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The Great Mint Swindle is a true story that happed in Perth, Western Australia in 1983, of how the Mickleberg Brothers were framed for the theft of around $Aust 1 million dollars in Gold from the Perth Mint. The facts portrayed in the film are true, however there is a lot of extra information missing that could have been included in the film, if what another witness knows ..... that was actually accused of the Perth Mint Swindle, before the Mickleberg Brothers ....  was  included in this film.

The INL News Group's Investigation Team have a full exclusive interview from this witness.. Watch this space for more details of this  INL News Group's Investigation Team's full exclusive interview from this witness

also see: https://awn.bz/GreatPerthMintSwindleP1.html

The Great Mint Swindle -The Full Film

The Great Mint Swindle Part 1

 

The Great Mint Swindle Part 2

 

The Great Mint Swindle Part 3

 

The Great Mint Swindle Part 4

The Great Mint Swindle Part 5


The Great Mint Swindle Part 6


The Great Mint Swindle Part 7

The Great Mint Swindle Part 8

 

 

The Great Mint Swindle Part 9

The Great Mint Swindle Part 10

 

The Great Mint Swindle Part 11

 

The Great Mint Swindle Part 12

The Great Mint Swindle Part 13

 

The Great Mint Swindle Part 14

The Great Mint Swindle Part 15

 

Great Perth Mint Swindle

The Perth Mint Swindle is the popular name for the robbery of 49 gold bars weighing 68 kg from the Perth Mint in Western Australia on 22 June, 1982. The bullion was valued at A$653,000 at that time (2011:$2.02 million). As of 8 January 2018, the value of the 68 kilograms of gold would approach AUD $3.7 Million.

According to police at the time, three brothers, Ray, Peter and Brian Mickelberg, orchestrated the robbery. The three went to trial and were found guilty of the conspiracy and sentenced in 1983 to twenty, sixteen and twelve years in jail respectively.

All three convictions were overturned in 2004. To date the case remains unsolved and continues to be fought by the Mickelbergs who maintain their innocence and allege a conspiracy by the Western Australia Police to frame them.

Note: Some Information on the Perth Mint Swindle not mentioned in Wikipedia

The Late and former Detective-Sergeant Don Hancock, who was later promoted to head of the State Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB)
came around to a person's apartment in Perth ( before the police tried to frame the Mickelbergs) at 6 am a few days after the 22nd June, 1982 with two car loads of detectives, to search this person's house and take him away to try and frame him for the Perth Mint Swindle. Because it seemed that it would be too difficult to frame this person for the Perth Mint Swindle, the WA Police headed by Late and former Detective-Sergeant Don Hancock, decided that the Mickelberg brothers were easier to frame for the Perth Mint Swindle, for a number of reasons. The full story is being published in a new book called..
The Dark Secrets in the History of Perth, Western Australia (The Untold Story).




https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perth_Mint_Swindle

Mickelberg Brothers

Soon after the robbery police investigations focused on the Mickelberg brothers. According to the police, the brothers stole cheques from a Perth building society and then fooled the mint into accepting those cheques in exchange for gold bullion which, it was alleged, the brothers had a courier pick up.  The gold was picked up by a security company who delivered it to an office in Perth and then to Jandakot Airport, from where it seemingly disappeared.

In a separate matter, in September 1982, the three brothers, their parents and another man Brian Pozzi were charged over a matter relating to a manufactured gold nugget known as the "Yellow Rose of Texas". Perth Businessman Alan Bond had purchased the nugget for $350,000 in November 1980. It was later found to be worth less than $150,000 and Raymond Mickelberg and Brian Pozzi pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to fraud at their June 1984 trial.

After serving nine months of his jail term and having his conviction overturned on appeal, Brian was released from jail but died in a light aircraft crash on 27 February 1986, when the twin-engined Aero Commander he was flying ran out of fuel near Canning Dam on the outskirts of Perth. Whilst in prison, Ray and Peter embarked on a series of seven appeals against their convictions, essentially on the grounds that their confessions had been fabricated by police investigators. Ray and Peter served eight and six years of their sentences respectively before being released on parole.

In 1989, 55 kg of gold pellets, said to have been from the swindle, were found outside the gates of TVW-7 (currently Channel Seven Perth), a Perth television station, with an anonymous note addressed to one of the station's reporters—Alison Fan—protesting the Mickelberg's innocence and claiming that a prominent Perth businessman was behind the swindle

 

Police Officers

Don Hancock

The senior investigating officer in the case was Detective-Sergeant Don Hancock who was later promoted to head of the State Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB). Hancock and a friend, Lou Lewis, died in a bomb explosion outside Hancock's home in Lathlain in September 2001. Hancock was murdered by Gypsy Joker Sid Reid in revenge for the murder of Billy Grierson, allegedly by Hancock after Grierson "made obscene comments in front of his daughter." A subsequent (2003) prosecution of an alleged accomplice was unsuccessful. 

At the 2006 inquest into the October 2000 shooting death Billy Grierson, the coroner stated: "There is a significant body of evidence which suggests Mr Hancock may have been the shooter," but the Gypsy Jokers "could have a large number of enemies." he was unable to determine who Grierson's killer was because Hancock was now dead, police had failed to conduct routine forensic science tests and had failed to search Hancock's home. The relevant senior investigating officer was Kim Gage, head of Kalgoorlie detectives, who had reportedly spent the day drinking with Hancock and others. Reid was convicted of the murder and sentenced to life in jail which was reduced to 15 years for helping police in the failed second prosecution.

