The Mickelberg stitch has shocked many people in Perth but it is worth going back and examining the evidence to see just how shocking an affair this really was.
The Perth Mint swindle cases had been heard in the District Court, Supreme Court, Full Court of Criminal Appeal, the High Court and again in the Court of Criminal Appeal.
Hancock has since been murdered. He and a friend were killed when a vehicle in which they were travelling immediately outside Hancock’s home, was blown up and demolished by a remotely detonated bomb which had been planted under the front passenger seat.
A member of the gypsy jokers bikie gang has been charged with Hancock’s murder. It is alleged that Hancock’s murder was retribution for the death of a member of the Gypsy Jokers bikie gang who was shot by an unknown sniper on the outskirts of the remote goldfields town of Ora Banda following an altercation between he and Hancock in the local hotel, run by Hancock following his retirement from the police force.
Through circumstantial evidence with which we need not concern ourselves here, the police concluded that the Perth Mint swindle had been committed by the Mickelbergs.
It was alleged that using aliases, ‘Fryer’ and ‘Blackwood’, the Mickelbergs regularly rang the Perth Mint over a number of months inquiring of the price of gold and indicating that they were contemplating buying a quantity of gold. These communications were intended to disarm mint employees who were not surprised or suspicious when ‘Fryer’ and ‘Blackwood’ rang and purchased a large quantity of gold.
The Mickelbergs, it was alleged, stole blank building society cheques from two agencies, then burnt down the buildings to disguise the theft. It was alleged that they rented an office for a short period over the phone for which they paid in advance by posted bank cheque. The key was to be posted to a post box.
In similar fashion, a secretary was employed to be at the office for a specific period during the day the gold swindle took place. Her telephone instructions were to hand to security couriers, an envelope, unbeknown to her containing the stolen building society cheques made out to the Perth Mint, and a number of tool boxes.
The couriers, also engaged without meeting their clients, delivered the cheques to the mint in exchange for the gold. The cheques were allegedly left in the rented office prior to the arrival of the secretary, by Peter Mickelberg wearing a disguise and driving a vehicle recently purchased in a false name and fitted with a CB radio.
The boxes were then returned to the rented office and subsequently collected by another courier who was instructed that they contained mining samples and were to be delivered to Jandakot airport. This courier was also engaged over the telephone and his instructions were given via his CB radio.
The gold has never been recovered, however in July 1989, Channel 7 reporter, Alison Fan received a gold bar in the post accompanied by a note claiming that the Mickelbergs were innocent. In October of that year, Fan was given an anonymous tip off that 55kg of gold had been left on the grounds of Channel 7. It was subsequently recovered.
The three Mickelberg brothers were convicted in the District Court at Perth on an indictment containing eight counts. The principal offence for which they were convicted was that of conspiracy to defraud the Director of the Perth Mint by inducing him to part with a quantity of gold (value $652,975.24) without receiving payment for it.
The other offences were all related and were each in the nature of overt acts in furtherance of the alleged conspiracy. Count 2 alleged that the three Mickelbergs broke and entered a building and stole a quantity of blank building society cheque forms. Count 3 alleges that further on the same day they willfully and unlawfully set fire to the building.
Count 4 alleges that the Mickelbergs broke and entered another building and stole a further quantity of blank building society cheque forms. Count 5 alleges that further on that day they set fire to the building. Counts 6,7 and 8 alleged that by falsely pretending to an employee of the Perth Mint that the cheques were good and valid security for the amount of $652,975.24, obtained a quantity of gold with the intent to defraud.
Ray Mickelberg, 37, was sentenced to twenty years gaol and served eight years. Peter Mickelberg, 23, was sentenced to sixteen years gaol which on appeal was reduced to fourteen years and he subsequently served seven years. Brian Mickelberg, 35, was released on appeal and his conviction was subsequently overturned. A pilot, Brian Mickelberg was later killed in an aircraft crash.
The evidence against the Mickelbergs was light and circumstantial. Without confessions, it would have been particularly difficult to have secured convictions for any of the offences. Each of the Mickelbergs was convicted on the fabricated confessions which Hancock and Lewandowski had concocted. The Mickelberg brothers have consistently and strenuously claimed that the alleged confessions were fabricated by Hancock and Lewandowski and that both police officers perjured themselves in the various courts and inquiries in which they have given sworn evidence.
