Tag: police

Fletch, Bucko, TopBetta, the 100k Promotions and the Convicted Cocaine Trafficker – What a Small World It Is – And What Tangled Webs a Life on the Punt Weaves

Do you remember I told you the other day that someone from the gambling regulation authorities should have a real close look at who won all those $100 000 and $250 000 tipping comps that then CEO and Managing Director Todd Buckingham used to run at his bookmaking company TopBetta.

There was a reason that I suggested it.

See that bloke in the middle?

That’s Steve Fletcher, the infamous high-profile punter who is embroiled head, neck and shoulders in the Sally Snow affair.

See the young metrosexual chap to his right (your left)?

That’s Aaron Macey.

Aaron used to be a vinyl salesman at a company called Velfex.

Then all of a sudden one day he told his boss he was resigning, and headed off to start a new job.

The new job?

Head Form Analyst and media front man for TopBetta.


That was a funny job for a bloke with no formal racing experience to get wasn’t it?

Real strange.

He must have been alright at it though, because he lasted a couple of years and by all reports was pretty popular in the Newcastle office of the corporate bookie.

Aaron was pretty popular all around Newcastle actually, except in police stations and with the crew in blue working on covert undercover drug operations.

Drug operations you say?


The Top Betta job was just a front.

Aaron Macey was actually a drug traficker, the Newcastle end of a syndicate selling precursor materials for party drugs, and more cocaine than you could poke a stick at or pile up to your roof, unless of course you had a jumbo sized stick and very high ceilings.


In mid-2016 Aaron left TopBetta and started up a cleaning business with his mate Jay Ramsden.

That was another odd career shift for a bloke who’d never either run a company or been a cleaner, wasn’t it? Or it would have been if Aaron and Jay didn’t have wicked senses of humour, and a shared love of a play on words.

They were cleaning up alright, and cleaning a few other things too, mainly fifty and hundred dollar notes.

Jay’s day job was working as engineer for QANTAS.

I wonder if he knew his fellow employee John Mafiti, the baggage handler who was the inside man for another former QANTAS baggage handler and well-known racing identity by the name of Damion Flower, and used to smuggle Damo’s commercial quantities of cocaine through customs for him?

Small world isn’t it?

Sadly, just a few months before Damion Flower’s racing empire and his whole life came crashing down in a screaming heap of Coke, Aaron and Jay’s world – perhaps not uncoincidentally – fell apart too,.

They got busted big time.

Aaron was caught with 379g of cocaine and 100l of butanediol, the precursor chemical to the drug known on the street as GBH or Fantasy, the bad shit that’s killed 74 people since the year 2000, most of them kids in their teens or early 20’s.

Jay got done travelling in the passenger seat with a bloke named Brett Pearce (no relation to Junior or Mitch), 3 times in fact, the first 2 covertly recorded by the undercover police operatives who’d been shadowing their drug syndicate for months, and the 3rd when they got pulled over and the party ended.

Both the lads pleaded guilty to the supply of drugs – its a bit hard not to, when the undercover Jacks catch you with them red-handed – and are now residents of Her Majesty’s Iron Bar Hotel.

I dunno about young Jay, but I doubt that Aaron’s on Damion Flower’s Xmas card list this year.

The max sentence for supplying commercial quantities of Class A drugs is life imprisonment, and our man Mr Macey had a very, very large quantity of the gear on him.  Coke is $350 a gram in most pubs that I’ve scored it in, and our former TopBetta analyst and co-compere of a punting show with Steve Fletcher had almost 400 grams of the stuff, meaning it was worth six-figures, and that was only what he got pinched with on him. Who knows how much he really sold?

Who knows how much the precursor drug was worth either? If you buy it legally under license for a legitimate purpose – like as a glue to lay vinyl with (what???) – not much, but if you are getting it imported on the QT to make illegal drugs with it’s a worth a whole lot more, a shitload more in fact.

You’d think Aaron Macey would be going in for a long stretch, wouldn’t you?

You’d be wrong.

He only copped a head sentence of 4 1/2 years, and will be out in 27 months.

I wonder which wing they’ve got him banged up in?

And if Todd Buckingham or Steve Fletcher will be coming to visit?

It’s a bloody small world isn’t it?

Don’t you worry about that.

Disclaimer – Neither the author nor the publisher of this article makes any suggestion that either Todd Buckingham, Steve Fletcher, the owners, operators or employees of TopBetta or Velflex, or any other person other than those convicted of these offences had any knowledge of, or involvement in, the unlawful activities of Aaron Macey or Jay Gadsby, or the crimes that the pair committed.