Tony Lewandowski

In 2002, midway through a State Royal Commission into police corruption, a retired police officer, Tony Lewandowski, who had been at the centre of the case, made a confession of his involvement in fabricating evidence which was used to help frame the brothers. Lewandowski's senior officer during the investigation was Don Hancock. The two were the only people present at the brothers' interviews following the Mickelberg arrests. 

"(On that day), Don Hancock came into the room and told me to make Peter strip naked. Don then went up to Peter and gave him two or three quick punches in the solar plexus. The statements purportedly taken from Peter Mickelberg on July 26, 1982, were in fact not taken in Peter's presence that day, but were a fabrication made by Don Hancock and myself shortly after September 2, 1982. I gave evidence at the trial and numerous appeals. All that evidence in relation to the so-called confessions was false." —Statement of Tony Lewandowski

Lewandowski was subsequently charged with attempting to pervert the course of justicemaking false statements, fabricating evidence and perjury.  In May 2004, just before facing trial, Lewandowski apparently committed suicide,  but there has been some speculation as to whether or not that may have been staged to cover his murder.  Although now dead, Lewandowski's confession directly implicated Hancock in fabricating evidence in the Mickelberg case. 

Convictions Quashed

In July 2004 the Western Australian Court of Criminal Appeal quashed the brothers' convictions after seven unsuccessful attempts. The judge ruled that with the suppression of their sentence, they were entitled to a presumption of innocence. The Assistant Police Commissioner, Mel Hay, expressed disappointment with the decision which prompted a threat of a defamation lawsuit from the brothers. The brothers subsequently sued the Western Australian government for libel, and as part of the settlement, the West Australian police issued a public apology in December 2007.[10]

After lodging claims for compensation, in January 2008 State Attorney-General Jim McGinty offered $500,000 in ex-gratia payments to each brother for the "injustice done to them".  The payment followed $658,672 paid to cover legal costs of their two appeals. The Mickelbergs' lawyer had asked for $950,000 in compensation for Ray and $750,000 for Peter.

Books on the Case

Author Avon Lovell wrote a book about the case in 1985: The Mickelberg Stitch, which alleged questionable investigation practices by the police, including production of unsigned confessions and a forged fingerprint.  The police union collected a levy of $1 per week from each member to fund legal action against Lovell and his publishers and distributors to suppress publication of the book. It was estimated that between one and two million dollars was raised. The book was banned by the State Government, but was still freely available to be read at the J S Battye Library. The ban was eventually lifted.

A second book by Lovell, Split Image, was published in 1990  and met a similar fate to the first. This ban was also lifted later.

In March 2011, Lovell launched a third book on the case, Litany of Lies,  at about the same time that Antonio Buti wrote on the subject.


In Popular Culture

Two telemovies based on the swindle have been made.

One actor, Caroline McKenzie, appeared in both features, playing Detective Ljiljana Cvijic in the 1984 version and Peg Mickelberg in 2012.

 


 

The famous photograph of Ray Mickelberg chasing Inspector Ray Hancock in Perth Western Australia yelling..."You framed me Inspector Hancock... I spent many years wrongly in jail because you made up evidence against me that was not true..".

Inspector Ray Hancock's wife whose says her husbands side of the story was not portrayed correctly in the film made about the Perth Mint Swindle .... which tells the story of $1 million in gold swindled from the Perth Mint and the Mickelberg Brothers Ray and Peter Mickelberg spending many years in jail having been found guilty of the Perth Mint Swindle...however were later has their conviction quashed  after  it was admitted by another police officer  that Ray Hancock made up evidence against Peter and Ray Mickelberg... the other Mickelberg brother who was an experienced air pilot mysteriously died in his own plane when the plane ran out of petrol... all rather odd....with the allegation that someone cut the fuel pip so the plane would run out of petrol in mid air...
In an exclusive interview with the Australian Weekend News (AWN) and the INL News Group investigators Western Australian Criminal Lawyer  admitted that the Western Australian police has admitted that.....
 at the time the Mickrlbergs were arrested that they had stolen a plaster cast of Ray Mickelberg's hand which had his finger print on... and used that to place Ray Mickrlberg's finger print on the bank cheque that was forged to p[resent to the Perth Mint to con the Perth Mint to release the $1 million in gold...
This was how Inspector Ray Hancock a member of the Western Australian Police was able to frame the Mickelbergs at their criminal  trial... this is what Ray Hancock's wife does not understand.... the so called evidence the Mickelberg's criminal trial was falsified...with the main piece of evidence  that convinced the jury to find the Mickelbergs guilty was  was the the $1 million  forged bank cheque that was presented to the Perth Mint to con the Perth Mint to hand the $1 million in gold over to a courier...that along with a falsified confession is what sealed the Mickelberg's  conviction... however had Ray Hancock not   stolen a plaster cast of Ray Mickelberg's hand which had his finger print on... and used this to place Ray Mickelberg's finger print on the bank cheque that was forged to present to the Perth Mint to con the Perth Mint to release the $1 million in gold... then it is likely the jury would not have found the Mickelberg brothers guilty..

