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STILL CHASING THE ELUSIVE POLICE REVIEW

You will recall I previously wrote an article titled “What is Happening” regarding the QCAT application to obtain the elusive Police Review. Graham Stafford’s lawyers initially applied to the Queensland Administrative Appeals Tribunal (QCAT) in March 2016 to set aside the decision of the Information Commissioner refusing access to the Police Review with a hearing into the matter in September 2016. There is a Practice Direction in the Qld Supreme Court that judgments should be delivered within 3 months. However, the system obviously doesn’t always work that way. Judgement was finally delivered in May 2019. More than 3 years after lodging the application!

Even two newspaper articles about the delay by David Murray of The Australian did not appear to have any impact on the timing of the delivery of the verdict.

QCAT found in favour of the applicant (Stafford) but in a bizarre twist, rather than order the Review to be handed over Judge Sheridan ordered the matter be remitted to the Information Commissioner in case there were other grounds for exemption!

You will find the actual decision attached.

However, in the meantime the QPS appealed the decision. The matter has been referred to the Court of Appeal which in Queensland means the Supreme Court. The matter is set down for hearing on Friday 18 October 2019. The QPS have engaged a Queen’s Counsel to appear on their behalf so to say they are defending the matter vigorously would be an understatement. We can only hope we do not have to wait 3 years for a decision.

Why do I have the feeling the QPS do not want the Police Review released under any circumstances? If they are confident of their investigation and findings what do they have to hide? Do they forget that police commissioner Atkinson, when announcing the review stated publicly the review would be open, accountable and available to all upon completion. Who overrode that directive? And on whose authority? And what was the pressing need that required an otherwise straight forward review to be closed, unaccountable and available to no one? And finally, what is the pressing factor that they have to defend release of the review so aggressively?

I am very keen to know how they dealt with the matters I alerted them to in the lead up to the review including the time of death, other possible suspects, police fabricating evidence and committing perjury and various other matters as raised in the book “Who Killed Leanne Holland?”.

I have been told only very brief snippets of the review. One such snippet was a group of some 12 forensic scientists reviewing the scientific evidence concluded Stafford could not have acted alone. There has NEVER been any suggestion of an accomplice. So based on that result alone, why hasn’t the QPS reopened the investigation to identify and prosecute the accomplice? So many questions, so few answers.

We can only hope that obtaining the Police Review will answer so many questions.

Decision from QCAT 2019

Qps application July 2019

 

 

HAS LEANNE’S KILLER BEEN ARRESTED?

In December 2018 on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland a 66 year old male was arrested and charged with four counts of Rape and one count of Indecent Treatment of his 11 year old granddaughter. He was held in custody but eventually granted bail. We cannot identify this man due to Qld legislation, so I shall call him Pedo.

Pedo appeared in the Maroochydore Magistrates Court in April 2019 and was committed to stand trial in the Maroochydore District Court on all charges. No date for the trial has yet been set. We shall watch with interest when it does.

At his committal hearing we were able to take photographs of him leaving court.

Pedo has a lengthy criminal history dating back to at least 1970. He has convictions for many offences, including sexual offences and has served several terms of imprisonment. He was sentenced to, and served 8 years imprisonment for the incest of his two daughters in 1998.

During my investigations into this murder I nominated three persons who were, in my opinion, more likely to have murdered Leanne Holland than Graham Stafford. Pedo was one of those persons I nominated.

I have been told that in the Police Review, Pedo was exonerated and eliminated as a suspect in the murder. I have also been informed I was criticized for even suggesting he may have been involved. Channel 7 used Pedo as their start witness and go to person to show Graham Stafford was the rightful offender.

I also claimed that Pedo was at the body dump site dressed as and in the company of detectives. A claim QPS strenuously denied, despite one of the detectives on the Police Review team telling me personally that Pedo had been at the crime scene. In a podcast presented by Channel 7, Pedo claimed he attended the home of the deceased on the morning the police investigation started, at the request of detectives, to ‘see what he could find out’. QPS have stated this was the murder site. So we now have a career criminal with a lengthy criminal history at a crime scene and body disposal site.

