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The federal police would not change anything about the way they handled the Bali nine investigation and continue to use the same guidelines for tipping off overseas police about Australian citizens.
AFP Commissioner Andrew Colvin said on Thursday that repeated government reviews, court cases and senate inquiries had cleared the AFP of any wrongdoing in sealing the fate of the Australian drug smugglers.
“Do we have blood on our hands? No,” Mr Colvin said at a lecture to the Lowy Institute in Sydney.
The government has refused to comment on the AFP’s conduct, saying it was inappropriate to do so while negotiations continue to spare the lives of ringleaders Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.
“At the moment the Australian government’s sole focus is on pursuing and exhausting every avenue for clemency,” a spokeswoman for Justice Minister Michael Keenan said.
With just days to go until Chan and Sukumaran are executed, Mr Colvin once again said the AFP followed all the proper rules and obligations by tipping off Indonesian authorities in April 2005 about a potential heroin smuggling operation.
The information came from drug mule Scott Rush’s father Lee, who was worried his son had been recruited as a drug runner and was about to depart for Bali.
He called a friend, Brisbane lawyer Robert Myers, who called a man he knew in the AFP who supposedly said Rush would be stopped before leaving for Bali.
Instead, the AFP provided information to its Indonesian counterparts, who arrested the men in Bali days later.
Mr Myers again reiterated on Thursday that the AFP “have blood on their hands”.
He believed the tip-off was a deliberate move by the AFP to curry favour with Indonesian authorities.
On Thursday, Mr Colvin responded.
“Put simply, were we part of a conspiracy for greater co-operation that I’ve seen written about? No,” he said.
He said much of the information circulating, including Mr Myers’ claim, “doesn’t accurately reflect our role and the work we did in 2005”.
“There is nothing I could say today … that’s not been put on the records in courts in Australia; in the Federal Court when we were challenged about our role.”
He said he had written a letter to his Indonesian counterpart recently, begging the Indonesians to show mercy to Chan and Sukumaran.
“For many months the AFP has been doing what it can to support the whole-of-government diplomatic efforts and today I would like to again add our voice to the Australian government’s plea for mercy.”
Federal Court judge Paul Finn found in 2006 that the AFP only had the power to refuse assistance in overseas death penalty cases if charges had already been laid.
He ruled that the AFP’s conduct “fell squarely within the lawful functions of the AFP. Scott Rush and his colleagues were the authors of their own harm.”
Justice Finn recommended the AFP review its death penalty guidelines and the subsequent guidelines, released under Freedom of Information last month, show that the protocols remain the same.
If an Australian has been arrested, detained, charged or convicted overseas, a federal minister must give the AFP consent to share information.
Mr Myers said last month that he only ever contacted the AFP because he thought they could help.
“I should have just said to Lee [Rush], ‘Mate get over there as fast as you can and get the young kid back here’,” he told Triple M radio.
“They’ve got, as I’ve said in the past, blood on their hands because they they could’ve intercepted eight Australians here, they didn’t know of Sukumaran.
“They had sufficient evidence to charge them with conspiracy to import narcotics into Australia.”