This page is dedicated to police whistleblowers in Western Australia 1975-1995 who bravely tried to expose corruption and were persecuted for doing so.
Breaking the code
The brave cops
WITNESS BETRAYAL = The Petrelis Affair
UNDER THE RADAR - Drugs and dogs
WHERE VICE RULES - Crime gets organised
DANGEROUS DELVING - Bikies and business
GOLDEN TROUGH - Gold and money laundering
EUCLA INCIDENT - Tell it straight
DIAMONDS ARE A COPS BEST FRIEND - The Argyle Diamond incident
PROTECTION RACKET - gambling and grog
The most devastating consequence of the code of silence is that it prevents the vast majority of honest officers from doing what they inwardly want to do: help keep their Department corruption free. It is not surprising that the honest cop wants corrupt cops off the job. The consequences of corruption for honest cops are grave: it taints their reputations, destroys their morale and most important, jeopardises their very safety.
Mollen Commission NY 1994
Sergeant Allen Thompson
Andrew Petrelis was taken into witness protection in 1995 after agreeing to give evidence in a drug trial against Martin Rippingale and John Kizon.
Sgt Allen Thompson was tasked to watch him and relocate him to Queensland. Petrelis's identity had already been compromised and Thompson told senior officers it was not safe for either of them.
Opposition legal affairs minister, Sue Walker said in 2006 under parliamentary privilege there was a contract on Petrelis's life.
"The state sent him to Queensland knowing Mr Kizon and Mr Rippingale knew his identity, knowing they had intimidated his family, knowing that police officers had accessed the mainframe computer, discovered his identity and given it to Mr Kizon and Mr Rippingale, and knowing that he still had the same name."
WA Police paid for Petrelis’s airfare and Thompson was to set him up with new identity and was to stay with him 24 hour - 7 days a week. Even though Petrelis’s new identity had not come through, Thompson was instructed to return.
Petrelis did not feel safe and Thompson advised he should not be left. "Andrew was treated like he was having a temper tantrum," Thompson said.
"There was no one with him in Queensland, when I left him he still did not have secure accommodation I was told “it’s not a junket” and ordered to return to WA despite the relocation not being complete."
Detective Murray Shadgett was not in the Witness protection program and had known links to senior organised crime identities. He accessed details on Petrelis.
Thompson continued to push for more protections for his witness. The police Sergeant found two small-calibre bullets holes in the rear screen of a dual-cab he owned at the time. He believes it was a warning.
Petrelis crouching and naked body was found in the Caloundra flat his parents rented for him three days after the right hander died from a heroin overdose administered into his right arm. .
A syringe was on the floor next to him, but the needle was never found. It was September 1995 one month before he was due to give evidence.
Sergeant Thompson was devastated."I was prepared for the worst although when I got the news I was shattered as my son was the same age as Andrew at the time (25)."
Thompson believed it was murder and said so. He broke the Code and was vilified for doing so. He pushed to bring those responsible to account.
Kizon and Rippingale were acquitted at their drug trial.
The Queensland coroner ruled Petrelis death a self inflicted overdose.
Sgt Allen Thompson thought otherwise and said so.
Thompson was twice interviewed by Internal Investigations for alleged misuse of the Police Computer and theft both “trumped up unsubstantiated allegations” to get rid of him, which ultimately succeeded.
Two officers were later found to have inappropriately accessed Petrelis's information, Kevin Davy and Murray Shadgett. Both officers were later dismissed.
The family and Thompson were not satisifed. 2003 Kennedy Royal Commission into Police Corruption also looked at the Petrelis overdose death finding there wasn't enough evidence to call it murder.
The devastated Petrelis family continued to speak out against the system they labelled a "joke".
There are no rewards for speaking out against organised crime and corruption.
Pushing up against corruption and organised crime has taken an enormous toll on Sgt Thompson. He's lost his family, his home, and has suffered from alcohol abuse and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and now has a serious heart condition..
I asked Thompson to reflect on his decision to call out the Petrelis matter and how he feels about it today.
His words say it all, " I have no regrets, but I've been left absolutely vulnerable, broke, alone, abandoned, threatened, anxious and scared for me and my family, most of all my family.
