WARNING: This article contains words that rhyme with puck, skit, and even runt. If you don’t like strong language, then you should close this page immediately.
Ladies and gentleman, to my sheer astonishment, on 9 September 2017, I was arrested by members of South Australia’s largest street gang, South Australia Police (SAPOL). At first, the two arresting officers flatly refused to tell me exactly why I was being arrested. It was not until after I was handcuffed, had my ass repeatedly groped, carted off in a paddy wagon, and placed in a lock-up cell that I was finally told I’d been arrested based on allegations made by pathological liar Harley David Johnstone, of Beulah Park, South Australia.
Johnstone, bullshitter extraordinaire, told SAPOL that on 29 February 2016, I “jumped from the bushes” whilst he rode his bicycle and “sucker punched” him to the face. This sucker punch, Johnstone and SAPOL were alleging, not only cracked two of his teeth but caused $8,000-$9,000 damage to his bicycle. This version of events differed to the events already recorded by SAPOL after interviewing Johnstone and his ‘witness’, and it also differed to the events Johnstone described in YouTube videos he posted shortly after the alleged incident.
But as you’ll soon learn, there is nothing consistent, rational or honest about Johnstone and SAPOL.
Despite the fact I never hit Johnstone and caused no damage to his bicycle, SAPOL nevertheless proceeded to charge me with “assault and property damage.” Before I recount the bizarre events that ensued, and their outcome, I’d like to introduce to you the key players in this surreal saga.
Harley David Johnstone, a.k.a “Durianrider”. This evil waste of space claims to be a vegan, a former pro cyclist, and a tough guy. He audaciously poses as a diet and fitness expert, and aggressively markets himself as the epitome of all-round awesomeness.
In reality, he is a vile, ignorant, sickly, dishonest, cowardly, narcissistic and hate-filled sex predator.
Until 2011, I had little idea who Harley David Johnstone was. Unbeknownst to me, he was an obnoxious jerk who had already established a solid reputation as a virulent Internet troll. Johnstone’s modus operandi was to create ‘controversy’ by unceremoniously attacking other dietary and fitness commentators on the Internet. These attacks were invariably unprovoked, big on ridicule, and involved a battalion of defamatory lies about the victim. Johnstone justified his repugnant antics by claiming he was on a mission to rid the diet and health arena of “scammers”.
Never mind that he himself is the biggest, sleaziest and most obnoxious scammer in the entire diet and health arena.
Now, if you are going to accuse another health or fitness commentator of spreading mistruths or otherwise engaging in impropriety, you need evidence. If it is their dietary or health claims you are taking issue with, then you need to outline their claims and then present a thorough scientific breakdown of why they are wrong.
Johnstone, however, is a semi-literate bogan that has never read a single scientific paper in his life. His idea of a ‘scientific’ document is easily-debunked mass-market vegan propaganda like The China Study and Skinny Bitch. As such, Johnstone’s attacks on other diet and health commentators were solely of a personal nature, riddled with unfounded and extremely hypocritical accusations of dishonesty, poor physical condition and drug use.
Johnstone, of course, didn’t give two hoots about cleaning up the diet and health arena. Nor has he ever earnestly given a damn about other seemingly noble causes for which he claims sympathy, such as animal welfare or the environment. The primary goal of his behaviour was simply to draw attention to himself and his videos. This, in turn, increased his YouTube revenues and provided the insecure narcissist with the self-validating attention for which he so desperately craved.
Johnstone’s true agenda, in other words, was financial self-enrichment and self-aggrandizement. In pursuit of this dysfunctional agenda, one tactic routinely employed by Johnstone was to accuse his male targets – without any proof whatsoever - of using anabolic steroids. This, coming from someone who himself is a prolific and long-time user of anabolic steroids!
Incredibly, this hateful, talentless and monumentally hypocritical troll somehow established a sizeable following. Bless the perennially gullible human species and its penchant for worshipping useless, dishonest twats!
Thanks to his growing legion of moronic followers, Johnstone began earning sizable revenues from his monetized YouTube videos. This, of course, merely spurned the money-grubbing troll on to ever greater levels of defamatory nastiness.
“I’ll kick his ass, bro!”
And so it was in 2011 that the toxic troll known as Harley David Johnstone set his sights on yours truly. It was barely a day into 2012 when I received an email from a reader alerting me to a recent post on a cycling internet forum by some “psycho vegan.” This “psycho” was claiming he’d challenged me to go bike riding with him, but that I’d chickened out for fear of having my ass kicked. Of yours truly, our psycho vegan wrote:
“He still doesnt want to hit the local bergs with me cos he knows I will kick his a'ss and make a blog post about it lol!”[sic]
Not only was psycho vegan falsely claiming he’d challenged me to come riding and that I’d cowardly demurred, but he was also claiming I ate a “low-fat diet.”
Never mind that I consider the entire low-fat paradigm a total crock, and have publicly stated as much on numerous occasions. Heck, I even wrote a book outlining why the low-fat paradigm was a failed and dangerous sham.
I read the post in question and immediately wondered, “Who the hell is this wanker?”
It turns out that wanker was Harley David Johnstone, also known as Durianrider.
Needless to say, Johnstone had never challenged me to “hit the local bergs” with him. In an online reply to Johnstone’s hogwash, I told him that, if he really wanted to test my cycling prowess, I’d be more than happy to race him up his beloved Corkscrew Road. This is a winding <3km section of road in the Adelaide Hills that the demented Johnstone has repeatedly defiled with vegan graffiti.
But after announcing to the world he’d kick my ass, and incessantly bragging about what a magnificent cyclist he is, Johnstone suddenly caught stage-fright. History has since firmly established that Johnstone has never gone through with any of the challenges he’s made to the targets of his disaffection, and he certainly hasn’t met any of the counter-challenges they’ve made to him.
That’s because Johnstone is the quintessential Internet troll: An incurable little coward who is quick to mouth off about people online, but soils his panties at the thought of actually meeting them face-to-face.
While Johnstone clearly had no intention of standing behind his abundant bullshit, he started defaming me online every chance he got. Like a lot of belligerent Australians, Johnstone staunchly believed he had every right to mouth off about me, and that it was my duty to just sit there and obediently suffer in silence. This, as you’ll soon see, is also a cornerstone tenet of the notorious SAPOL.
Problem is, my concept of freedom of speech differs markedly to that of entities like Johnstone and SAPOL. In my worldview, freedom of speech operates on a two-way thoroughfare. If you are going to antagonize and make false and inappropriate comments and accusations about someone, then that someone is fully entitled to exercise their right of reply. You can’t swagger around like you’ve got the balls of a wild bull, lying and mouthing off to all and sundry, only to get your panties in a massive twist when the objects of your antagonism truthfully defend themselves.
But that is exactly what Johnstone and SAPOL do.
Unfortunately for Johnstone, and much to the chagrin of SAPOL, their self-entitled approach to freedom of speech is exceeded only by my dislike of liars, hypocrites and bullies, and my insistence on exercising my right of reply. As such, I refused to remain silent while Johnstone continued to issue an ever-increasing litany of lies about me.
I was even forced to hire a lawyer in 2014, after an especially bizarre episode in which Johnstone, using an alias, publicly claimed I’d purchased steroids from him. Johnstone further claimed, among other things, that I was obese, a scammer, that I claimed to be a scientist and that I wrote blog posts about not being able to gain muscular weight despite taking steroids (this, coming from an emaciated 65kg weakling who has injected more steroids than an IFBB bodybuilder)!
When was I obese, Johnstone? Who did I scam? When and where did I claim to be a scientist? Where are the blog posts in which I wrote about taking steroids?
And how the fuck could I have been a member of an Adelaide gym and purchased anabolic steroids from you there in 2005 when in fact I lived 900 kilometres away in Melbourne?
Johnstone, sleazy piece of pond scum that he is, knows full well I never was or did any of these things.
So I went to a lawyer, who sent Johnstone several takedown letters, and even arranged for a process server to corner him at a park in Queensland and personally serve him with a takedown notice. Johnstone, staunchly committed asshole that he is, refused to remove the offending material. At this point, the lawyer told me getting the material removed would mean going to court, arguing the matter before a judge, and hopefully getting a court order for the removal of the material.
Here in Australia, especially after the terribly sad death of Charlotte Dawson, our politicians and police commissioners have talked much tough talk about Internet trolls. Like so much of what these jokers mutter, it was all ultimately empty drivel. Here in Australia, unless someone explicitly issues a violent threat (and even then, the cops probably won’t give a shit), you’re pretty much on your own when it comes to battling Internet trolls. No matter how vile or damaging, getting defamatory material removed from the Internet in Australia is a ‘civil’, not criminal, matter. Meaning you have to pay for any removal attempts out of your own pocket.
