Why NSW Police never interviewed Christian Porter


NSW Police have revealed why they never interviewed former Attorney-General Christian Porter over a 1988 rape allegation and confirmed the alleged victim tried to deliver a statement via Skype during the coronavirus lockdowns.

Outlining new information about how the case was handled, police have confirmed the woman who accused Mr Porter of rape asked to deliver her witness statement via Skype during the COVID-19 pandemic – a request the NSW Police resisted and her friends and family were never interviewed after her death.

The woman ultimately decided to withdraw her complaint after COVID delayed the meeting with detectives and died by suicide at home just 24 hours later.

Mr Porter strenuously denies the allegations that relate to a 1988 debating conference in Sydney. He has launched defamation action against the ABC over the reporting of an anonymous letter sent to the Prime Minister setting out allegations against a member of Cabinet.

He subsequently self-identified himself as the target of the allegations.

RELATED: NSW Police never got letter outlining allegations

It was the woman’s decision to withdraw the complaint that resulted in police not interviewing Mr Porter after her death, according to NSW Police.

“It is current standard practice that once a signed victim statement has been obtained from a victim and further corroborative enquiries are made, the formal allegation can and should be put to the person of interest as per procedural fairness principles for investigators,” NSW Police said.

“On June 23, 2020 the (alleged) victim clearly communicated to investigators that she no longer felt able to proceed with the report. The NSWPF did not have a signed statement from the (alleged) victim, hence no formal allegation to put to the person of interest. In keeping with the (alleged) victim’s wishes no further investigation took place and the person of interest was not interviewed.”

NSW Police established Strike Force Wyndarra in February 2020 after receiving information from Mr Porter’s accuser.

Detectives from Strike Force Wyndarra were due to travel to Adelaide to take the woman’s formal statement in March 2020 but their trip was postponed after the COVID-19 outbreak.

RELATED: Accuser’s family begs media not to identify daughter

On Wednesday June 24, 2020, the woman’s body was located at a home at Adelaide by South Australia Police. She had committed suicide just hours after telling police she did not want to proceed with a formal complaint.

In answers to questions on notice, NSW Police confirmed the complainant did ask to provide a formal statement over the telephone or via video.

“Yes. On April 1, 2020, the (alleged) victim requested that she commence her statement by way of Skype,” the response states.

“Investigators consulted with the (alleged) victim on April 2, 2020 by way of teleconference. Options were presented to the (alleged) victim in relation to obtaining her statement. A joint decision by all parties was made not to conduct the interview remotely. There were a number of reasons which led to this decision. The (alleged) victim was understanding and supportive of this decision.”

NSW Police also confirmed they made six telephone calls to the woman which were not answered.

RELATED: Porter, Reynolds moved in Cabinet reshuffle

The alleged victim also made two telephone calls to investigators which were not answered. On both occasions the woman’s missed calls were returned within seven minutes and five hours and 26 minutes respectively.

NSW Greens MLC David Shoebridge said the responses from NSW Police demanded further explanation.

“These answers raise yet more questions about the response of the NSW Police,” he said.

“When you speak to experienced investigators who have dealt with historical allegations they will tell you it’s not perfect but sometimes it’s the only option to take a statement by phone or video link.

“What is very distressing here is that this was an option that was requested by the complainant and open to police but for whatever reason was taken off the table.”

The answers provided also detail the Australian Federal Police decision to brief the NSW Police on the letter outlining the allegations rather than send it to investigators in full.

The letter requested urgent action be taken by the Prime Minister to investigate the 1988 alleged rape.

RELATED: Details of Porter’s ABC defamation suit

It urged the Prime Minister to set up an independent parliamentary investigation into the matter, similar to that commissioned by the High Court into allegations against former Justice, Dyson Heydon.

“When news of [the complainant’s alleged] rape becomes widely known to the public (as it most likely will), legitimate questions will be asked as to who knew what, when they knew and what they did,” the letter states.

“This is occurring today in relation to Brittany Higgins. The loss of respect for our political institutions will be exacerbated.

“There will be considerable damage to community perceptions of justice … and the parliament when this story becomes public if it is simultaneously revealed that senior people (like yourselves) were aware of the accusation but had done nothing.

