The Australian Federal Police officers who attended former Gold Coast doctor Mohammed Haneef’s bail hearing on Saturday July 14 last year in Brisbane had no knowledge of the case, according to the submission lodged yesterday by the Commonwealth DPP with the Clarke Inquiry.
And, according to the DPP’s 50 page submission, despite the fact that the AFP had been investigating and interviewing Dr Haneef for 12 days prior to the bail hearing before Brisbane magistrate Jacqui Payne, the brief of evidence presented to the DPP’s lawyers by the AFP was “scant” and contained serious errors of fact.
Mohammed Haneef had been arrested at Brisbane airport on the evening of July 2 last year and was held in custody for 12 days by AFP officers and the Queensland Police.
Suspected of having provided a SIM card to his cousin Sabeel Ahmed who was involved in botched terrorist attacks in London and Glasgow on June 29 and June 30, Dr Haneef was interrogated by AFP officers and his alleged links to the UK bombings investigated over the course of the next ten days.
But none of the officers who have been involved in the investigation or records of interview conducted with Dr Haneef attended the bail hearing at the Brisbane Magistrates Court on July 14, according to the DPP submission.
The submission notes that two AFP officers attended the bail hearing on July 14. They gave the DPP’s lawyers four brief documents including an objection to bail affidavit. The documents, according to the DPP submission,
Contained very limited factual material in relation to Dr Haneef’s alleged involvement and did not include a summary of the evidence that was expected to be available from overseas.
The second record of interview with Dr Haneef, which took place, on July 13, was also not given by the AFP officers to the DPP for the bail hearing. Nor was the charge sheet available to the DPP’s lawyers.
But these weren’t the only problems the DPP had at the July 14 bail hearing. The AFP officer who was responsible for laying the charge was not in court and the two AFP officers who attended the hearing were from Sydney “and had no knowledge of the matter.”
During the July 14 bail hearing, the DPP’s lawyers made two incorrect statements. They alleged that the SIM card had been found at the scene of the Glasgow bombing, and that Dr Haneef had “resided with persons of interest in relation to the London bombing.” The DPP officers on the case found out the first statement was wrong when they read media reports some eight days later, and the second around the same time.
The conduct of the AFP and the DPP in the July 14 bail hearing is extraordinary. The standard and time honoured practice in bail hearings in our courts is for the officers who are working on the case, including the charging officer, to attend the hearing so they can instruct the prosecution lawyers.
Why didn’t the DPP’s lawyers refuse to go into court until the appropriate officers were in court? They should have and if they had done so, they may not have been embarrassed by the two serious misstatements that they made to the court on that day.
The DPP officer in the Brisbane office who worked with the AFP on the Haneef matter says that it was a “fraught and stressful time” and that he felt a sense of “unspoken but extreme pressure” from the AFP.
That is probably right, but why didn’t his superiors in the DPP draw a line in the sand at that point? Why didn’t they stand up to the AFP and tell them that would not stand for being put under duress in the exercise of their duties and obligations?
Mohammed Haneef has been the victim of some seriously second rate work by our justice system.
Listen here for 3AW’s interview with Mohammed Haneef’s lawyer, Maurice Blackburn this morning.