Faced with the option of spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on legal action, the outcome of which is always an unknown, I grudgingly decided to give up the legal chase.
Johnstone thought he’d won, but his exploitation of Australia’s lax approach to Internet trolls would eventually come back to bite his bony ass.
You see, Johnstone is a true idiot who doesn’t comprehend the significance of the old maxim “two can play that game.”
Johnstone knows full well those who seek to have his defamatory bullshit removed from the Internet will need a lawyer, thanks to Australia’s “meh” approach to cyber bullies and the open-slather policies of sleazy companies like YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. He further knows that most of his victims can’t afford, or have no inclination to spend, the significant costs this would entail.
The problem for Johnstone is that his victims now know this too.
So when Johnstone accuses you of taking steroids, you simply go ahead and point out that it is in fact he who takes them. If he objects, just send him a link to this clip:
When he falsely calls you a scammer, you correctly point out that not only is he a scammer, he is also a pathological liar, a narcissist and a cunt.
When Johnstone maliciously accuses you or anyone else of sexual impropriety, you simply point out that it is he who forces himself upon young women:
If Johnstone wants to get such unflattering revelations removed from the Internet, he too will need to go to a lawyer and spend thousands of dollars.
But he will also be faced with an additional obstacle.
You see, while all the things Johnstone accuses others of are invariably bullshit, the things he has been accused of are true. So even if Johnstone were to cough up the funds for a lawyer, and that lawyer wrote you a nasty letter telling you to remove the ‘offending’ material, you could simply write back to the lawyer and tell both him and Johnstone to go fuck themselves.
Because it’s hard to argue something is defamation when it’s true.
And the truth is Johnstone is a scammer and a liar. He is a sexual predator. He is a prolific user of anabolic steroids. He is a sleazeball who falsely accused others of child porn and paedophilia, when it was in fact he that admitted he’d love to “fuck” an underage girl.
The evil maggot was also recently the subject of rape allegations, something we’ll explore in more detail in Part II.
Johnstone is a pathological liar who makes false allegations to the police in order to extract revenge on his non-compliant targets. As you’ll learn in Part II, the slimy little bastard even lied under oath in court.
Johnstone is a narcissist – his behaviour more than meets the criteria for pathological narcissism.
And, given the definition of “cunt” as a “mean or obnoxious person” … Johnstone is unquestionably a cunt.
If Johnstone wants to legally challenge you when you write this of him, he not only needs to engage a lawyer, he needs to prove the aforementioned facts are not true.
Good luck with that, Johnstone.
It was this realization that empowered me to pull the cyber gloves off and go to town on Johnstone. I might not have been willing to part with the $$$ required to nail the bastard in court, but there was nothing to stop me from going online and enlightening the world as to just what an evil, malevolent, dishonest scumbag the guy really was. This realization gave birth to the following exposes, which people all around the world have since thanked me for posting. And, boy, have some of those people shared some interesting revelations about Johnstone!
Be sure to continue spreading those articles far and wide folks, because it is extremely important that people know the truth about the highly manipulative and evil Johnstone.
By the time I posted those articles, Johnstone’s attention-seeking, money-grubbing hate campaign was out of control. The bastard was like a runaway train - no-one was beyond the reach of his puerile antics.
Not even victims of cancer or domestic violence.
Harley the Scum of Scum, Case Study 1: Jennifer Faulisi
At only 33 years of age, American girl Jennifer Faulisi found herself diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer - the same disease that had already killed her mother. Jen had not had an easy life (she told the story of her troubled, dysfunctional upbringing here), and now she found herself on death’s doorstep.
Conventional oncology offered little hope, so Jen began looking into ‘alternative’ treatments. She learned of a cancer clinic in Mexico that sounded promising, but simply could not afford the clinic’s fees.
Jen then came up with a potentially life-saving idea – a GoFundMe campaign. She appealed to the “generosity” of the vegan community to help her raise funds for what she believed was her only hope: Gerson-style cancer therapy at the specialized Mexican clinic.
And initially, that generosity was forthcoming. Jen did manage to raise enough money to get to Mexico and begin treatment, where her condition began to improve.
Unfortunately, the vegan community also harboured other traits: Stupidity, malice and gullibility. So much so, that when an evil maggot by the name of Harley Johnstone came along and – incredibly – started publicly deriding Jen as a “scammer”, people actually believed him. Despite the fact Jen was indeed a genuine cancer patient, and despite video confirmation from her US physician, and despite the pleas of Jen’s stunned support team, people instead chose to believe some feral, sleazy, lying asshole from South Australia.
As a result, Jen’s funding dried up. She ran out of money and had to leave her treatment in Mexico, where her tumour had shrunk.
She died not long after, on April 4, 2016.
To add insult to injury, after Johnstone began making his patently false and malicious accusations against Jen, she found herself on the receiving end of an abundance of Internet hate.
Jennifer Faulisi – a genuine and very unfortunate cancer victim - went to her grave labelled a “scammer”, thanks to Harley Johnstone and all the fucking morons who looked up to him.
It’s been over a year since I first learned of Jen’s plight, but her story still makes my eyes water. How can people be so FUCKING STUPID AND EVIL?
Harley the Scum of Scum, Case Study 2: Ashlee Savins
In December 2015, 19-year-old Ashlee Savins was viciously beaten and bloodied by her 21 year-old coño of a partner, Justin Toro. The incident drew media attention when it was revealed that after the beating was promptly reported to NSW police, they did nothing.
“Sorry, we can't press charges without substantial evidence,” NSW's 'finest' told Ashlee. Apparently, being covered in blood, sporting a broken nose and a chipped front tooth wasn't substantial enough for NSW police. Nor were the messages from Toro in which he begged Ashlee not to tell anyone what he'd done, and blamed her for not letting him "vent":
"Ashlee please don't tell anyone I can't get done for this I'll lose everything," wrote Toro in a private message on Facebook.
"You have no one to blame but yourself," Ashlee replied.
"ok ashlee. do i acept [sic] you feel you didn't contribute to this in any way? maybe not allowing me to vent [sic]," replied Toro.
Hey Toro: If you want to “vent”, hit a fucking punching bag – not your partner’s face!
It was not until militant feminist Clementine Ford posted details of the case to her 94,000 Facebook followers, triggering a barrage of complaints of police inaction, that the cops suddenly developed an interest. Toro was subsequently served with an Apprehended Violence Order, and Ashlee was called in to the St Marys cop shop to give another statement.
So what does this horrible and infuriating episode have to do with Johnstone?
You see, when the Doucherider read about Ashlee’s plight, he just had to chime in with his ten cents' worth. However, Johnstone’s contribution was not to chide the repugnant Toro.
Nope - it was to taunt and ridicule Ashlee!
No, I’m not kidding. Here, see for yourself:
Yep: According to Johnstone, the assault was “100% her fault!” Ashlee’s culpability, according to Johnstone, was due to her allegedly staying with Toro after he had previously assaulted her. This, Johnstone loudly proclaimed on Facebook and YouTube, made her a “dumb bitch” and “fucking doormat loser”.
Why was Johnstone so quick to come to the defense of someone who beats their partner? Because the scumbag beats his own partners. He has openly admitted to hitting his former partner Leanne “Freelee” Ratcliffe, and I have it on good authority he violently abused his previous partner.
Suffice to say, Johnstone is a truly horrible human being. It also goes without saying that Johnstone’s evil nature and his hateful behaviour are no secret. Anyone who Googles the asshole’s name will learn within 5 minutes just what kind of a truly malevolent, evil turd he really is.
So just what kind of a morally and ethically bankrupt law enforcement agency would ever team up with such a disgusting creature, in order to prosecute and harass someone they resented?
South Australia Police, that’s who.
Meet South Australia Police (SAPOL)
Boy oh boy. To fully capture SAPOL’s rampant malfeasance would literally take years, so I’ll try and make this as brief as possible.
South Australia, like numerous other Australian states, has introduced "anti-association" laws aimed at stamping out organizations with a penchant for criminal activity. The primary purported targets of these laws are Australia's outlaw motorcycle gangs or, in Australian lingo, "the bikies."
Now, I'm not here to defend the bikies: I think we all know what they get up to.
To believe the bikies and their hired PR guns, they're just a bunch of largely harmless good ol' boys who love getting together and riding motorbikes.
To believe the cops, bikies are all heinous, vicious thugs involved in drug manufacture and trafficking, prostitution and extortion.
The truth is many bikies are indeed involved in these activities - but not all. Some guys really do join biker gangs primarily for the sense of comraderie and the buzz that comes from riding down a highway surrounded by a hundred other thumping V-twins.
But even if you join a biker gang for seemingly benign reasons, you'll still need the ability to turn a blind eye to criminal activities. Because many of your new brothers-in-arms will be actively involved in illicit endeavours and they'll be using the intimidatory power of the gang to facilitate those endeavours.