 
Ray Mickelberg after he spent many years wrongly in prison trying too campaign to have his wrongful conviction quashed...


Peter Mickelberg a spent many years wrongly in prison trying too campaign to have his wrongful conviction quashed... 


 
Ray and Peter Mickelberg




 

Perth Mint
The Perth Mint Swindle is the popular name for the robbery of 49 gold bars weighing 68 kg from the Perth Mint in Western Australia on 22 June 1982.
The bullion was valued at A$653,000 at that time (2011:$2.02 million).
According to police at the time, three brothers, Ray, Peter and Brian Mickelberg, orchestrated the robbery.
 The three went to trial and were found guilty of the conspiracy and sentenced in 1983 to twenty, sixteen and twelve years in jail respectively.
All three convictions were overturned in 2004. To date the case remains unsolved and continues to be
 fought by the Mickelbergs who maintain their innocence and allege a conspiracy by theWestern Australia Police to frame them.

The Mickelberg brothers

Soon after the robbery police investigations focused on the Mickelberg brothers. According to the police, the brothers stole cheques from a Perth building society
 and then fooled the mint into accepting those cheques in exchange for gold bullion which, it was alleged, the brothers had a courier pick up.
The gold was picked up by a security company who delivered it to an office in Perth and then to Jandakot Airport, from where it seemingly disappeared.
In a separate matter, in September 1982 the three brothers, their parents and another man Brian Pozzi were charged over a matter relating to a manufactured gold nugget known as the "Yellow Rose of Texas".[1] Perth Businessman Alan Bond had purchased the nugget for $350,000 in November 1980.
 It was later found to be worth less than $150,000 and Raymond Mickelberg and Brian Pozzi pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to fraud at their June 1984 trial.
After serving nine months of his jail term and having his conviction overturned on appeal, Brian was released from jail but died in a light aircraft crash on 27 February 1986
when the twin-engine plane he was flying ran out of fuel near Canning Dam on the outskirts of Perth.[2]Whilst in prison, Ray and Peter
embarked on a series of seven appeals against their convictions, essentially on the grounds that their confessions had been fabricated by police investigators.
 Ray and Peter served eight and six years of their sentences respectively before being released on parole.
In a bizarre twist, in 1989, 55 kg of gold pellets, said to have been from the swindle, were found outside the gates of TVW-7 (currently Channel Seven Perth),
 a Perth television station, with an anonymous note addressed to one of the station's reporters—Alison Fan—protesting the Mickelberg's innocence and
claiming that a prominent Perth businessman was behind the swindle.[3]
The senior investigating officer in the case was Detective Sergeant Don Hancock who was later promoted to head of the State Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB).
 In September 2001 in an apparently unrelated issue, Hancock was murdered when a bomb which had been planted under his car exploded outside his home in Lathlain
, killing him and a friend Lou Lewis.
In 2002, midway through a State Royal Commission into police corruption, a retired police officer who had been at the centre of the case,Tony Lewandowski,
 made a confession of his involvement in fabricating evidence which was used to help frame the brothers. Lewandowski's senior officer during the investigation
was Don Hancock, who with Lewandowski, were the only persons present at the brothers' interviews following the Mickelberg arrests. Lewandowski was subsequently charged with attempting to pervert the course of justicemaking false statements, fabricating evidence and perjury.[4] In May 2004, just before facing trial Lewandowski apparently committed suicide[5] though there has been some speculation as to whether or not this may have been staged to cover his (possible) murder. Although now deceased, through Lewandowski's confession, Hancock was directly implicated in fabricating evidence in the Mickelberg case.[6]
In July 2004 the Western Australian Court of Criminal Appeal quashed the brothers' convictions after seven unsuccessful attempts. The judge ruled that with the suppression of their sentence, they were entitled to a presumption of innocence. The Assistant Police Commissioner, Mel Hay, expressed disappointment with the decision which prompted a threat of a defamation lawsuit from the brothers. The brothers subsequently sued the Western Australian government for libel, and as part of the settlement, the West Australian police issued a public apology in December 2007.[7]
After lodging claims for compensation, in January 2008 State Attorney-General Jim McGinty offered $500,000 in ex-gratia payments to each brother for the "injustice done to them".[8] The payment followed $658,672 paid to cover legal costs of their two appeals. The Mickelbergs' lawyer had asked for $950,000 in compensation for Ray and $750,000 for Peter.[9]


Books about the case

Author Avon Lovell wrote a book about the case in 1985: The Mickelberg Stitch, which alleged questionable investigation practices by the police, including production of unsigned confessions and a forged fingerprint.[10] The police union collected a levy of $1 per week from each member to fund legal action against Lovell and his publishers and distributors to suppress publication of the book.[citation needed] It was estimated that between one and two million dollars was raised. The book was banned by the State Government, but was still freely available to be read at the J S Battye Library. The ban was eventually lifted.
A second book by Lovell, Split Image, was published in 1990 and met a similar fate to the first. This ban was also lifted later.
In March 2011, Lovell launched a third book on the case, Litany of Lies.]