A photo is in existence of the male accompanying police at the body disposal site in 1991. We were able to have an expert compare that photograph to the photograph of Pedo taken outside Maroochydore Magistrates Court in 2019. Although there is a gap of some 28 years between photographs, we were told there is a ‘strong’ resemblance between the two person depicted in the photographs.

I have asked this question before and must ask it again:” What is a criminal doing attending crime scenes and seemingly involved in a murder investigation?”. The question becomes particularly relevant when a NUMBER of persons believe HE was involved in the murder of Leanne Holland.

The presumption of innocence aside I have prepared two profiles.

GRAHAM STAFFORD- 56 years of age. No criminal history. No history of sexual offending. No motive presented for him killing Leanne Holland. No witnesses to him killing Leanne Holland. No direct evidence of him killing Leanne Holland. Forensic and circumstantial evidence only connecting him to the crime which has been heavily criticized and contested. Does not smoke and never smoked. He only knew Leanne for approx 3 months. Has not offended since his release from prison in 2005. His conviction for the murder was quashed but he remains the only suspect. Continues to campaign his innocence of the crime.

PEDO – 66 years of age. Lengthy criminal history including sexual offences. Has served several terms of imprisonment including 8 years for incest of his daughters. His daughters claimed he burnt them with cigarettes. Leanne Holland had similar marks on her body. He did smoke at that time. Her lived next door to the Hollands for some years and lived at the Holland house for a few weeks before the murder.It has been claimed he took Leanne on trips with him in his truck. His daughters claim he had sex with them in the same bush spot where Leanne’s body was found. his daughters claimed he told them they would end up like Leanne if they told anyone what was happening between them. Other close family members support claims made by his daughters.

There has never been an inquest into the death of Leanne Holland, despite this being a requirement under Queensland legislation. Graham Stafford and a number of other persons have written to the Attorney General requesting an inquest. The AG’s official position is that ‘it is not in the public interest’.

The above and many other matters need to be explored by a coroner to get to the real truth behind the murder of Leanne Holland.

 

WHAT IS HAPPENING?

I am asked this question many, many times by people following the Stafford case. What can I say? I explain that we are patiently awaiting the next step in the legal process. Why is it taking so long, they say! Where are we at? Currently the matter of Graham Stafford V The Information Commissioner & The Queensland Police Service is before the Queensland Civil & Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) (APL 092-16).

To recap how we arrived at this point. In 2010 the QPS agreed to hold a review of the original police investigation into the murder of Leanne Sarah Holland. It was to be open, accountable and available to all upon completion. The review was completed in December 2012 but regrettably it was not open, there was no accountability and access to all was refused. Several requests to access the review were made but all eventually refused.

In September 2014 lawyers for Graham Stafford made an application to QPS for Right to Information to gain access to the review. This was refused in February 2015 by QPS. The lawyers then turned to the Information Commissioner who upheld the QPS position in February 2016.

Following that decision the lawyers then filed a claim in QCAT seeking an order to obtain the elusive police review. A hearing was held before Judge Sheridan in September 2016. She reserved her decision.

In March 2017 Channel 7 went to air with a story called Murder Uncovered. The world was told they had a copy of the 500 odd page police review completed in 2012. The same report no one had been able to legally obtain to that time. QCAT held a further hearing in June 2017 to determine the relevance of that information. It will be shortly two years since the initial hearing and Judge Sheridan is yet to hand down a decision on the Application.

There is a Practice Direction  in the Qld Supreme Court that judgments should be delivered within 3 months. 

In desperation, the lawyers wrote to the President of the Qld Law Society in May 2018 to intervene. A letter was written to the President of QCAT. The response?

“I am aware that this decision is outstanding beyond the target date for the delivery of QCAT decision. Resourcing and personal pressures within QCAT have led to there being a backlog of outstanding decision. I have, within the resources available to me, put in place measures designed to at least alleviate the backlog, Those measures will, however, take some time to produce results”.