Ever since they were first proposed, anti-association laws have been the subject of endless controversy. I fully agree they are problematic, but not for the usually cited reasons. My issue with anti-association laws is this:
They're not being applied equally across the board.
You see, under these laws, gang members are forbidden from wearing their 'colours' in public. And it is illegal for two or more identified members of these gangs to associate with each other in public. If they do, they can be arrested.
Trouble is, there is a gang roaming the streets of South Australia engaged in a wide range of criminal activities, yet it remains immune to prosecution. Not only does this gang boldly wear its ‘colours’ in public, but several years ago it flippantly changed them from blue to a more menacing paramilitary-style black. The message was clear:
“DON’T MESS WITH US.”
Members of this gang routinely swagger around in pairs and sometimes in large groups, in full public view. If you join this gang, you will quickly realize an ability to turn a blind eye to unethical and downright illegal behaviour is essential for continued membership.
Members of this gang have long engaged – and continue to engage - in all manner of illegal activity, everything from petty theft...
...and hoon driving...
...to assault and rape...
...and drug trafficking:
And as folks like Brian Stanton and Mick Skrijel can attest, if you ever come forward with information about this gang’s longstanding involvement in the illicit drug trade, you can fully expect its members to make your life hell:
I’m talking of course, about South Australia Police.
South Australia Police, or SAPOL as it likes to call itself, masquerades as a law-enforcement agency, when in reality it is little more than a taxpayer-funded street gang. If you think I’m exercising a wee bit too much artistic license when making such a statement, then I strongly suggest you read on. Keep in mind what follows barely scratches the surface in terms of SAPOL’s malfeasance.
Luckily for SAPOL, Australia is not a true democracy – it is a two-party autocracy. And luckily for SAPOL, everyone is not equal before the eyes of the law - some entities enjoy special treatment.
If Australia was a true democracy, and if all Australians truly were equal before the law, then SAPOL would find itself in a real pickle. That’s because the organization’s routine involvement in illicit activities and its penchant for strutting around wearing unifying ‘colours’ would see it tagged as an outlaw gang.
As such, SAPOL officers would routinely find themselves the subject of citizens' arrests every time two or more of them congregated in public.
The [Misogynistic] Men in Black
To give you a further idea of the true calibre of South Australia’s police, in 2016 the Equal Opportunity Commission released a report titled Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Predatory Behaviour in the South Australian Police Force. The title pretty much says it all. The EOC found there was a toxic "boys' club" culture within the force. When compiling its report, the commission heard from around 2,000 respondents - about 30 per cent of SAPOL. Of those respondents, 61 per cent perceived sexual harassment and predatory behaviour occurred in the organisation, 36 per cent had personally experienced sexual harassment and 45 per cent of respondents had personally experienced sex discrimination. The report found discriminatory and harassing behaviour was seen as being "acceptable and normalised".
A few months ago, I spoke with someone who for several years worked in one of SAPOL’s administrative departments. This person confirmed to me that SAPOL is, to put it politely, “a male dominated culture.” In less polite terms, working at SAPOL meant enduring hordes of inappropriate sexist comments from predominantly Caucasian buffoons who carried on like they were still trapped in the 1970s. While working at SAPOL, this person also experienced the ignominy of racist remarks about her ethnic group (the predominantly Anglo SAPOL would do well to remember that most people who commit crimes in South Australia are of Anglo descent).
So what sort of sexist stupidity do the lads at SAPOL get up to? Well, in 2016, a female officer filed action with the SA Employment Tribunal alleging she was sexually harassed while working with the SAPOL “boys club”. She says the lads at SAPOL sent her explicit text messages, ranked her attractiveness, and drew genitalia in her hat. The officer told the Industrial Court her male colleagues touched her and sent her crude messages while she was working, including one about a “gluten-free penis.”
The EOC found the reported incidence of predatory behaviour (i.e. the misuse of authority or influence to exploit others for sexual or other personal gratification) in SAPOL was 21 per cent higher than the general population figure (49 per cent vs 28 per cent).
Stop, for a moment, and let those shocking figures fully sink in. SAPOL personnel – the people entrusted to uphold law and order in South Australia - are more likely to be sexual predators than the average person! This, in a country whose rate of sexual assault is already a total disgrace (Australia has one of the world’s highest rates of rape. Having endured considerable racist abuse by those of Anglo descent during my lifetime, I also feel compelled to note the so-called “wog” countries like Greece, Italy and Spain experience only a fraction of the rape incidence that Anglo countries such as Australia, USA and UK do).
Source: European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control. International Statistics on Crime and Justice. HEUNI Publication Series No. 64: 25. Available online: https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/Crime-statistics/International_Statistics_on_Crime_and_Justice.pdf
The types of sexual harassment reported of SAPOL ranged from inappropriate sexual comments and jokes to criminal acts such as sexual assault and rape. Sexual harassment was experienced across all levels of the organisation, with targets more likely to be women (not surprisingly). Of the perpetrators, 81 percent were men. While more sworn employees indicated having experienced sexual harassment across their lifetime employment at SAPOL, more administrative and specialist support staff reported being subjected to this behaviour in the previous five years. Reported impacts ranged from feeling uncomfortable to having thoughts of suicide.
The findings were so damning, SAPOL Commissioner Grant Stevens said he accepted all of the Commission report's recommendations: "Sadly what this review tells us, is there is an unacceptable level of sexual harassment and discrimination and predatory behaviour within South Australia Police and this means we have to do some work to change our culture."
The significance of this admission cannot be downplayed, because SAPOL’s usual response is to lie, deny and aggressively cover-up allegations of misconduct. So when SAPOL actually admits it has a problem with sexual harassment, you better believe it’s serious.
Racism is also clearly a problem at SAPOL, especially towards Indigenous Australians. In 2015 it was revealed a SAPOL constable questioning an Aboriginal man called him a “black cunt”, before saying he would like to tie a hose around his neck, set him on fire and drag him behind the police car “with the lights and sirens on”.
As both the acting SA ombudsman, Michael Grant, and his predecessor, Sarah Bolt, noted, the unnamed constable was “entirely unsuitable to continue as a member of the police force”.
“I am currently dealing with another complaint from Aboriginal people about the conduct of the same officer, which occurred only a few weeks after the abuse of the Aboriginal man in this case,” Grant said.
So what happened to this repugnant racist officer?
Pretty much nothing.
He was ordered to undergo "cultural awareness training as part of six-week disciplinary action at the police academy". No other penalty was imposed:
I can only imagine what would happen if an Indigenous Australian got in the face of a SAPOL officer and called him a “white cunt”, or if someone of Mediterranean descent told a SAPOL cop he was a “skip cunt” who deserved to have a hose placed round his neck, set on fire and dragged behind a car with the horn loudly blaring.
Something tells me they’d be forced to endure a lot more than a token six-week “cultural awareness” course!
As the old adage goes: One set of laws for them, another for us.
SAPOL’s Outrageous Hypocrisy
SAPOL presides over the most draconian and predatory traffic fine system in the nation, gleefully causing untold financial hardship upon thousands of law-abiding South Australians. In order to justify this vulture-like behaviour, SAPOL repeatedly cites the disingenuous excuse that it improves road safety.
If SAPOL is truly so concerned about road safety, why does it look the other way while its officers routinely break every law in the state’s road statutes? Instead of punishing these officers, why does SAPOL instead use intelligence-insulting excuses to cover for their law-breaking?
Here are some examples of SAPOL’s nonchalant disregard for road rules:
That photo was taken on 16 June 2018, and show a SAPOL car illegally parked on the footpath in the Adelaide CBD. This was outside a police complex on the appropriately named Bent Street. I’m told by others who work in the area that this is a routine occurrence. Those photos were taken just over a week before I was to stand trial on false assault and property damage allegations – an infuriating reminder that while SAPOL were free to persecute me on vexatious grounds, they themselves routinely get to break the law as they please.
And check out this pearler:
That photo was taken only a few days ago, on 22 September 2018. The location was a busy shopping strip in the Adelaide suburb of Norwood known as The Parade. It shows a SAPOL vehicle illegally parked in a bus zone. As any semi-conscious person with an Australian driver’s license can tell you, this is a big no-no.
When the law-breaking SAPOL officer returned to his illegally parked vehicle, the person who took this photo approached him for a little Q&A. She politely quizzed him about his unlawful parking etiquette, but received a rather impolite response. This is what transpired:
“I asked him how much I would get fined for parking in a bus zone. He did not answer my question but got all defensive and tried to say that he was attending an emergency at the rear of the building. That is bullshit because that would have been the rear of our shop. When I pointed out that there was more appropriate legal parking available he got all shitty and left.”
