– A crucial top-secret report into the Australian authorities’ response to the distress of the ill-fated asylum seeker boat known as the SIEV 358 was deliberately withheld from a West Australian police investigation into the sinking which killed 104 men.
The West Australian Coroner’s Court has been told that an Australian Federal Police agent had told Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Defence not to give the classified document to the police officer who had been asked to investigate the sinking on June 21st last year as a major crime.
The a West Australian officer in charge of the investigation, Detective a Inspector David Bryson, told the court he had no idea that information had been hidden from him until he arrived at court on Friday morning.
He told the court, which is investigating the deaths of those on board the boat, he has too secret clearances which meant he could have seen any classified or secret information, but he was never told it existed.
As a result, Detective Inspector Bryson told the court he could no longer stand by the conclusions in his own report into the deaths knowing he had not been given full disclosure of all the facts. He said it would no longer be a full and honest report.
“My brief was to treat this job as a serious crime,” he said.
Detective Inspector Bryson said he asked the AFP liaison officer who was to be the single point of contact for all Commonwealth agencies to provide all documents, videos and reports relating to the investigation. “It was a coverall request for all documents either secret or top secret,” he told the court.
But counsel for Customs and Border Protection and Defence, Peter Hanks, QC, then revealed that an AFP officer had given direct instructions that Customs and Defence should not hand over the internal review of the sinking which was ordered by Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare.
“The AFP specially asked that the document,” said Mr Hanks.
WA Coroner Alastair Hope expressed surprise at the revelations and with counsel assisting the inquest, Marco Tedeschi, has asked for the name of the officer that made the request, the date, the reasons and on whose direction it was made.
Detective Inspector Bryson also told the court that he knew “absolutely nothing” about the AFP withholding information.
The inquest has been hearing evidence about the adequacy of the response of the Australian authorities to the passengers on the boat.
It has been revealed they made 16 desperate phone calls to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) pleading for help, saying their boat was taking on water and they had no lifejackets. The phone calls began on June 19th and continued until the boat sank two days later.
The report that was withheld from WA police has already criticised AMSA for not being proactive enough in helping the boat and for transferring the responsibility for the search and rescue to its Indonesian counterparts despite being told that they did not have the capability to conduct the search – Natalie O’Brien


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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