* Copyright Joe Vialls - 16/11/97 - All Rights Reserved, 45 Merlin Drive, Carine, Western Australia 6020
Very few members of the public realise that absolutely no hard forensic evidence exists linking Martin Bryant to Port Arthur, or to any weapon used in the mass murder. Indeed, in the opinions of two prominent Queen's Counsels, Bryant would have been released from prison if strictly illegal sensory deprivation had not been used to extract his false guilty pleas in November 1996.
Do not mistake guilty pleas for a confession, because in the latter Bryant would be required to provide detailed information on the mass murder that he did not have. Pleas are far simpler. All Martin Bryant was required to do was stand in the dock and say "guilty" seventy-two times, not a difficult task for an intellectually impaired young man with an IQ of 66.
But these simple guilty pleas then technically enabled the Tasmanian Justice Ministry to confiscate Bryant's sizeable fortune and other property, before locking him in a dungeon and throwing away the keys.
If these obscene procedures had been used in faraway China, Cuba, Colombia or a dozen other countries, the democratic (sic) Australian media would have been first off the blocks, screaming with self-righteous outrage about the "human rights abuse" of the accused, and denial of a fair trial before his peers.
Unfortunately, human rights are used solely as a lobby tool to manipulate foreign nations, proved beyond doubt by hysterical Australian media behaviour in Tasmania during April 1996. Reporters vied with each other to tell you how "terrible" Bryant was, and never once mentioned that in a so-called democracy, remand prisoners are assumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
This disgusting behaviour by the media proved that unlike prisoners in China and Cuba, luckless prisoners in democratic Australia have no human rights at all.
Though the media must accept the lion's share of the blame for Martin Bryant's contrived and very public "trial by television" there were other more shadowy figures who goaded the media on, long after the mass murder. A handful of public servants, politicians and police officers, hyped-up false evidence in order to keep Bryant in the frame, most in an attempt to save their own miserable "reputations" and jobs.
A large part of this false evidence was aimed at convincing the public that police had literally hundreds of eyewitnesses who identified Bryant at Port Arthur. In fact, to this day the Tasmanian Police Service does not have a single legally valid eyewitness identification.
At a more subtle and dangerous level, there were veiled hints of hard forensic evidence linking Martin Bryant to Port Arthur, including convincing displays by police officers holding up semi-automatic weapons on television.
The inference was obvious: Bryant was holding a smoking gun when apprehended by police, with his fingerprints all over the weapon and its ammunition.
Leading on from this first gross untruth, it was hoped the public would assume a second gross untruth: that the bullets and fragments found at Port Arthur would match "Bryant's Guns" as displayed on national television.
It was all a pathetic rort. Martin Bryant was not apprehended with a smoking gun, there were no fingerprints on the guns and ammo displayed by police, and the bullets, fragments and cartridge cases found at Port Arthur did not provide a perfect match with the weapons displayed on national television.
Some of these points were accurately reported by the author in 1997 and early 1998, then in December of that year the Australian Police Journal decided to print an article by Sergeant Gerard Dutton, titled "The Port Arthur Shooting Incident".
Dutton took over as Officer in Charge of the Tasmania Ballistics Section in 1995, and had eleven years ballistics experience at the time the Port Arthur mass murder took place. Though his article is flagged "ballistics evidence" on every page of the APJ, there is no discussion of guided projectiles in flight. Most of the eighteen-page article is a chronology of events at Port Arthur from a police perspective, with repeated references to the two weapons allegedly used in the mass murder by "Bryant".
Because of the latter weapons content it might have been more accurate to flag each page of Sergeant Dutton's article "Forensic Firearms Identification", the correct term used by forensic sciences for this work.
This report is not intended as a thesis on forensic science, but there is a need to explain briefly in general terms how firearms examiners go about proving that an individual bullet was fired by an individual weapon. The word "individual" is extremely important here, because in the Port Arthur case, it means proving scientifically that the bullets and bullet fragments found at Port Arthur were fired by the exact weapons found by the police at Seascape Cottages, and subsequently shown to the public on television as "the murder weapons". Not fired by a similar weapon or class of weapons please note, but only by the weapons displayed by police.
There are two stages in this process. First the firearms examiner checks to confirm that the bullets, cartridge cases and weapons all match in the general sense, known in the trade as "Class Characteristics". For example, in the case of the 5.56-mm bullets and cartridges found at Port Arthur, would they fit the Colt AR-15 weapon found at Seascape? The answer is yes, but those bullets and cartridge cases would also fit thousands of other Colt AR-15s not found at Seascape, and many other different brands of firearm chambered for the same 5.56-mm round. No one including the author is disputing the simple class identification made by Dutton, but it is utterly meaningless in terms of individually matching the bullets and cartridge cases at Port Arthur with the weapons found at Seascape. To do this requires the second part of the process, predictably called "Individual Characteristics".
