australia) carries the penalty of strict life imprisonment.
Truss and his colleagues have it in their power as MPs to raise the matter in the House of Representatives, and to demand that it be formally investigated by the Australian Federal Police and ASIO. The inevitable result would be a mistrial because of the false evidence tendered, allowing Martin Bryant to finally have his day in court before his peers, as the law provides.
In the wake of Port Arthur, the Tasmanian Government and Police Service went to great lengths to "fit up" gun dealer Terry Hill as the man who provided Martin Bryant with the weapons alleged to have been used in the massacre. This draconian activity culminated in a civil court case against Hill, seemingly launched by survivor Quin for damages and breach of statutory duty. Active in the case was Roland Brown, solicitor for the Legal Aid Commission and Chairman of the Coalition for Gun Control. On 5th March 1998 the case against Terry Hill was suddenly discontinued.
The treatment Terry Hill has received since 1996 at the hands of the Tasmanian Government and Police Service is horrific. Without a single shred of credible evidence, someone somewhere decided that Hill would be the "fall guy" who provided 'murderer' Martin Bryant with the weapons he allegedly used at Port Arthur.
Terry Hill was first (officially) noticed by the authorities two days after the massacre,when he recognized a picture of Martin Bryant, known to him earlier as Martin RYAN. Doing his duty as a responsible citizen, Hill immediately contacted the police and told them what little he knew about the man.
On 27th March Terry Hill and assistant Greg Peck were working at 'Guns and Ammo' in New Town when Martin Ryan entered with a package wrapped in a towel, presenting the package muzzle-first with the comment "Something is wrong with it." When Hill unwrapped the towel he found that 'it' was a Dutch AR10 assault rifle fitted with a clip containing 15 rounds of high velocity .308 Winchester (7.62-mm NATO) ammunition. Terry Hill worked the action, and watched horrified as another live round ejected from the breech of the weapon.
Martin Bryant a.k.a. Martin Ryan had calmly walked into the store with a fully-loaded and unsafe assault weapon, blissfully unaware he had done anything wrong. His actions that morning demonstrated with chilling clarity that 'Martin' had absolutely no idea how to load, cock, aim, fire, or unload, assault weapons of any kind. But despite his ignorance Martin Bryant presented a license that day in the name of Martin Ryan, correctly endorsed for prohibited and fully automatic weapons. Where Martin Bryant obtained this highly unusual license has never been properly investigated.
Having done his civic duty things went from bad to worse for Terry Hill, and he was later interrogated by Inspector Paine on the suspicion he had supplied the weapons used at Port Arthur.
Inspector Paine was one of only two police officers responsible for interrogating Martin Bryant in Risdon Prison. During his extended interrogation by Inspector Paine, Hill was escorted by lawyer John Avery, the same man who later represented Martin Bryant during the phase of his incarceration when he inexplicably decided to change his plea to guilty.
That the police were determined to pressure Terry Hill into making a false confession was revealed in a letter sent to him by Avery shortly after the interrogation.
In part that letter reads:- "... In a private conversation that was had between the writer and Inspector Paine, Inspector Paine made it abundantly clear that the police have very strong evidence to suggest that you did in fact sell guns to Bryant and unless you are prepared to in effect change your story, they will press on and try to find sufficient evidence to charge you with some offences."
"However, it was also made abundantly clear that the Director of Public Prosecutions is prepared to offer you an indemnity against prosecution if you are prepared to accept that you did sell guns to Bryant ...'' Wisely, Terry Hill was not prepared to plead guilty to a crime he had not committed and subsequently refused to do so. Just days after his refusal Guns and Ammo was raided by the Tasmanian police in a general trawl operation, apparently aimed at trying to find sufficient evidence to charge Terry Hill with some offences. The police scored on some technicalities, Hill and his wife's gun dealer licences were revoked, and their livelihoods destroyed.
For Terry Hill the battle was not yet over. He had refused to tug his forelock or bend his knee to authority and it must have been clear the matter would not end there, which it did not. More than a year later in July 1997 Hill was suddenly served with notice of a court action for damages and breach of statutory duty (for allegedly selling weapons to Bryant), by a Mr Quin, with the plaintiff's case handled by Mr Roland Brown, solicitor and Chairman of the Coalition for Gun Control.
Solicitor Roland Brown became famous long before the massacre for his strange but remarkably prophetic comment on Channel Seven Television, quoted verbatim in 1997 by The Strategy newspaper: "We are going to see a mass shooting in Tasmania of the likes you have seen in Strathfield and Hoddle Street, unless we get national gun control laws." In the months that followed Quin's case against Hill there was a limited amount of adverse publicity, and in November 1997 Quin's lawyers indicated that he would like to back out of the case due to stress. Unfortunately, as shown in documentation supplied to this author by Terry Hill, the Legal Aid Commission and Quin's lawyers were at that time attempting to coerce Hill into paying part or all of Quin's expenses. Had he agreed, Terry Hill would have appeared to be tacitly agreeing that he had a case to answer, which he did not, so the pressure was strenuously resisted.
More months passed, and then on 5th March 1998 an official notice of discontinuation was filed in the courts, with agreement reached that Terry Hill would pay none of Quin's expenses at all. After months of intense stress for both his family and himself, gun dealer Terry Hill was once again his own man, though his personal legal fees ensured he was considerably poorer than he had been at the start of the contrived legal action.
So what can Terry Hill do now? Despite the fact that he has never been charged with any offence relating to Port Arthur, the police refuse to restore his gun dealer licence on the grounds that he, and his wife Dorothy, are not suitable people to handle firearms.
