Man 'jailed' for destroying evidence staggered by Heiner no trial ruling

The Brisbane Times

Date July 2, 2014
Tony Moore senior reporter

A man who in 2004 received a six-month suspended jail term for destroying legal evidence “is staggered” the Queensland government has ruled it is not in the public interest to send former ministers who allegedly destroyed Heiner Inquiry evidence to trial.

Now Pastor Doug Ensbey wants privileges removed from the Goss Government ministers.

He said they should be fined $100,000 and the money given to whistleblower Kevin Lindeberg, who first questioned why the Heiner documents were shredded.

“If I was Premier – and I could do it – I would fine each of them $100,000 and I would put the money into a fund to pay [whistleblower] Kevin Lindeberg,” he said on Wednesday.

Queensland’s new chief justice Tim Carmody last year ruled there was sufficient evidence to put Goss Government ministers on trial for shredding evidence gathered by retired magistrate Noel Heiner during an inquiry into a youth centre in 1989.

He asked the Office of the Department of Public Proesecutions to rule if sending the former politicians to trial was in the public interest.
On Wednesday afternoon Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie announced it was now unlikely the ministers could be convicted.

The evidence was shredded in March 1990 – after the new Labor government came to power - on the advice of the Goss cabinet.

It is now 24 years since Mr Lindeberg first questioned why the evidence – sought by a lawyer in 1990 - was allowed to be shredded.
“I really think Kevin Lindeberg needs to be compensated,” Pastor Ensbey said on Wednesday night.

“He put his hand up 23 years ago and said ‘you broke the law’ and they have pretty much tried to run him out of town, vilified him, chucked off at him,” he said. “I believe the guy deserves a medal.”

Previous governments have given compensation to Peter Coyne – who managed the Wacol youth centre investigated by Mr Heiner– and in 2010, $120,000 to the woman pack-raped at the centre.

However Pastor Ensbey said the former politicians should have gone to trial, like he did in 2004.

“I don’t think there is anything to be gained by sending Wayne Goss and his fellow ministers to jail,” Pastor Ensbey said. “But my life has been turned permanently right around,” he said. “I’ve got insurers who won’t insure me because I’ve got a criminal record. “I lost my job for 12 months. I went truck driving away from home for 12 months. “At the very least they should have gone to trial.”

Pastor Ensbey was pursued through the courts in 2004 for guillotining pages from a school girl’s exercise book in which she outlined alleged sexual abuse from a parishioner. He mailed the guillotined remains of the “diary” back to the girl’s parents between May 1995 and July 1996.

Mr Lindeberg last night said he still wanted to know why it took 23 years for someone to find that there was a case to answer for shredding the evidence gathered during the Heiner Inquiry.

“It wasn’t as if a crime wasn’t found,” Mr Lindeberg said.

Mr Carmody found there was enough evidence in 2013 to place former ministers on trial and that they were given legal advice that a lawyer wanted the evidence, but questioned whether there could be a possible conviction.

Mr Lindeberg said the public still needs to know why.

“They’ve just found it isn’t in the public’s interest to prosecute and I need to know why,” he said. “If its the period of time - well, you know - I raised this some years ago. “It is just not satisfactory. I need to know why it is not in the public interest?”

Mr Lindeberg says people must distinguish between the “initial crime” – the shredding of evidence –and the 23-year delay, which he still describes as the “cover-up” and the main story.

“If one of the reasons is delay in terms of coming here –well there has been a cover-up, a documented cover-up -  which the CMC has referred back to the government to investigate.”

This issue – where the CMC last month asked for the 23-year delay to be investigated - was reported by Fairfax Media last month.
However a spokeswoman for Attorney General Jarrod Bleijie said there would be no further investigation.

The 24-year investigation has become known as the Heiner Affair.

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