No two weapons manufactured are the same. Every single one has marks in the barrel and breech, and on the action, that are unique. And because weapons are made from exceedingly hard "tool grade" steel, these unique marks leave unique impressions on every bullet and cartridge case cycled through them, all of which are made from softer metal than the weapon itself. Using special microscopes, firearms examiners try to match the unique impressions on the fired bullets and cases found at the crime scene, with unique impressions on test rounds fired from the suspect weapon or weapons in the laboratory.
This is more easily explained with pictures shown here, which are from America, not Port Arthur. Exhibit 1 shows typical rifling marks left on the soft metal of bullets, and exhibit 2 shows matched striations on two bullets, one from the crime scene and another fired in the lab. Now the cartridge cases:
Exhibit 3 shows matching breech marks,
while exhibit 4 shows matching ejector marks.
With the exception of exhibit 1, which is included to show the variations in rifling marks on otherwise identical bullets, all other exhibits show "Individual Characteristics", sufficient to satisfy any firearms examiner that the bullets and cartridge cases under examination were fired by the suspect weapon.
Sergeant Dutton's eighteen-page article on "ballistics" includes many photographs, but not one of them shows individual characteristics matching the bullets and cases at Port Arthur with the weapons at Seascape. Without individual characteristic matches, the weapons are no more valuable than scrap iron, and absolutely useless as evidence against Martin Bryant.
The pristine weapons from Seascape you were shown on national television, only got that way because the Tasmanian Police Service borrowed many spare parts from the New South Wales Police firearms library. Before their startling resurrection to nearly new condition, both weapons were very badly damaged, a critical fact the Australian television networks rather artfully forgot to tell you.
How the weapons got that that way is of considerable importance in tracking down those really responsible for the mass murder at Port Arthur on 28 April 1996.
If we are to believe the media and Tasmanian Government, the Colt AR-15 serial number SP128807,
cycled and fired a minimum of 35 rounds faultlessly at Port Arthur and other crime scenes. Then, inexplicably, the AR-15 allegedly had an "accident" at Seascape Cottage, which destroyed part of the rifling in the barrel, most of the breech, and part of the receiver - the moving part of the weapon which includes the firing pin and extractor claws for the cartridge cases.
This was attributed to a "faulty cartridge" which exploded in the breech.
Oh, really, and how did it do all that damage in a weapon proofed to withstand 55,000 p.s.i?
In Sergeant Dutton's own words, the damage caused by the burst cartridge showed "Amazingly high chamber pressure", and "I had never seen a cartridge case that had been subjected to so much pressure that it caused brass to extrude substantially into apertures in the bolt face."
What would normally be needed to cause this kind of damage is too much of the correct powder in the cartridge case, or a different much faster-burning powder or explosive in the cartridge case. Because the correct power in this particular cartridge case fills it right up to the neck, it could not have been the first example, i.e. too much of the correct powder.
This leaves us with a different much faster-burning powder or explosive. With such powders the grains are typically much smaller, allowing a greatly increased flame front, and thus the ability to increase pressures at a far higher rate. Special Forces put this knowledge to good use if they wish to destroy enemy artillery pieces behind the lines. A sizeable chunk of C3 plastic explosive is strategically placed inside the breech of the artillery piece, then later detonated, destroying the breech and rendering the weapon useless.
What this process achieved with the AR-15 at Seascape was so much damage to the barrel, breech and receiver, that forensic "Individual Characteristic" matches could not be made with the fired bullets and cases found at Port Arthur.
Now why on earth would you do that, if the AR-15 in question really was the same one used at Port Arthur, then afterwards positioned neatly next to alleged gunman Martin Bryant in Seascape, ready to be collected and identified by the local constabulary the following morning?
Martin Bryant (or his body), and a weapon that could be individually matched to the bullets and cases at Port Arthur. Perfect! But only if the gunman at Port Arthur really was Martin Bryant, which we now know he was not.
Best to look at the effect of the damage in reverse then. What the explosion and resulting damage really achieved, was preventing police and others from proving that this particular AR-15 was not the weapon used at Port Arthur, but merely a decoy designed to draw attention towards Bryant.
As Arthur Conan-Doyle once wrote: "When you have ruled out the impossible, then whatever remains, no matter how improbable, is the truth."
There is one other critical point of evidence about the "exploding" AR-15. When the charge in the cartridge detonated, the resulting blast was sufficient to blow the bottom of the magazine right off, and cause severe damage in the immediate vicinity of the trigger, where Martin Bryant's finger would have been if he was handling the weapon at the time. Most explosions of this kind neatly amputate a finger or two, and shred the skin on the rest of the hand. In addition there is very significant marking of the flesh by firearms discharge residue (FDR for short), caused by microscopic particles of burned or unburned propellant impregnating the flesh at high velocity.