In popular culture

Two telemovies based on the swindle have been made.
One actor, Caroline McKenzie, appeared in both features, playing Detective Ljiljana Cvijic in the 1984 version and Peg Mickelberg in 2012.[15]

see also

  1. ^ "Mickelbergs sue policeman"ABC 7:30 Report. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
  2. ^ "Mickelberg Dies". Sydney Morning Herald. 28 February 1986. Retrieved 2009-11-23.
  3. ^ Liza Kappelle (June 11 2002). "Mint robbers were framed"Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved May 5, 2010.
  4. ^ "Mint swindle officer seized". Sydney Morning Herald. 2002-10-03. Retrieved 2005-09-07.
  5. ^ "Mickelberg brothers find unlikely ally"ABC 7:30 Report. 18/01/2008.
  6. ^ "Don Hancock and the Perth Mint Swindle"MelbourneCrime. Archived from the original on 2005-09-03. Retrieved 2005-09-07.
  7. ^ "Police apologise to Mickelberg brothers"www.ninemsn.com.au. December 15.
  8. ^ "Mickelberg payment satisfies neither brothers nor police"thewest.com.au. 16 January 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-17.[dead link]
  9. ^ ABC News online Micklebergs cleared over Perth Mint swindle
  10. ^ "This time, the stitch is by Lovell"Post Newspapers. Retrieved 2005-09-07.[dead link]
  11. ^ IMDb, 2012, The Great Gold Swindle (1984) TV. (30 March 2012)
  12. ^ IMDb, 2012, The Great Gold Swindle (1984) TV – Release Dates. (30 March 2012)
  13. ^ "Going for gold with Perth crime saga The Great Mint Swindle"The Australian. March 03, 2012.
  14. ^ http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/entertainment/a/-/entertainment/13123839/the-great-mint-swindle/
  15. ^ IMDb, 2012, Caroline McKenzie (I) (30 March 2012)

Further reading

  • Lovell, Avon Francis (1985). The Mickelberg Stitch. Creative Research, Perth. ISBN 0-908469-23-3.
  • Buti, Antonio (2011). Brothers: Justice, Corruption and the Mickelbergs. Fremantle Press. ISBN 978-1-921888-47-2.
  • Lovell, Avon Frameup
 

Mickelberg sues hardware giant Bunnings

 
RAY Mickelberg, who was wrongly jailed for the 1982 Perth Mint swindle, is suing Bunnings after being acquitted of stealing a fan and a roll of tape from the hardware giant.
In the Perth District Court today, a lawyer for Bunnings applied to have Mr Mickelberg's civil action for damages struck out.
Mr Mickelberg, who is representing himself in a civil action for damages, accuses Bunnings of attempting to pervert the course of justice in pursuing the stealing charges against him.
In April last year Mr Mickelberg was acquitted in the Supreme Court of stealing a $16.80 roll of tape from Bunnings.
He had been found guilty by a Perth magistrate in August 2010 of stealing the tape from the store in the north Perth suburb of Innaloo.
Mr Mickelberg had used three strips of tape to repackage a box for a ceiling fan he had opened to inspect the item while at the Bunnings store.
He was originally charged with the theft of the $309 ceiling fan but Magistrate Giuseppe Cicchini dismissed the charge and convicted the 64-year-old only for the theft of the tape.
But in the Supreme Court, Commissioner Kevin Sleight found he had an "honest claim of right" over the tape and had intended to pay for the roll.
In the District Court today Mr Mickelberg said evidence in the case against him had been fabricated by a Bunnings employee and that had later been proved with CCTV footage.
"Bunnings have to be held responsible for the actions of their employees," he said.
Mr Mickelberg said he had been treated with contempt by Bunnings and a miscarriage of justice had occurred.
"Somewhere down the line, in a fair system, someone has to wear it."
The court's acting principal registrar told Mr Mickelberg he was troubled by the concept that perverting the course of justice could be the basis of a civil claim.
He adjourned the matter until April 10 and asked Mr Mickelberg to file a fresh statement of claim.
Mr Mickelberg spent eight years in jail after he and his brothers Peter a


Read more: http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/mickelberg-sues-hardware-giant-bunnings/story-e6frfku0-1226265120259#ixzz208dMvB83 
\

 Stitching up the Mickelbergs :: 19/08/2002
 
Perhaps Dave, but you're the ones fighting over him. Today Tonight and Vail deny that he was paid, but what we can't understand is why A Current Affair went to all that trouble to prove that Channel Seven pays grubs and liars like Vail, when we know for sure Seven paid for this:

Today Tonight: ‘It was known as the Perth Mint swindle. Three brothers were convicted of stealing more than half a million dollars worth of gold. And now, 20 years on, a crooked cop tells how he made up the evidence. In this exclusive interview Anthony Lewandowski confesses all.’
Lewandowski: ‘Believe me, hear me, I’m telling the whole truth.’
Reporter: ‘Tears of shame and remorse, from a self-confessed crooked cop.’
Today Tonight 24 June 2002

Lewandowski has confessed to fabricating the evidence that sent the Mickelberg brothers to jail for the Perth Mint swindle. The person responsible for getting that confession out of Lewie, and for selling that interview to Today Tonight, was freelance journalist Avon Lovell. Here he is telling Lewie what not to say to Channel Seven reporter Alison Fan.