In the event QCAT find in favour of Graham Stafford the QPS can appeal the decision to the Court of Appeal. They have always stated the report was released unlawfully and they are the victim. The identity of the leaker is apparently unknown. It is understood only 10 copies of the report were ever printed. Each copy was supposedly encoded.

Which raises the question of what action has been taken to prosecute the leaker. The QPS has been very silent on what action, if any, has been taken to identify and punish the offender. No complaint has been made, it seems, to the Crime & Corruption Commission. The matter was referred to the CCC by the Attorney general but no action was taken. No search warrant has been executed on the offices of Channel 7 or the senior crime reporter who had possession of the leaked document. Interviews have not been conducted of those shown the review by Channel 7.

Now consider how the QPS treats other leakers. Take the case of Sgt Rick Flori who leaked video footage of officers bashing a handcuffed man in a Gold Coast police station in 2012. The QPS pursued him relentlessly for six years until he was finally found not guilty of misconduct in the Southport District Court in February 2018.

It is no secret there will never be a demand by the QPS nor the Qld Government to Judge Sheridan to present her much awaited judgement. This case has been a huge embarrassment for both parties since the 1990’s when it became very evident there were significant problems with the murder conviction. In 2005 Graham Stafford was given early release from prison after serving 14 years and 9 months. In 2009 the conviction was quashed. The DPP was quick to advise there would not be a retrial. Not in the public interest they said. More embarrassment followed when the chief prosecutor for the DPP publicly announced he refused to prosecute the original murder case as he believed Stafford was innocent. The first time he had refused a brief in a 30 odd year career. The brief was handed to another prosecutor.

The QPS are adamant Graham Stafford is the offender and acted alone. They point to the 2012 review to support their position.

Repeated calls by Graham Stafford for a Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Leanne Holland have been rejected. Not in the public interest they said. Despite it being mandatory in Qld for an inquest in a death such as this.

Waiting patiently.

 

RED FLAGS AND WHAT DO THEY MEAN

Wikipedia defines a red flag as follows:

It is well known that many criminal and civil cases have been referred to the Court of Appeal and the High Court of Australia based on a single red flag identified in the court material.

So what do you do when you find some 50 red flags in a single case? As I did in my investigations into the murder of Leanne Sarah Holland. When the police refused to look at the material, the case ended up in the Court of Appeal and the High Court (twice). In 1997, over 14 years after those discrepancies were found, the murder conviction of Graham Stafford was overturned.

In 2010, after a LOT of pressure, the Qld Police Service agreed to review their original murder investigation. An impartial, unbiased, thorough review of the job done by their brother officers.  The review was to be transparent and the findings were to be released to the public. Two years later assistant commissioner Mike Condon announced they were satisfied with the original investigation and the outcome. The review found Graham Stafford was the killer, he acted alone and the matter was closed. So what about the red flags identified? They did eliminate/clarify each and every issue raised, or at least some of them, right? Well, we do not know what they did or did not investigate. The QPS and/or the DPP have fought long and hard to stop the police review being released for all to see just how thorough, impartial and complete the review was.  There has been finger pointing from both sides as to who is stopping the report being released. Five years on we are still awaiting a decision from QCAT as to whether the report will be released. Can we trust that the QPS at least looked at the major red flags including time of death, multiple sightings, and the other possible suspects? Given their appalling track record in relation to this case I believe that until the review is made public, justice cannot be seen to be done. To muddy the waters further, the QPS have advised the Qld Government an inquest is not necessary as the killer was properly identified. Not in the public interest. Does someone have something to hide here?

