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Port Arthur v2 ] Manchurian candidate ] Dr Peters ] Dr Mullens ] [ Theguns ]

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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" and jobs.

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 eyewitness identification.


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 on television.

The inference was obvious: Bryant was holding a smoking gun when apprehended by police, with his fingerprints all over the weapon and its ammunition.

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 national television.

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 work.

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 "Individual Characteristics".

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.

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.