Peter Mickelberg has also been unswerving in his claim that he was stripped, handcuffed and beaten by both officers. Hancock and Lewandowski have both given sworn evidence on numerous occasions that no such stripping or assault took place.
Part of the circumstantial evidence presented against Raymond Mickelberg was an alleged fingerprint of his, found on one of the building society cheques used in the swindle. Raymond has consistently claimed that his fingerprint was fraudulently placed onto the cheque by the police.
The Mickelbergs have in various courts, presented experts including overseas authorities, who testified that in their opinion, the confessions were fabricated and that the fingerprint was not caused by Raymond Mickelberg handling the cheque at the time claimed. On each occasion, the evidence of Hancock and Lewandowski has been accepted in preference to that of the Mickelbergs and their expert witnesses.
Lewandowski has now admitted; that the fabricated confessions were concocted and composed by he and Hancock two months after the Mickelbergs were alleged to have given them; that Peter Mickelberg was assaulted and that the first he, Lewandowski, knew of the fingerprint allegation was when the cheque was sent for expert examination by Hancock.
I am a licensed inquiry agent and a former police officer in the western Australian Police Force. At the time when Peter Mickelberg, Brian Mickelberg and Raymond Mickelberg were charged in 1982 with offences relating to the Perth Mint swindle, I was a Detective Sergeant and held the position of permanent CIB duty sergeant.
In my capacity as CIB duty sergeant I was responsible for any matters that came to the attention of the CIB. When the Perth Mint swindle first came to light, a squad was formed to deal with it and I became a member of that squad which was under the leadership of Detective Sergeant Don Hancock.
At the time of the inquiry I came to the view that the three Mickelberg brothers had perpetuated the Mint swindle. I believed that to get three people to fit the pattern of events would be impossible. However at the time they were charged with the offences on July 26, 1982, I said to Don Hancock that I did not believe that we had enough evidence and he said to me: “Don’t worry it will get better.”
Early on the same day, 26 July, 1982, I was with Don Hancock and we were returning from Midland. He requested other officers to pick up Ray, Brian and Peter Mickelberg. He gave instructions that Peter Mickelberg was to be brought to Belmont CIB offices.
“When Peter Mickelberg arrived and the other officers left, Don Hancock came into the room and told me to make Peter strip naked.
I ordered Peter to get undressed and he did. At this time I am not certain if I put the handcuffs on him but he was definitely stripped naked. I went through his cloths and found a letter written by his solicitor, Ron Cannon, which we just chucked aside because Don called it “Cannon’s Joke.”
Don went up to Peter and gave him two or three quick punches in the solar plexus. At different times, I would grab him and push him back in the chair and into the wall. Throughout the time he was there, about four or five hours, he never really said anything other than he wanted to talk to his brother Ray and then he would talk to us. We never did the record of interview until much later, about two months later.
The statements which were purportedly taken from Peter Mickelberg at Belmont CIB on 26 July, 1982, were in fact not taken in Peter’s presence that day but were a fabrication made by Don Hancock and myself shortly after 2 September, 1982. I believed at the time and I believe now that the Mickelbergs did the Mint job.
The statements, when made, were based on later information. For example, about the burnt and dumped car, Peter said nothing about that because we did not know that until later. So we put that in the fabricated statement.
Basically the evidence given by Mr Radley and Dr Baxendale (two document experts appearing in the Mickelberg appeal) in the 1998 Court of Criminal Appeal was correct. Don and I just sat around adding in what we reckoned we needed. When we did Ray’s statement I cannot remember using his diary but terms were used which Ray used during our various conversations. There were certain terms and we put them in the statement. We did Brian’s statement at the same time.
At the mint swindle trial we thought that we would get Ray and Peter but we thought we would lose Brian because we didn’t give Brian enough. We didn’t tell enough lies.
The notes that were compiled for the trial were basically completed in one day. There were bits that were re-written or portions that were re-written but basically they were compiled over one day.
I gave evidence at the mint swindle trial and at numerous appeals over the years as well as providing information at a number of internal inquiries. All that evidence in relation to the so called confessions of Peter Mickelberg, Brian Mickelberg and Raymond Mickelberg having been true statements of those three brothers was false. The statements were fabricated by Don Hancock and myself sometime early in September 1982.
