Friday, February 16, 2007

Promises Promises

Firstly let me apologise for being so remiss and not getting around to visit. I'm busily getting bits and pieces done before i head full on back to Uni studies and work in a week. Life for me seems to go 100 miles an hour for 9 months of the year, whilst the other 3 months see me trying to catch up on things i should have in those 9 months! Anyhow, i will be round to catch up with you all today onwards :o) Ok, on to other more interesting things as my title says.................

I have been madly following a matter here down under involving a slain Gangland boss Mario Condello and the main witness only known as "166". 166 is the man who Mario Condello allegedly tried to hire to murder two Melbourne underworld rivals for $300,000. But at the time 166 was working as an informer for the Australian Crime Commission and Victoria Police and secretly recorded his meetings with Condello. He gave evidence at Condello’s committal on conspiracy to murder charges, but the gangland boss was murdered in February last year on the eve of his trial.
Witness "166" was originally made extravagant promises, including being relocated overseas under a new name and provided with financial compensation, in return for entering witness protection and testifying. Well now, with the death of Condello, this appears to have gone belly up! Now he will get no-where near that. Police have ejected him from witness protection and refused to deliver on the promised relocation overseas and financial compensation. Instead all he and his partner will get are new identities. A fair deal or not?
"166" has appealed however its been denied despite selling his home and closed his business after entering witness protection on the strength of the promises he was made.
Police say the risk to 166 has decreased. 166 says he’s still a target for a revenge “hit”. Condello had ties to the Mafia in both Australia and Italy and under its traditional code of silence, informers must be killed as an example.
Obviously there must have been a for want of a better phrase "Changed cirucmstances" clause in the agreement between witness/police. Perhaps the final decison should be up to a Supreme Court Judge to decide the "conditions" and not the Police Office of Integrity.
So, what debt if any does society owe people willing to risk their lives to be witnesses in cases against serious criminals? Would you agree to be witness for the prosecution in such a serious matter if promised witness protection?


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