08 May 2008

More allegations of corruption and intimidation

"Standover" is the page one headline on Miles Kemp's report in today's Advertiser

ADELAIDE'S crime gangs are using personal information leaked from the public service to harass people involved in court trials and their families.Acting Deputy Commissioner of Police Tony Harrison said it had been difficult to prosecute gang members because victims, witnesses or their family members had been the subject of intimidation or threats of violence.
Mr Harrison, who recently briefed MPs on the issue, said the gangs avoided prosecution by using tactics that included:
A CODE of silence among members;
INTIMIDATION and violence;
INSULATION of principal players in a crime;
CORRUPTION of the justicesystem;
EXPLOITATION of the operations of the justice system.
Notes from the briefing have been obtained by The Advertiser.
Mr Harrison said the corruption referred to were instances where department records had been accessed.
He said gangs in the past had gained access to personal records of people kept by government department databases through an intermediary person who may have been a friend or relative.

Mr Harrison said police needed measures contained in the anti-gang Bill passed last night by the Upper House of Parliament, which would provide greater protection for people prosecuting serious organised crime, for example, "avoiding the stalking or intimidating of judicial officers or witnesses involved in prosecuting serious organised crime".
Mr Harrison said it was now "very, very difficult" to take gang extortion matters to trial because of intimidation.
"Invariably, somebody receives a threat . . . and invariably they decide not to proceed," he said.
Opposition legal affairs spokeswoman Isobel Redmond said the Opposition was strongly supportive of the Bill, which she said would make threats or reprisals against those involved in criminal investigations and proceedings punishable by up to seven years' jail.
But she said Mr Harrison's comments also showed the need for an independent commission against corruption in South Australia.
A spokesman for Attorney-General Michael Atkinson said the issues raised by Mr Harrison were being dealt with by legislation that had passed through parliament, was going through parliament, or being developed as part of the Government's criminal justice reforms.
For more on the legislation which has just been passed see here and here.
The shootings in the city at the weekend and other events indicate that matters are getting out of hand so I intend to refrain from comment for the time being to give the laws a chance to take effect, though IMO there are some interesting comments on the ABC News story (the second of the two links above).

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