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Axe Murder of Private Detective Suggests Police Corruption

he life of a private detective is a tough one.  Often your job brings you into contact with people with a murky past and questionable character. The family of private investigator Daniel Morgan are looking forward to a new inquiry into the 1987 London axe murder of the private investigator.  The family suspects police corruption is a big factor in the yet unsolved murder.  

The body of Mr Morgan, originally from Llanfrechfa, near Cwmbran, Torfaen, was found in Sydenham, south-east London, in 1987.  A trial of four men charged with his murder in 2008 collapsed in 2011, following alleged failures by the police and prosecutors.

The aim of the new independent judge-led investigation panel is to shine a light on the London Metropolitan Police history, and the former police officers, private investigators, criminals, journalists and super-grasses involved in the saga.  The panel will focus on the paper-trail of 750,000 pages of documents from five previous inquiries. It will also examine the role of Southern Investigations, the small detective agency Daniel worked for.

There is evidence Southern took payments from newspapers to dig out information for stories – which sometimes, it’s alleged, came from corrupt police officers. There may be fresh insight into the way the ‘dark arts’ of the media operated.

The video below helps explain the saga surrounding the case.  While our surveillance and private detective work here at Precise Investigation thankfully does not involve uncovering police corruption, the case provides some lessons for us here in Melbourne – a city that has had a recent history of drug and gang-related murders.  While the vast majority of police in Melbourne are hard-working honest people that protect us, we must never become complacent about the ability of criminals to corrupt and bribe police in these extreme situations.

If you have a situation that requires a private detective or investigator in Melbourne, Sydney or any other city in Australia, please call us.  We would be happy to listen and offer advice and hopefully help and assist.

Barnett hits back at private investigator claims

The Premier Colin Barnett has used question time to turn the tables on the Opposition regarding the use of private investigators.

The Opposition Leader Mark McGowan went on the attack following revelations the Environment Department hired a private detective to find the source of a damaging leak prior to the state election.

He also alleged the Government had spent $3 million on private investigators in the last two years.

Mr Barnett told Parliament today the former Labor government hired contractors to look into 107 matters in the Education Department alone in 2007-07.

Mr McGowan was the Education Minister for part of that time.

The Premier says, under his government, the department has hired just one investigator in the past two years.

“It is fair to individuals under investigation, it is long standing practice and if it was used excessively, certainly not under this government but definitely under the Labor government,” he said.

Mr Barnett says there is nothing wrong with using outside investigators to examine allegations of misconduct, and he says Mr McGowan should not have claimed WA was turning into a police state.

“If [it’s a matter] of investigating the conduct or perhaps misconduct of a public servant, and if it’s not so serious as to go to the Corruption and Crime Commission, it’s handled by the Public Sector Commissioner,” he said.

“To ensure procedural fairness, that is usually someone drawn from outside.”

Mr McGowan says the figure dropped so dramatically because Labor created an in-house unit to handle investigations in 2007.

He maintains he has never heard of contractors being used to investigate political leaks until now.

Topics: political-parties, perth-6000

Use of private investigators queried by union

The union representing public sector workers has questioned the use by government agencies of private contractors to investigate staff, given recent budget freezes.

The State Opposition yesterday accused the Government of running a ‘police state’ after one of its departments admitted spending $5,000 on a private detective to investigate a damaging leak.

It followed the clearing of sand near a shack on Wedge Island used by MP Murray Cowper and a warning from the Department of Environment and Conservation.

The CPSU/CSA says it is aware that government agencies occasionally use private detectives for discipline breaches.

But, the assistant secretary Rikki Hendon says the money could be much better spent.

“They’ve recently announced more than a thousand job cuts to come in the next two years,” he said.

“They’ve also announced a lot of limitations on expenditure within departments so I guess my concern would be that the Government is spending a lot of money on these contractors when it can’t afford the basics.”

Ms Hendon says she has questioned whether it is necessary.

“Ultimately, what we’re concerned about is the extent to which independent contractors are used to investigate matters within the public service and the conduct of employees within the public service,” she said.

“How much it costs and what of that money could be better spent on delivering services to the public.”

A statement from the Public Sector Commission said the use of contractors to investigate disciplinary matters has been a long-standing practice used by successive governments over several years.

The Opposition Leader, Mark McGowan, is not convinced.

“I have never, ever heard of this before and I’ve never heard of it in Government in my experience in 16 years in Parliament,” he said.

“I’ve certainly never, ever heard of it being used to intimidate or harass a serving member of Parliament.”

Mr McGowan says it is not a good move.

“Departments have their own process to investigate internal matters,” he said.

“I think employing shady, outside private investigators is not desirable in the public sector and what’s more this could be costing many, many thousands of dollars.”

Millions spent on private investigators

he State Opposition alleges the State Government has spent millions on private investigators over a two year period.

The Opposition Leader Mark McGowan says tender documents show government agencies spent $3 million on several private investigators over a two year period from October 2010.

“I find this to be an extraordinary amount of money to be put towards the employment of private detectives in this state,” he said.

“This seems to me to be a lot of money at a time when there are other priorities in government, in particular our health system.”

It follows revelations the Department of Environment hired a private investigator, at a cost of more than $5,000 to find the source of a leak involving a former Minister Murray Cowper who was being investigated for alleged illegal land clearing.

Mr Cowper was subsequently cleared of any wrongdoing.

A spokeswoman for the Public Sector Commission says the use of private investigators is not unusual, and avoids accusations of internal bias.

She says it also ensures all inquiries are independent.

The Environment Minister Albert Jacob has defended his department’s handling of the leak, which included hiring the investigator.

He says it was a case of “serious misconduct”.

“As Minister, the CEO has my full support in him taking action that he deems necessary to enforce the standards of the Public Sector Management act, which is exactly what I would expect as Minister,” he said.


The investigator, Joe Baskwell, approached Labor MP Chris Tallentire who had received confidential information from a public servant.

Mr Tallentire has told the ABC he felt threatened by the investigator’s approach.

“I’m not accountable to some private investigator who starts making, I think, threats to me saying things like this may constitute an act of misconduct under the Corruption and Crime Commission,” he said.

“In other words, I don’t really see where this guy’s going to stop.”

Mr Tallentire says he is offended a department would target a Member of Parliament in such a manner.

“That means we’ve got public servants, managerial public servants actually ordering an outside of Government person, a private investigator to pursue a member of parliament,” he said.

“I find that totally unacceptable.”

The private investigator Joe Baskwell says he was professional at all times.

“As soon as he said he wasn’t going to co-operate I sent him an email and thanked him for getting back to me,” he told the ABC.

Yesterday, the Opposition Leader Mark McGowan accused the government of running a police state.

“Departments have their own process to investigate internal matters,” he said.

“I think employing shady, outside private investigators is not desirable in the public sector and what’s more this could be costing many, many thousands of dollars.”

Mr McGowan said he had never encountered such a situation in his 16 years in Parliament.

“I have never, ever heard of this before,” he said.

However, Mr Baskwell told the ABC he has previously been called in by a Labor MLC to investigate political leaks.

He says this occurred on two occasions.

“A Labor MLC thought that her parliamentary officer had been leaking information to the Liberal Party and this was the second time,” he said.

Meanwhile, former Minister Murray Cowper says he wants the Corruption and Crime Commission to investigate the leak.

He has also lashed out at Labor for what he has called a “grubby little stunt,” by releasing unconfirmed information to the media.

He says the leak is indicative of “gross misconduct.”

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