The Greatest Scandal in NSW Racing This Century is About to Explode – And What You Learn Over the Coming Weeks and Months Will Shock You to the Core – Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow – An Archie Butterfly Exclusive

And so it begins.

Does anyone remember the series of stories I published last year on the subscription site archiebutterfly.com about the Sally Snow affair?

For those who don’t, or who didn’t read it, I wrote that the reasons for the sacking of Sally Snow from her role as the senior odds-setter for the TAB were far, far more deeper and more serious than most people realised, and that when the lid was lifted off the scandal the repercussions would resonate wide and far across racing in NSW, and – to a slightly lesser extent – Victoria, and perhaps even Queensland.

In the series of articles I suggested that some very well-known names in racing – some of the biggest – would be embroiled in the scandal, and that they would include Group 1 winning jockeys, nationally known trainers, and at least one infamous bookmaker whose name was known across the land.

None of this was supposition. I don’t make up fairy tales, I don’t have the imagination, and in racing you don’t need to, for the truths in the game we love are always much, much stranger than fiction.

Coronavirus delayed the long running, and even more long ranging, cross border investigation into matters related to Sally Snow’s dismissal by Tabcorp after the NSW Stewards warned her off racecourses for refusing to produce and hand over her private mobile phones (yes, phones).

There were very good personal reasons for Sally Snow’s decision not to hand over the devices, even though she knew full well that it would mean the end of her career as a corporate bookmaking behemoth’s front woman. These reason’s weren’t related to her individual privacy, but rather to an intense desire not to holiday in Long Bay.

Racing NSW probe link between Sally Snow and Unibet bookmaker

Sadly for Sally (above) though, the investigators already had them. Not the physical phones, but the mirrors, and all the contacts contained on them, and all the texts, calls and mistakenly believed to be encrypted messages made to and from them. The joint police task force had been all over her and her friends for more than 12 months, even though neither she nor they knew it. The cops only asked the Stewards to use their powers to request the phones to make a good thing of it, and to test her hand.

They got the result they expected, and all it was cost Snow her job and her reputation, and confirm to the investigators that their conclusions were 100 percent correct and firming.

A month or two later Sally Snow’s husband Nathan was stopped at customs and detained by border control officers when returning an overseas trip. Nathan Snow’s phones and devices were seized, including those that it is believed were registered in another person’s name.

Around the same time the NSW Stewards demanded that prominent and oft controversial racing identity Steve Fletcher hand his private telephones over to them.

Fletcher complied with the direction, but almost immediately – for reasons that will become abundantly clear over the coming months – lodged an application to the Supreme Court of NSW seeking to restrain the Stewards from accessing or using any information on the phones other than that related directly to the Sally Snow inquiry.

His court application also sought a direction that Stewards provide him with the specific details of the inquiry, and the details of which aspects of it they wished to access limited information from his phone for.


The NSW Stewards didn’t fall for that trick.

They fought the case.

In April last year Fletcher won.


The Supreme Court ordered that only specific information contained on Fletcher’s phone could be accessed by the racing officials, and then only in circumstances whereby Fletcher was advised why.


The Stewards immediately lodged an appeal of the decision with the NSW Supreme Court of Appeal.

In February of this year the Court of Appeal handed down its decision.

This time the Stewards won.

By unanimous decision of the three appeal judges, the Racing NSW Stewards were now permitted to access all of the information on Fletcher’s phones, without telling him why.


The die was cast, and the wave of summonses to appear before the Stewards on rule breach charges, and the consequent and/or concurrent flood of police arrests were about to commence.

Then the coronavirus hit, and everything went into abeyance.

But none of it went away.

Last week the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

Today jockey Adam Hyeronimus has been charged with multiple betting offences.

Look closely at the rule breach charges that the rider has been hit with.

Hyeronimus has not charged with placing bets himself, but rather with having beneficial interests in bets placed on his behalf.

You can take one guess as to who placed the bets on the jockeys beneficial behalf, and why.

This is Steve Fletcher (below).

His picture is only published in this story because he’s handsome.

Supreme Court grants Racing NSW right to inspect phone of pro ...

The person who (allegedly) placed the bets is not the principal of the large scale race-fixing and price manipulation operation that is soon to become a front page headline across the country, and unleash a storm that will reverberate across the racing land.

Here is a tip, and it’s a very strong one indeed.