“Failing to take parliamentary action because the NSW Police cannot take criminal action would seem like wilful blindness.”

The South Australia Coroner is yet to determine whether to conduct a public inquest into the woman’s death.



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Friends of Cabinet Minister rape accuser urge Scott Morrison to launch inquiry


Friends of the woman who made a historic rape allegation against a current federal minister have paid tribute to their “warm” and “compelling” friend.

The unnamed woman took her own life in June last year, after grappling with reporting the alleged sexual assault to police.

She had reported the alleged assault to police in February 2020 and NSW Police detectives were due to travel to Adelaide last year to take her statement but they struggled to get into South Australia due to coronavirus border restrictions.

The woman alleges she was raped in Sydney in 1988 when she was 16 years old.

The man accused of the rape is currently a federal minister.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison yesterday said the Minister “vigorously” denies the allegations.

In light of the allegations hitting the media, the woman’s friends have painted a picture of her brilliance to ABC’s Four Corners.

Wine writer Nick Ryan told the program his friend was one of the most intelligent people he’d ever met.

“(Many of our friends) have gone on to fairly prominent and successful careers around the place, in politics or media or banking and various things … but (she) was always the best of them,” Mr Ryan said.

“Take me back to 1988 … to place a bet on which horse in this race is really going to go and succeed — my money would have been on (her).”

RELATED: Scott Morrison has spoken to Minister accused of rape

RELATED: Penny Wong says she met woman who accused Minister of rape

Jeremy Samuel, a Liberal candidate who has stood for pre-selection twice, and an entrepreneur, said his friend was “wonderful” but the alleged rape sent her life “off the rails”.

“I think it’s important to keep in mind that we’re dealing with a really wonderful and special person, whose life went off the rails, and that’s extremely sad,” he said.

Mr Samuel, who has connections with the Liberal Part, called on the prime minister to launch an independent investigation into the alleged 1988 incident.

“I strongly urge the Prime Minister to commission an independent investigation into the allegations about the minister made by my late friend,” he said.

Mr Samuel is one of many friends who read the woman’s statement and repeatedly discussed the allegation with her, before she died.

Jo Dyer, another friend who is now a literary festival director, told Four Cornersher friend was “a star”.

Ms Dyer, who grew up with the woman in Adelaide and had known her since they were 15, said she was regarded as someone who would go far.

“She had such charisma and we all imagined that her life would be one of skyrocketing success, of achievement,” Ms Dyer said.

“(In our circle), there were many stars shining in the firmament, but (she) really shone the brightest, or certainly one of the brightest.

“She was a star, really.

“She was a girl with sharp intelligence, rigorous intellect, she was warm, she had a compelling eloquence.”

Ms Dyer said she the alleged rape had been “debilitating” to the woman.

“(It) really seemed completely consuming and completely debilitating to her,” she said.

“She was consumed with a trauma which she told me, deeply and consistently, was as a result of an assault that had (allegedly) occurred, early in 1988, and her life at that point was really devoted to exploring how she could get some kind of … peace from that.”

NSW Police formed Strike Force Wyndarra to investigate the allegation last year but officers struggled as coronavirus broke out across Australia.

Another of the woman’s friends, a not-for-profit executive, has offered to make a statement to NSW Police to assist the investigation.

The friend, Matthew Deeble, has revealed he was with the woman on the night the alleged rape occurred.

“She knew what she was going to be putting herself through by coming forward, with nothing to gain as a result of doing this,” Mr Deeble said.

“She was on a path to give her statement to the NSW Police, who were going to travel to South Australia to be with her and take that statement and move the matter forward.

“COVID restrictions stopped that occurring. And I know she was under enormous stress and distress because of those delays.”

Mr Deeble said the woman’s struggle was “heartbreaking” as he watched his friend withdraw her complaint before taking her own life in June.

“It’s not about politics, it’s about humanity,” Mr Deeble said.

South Australia Police are preparing a report for the state’s coroner.

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young and Labor Senator Penny Wong, the politicians who received the letter with the allegations, have referred it to the Australian Federal Police.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who also received the letter, has referred the matter to the AFP.



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Josh Frydenberg on ‘very serious’ matter


Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has declared the Liberal minister accused of rape has “the right to the presumption of innocence” as the government resists calls for the man to be stood down.