This illegal act occurred on a sunny Saturday afternoon - a time when the popular Parade is at its busiest. In other words, SAPOL cops are so cavalier, so convinced of their own exceptional status, they will illegally park in the middle of a busy shopping precinct. And they are so hypocritical and self-entitled that when you rightfully question them about it, they promptly get in a huff.
According to section 183(1) of the SA Road Traffic (Miscellaneous) Regulations 2014, the "expiation" penalty for stopping in a bus zone is $130 (see p. 25 of this pdf: https://www.legislation.sa.gov.au/lz/c/r/road%20traffic%20(miscellaneous)%20regulations%202014/current/2014.206.auth.pdf).
And according to section 197(1), the penalty for "Stopping on path, dividing strip or nature strip" is $97 (see p. 26).
A so-called "Victims of Crime" levy of $60 also applies to South Australian traffic fines (http://www.mylicence.sa.gov.au/road-rules/offences-and-penalties#summaryofoffences).
So if Australia was a true democracy, in which everyone was truly equal in the eyes of the law, South Australian citizens could approach wayward police officers like those above, and issue them with fines ranging between $157 and $190. But alas, Australia is in reality a two-party autocracy in which police can routinely break the law with impunity.
One set of laws for them, another for us.
In the above instances, the illegally parked SAPOL vehicles were stationary, limiting the amount of physical harm their law-breaking drivers could cause. When SAPOL officers get behind the wheel of a vehicle and actually start driving it, it’s best to keep your distance. Because here’s what can happen:
All indications are that the two SAPOL officers indulged in a spot of hoon-driving in quiet suburban back streets at night, when they figured they’d be safe from prying eyes. Unfortunately, things went a wee bit awry and they found themselves upside down in a wrecked police car. If you or I did something this stupid, we’d be in a lot of trouble. But the officers needn’t have worried: As always, SAPOL quickly contrived an intelligence-insulting excuse, this time claiming the officers were travelling under the speed limit of 50 km/h. As one of the residents who helped pull the cops from the crashed car stated, "I think they were doing a little bit quicker than that!"
SAPOL’s unlikely explanation immediately begs the question: How on Earth do you rollover a car when travelling at less than 50 km/h?
Either SAPOL wasn’t being straight with us, or the officer behind the wheel was an incredibly bad driver.
If I had to put money on it, I’d bet both.
And here’s another fine example of SAPOL driving:
Yep, in less than sixty seconds, this reckless SAPOL officer breaks no fewer than ten road rules. He speeds, meanders all over the road, crosses solid lines and overtakes on a traffic island, drives in the bicycle lane, and generally behaves like an all-round hoon. All that’s missing is a big fat, tyre-squealing, smoking burnout.
All this, mind you, in front of a learner driver. What a way to set an example!
SAPOL vs the Truth
To give you some idea of just how dishonest – not to mention thuggish - SAPOL is, let’s start by watching the following clip:
What you just saw in that clip is unmistakable: Two SAPOL officers standing over two unarmed homeless men, with the male officer – Matthew Shwarz – bashing them with his baton. The full Channel 7 footage of the incident, along with comments from witnesses, can be viewed here:
In the above video, we see an enraged Shwarz beating the men with his baton; he also later admitted striking the men with his elbows and fists.
As a magistrate later confirmed, the men had done nothing wrong. Shwarz simply became angry when the men refused to talk with him - as was their legal right - and he became violent. I can hardly blame the men for not wanting to engage with Shwarz, because experience has taught me that when a SAPOL officer approaches, it means one thing and one thing only:
I’m about to get fucked over.
I’m about to receive a harsh fine, summons, or even get arrested, for something I simply did not do.
The homeless men, no doubt, were also very wary of SAPOL. Due to their limited financial resources and their “eyesore” status, homeless people constitute especially easy prey for domineering cops.
If anyone else launched a vicious assault on two innocent homeless men in full view of bystanders and a TV crew, they’d earn themselves a guaranteed – and well-deserved - ticket to jail.
But guess who got arrested in the above incident? That’s right: The innocent homeless men who got viciously beaten by Shwarz! Instead of arresting Shwarz, his SAPOL buddies helped him arrest the two battered and bruised men.
SAPOL prosecutors also knew full well what really happened, but instead of dropping the charges against the homeless men and charging Shwarz, they did the exact opposite. They threw their full support behind Shwarz and forced the homeless men to stand trial.
On 29 May 2014, Magistrate Stefan Metanomski dismissed all charges against both homeless men. The magistrate found the police had “exceeded their authority” when dealing with the men.
Magistrate Metanomski found Shwarz acted unlawfully by continuing to pursue the men after they made it clear they did not wish to speak with police. He noted the officer did not reasonably suspect the men of any crime and therefore had no authority to follow them.
Now here’s the real cracker: Along with exonerating the homeless men, Magistrate Metanomski said he found Schwarz’s version of events to be inaccurate and unreliable, finding there was a real possibility the officer was embellishing his story (in plain English: lying) to justify his actions. Even though the incident was caught on camera and widely broadcast, Shwarz still tried to “embellish” his version of events. And as he did so, SAPOL stood loyally behind him.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is how deeply ingrained the dishonesty is at SAPOL. Even when they are caught red-handed on camera viciously beating defenceless people, and even when their thuggish antics are broadcast on the evening news, they still try to lie about what happened!
While this saga was still playing out, it was revealed a second complaint of aggressive misconduct had been made against Shwarz. This time, a teenage P-Plate driver complained the belligerent officer had thumped on her car window and threatened her.
Despite his unprovoked violence and dishonesty, SAPOL did not terminate or even suspend Shwarz's employment. The Police Ombudsman called for the Shwarz’s police ID to be revoked in the interests of public safety but Commissioner Grant Stevens - who solemnly pronounced SAPOL "must show we are committed to preventing inappropriate behaviour, supporting victims and investigating complaints and taking action as appropriate" - refused.
So much for fighting inappropriate SAPOL behaviour and supporting victims! The reality is SAPOL endeavours to cover up as much of its malfeasance as possible, instead arresting, prosecuting and harassing its victims.
The Director of Public Prosecutions decided not to bring criminal charges against Shwarz because he was in a "fragile and suicidal state of mind."
This then begs the obvious question: Why the heck is a mentally disturbed SAPOL officer who claims to be “fragile and suicidal” allowed to continue carrying a gun and other weapons while circulating among the general public … ?!?
Because SAPOL has a gang mentality, pure and simple. Like most outlaw gangs, its primary allegiance is to itself, not the public. When your comrades do something wrong, the gang’s ‘brotherhood’ mentality dictates you help them cover it up. This isn’t necessarily because you like them – I have it on good authority a lot of SAPOL cops can’t stand each other (I’m also told the overwhelming majority hate their job, a contention supported by the brief average career span for SAPOL cops - a mere 7 years).
Nope, you cover up for your miscreant workmates because:
- One day you may need them to cover up for you, and;
- If you don’t, you will very likely be ostracized and harassed by other officers and your ‘superiors’.
SAPOL’s secondary allegiance is to the South Australian government, upon which it relies for funding.
As for the public? Sorry folks, but you come a distant third. SAPOL officers frequently believe themselves to be above the law, and have little patience for those who refuse to treat them with the God-like respect they believe they are entitled to. You may rightfully believe that if you aren’t hurting anybody you should be free to go about your business unaccosted, but SAPOL doesn’t see it that way. When it comes to interacting with the public, the old maxim “treat others as you wish them to treat you” doesn’t carry much weight at SAPOL. As we saw with Matthew Shwarz, this obnoxious disdain for mutual respect and civil liberty can have violent consequences.
Another lucid example of SAPOL’s pervasive “put up and shut up” attitude towards the public is the behaviour of traffic cop Constable Norman Hoy. In 2015, the Advertiser revealed Hoy had been the subject of eleven Police Complaints Authority complaints (it should also be noted that SAPOL diligently tried to prevent the Advertiser from revealing this fact). According to a damning Police Complaints Authority report, "Hoy was a threatening, harsh, unfair, arrogant and rude bully whose insulting, unprofessional behaviour breached regulations."
In 2010, Hoy pulled over successful Adelaide businessman Yasser Shahin, who at the time was driving a Rolls Royce. Now, despite what some people think, being a person of Mediterranean/Middle-Eastern appearance and driving a nice car is not a crime. Indeed, at the time of being pulled over Shahin had done nothing wrong - he was driving along with his mum, wife and son, minding his own damn business.
So why did Hoy pull him over?
Because – wait for it – the factory-fitted windows on his Roller were allegedly too dark!
For chrissakes … who cares?!?
How the hell did that negatively affect Hoy or any other person on the planet?
Welcome to the Nanny States of Australia, folks, where governments and police fully believe they have the right to micromanage every last aspect of your lives!