To find a clue as to who the soon to be named alleged principal of what the Stewards will allege to be a highly crook, race hook cartel may be, one would be well advised to take a close look at the trainer or training partnership that Adam Hyeronimus has been most closely associated with throughout his career.

And then ask yourself who that trainer, or member of the training partnership, may share a bed with.

It’s not the trainer that I am suggesting will be alleged to be involved.

He, is not a she.

Here is another tip.

See the extract from the February 2020 Supreme Court of Appeal judgement that is published above?

To save you looking, I will print it again.


There is a highly skilled sand very experienced young racing Steward whose rapid rise to the top of his profession hit a huge speed bump when the ABC aired the infamous Four Corners report into live baiting in the greyhound industry.

That Steward’s employment was terminated by Racing Queensland in the wake of the scandal, even though it had nothing to do with him at all, and he knew nothing about the cruelty.

Sometime later, after returning from an ostensibly unsuccessful stint in a overseas racing jurisdiction, that Steward returned to Australia, and the widespread impression was that he was finished in the world of racing integrity, and unemployable in the industry.

Ever heard the adage about judging books by their covers? Or watched a boxing match and seen a fighter fall for a sucker punch?

The believed to be unemployable Steward got a job.

As a runner placing TAB bets for Steve Fletcher.

He wasn’t much good at it, but he never intended to be.

Enron alert to Steve Fletcher – there is always a smarter man in every room.

He’s usually the one pretending to be dumb.

After leaving Fletcher’s employment, the unemployable racing Steward returned to the racing industry as a Steward.

Not just any Steward either.

Wade Birch became the Deputy Chief Steward of NSW Racing.

For those who have been asking how and why, your mystery is now solved.

Birch sprints to top job | Sunshine Coast Daily

And if you believed me when I was publicly asking how and why, then you are as silly as Steve Fletcher.

Sorry for misleading you, but once I worked out what was going on, long before anyone else who wasn’t part of the covert operations did, I made a professional and ethical decision to run dead and play dumb, even though it meant writing things that I knew not to be true.

It worked too.

The man who will be named as the alleged principal contacted me out of the blue. I’d never spoken to or met him before.

He invited me to lunch, but I politely declined, telling him that I was in Northern NSW at the time on an assignment seeking to locate and interview people who had gone to the school with the demon who committed the Christchurch massacres, which was true.

The man then arranged for me to brunch with his representative in Byron Bay, a former young tyro bookie at the Gold Coast, who I knew – without the man knowing I knew – now worked as a TAB runner for Steve Fletcher.

I met the former bookie, and played dumb to him, and crazy too. In fact I dropped a pill and smoked two joints on the way to meet the bookie, just to make a good thing of it. It didn’t effect me – I was a street kid after I got raped; I learned early how to handle my drugs – but it fooled him, so much so that, deciding that I knew nothing and was merely a hit and miss merchant, he even tried to leave me with the bill.

Good luck on that one.

He had none, but now I knew for sure that what I’d worked out was 100% right.

I’m a straight, clean racing man.

I always have been, and I always will be.

I don’t talk to police, ever, so they’re safe in that respect, but I know the story and I’m not afraid to write it, and within the confines of the law I will.

Hyeronimus has been in career-best form this year.

Here is one last tip for now.

There is a leading NSW jockey who bears a striking resemblance to Adam Hyeronimus (above).

Or did until last week, when that rider died his hair peroxide blonde.

Many in the media are viewing the hair colour change as a fashion mistake, and making the jockey’s altered appearance a matter of merriment and mirth.

To those innocents I say this.

It is now what you don’t know that defines you skill as an investigative journalist, it is what you do. And sometimes witnesses find it difficult to identify a person when their appearance has drastically changed.

Fukuoka, Japan. 4th Aug, 2018. Brenton Avdulla Horse Racing ...

The war is about to begin, and there will be many casualties along the way.

The snow will be stained red with racing blood.

Put on your helmets, buckle in, and watch this space.

And remember, you heard it all here first.

You always do.

Editor’s note – The licenced racing industry participant charged alongside Adam Hyeronimus is a young man named Blake Paine. He works for the same stable as the one I have identified in this story. So does his father Neil Paine, the man in the funny suit who breached the COVID-19 restrictions by racing across the Randwick mounting yard to hug Adrian Bott after Farnan won this year’s Slipper. Neil Paine – who is not alleged to have any knowledge of matters related to this story or the charges laid against his son – got off with a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket for his serious contravention of the NSW Government health directives and the Racing NSW coronavirus protocols. The Stewards had far bigger fish to fry.