"On the day the Royal Commission was announced some person tried to abduct my eldest daughter."
It may not be related. Of course, trying to prove it is related is an impossible, expensive and wearing task which isn't worth pursuing. Moneyed up criminals know that. They are the criminal lawyers best clients. .
As for Kizon, despite numerous allegations, and millions of dollars spent trying to get to the bottom of his wealth and networks, he remains wealthy and bulletproof.
That's justice in WA.
Under the Radar
Deputy Commissioner Frank Peters
When Deputy Commissioner Frank Peters complained to the Commissioner of Police Brian Bull in 1989 about the failure to investigate large scale drug importations to remote airstrips in the remote north of Western Australia, an investigation was launched. Not into the illegal drug flights, but instead into the Deputy Commissioner.
His office, car and home were bugged and he was put under constant surveillance.
As one police officer said, "you could not go into Mr Peters' office without a can of insecticide because of all the bugs in there".
Mr Peters explained to me in 2003 why the dogs were set on him. "A surveillance officer gave me information that there were planes from Asia flying under the radar to a remote airfield and three or four hours later they would fly back out in the same direction. They flew them in that low that they couldn’t be detected even by the jumbo jets flying from Asia”, Peters complained that nothing was being done to investigate this serious allegation.
The Commissioner, Brian Bull didn't take kindly to criticism and unleashed the internal affairs unit on Peters despite there being no allegation of corruption against the 39-year career cop.
In the end Peters was forced to go public and The West Australian recorded the bizarre level of surveillance into Peters. The Commissioner had no choice but to admit he was spying on Peters for the wrong reasons.
Peters said. "If you want to speak out against a system that is wrong and it's able for that system to suppress you by being dogged and your phone bugged, well I say God help the police force and God help society.
"No way am I corrupt and no way am I bloody well dishonest," he told Leroy Betti of the The West Australian in 1989. " If I don't speak out the end sufferers are the police force which in turn directly affects the community."
Where Vice Rules
Superintendent Harold ' Spike' Daniels
'Spike' Daniels warned of dangerous levels of corruption in the WA Police Force in the early 70's. After the murder of Shirley Finn in 1975 he called for a Royal Commission into corruption but the Commission called later that year, would instead be into his state of mind.
Read his story here
Diamonds are a cop's best friend
Detective Senior Sergeant Robin Thoy
The Argyle Diamond Mine in Western Australia's far north is the world’s biggest diamond producer by volume and produces 90% of the world's supply of pink diamonds. After suspect pink diamonds turned up in Antwerp in the late eighties, Argyle Diamonds asked police to investigate. Detective Senior Sergeant Robin Thoy was appointed to head the initial inquiry.
Since retired, Detective Thoy told the 2003 Kennedy Royal Commission into Police Corruption that senior officers tried to shut down the inquiry. He alleged a senior officer told him “they’re not going to kill you or anything, but Robin, you have got to write it off. Just write it off. They’re going to make you ill, or you’re going to get ill. Just write it off and it can’t hurt you. Or words to that effect.’
Thoy said that his filing cabinet was broken into and tape-recordings he made with senior officers were removed. In his closing report he recommended the association between Mine Superviser, Barry Crimmins, a former Victorian police officer and crime figure, Lindsay Roddan should be investigated. He also recommended further investigation into the Western Australian Diamond Trust. He complained of a concerted effort to undermine him and then left on stress leave.
Argyle complained to police who informed the company there would be no further inquiries and Sgt Thoy was dumped from CIB and transferred to Midland for allegedly “paranoid behaviour when he believed everybody was acting corruptly”.
Persistent complaints from Argyle lead to another inquiry this time headed by Det. Snr Sgt Jeff Noye. During the investigation Noye regularly met with Lindsay Roddan in cafes and on one occasion handed him a report relating to the testing of the diamonds. It was alleged other police documents were also handed to Roddan by Noye.