RED FLAGS IDENTIFIED WHEN REVIEWING THE ORIGINAL INVESTIGATION

  • Murder investigation commenced the morning after Leanne Holland (LH) reported as a missing person.
  • No motive determined for Graham Stafford (GS) to commit the murder.
  • On duty detectives deemed not experienced enough and more experienced detectives bought in on overtime.
  • Forensic examination of family home the same morning.
  • GS vehicle seized that day for forensic examination.
  • Obvious frustration of forensic police that no blood found on GS clothing in house.
  • Two police (only) on motorcycles instructed to search for LH. Search commenced approx 1pm that day and body found following afternoon – a total of approx. 10 hours searching a potential area of several hundred sq klms.
  • It is evident from police investigation GS was only ever suspect.
  • A convicted pedophile with a lengthy criminal we shall call Pedo apparently acting as a police consultant. He attended both crime scenes with detectives (since denied by Qld Police). He was dispatched to the Holland house by detectives on the first day to see what he could find out, according to his own claims.
  • Crown always claimed GS acted alone.
  • Yet, crown witness at trial stated 2 vehicles were together at crime scene where body located. Comments in police review confirmed two vehicles at scene.
  • Witness sightings by crown witnesses did not match GS car, at all.
  • The evidence in relation to the tyres on GS vehicle changed to the point they were eventually said to be identical with the tyre impressions at the scene.
  • A forensic officer found a maggot in the boot of vehicle owned by GS. He did not record it in writing or by photograph or video, although all 3 means were available at the time and at the scene. He seized the maggot 24 hrs later from the boot. Since established that maggot did not contain human DNA.
  • Several examples of evidence that did not fit GS being excluded from the investigation. eg bank teller, sightings of LH the following day, witnesses that showed GS not killer.
  • The serious & significant lack of available time for GS to commit murder.
  • Lack of blood on property and clothing owned by GS.
  • Lack of blood at both crime scenes.
  • The lack of blood in the bucket on back stairs.
  • Lack of blood in GS vehicle, despite evidence to jury to contrary.
  • Bizarre injuries found on deceased.
  • Cigarette burns on deceased.
  • Cigarette butts found at scene but not collected.
  • Graham Stafford did not smoke.
  • Evidence of next door neighbour to police.
  • The pornographic material found in LH bedroom, owned by Terry Holland.
  • The evidence that LH was seeing several young men ignored/not followed up.

RED FLAGS IDENTIFIED AFTER FURTHER INVESTIGATION

  • The time of death.
  • The problems with the tyre evidence.
  • The blood in the hair.
  • The then chief Qld forensic officer, upon reviewing the evidence, concluded the murder did not occur in the house and the body was never in the boot of Stafford’s car.
  • The numbering of the exhibit bottles holding the maggots taken from the body.
  • Three scientists refute the maggot evidence and state that it is scientifically impossible for the maggot to be still alive after the time frame stated and in those conditions.
  • The seemingly indisputable evidence of the bank teller.
  • Conduct of the grandfather of deceased.
  • Actions of police upon approach by Graeme Crowley.
  • Sightings of Leanne Holland on the Tuesday.
  • Crown prosecutor refused to prosecute case.
  • The murderer Sean McPhedran.
  • The evidence of the daughters of the convicted pedophile we call Pedo.
  • Who owned the clothing the body was found dressed?
  • The killer serving life in Hobart prison – Mark Thomas Noble.
  • The profiler’s opinion.
  • The marks on the underneath of car owned by GS.
  • The impact of the tyre evidence presented to jury.
  • The impact of video evidence presented to jury.
  • The conduct/background/circumstances of Trisha Lynch & family.
  • Undercover officer placed in cell with GS after his arrest. He did not believe GS was the killer.
  • Continued claims of innocence by GS even after release from prison.
  • Request for coronial inquest repeatedly refused by Qld Govt.
  • Startling claims made by son of nominated killer of Sharron Phillips.
  • The police review – what did they find and why do they refuse to release the report.

 

INDIFFERENCE OR SOMETHING MORE SINISTER?