Yeah Good, Former King of the Brisbane Rails Ring – The Smartest Man in the Room Ain’t Necessarily the One With the Holes in His Singlet and the App


So I cop the above message on this brand new, whizz bang third party Yeah Good app that my daughter insists on installing on my supposedly smart phone, which is actually pretty dumb because it doesn’t crouch and roll when you drop it like any phone with half a brain would, and as a result gets so many breaks and fractures that you have no choice other than to ring the mobile vet on your missus’s healthy phone, and tell him to bring a large vial.

The message is of course from the former King of the Brisbane Rails Ring, who is currently making a comeback to the track as an expert clocker, jump out analyst, trot trial expert and professional harness racing punter come layer.

None of this a surprise.

The King’s time has always been on the clock; he doesn’t mind jumping out of trench when the Turks, Wogs and Huns get close; they say at his age the pound of prunes (only just of date) that he gallops down every morning for brekky provide him with very good understanding of the trots; he’s always loved a bet; and we wont talk about the laying here in case certain people are reading, other than to say that if a man is too tight to spring the 4 bucks for a new Chesty Bonds, then he should at least shout her indoors a teabag to darn the damn thing before he goes out.

Anyway, the King says I’m wrong about Kevin Kent being an SP Bookie, and have it totally arse up about Kent’s SP bookie mate Joe Cerutti ever living at Camp Hill.


Now Otto, the supposed smart money would say that the King might know a little bit about the SP trade, in the same way that spin bowlers like Shane Warne are likely to know a thing or two about hard pitches, bouncing balls and cracks in the green.

But the smart money lives in the moment. If a dollar is there to be grabbed, or a bullet to be ducked, then the smarties grab or duck it.

The former King of the Brisbane Ring has always been on the smarter side of the punting IQ divide. That’s why he got to wear the crown and ponce around like the Old King Cole on cold, windy wooden betting stands, in the same way that Charlie HRH sits up high on the throne every morning, afternoon and night.


It’s a lofty, elevated rare air that genius’s like the King imagine that they breathe, but it’s not the same O2 ingested by the smartest men in the room.

That’s probably because those blokes are too clever to mingle with the peasants and catch the Coronavirus.

Nah, we use the Yeah Good app instead.

And research our stories before we write them.




What Were the Alligator Folk Doing in the Back of the Float on the Way to the Gold Coast? – First Published 17 January 2020


A Fairytale about Alligators Written By a Bunch of Racing Writers With Vivid Imaginations and Scant Regard For the Truth

Every punter in Australia by now knows the Alligator Blood Magic Millions story, or at least they think they do anyway, but there are a few things wrong with the tale.

The first is the reporting.

Respected racing writers Steve Rodgers and Mark Oberhardt told the 17 remaining readers of The Australian that the Alligator arrived at the Gold Coast track under police escort. Nathan Exelby repeated the tale to the 26 people that read the Sunday Mail. Chris Roots took it a step further and reliably informed the 38 strong audience of the Sydney Morning Herald that the Alligator’s police escort was riding a motorcycle, which given Queensland’s draconian VLAD laws is a brave thing for anyone, even a copper, to do. Ben Dorries did a brave thing too. He told the tens of thousands of readers of Racenet not only that the Gator arrived on course shepherded by coppers, but that Channel 7 broadcast

It was a cracker of a yarn, an absolute doozy. The only problem is that it was total bullshit. All of it. Dorries, Roots, Exelby, Oberhardt, Rogers – they were all speaking straight out of their arses and relaying as fact an event that never actually happened at all. If the lithesome fivesome had been born a century earlier, they would have all been assistant scriptwriters on War of the Worlds.

The Alligator didn’t arrive at the course under police escort at all. David Van Dyke’s partner Emma Lehmann drove him in under her own steam, with one-time Survivor runner-up Tara Pitt riding shotgun in the passenger seat. Exelby admitted as such in his column in the circulation sinking Courier-Mail on Monday, although strangely he neglected to print a correction or apology to readers for the fantasy that he’d weaved for them the day before.

None of the other so-called racing experts printed a correction or apology for their utter furphy either, which is not quite cricket is it? No, it’s not, and its bloody embarrassing for these blokes too. Journos are supposed to source and check facts, not manufacture them. This mob have let the side down big time Sportsfans, and the people they have let down are you and me.

False news is no news Sportsfans. That’s why you’re reading this right now. Because you can depend on our stuff being true. And it is too, don’t you worry about that.

