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AFP under attack after failed case against Mo -

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AFP under attack after failed case against Moti

Nicole Butler reported this story on Wednesday, December 16, 2009 12:39:00

ELEANOR HALL: Federal Police officers are facing criticism about their handling of the child sex
case against the Solomon Islands former attorney-general Julian Moti.

The case has been thrown out of the Queensland Supreme Court, with the Judge slamming the AFP's
handling of the matter as an "affront to the public conscience".

The Judge Debra Mullins found that payments by police to the complainant and her family brought
Australia's justice system into disrepute.

The Federal Police are declining to comment on the case. But the former head of the National Crime
Authority Peter Faris has been quick to point out the agency's failings, as Nicole Butler reports.

NICOLE BUTLER: The Solomon Islands' former attorney-general Julian Moti was deported and thrown
into the Brisbane watch house almost two years ago. It was the culmination of a year-long effort by
Federal Police to extradite the Fijian-born Australian so they could charge him with child sex
offences.

Yesterday Mr Moti finally had his day in Queensland Supreme Court. The 44-year-old was to face
multiple counts of engaging in sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl in Vanuatu and Noumea in
1997. But his legal battle ended when Justice Debra Mullins threw the case out of court.

She granted a permanent stay of the charges on the basis Australian Federal Police's payments to
the alleged victim's and her family "brought the administration of justice into disrepute". The AFP
had told the court almost $150,000 had been paid to sustain the family so it would be available to
attend the trial.

However Justice Mullins says payments to potential witnesses were of "great concern" and
"undermined the court". She also found the extent of the living expenses provided was excessive and
that investigations made by the AFP into the cost of living in Vanuatu were "superficial''.

The judge's condemnation of Federal Police didn't end there. An actor replays her remarks.

DEBRA MULLINS (voiceover): It raises questions about the integrity of the administration of the
Australian justice system, when witnesses who live in a foreign country, where it is alleged

an Australian citizen committed acts of child sex abuse, expect to be fully supported by the
Australian Government until they give evidence at the trial in Australia of the Australian citizen.

The conduct of the AFP in taking over the financial support of these witnesses who live in Vanuatu
is an affront to the public conscience.

NICOLE BUTLER: The former head of the National Crime Authority agrees with the Supreme Court
ruling. Peter Farris QC says the payments smack of a bribe by Federal Police.

PETER FARRIS: I don't think it's open to police forces to pay witnesses like that. It removes,
totally removes the credibility of the witness.

NICOLE BUTLER: What's more, the Melbourne barrister says he doesn't know why the AFP pursued Mr
Moti on the charges in the first place.

PETER FARRIS: It wasn't a criminal offence that occurred in Australia. It was investigated in
Vanuatu, he was charged and the charges were dismissed. Now the AFP says that motive bribed the
magistrate who dismissed the charges.

Well that may be true, it might be untrue but that's a matter for the Vanuatu legal system. It's
got nothing to do with Australia. It is almost unprecedented that an Australian, because I think he
had joint Australian citizenship, should be prosecuted in Australia for an offence like this
occurring overseas.

NICOLE BUTLER: Do you think this could be politically motivated like Moti's lawyers argued, that
the then Howard government was worried about Mr Moti's growing influence in the region?

PETER FARRIS: Well, it's a very strange process and one has to ask, was there a political element?
But remember we've had a Labor Government for what, now, two years. They still pursued this. I
would've thought that any sensible Labor attorney-general would've reviewed it and pulled the plug
on.

It's a shocking waste of money, time and effort. The Australian Federal Police should have better
things to do.

NICOLE BUTLER: Mr Faris says it's not just the Federal Police who need to be criticised over the
Moti case.

PETER FARRIS: These cases the police labour charges but they're actually prosecuted by the
Commonwealth director of public prosecutions. And that's supposed to be a layer of protection. In
other words, if the police, the AFP in any case, come to them to prosecute a case and it's a
nonsense case, well then they say no no we're not going to go ahead with it.

And they have guidelines which are published on their website saying that they only proceed if
there's a reasonable prospect of a conviction. In Moti's case there is not the faintest hope of a
conviction; so the Commonwealth DPP should also be investigating as to why they're approving these
cases going ahead.

ELEANOR HALL: That's the former head of the National Crime Authority Peter Faris QC ending Nicole
Butler's report.