Avon Lovell: ‘You don't go into Belmont, you don’t go into how the affidavit was ...a little bit how it was done. You don’t go into the truth of the affidavit. The limits are well set. 
Alison Fan: OK
Lovell: So when you say ‘I don’t want to answer that’, it doesn’t mean to say you...’
Lewandowski: ‘I’ve got nothing to hide. 
Lovell: ‘I know that. Alison’s...’
Lewandowski: ‘Avon. Hold on. Alison’s come over here to talk to me.’ 
Lovell: Yeah, but she'll go one step too far and I'm over here...
Lewandowski: She won't.
Lovell: (to sound recordist) ‘You got that running? You have? Fuck me drunk! (to Lewandowski) See that? (points to recorder)’
Lewandowski: ‘No. Hold on, I’ve got nothing to hide though.’ 
Today Tonight camera tape

Avon Lovell kept insisting that the interview must follow the rules he'd set with Seven, while Lewie kept insisting:

Lewandowski: ‘I’m speaking to Alison, there’s no problem.’
Lovell: ‘See that? He's recording everything.’
Lewandowski: ‘That’s OK. That’s OK. I’ve got nothing to hide.’
Lovell: 'You talk just about how you're feeling. All that sort of stuff. OK?'
Lewandowski: (shakes head)
Today Tonight camera tape

And that's really all Channel Seven got despite paying this rotten copper $50,000 via his agent Avon Lovell for:

‘Exclusive interviews concerning all matters relating to the so-called Perth Mint Gold Swindle.’
Seven contract

We have the WA Royal Commission into police corruption to thank for those documents and Avon Lovell deserves some credit too. After 20 years and two books on the Mickelberg story he finally got Lewandowski to confess.

But he deserves no credit for the $130,000 worth of deals he then did. First he got himself $20,000 for himself from the Perth Sunday Times:

‘The Sunday Times’
‘Contract between The Sunday Times and Avon Lovell.’
Sunday Times contract

That brought the world the revelation that Lewie was sorry.

‘My Shame’
‘Exclusive: Lewandowski’s First Interview.’
‘Crooked Mickelberg officer vows he’ll be back to tell all.’
‘Tony Lewandowski told yesterday of his shame and remorse over two decades of lies and deceit in the Mickelberg affair.’
Sunday Times 16 June 2002

One of the problems with chequebook journalism is the inducement to colour a story to get the cash. We don't know if Lewie threw a few extra eggs in the pudding here, but we do know the contract said his mate Avon Lovell wouldn't be paid in full unless:

‘The interview...is satisfactory...in quality and quantity as deemed by the editor.’
Sunday Times contract

We asked editor Brett McCarthy if he was happy with the result and he replied:

‘Pretty much. Absolutely.’
Brett McCarthy to Media Watch

And who can ask for better than that? Well, Avon Lovell asked for more, but this time from two deals with the Seven Network.

The first, for $60,000, stitches up the Mickelbergs so that for the next 18 months they can't give TV interviews to anyone but Seven, and can't do radio interviews at all.

‘Exclusivity Agreement…Between Seven Network and Ray Mickelberg…Peter Mickelberg…Peggy Mickelberg...Avon Lovell.’
Seven Network contract

So after years of trying to get everyone to listen to them, the Mickelbergs will now only talk to the electronic media for cash. And the money is all paid to their agent Avon Lovell.

But the third deal is the really rotten one. Whether or not you think the Mickelberg boys are guilty, we know detective Lewandowski is crooked because he's confessed the fact. But Seven is paying him that 50 grand again via Avon Lovell.

Apart from tears and regrets that money has bought this mawkish exchange between old adversaries.

Ray Mickelberg: (on phone)'Hello?'
Lewandowski: 'Yeah, Ray?'
Reporter: 'After 20 years of silence, a nervous Tony Lewandowski made this phone call to one of the men he framed, Ray Mickelberg.'
Lewandoswski: ‘I genuinely feel remorse for what happened.’
Mickelberg: ‘You’ve done what had to be done and at least your conscience is clear.’
Today Tonight 24 June 2002
Have a look »

Isn't television wonderful? At each end of the line was a man being paid by Channel Seven.

Chequebook journalism is usually grubby and full of conflicts of interest, but they're not often as rich as this. You see Avon Lovell is now writing a third book on the gold heist. That's what got him talking to Lewie in the first place.

The Lewandowski tapes are just a part of a huge amount of research – with other explosive revelations to follow – for Mr Lovell’s third book on the Mickelberg case, Litany of Lies.’
Sunday Times 16 June 2002

Lovell says that his main concern is Lewandowski's safety but the old notion of keeping the best for the book might explain why he hid Lewie away in Thailand, why he set those limits to the Channel Seven interview, and why he's now insisting Lewie only give evidence to the Royal Commission:

‘…in camera – (in private session).’
Sunday Times 21 July 2002

Lovell, meanwhile, refused to give any evidence himself to the Royal Commission.

Reporter: ‘Avon Lovell was defiant today. He spent most of his day at home despite being called to give evience at the Royal Commission.’
Avon Lovell: ‘How stupid a political process to put somebody like me in gaol who’s the author of a book that’s turned out after 17 years to be entirely true about corruption in the police force, who brings the evidence of corruption back in the form of affidavit and then gets supoenad to the Royal Commission as if I’m some sort of low life bloody corrupt copper. Get real!’
10 News Perth 15 July 2002

Last week, Lovell was fined $30,000 for contempt of court, given 90 days to pay and told to co-operate in the future.