Back to the Alligator

David Van Dyke told the Stewards that due to the crash on the M1, Big Al was no hope of making it to the track within the prescribed two-hour before the start time-frame, and Racin Nathan faithfully reported it without question.

There’s just one problem.

As per the QRIC public decree issued on the 25th of November 2019 – just six weeks before the millions – all runners in Group races have to be on-course THREE hours before starting time, not TWO.

The 3YO Magic Millions Guineas was due to start at 3:15pm, which meant that all runners in the race had to be stabled on the course by 12:15pm.

By trainer Van Dyke’s own admission Alligator Blood left his Sunshine Coast yard at 10:15am, and it was a minimum 2 hour and 15 minute trip to the Goldie even in traffic that was sailing smoother than a Sydney to Hobart winner entering the Tasmanian harbor.

Do the sums.

Even if all went to plan the Alligator wouldn’t have arrived on track until 12:30pm. In other words, he would have been there too late, and if the QRIC were fair dinkum about their 3 hours strictures he should and would have been ineligible to line up in the race.

The connections of the other runners in the Guineas have been had.

The so-called rules have been snubbed and blown into a thousand pieces.

The QRIC and its so-said commitment to racing integrity is a joke.

A Few Random Questions That All Sportsfans Should Be Asking

  1. Why were no other runners in the Guineas caught in the traffic jam? At least 4 of them came down from Brisbane for the race. They had to travel the same highway. How come they didn’t get stuck?
  2. Why was Alligator Blood brought down in a large, multi-horse truck on its own? The Guineas was race 6, and Van Dyke had a runner – Constant Flight – in race 4, so why were they brought down separately?
  3. Why did the Alligator need to come down in a big truck with only his mate the pony along for the ride with him?
  4. Why were 2 Van Dyke employees in tow, one of them who was not even supposed to be on duty that day?
  5. Why were the pair so keen to take a so-called back road (which wasn’t at all – it was a major thoroughfare) on their own, without the coppers escorting them and running the risk of them taking a look in the back?
  6. Why would the two stable staff need to make or take 57 phone calls back and forward to Van Dyke along the way? Why wouldn’t they have just stayed on the phone?
  7. Why was the 3-hour rule introduced by the QRIC in the first place?
  8. Why was Robert Smerdon having his horses bicarbed on course within 2 hours of the start time for their races?
  9. Which trainer has multiple breaches of race day treatment rules on his rap sheet, including two three-year sentences that he served concurrently for bringing horses to the track tanked full of the dreaded Elephant Juice?
  10. Who is the only trainer to have recorded a better strike rate than Ben Currie three years in a row, during the Tornado’s reign as Queensland’s premier trainer?
  11. Is it the same trainer who currently boasts a 50 percent or more better winning strike rate than the top 3 trainers in the State?
  12. Is David Van Dyke the best trainer in Australia? His strike rate says he is. Boom Boom Benny’s did for a while too.
  13. Does any of this mean anything at all? Or is it just sheer coincidence?

We don’t know, and we’re certainly not suggesting anything untoward. We are just laying out some cold hard facts for your consideration, that’s all.

But gee, wouldn’t you think someone in charge of racing integrity might be asking themselves the same questions.

Then again, wouldn’t you think they’d know their own rules.

Nah, this is Queensland isn’t it?

The place where phantom police escorts bring horses to courses, journos write imaginary stories gleaned from invisible sources, and pink pigs fly.

My oh my, the whole thing would just about make a grown man cry.

Especially if he owned the runner-up.

The Life and Lies of Lawyer X – Nicola Gobbo’s Poor Me Statement to the Royal Commission – Someone Please Pull Out the Violins

Royal Commission into Police lnformants


I make this statement in advance of my evidence before the Royal Commission between 4—7 February 2020.

From the outset, | wish to make clear I have always wanted to assist the Royal Commission and provide evidence as best I can. My health, which has been an issue for me since 2004, coupled with my personal circumstances (including the full-time care of my children) have made it exceptionally difficult to do so.

I suffer from a number of medical conditions, including a condition known as trigeminal neuralgia which first arose after I suffered a stroke in 2004. This condition causes me to experience acute, debilitating nerve pain on both sides of my face. My pain is exacerbated by stress, uncertainty and anxiety. I am prone to developing deep ulcerations in my legs. On twelve previous occasions, these ulcers have required surgical debridement. I have previously been told by my doctors that these ulcerated cavities are caused by stress. I developed ulcerated wounds on four occasions in the
period January to March 2019 and received medical treatment. The Commission has received evidence to this end.

