Written on the 10 February 2015 by Jenna Rathbone


A BRISBANE lawyer involved in the Bali Nine drug case says there is now little prospect that the lives of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran will be spared, and he has put the blame squarely on the "unauthorised actions" of the Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Robert Myers, who has been working for almost a decade to redress the "irresponsible, premeditated and unprincipled" actions of the AFP in the Bali Nine case, says there should have been zero negations with Indonesia given the possibility of death sentences being imposed.

Myers says the AFP were aware of the conspiracy to import heroin into Australia and it had an obligation to prevent the commission of any crime.

"It (the AFP) had an obligation to apprehend the offenders in Australia before the departure of any of the nine to Indonesia," says Myers.

"The nine would have been properly dealt with for their conspiracy to import narcotics in accordance with the laws of Australia and no harm was to flow to Indonesia as a result of this conspiracy.

"The actions of the police were contrary to principle, their obligation to uphold the law and their obligations to protect Australian citizens.

"The only hope for any of the nine is for the Australian Government, through the Prime Minister, the Attorney General or perhaps even the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police, to highlight to the Indonesian authorities the unique circumstances which led to the incarceration of these people, entirely as a consequence of the unauthorised actions of the AFP."

Myers adds that should the AFP have engaged Indonesia prior to the departure, they could have monitored the movements of the Bali Nine until their return to Australia.

"That return surveillance or ongoing investigation may well have led to the identification of residents of this country responsible for the organisation of drug importations," says Myers.

"As it transpired the apprehension of these nine Australians, and the potential execution of two of them, has not resulted in the receipt of any intelligence to assist in the ongoing war against drugs."

Chan and Sukumaran could face the firing squad as early as this year following the Indonesian Government's announcement that it would resume executing drug traffickers and vowed to deny clemency for drug offenders.

The AFP issued a statement in response to Myers, stating at all times it was transparent and accountable in relation to its actions on the Bali Nine matter and has always acted appropriately and in accordance with Australian and international policies and guidelines.

Although Mr Myers is entitled to hold personal views (6 February, News Corp) in relation to this matter, it is not helpful to introduce misleading and incorrect information into the public domain, while ignoring the findings of several government reviews and judicial hearings into this matter that are contrary to his statements.

To prevent the trafficking of illicit drugs into Australia, the AFP relies on cooperation with foreign law enforcement partners to identify those involved, and the source of the drugs. The exchange of law enforcement information is a regular and routine part of this international cooperation.

The AFP cannot limit its cooperation to countries that have similar legal systems as Australia. If it did, our ability to cooperate with partners in many source and transit countries would be severely hampered.

The AFP assesses each case on its individual merits. In the case of the Bali Nine, the AFP was not in a position to prevent these people from travelling to Indonesia. The AFP had no evidence or lawful reason to detain, much less arrest or charge, any member of the Bali Nine before their departure from Australia.

Author: Jenna Rathbone
About: Jenna Rathbone is a Queensland-based journalist who writes on a range of issues including business and property affairs and social issues.
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