A lot of the evidence that Hancock and I gave in various courts, I was amazed at what we got away with. In respect to the finger prints, I never saw the original cheque and even though I was basically second in command to Don in the Mint inquiry, he never said anything about a fingerprint and the first I knew was when the cheque was sent to Canberra for scientific work.
I considered Don Hancock to be my best friend. He was a hard man but I considered him to be a fair man. I could characterise myself as a great follower but a terrible leader. Don was definitely the leader and over the years that Don was alive there was no chance of me going against his wishes. We talked many, many times about the confessions to keep the story going.
I said to Don on one particular day: “Don, you are going to die, you know, along time before me then I am going to be copped with all this shit.” He said: “No you’ll be all right mate, but whatever happens, just do your best.”
I have never copped a penny for this, I have had 20 years of hell. I have basically had enough of it. I lost my business, I have lost my wife, I have lost my son. I have gained nothing from this. I am now telling the truth. I have told lies and I am not proud of it.
I make this statement fully knowing that I have committed offences, but I am doing it without coercion of any kind and of my own free will. I have had enough. Now that Don Hancock is dead I cannot harm him and I am now telling the truth.
[This is an edited transcript]
The Ron Cannon letter
The letter from Ron Cannon, Peter Mickelberg’s lawyer, to which Lewandowski refers, confirms Mr Mickelberg understanding his rights, duties and obligations and that under no circumstances would he make a statement to the police. If he was to be questioned he was to have Mr Cannon by his side.
It is chilling to now read the sworn testimony of Detective Sergeant Don Hancock who retired as head of the CIB and Detective Sergeant Tony Lewandowski, particularly in cross examination.
Part of Peter Mickelberg’s evidence
On 15 July 1982 Peter Mickelberg visited the home of Raymond Mickelberg and discovered that his brother had been taken by the police to police headquarters. Shortly thereafter, Detectives Tovey, Cvijic, Gillespie, August and Silich arrived and searched the premises.
Peter gave evidence that Tovey said to him, “what we want to do is for you to come into town and prompt Ray’s memory.” Peter replied, “allow me to ring Mr Cannon. I believe he’s handling Ray’s legal matters here.” “Anyway, I rang the number and I asked for Mr Cannon – I announced myself – I’ve just been asked by a police officer to go into town with him to help Ray out. Mr Cannon said, “Well, my instruction to you is not to go with them unless they put you under arrest.”
“Tovey picked up the phone and asked for Hancock, and when he was on there – I was standing right beside him – he said something to the effect, “Well, he said he won’t come unless charged. Cannon has got to him. What will we charge him with? And the conversation ended.”
Peter’s Counsel asked him whether during the course of the investigation and search, at any stage did the police come across a wallet of Raymond’s. “Yes they did” replied Peter. “Det Tovey found it.”
Ray’s wallet was sitting on the desk and I remember him fiddling with it, actually, and sitting there with it and he swept it up and pulled from it a piece of paper. He pulled it out and read it. Sheryl [Ray’s wife] was standing in the office at the time and he said to her, “What the fuck has he got this for?” I said, “You bastards won’t beat him up.” He said, “I bet that cunt De Grussa told Ray to get this.”
Who is De Grussa?—De Grussa is a friend of Ray’s from his SAS days in Vietnam.
You know him to be, occupation wise?—He’s a police officer.
What did he do?—Tovey?
Yes?—He was pretty upset.
Tovey went to the telephone and he rung up and asked for Det-Sgt Hancock. He said, “Mickelberg’s got a medical certificate” and he mentioned De Grussa.
Why did you get yours?—it was put to Ray by Brian that possibly it would be a good idea for him to get a medical certificate because Ray had rung De Grussa and De Grussa had said that if the CIB were chasing him around that they got pretty heavy.
The medical certificates stated that neither had any bruising and the purpose of the call alleged to have been made by Tovey to Hancock would seem self evident.
Peter Mickelberg’s evidence in chief in relation to his beating
Then on 26 July, we are told as you have just told us, you had your next contact with the police. Is that right?—Yes.
Where was it that you had contact with the police?—It was on a street, or an avenue, called Dampier Avenue which connects Whitfords Avenue with Mullaloo Drive.
Tell us about that.—About the contact, sir?—Yes.
