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- Aug 14, 2011
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There is much more around Don Hancock, the stuff of folklore:
THE supergrass who broke the bikie code of silence over the 2001 car-bomb murder of top cop Don Hancock and his mate Lou Lewis is now a free man.
High-level sources have confirmed Sidney John “Snot” Reid, who served just 15 years after testifying against fellow Gypsy Joker Graham “Slim” Slater and then fingered another bikie associate for murder, has been released from an east coast prison within the past six months.
The news has swept police and criminal circles and while his whereabouts are unclear, it is believed he and his girlfriend have assumed new identities under the witness protection program.
Once described as Australia’s most protected prisoner, Reid has been shuffled between high-security facilities, including Goulburn’s “Super Max” which houses the country’s worst offenders.
While Reid pleaded guilty to the double killing just weeks after his February 2002 arrest, Slater pleaded not guilty to murdering the pair by detonating a bomb under the car they were driving when returning from the races in September 2001.
Slater was spectacularly acquitted of all charges brought by Reid’s roll-over in a verdict that stunned police, the victims’ families and the wider community.
Reid told police the murders were payback for the death of Billy Grierson, who they believed was shot dead by Hancock outside the retired detective’s outback pub at Ora Banda, near Kalgoorlie, on the night of the Sydney Olympics’ closing ceremony.
Reid then accused another Joker associate, Gary White, of murdering drug dealer Anthony Tapley the previous August in a completely unrelated crime unknown to police.
White was subsequently charged and convicted of murder, primarily on Reid’s testimony, and is still in jail serving a 22-year-minimum life sentence. While bones believed to be Tapley’s were later found at a Northam Farm, they were never conclusively proved to be his.
“There are so many unanswered questions,” White’s lawyer Gary Massey told The Sunday Times this week.
He believes Reid’s testimony in the White conviction was manufactured to make sure Reid gained maximum benefits for himself at the expense of his client, who has always maintained his innocence.
For Reid’s unprecedented co-operation, a Letter of Comfort, signed off by then assistant police commissioner Tim Atherton and DPP Robert Cock, was taken into consideration when Reid was sentenced.
Mr Atherton this week told The Sunday Times he would never have signed the supporting letter — the only one in his long career — if there were any doubts about the Tapley investigation.
“I asked the question along the lines that, ‘Have we run out all inquiries into his (Tapley’s) missing persons file’, to which I was told, ‘Yes, boss’,” he said. “It was drawn to my attention some time later that the Tapley missing person file was still open.”
Hancocks brilliant career was tarnished by persistent allegations he’d doctored evidence in the notorious Mickelberg mint gold swindle case, and hints he was too prosperous for an honest copper — though the fact he inherited goldmining leases and shares might have covered this.
He was denied promotion then pensioned off in 1994.
Earlier in his career, brothel madam Shirley Finn was executed on fairway seven of the South Perth golf club, at a place where, according to the statement of a vice-squad detective at the time, consorting squad detectives met with their informants.
Rob Schofield’s first crime novel, Heist (Allen & Unwin, 2013), contains a fictionalised representation of CIB chief Don Hancock’s notorious interrogation methods, as well as exploring the fallout from the state’s movement towards restricting the rights of assembly and association of outlaw motorcycle club members.