The claims relate to a historic rape allegations that dates back more than 30 years. While investigated by police last year, it’s believed the Adelaide woman contacted police suggesting she was too embarrassed to continue shortly before her death by suicide.

The alleged incident did not occur in South Australia but interstate, in 1988.

NSW police can no longer investigate the matter because the woman has died but her friends are calling for a judicial investigation and for the man to stand down.

Mr Frydenberg said the Liberal MP has a right to protect his good name and the presumption of innocence.

“Every Australian deserves that right,’’ he said.

RELATED: Bombshell teen rape letter rocks Canberra

“So, yes, there have been very serious matters raised across the Parliament in recent weeks. This has been the subject of much commentary and attention. But the focus has to be now on process.

“And we have seen a letter from the head of the Australian Federal Police and that letter, to the Prime Minister and subsequently made available to the Parliament, again re-emphasises the need for these matters to be in the hands of authorities, they are the best people to be dealing with such matters.

“Everybody, including that … minister that you referred to, is entitled to the presumption of innocence. We in Australia adhere to the rule of law. The rule of law means there is a presumption. It is with the Federal Police and they are the appropriate authorities.”

RELATED: Letter reveals woman’s rape claim

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison is yet to comment on the allegations and the anonymous letter, which was first reported by the ABC’s Four Corners on Friday night.

Two more federal MPs have also revealed they were aware of a historical rape allegation made against serving senior minister.

Liberal MP Celia Hammond, who the Prime Minister had suggested might lead an inquiry into workplace culture at Parliament House, has confirmed she was also sent an anonymous 31-page dossier detailing the allegation last week.

“I gave it to the Australian Federal Police on Wednesday afternoon and I alerted the Prime Minister’s Office,’’ she said.

Labor MP Daniel Mulino, who was a friend of the complainant, has told the ABC the alleged victim contacted him in December 2019.

“She indicated to me that she was determined to proceed with a formal complaint and I supported her in that decision,” he said.

“I ensured that the complainant was receiving appropriate support. I am greatly saddened by the death of my friend. I know that this has been a devastating period for the woman’s family and close friends. My thoughts are with them.”

The dossier, that includes an unsworn witness statement prepared by the alleged victim was also sent to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

A government spokesman stressed that the ministerial code only requires a minister to stand down if he is charged with a crime. The minister has not been charged with a crime and he is not the subject of a police investigation.

“As per the AFP Commissioner’s instruction, any complaints or allegations of this nature made to anybody – whether they’re parliamentarians or journalists – should be referred to the AFP,” the spokesman said.

Another Liberal senator Sarah Henderson has referred allegations that a woman was raped by a male Labor MP to police.

The matter relates to allegations that were previously investigated by VicPol in the last decade. The man subsequently identified himself, declared his innocence and the fact he had been cleared by police.

RELATED: Brittany hits out at ‘blame shifting’

The Prime Minister is under pressure to stand down a minister at the centre of historic rape allegations and to hold a parliamentary investigation after he received an anonymous letter penned by “friends” of a dead woman who told police she was raped in 1988 calling for “justice”.

News.com.au has obtained a copy of the correspondence, detailing the claims of the Adelaide woman who also left behind a trove of emails, letters and statements detailing an alleged assault when she was just 16 years old. The alleged incident occurred interstate.

The letter, which was sent to the Prime Minister on the day of the dead woman’s 50th birthday, details the “complex and distressing” claims. The woman also sought help from the former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull before her death.

“When news of (her) rape becomes widely known to the public (as it most likely will) legitimate questions will be asked as to who knew what, when they knew it and what they did,’’ the letter states.

It also references the alleged sexual assault of a former Liberal staffer whose claims are now being investigated by police.

“This is occurring today in relation to Brittany Higgins,’’ the letter states.

“In (REDACTED) case, the loss of respect for our political institutions will be exacerbated.

“There will be considerable damage to community perceptions of justice … and the Parliament if it is simultaneously revealed that the senior people (like yourselves) were aware of the accusation but had done nothing.

“There are rapists in all parties. This is a difficult issue. Victims share information in confidence and sometimes do not want to pursue claims, at least initially.