When Bryant was taken into custody he had severe burns to his back and left-hand side caused by the Seascape fire, but no injuries or serious burns to his hands, and no trace of FDR. So Bryant did not fire the Colt AR-15 found at Seascape Cottage, end of story.
The other weapon displayed so enthusiastically by police was a Belgian FN-FAL serial number G3434 in 7.62-mm calibre,
but alas, this weapon was also severely damaged before the NSW police firearms library helped out with copious spare parts.
Unlike the AR-15, found in Seascape itself, the FN-FAL was recovered from the roof of an outhouse some distance from the main building. This in itself is decidedly odd, with Martin Bryant allegedly in the cross-hairs of an entire highly trained Special Operations Group all evening and all night. How is Bryant supposed to have put it up on the roof?
There was no exploding cartridge in the breech of the FN-FAL, but by a rare coincidence beyond the calculations of most actuaries, the effect of the damage was exactly the same as that inflicted on the AR-15. The barrel, breech, and receiver were damaged beyond hope of making "Individual Characteristic" matches with bullets and cartridge cases found at the various crime scenes. So, once again, police and others were unable to prove the FN-FAL was not one of the weapons used at Port Arthur.
It is the FN-FAL rather than the AR-15 which provides absolute scientific proof the two weapons were merely dummies designed to deflect attention away from the guilty parties, probably dumped at Seascape as stage props long before any of the shooting started.
Despite being terminally damaged, nearly all of the AR-15 components were located close to the weapon in Seascape, though the pistol grip was missing and was never found. However, the FN-FAL lacked a major component called the "return spring tube assembly", plus its butt plate and magazine. These are all large items impossible to miss in thorough forensic searches of crime scenes. The forensic teams went over every crime scene with a fine-tooth comb several times, leaving no stone or even a blade of grass unturned.
I have resisted the temptation to provide the exact size of the return spring tube assembly because I do not have precise, technical details to hand, but believe me when I say it is big.
Many years ago I field-stripped and reassembled FN-FALs dozens of times, and can assure readers the assembly is a minimum of six inches long, with the large springs inside made of tempered steel.
Without its return spring assembly (and magazine), the FN-FAL cannot fire at all, proving the damaged weapon found at Seascape played no part in the Port Arthur mass murder. Evidently it had been carefully "damaged" at a location a considerable distance away from either Port Arthur or Seascape, before the mass murder took place.
This of course proves that the mass murder was a pre-meditated crime, one that Australian counter-terrorist personnel must solve if we are to prevent further attacks on this nation. Exactly how they go about this is their concern, but counter-terrorist personnel are reminded that their pay packets are generously filled each month by Australian taxpayers, not by international lobby groups in Canberra and Hobart.
A good starting point for counter-terrorism would be to hunt for the real 5.56-mm and 7.62-mm weapons actually used at Port Arthur on 28 April 1996 to kill or wound fifty-seven civilians, and dead-block the Daihatsu Feroza driven by Linda White.
We now know the weapons used were not the crippled AR-15 and FN-FAL found at Seascape, and we also know the shooter was not Martin Bryant, because he was completely contained by SOG personnel throughout the entire period in the same Seascape compound as both crippled weapons.
Find the real weapons used and they will hopefully in turn lead you to the real shooters, though the trail is now cold. Either way, it is now time for the authorities to stop pussyfooting around, and get on with a serious counter-terrorist investigation.
There are those in power determined that a serious investigation should not take place, and recently went out of their way to discourage me in particular.
Some months ago my 21 and 18 year-old, children inexplicably failed their police "integrity checks", essential here in Western Australia for anyone wishing to get a decent job.
Stunned by this I lodged an official complaint, and then made several discreet inquiries. Eventually I was told that a powerful federal politician had persuaded a police unit in Canberra, to flag me in the Bureau of Criminal Intelligence computer as a "security risk", which is a bit rich bearing in mind my former (very high) security clearances with NATO.
Because my work on Port Arthur focuses solely and openly on protecting Australian national security, logic and security protocols dictate it is not I, but the powerful federal politician who poses a significant security risk to this nation.
Once the illegal false data about me was entered into the BCI computer, there was a trickle-down effect on my children, who were then found guilty of associating with a known security risk - their own father!
Fortunately there are officials in Western Australia with very high ethics, and the entire sordid mess was sorted out in less than two weeks. My children now once again have positive integrity status, and I have the name of the powerful federal politician who tried to destroy the credibility of this family. The politician in question is advised not to try this again, or members of the public might start wondering exactly why he chose to take this illegal action in the first place.