LACK OF FORENSIC EVIDENCE AT PORT ARTHUR
* Copyright Joe Vialls - 16/11/97 - All Rights Reserved, 45 Merlin Drive,
Carine, Western Australia 6020
Very few members of the public realise that absolutely no hard
forensic evidence exists linking Martin Bryant to Port Arthur, or to any
weapon used in the mass murder. Indeed, in the opinions of two prominent
Queen's Counsels, Bryant would have been released from prison if
strictly illegal sensory deprivation had not been used to extract his
false guilty pleas in November 1996.
Do not mistake guilty pleas for a confession, because in the latter
Bryant would be required to provide detailed information on the mass
murder that he did not have. Pleas are far simpler. All Martin Bryant
was required to do was stand in the dock and say "guilty"
seventy-two times, not a difficult task for an intellectually impaired
young man with an IQ of 66.
But these simple guilty pleas then technically enabled the Tasmanian
Justice Ministry to confiscate Bryant's sizeable fortune and other
property, before locking him in a dungeon and throwing away the keys.
If these obscene procedures had been used in faraway China, Cuba,
Colombia or a dozen other countries, the democratic (sic) Australian
media would have been first off the blocks, screaming with
self-righteous outrage about the "human rights abuse" of the
accused, and denial of a fair trial before his peers.
Unfortunately, human rights are used solely as a lobby tool to
manipulate foreign nations, proved beyond doubt by hysterical Australian
media behaviour in Tasmania during April 1996. Reporters vied with each
other to tell you how "terrible" Bryant was, and never once
mentioned that in a so-called democracy, remand prisoners are assumed
innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
This disgusting behaviour by the media proved that unlike prisoners in
China and Cuba, luckless prisoners in democratic Australia have no human
rights at all.
Though the media must accept the lion's share of the blame for Martin
Bryant's contrived and very public "trial by television" there
were other more shadowy figures who goaded the media on, long after the
mass murder. A handful of public servants, politicians and police
officers, hyped-up false evidence in order to keep Bryant in the frame,
most in an attempt to save their own miserable "reputations"
A large part of this false evidence was
aimed at convincing the public that police had literally hundreds of
eyewitnesses who identified Bryant at Port Arthur. In fact, to this day
the Tasmanian Police Service does not have a single legally valid
At a more subtle and dangerous level, there were veiled hints of hard
forensic evidence linking Martin Bryant to Port Arthur, including
convincing displays by police officers holding up semi-automatic weapons
The inference was obvious: Bryant was holding a smoking gun when
apprehended by police, with his fingerprints all over the weapon and its
Leading on from this first gross untruth, it was hoped the public would
assume a second gross untruth: that the bullets and fragments found at
Port Arthur would match "Bryant's Guns" as displayed on
It was all a pathetic rort. Martin Bryant
was not apprehended with a smoking gun, there were no fingerprints on
the guns and ammo displayed by police, and the bullets, fragments and
cartridge cases found at Port Arthur did not provide a perfect match
with the weapons displayed on national television.
Some of these points were accurately reported by the author in 1997 and
early 1998, then in December of that year the Australian Police
Journal decided to print an article by Sergeant Gerard Dutton,
titled "The Port Arthur Shooting Incident".
Dutton took over as Officer in Charge of the Tasmania Ballistics Section
in 1995, and had eleven years ballistics experience at the time the Port
Arthur mass murder took place. Though his article is flagged
"ballistics evidence" on every page of the APJ, there is no
discussion of guided projectiles in flight. Most of the eighteen-page
article is a chronology of events at Port Arthur from a police
perspective, with repeated references to the two weapons allegedly used
in the mass murder by "Bryant".
Because of the latter weapons content it might have been more accurate
to flag each page of Sergeant Dutton's article "Forensic Firearms
Identification", the correct term used by forensic sciences for
This report is not intended as a thesis on forensic science, but there
is a need to explain briefly in general terms how firearms examiners go
about proving that an individual bullet was fired by an individual
weapon. The word "individual" is extremely important here,
because in the Port Arthur case, it means proving scientifically that
the bullets and bullet fragments found at Port Arthur were fired by the
exact weapons found by the police at Seascape Cottages, and subsequently
shown to the public on television as "the murder weapons". Not
fired by a similar weapon or class of weapons please note, but only
by the weapons displayed by police.
There are two stages in this process. First the firearms examiner checks
to confirm that the bullets, cartridge cases and weapons all match in
the general sense, known in the trade as "Class
Characteristics". For example, in the case of the 5.56-mm bullets
and cartridges found at Port Arthur, would they fit the Colt AR-15
weapon found at Seascape? The answer is yes, but those bullets and
cartridge cases would also fit thousands of other Colt AR-15s not found
at Seascape, and many other different brands of firearm chambered for
the same 5.56-mm round. No one including the author is disputing the
simple class identification made by Dutton, but it is utterly
meaningless in terms of individually matching the bullets and cartridge
cases at Port Arthur with the weapons found at Seascape. To do this
requires the second part of the process, predictably called
No two weapons manufactured are the same. Every single one has marks in
the barrel and breech, and on the action, that are unique. And because
weapons are made from exceedingly hard "tool grade" steel,
these unique marks leave unique impressions on every bullet and
cartridge case cycled through them, all of which are made from softer
metal than the weapon itself. Using special microscopes, firearms
examiners try to match the unique impressions on the fired bullets and
cases found at the crime scene, with unique impressions on test rounds
fired from the suspect weapon or weapons in the laboratory.
