Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991

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Parliamentary Record 3


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 1 May 1991 about a drug intelligence operation, involving the prostitute Rhonda, which went totally wrong, and a number of allegations against the then head of the Drug Squad, Detective Sergeant Hart, and the prostitute known as Rhonda. Irrespective of how I framed the words in my public announcement of 26 April last yea,, the media talked of a Mulholland investigation into police corruption. It is interesting to note that, after the extensive inquiry by police investigators, under the supervision of the Queen's Counsel, Mr Mulhol land, that almost all of the allegations were made by 2 people: the prostitute Rhonda and a Senior Sergeant Wrenn of the NT Police Force. They were made against Senior Sergeant Dennis Hart, who was then the chief of the Drug Squad. Both the prostitute Rhonda and Wrenn are self-confessed drug dealers or users. In Wrenn's case, for recreational purposes and, in Rhonda's case, as a police informant and the principal in a hastily-conceived, poorly-planned and woefully-executed intelligence-gathering exercise known as Operation Amethyst. At the end of the day, the Territory police handed themselves up, so to speak, with a level of professional investigation that impressed even one of the Fitzgerald inquirers. The basic conclusion of Mulholland is that there is not a single allegation of corruption, supported by reliable evidence, against any serving member of the Northern Territory Police Force. To quote Mr Mulholland QC: Most of the allegations investigated were made by Wrenn and a prostitute, Rhonda, and almost all of these were directed at Senior Sergeant Hart. No foundation has been found to exist in relation to any of the allegations of corruption or illegal activities made against Hart. This followed a rigorous scrutiny of his police career, by reference to past and present associates, together with a thorough examination of his financial affairs by external accountants. Whilst Hart was found to lack administrative competence in a few areas, there is no reason to think that he has been other than a dedicated, hard-working police officer. The report is not all a bed of roses for the Territory government or the police. I guaranteed last year that I would follow the recommendations of the Mulholland report. That means that there are things to be done by both myself as Minister for Police and by the Commissioner of Police. The report by Mulholland has been critical of a number of areas of police administration, particularly in relation to Operation Amethyst, which involved the TV-type scenario of running a known prostitute and drug user in a sting operation which went off the rails and over which then serving police officers and Department of Law officials have been rightly criticised. Mr Mulholland QC, acting on reports from serving Territory police investigators, has also heavily criticised the powers given to the police in the Northern Territory Police Administration Act. This was a controversial piece of legislation some years ago but, on the advice of Mr Mulholland QC, who was acting on information from our own NT police investigators, I am prepared to consider suggested changes to the act at the earliest legislative opportunity. A member interjecting. Mr PERRON: In fact, I think you will find that it asks for that matter to be referred to the Police Powers Committee. Whilst Mr Mulholland does not make a recommendation as such, he asks for the matter to be re-examined. 878

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