This is rubbish, easily proved by the fact that shortly after the gun dealer licences were revoked, the Tasmanian police renewed both of their personal firearms licences without question. This is of course impossible if the Tasmanian police really believe Hill and his wife are not suitable people to handle firearms.
Evidently Terry Hill is still being punished for his refusal to provide the police with fabricated evidence.
Policemen and politicians are not (yet) above the law, and it is clear that Terry Hill must now be given his gun dealers licence back quickly and unconditionally. The legal letter from Avery to Hill, and the sudden raid on Guns and Ammo which followed it, provide convincing proof that he was indirectly threatened by police in an attempt to acquire a false confession. Now that threat has failed, it is long past time for the Tasmanian Police Service to reverse its appalling behaviour. If it refuses to do so, Terry Hill should force the issue via the Ombudsman.
In the run-up to this sordid affair, it is fair to ask why Martin Bryant was sent into Guns and Ammo with a defective Dutch AR10. Is there any possible connection between this incident and his use as a patsy at Port Arthur by a person or persons as yet unknown? If we examine the obscure Dutch AR10 carefully, it becomes readily apparent that there might be a very tangible connection.
Whoever planned the massacre must have known there was a slight chance that patsy Martin Bryant might survive the slaughter, in which case a contingency plan was needed to link Martin Bryant to at least one of the weapons used at Port Arthur, and in turn link that same weapon to a known gun dealer as the 'supplier.'
The planners already knew that Bryant was severely intellectually impaired, thus a generally similar weapon would suffice for the contingency, provided that this 'similar' weapon could be linked to Terry Hill as the alleged supplier. Enter the Dutch AR10, which is a full-bore (7.62-mm) version of the Colt AR15, with the latter claimed by police to be the weapon used in the Broad Arrow Cafe to kill twenty and wound another twelve. The sleight-of-hand would lie in convincing Martin Bryant that he and the Colt AR15 were in Terry Hill's shop 'Guns and Ammo' at the same time.
Apart from minor technical differences and overall bulk, the AR10 looks identical to the AR15 at a distance, which was exactly the view Bryant had of the weapon when interrogated by Inspectors Paine and Warren on the 4th July 1996. So what was Bryant identifying, or what did he think he was identifying? Large tracts of the interrogation were censored at Bryant's pre-sentencing hearing so it is impossible to be certain about most points, but there is no ambiguity about who named the AR15 for the first time on the interrogation tape. It was not Martin Bryant.
The police interrogator says "Now this is a ahh, point two two three Remington", to which Bryant replies: "It's a mess isn't it." Still holding the weapon at a distance the police interrogator continues "Or a Colt AR15", to which Bryant replies: "Yeah, Colt." So courtesy of the police interrogator, Bryant identifies the weapon as a Colt AR15, at a distance where it would have looked exactly the same as the Dutch AR10 he knew he handled in Terry Hill's store on 27th March, one month before the massacre.
It seems most unlikely the interrogators arranged this in advance, because at that stage they probably did not know about the Dutch AR10 Bryant surrendered to Terry Hill. But intentional or not the result was the same: Martin Bryant damned himself for ever by identifying the Colt AR15 used in the Cafe, when in reality he probably thought he was identifying the Dutch AR10 he had handled in Hill's store on 27 March. But he only did so after highly suggestive prompting by the interrogators, both of whom knew very well that Bryant was an intellectually impaired invalid.
That the interrogation transcripts should be censored at the pre-sentencing hearing is inexcusable. Just a single (censored) word, sentence or paragraph could have changed the entire context of the interrogation, and probably would have done if played to the court in its entirety. Why else should it be censored if suppression was not the intent? The sheer extent of the censoring is horrifying and leaves out huge quantities of information. Pages 1-9 are deleted, pages 18 and 23 are deleted, then pages 32, 35, 40, 43, 78, 79, 80 and 81 are deleted. After this pages 91 to 98 and then pages 116 to 141. From page 145 onwards the rest of the transscript is deleted in toto.
It is not possible to determine how many pages followed 145 but if we assume the interrogation ended at page 150, we get a better feel for the level of deception in the courtroom. Together, the deleted (censored) pages amount to 55 out of 150, or something like one third of the entire interrogation transcript was with-held from the court. Worse still, the prosecution then explained "... the quality of sound and vision are not particularly good, there was some breakdown with the recording facility and the tape has been reconstructed using the audio from an audio tape which was recorded at the same time as the original video, so there is some lack of synchronization at times and the video is not particularly good but I would now seek your Honour's leave to have this interview played to the court."
Which interview was the prosecution referring to exactly? Fully one-third of the continuous interrogation transcript had been censored i.e. excluded from evidence, and there were breakdowns in audio and sync throughout the remainder. Without fully verified continuity, Bryant's voice could have been edited-in to say almost anything anywhere on the tape, a possibility that would have ensured the video was thrown out as corrupt evidence by any other court in the western world. But not in Tasmania...
Defence lawyer Mr Avery seemed unconcerned. When asked by the judge if he had any submissions regarding the editing and substitution of some of the audio tape involved, Mr Avery responded: "I was not aware of it but I am not troubled by what's proposed, your Honour." With all of the fuss and confusion over the proposed court action it is easy to miss the most important aspect of this case. If the threats directed against Terry Hill had succeeded in intimidating him into making a false confession, the Tasmanian Government would now have patsy number one (Bryant) in jail, and patsy number two (Hill) labelled as the supplier of the weapons used at Port Arthur: All very neat and tidy. But Hill did not supply the weapons used at Port Arthur, leaving the slack Tasmanian police with a major headache.
The real supplier of the weapons, and indeed the real shooter(s) at Port Arthur must now be accurately identified. If this is all too much for the police in Hobart, a Royal Commissioner must be appointed to do the job for them.
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE?
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