I slowed down and this car went straight across the front of my car so that I had to pull hard to the left and I went up onto the grass verge there and pulled up. By this time I looked up and out of the falcon came Gillespie and August and I could see Tovey was driving the falcon. My door was pulled open and I think I said something to August like, “Hi, was I speeding/” He said something like, “Its no joke”, pulled me out, threw me on the–or pushed me on the bonnet and just tapped me down.
I said, “Okay, I want to get my wallet out of the car.” I went to get my wallet and he said, “Don’t move, Leave it, Get in the car.” So I got into the Falcon, he put me in the back seat and he did my seat belt up for me. By this time Gillespie was in my car and I said, I want that wallet because I know what you’re up to. There’s a letter in there I want for you and I pointed to Tovey.
Why did you want the wallet?—Inside the wallet was a letter from Mr Cannon which he had given to me on the 16 July, I think.
Is that the letter that I think has been produced into evidence, we have heard—it has been read, indeed, as to what your rights were and what you wished to do?—Yes. I have read the letter many times and I carried it with me around the clock because Mr Cannon has said that the police don’t come in business hours, “Make sure you have the letter on you.”
Is that the one where he says, “He has indicated to us that he will not accompany police officers anywhere until such time as you arrest him. Once arrested he will make no statement to the police officers and wishes to be brought before the court at the earliest opportunity to allow him to go to bail. He simply wishes it to be categorically known that no member of the family wishes to be questioned by the police without Mr Cannon or Mr Bowden being present.?”— Yes.
I then said to Tovey, “I’m not going anywhere unless I am arrested. You’re aware of that.” I said, “Okay, I want you to read that letter.” I said, I’m aware of my rights as you would most probably expect.”
Did he read the letter?— Gillespie gave the wallet to Tovey, Tovey didn’t even open it. He left it sitting on the passenger seat of my car. I then said, “What’s happening with my car?” They said, “Gillespie will drive it back it home for you.” I said, “Okay then, make sure he does.”
Gillespie got into my car and got off the kerb and went heading south along Dampier. I said, “That’s not the way home” and no one said anything to me. I said, “Where is my car going?” No one answered.
Did you go to the Belmont Police Station?—Yes.
I said, “Would you mind telling me what is going on?” He said, “There’ll be no talking now or something like that. I said, “Look, I know my rights. I know I should not be here’ and he swore at me again and said, “There’ll be no fucking talk now. You’ll talk later” so I sat there.
Did he say anything about a wallet?—He had my wallet on him. He’d already taken my watch off to get the make and gave it back to me.
Anything at all about a letter on this occasion?—No, sir. I don’t know if he had it. He could have opened it at the time, because he had it.
I said to him, “Do you mind if I go to sleep?” and he said “No.” I was still very drowsy from the cold so I just put my head down on my arms and slept like you would when you are sleeping sitting up. I just dozed off a bit.
On the desk?—On the desk.
What happened next?—The next thing I knew, I was grabbed like that around the throat and a voice-
Counsel: For the purpose of the transcript I am directing your attention to what is commonly known as the Adam’s Apple area?
The detective I now know as Lewandowski gripped me there. – He grabbed me by the throat and I stood up, because he was pulling, and I was very drowsy. It woke me up. He said something to the effect , “This is where you die, you little fucker.” I didn’t know what was going on at the time.
I didn’t move an inch until he let go of me and then he pushed me into another room, which was a large room. Firstly, he walked me in and pushed me into the room and I just took up a position with my back to the wall and he said something like- – he stood there and just glared at me for a while and he said, “I’m going to make you talk, you little fucker.” He said, “Sunshine, you’re going to talk.” He referred to me as Sunshine every time or a little fucker.
I stood there and I said, ” know my rights. I know I have to be charged and taken to police headquarters and charged and put before a JP and bailed. I want my solicitor to be present now.” He said, “You’re on another planet. No one knows you are here. As far as they are concerned, you could be dead.” He then said, “Are you scared” and I said, “Too right, I’m scared.” I said, “You’re not supposed to have me here.”
“With that, another man came into the office. He said to me, “Do you know who I am and I said no. He said, “Well, I’m Det-Sgt Hancock. I’m in charge of this investigation.” With that he said to Lewandowski, “Make him strip.” He said, “Strip.” I hesitated and he said, “I said strip.” So I took all my clothes off and Lewandowski came over and picked them up.