Lynnette Crimmins former wife of mine supervisor, Barry Crimmins later testified Noye was regularly in the company of Lindsay Roddan and she recalls him discussing a pay-off of cash and diamonds. The case was again written off within a year, with Noye declaring that “I can categorically state that at no future time will any evidence be disclosed that will provably show that the diamonds claimed by (Roddan’s company) were illicitly removed from the control of the complainant”. Sgt Noye was later charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice. The case was dropped by the Director of Public Prosecutions a few weeks before the trial in 1998.
The following investigations revealed a conspiracy between Argyle mine superintendent, Barry Crimmins, Lindsay Roddan and police, involving systematic organised theft from the mid- 1980’s until 1990. Barry Crimmins, a former Victorian police officer, and head of Argyle Security was systematically stealing millions of dollars worth of diamonds from the Argyle diamond mine. The diamonds were for organised crime figure Lindsay Roddan, a regular of Il Trovatore, Perth's largest and most profitable illegal gambling den. Both were later convicted over the scandal.
Roddan acted as an intermediary for the stolen diamonds, which were moved offshore for trading and processed. The diamonds then passed through a highly regarded well connected diamantaire in Switzerland to legitimate buyers in Hong Kong and Europe.
Crimmins’ wife, Lynette turned witness and testified that Roddan told her he had paid $40,000 to “Uncle Max and the boys - Through them, (her former lover) Lindsay Roddan knew exactly what was going on at all points of time in the investigations.” She also said “Lindsay told me how he had paid half and was waiting for Thoy to be kicked out of the force altogether. He was furious when he found out that Robin Thoy had only been demoted and was in uniform.” Roddan denied to the Royal Commission that he had ever said this.
As well as referring to “Uncle Max and the boys” on numerous occasions, Lynette Crimmins claimed Roddan and Noye regularly referred to other officers “Zed, Kim, Bernie, Barney and Barnsey’ who she believed assisted Roddan.
When her marriage to Barry Crimmins soured, she began a relationship with the cocky racehorse owner, Lindsay Roddan. Destitute she began working as a prostitute for two years and later pleaded guilty with Barry Crimmins to conspiring with Mr Roddan to steal Argyle diamonds valued at $2 million. Mrs Crimmins was taken into witness protection where she alleged she was sexually assaulted by one of the police officers assigned to protect her. A Federal police inquiry in 1996 found police reaction to her complaint was unsatisfactory and unprofessional. That same year Mrs Crimmins was dropped from the witness protection program.
She complained to the Police Royal Commission in 2003 that she was still receiving harassment calls.
The value of stones stolen from Argyle was estimated to be in excess of $30 million.
The Eucla Incident
Constable Paula Johnson
Paula Johnson was a junior constable in 1989 when she traveled with a more senior officer from Esperance to assist police at Eucla in WA's remote south east. Two men were arrested in Eucla and 11 kilograms of Cannabis later found in their Valiant panel van. At their trial before Judge Clark in Perth, the two men didn't deny they had the drugs, just the details of the arrest and interviews. The Judge became concerned about the conduct of a number of police officers and a number of enquiries followed.
The evidence of Paula Johnson differed from other officers at Eucla that day. Enormous pressure was put on her to change her evidence, but she was able to support her information.
Johnson was ostracised by her fellow officers, intimidated so as to try and make her change her evidence, slandered and possibly denied equal opportunity in choosing the direction of her career.
An inaccurate report was used by defence counsel at the trial to discredit her. A parliamentary committee found that after her initial and inadequate attempt to support the Senior Officer's
account of the journey from Esperance to Eucla, she proved remarkably resilient and consistent in her evidence.
Police officers disclosed official secrets from Occupational Health Services records to defence counsel to discredit her in cross-examination. This was of such seriousness that
the DPP named four police officers and recommended an investigation by the CIB into possible breaches of section 81 of the Criminal Code.
Select Committee in to the Western Australian Police Service 1996
Superintendent Graham Lee
Supt T.G. Lee also called for gambling and prostitution to be legalised in the 1970's.. He watched as crime became highly organised in WA and warned it was clear that some people were paying protection for it to happen. He soon fell foul of the police hierarchy. He told the Sunday Times in 1976 he was victimised by department heads, denied resources and the opportunity for promotion. After he retired he spoke to the Western Mail. Read what he said here.