Stolen evidence, a
mystery disc: Bike murder case at mechanic’s takes further twist
why you cant trust the police lesson #1834
IT sounds like the plot from a Mission
Impossible movie — a vital piece of evidence stolen from an unmarked police
car that allowed two men to be sensationally acquitted over the shooting
murder of a bikie.
So who “liberated” this evidence, just in
time to free the men?
Was it someone on the police
investigation, worried about a miscarriage of justice? One of the accused —
a theory raised in court but dismissed by the judge? Or a bizarre
coincidence caused by a random thief?
Then there is a mystery disc also holding
the evidence given to one of the defence lawyers but not included in the
brief of evidence.
And why did the prosecution only learn
about the evidence when it was handed to them by the defence?
Perhaps the answers may come to light in
the District Court, as one of the wrongfully accused men sues the state for
If so, it will be the final twist in a
violent mystery that began when Rebels bikie gang member Edin “Boz” Smajovic
was shot dead at Nathan Keith Reddy’s Campbelltown mechanic’s office on
January 9, 2009. Anthony Tan, Reddy’s business partner in the auto repair
business, was charged with murder.
Police accused Tan of fatally shooting
Smajovic in a gun battle. Tan was shot in the neck by Smajovic. Reddy was
charged on October 21, 2011 with being an accessory to murder. Not the
world’s most straight-laced character, he had numerous criminal convictions
staining his record and was looking at up to 25 years in jail.
But both men were sensationally acquitted
on February 26, 2013 — as their trial in the NSW Supreme Court was set to
begin — when it emerged that police had inexplicably sat on evidence that
showed Smajovic had likely been shot by another bikie who had accompanied
him to the standoff with Tan and Reddy.
This evidence was a detailed file note
written by the lead police officer on the case.
It revealed the investigator had known
since April 22, 2009, that Smajovic’s offsider, an Islander and fellow
Rebels bikie, confessed to accidentally shooting his mate on that day in
The Supreme Court was told that note was
not included in the brief of evidence given to defence lawyers or the
Director of Public Prosecution.
The Sunday Telegraph can reveal that Reddy
has now launched legal action in the NSW District Court against the State of
NSW. He is suing for wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and malicious
prosecution. Tan has not launched a similar action.
Reddy also claims that police coached the
Islander’s girlfriend to give evidence against him. This was on the threat
that the Islander could be convicted if the evidence didn’t point to Tan and
Reddy being guilty.
Reddy filed a statement of claim on April
22 and a defence statement is yet to be filed. The District Court hears
claims worth up to $750,000 but the matter could be transferred to the
Supreme Court if the figure goes beyond $1 million.
When contacted and asked how much Reddy
would sue for, his lawyer Brett Galloway said: “How much is your freedom
“It doesn’t matter how much the case is
worth. The point is having the police explain how this happened and how
others appeared to cover up the process of prosecuting a person for a crime
they knew he didn’t commit prior to charging him.”
The Islander bikie gave police a statement
and was set to be a witness in the trial against Reddy and Tan. He has never
been charged with any offence relating to Smajovic’s death.
On the day of the murder, the Islander was
seen running from Reddy’s office before he drove off in Smajovic’s car. Two
witnesses told police they saw him carrying a black gun.
According to Reddy’s statement of claim,
the Islander’s ex-flatmate told the lead police investigator on April 22,
2009, that he spoke to the Islander on the phone minutes after Smajovic had
been killed. The ex-flatmate also revealed the Islander was known to carry
a black .45mm pistol.
The Islander told the ex-flatmate: “I
can’t talk. I just shot someone. What do I do?” the statement of claim said.
Police checked phone records and confirmed
the 67-second call had been made and the investigator made a detailed note
of the development, court documents said.
On April 28, 2009, police were granted a
surveillance warrant using this note as evidence.
Tan and Reddy’s trial was set down to
begin on February 11, 2013, but was delayed after the jury had been
In the following days, defence lawyers for
Reddy discovered the note buried among other documents on a disc they had
received from the police.
The development was unusual because Tan’s
lawyers had not received the note on their discs, nor had the Crown
Under law, police must disclose all
information relevant to a criminal case to the DPP. Also, if the note was to
be included as evidence in the case the ex-flatmate should have been listed
as a Crown witness, which he wasn’t.
Adding to the intrigue, the note was also
stolen by a person, who has never been identified, from an unmarked police
car, which had been parked by the police officer in charge of the case at
Fox Studios in Moore Park in 2010.
The case took
another twist in the hearing to decide costs, when Mr Barrett accused Reddy
of orchestrating the theft of the note.
In an attempt to establish if the note was
authentic, the defence lawyers issued subpoenas ordering the police to hand
over the note.
Police resisted the subpoena on the
grounds of public interest immunity and the parties went to court to fight
over whether the document should be handed over.
After several skirmishes, the defence
lawyers were given the material but it was heavily redacted. The first time
Crown Prosecutor Pat Barrett saw the note was on February 20, 2013, when it
was handed to him by Reddy’s lawyers, court documents said.
Reddy and Tan’s charges were no-billed by
the DPP six days later, and the two men walked free.
The case took another twist in the hearing
to decide costs, when Mr Barrett accused Reddy of orchestrating the theft
of the note.
Police tendered evidence revealing that an
unmarked gold Holden Commodore parked on level three of the carpark in Moore
Park had been broken into on January 6, 2010, while the officer in charge of
the case and another investigator got a meal.
A laptop and USB stick, which contained
the note, were stolen.
In court, Mr Barrett said the break-in was
targeted and argued that Reddy and Tan knew of the theft of the note but
failed to bring it to the attention of prosecutors.
Justice Megan Latham ruled that much of
evidence was not credible and awarded costs to Tan and Reddy.
Reddy’s civil claim is listed for a
pre-trial conference for 21 June.