Hancock said handcuff him so Lewandowski produced a set of cuffs and cuffed me. He then said, “Are they hurting?” And I said, “A little bit” and he went like that and squeezed them a bit tighter and I said, “They’re hurting.”
He then just pushed me in the chest into the seat which was behind me and I bounced into the seat.
So there you are starkers on a chair handcuffed. Right?—Right. Lewandowski went through my documents when he went through my clothes and came back with Mr Cannon’s letter and the medical certificate. He then gave them to Hancock.
Hancock then unfolded the medical certificate and he then said, “This will do you no good.” He read it and said, “This will do you know good” , screwed it up and just threw it down on the floor.
He then had Cannon’s letter and he didn’t even read it. He just said “And this is what we call Cannon’s Joke”. I said, “I want you to observe my rights. I want to go to headquarters and I want to see Mr Cannon.” He said something like, “You wont be seeing Cannon.” I was seated at the time. It was then that Hancock punched me in the solar plexus at least two or three times. It was an upwards action, three pretty fast punches.
They weren’t the type of punches to knock you out or anything but the type of punches that wind you and as you can imagine I was pretty shocked. He then chopped me with – I can’t remember – I think it was with his left hand, using the heel of his hand. He chopped me with an action, not a full blown chop. I don’t know how you would describe it. He sort of pulled the chop.
You have your arm extended and pivoting at the elbow.—Yes. So it hit me and sort of rebounded and leaves that feeling when one gets in one’s throat when you get hit in the throat. With that Lewandowski grabbed me by the hair and thumped my head back into the window sill. The window sill sort of came back into the back of my neck.
I said, “I want you to observe my rights I want to go to the Headquarters. I want to be charged and put up before a JP or a Magistrate and get bail.” Hancock said something to the effect, “That’s a load of rubbish. You’re hear and as long as you’re here you will talk to us.”
I was asked a number of questions and Lewandowski who was standing next to me said to me, “Look if you don’t answer our questions properly things will happen to you.” I said “I am not even obliged to answer your questions.” With that he slapped me on the side of the head.
At a later time Lewandowski hit me again and this time I was knocked out of the chair and forced onto the floor. He came over and said, “I am going to kick the fuck out of you.” So I rolled up into a ball as I have been told to do if somebody is going to kick you and I just said to him, “There is not much I can do – go for your life.” He just stood there glaring At me and picked me up and put me back in the chair. He just picked me up bodily and threw me into the chair.
There were further threats from Lewandowski. He said, “If you don’t give us the gold, the Tow Cutters will definitely get you.” I had an idea the Toe-Cutters were criminals from the eastern states but I thought it was a fictional thing on TV, but Lewandowski said “They’ll know where the gold is and they’ll get your family.”
He said “They’re eastern states criminals. They’re a sydnicate.” He said, “Haven’t you ever heard of Abe Saffron?” And I said, “No.” He said, “You are a naive little prick. Abe Saffron is king of the vice” or something to that effect. “If he hears the gold’s out he’ll be coming after it.” Lewandowski hit me a few more times. I wouldn’t reply to his questions and he gave me the old whack.
How long had you been naked with the cuffs on.—Probably about three hours, two or three hours
At one stage we were told that you had a Hungry Jacks burger.– I was pretty hungry. I unwrapped it and began to start to eat and next thing I knew it was slapped out of my hands by Lewandowski and it landed on the floor. I said to Hancock, “I want you to tell him to cut it out” and Hancock said, “You don’t know the half of it yet.”
At a later point Lewandowski said, “The poofters will get you tonight in Canning Vale” and I said surely I will be bailed and he said, “You won’t be bailed.” Then he made mention of Mr Censori, Eric Censori and he said, “He’ll get you. He likes little boys like you.”
Did you remain in the same room or were you taken somewhere else?—I was taken into the small room where I initially was with Tovey and with a guy known as Kucera. He introduced himself and said, “I’m Det Kucera.” I said, “Yes.” I said to him, “I have not been read my rights out there and they are hitting me and carrying on and I want to be taken to the headquarters.” He said to me, “Its got nothing to do with me. I can’t help you at all.” I said, “OK.”
Eventually, we are told, you were taken from Belmont back to headquarters at Perth?—Yes.
