Detectives at the Melbourne Criminal Investigation Bureau naturally decided to defer their investigation of 47-year-old Ricky Nixon into criminal matters against him until he arrived back in the country.
Police didn’t waste any time in bringing in the Saints girl for questioning over possible breaches of the Surveillance Devices Act and drug related offences. This interval of time however would have at least given the Police ample time to inspect the tape recordings provided by the Saints girls to support the criminal charges against Nixon.
The teenager has received a barrage of death threats, violent hate messages and has been the victim of attempted physical assaults by fans over her involvement with various persons involved in and associated with the AFL.
It is astounding how much violence she has suffered without any action being taken over a prolonged period.
Police recently spent several hours at Victoria Police headquarters questioning Nixon who was released without any formal charges being laid against him.
Melbourne lawyer David Galbally QC is also conducting a ‘separate’ investigation commissioned by the AFL Players Association. Galbally’s findings were earlier expected by Matt Finnis last week, who was happy to receive the report even if Nixon did not co-operate with Galbally.
Galbally has now received an extension of time to hand down his findings next Wednesday.
I wonder whether the results of these separate investigations will become publicly known at the same time.
Police are in possession of all of the video and other evidence incriminating Nixon. The video purports to show Nixon with her in a hotel room, where they take cocaine and engage in a sexual relationship.
The Police and Galbally have both been gracious and deferrent in deferring their investigations of Ricky Nixon to interview him by waiting him to return from Britain and Ireland. Having interviewed him for several hours Police appear to be deferring their decision as to whether to prefer charges against him.
Due to the old double standard which operates in society, combined with the zealotry of AFL fans, in a classic example of ‘slut shaming’, the girl has been portrayed as a scheming faithless whore.
Even her involvement in the relationship with a defendnt Police Officer facing criminal charges for abusing her has been automatically deemed to be “her fault” by commentators.
The Police need to be assured that the evidence is admissible and the High Court of Australia has indicated that there is a discretion to admit even illegally obtained evidence where it’s probative value outweighs it’s prejudicial effect to the defendant (Bunning v Cross (1978) 141 CLR 54 ).
Firstly it hasn’t been established, contrary to what has been broadcast in the mainstream media that the evidence was illegally obtained contrary to the Surveillance Devices Act .
Secondly even if it is deemed that the evidence has been illegally obtained, the Courts in Australia apply a range of well established criteria in exercising their discretion whether to admit or exclude evidence which is set out here in a discussion of a case concerning police entrapment.
The discussion revolves around the case of the R v Ridgeway, where the courts engaged with the principles enshrined in Bunning v Cross. However we shouldn’t forget that this is not a case of police entrapment as many AFL fans have characterised it. This girl is a teenager, not a Police Officer.
An accused is only likely to be able to seek the exclusion of evidence where they allege they were induced to commit a crime because of the unlawful or improper conduct of the law enforcement officials involved.
S138(1) of the Uniform Evidence Act enshrines the principles in relation to admissibility of evidence outlined by the High Court of Australia in Bunning v Cross.
S138(1) provides that, in civil and criminal proceedings, evidence that was obtained improperly or illegally ‘is not to be admitted unless the desirability of admitting the evidence outweighs the undesirability of admitting evidence’ given the manner in which it was obtained.
s 138 contains a list of the criteria to be taken into account when a Court is considering the admission of evidence.
There is an important difference however in that the section in the Evidence Act requires the party seeking exclusion to establish that the evidence was improperly or illegally obtained.
Guaging the response to the Saints photo scandal, it is clear that the public presume that a person must be guilty or innocent based merely on a decision whether the Police decide to charge them, or in the case of an AFL internal investigation, whether sanctions are imposed upon a player. .
AFL fans have however shown themselves to be capable of flexibility and some would say mental gymnastics when applying the same standard to defendants charged with criminal offences committed against the teenager. There has been a lot of commentary from AFL fans about what the teenager “did” to the defendant Police Officer.
The Police now have all the evidence they need to establish whether Nixon supplied drugs to the Saints girl. Now they have Ricky Nixon’s statement. Surely the wouldn’t be waiting on David Galbally’s report???
The wheels of justice turn slowly, if at all, when it comes to prosecuting a offences committed against the teenager.
She would be accustomed to delay in having officials of various kinds respond to death threats, hate mail and other offences committed against her.
Her predecessors who have suffered sexual misdeeds of various kinds at the hands of footballers have merely had to abandon any hope of justice being done, as evidence perished and Police officers resigned due to interference with investigations by fellow Police Officers.
Meanwhile Police Officer Senior Constable Luke Donaghue has attained an adjournment of his pre-trial committal mention hearing to seek legal representation by the Victorian Police Union to represent him on criminal charges committed against the Saints teenager.
He faces charges of procuring a child under supervision or care for sexual penetration, procuring a child under supervision or care for an indecent act, misconduct in public office and supply of alcohol to a minor.
Donaghue wanted his Barrister to apply for the adjournment so that he could attain police union funding and switch to the Police Union’s ‘preferred supplier’ of legal representation.
The Police response certainly hasn’t been swift in taking action against Nixon and it raises the question as to what further evidence they have to examine. My suspicion is this will get dealt with ‘gently’ and all will be forgotten.
One question which hasn’t been posed and remains unanswered is why the Herald Sun reporter who the teenager contacted and told she was doing cocaine with Nixon didn’t see fit to call the Police and have them attend on the spot?
The proper approach upon learning that a crime was taking place involving an underage person would have been to contact the Police to protect her interests rather than waiting the following morning for pictures to be published for the ‘story’ and kudos.
Nixon has not been pursued as vigorously as Donaghue given the fact that he has committed similar types of offences as the Police Officer.
It may have something to do with the fact that Nixon has a few cards up his sleave having lived in AFL land for a long time.