I gather that it has been suggested that one line of a transcript of a conversation on 5 April 2006 indicates that I could feign illness to avoid a court appearance. That one line should be read in context of the 50 odd pages of the transcript of my discussion with handlers on that day (5 April 2006) about adjourning a client’s case in which I was appearing as counsel (not as a witness). The handlers were workshopping potential bases for an adjournment. There is a later passage in the transcript of me stating at the end of that discussion to the handlers that a reason to adjourn that case was required, but I could not and would not lie to a court. I make this point only because it has been unfairly suggested that I might have been feigning illness to avoid giving evidence to the Commission

I was interviewed recently for the ABC programme , ‘The 7.30 Report’. My purpose in participating in that interview was to try and improve my circumstances, of which the Commission is aware of given a number of private hearings relating to those circumstances.

The 7.30 program team made arrangements to meet me at a remote location and it was only possible as I had the care of my children arranged. I had to rely on a medical professional to look after them during that period. Had it not been for that person’s assistance, I would not have been able to participate at all. In addition, that person was well known to the children and they were comfortable in that medical professional’s care.

That interview spread over two days. It was only meant to last a couple of hours on one day. However, my health was such that the ABC production team terminated the interview on the first day and made arrangements for the following day. On that second day, my children again had sufficient care for a limited period. I returned on that second day and answered further questions. I am led to believe I may have answered only half of the questions that had been prepared.

Throughout the interview, I required breaks and took medication to alleviate some of the pain I was suffering from and continue to suffer from on a daily basis. The Commission has before it medical evidence from multiple practitioners all of whom reach similar conclusions as to my health. Between them, those practitioners have been engaged in my care for well over a decade.

I appear to give evidence with the intention of assisting the Royal Commission as best I can. However, I do so without having has the opportunity to prepare properly. I have not reviewed the evidence of other witnesses beyond a few selected sections of transcript and redacted statements and I have not had access to primary documents (including my own court books and diaries) or my work laptop. I have been unable to
refresh my memory from this material.

I have not logged onto the Royal Commission website and have not watched any of the live stream. This is due to security issues, my personal circumstances and my health. I only received occasional updates from my legal team and others.

Additionally, my legal team was only granted access to thousands of pages of transcripts of conversations I had with my handlers on 29 July 2019 (due to Senior Victoria Police members’ denying them access to the material and they have been unable to consider this material. They were also subject to undertakings preventing them from talking to me about the contents of my recorded conversations, again at the behest of Victoria Police). That undertaking was lifted on 4 December 2019.

However, it was not possible to review those documents or discuss matters with my counsel until last week given my remote location and difficulty accessing secure material. I also had little time to consider the material due to my personal circumstances.

Suitable arrangements were only able to be made last week to allow me at least some opportunity to prepare in advance of me giving evidence. I liaised with my counsel for 2 days. It was hoped that I would be provided in advance a limited number of documents, including the transcript of evidence of two witnesses and the statements of 7 witnesses. It was also hoped I would be provided redacted SMLs. Unfortunately, Victoria Police delayed the process of me receiving this material and I did not receive
all of it until the first day of my discussions with my legal team. It meant I could not read the material in advance of the discussions. The redactions have made processing the content even more difficult.

I understand that many police officers who have given evidence called by Victoria Police have had access to material and have ample time to prepare in advance of their evidence. I am in a very different position. It has been anything but procedurally fair.

I am therefore unfamiliar with most of the voluminous material before the Commission, much of which I understand to relate to my alleged conduct between 2003-2011.

To be clear, I am unaware, beyond the odd press report or brief summary by my legal team, as to what evidence has been received beyond the two witnesses whose transcripts I have been provided. To put this in context, I am unaware as to the evidence of my handlers, the investigators etc. The two transcripts of evidence I have seen amount to two days of evidence. I am aware the Royal Commission has received evidence from March 2019 to present.

My counsel has sought to have available during our discussions RC/81, which I am told is the pseudonym list. That never eventuated. Consequently, I am at a disadvantage when reading some of the material I have. I will try not to mention the real names of several people but it may be difficult as I am unaware of all pseudonyms used and am also told some cannot be used in any event in a public hearing.

I also am being asked to recall matters from a very long time ago. Not only has the passage of time impacted on my ability to recall all matters, but in addition, I suffered a stroke on 24 July 2004 (which affected my memory, particularly of the latter part of 2004) and other very serious health issues.