Meanwhile, the Royal Commission still hasn't managed to get Lewie himself on the witness stand.

Reporter: ‘Counsel assisting the enquiry, Peter Hastings QC said Tony Lewandowski appears anxious to co-operate. But there was some basis for concern about the role Avon Lovell has adopted in not helping the commission speak to Mr Lewandowski.’
Ten News Perth 15 July 2002

Last week, Lewie the bent cop was still out of sight, still negotiating the terms of his own appearance and Lovell the freelance journo is mixed up in those negotiations too. Once, when he was asked where Lewie was, Lovell replied:

‘He's not hiding, you dirt brain, he’s in my back pocket.’
West Australian 18 July 2002
Have a look »

We hope he was joking. In any case the Royal Commission has now ordered Lewie to talk. Until next week. Good night.
  Next Story »
Back to the stories index »
 
 

Brothers: Justice, Corruption and the Mickelbergs by Antonio Buti

May 19, 2011 By admin Leave a Comment
 
3.5 stars (a good book within its genre as per Bookseller+Publisher ratings system)
Published by Fremantle Press, $32.95 tpb ISBN 9781921888472
Set against the excesses of the 1980s and populated with scandals, corrupt cops and corporate cowboys, Brothers is the saga of the notorious Perth Mint Swindle of 1982 in which more than half a million dollars’ worth of gold disappeared, and Brian, Peter and Ray Mickelberg were eventually jailed. The story follows the ensuing 25 years of courtroom battles including eight court appeals by the Mickelbergs.
The brothers claimed they had been ‘verballed’ by police, (the events took place before mandatory recording of police interviews), were convicted on circumstantial evidence, and that their statements had been fabricated.
WA author, lawyer and politician Antonio Buti, spent three years researching this intriguing case using a wide range of sources including interviews, court transcripts, and other books on the case. His ‘inside story’ of Lovell’s The Mickelberg Stitch makes a great read in itself.
Buti’s intricate rendering of the legal process, accompanied by abundant endnotes sometimes distracts from the flow of the narrative but Brothers will appeal to readers of true crime, lawyers, law students and anyone interested in our legal system.
© Paula Grunseit 2011
This review from Bookseller+Publisher magazine June 2011 was first published by Thorpe-Bowker, a division of RR Bowker LLC. © 2011, Thorpe-Bowker

 

