20 C
Byron Shire
May 6, 2021

AFP refuse to apologise after Bali executions

Latest News

From go to whoa – Norco Primex expo covers it all

Norco and Primex are bringing a three-day sustainable farming and primary industry expo to you.

Other News

Boarding houses

Matthew O’Reilly, CABS president and Council candidate for the new Byron Greens The over-development of cramped boarding-house accommodation in Sunrise...

Houses without smoke detectors very alarming

Fire & Rescue NSW is always busy and the nation-wide fires in recent years have highlighted the importance and value of our firefighters.

COVID: Brisbane green zone error

Queensland Health has announced that two transiting passengers from a flight from Papua New Guinea are being tested after a potential green zone breach in Brisbane International Airport yesterday.

Thousands of sober stoners march for drug law reform in Nimbin

Nimbin HEMP Embassy President Michael Balderstone said he was surprised at the high turn-out, given a heavy police presence on streets surrounding the rainforest village.

Byron Bay wins season opener against Mullum Giants

  Ross Kendall The local league derby is always  and the Byron Bay Red Devils have won the first game of...

Interview with Madeleine West

Madeleine West is a nationally acclaimed actress who is one of the many talents who lives in our region. Not just a soap star (some might know her as Dee Bliss from Neighbours), Madeleine has an extensive performance training background and she’s going to be sharing her Theatresports expertise with kids at the Byron Comedy Fest.

Unapologetic: AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin
Unapologetic: AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin

Bernard Keane, Crikey politics editor

The Australian Federal Police has insisted its entire handling of the Bali nine case was appropriate at every stage, and attacked criticism over the executions of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran as ‘in bad taste’ and ‘misinformed’, saying it had no choice but to provide information to Indonesian authorities despite knowing the death penalty might result.

At a media conference this morning, AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin, flanked by Deputy Commissioners Mike Phelan, who was involved directly with the case, and Leanne Close, refused to apologise to the families of Chan and Sukumaran, declined to rule out Australians being executed on the basis of AFP intelligence in the future, and insisted that asking Indonesian police to pursue the group was the best operational decision.

Phelan, specifically and in detail, rejected claims by the family of Bali nine member Scott Rush and barrister Robert Byers that the AFP promised to prevent Rush from travelling to Bali after Rush’s father had provided a crucial tip-off.

He argued the AFP was already investigating the syndicate and Rush’s involvement, and that it could not have arrested Rush or prevented him from travelling without reducing the chances of successfully prosecuting other syndicate members. No commitments were made to Rush’s family, Phelan insisted.

Phelan and Colvin also argued that the AFP was correct to not wait until the Bali nine returned to Australia before acting. They claimed that the drug couriers may have passed the eight kilograms of drugs they were importing to other aircraft passengers or corrupt airport insiders (a possibility admitted by Phelan as ‘remote’) and that the arrest of the group in Indonesia helped the prosecution of another six members of the syndicate in Australia.

Allowing the group to return to Australia might, Colvin and Phelan argued, would have allowed the drugs to be lost from the plane and would have reduced the chances of prosecuting syndicate organisers.

Key organisers of the syndicate, however, remain at large or were able to flee, but the AFP questioned whether the claim that the ‘kingpins’ remained free was accurate, repeatedly saying it had prosecuted a further six low-level members of the group here in Australia.

The AFP repeatedly came back to its insistence that its primary duty was to protect Australians from ‘the scourge of drugs’, with Close boasting that the AFP had in recent years stopped drugs worth ‘eight hits for every man, women and child in Australia’.

However, despite his repeated declaration that there was nothing inappropriate or wrong about the AFP’s actions, Colvin refused in the face of repeated questioning to say the AFP would act in the same way again, suggesting it might behave differently if circumstances were repeated.

He claimed that the AFP was ‘hampered’ by restrictions on cooperation with death-penalty countries but that that was ‘appropriate’ given the government’s stance on the death penalty.

Colvin said criticism of the AFP, suggestions it had blood on its hands, and that it had traded the Bali nine in exchange for a better relationship with Indonesian authorities on terrorism, were ‘in bad taste’ and upset individual officers engaged in dangerous anti-drugs operations.

The AFP even rejected criticism that it had failed to explain itself, insisting its officers had answered questions in parliamentary committee hearings, court proceedings and media conferences, but had chosen not to do so recently out of concern for the government’s efforts to obtain clemency for Chan and Sukumaran.

The broader message from Colvin, Phelan and Close was consistent with its previous position: the AFP did nothing wrong on the Bali nine and it has nothing to be sorry for in the case.

This article was first published in Crikey.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. Of course the AFP did nothing wrong, it merely arranged for Indonesia to murder for them ! So it’s those nasty Indonesians fault, and in return nobody here will mention the atrocities that Indonesians are committing in New Guinea. Neat huh ?

  2. It’s disgusting – these senior police protecting their own pointless jobs by pleading Drug War platitudes. Colvin ignores that most heroin casualties occur BECAUSE it is illegal, and ignores the success of supervised injecting centres in preventing overdoses and deaths – a far cheaper option than the ever more privatised drug enforcement and jail industry. And he deflects the question raised by Senator Xenophon – why couldn’t the Bali 9 have been arrested on their return to Australia and these executions prevented?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Greater Sydney goes into COVID related lockdown

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has just announced that greater Sydney area will go into lockdown until next Monday.

Board defends its management of Mullum Rural Co-op

The issue of potential fraud and financial mismanagement was a key part of the response from Mullumbimby Rural Co-op board, and Chair Ross Tucker,...

An operetta and children’s theatre for NORPA

NOPRA has announced recipients of the theatre company’s two artist residencies.

Dam doesn’t give a damn about koalas

The proposed Dunoon Dam is still a possibility, though it has been voted against twice by the members of Rous County Council. Now information has emerged which presents another reason to shut down the threat of the dam once and for all.