In the past, (prior to the Royal Commission) I have provided statements and given evidence.

Generally speaking, I was better placed to provide detailed evidence on those occasions than I am now, for the reasons I have explained. I have provided a witness statement in 2009 relating to the prosecution of Paul Dale as well as having given evidence before Justice Ginanne in 2017 and Tony Fitzgerald at the OPI in 2007.

However, it should be borne in mind that when I appeared before Fitzgerald, I was trying to protect my identity as a Human Source and had been assured by my handlers that I would not be asked any questions that would reveal my status. The first question asked at that hearing had the tendency to do so and it caused me significant angst as I was acutely aware that if this was revealed then the transcript may end up in briefs
of evidence for many accused and my life would be in jeopardy. I was aware something similar happened to at least one person during the time I was a registered informer. My evidence before Fitzgerald should be seen in this context.

Further, I have seen a draft statement relating to Operation Briars. I can say that, during the taking of that statement in Bali, I did not say that Mark Perry confessed to me. I believe that Ron Iddles will confirm this. I have never seen that entry until I was shown it recently. It must have been added without my knowledge. I assume it must have been added by DI Waddell, but that is a matter for him to answer.

I also provided a statement to REDACTED relating to a REDACTED. I understand that statement was provided to the OPP.

I have been told by my legal team that text messages from old phones of mine have been retrieved and are before the Commission. The messages that were able to be retrieved range from 2009 to April 2013. There are no messages after April 2013. I believe that is because I changed phones and messages thereafter are not available as those phones are not available, primarily due to matters relating to circumstances and security.

I understand that I am required to answer questions that will inevitably relate to matters that are privileged. I do so cognisant of section 32 of the Inquiries Act 2014. I am well aware that the privilege is not mine but the particular client I may be asked questions about.

I also wish to add this detail. The reporting I have been made aware of suggests:

a. That I am an illegal drug user. That is ridiculous. Apart from minor recreational cannabis use when at University, I have never taken illegal drugs.

b. That I provided information against all of my clients. That is wrong. I did not inform on the large majority of the clients I represented. They were
represented to the best of my ability and often received favourable outcomes.

c. That I was promiscuous. Allegations about my personal life, many of them blatantly false, have been the subject of extensive media reporting for a protracted period. My privacy has been invaded comprehensively, but the
picture that has been painted of me is far from the truth in many respects.

d. That I met Simon Overland at Kew Golf Course. I have never met him.

The media coverage, which at times has been inaccurate, has caused significant damage to me, both physically and mentally. Consequently my nerve pain, PTSD, severe anxiety and depression have become worse.

The impact of my interactions with Victoria Police coupled with the subsequent media coverage has also caused me numerous sleepless nights due to the significant detrimental impact it has had on my children and their futures.

Dated: 3 February 2020

There are None so Blind as Those Who Cannot See

A lot of people accuse me of bagging out the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, and I have to confess, they’re right.

I’m not against the concept; the idea of breaking up the commercial and integrity functions of the sport is the way to go in my view. For far too long horse racing had hung onto the vestiges of its land gentry origins and been run like an old boys club, the trots had trundled along like a polyamorous breakaway Mormon sect in which everyone from the garbage man to the CEO and in between were blood relatives, and the dogs were just managed by dodgers.

The situation had to change, and it did and that’s a good thing.

What’s not is that the QRIC should have been staffed and run by people who knew racing, and it wasn’t. Instead it was run by ex-coppers who knew so little about the ins and outs of the various codes that the organisation’s claim to racing cred was that one of its middle managers was loosely related to a long-retired jockey, although what wasn’t said was that the joker (or should that be jokeress?) had a bit of a conflict of interest for a while because she was renting stables to Les Ross.

That’s only a bit of trivia though; it was the lack of racing people directing the integrity show that was the problem from the start.

Let me say something loud and clear at this juncture. I’m not an all-round knock for the QRIC Commissioner Ross Barnett. He was a good cop, an even better assistant boss of the police force, and is an excellent manager of people, paperwork and public dough. If you wanted a government boss to bring you in on budget each day, every day, then Ross Barnett was your man.

The problem was that the Commissioner didn’t know a pull up job from a bitter twisted dob, and after 3 years in the top office he still doesn’t.

It’s not Barnett’s fault, and it’s not fatal. He was upfront about racing being a whole new frontier for him, so no-one can complain that he was trying to pull the wool over punters eyes, and he has proven to be a most prudent and fiscally conservative CEO of the QRIC too, but like Achilles and all the rest of us the former top cop had a wide-open heel.