Did you see anyone at all?—Det Cvijic was there. She moved in beside me and I had Det Round, Gillespie and Porter with me. As she walked along I said to herI undid my shirt and I sad, “Where do you reckon I got these from.” I pointed to bruises on my chest. She turned around and said, “You must have fallen over” and smiled. I pointed out to her that earlier at ray’s place on the 15th she had said, “We don’t do those kind of things” but then she made mention of a ring she had on her finger and said, “What do you reckon about this ring. You Mickelbergs should know a lot about gold.” I said, “I know nothing about it.” It was just a gold ring with a red stone in it or something.
Then Det Round went out again and then Det Gillespie took off his coat and said, “I’m going to punch the shit out of you.” I looked at him and he said, “I may be young but I’ve been trained. I don’t leave marks.” With this I laughed at him and said, “Well, go for your life. You amaze me.” With that, he sat down and his attitude changed like that. I said tom him, “A minute ago, you were very aggressive and on the verge of beating me and now you’ve calmed down.” He commented, “I was just sussing you out. We sat there. He asked me no questions and there was a silence.
The following is sworn evidence that Lewandowski gave before the District Court, the Supreme Court and the Criminal Court of Appeal and should be read in the context of Lewandowski’ admissions in his recently sworn affidavit.
Evidence in cross examination by Detective Sergeant Lewandowski on the assault matter
Counsel: Were you asked by Hancock to go and get him [Mickelberg] and bring him into the room in which he was to be interviewed.
Lewandowski No. When we walked down from the lunch room Det-Sgt Hancock said, come in here, Peter and he walked into the room.
I put it to you that you that you went and got him and at the time he was dozing in a chair?—That’s not right
And that you put your hand about his throat and said, this is where you die you little cunt?—That’s an absolute lie.
Then took him into the room in which he was to be interviewed.—That is an absolute lie.
That you pushed him into a chair and said here mate, you’re on another planet or words to that effect?—That’s completely untrue.
Did you say to him, this is not a kindergarten, this is a big boy’s game?—I didn’t talk to the accused at all. Is your answer, “No,” to my question? —It definitely is; yes.
Did you say to him, “Sunshine, you are going to talk”? —I never said anything like that at all. I didn’t speak to the accused.
I suggest to you that Hancock told you to have him stripped and he stripped? —That’s a complete lie.
That you put a pair of handcuffs on his wrists and asked him, “are they hurting”?—That’s untrue.
The question is there. Did you put a pair of handcuffs on his hands?—That’s completely untrue.
Having put the handcuffs on him you asked him. “Are they hurting?” Did you ask him that?—No. He never had any handcuffs on at all.
I suggest that you pushed him in the chest and pushed him back into the blue chair – that is after you had put the handcuffs on him. You say that is wrong , of course?—Most definitely.
Then I suggest to you that you went through his clothing, had a good look at it and that is when you located Mr Cannon’s letter?—No. He gave it to Det-Sgt Hancock.
Did Hancock laugh and say, “That’s a piece of crap”‘ or “That piece of crap”?—No. He read it and said, “Mr Cannon is quite correct. You don’t have to say anything unless you want to.”
I suggest that you grabbed him by the hair and turned his head back into the window sill?—He wasn’t sitting near a window still and I didn’t do anything of the sort.
You say that you did not grab his hair and hit his head on the window sill?—I did not do anything of the sort.
During the course of this interview between Hancock and the accused, Peter Mickelberg, I suggest to you, that on occasions, that you struck him about the ear – slapped him?—That is incorrect. I was taking notes during the interview.
And at no stage did you hit him about the ear?—Definitely not.
So if he said that you did that he would be wrong, he would be telling lies and you would be right?—That is correct.
I suggest to you that on one occasion you knocked him out of the chair and onto the ground?— That is absolutely ridiculous.
And said to him, “I’m going to kick the fuck out of you”?—That is completely untrue.
And then picked him up and threw him back into the chair?—That is completely untrue.
I suggest to you that it was you who first raised the issue of the Toe-Cutters. What do you say about that?—I didn’t say anything of the sort. I didn’t interview the accused.
I suggest at this stage he was then handcuffed, naked on a chair and at about 1 o’clock in the afternoon Sgt Hancock told you to let him get dressed?—That is a complete lie.