“In this case, the victim shared her story with many and begged people to help her seek justice. To date, defamation law and political inactivity have adversely affected the ability of (her) claim to be properly addressed.”

But it states that NSW police cannot investigate the matter because the complainant died by suicide in June, 2019.

“Given the facts of this case, we suggest you could follow the lead of the Chief Justice of the High Court in relation to the allegations against Justice Heydon. You could ask Vivienne Thom to conduct a discrete preliminary investigation into the matter to see what facts can be established.

“Failure to take parliamentary action because the NSW Police cannot take criminal action would feel like a wilful blindness.

On Sunday, Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the Prime Minister now needed to weigh up whether it was appropriate for the minister at the centre of a historic rape allegation to remain in the position

“This now will be a very dark cloud over the Parliament,’’ he said.



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Warning to Scott Morrison in letter


Scott Morrison is under pressure to stand down a minister at the centre of a historic rape allegation and to hold a parliamentary investigation after he received an anonymous letter, penned by “friends” of a dead woman who told police she was raped in 1988, calling for “justice”.

News.com.au has obtained a copy of the correspondence detailing the claims of the Adelaide woman who also left behind a trove of emails, letters and statements describing an alleged assault when she was just 16 years old. The alleged incident occurred interstate.

The letter, which was sent to the Prime Minister on the day of the dead woman’s 50th birthday, details the “complex and distressing” claims. The woman also sought guidance from the former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull before her death.

“When news [of the incident] becomes widely known to the public (as it most likely will) legitimate questions will be asked as to who knew what, when they knew it and what they did,’’ the letter states.

It also references the allegations of sexual assault made by a former Liberal staffer whose claims are now being investigated by police.

“This is occurring today in relation to Brittany Higgins,” the letter states.

“In [REDACTED]’s case, the loss of respect for our political institutions will be exacerbated.

“There will be considerable damage to community perceptions of justice … and the Parliament if it is simultaneously revealed that the senior people (like yourselves) were aware of the accusation but had done nothing.

“This is not a partisan issue … This is a difficult issue. Victims share information in confidence and sometimes do not want to pursue claims, at least initially.

RELATED: Letter reveals woman’s rape claim

RELATED: Brittany hits out at ‘blame shifting’

“In this case, [the woman] shared her story with many and begged people to help her seek justice. To date, defamation law and political inactivity have adversely affected the ability of [her] claim to be properly addressed.”

The letter states that the man at the centre of the claim has “a right to protect his name” and to the presumption of innocence. But it states that NSW police cannot investigate the matter because the complainant died by suicide in June, 2020.

“Given the facts of this case, we suggest you could follow the lead of the Chief Justice of the High Court in relation to the allegations against Justice Heydon. You could ask [intelligence specialist] Vivienne Thom to conduct a discrete preliminary investigation into the matter to see what facts can be established.

“Failure to take parliamentary action because the NSW Police cannot take criminal action would feel like a wilful blindness.

“We request in this case that the three of you work together to find a pathway forward in this case that does justice to [her] memory.

“If you asked anyone who knew … them in 1987, an objective observer would have said that [they] were all impressive young people but that [she] had the most potential and would have been the one most likely to rise to high political office.

“Sadly, while the other two are in federal Parliament [she] killed herself before she was 50.”

Labor leader Anthony Albanese said the Prime Minister now needed to weigh up whether it was appropriate for the minister at the centre of a historic rape allegation to remain in the position

“The Prime Minister must confirm to himself that it remains the case that the Minister — that it’s appropriate for him to stay in his current position,” Mr Albanese told the ABC’s Insiders program.

“This now will be a very much a dark cloud over the Parliament.

“This is a real test, and the Prime Minister must confirm to himself, that it remains the case that the Minister who is the subject of these allegations, that it’s appropriate for him to stay in his current position.”

But the Morrison Government has warned it must be left with the police.

“The AFP Commissioner was very, very clear that these are matters for police,’’ Health Minister Greg Hunt said.

However, supporters of the woman warned this is not possible, because the complainant took her own life in Adelaide last year.

The letter was also sent to Liberal MP Celia Hammond and claims the complainant had also told Labor Senator Penny Wong of her rape claim in late 2019.