His was his love of the force, and his respect for the people in it. Barnett thought that he could bring his trusted and no doubt highly-skilled former sidekicks and staff from the police service over to the QRIC , and that within five minutes of the door flung open they’d be kicking goals like Mal Meninga.


What Barnett needed was a management team stacked with straight, honest, experienced racing folk, the type of blokes that Terry Bailey and his Melbourne crew might have been if they hadn’t formed a view that catching crooks was so important that it was worth cutting corners to make it happen.

The Commissioner doesn’t cut corners, but he doesn’t have the passion for the pursuit of cleaning up the codes and keeping them squeaky that Bailey and the boys did, so instead of us getting a flying squad stamping down on bad eggs and cheats we ended up with a bunch of former shift workers earning the same dough working family friendly hours, who sit around listening to other people’s phone calls and misinterpreting them, target presumed villains like Ben Currie while missing what’s going on right in front of their eyes, and regard running RBT’s at trackwork as the pinnacle of racing integrity enforcement.

What a crying shame it is, for its a golden opportunity wasted. Racing in each of the three codes is as crooked now as its ever been, and no number of 100% clean breath tests at thoroughbred workouts, or reduced disqualifications at the trots, or clean winners swabs at the greyhounds is ever going to change it.

People who don’t know punting and racing can’t spot rorts, even when they are staring them right in the face.

Let me give you just a couple of examples.

Only the winners get dope tested at the greyhounds. Losers go swab free, even if they get beaten twenty lengths at ten to one on. And no-one at QRIC ever twigs that dog people might by and large have skipped uni, but they ain’t a million MBA’s close to being dumb.

The shonks know that they are going to get done if they spike their dogs with drugs to speed them up, so they give them dope to slow them down instead. Ted the Red is $1.40 in a four dog field, so its trainer Tina the Schemer slips it a couple of sleeping pills and boxes the other three in the trifecta. Ted runs around like he’s dreaming and runs last, the trifecta pays 84 bucks for every six units Tina invests, and the winner swabs all shiny and clean.

Come in spinner.

Its worse at the trots. Over on the outside track they team drive in big jackpot pool trifecta and First 4 races, and week after week the desperate dodgers in a fast-dying (thanks to mismanagement and lack of imagination) sport knock one of the big guns in the betting market out of the place into back near last, and collect the loot from exotic bets into the jackpot pool that their cousin has put on at the pub without the execution victim in them. It’s all just innocent driver error of course, even when one of the nation’s top reinsman like Noddy makes a mistake that you wouldn’t witness at a gymkhana from kids over the age of four.

And then of course there are the gallops. Missed starts, horses stuck wide, runs not taken, bumping up bums, copping checks, going to the line hard held in zip fastened pockets that jockeys have sewed themselves: these are just the beginning of the multitude of methods that the jockey boys and girls use to earn a quid, and we haven’t even started on the trainers yet.

The QRIC crew just don’t get it. They run for the Betfair betting sheets – if they call for any at all – and when they don’t spot any suspicious activity they shrug their shoulders and sound the semaphore and declare all clear.

You silly sausages. No-one who pulls horses or dogs up or tanks trotters lays them on Betfair anymore. They bet into exotic pools, mainly trifectas and First 4’s. It ain’t rocket science and nothing new is ever born into this world. The crooked trot drivers in the US were doing it as far back as 1973, the year that more than 2 dozen of them got outed for fixing First 4’s, although the Yanks called them superfectas.

Crooks in Queensland are pulling exactly the same scam almost 4 decades later, and their nefarious activities are so blatant that you’d almost award them a medal for bravery, if only it weren’t so easy.

If the QRIC leaders new racing they would no this, but they don’t, and so they keep sailing across smooth waters smiling at the sun and all the pretty girls, and they miss the whole thing. They don’t even see the bent industry participants laughing at them behind their back.

There is an easy fix to all this. Just leave the egos and the retired police badges at the door, and engage a team of experienced racing analysts and pay an Archie-style expert to lead them, and Bob’s everyone’s bloody uncle.

Ross Barnett is keeping the troops in line and the budget sweet; his deputy Mark Ainsworth is leading the racing intelligence derived dope and dazzler raids and busts; the IT crew and the ex-cops are doing what they do best; and all of them are dancing to the tune that the racing expert identifies the crooks to be singing.

How hard is it really?

Not hard at all.

It just means swallowing a bit of pride and stepping up to the plate.

For racing’s sake lets hope that one day it happens.