SOURCE: ABC News
Civil libertarians say any inquiry into the bungled prosecution of Dr Mohamed Haneef should focus squarely on the actions of Attorney-General Phillip Ruddock and Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews.
The terrorism-related charge against Dr Haneef was dropped yesterday after prosecutors abandoned their case amid revelations of mistakes in the case against him. In announcing the decision, Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Damien Bugg QC admitted his agency had made two key errors as it built its case against Dr Haneef.
But Australian Council for Civil Liberties national secretary Cameron Murphy has told AM it is clear there was political interference in the case.
“Clearly there were three facts put out to the media in this matter that appear to be plainly wrong,” he said. “First, that Dr Haneef’s SIM card was used in the UK bombing. Secondly, that he had the names of known terrorists in his diary. And thirdly, that he was plotting to blow up some Gold Coast building. I think we are entitled to know if any of these incorrect facts originated from ministers’ offices, or if there’s [been] any pressure exerted from the Attorney-General or another minister, or their offices, in relation to this investigation. I think it’s all too easy to scapegoat the Australian Federal Police Commissioner and the Commonwealth DPP, when clearly ministers have been driving the commentary and the speculation over this case from the very beginning.”
Mr Murphy backed calls for an independent inquiry into the case.
In the matter of the hasty cancelling of Dr Haneef’s visa before the evidence had been tested in court there is no doubt this is true. I found that rather obscene. Even if Dr Haneef had been all he was alleged to have been, it would have been nice (and comforting for those who care about our rights and way of life) to have seen a more transparent procedure followed. Andrews and Ruddock were almost salivating, if such a sign of emotion is possible from these two. Solicitor-general between 1984 and 1997, Gavan Griffith, QC, strongly agrees.
VIRGINIA TRIOLI: Gavan Griffith, what confidence can the public now have in these relatively new laws and the prosecutorial processes that flow from them?
GAVAN GRIFFITH: Well this the difficulty, there are exceptional powers and it’s necessary for them to be exercised with exceptional care. We have in this case a tableau of errors which erode public confidence and one way in which they can be restored would be to correct them with a complete transparency. For example, for there to be an explanation given beyond that by the DPP to say that there was an error. The public should be told exactly what was that error, how could it be that a prosecutor could make such fundamental error as to the situation of the SIM card. The DPP statement for the first time indicates that the SIM card was handed over in June 2006, some nine or 10 months before the events which occurred. That would seem to be an obvious matter which should have been addressed earlier in the public statements, but the best mechanism to restore public confidence would be to bring the facts into the public domain so the public can see what they are.
Kevin Andrews has some serious explaining to do says Rupert Murdoch’s The Australian, and I agree one hundred per cent!
However, his role in my hypothetical production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible as Reverend Hale is assured, or perhaps Reverend Parris. Ruddock would make a fine Judge Hathorne.
Dr Haneef is returning (but not being deported) to India, his passport returned but not his Australian work visa. Kevin Andrews is saying he will reveal the information upon which he has based his decision not to reinstate that visa. Let’s wait and see whether it is any more compelling than what has emerged so far.
- Howard blames AFP’s Keelty and DPP’s Bugg
- Ruddock agrees with PM, Andrews faces media
- Rudd refuses to weigh into debate
THE Howard Government has tried to shift blame as it struggled to avoid fallout from the dropping of terrorism charges against Dr Mohamed Haneef. Prime Minister John Howard said responsibility for the collapse had to be directed at the Police Commissioner Mick Keelty and the Director of Public Prosecutions Damian Bugg.
“I think that the right thing now is for those two men to explain the process and explain the reasons,” Mr Howard said yesterday, in comments supported by Attorney-General Philip Ruddock. Mr Howard made his comments from Bali while embattled Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews was forced to face the media in Australia.