I cautioned DPP that Haneef case was weak: AFP Commissioner

November 14th, 2007 - 2:43 am ICT by admin  
In an interview to The Bulletin, Keelty said he was surprised when he came to know that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was planning to charge Dr Haneef even as the evidence against him was thin.

“I was as surprised as anybody when the DPP advised that Haneef could be charged. Because I didn’t think the evidence was strong enough,” Keelty told the magazine.

Asked if he had told the DPP of his concerns, Keelty said: “Oh, yes.”

However, that was why the DPP existed, Keelty said - to be independent of police in pursuing prosecutions.

“Mine was an opinion that I expressed to the DPP, but I understood all the time that the prosecutor was independent of me and independent of the investigation, and needed to come up with a view for himself,” news.com.au quoted him, as saying.

Keelty admitted the AFP had made errors in the Haneef case, but none that compromised it.

Last week, Damian Bugg, QC, the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, admitted that Haneef should never have been charged, saying the method of investigation was faulty on several counts. He blamed the Australian Federal Police for it.

“The DPP has learnt from this matter and will take further steps to ensure that advice is provided in accordance with the role of the DPP in situations such as this,” Bugg said.

He went on to say that the DPP is supposed to ask “whether the evidence establishes reasonable prospects of conviction” but the review found “the advice in this case did not address that test.”

Dr Haneef was charged with a terrorism-related offence on July 14, but released when the DPP withdrew its charge on July 27.

The review found there were “errors of fact” made during the Australian Federal Police-led investigation.

The review, conducted by an unnamed private lawyer, concluded that the DPP’s office has not properly appreciated the evidence against Dr Haneef, and had not given appropriate advice before he was charged.

Dr Haneef was charged in July with recklessly assisting a terrorist organisation said to consist of his cousins Sabeel and Kafeel Ahmed.

Dr Haneef had left an old SIM card with his cousin Sabeel in Liverpool, England. At first, it was believed the SIM card was found at the scene of the crime. Then it was learnt the card was still in Liverpool.

The review concluded: “That change was not appreciated by the prosecutor at the time.”

Dr Haneef, a former registrar at Gold Coast Hospital in Brisbane, is still fighting to get his Australian visa back. The case would be heard on November 15. (ANI)

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