This is more easily explained with pictures shown here, which are from
America, not Port Arthur.
Exhibit 1 shows typical rifling marks left on the soft metal of bullets,
and exhibit 2 shows matched striations on two bullets, one from the
crime scene and another fired in the lab. Now the cartridge cases:
Exhibit 3 shows matching breech marks,
while exhibit 4 shows matching ejector marks.
The author is an independent investigator with thirty years direct
experience of international military and oilfield operations.
With the exception of exhibit 1, which is included to show the
variations in rifling marks on otherwise identical bullets, all other
exhibits show "Individual Characteristics", sufficient to
satisfy any firearms examiner that the bullets and cartridge cases under
examination were fired by the suspect weapon.
Sergeant Dutton's eighteen-page article on "ballistics"
includes many photographs, but not one of them shows individual
characteristics matching the bullets and cases at Port Arthur with the
weapons at Seascape. Without individual characteristic matches, the
weapons are no more valuable than scrap iron, and absolutely useless as
evidence against Martin Bryant.
The pristine weapons from Seascape you were shown on national
television, only got that way because the Tasmanian Police Service
borrowed many spare parts from the New South Wales Police firearms
library. Before their startling resurrection to nearly new condition,
both weapons were very badly damaged, a critical fact the Australian
television networks rather artfully forgot to tell you.
How the weapons got that that way is of
considerable importance in tracking down those really responsible for
the mass murder at Port Arthur on 28 April 1996.
If we are to believe the media and Tasmanian Government, the Colt AR-15
serial number SP128807,
cycled and fired a minimum of 35 rounds faultlessly at Port Arthur and
other crime scenes. Then, inexplicably, the AR-15 allegedly had an
"accident" at Seascape Cottage, which destroyed part of the
rifling in the barrel, most of the breech, and part of the receiver -
the moving part of the weapon which includes the firing pin and
extractor claws for the cartridge cases.
This was attributed to a "faulty cartridge" which exploded in
Oh, really, and how did it do all that damage in a weapon proofed to
withstand 55,000 p.s.i?
In Sergeant Dutton's own words, the damage caused by the burst cartridge
showed "Amazingly high chamber pressure", and "I had
never seen a cartridge case that had been subjected to so much pressure
that it caused brass to extrude substantially into apertures in the bolt
What would normally be needed to cause this kind of damage is too much
of the correct powder in the cartridge case, or a different much
faster-burning powder or explosive in the cartridge case. Because the
correct power in this particular cartridge case fills it right up to the
neck, it could not have been the first example, i.e. too much of the
This leaves us with a different much faster-burning powder or explosive.
With such powders the grains are typically much smaller, allowing a
greatly increased flame front, and thus the ability to increase
pressures at a far higher rate. Special Forces put this knowledge to
good use if they wish to destroy enemy artillery pieces behind the
lines. A sizeable chunk of C3 plastic explosive is strategically placed
inside the breech of the artillery piece, then later detonated,
destroying the breech and rendering the weapon useless.
What this process achieved with the AR-15 at Seascape was so much damage
to the barrel, breech and receiver, that forensic "Individual
Characteristic" matches could not be made with the fired bullets
and cases found at Port Arthur.
Now why on earth would you do that, if the AR-15 in question really was
the same one used at Port Arthur, then afterwards positioned neatly next
to alleged gunman Martin Bryant in Seascape, ready to be collected and
identified by the local constabulary the following morning?
Martin Bryant (or his body), and a weapon that could be individually
matched to the bullets and cases at Port Arthur. Perfect! But only if
the gunman at Port Arthur really was Martin Bryant, which we now know he
Best to look at the effect of the damage in reverse then. What the
explosion and resulting damage really achieved, was preventing police
and others from proving that this particular AR-15 was not the
weapon used at Port Arthur, but merely a decoy designed to draw
attention towards Bryant.
As Arthur Conan-Doyle once wrote: "When you have ruled out the
impossible, then whatever remains, no matter how improbable, is the
There is one other critical point of evidence about the
"exploding" AR-15. When the charge in the cartridge detonated,
the resulting blast was sufficient to blow the bottom of the magazine
right off, and cause severe damage in the immediate vicinity of the
trigger, where Martin Bryant's finger would have been if he was handling
the weapon at the time. Most explosions of this kind neatly amputate a
finger or two, and shred the skin on the rest of the hand. In addition
there is very significant marking of the flesh by firearms discharge
residue (FDR for short), caused by microscopic particles of burned or
unburned propellant impregnating the flesh at high velocity.