In June 2016 Graham Stafford wrote to the Queensland Government requesting an inquest be held into the death of Leanne Sarah Holland. An inquest into her death has never been held and it is most unusual in Australia to not hold an inquest into a death, in particular a violent death. In fact, it is law that an inquest be held into ever death. However, there is an opt-out clause of ‘no good purpose’. Stafford’s request was refused, citing not in the public interest, and a reply was received in September 2016 (with an apology for the delay in responding). In April 2017 Graham Stafford again wrote to the Qld Government requesting an inquest into the death of Leanne Sarah Holland. He also raised other concerns. He received a reply on 7 November 2017. On 29 October 2017 a state election was called. According to law, from that time on the sitting government could not make a decision regarding an inquest. Was it deliberate or just incompetence that the matter lay untouched for over six months and did not warrant a reply before that time? During the same time, the AG ordered a second inquest into the 44 year old Whiskey Au Go Go murders, within days of the convictions of two men to some related 1973 murders. Within days of the release of the identity of the killer of Sharron Phillips, the AG ordered an inquest into her death. In 2016 the AG ordered a second inquest into the death of Daniel Morcombe, at the request of the Morcombe family to assess the adequacy of the police response. Assistant police commissioner Mike Condon is facing misconduct allegations over that investigation. It should also be noted Mike Condon was in charge of the police review of the Holland murder. The Qld Government has shown it has the will and the ability to order inquests when it suits their needs. WHAT WILL IT TAKE TO FORCE THE QUEENSLAND GOVERNMENT TO HOLD AN INQUEST INTO THE DEATH OF LEANNE SARAH HOLLAND?

Inquest Rejection 2017

Application to Coroner 2016

AG inquest rejection letter 2016

 

 

 

 

 

AN EXPLOSIVE DEVELOPMENT

On 6 October 2017 Queensland Police made a stunning announcement.

Homicide Detective Inspector Damien Hansen was quoted as saying: “Raymond Peter Mulvihill died in 2002. As a result of the investigation (and) the evidence that we have gathered, if Raymond Peter Mulvihill was alive today, he would be arrested for the murder of Sharron Phillips.

Inspector Hansen said police had looked into allegations that Mr Mulvihill might have murdered other women, Julie-Ann Gallon, who went missing from Ipswich Road in August 1990, and Leanne Holland, whose body was found at Redbank Plains in September 1992. He dismissed suggestions Mr Mulvihill was a serial killer”.

The Queensland Attorney General immediately referred the matter to the coroner.

Mulvihill’s son Ian, told The Courier-Mail he had tried for years to convince people his father was responsible for the infamous murder. He claimed he called Crime Stoppers on six occasions claiming his father was a serial killer but no one took him seriously until 2016.

Ian said his father asked him to go to police about the murder shortly before his death from bowel cancer in 2002.

He said his father claimed to have murdered others.

“On his death bed he said, you need to come forward and tell them about these girls,” Ian said.

He said his father told him: “We’ve got to give the girls back.”

In 1985 Sharron Phillips went missing on Ipswich Road Wacol, about 5 klms from Goodna. Her body has never been recovered. At the time Mulvihill, a taxi driver, was living in Redbank Plains.

In 1990 Julie-Ann Gallon went missing on Ipswich Road Riverview, about 7 klms from Goodna. Her body has never been recovered. These disappearances are covered in the book “Who killed Leanne Holland”.

In 1991 Leanne Holland went missing in Goodna and her body was recovered in Redbank Plains.

There are a number of other women who have disappeared in South East Queensland and who have never been seen since, in particular three women on the sunshine coast in the 1990’s.

Curiously, no local media has followed up on Ian Mulvihill’s claims that his father was a serial killer. An email to Kate Kyricou, chief crime reporter with the Courier Mail on that topic went unanswered. Kyricou has written articles on the Holland case.

Am I the only one who finds it bizarre that Raymond Mulvhill confesses to murder on his deathbed but then lies about it and exaggerates the number of murders he committed? I would have thought an investigative journalist would be all over that.

What if it is shown that Mulvihill or someone else killed Leanne Holland? As well as being very inconvenient for Queensland Police I suggest several serving and former members of the service would be looking at lengthy prison sentences. It would also reflect poorly on the Queensland Government who have repeatedly rejected calls, by many people, for a coronial inquest into the murder of Leanne Holland.