The audio recording of the exchange between Hoy and Shahin can be found here:
As you listen to the recording, it quickly becomes apparent why the PCA labelled Hoy an "unprofessional bully who was rude, arrogant and harsh to drivers." His manner and behaviour towards Shahin are truly disgraceful.
At the start of the audio, after sighting Shahin’s Rolls Royce, Hoy can be heard gleefully remarking: “I wonder who’s in that … aaaah, that looks a bit dark! Pull him over and defect the mother...”
Hoy and his sidekick Constable Alexander Wasley (who had only been on the job a week) proceed to sound their siren and pull the so-called “mother” over. When Shahin asks Hoy why he has been stopped - a perfectly reasonable question - Hoy refuses to tell him (the exact same thing happened to me when I was arrested). Instead of telling Shahin why he has unceremoniously barged into his day, Hoy immediately becomes hostile, again demanding Shahin’s license and snidely telling him, “You don’t get to dictate … when I stop you, okay?”
Things quickly go downhill from there. Hoy, it turns out, is hellbent on slapping a defect sticker on the Rolls Royce, using the excuse its window tinting is too dark. Hoy, who wears glasses (indicating he suffers some degree of visual impairment), claims he couldn’t see who was in the car. We know that’s a lie, because upon sighting Shahin’s car, Hoy’s own audio recording captures him correctly identifying Shahin as a male.
And just why Hoy needed to see who was in the car, he never explains.
“Yeah, it looks too dark,” claims Hoy of one of the Roller’s windows. When Shahin informs him the windows have not been tinted, an indifferent Hoy simply mutters, “okay.”
“Fourteen percent, it’s gotta have 35 percent, I’ll be defecting your vehicle,” Hoy declares to Shahin, who by this point is no doubt wondering how his day could so suddenly turn to shit.
Hoy then demands the keys to Shahin’s car. The businessman, understandably apprehensive about handing the keys to his pride and joy to a belligerent stranger, questions this directive. Hoy then announces he will remove the keys. Shahin instead tries to remove his keys from his car, only to have the heavy-handed Hoy physically accost him. Hoy starts man-handling and shoving Shahin who, it should once again be emphasized, had done absolutely nothing wrong. He didn’t need to, of course, because Hoy is an "unprofessional bully who was rude, arrogant and harsh to drivers."
As it turns out, pulling over luxury car drivers using the tinted window ruse was apparently a Hoy favourite. Another complaint, in 2008, also arose from Hoy pulling over and defecting a luxury car because its front passenger window tint was allegedly too dark. In a sequence of events similar to those involving Shahin, Hoy told the driver to “shut your mouth” and “don’t have a hissy fit”.
Welcome to South Australia, folks, where one moment you can be innocently minding your own business doing absolutely nothing wrong, and the next have some obnoxious SAPOL cop all over you like a rash.
What a truly disgraceful state of affairs.
If I was to swagger around talking to people the way Hoy and his ilk do, I’d be getting into a hell of a lot of fights. People don’t generally like being treated like shit. But SAPOL officers routinely prey on the public and treat them like garbage, then earnestly wonder why people treat them with suspicion and disdain.
Incredibly, despite the incriminating nature of the above tape, Hoy was acquitted of assaulting Shahin.
Maybe this was due to the fact that Hoy is an Anglo-Saxon while Shahin is of Lebanese descent. All bullshit niceties aside, there still remains a lot of racism here in Australia towards those of Mediterranean and especially Middle-Eastern descent.
Or maybe it was because bully-boy Hoy - a grown 59 year-old man who tells others not to have hissy fits – constantly cried and snivelled in court. Not a very becoming display for someone who has no qualms about acting like Mister Mucho Macho when armed with a gun and a badge. Maybe Hoy’s waterworks tugged on the heartstrings of the jury, sufficiently softening them up for a not guilty verdict?
Who knows, but it does bring me to another observation I’ve made of SAPOL and its officers:
Like many bullies, they are notoriously thin-skinned.
SAPOL is quick to harass others, to accuse them of things they didn’t do. The callous, heartless and often violent outfit is more than happy to prosecute, harass and even assault innocent people. SAPOL has no qualms about causing innocent people untold financial hardship and driving them to a nervous breakdown.
But when they are put in the hot seat, it’s a totally different story. For an organization that sees fit to cruelly drive innocent people to the brink, SAPOL sure has an extremely low tolerance for criticism.
That’s because, like any totalitarian outfit, the thing SAPOL fears and hates most is a challenge to what it perceives as its supreme authority.
So What the Heck is SAPOL Really About?
While disingenuously masquerading as a protector of the public, SAPOL’s true mission is in reality dominated by the following agendas:
Revenue-raising for the South Australian government. The big earner here is traffic and speed camera fines, which earn the SA government hundreds of millions of dollars each year. I must tip my hat off to Channel 7’s Today Tonight, who exposed internal SAPOL communications showing SA’s fine system is indeed a revenue-raising rort. Officers who don’t meet their fine quotas (a.k.a. “benchmarks”) are even vigorously berated for their lack of team spirit!
This repugnant racket really got out of control under the former and staggeringly corrupt Labor government, who fell hopelessly in love with the idea that its financial ineptitude could be at least partly offset by SAPOL’s revenue-raising capabilities. Despite its appalling performance, and repeated controversy, Labor enjoyed an uninterrupted 16-year term of rampant taxpayer-funded debauchery and malfeasance. Why South Australians repeatedly voted these rortmeisters into power for four consecutive terms remains a mystery to me; I can only assume it has something to do with the pathological fear of change that seems to pervade the state.
South Australia is hardly the only state to extort hundreds of millions of dollars per year from law-abiding citizens under the cynical guise of ‘road safety’, but it does have the nation’s most punitive traffic fine system. The state’s exceedingly harsh fine racket has been publicly dubbed the most unfair in the nation.
SAPOL incessantly claims this draconian approach to speed enforcement is saving lives, but when you ask for them for proof of this, they have none. SAPOL knows full well that speed is a “factor” in only a minority of motor vehicle accidents. If you’ve ever driven on Australian roads and marvelled at the incredibly bad driving on display, chances are you’ll know the real reason Australia has a far higher road fatality rate than countries like the UK and Spain: Australian drivers are routinely discourteous, aggressive, impatient, easily-distracted and often affected by alcohol and drugs. In a continent that already drinks too much, South Australia has the dubious honour of having the highest drink driving rate.
The major road safety problems here are not 'speeding' but factors such as the Aussie penchant for excessive drinking and smoking/snorting/injecting/swallowing toxic shit on a regular basis, not to mention texting friends while commandeering a 1,500kg missile (and more – I’ve seen semi-trailer drivers using mobile phones. IDIOTS.)
Even the cops here are terrible drivers, as we’ve already witnessed.
What our revenue-raising police and governments will never tell you is that the decades-long reduction in the road toll slowed after the introduction of speed cameras. Take a look at the following table, bearing in mind that most Australian states began using speed cameras between the years 1988-1991 (WA = 1988, VIC = 1989, SA = 1990, NSW = 1991).
During the sixteen-year period spanning 1975 to 1991, the Australian road toll declined by a hefty 54%. Over the subsequent sixteen years, from 1992-2008, the road toll declined by 45%.
It gets worse.
In recent years, despite increasing speed camera revenues, the road toll has stopped declining and begun rising again. This trend got off to an especially early start in South Australia, in 2012:
The likely reason is the increased use of electronic devices by stupid reckless twats who should instead be keeping their eyes on the road. Despite this alarming development, and despite the fact SAPOL is fully aware of all the above facts, it remains doggedly committed to its draconian speed-centric revenue-raising racket.
Because that’s where the money is.
If militant speed enforcement really was effective in reducing the road toll, then South Australia would by far enjoy the lowest per capita rate of road fatalities. But as of March 2018 - after 28 years of the rabid speeding fine racket - South Australia’s road toll is still above the national average (see page 15 of https://www.aaa.asn.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/AAA-Benchmarking-Report_Q2-2018.pdf)
So tell me again how draconian speed enforcement and outrageous traffic fines save lives?
I will repeat: Australia’s speed enforcement system does not save lives. It is purely a money-grubbing scam, nowhere more so than in South Australia.
Furthermore, there is a wealth of evidence from around the world showing relaxed enforcement of speeding on highways brings reductions in road fatalities:
This includes Australia’s own Northern Territory, where the removal of speed limits on outback roads has brought welcome reductions in the road toll.
Given that SAPOL knows full well of the above information, we are faced with an extremely disturbing reality:
Namely, SAPOL places far more emphasis on revenue generation than reducing road deaths.
This also helps explain why SAPOL officers frequently exhibit such appalling driving habits.