He [Mickelberg] will say that whilst he was eating it [hamburger] you knocked it out of his hand on to the floor?—That’s a complete lie.
Did he eat it all up or did he not eat it or only eat half of it or what?—He ate half of it and then made some derogatory remark about Hungry Jack hamburgers.
Did he or did he say, “I’ve lost my appetite? —No not at all.
So if he said he only half ate it, that would be true but, you say, not because it had been knocked out of his hand or his mouth but because he made some derogatory remark about Hungry Jack’s?—That’s right.
Were you present at any stage when Ray Mickelberg said to Sgt HancockI should put it this way. Were you present and heard Ray Mickelberg say to Sgt Hancock, “I want to see the gutless bastard who hit this boy” meaning Peter?—Definitely not.
I suggest to you that you were present and when it was said you turned around and walked out?—This is completely incorrect because if that was said I would have wanted to have spoken to him about it.
The lies and perjury of Detective Sergeant Hancock, later to retire as head of the CIB are equally bald faced and blatant.
Early in his evidence in chief, in a nice touch of irony, the following exchange took place between Hancock and the Judge. Hancock requests permission to refresh his memory from his notes of interview. [the fabricated confession]
Heenan J to witness: In that event you may refer to them, Det-Sgt Hancock. You have been doing very well and if you can, when you have refreshed your memory this time, put them aside.
Hancock: I have studied them considerably and tried to commit them to memory but it has been most difficult sir.
Hancock evidence in cross examination
The following exchange took place in the context of Peter Mickelberg’s evidence relating to Raymond’s medical certificate being found at his home by Sgt Tovy.
Indeed, were you telephoned by Det Tovey on 15 July and told that there was a medical certificate in existence?—No, I do not believe I was.
Were you not interviewing Raymond Mickelberg on 15th and received a telephone call from Det Tovey about a medical certificate?—No; not about a medical certificate.
Hancock evidence in cross examination on matter of assault of Peter Mickelberg.
Counsel: What part did Sgt Lewandowski play?—Sgt Lewandowski recorded the record of interview that I had with Peter. At what stage did he record it?—Right from the beginning.
When did he make the recording? —At the time, as we were having the discussion.
I introduced myself and Sgt Lewandowski to Peter because I hadn’t met him. I said, “Peter, I want to ask you some questions about the gold fraud on the Perth Mint.” He said to me, “You’d better read this first. Cannon said you would call it Cannon’s Joke.” He handed me a letter. He then said to me, “We’ve all been medically examined too.”
I said’ “Why?” He said, We’ve been told that we’ll all get a hiding.”
I said to him, “You’ve been watching too much TV Peter.” I read the letter which had been written by the accused Counsel, Mr Cannon, and I handed it back to Peter and said, “What Mr Cannon says is correct. You do not have to say anything unless you want to and anything you say may be used in evidence.”
I then said, “Are you happy to stay here and talk to me?” He said “Yes.”
Did Lewandowski say to Peter Mickelberg in your presence when he first came into his presence, words to the effect, “Well sunshine, you are going to talk”?—No, he did not.
I suggest to you that you told Lewandowski, “make him strip”?—I did not.
And that Peter Mickelberg stripped and was placed in handcuffs and was sat down on a chair?—That’s ridiculous.
Was he in handcuffs at any stage?—No, he wasn’t.
I suggest to you that he was handcuffed and Lewandowski said, “Are they hurting/” and he said, “Yes” and that he closed them even tighter?—That’s ridiculous, as I said.
Did you see a medical certificate relating to Peter Mickelberg?—No, I didn’t; no.
Did Lewandowski hand you a medical certificate?—Lewandowski?—No.
Did he hand you Mr Cannon’s letter?—No, Peter handed me his letter.
Did you laugh when you got the letter—No, I didn’t laugh.
I suggest to you that you laughed and said, “That piece of crap” and screwed it up and threw it away?—I gave the letter back to Peter.
You did not screw it up in the sense of “that piece of crap” and hand it back to him?—, and I didn’t say that either.
Did you say, “That means nothing to me?”—No, I did not. Did you say “I am going to make you talk whether you like it or not”?—I did not say that.
With that, you struck him in the solar plexus?—I did not.
And chopped him with the back of your right hand to his throat? I did not do that.
