Kerry Stokes who controls Channel 7 thinks he is above the law and when things do not go his way he thinks he can use threats and intimidation against the Australian Federal Police and government to solve the problem.
Over the last few days this is exactly what has played out in the media in regards to the Schapelle Corby interview saga and could land in court next week if Stokes follows through with his threats. While it might be others at Channel Seven who are doing all the talking Kerry Stokes is the one driving it.
In this post we will look at the truth behind Stokes’s lies. And I should say upfront there is history between this site, Stokes and his lawyer Justine Munsie who threatened myself and the site with defamation proceedings a couple of years ago. (Click her to see Justine Munsie’s threatening legal letter)
Schapelle Corby was arrested in Indonesia (Bali) on the 8th of October 2004 and later convicted on the 27th May 2005 for the importation of 4.2 kg of cannabis into Bali.
After more than 9 years in jail she was released on parole this year on the 10th February 2014.
Numerous media organisations have been trying to get interviews with Ms Corby since her release and some have apparently offered substantial sums of money for exclusive interviews.
Of those offering money channel 7 are the front-runner as they are currently paying for Schapelle Corby to stay in a luxury resort since her release and their reporter Mike Willesee is staying in the same resort and in communication with Corby.
It has been widely reported that there was a deal for $2 million between Corby and Seven which was even criticised on air by one of channel 7’s leading presenters David Koch. “I reckon we should have nothing to do with her as a network. Totally disagree with paying a convicted drug smuggler $2 million,” Koch said. (Click here to read more)
If David Koch is talking about it live on channel 7 like it was a done deal it is fair for everyone including the federal police to think there is a signed contract between Corby and Seven. Even more so when Mike Willesee responds to the David Koch comment:
“He said he did not know how much Channel Seven had paid to secure the exclusive deal but it was not as much as $2 million.”
“I don’t know what the figure is but that’s crazy,’’ Willesee said as he left the Sentosa Seminyak for a walk. “Way silly. It’s not up there at all. I don’t know what the deal is but I would very much like to interview her — and I hope to but I haven’t seen her.’’ (Click here to read more) Mike Willesee did not dispute that there was an agreement between 7 and Corby, all he disputed was how much it was. By what he says it sounds very much like he himself believes there is an agreement between 7 and Corby.
Proceeds of crime law
The problem for Schapelle and any paid interview is that Australia has laws against profiting for crime in Australia or by a convicted Australian overseas. It says on the federal police website:
“The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (the Act) was passed on 11 October 2002 and came into operation on 1 January 2003.”
“The Act provides a scheme to trace, restrain and confiscate the proceeds of crime against Commonwealth law. In some circumstances it can also be used to confiscate the proceeds of crime against foreign law or the proceeds of crime against State law (if those proceeds have been used in a way that contravenes Commonwealth law).”
“The Act also provides a scheme that allows confiscated funds to be given back to the Australian community in an endeavour to prevent and reduce the harmful effects of crime in Australia.” (Click here to read more)
As you would expect the Australian federal police took immediate interest in Schapelle Corby when she was released on parole given the reports that the media wanted to pay her for an interview. On the day of the raid, Tuesday the 18th February, the federal police issued a media release which started off:
“The AFP has been in discussion with Channel 7 and their legal representatives regarding a Proceeds of Crime Act matter since 11 February 2014. The AFP has today executed a number of search warrants in Sydney in relation to this matter.” (Click here to read more)
Channel 7 were issued with an order to produce documents under the Proceeds of Crime Act, issued by the AFP on Tuesday the 11th of February which said that channel 7 had to hand over all documents sought by the AFP by 4pm Friday the 14th of February.
Seven’s lawyer Justine Munsie tried playing games 4 hours before the deadline and emailed the AFP and in effect said they could not meet the deadline.
“But at midday on the day of deadline, Seven’s lawyer, a partner at law firm Addisons, Justine Munsie, sent an email to the AFP asking if the search could be limited to documents which came into existence from 1 January 2014 as the search “would require Seven to search its archives and make enquiries of a large number of people, many of whom are no longer employed by Seven about the existence of any relevant documents”.”
Federal agent Jeff Kokles, from the Serious and Organised Crime unit emailed back and reinforced the 4pm deadline. (Click here to read more) If Kerry Stokes and his staff at channel 7 had complied with the 4pm deadline then there would have been no need for a raid on their offices the following Tuesday.
Threats of legal action against AFP
Seven’s commercial director, Bruce McWilliam, is demanding an apology from the AFP. “It’s not a crime to negotiate with a criminal to do an interview – and it’s not a crime to pay a criminal for an interview. Everyone should be quite aware of that,” he said. “The only crime, the only thing that the act permits is that the government can seize any proceeds paid.” (Click here to read more)
“Mr McWilliam phoned Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who is his former legal partner, as the raids began on Tuesday morning to ask what was happening. That prompted a flurry of phone calls among Cabinet ministers. It is understood Mr Turnbull called Justice Minister Michael Keenan, whose office says he had been informed of the raids as they were happening, not before. Mr Turnbull then spoke to Attorney-General George Brandis, who then had a conversation with Mr Stokes.” Mr Stokes says “jump!” and the government says “How high?”
Kerry Stokes has also threatened to quit his government positions. Not much of a threat as far as I can see, we would be better off without the whinger.
Seven had threatened to launch legal if they did not get an apology by 5pm Friday and they also demanded that the AFP to revoke the discovery order under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
The apology related to a minor issue with the paperwork to obtain the warrant for the raid which incorrectly implied that Sevens lawyer, Justine Munsie, was suspected of committing a crime. (Click here to read more)
The AFP did apologise for the “typing error” but told Seven to get lost as far as revoking the order is concerned.
Evidence of the lies by Kerry Stokes
Channel 7 have said that the police raid was an overreaction and that they had complied and handed over everything to the police that they were required to. Then why did Justine Munsie write to the AFP 4 hours before the 4pm deadline on Friday the 14th of February saying in effect that they could not comply? And why did Justine Munsie not inform the AFP earlier in relation to not being able to comply. Is she saying that she only realised 4 hours before the deadline even though she had 4 days to work that out?
The next question one has to ask is if Channel 7 says there is no agreement then why did both David Koch and Mike Willesee believe there was an agreement between 7 and Corby. And if there was no agreement why did channel 7 not make David Koch retract his on air statement?
If it does hit court next week as threatened by Seven, Kerry Stokes and Justine Munsie will perjure themselves like there is no tomorrow as both have form on the board for doing so. Kerry Stokes perjured himself in the C7 case a few years ago which I wrote about previously (click here to read). And just last December Mrs Munsie was in the witness stand perjuring herself when she was representing bullyboy Ray Hadley from 2gb. Why was Mrs Munsie in the witness stand? Yep, you guessed it! Ray Hadley breached a court order and failed to hand over incriminating emails that had been subpoenaed. Mrs Munsie said that it was an oversight because Mr Hadley was “not very good with emails”. (Click here to red more)
People might want to argue that Schapelle Corby is innocent and is entitled to the money. To me though that is a separate issue to Kerry Stokes thinking he runs the country and doing whatever he wants. The man is delusional.
(The above article is from the website Kangaroo Court of Australia. The author Shane Dowling was made to take it down by the corrupt judge Peter Hall in May 2014.)