The enforcement of such a draconian system that does nothing to save lives requires an army of compliant individuals who, when faced with a choice between principles or their salary, will reliably opt for the latter. A SAPOL female officer actually admitted to me once, when I questioned the dubious caper she was involved in, that “there are a lot of things we [her and unnamed fellow officers] would change if we could.” In other words, she knew full well that she worked in an unfair system, but that system paid her salary and therefore she wasn’t about to challenge it.
Welcome to SAPOL, whose employment screening questionnaires are carefully crafted to weed out pesky individuals who like to think for themselves and stand up for what is truly just.
And why is SAPOL so dedicated to extracting millions of dollars from law-abiding citizens, causing them untold grief and hardship? Because making lots of money for the government means that SAPOL continues to get lots of money from the government. I guess SAPOL’s top brass need to afford those lavish taxpayer-funded overseas junkets somehow:
Persecuting and harassing those who stand up to, embarrass or expose SAPOL for the malfeasant outfit it truly is (i.e., people like me). For an organization that constantly complains about a “lack of resources” to pursue real crime, SAPOL sure seems to have a remarkable abundance of resources when it comes to pursuing absurd allegations and harassing those to which it takes a disliking. The reason for this is that, like most gangs, SAPOL gets angry when someone shines a light on its seedy underbelly. Like most gangs, SAPOL will go to great lengths to silence those who threaten its gravy train.
And like most bullies, SAPOL hates it when people stand up for themselves, instead of cowering in submission. But while many bullies will quickly back down when you call their bluff, SAPOL’s otherwise physically unimposing force is emboldened by its access to guns, batons, a legal monopoly on force, and farcical legislation that allows SAPOL to investigate itself when accused of wrong doing. SAPOL’s Internal Investigation Service (IIS) is an audacious sham which should be renamed the Internal Cover-Up Service (ICUS), because its chief purpose is clearly to dismiss, deny and cover up as much of SAPOL’s abundant bad behaviour as possible.
SAPOL’s All-Too-Frequent Response to Real Crime: NO RESPONSE
A striking insight into just how little SAPOL cares about real crime can be garnered from the horrific murder of Zahra Abrahimzadeh. Zahra's estranged husband Ziaolleh had a long history of violent and threatening behaviour towards her and their children. On February 12, 2009, this psychotic bastard assaulted Zahra and their eldest daughter, and threatened to kill both their son and youngest daughter. Eleven days later, after the terrified family resolved to flee the violent Ziaolleh, they packed their belongings into their car and drove to the Salisbury Police Station, in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, to report the incident.
And what did SAPOL do in response?
Apart from issuing him with a largely useless piece of paper known as a domestic violence restraining order, SAPOL essentially did nothing. Apparently, bashing your wife and adult daughter and threatening to kill your family doesn’t warrant an arrest in South Australia!
SAPOL, after all, has far more pressing matters to attend to, like relentlessly hounding motorists who refuse to pay vexatious and unlawful traffic fines.
The bottom line is that thanks to SAPOL's sheer disinterest in bringing Ziaolleh Abrahimzadeh to justice, he remained free. This lack of action emboldened him to approach his estranged wife at a function in the Adelaide Convention Centre on the evening of March 21, 2010, and repeatedly stab her to death in a frenzied attack occurring in full view of shocked onlookers.
As the subsequent Coroner's Inquest report stated:
"Ziaolleh was never dealt with by the criminal justice system for his alleged offending. That was because the first step in the criminal justice process, namely arresting and charging Ziaolleh for the reported offending, never occurred at anytime during those 13 months.
In my opinion the single most important and decisive step in deterring Ziaolleh Abrahimzadeh from acting violently towards his wife was to arrest and charge him for his alleged offences."
Caught Red-Handed on Camera, but … “Not Enough Evidence, Mate!”
Another jaw-dropping example of SAPOL’s indifference to real crime came to light in December 2017 when a frustrated victim told the Advertiser the highly irrational force was refusing to charge a man who slashed three of his car tyres. The entire incident was captured on CCTV footage, which clearly showed the culprit’s face and the license plate of the silver Mercedes SLK in which he drove away. Despite the slam-dunk nature of the evidence, SAPOL refused to charge the man, claiming “there wasn’t enough evidence to guarantee a conviction.”
You can’t make this stuff up folks; here’s the original article:
I was discussing this lunacy with an acquaintance when he told me of a very similar case that occurred at a shopping centre in Adelaide’s North-East (a precinct covered by Holden Hill police). In this instance, his shop assistant friend had all four of his car tyres deflated by a disgruntled customer. As with the abovementioned incident, the shopping centre’s CCTV cameras identified both the culprit and his license plate. The victim promptly took the footage to SAPOL, who proceeded to inform him they couldn’t use the footage as evidence because he had watched it and therefore it was tainted.
I know, that makes absolutely no sense, but as I said earlier, there is nothing rational or logical about SAPOL.
I guess the moral of the story is that if you ever visit South Australia and want to commit a crime without fear of being arrested, make sure you get caught on CCTV camera!
In contrast, if you do want to get arrested by sleazy SAPOL, here’s a foolproof guide:
How to Get Arrested by SAPOL When You’ve Done NOTHING Wrong: Step 1
First of all, you need SAPOL to come to dislike you, to view you as a pain in the ass.
One sure-fire way to achieve this is to vigorously stand up to SAPOL when they issue you an unlawful traffic fine.
So how do you cop an unlawful fine in South Australia?
With the nation’s most predatory fine regime, it’s quite easy. And if you have olive skin and a nice-looking car, you’re really in the running. In predominantly Anglo South Australia, this will make you stand out to the police. It’s no guarantee of unwanted police attention, as we saw with the tyre-slashing incident above but, as Yasser Shahin and yours truly can attest, it sure seems to help.
All you Andrew Bolt types who think I’m ‘playing the race card’ would do well to pull your heads out of your posteriors and get with reality. As a person of Mediterranean descent, I can state unreservedly there is a clear and noticeable difference in the way I’m treated by both the public and police when I’m in Adelaide compared to far more cosmopolitan Melbourne. And there is published research to support my personal experience. In 2007, Australian National University researchers sent 4,000 job applications to prospective employers in three Australian cities. The applications were identical in all but one respect: The ethnicity of the fictitious applicants' names. The researchers found that in Sydney and Brisbane (who, like Adelaide, have far lower Mediterranean populations than Melbourne), applications bearing an Italian surname were significantly less likely to receive a callback. In Melbourne, which sports significant Greek and Italian populations (Melbourne has the largest Greek population of any city outside Greece), applications with an Italian surname were actually slightly more likely to receive a callback.
Anglo Police versus Ethnics
Okay, so after having slapped on some olive skin lotion and colouring your hair and eyebrows black, the next step is to get in your car and do the big drive from Melbourne to Adelaide with an olive-skinned friend visiting from the United States. As she will confirm, you are a very conscientious and safe driver, being careful not to exceed Victoria and South Australia’s posted speed limits.
Commensurate with your 30-year accident-free driving record, you have a safe and enjoyable drive – that is, until you get to the Adelaide Hills. As you near the end of the long and treacherous descent down the disgraceful ski ramp that masquerades as South Australia’s South-Eastern Freeway, a traffic cop flashes his lights and quickly pulls out behind you.
You pull up, and an officer by the name of Senior Constable Ian Stanley struts over to your car, demands your license, then claims he clocked you doing 78km/h in a 60km/h zone. He then informs you that he is going to give you a $417 fine.
You are stunned. And so is your passenger.
His only evidence that you were ‘speeding’ are two digits on an orange Lidar device, which read “78”. There is no footage or image of your vehicle on the device, only the two digits of ultimately unknown origin.
There are a plethora of problems with this scenario, the first and foremost being the fact you were not travelling at 78 km/h. When you approached the end of the 80km/h zone and saw the first of two 60km/h signs, you braked and your car slowed significantly. You continued to brake and your car continued to slow as you approached the second 60 sign.
Yet Stanley is effectively claiming – with a straight face – that you had not slowed at all at the first 60 sign, and you only slowed by 2 km/h after reaching the second 60 sign.
What utter garbage.
To top off the ignominy, Stanley – who can clearly see you are upset and stunned – evidently takes a disliking to you and menacingly asks if he should record your speed as 80 instead of 78. This, as Stanley keenly reminds you, would knock your fine into the next category and strip you of even more hard-earned money.
At no point did your olive-skinned self, or your olive-skinned passenger, in any way abuse, threaten or refuse to comply with the Anglo-Saxon Stanley’s demands (if Stanley ever tries to claim otherwise, you now have the whole thing on video, courtesy of his own body-worn camera).
As you drive off, the shell-shock gives way to indignance. Angry at the manner in which you were just treated, and knowing full well you were not travelling at the speed Stanley accused you of, you resolve not to pay the fine.
And this is where the ‘fun’ (I use that term in the most sardonic manner possible) really begins.