Mr Turnbull has called for an inquest into the death of the woman. He said the woman had written to him and his wife Lucy in 2019 to ask for their advice.

“One of the things she’d noted, I might say, was that she’d kept extensive diaries, so I hope they are still extant,’’ Mr Turnbull said on Sunday at an Adelaide Writers’ Week event.

“She described a pretty horrific rape that she said had occurred at the hands of this person,” he told the crowd.

“We wrote back to her, obviously expressed our sympathy and, really our concern for her and what she’d experienced, but said ‘you’ve got a lawyer, you’re seeing the police, that’s the right thing to do’, and that was.

“There clearly needs to be some form of inquest so, I don’t know what the process is here … but I think there should be.”

Exactly one year ago, NSW Police established Strike Force Wyndarra to investigate the claims, which allegedly occurred interstate. The woman met with detectives from the NSW Police Child Abuse and Sex Crimes Squad in February 2020 to reveal that she had been raped by the man, before taking her own life just months later.

On Sunday, news.com.au also revealed a 45-minute recording of the dead woman talking about the allegations also exists. News.com.au has obtained the audio but has chosen not to publish it.

In one letter provided to news.com.au by a friend of the woman, she writes of her hope that the man will be prosecuted but also her fears a trial would become an “emotional bloodbath”.

“I appreciate that it is still a long way off, and, as you wrote, ultimately a matter for the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions],’’ she wrote.

“I guess I just worry, that a trial (if one occurs) has the potential to be an emotional bloodbath, particularly for me and anyone who appears as a witness in the case.”

But it is the woman’s former friends, including lawyers and business leaders, who have led the charge for a coronial inquiry into the claims and prepared the anonymous letter detailing the claims sent to the Prime Minister last week.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement that all complaints should be referred to the police.

“As per the AFP Commissioner’s instruction, any complaints or allegations of this nature made to anybody — whether they’re Parliamentarians or journalists — should be referred to the AFP,” the government spokesman said.

“As the Australian Federal Police Commissioner outlined in advice to all Parliamentarians on 25 February 2021, reporting to the police is the way to ensure any alleged crimes are properly investigated.”

Under the current Ministerial Standards “Ministers will be required to stand aside if charged with any criminal offence.”

The minister in question had not been charged, nor is he under any current investigation.



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Cop charged over AFL icon photo leak


A cop has been charged with criminal offences over allegedly leaking photos of former North Melbourne coach Dani Laidley while she was in police custody.

A Victoria Police leading senior constable was charged on Wednesday with unauthorised access of police information, four counts of unauthorised disclosure of police information and one count of misconduct in public office.

He allegedly shared photos of Ms Laidley — who was then known as Dean Laidley — while she was in police custody in a blonde wig, make-up, and female attire.

It was not then publicly known Ms Laidley was transgender.

The photos were widely circulated, and the leak was slammed by Victoria Police chief commissioner Shane Patton as “appalling”.

A Victoria Police spokesperson said the leading senior constable had been suspended and was due to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on March 30.

“The investigation into these serious acts of misconduct remains ongoing,” the spokesperson said.

“Due to the number of Victoria Police employees who received or forwarded the images, as well as those who shared the social media posts, the investigation has taken longer than originally expected.”

Internal investigators interviewed 274 Victoria Police employees to determine who was responsible for the photo leak, the spokesperson said.

They said of those investigated:
• One leading senior constable was charged on Wednesday with criminal offences
• Three people, including two police officers and one police custody officer, remain suspended and face potential criminal action
• Forty-six people, including 39 police officers and seven public servants, will face internal disciplinary action; and
• The remaining 224 people have been cleared of any criminal or internal disciplinary action after it was determined they had been sent the photos after they appeared on social media.

Ms Laidley was in police custody in May 2020 after being arrested and eventually charged with stalking because of repeatedly texting and calling a woman and waiting outside her home.

She pleaded guilty and was put on an adjourned undertaking to be of good behaviour in November.

The AFL icon was coach of North Melbourne from 2003 to 2009.

Her career began as a player for the West Coast Eagles in 1987 before moving to North Melbourne at the end of 1992 where she helped them take the premiership in 1996.

She was coach of North Melbourne for seven years and his since been part of coaching teams at Port Adelaide, St Kilda and Carlton.



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