I suggest to you that Lewandowski grabbed Mickelberg by the hair and turned his head back onto a window sill and banged his head on the window sill?—He did nothing of the sort.
I suggest to you that you at that stage struck Peter Mickelberg in the stomach on about three or four occasions?— I did not.
Following one answer, Lewandowski cuffed him about the ear knocking him off the chair?—He certainly did not.
I suggest then that Lewandowski grabbed hold of him, picked him up and put him back into the chair.—Lewandowski never touched him.
Did you at any stage say, “I can be your best friend or your worst enemy?”—No, I did not say that.
So if he says that these things took place and were said, he is wrong?—If he says that he is telling lies.
And you are telling the truth—I am telling the truth.
Was it you who mentioned the Toe-Cutters or was it Lewandowski who mentioned the Toe-Cutters?—I mentioned the Toe-Cutters. I was the only person speaking to Peter.
That is right; Lewandowski was writing down what was being said?—Yes, he was.
You are alleged by Peter Mickelberg to have said- and he will say that you then said, “Let him get dressed, let him get the cuffs off”?—That is complete fabrication. He was never undressed. It is ridiculous.
Never undressed and never handcuffed?—That is what I said; that is ridiculous.
He will say that this was approximately a little after 1 o’clock in the afternoon when this occurred.—It did not occur.
Although you read Mr Cannon’s letter advising him that he did not have to say anything, and indeed he indicated that he was not going to say anything, you still carried on to question him?—Yes, I did.
Did you not make it clear to him that he was not moving from the room until such time as you got what you wanted.—No, I did not.
Indeed that was in the letter that Mr Cannon had given him and which you read.—Yes, it was.
Did he make any comment to you saying, “I want to do what is in that letter. Charge me?”—No, he did not.
He just sat down, he was quite happy to talk about everything that you asked him about.—I asked him, “Are you happy to stay here and talk to me?” He then said to me, “Are you going to be talking to Ray and Brian as well?” When I said, “Yes”, he said “Well, I don’t suppose it will do any harm.”
Was he [Mickelberg] under interview for some 2 1/2 to 3 hours?—Yes.
Whilst these questions were being asked and answers taken?—Yes.
Then you checked them some few minutes after?—Yes. Within 15 minutes or so.
Is it a fact that whilst Peter Mickelberg was having a munch of his Hungry Jack’s hamburger, Lewandowski knocked it out of his hand on to the floor?—No, that’s ridiculous.
Was it picked up and given back to him and did Peter Mickelberg say, “I’ve lost my appetite’?—That is ridiculous.
Taped Hancock conversation with Peter and Raymond Mickelberg
Three months after the Mickelbergs were interviewed by Hancock and Lewandowski, Peter Mickelberg secretly taped a conversation between himself, his brother Raymond and Hancock outside Raymond’s Perth suburban home. The tape could not be released prior to recent events because of legal problems.
Hancock is heard to be making the following comments in response to Raymond Mickelberg complaining about Hancock dragging his wife and young children into police headquarters for the obvious purpose of intimidating Mickelberg.
There might be guidelines but no rules. I could have gone harder. I could have gone harder. We could have thrown them in and built a fence around them too, and made it real hard. The point was to try and get you to come to the party. But you didn’t. You didn’t react as most fellows would have done over the whole deal so something different had to be done.
I am not a mean person, but I’ll tell you what I’ve done things in my life that you never did, and harder things, worse things, and if I’ve got to do them again, well I’ll do them again. What I believe is my line of duty.
The majority of things are cleaned up because of pressure that can be brought to bear in other ways than personally. If it was left to that nobody would ever get anything cleaned up. The weak blokes would admit the things; the strong blokes wouldn’t.
There is then discussion about the Mickelbergs being advised to obtain medical certificates prior to their interrogations. Irrespective of what you people say, at any time nobody is ever going to believe that. Nobody here is going to say that they bashed you, or threatened you or anything like.
Hancock tells the Mickelbergs “You have no idea what a bashing is and then goes on to complain that, The “bloody medical certificates made it very, very difficult.”
Mr Lewandowski’s affidavit has been provided to the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Anti Corruption Commission and the Royal Commission into the Western Australian Police Force. In the meantime Mr Lewandowski who has vowed to co-operate with authorities, has in the meantime gone into hiding overseas.