So will there be forces at work to ensure no matters, other than those pertaining to the murder of Sharron Phillips, are raised at her inquest? This issue concerns me but we shall have to wait and see.

Graham Stafford is seeking legal advice as to whether he can be represented at the coroner’s inquest into Sharron Phillips, to ensure any evidence regarding Mulvihill being a serial killer or being involved in the murder of Leanne Holland is tabled.

In the meantime we await a ruling by QCAT as to whether the police review will ever be made public. A review the Queensland Police Service and DPP are desperately trying to keep secret. For those who are not aware, the review was conducted by Queensland Police into their original investigation. The review found police were satisfied with the original investigation and the outcome. As the review has never been released, we do not know if the numerous concerns raised in the book “Who killed Leanne Holland” and by others were addressed.

 

 

COMMITTAL TRANSCRIPT

This week marks the 26th year since the disappearance and murder of Leanne Holland. The Crown alledge she was taken on 23 September 1991. The evidence indicates overwhelmingly she disappeared on 24 September 1991. Defence Lawyers are still seeking the release of the Police Review by appealing to the Queensland Administrative Appeals Tribunal (QCAT). As you may be aware Channel 7 obtained a copy illegally sometime in 2016 and broadcast a program based on some of the content. Despite this, the Qld Police and Qld DPP are desperately fighting its release to Stafford’s legal team. The QCAT hearing has been going for almost 12 months, with the Judge’s decision to be given on a date yet to be announced. The saga continues.

In the interim, and at the request of a number of people, I attach the Police committal proceedings transcript from 2 December 1991. It makes for interesting reading, bearing in mind this was the police case at its strongest. The Trial Transcript will follow soon. It is ironic that the Crown Prosecutor at those proceedings, A V Lakshman later refused to prosecute Graham Stafford at his Supreme Court trial as he did not believe in his guilt. However, that information did not become public for 20 years.

Stafford Police Committal 2 December 1991 at Ipswich Court House

 

TIMELINE OF A MURDER

We all know Graham Stafford killed Leanne Holland. The police told us so, after their exhaustive review of the case which was finalised in 2012.

But when did he kill her?

The crown case is that she died on Monday 23 September 1991 between 8am and 4.30pm. It is acknowledged that if she did not die during that time frame, Graham Stafford was not the killer. The Commissioner of Police wrote on 23 August 2012 “….. entomological research has determined the approximate time of death was 23 September 1991″.

So does that mean time of death may have been 22 September 1991 or 24 September 1991? One definition of approximate is ‘close to the actual, but not completely accurate or exact.’

25 years ago the crown forensic expert put the time of death as close to sunset on the Monday. Even that timing was outside the time frame mentioned above. Exhaustive tests by the defence put the time of death as definitely being on the Tuesday, perhaps even as late as Tuesday evening.

It is my understanding that the police case is now that Graham Stafford committed the murder on the morning of the Monday, not the afternoon. However as I have not seen the reinvestigation report I cannot confirm this. Stafford’s legal advisers have been refused a copy through legal channels. The police and crown have repeatedly refused to release it. Perhaps Channel 7, who do have a copy of the report, can enlighten us. I am particularly interested in perusing the credentials and experience of the person who calculated the time of death as being on the morning of the Monday.

Below is a timeline of the period from 7am – 8.30pm on Monday 23 September 1991. The timeline includes all known sightings, contested and otherwise. It does not include disputed sightings of Leanne Holland on the Tuesday. The police commissioner wrote in the correspondence referred to above “…It has been determined the last credible sighting of Leanne Holland was about 10.15am on 23 September 1991″.

In the police case, Graham Stafford had up to 3 hrs to commit the murder and cover it up. More than sufficient time apparently. If any one of the disputed sightings is correct, then that time frame is reduced significantly.

I believe the coroner, not the police should decide the last credible sighting of the deceased.

I also believe the coroner, not the police should determine the date and time of death.

Timeline-JPG
Click here for higher rsolution

The assistance of Bassem Nimah in producing the timeline is acknowledged and appreciated.