You start doing some research, and you uncover an endless stream of discomforting facts. For starters, Stanley hails from Sturt Police Station, an establishment that seems to have a pressing problem with staff honesty:
Having seen media segments about the ability of Lidar guns to clock stationary objects like trees and poles at speeds of 70-80km/h, you start reading more about these dubious devices. You learn that curves in the road, nearby traffic, downhill descents and nearby objects like trees and poles are all contraindications for the correct use of these devices.
And guess what? All of those conditions were present at the location where Stanley claims to have clocked you ‘speeding’.
You further learn that crafty cops can bump up the Lidar’s speed reading by moving its laser beam along the side of the car.
Lidar guns, in other words, are dubious pieces of crap that should themselves be outlawed.
As you’ve probably surmised, the above scenario is not a merely a hypothetical one. It’s what actually happened to me and my Colombian-American guest on 21 January 2016.
Being fully aware of how SAPOL is very adept at dishing out unflattering accusations but not so good at receiving them, I will emphasize here I am not accusing Stanley of being deliberately dishonest or racist. That Stanley hailed from the dubious Sturt police station, and works for an organization that has well-documented problems with honesty and racism does not necessarily mean he himself is dishonest or racist. Ultimately, I have no idea how he arrived at his nonsensical speed reading, and why he chose to behave in the manner he did.
What I can say without reservation is the fine he gave me on 21 January 2016 was untenable, and should never have been issued to me.
And SAPOL were ultimately forced to acknowledge as much.
It took over two long years, but it was only until after I got a lawyer onto the matter that SAPOL suddenly lost interest in pursuing the matter. On 11 May 2018, a SAPOL prosecutor stated he would withdraw the fine because:
“… the IO hasn’t supplied notes or the PD477 so I’ll just discontinue it on the next occasion.”
Instead of taking the matter to trial, SAPOL withdrew it and, thanks to my very capable barrister Yasmin McMahon, I was awarded costs that were a multiple of the original fine.
So all that Stanley achieved in the end was to cost the taxpayers of South Australia an amount over twice that of the fine he tried to stick me with.
I insisted right from the get-go I was innocent of the crime Stanley accused me of (and rest assured, when a cop accuses you of a traffic offence, he is accusing you of a crime, all sanitized words like “expiation” and “infringement” notwithstanding).
She Won’t Be Right, Mate!
When SAPOL cops venture out with their Lidar guns to do a spot of fund-raising, they are first supposed to go through a series of steps aimed at improving the accuracy of the speed readings. They are also supposed to make notes of these procedures. If they don’t perform these procedures, any subsequent fine can be challenged as legally invalid. And if the required notes aren’t kept, the fine can also be challenged as untenable.
Astute readers will know where this is heading. Here in Australia, where a “she’ll be right” attitude to task completion often prevails, and where the cops often think they are above the law, the required calibration procedures and accompanying notes are frequently skipped.
As a result, numerous motorists have had speeding fines overturned because the police were not able to show proper procedures were followed. One such case that made the headlines in 2016 was Police vs Butcher:
The Police vs Butcher decision only deepened my suspicion that there was something off about my speeding fine. My suspicions were eventually confirmed, because – surprise, surprise - the proper notes had not been kept.
What is infuriating is that SAPOL either knew, or could have easily confirmed this right from the outset. Instead of dragging the matter on for over two years, SAPOL’s Expiation Notice Branch could easily have closed the matter within days. When I protested the fine, all they had to do was ring Sturt police station:
EXPIATION NOTICE BRANCH STAFFER: “Hi, it’s Neville McNoodle from the Expiation Notice Branch. I’m after Senior Constable Ian Stanley.”
[Brief pause while SC Stanley comes to phone]
ENBS: “Hi Ian, Neville McNoodle from the ENB. On 21 January 2016, you pulled over some bloke called Anthony Colpo and accused him of doing 78 in a 60 zone. The expiation number is GXXXXXXXXX. He’s disputing the fine, so I need the relevant notes.”
ENBS: “Yeah, notes. You did keep the relevant notes, right?”
ENBS: [Swears and says the Lord’s name in vain] “Great. Now I’ll have to write to him and tell him we’re withdrawing the fine!”
But instead of using a commonsense approach like the one above, SAPOL instead chose to pursue and harass me for over two years, no doubt wasting thousands of taxpayer dollars in the process. They ignored my repeated requests for evidence, they unlawfully handballed my fine over to the nasty bastards at the Fines Enforcement and Recovery Unit (FERU) and – most disgustingly of all – had an especially obnoxious officer illegally trespass on my mother’s property in order to serve me with a summons!
All this for a fine which was – as I maintained all along – a complete crock.
The problem with the current approach is there is no disincentive for the issuance of nonsensical fines. Rather than the current revenue-raising approach, fine issuance should return to being a genuine road safety measure aimed at penalizing only truly dangerous behaviour. There should be severe financial penalties for police officers who hand out untenable speeding fines or book people for irrelevant nonsense like window tinting. The old “I’m just doing my job, mate” excuse would get a lot less airtime when one’s job came with substantial disincentives for issuing trivial, vexatious and unjust fines.
This is in stark contrast to the current system, which laughs in the face of the idea of equitable justice. Motorists who suspect they have been issued an unlawful fine, and refuse to pay it, have two unappealing choices:
- Ignore the fine, and become subject to a continual stream of threats, harassment, license loss and asset seizure, or;
- “Elect” to be prosecuted. In other words, you can ‘choose’ – effectively under duress, considering your other option - to fight the matter in court.
Option 2 means either representing yourself in court, or hiring a lawyer to argue the matter for you. For the average person with no legal training, getting up in court and arguing a case before a magistrate or judge can be a daunting proposition. And hiring a lawyer might involve spending thousands of dollars to fight a $417 fine, with no guarantee of success. And whichever option you choose, you can be sure the matter will require considerable time and effort on your part.
Faced with these options, many people simply fold and grudgingly pay the fine. The system is stacked against them and, of course, this is no accident. The powers-that-be have deliberately structured the fine system in a manner that lumps all the disincentives on the hapless motorist. They know full well that, when faced with the daunting prospect of battling the 800-pound gorilla that is the state, most people will fold and just pay the fine.
As regular readers will know, I am not “most” people.
After receiving Stanley’s fine, and resolving not to pay it, I went online to get some idea of what my options might be. I quickly came across an Australian eBook that promised information on how to beat traffic fines. I purchased the eBook, and forwarded SAPOL the correspondence recommended in the book. SAPOL’s reply was a smug form letter stating it had already received a large volume of similar letters and that these letters were ineffective.
What especially stood out to me was SAPOL’s response to the question of whether the Lidar wielded by Stanley met the requirements of the National Measurement Act 1960. Instead of answering the question, SAPOL’s Expiation Notice Branch wrote:
“Supreme Court of South Australia has ruled the Imperial Acts Application and other legislation quoted in your letter has no bearing on the expiation notice process…”
This was a very curious response because my letter never mentioned the Imperial Acts Application Act. I asked a question about the National Measurement Act 1960, and instead of giving me a straight answer, SAPOL raised a strawman.
When people throw red herrings like this at me, it merely confirms they have something to hide. As we’ve already seen, that was exactly the case. SAPOL was hounding me for a fine that was legally invalid. But instead of being upfront about this, it chose to aggressively pursue me and even engage in a blatantly illegal trespass.
SAPOL’s shenanigans included re-sending me the fine, this time with an additional late payment fee - despite the fact I had already ‘elected’ in writing to have the matter heard in court! Incensed by SAPOL’s harassment and ineptitude, I promptly drafted and then sent an invoice to the Expiation Notice Branch, demanding a sum equal to the late payment fee plus the cost of registered post. I also allotted the same time frame of payment as SAPOL stipulates on its ‘expiation’ notices (28 days).
I was effectively holding SAPOL to the same standard it felt entitled to hold me. But as we’ve seen, the old admonition to “treat others as you wish to them to treat you” doesn’t carry much weight at SAPOL. Instead of reimbursing me for the inconvenience they unnecessarily caused me, the vindictive SAPOL ‘escalated’ my fine and unlawfully handballed it over to the goons at FERU!
SAPOL also prematurely escalated a second – and even more ridiculous – traffic fine I received in 2017. You’ll learn all about that fine in Part II, because I received it right before I got arrested. That fine was also prematurely handballed to FERU, which suggests the ENB has a habit of prematurely ‘escalating’ fines. The incentive for this would be the immediately increased fine amount, and the fact FERU is authorized to repossess your goodies and access your bank account, resulting in even more bounty for the state. And even if you manage to have the FERU order revoked, you still have to pay a fee for the revocation application.
In terms of revenue-raising, it’s a win-win for SAPOL either way.