When Bryant was taken into custody he had severe burns to his back and
left-hand side caused by the Seascape fire, but no injuries or serious
burns to his hands, and no trace of FDR. So Bryant did not fire the Colt
AR-15 found at Seascape Cottage, end of story.
The other weapon displayed so enthusiastically by police was a Belgian
FN-FAL serial number G3434 in 7.62-mm calibre,
but alas, this weapon was also severely damaged before the NSW police
firearms library helped out with copious spare parts.
Unlike the AR-15, found in Seascape itself,
the FN-FAL was recovered from the roof of an outhouse some distance from
the main building.
This in itself is decidedly odd, with Martin Bryant allegedly in the
cross-hairs of an entire highly trained Special Operations Group all
evening and all night. How is Bryant supposed to have put it up on the
There was no exploding cartridge in the breech of the FN-FAL, but by a
rare coincidence beyond the calculations of most actuaries, the effect
of the damage was exactly the same as that inflicted on the AR-15. The
barrel, breech, and receiver were damaged beyond hope of making
"Individual Characteristic" matches with bullets and cartridge
cases found at the various crime scenes. So, once again, police and
others were unable to prove the FN-FAL was not one of the weapons
used at Port Arthur.
It is the FN-FAL rather than the AR-15 which provides absolute
scientific proof the two weapons were merely dummies designed to deflect
attention away from the guilty parties, probably dumped at Seascape as
stage props long before any of the shooting started.
Despite being terminally damaged, nearly all of the AR-15 components
were located close to the weapon in Seascape, though the pistol grip was
missing and was never found. However, the FN-FAL lacked a major
component called the "return spring tube assembly", plus its
butt plate and magazine. These are all large items impossible to miss in
thorough forensic searches of crime scenes. The forensic teams went over
every crime scene with a fine-tooth comb several times, leaving no stone
or even a blade of grass unturned.
I have resisted the temptation to provide
the exact size of the return spring tube assembly because I do not have
precise, technical details to hand, but believe me when I say it is big.
Many years ago I field-stripped and reassembled FN-FALs dozens of times,
and can assure readers the assembly is a minimum of six inches long,
with the large springs inside made of tempered steel.
Without its return spring assembly (and magazine), the FN-FAL cannot
fire at all, proving the damaged weapon found at Seascape played no part
in the Port Arthur mass murder. Evidently it had been carefully
"damaged" at a location a considerable distance away from
either Port Arthur or Seascape, before the mass murder took place.
This of course proves that the mass murder was a pre-meditated
crime, one that Australian counter-terrorist personnel must solve if we
are to prevent further attacks on this nation. Exactly how they go about
this is their concern, but counter-terrorist personnel are reminded that
their pay packets are generously filled each month by Australian
taxpayers, not by international lobby groups in Canberra and Hobart.
A good starting point for counter-terrorism would be to hunt for the
real 5.56-mm and 7.62-mm weapons actually used at Port Arthur on 28
April 1996 to kill or wound fifty-seven civilians, and dead-block the
Daihatsu Feroza driven by Linda White.
We now know the weapons used were not the crippled AR-15 and FN-FAL
found at Seascape, and we also know the shooter was not Martin
Bryant, because he was completely contained by SOG personnel throughout
the entire period in the same Seascape compound as both crippled
Find the real weapons used and they will hopefully in turn lead you to
the real shooters, though the trail is now cold. Either way, it is now
time for the authorities to stop pussyfooting around, and get on with a
serious counter-terrorist investigation.
There are those in power determined that a serious investigation should
not take place, and recently went out of their way to discourage me in
Some months ago my 21 and 18 year-old, children inexplicably failed
their police "integrity checks", essential here in Western
Australia for anyone wishing to get a decent job.
Stunned by this I lodged an official complaint, and then made several
discreet inquiries. Eventually I was told that a powerful federal
politician had persuaded a police unit in Canberra, to flag me in the
Bureau of Criminal Intelligence computer as a "security risk",
which is a bit rich bearing in mind my former (very high) security
clearances with NATO.
Because my work on Port Arthur focuses solely and openly on protecting
Australian national security, logic and security protocols dictate it is
not I, but the powerful federal politician who poses a significant
security risk to this nation.
Once the illegal false data about me was entered into the BCI computer,
there was a trickle-down effect on my children, who were then found
guilty of associating with a known security risk - their own father!
Fortunately there are officials in Western Australia with very high
ethics, and the entire sordid mess was sorted out in less than two
weeks. My children now once again have positive integrity status, and I
have the name of the powerful federal politician who tried to destroy
the credibility of this family. The politician in question is advised
not to try this again, or members of the public might start wondering
exactly why he chose to take this illegal action in the first place.
The author wishes to acknowledge the expert
assistance of a leading American firearms examiner, who for the present
prefers to remain anonymous