The knots in the Mickelberg stitch

 
By Neil Mercer
June 12 2002

 
On July 26, 1982, Peter Mickelberg was driving to his home in the northern Perth suburbs when a car pulled across in front of him, forcing him to brake suddenly. It was the police - more specifically, detectives involved in investigating the spectacular swindling of the Perth Mint. Peter Mickelberg was bundled into the police car and taken, curiously, to Belmont Police Station.
Little more than a month earlier, three separate couriers bearing three false cheques had arrived at the mint, been admitted, and not long after driven out with 49 gold bars worth about $653,000. The gold had then been delivered by the unsuspecting couriers to an office a few kilometres away. The couriers then disappeared.
The crime caused a sensation around Australia. It had all the ingredients of a Hollywood heist - it was daring, complex, carried out with almost military precision - and no one was hurt.
The crooks had also carried it out with ridiculous ease, taking advantage of the incredibly lax security procedures at the mint, which was smack bang in the middle of the city. Leading the investigation was one of the hard men of the Perth CIB, Detective Sergeant Don Hancock, or "the grey fox" as he was known at the time.
Through circumstantial evidence, the Mickelberg brothers - Peter, Brian and Ray - had come to the attention of police. They were basically cleanskins, with Peter having been fined $50 for possessing an unlicensed firearm. 
Nevertheless, Ray Mickelberg was no soft touch - he had served in the SAS and Vietnam and once described the selection process for the Special Air Services as "a crushing of the weak". Police believed him to be the mastermind.
So it was that Don Hancock was waiting at Belmont Police Station one rainy day when Peter Mickelberg, the youngest, and whom police believed to be the most vulnerable of the brothers, arrived.
With Hancock was another officer, a more junior detective named Tony Lewandowski.
As author Avon Lovell records in his courageous 1985 book, The Mickelberg Stitch, Belmont was a curious choice of venue given there was a special operational headquarters set up in the city.
Stranger still was that by the time Peter Mickelberg arrived, all the officers stationed there had gone, except the officer in charge, and he left soon after. That officer, Bob Kucera, is now the WA Health Minister. The opposition yesterday called for him to stand down pending an inquiry.
Mickelberg was left alone with Hancock and Lewandowski. For the best part of two decades the WA Police, up to the commissioner himself, have strenuously denied Mickelberg's version of what happened next. It is central to the claims by the three brothers that they were framed for the great mint swindle.
According to Peter Mickelberg, and as recorded in Lovell's book, detective Lewandowski grabbed him by the throat and said: "This is where you die you little fucker."
When Mickelberg asked for his solicitor, Lewandowski replied: "You're on another planet, no one knows you're here. As far as they're concerned, you could be dead."
Don Hancock then entered the room and said to his colleague: "Make him strip." Naked, he was handcuffed and seated.
"It was then that Hancock punched me in the solar plexus on at least two or three times . . . I was pretty shocked. He then chopped me . . . in the throat."
Peter Mickelberg said in the 1980s, and says to this day, he never confessed at Belmont to any involvement in the swindle. Nor did he implicate his big brother Ray, who police claimed was the strong man behind the operation.
Of course, the police, Hancock and Lewandowski, had a different version - Mickelberg had confessed and made statements implicating himself and his brothers, although they were unsigned.
Given the times, it's perhaps not surprising the jury believed the police. Peter, Ray and Brian were found guilty of swindling the mint, although Brian was later acquitted on appeal after serving nine months. Ray got 20 years, Peter 16.
The courts, initially at least, accepted the police version of events without too many qualms.
In November, 1989, seven years after the robbery and a great deal of publicity, the WA Court of Criminal Appeal rejected Peter's appeal against his conviction and sentence.
The police commissioner, Brian Bull, said the decision "totally vindicates the actions of the police in their investigation into the Perth mint swindle".
Brian Mickelberg died in a helicopter crash in 1986. Ray, the Vietnam veteran, served eight years, Peter ended up doing seven. After the two brothers were released they campaigned relentlessly to convince the courts and the public they were framed, although many believe the police had good reasons for "loading them up".
In the meantime, Don Hancock went on to become head of the Perth CIB, partly on the back of his "solving" of the high-profile case.
Enter Tony Lewandowski, the former detective who was with Hancock at Belmont Police Station.
His stunning admission that he fabricated the evidence is a development the brothers would never have dreamed of.
Lewandowski now tells a version of events that fits with the one told by Peter Mickelberg, and published by Avon Lovell, way back in 1985. In an affidavit to Western Australia's Director of Public Prosecutions last week he recalled the incident at Belmont Police Station on July 26, 1982: "I said to Don Hancock that I didn't believe we had enough evidence and he said to me: 'Don't worry, it will get better.'
"(On that day), Don Hancock came into the room and told me to make Peter strip naked. Don then went up to Peter and gave him two or three quick punches in the solar plexus. The statements purportedly taken from Peter Mickelberg . . . on July 26, 1982, were in fact not taken in Peter's presence that day, but were a fabrication made by Don Hancock and myself shortly after September 2, 1982.
"I gave evidence at the trial and numerous appeals. All that evidence in relation to the (brothers') so-called confessions . . . was false."
An insight into Hancock's character and his modus operandi emerged in late 1982 in a conversation involving Hancock, Peter and Ray, just before they went to trial. Secretly recorded at Ray's house, Hancock says at one stage: "Don't ever challenge me to do something because I'll f---ing well do it, all right. You can rest assured about that."
Peter: "You're mean Don."
Hancock: "I'm not a mean person, but I'll tell you what: I've done things in my life that you never did, and harder things, worse things, and if I've got to do them again, well, I'll do them again."
Ray: "In the line of duty?"
Hancock: "That's it, yes. What I believe is my line of duty - to get the job done."
Ray: "With violence if necessary?"
Hancock: "Well, maybe not - tried everything else!"
That conversation was not tendered during the trial, although it later emerged in another matter. Don Hancock's reputation is encapsulated in that tape recording - a hard, tough cop who knew how to get things done, to get results.
Retiring as head of the Perth CIB, and having grown up in the Goldfields, he went to the hamlet of Ora Banda to run the local pub. But in October, 2000, things started to go terribly wrong. Members of the Gypsy Jokers outlaw motorcycle gang started abusing the barmaid - Hancock's daughter - and he threw them out.
Later that night, one of the bikies, William Grierson, was shot dead as he sat around a campfire and the Gypsy Jokers immediately blamed Hancock.
In September last year, he and his mate, Lou Lewis, were blown up by a car bomb. Right to the end, Hancock refused police protection.
According to Lewandowski, it was the death of his former boss that freed him to tell the truth after all these years. "When Don Hancock was alive there was no chance of me going against his wishes. A couple of times I wanted to come clean but there was no way I could go against Don."
Apparently a broken man, he added: "I have had 20 years of hell. I lost my business, I have lost my wife, I have lost my son. I have gained nothing out of this, I am now telling the truth."
"Now that Don Hancock is dead I cannot harm him . . ."
Some of the material used in this article has been drawn from Avon Lovell's The Mickelberg Stitch.
 
 
Elizabeth Hancock. Picture: The West Australian
 
 

Mickelberg movie so wrong: widow

 
 
