AusGov: Q & A on police and JRH attack, Balibo

> >
> >
> > also http://www.aph.gov.au/hansard/senate/commttee/S10849.pdf
> >
> > COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA
> >
> > Proof Committee Hansard
> >
> > SENATE
> >
> > STANDING COMMITTEE ON LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL AFFAIRS
> >
> > ESTIMATES
> >
> > (Budget Estimates)
> >
> > MONDAY, 26 MAY 2008
> >
> > CANBERRA
> >
> > …
> >
> > Senator NETTLE—If you could check that for me, that would be
> > appreciated. I have some questions that I want to ask about the
> > Australian Federal Police cooperation with East Timor in relation to
> > the shooting of President Ramos Horta. Could you outline for us any
> > update on what the current status is in terms of the cooperation
> > with East Timor, particularly in relation to two matters: one, the
> > phone calls that were made by Alfredo Reinado to Australia prior to
> > the shooting of Mr Horta; and, two, the bank accounts in Darwin,
> > about which there has been much commentary in the press?
> >
> >
> > Mr Keelty—I would just point out that this is an ongoing
> > investigation in East Timor being conducted by the
> > Prosecutor-General. The AFP involvement forms two levels. The first
> > level is those AFP officers who are part of the United Nations team
> > attached to the investigation. The second level is those inquiries
> > that you identified that may be conducted here. My difficulty is
> > that the investigation is underway and it is at a clearly important
> > phase of the investigation. I do not think it would be appropriate
> > for me to describe what we have been doing and the outcome of what
> > we have been doing whilst it is still current.
> >
> > Senator NETTLE—Is it correct that the AFP is currently cooperating
> > with the Timorese prosecutor in terms of providing information on
> > both those two matters—the phone calls and the bank accounts?
> >
> > Mr Keelty—Yes.
> >
> > Senator NETTLE—Therehas been commentary in relation to how that
> > cooperation would occur. In particular there has been comment about
> > the need to sign a mutual assistance agreement—I think that is the
> > terminology that is used—prior to that cooperation occurring. Does
> > that impact on the AFP’s ability to cooperate, or does it relate
> > more to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade?
> >
> > Mr Keelty—If I can talk in hypotheticals rather than the actual
> > case, it depends to what use the material that has been sought is
> > going to be put. I am not talking about the East Timor case. If the
> > material being sought is to be used in a prosecution, then it has
> > to somehow be admissible in the prosecution within the other
> > jurisdiction. So in the normal course, that would be done through a
> > mutual legal assistance request, which would be handled by the
> > department. There are occasions when there is police-to-police
> > cooperation. The difficulty with the police-to-police cooperation
> > is that it does not always render the material that is gathered as
> > admissible in the other prosecution. I cannot put it any more fully
> > than that. In a hypothetical sense, I cannot even advise you
> > whether there is a request in place or not. I am talking about
> > hypothetical situations. If mutual legal assistance requests are
> > made, we cannot discuss them.
> >
> > Senator NETTLE—Okay. Can you say whether the cooperation that you
> > were talking about, which you are having with the Timorese
> > prosecutor, is for evidence or just police cooperation?
> >
> > Mr Keelty—We are trying to cooperate, and we are cooperating, to
> > ensure that the prosecutor has all the material available to him
> > that we can obtain in the most appropriate course. I do not want to
> > elaborate any further.
> >
> > Senator NETTLE—In the media there have been statements by President
> > Ramos Horta that Australia is not cooperating to the extent that he
> > would like to see. Would you care to comment on that?
> >
> > Mr Keelty—No, because it is a newspaper report. I have not spoken to
> > President Ramos Horta on this issue. I obviously have had a
> > relationship with him through the last 10 years. We have provided a
> > lot of assistance to the President in terms of close personal
> > protection whilst he has been hospitalised in Australia, but as far
> > as I am aware the relationship between the AFP and President Ramos
> > Horta is a very positive one and, as you know, we are providing
> > resources to the United Nations mission in East Timor. Prior to the
> > shooting in December last year I had very positive discussions with
> > President Ramos Horta about bilateral development of the police in
> > Timor-Leste, and that is now going to occur through the budget
> > announcements last week. I would not like to comment on the
> > veracity or otherwise of the newspaper reports.
> >
> > Senator NETTLE—Can you say whether the AFP has frozen bank accounts
> > in Australia in association with this investigation?
> >
> > Mr Keelty—That is an operational question. I would not be able to
> > answer that.
> >
> > Senator NETTLE—Is the AFP investigating individuals who are claimed
> > to have fled to Australia following the shooting of Mr Horta?
> >
> > Mr Keelty—Again, I cannot answer the question. Suffice to say that
> > we giving the East Timorese authorities—the prosecutor-general, the
> > East Timorese police and the United Nations our fullest cooperation
> > and assistance where we can.
> >
> > Senator NETTLE—I want to ask you about another East Timor matter. I
> > understand the Australian Federal Police is working on a brief in
> > relation to the Balibo Five matter. Is that correct?
> >
> > Mr Keelty—I can confirm that we have received a request from the
> > Attorney-General’s Department in relation to the death of Brian
> > Peters. We are obviously working on that request. There are a
> > number of legal issues involved in this matter. Again, I do not
> > think it is appropriate for me to take it any further, other than
> > to say that we are working with the department on the request.
> >
> > Senator NETTLE—Is that a request for the department or for the DPP?
> >
> > Mr Keelty—My briefing tells me it is for the department, which makes
> > sense to me because, again, it is a matter where jurisdiction is
> > founded elsewhere.
> >
> > Senator NETTLE—Can you explain that to me?
> >
> > Mr Keelty—Because the events are alleged to have occurred in a
> > foreign country, there are a lot of issues about the gathering of
> > evidence and whether it is possible for any prosecution to take
> > place.
> >
> > Mr Cornall—Just to add to that, the department is responsible for
> > the processing of requests for mutual assistance in criminal
> > matters. We are the central agency for dealing with those requests
> > both to and from Australia but, as Mr Keelty has pointed out, under
> > that legislation we are required not to talk about those requests
> > publicly.
> >
> >
> > Senator NETTLE—I amtrying to get my head around this. As a result of
> > the coronial inquiry that occurred in New South Wales, I thought
> > that the next stage was for the DPP to make a decision about
> > whether or not they wanted to pursue charges in Australia rather
> > than in East Timor. Is that correct?
> >
> > Mr Cornall—Can I ask that you wait until the criminal justice
> > division is here later today. It is a level of detail I do not have
> > in my brief and I do not want to give you inaccurate information.
> > But if it is to do with mutual assistance requests for information
> > to support the decision whether to prosecute then we do not talk
> > about mutual assistance requests on the public record, and that has
> > been our position, which this committee has respected, I think, for
> > many years.
> >
> > Senator NETTLE—So the mutual assistance relates to whether the
> > prosecution was occurring in another country or is it broader than
> > that?
> >
> > Mr Cornall—It is a process by which countries are able to obtain
> > from another country in a formal way information which could be
> > used in a criminal prosecution—if that was the decision that was
> > made—and in a way that is admissible in evidence, which was the
> > point Commissioner Keelty was making: that some police cooperation
> > does not result in information that could be admissible in a court
> > of law.
> >
> > Senator NETTLE—So if the DPP were to make a prosecution in
> > Australia in relation to the Balibo Five matter, would that
> > necessarily include a mutual assistance component to it because it
> > related to matters in another country?
> >
> > Mr Cornall—I do not have the details of this matter before me, but
> > the point I am trying to make is that a prosecution in Australia may
> > require evidence to be obtained in another country and the way we
> > would do that is through a mutual assistance reques

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