The bottom line is that SAPOL and its extortionist Expiation Notice Branch did their best to sink their teeth into my ass, but I staunchly resisted their efforts. By doing so, I’ve since been told, SAPOL came to view me, not as a law-abiding citizen exercising his democratic right to fight unlawful state actions, but as a monumental pain in the ass.
The highly autocratic SAPOL, it turns out, doesn’t like suffering discomfort in its anal region.
How to Get Arrested by SAPOL When You’ve Done NOTHING Wrong: Step 2
Having staunchly exercised your democratic right to question untenable and vexatious traffic fines, you are now viewed by SAPOL as a PITA.
But you still haven’t been arrested.
So if you want to get arrested despite having done nothing wrong, the next step is to take a trip back to Adelaide. Yeah, I know, it’s a long drive, but that’s where the false arrest action is at these days. South Australia, after all, has the highest rate of failed prosecutions of any Australian state, so if you want to be falsely arrested, it’s not going to happen while sipping green tea in Chapel Street!
After you’ve arrived in Adelaide, call up a friend who lives there and go for a walk up to Skye lookout with him and your dog. Because your experiment involves being arrested on false grounds, make sure you are carrying no weapons or drugs. Make sure you are minding your own damn business and obeying the law.
With a bit of (bad) luck, you will accidentally stumble upon some sleazy fuckwit known as Harley David Johnstone while he is engaged in some bizarre wank known as an “Everesting” attempt. He will be riding three abreast with his friends (which is illegal). After walking around a corner with your dog, you will be greeted by the sight of Johnstone riding straight towards you in an unsteady manner with, incredibly, his head looking down instead of ahead at the road. Because your dog is on a leash and walking to your left, and there are cyclists approaching left, right and centre, your options for evading an imminent collision are severely limited. If you move to the left, your dog will get run over. If you move to the right, chances are both you and your dog are going to get collected. If you love your dog dearly, as I do, then throwing him under the bus (or in this case, bike) is simply not an option. Your best option is to protect him and simply brace yourself for the inevitable collision.
The inevitable happens. The irresponsible cyclist rides into you. Thankfully, the combined weight of this reckless prick and his bike are less than your bodyweight. As such, you remain standing while he ends up on the tarmac.
“Serves the clown right,” you think to yourself, “he should watch the heck where he’s going.”
The law-breaking cyclist, however, doesn’t see it that way. As he unravels himself from his overpriced and overrated Giant bicycle, he starts hurling a litany of abuse at you. This in itself quickly raises your ire, but then your eyes hone in on his cycling apparel - and that’s when the adrenalin really starts pumping.
Because that apparel is coloured an unmistakable orange and turd-green, and on his jersey, in all-caps is the word “VEGAN”.
“H-o-l-y shit,” you immediately remark to yourself, “it’s that Johnstone prick!”
Yep, the same evil, nasty prick that has spent the last five years taunting you, defaming you, threatening you and spreading nasty lies about you all over the Internet.
The same repulsive maggot who publicly labelled a genuine cancer patient a “scammer”, taunted a domestic violence victim, falsely and hypocritically accused others of child porn and sexual assault, and threatened to visit people’s houses and slash their throats.
This vile piece of pond scum is now right in front of you … and he’s abusing you for a cycling fall that was 100% his fault!
You proceed to tell this disgusting turd of a human being exactly what you think of him.
You also invite him to repeat, to your face, the abundant nastiness he has written online about you.
You further tell him that, if he has such a huge problem with you, then this would be a very opportune time to get it sorted.
You invite him to settle your differences right there and then. After all, the guy clearly has a major problem with you, issuing threats and going to great lengths to defame you – which in turn has caused you immeasurable grief, not to mention thousands in lawyer’s fees.
Here’s Johnstone’s big chance, his moment of truth – the chance to settle his differences with you one on one.
You’d think a self-proclaimed tough guy like Johnstone - who brags about jail and portrays himself as a Muy Thai expert – would jump at the chance to kick your “greaseball” ass.
But instead of taking off his cycling mitts and his carbon-soled slippers, he instead runs to hide behind his friends. Despite the endless parade of macho mean talk this hateful troll has spewed forth over the years, the truth is becoming quickly apparent:
He’s a gutless maggot.
At one point, he appears ready to break into tears. His voice is quivering and the muscles on one side of his neck appear to have gone into some kind of hyper-spastic state. As an individual who was there later recounts, Johnstone was “shitting himself.”
At first, this annoys you even further. If this maggot was a real man, he’d stand behind his words and have it out with you. You are truly disgusted by his hypocrisy and cowardice.
While all this is going on, an individual by the name of Joey Armstrong is doing his best to defuse the situation. He calmly but diligently works to de-escalate what appears to be a rapidly escalating confrontation. Of course, there was never going to be any physical attack because Johnstone is a gutless pansy, and you are not in the business of lobbing sucker-punches at pathetic weasels who are clearly shitting themselves.
When it becomes abundantly clear that Harley Johnstone is a cowardly little turd who would rather eat a plate of free-range faeces than fight you, you realize there is little to be achieved by hanging around. The commotion dies down, you reign in your pooch, and walk off with your friend.
No-one was hit (except you, by Johnstone’s bike). No-one was hurt.
As you leave, someone yells “call the police!”
“Call the police?” you think to yourself, “yeah, call them. See what I care. What are they going to do? Arrest me for having been ridden into by some sleazy vegan asshole? For telling a pathetic skeleton that he’s a pathetic skeleton?”
To your dismay, that’s exactly what SAPOL proceed to do - albeit some twenty months later!
Partners in Crime: Harley “Durianrider” Johnstone & SAPOL
As you’ve no doubt also surmised, the above scenario is also not merely a hypothetical one – it’s the same scenario that actually played out on February 29, 2016.
After both my mother and myself received repeated calls and voice messages from a Senior Constable Anthony Petraccaro of Norwood Police Station over the following week, I heard nothing more.
Why Petraccaro felt compelled to badger my elderly mother, who clearly had nothing to do with any of this, remains unknown.
And why SAPOL have claimed I did not respond to their enquiries when I in fact contacted Norwood Police Station twice, leaving my name for Petraccaro, also remains unknown.
There are in fact a lot of unanswered questions for which I will be demanding answers in due course, but suffice to say for now that in light of SAPOL’s non-response, I could only assume they'd woken up to what a complete sleazeball Johnstone was. I assumed they’d done a little research, discovered Johnstone was a pathological liar, concluded his allegations were completely untenable, and decided to close the matter.
As it turns out, I severely overestimated SAPOL’s intelligence and honesty.
On 9 September 2017, I was arrested and charged for allegedly punching Johnstone and allegedly causing several thousand dollars damage to his bike. Again, this was despite the fact there was absolutely no evidence I had struck Johnstone and there was no damage to his bike.
To say that yours truly, and my friends and family, were shell-shocked by my arrest would be an understatement for the ages.
This, after all, was the exact same SAPOL that didn’t give a flying fuck about the murderous overtures being made by Ziaolleh Abrahimzadeh.
The exact same SAPOL that watched clear and conclusive footage of someone slashing an innocent person’s car tyres, only to yawn and mutter:
“Meh, not enough evidence for a conviction. Hey, any Krispy Kremes left?”
The exact same SAPOL that didn’t give a damn when one of its officers was caught red-handed beating the living bejesus out of two innocent and unarmed homeless men while they lay prostrate on the ground. Instead of punishing him, SAPOL rushed to his defence claiming the poor dear was in a “fragile” emotional state.
For crying out loud ...
While SAPOL remained distinctly unaroused by truly serious crimes with a mountain of compelling evidence, it sure developed a massive prosecutorial hard-on when it learned I’d been accused of punching Johnstone!
The case against me was so weak, the Magistrate presiding over the case even advised SAPOL the first morning of the trial that they should drop the matter.
In fact, SAPOL was given repeated opportunities to drop the case against me, but they flatly refused. Despite the utterly absurd nature of the allegations, and the well-known appalling character of the person who made them, SAPOL steadfastly insisted on prosecuting me right to the very end.
Even after getting smashed in court, SAPOL are now refusing to reimburse me for my legal fees – which amounted to over $19,000!
Decent lawyers don’t come cheap, folks.
To say that SAPOL’s behaviour toward me throughout this matter has been vexatious, malicious and vindictive would be a monumental understatement. Just why SAPOL targeted me in this manner is a matter for which I fully intend to get to the bottom of. I have my suspicions, which I have already touched on above.
Anyway, that concludes Part I of the sorry saga of Anthony Colpo vs the Evil Duo of SAPOL and Johnstone. In Part II, I’ll walk you through my arrest, and the ten months of sheer lunacy that followed. And I’ll give you a blow-by-blow account of the court hearing that literally ended in tears for Johnstone.