 
Sean Cowan, The West Australian
Updated March 3, 2012 
 
 
The widow of slain former CIB chief Don Hancock has broken down in tears while speaking about the way her late husband has been portrayed in a new telemovie based on the Perth Mint gold swindle.
But Elizabeth Hancock yesterday received little sympathy from Peter Mickelberg, who said Mr Hancock had been corrupt to the core.
"I do feel for her, but I seriously don't care what she thinks," he said. "He (Mr Hancock) committed perjury, he fabricated evidence, he assaulted me, he deprived me of my liberty. Add up how many years you would get for all this.
"To be frank, they've gone easy on Hancock in the movie.
"We won, they lost. Game, set and match, Elizabeth."
Mrs Hancock said she had not yet seen the movie, but had been upset at the advertisements. She does not intend to watch The Great Mint Swindle when it goes to air on Channel 9 next Sunday night after four years in production.
"I just don't know what I can do," she said. "There is nobody there to help me. It's so wrong. If he was so corrupt then what was the police department doing at the time?
"I know how honest he was. I was with him for 45 years and you have only got to read some of the evidence against them (Ray and Peter Mickelberg).
"They are just so obsessed with money and getting even."
In 2003, the Court of Criminal appeal quashed the convictions against Ray and Peter for stealing $650,000 in gold bullion from the Perth Mint in 1982.
The court's decision was based on the admission by corrupt detective Tony Lewandowski that he had helped to frame the brothers and police had falsified their confessions.
They later received a $1 million ex gratia payment from the State government for the 15� years they spent in jail.
A third brother, Brian, was released from jail in 1985, but died in a plane crash a year later.
During the 95-minute movie, Mr Hancock, played by veteran actor Shane Bourne, frames the brothers for the theft and beats Peter at Belmont Police Station. He also threatens to have Mr Lewandowski's son murdered.
The narration, by the actor playing Peter, also hints that Mr Hancock may have been responsible for the swindle and that police may have been responsible for Mr Hancock's murder because he had become a liability.
Gypsy Jokers bikie Sid Reid is serving a jail term over Mr Hancock's death, which he said was payback because Mr Hancock had killed gang member Billy Grierson.
Perth producer Russell Vines said the movie had been sympathetic to the Mickelbergs, but was "co-operation, not collaboration".
He said he did not expect Mrs Hancock to be happy with the way in which her husband was portrayed, but she would probably not be happy with the public's perception of her husband, either. 

The Great Mint Swindle

The Mickelberg brothers spend their days developing new ways of making money. Their most bizarre venture? Selling a huge fake gold nugget.

Reviewer rating:

Rating: 40 out of 5 stars

Ray Mickelberg watched as Don Hancock took his final breath.

Then the director yelled cut.

Only in Perth would you happen to accidently walk onto the film set of your very own memoir.

A scene from <i>The Great Mint Swindle</i>.

A scene from The Great Mint Swindle.

Which is exactly what happened when the real Mickelberg, who just happened to be enjoying a stroll around the leafy suburb of Applecross while the cast and crew of Nine's new telemovie The Great Mint Swindle were filming the harrowing scene that is seared into the minds of most West Australians, according to producer Russell Vines.

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The infamous car explosion, which killed retired Detective Sergeant Don Hancock on a quiet Lathlain Street in 2001, opens the made-for-television movie.

"To understand the full story we have to go back 20 years," a voice says before we cut to the early 1980s.

The golden age of Western Australian, before the fly-in, fly-out acronym FIFO was thought up in some noughties newsroom, where Bondy was king and corruption was as widespread as bad perms, aviator sunglasses and super-charged Toranas.

"The bellies in WA were as big as the bank accounts. Greed was God," the narrator Peter Mickelberg, played by Todd Lasance, says as a faceless and shirtless rotund man (presumably Alan Bond) wanders around his palatial Western suburbs mansion.

The story is based on the three Mickelberg brothers, Ray (played by Grant Bowler) Peter and the late Brian (Josh Quong Tart) and their infamous PR stunt - a manufactured, backyard gold nugget called the Yellow Rose of Texas which they claimed to have discovered while prospecting.

All is peachy for the brothers after Bond buys the find which was made in Ray's back shed, as the soundtrack featuring Midnight Oil and The Strangeloves pepper images of beach barbecues and a loving family unit, until 62 kilograms of gold, worth an estimated $2 million today, is swindled out of the Perth Mint in 1982 when it was "leaking like a sieve."

Sergeant Hancock, played by Shane Bourne, answers the "embarrassing call from higher up than the minister" to restore the tainted image of the lawless wild west.

Like a bloodhound, Hancock and his henchman Tony Lewandowski (played by John Batchelor), pursue Ray, Peter and Brian as the prime suspects for the heist.

After being jailed in 1983 to serve sentences ranging from 12 to 20 years, the brothers begin their 22-year battle to prove their innocence.

Some brief - yet cheeky - references to Bond, WA Inc and The America's Cup are thrown in which adds some comedic relief before Ray loses his finger in a jail yard fight and Brian dies in a plane crash.

"Bond wants to buy the Yellow Rose of Texas," Ray tells his brothers.

"Who? James Bond?" Peter replies.

Brain's response to an offer to go prospecting for gold, echoes the sentiments of many Perth workers even today, "Nah, I'd rather go to Bali," he says - without the Sh** Perth People Say hashtag.

Classic moments which have been fished out of the network's archives, including Richard Carlton's 60 Minutes expose into the glaring holes in the Mickelberg's case and a rather terse interview with sergeant Hancock, are synced to perfection.

The Great Mint Swindle, with its cast of relative yet talented unknowns is what Underbelly was before Matt Newton was cast – an interesting story told by actors who invested themselves into every angle, shot and syllable of an earnest script.

The Great Mint Swindle is coming soon to Nine.



Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/nine-forgo-sex-and-drugs-to-just-take-the-gold-20120210-1s296.html#ixzz208fdf6QX