Both men were once charged with murder.
LAWYER’S BUGGED CALLS HIDDEN IN FILES
By design or sheer bad luck, their lives are inextricably linked by dead drug boss Carl Williams over the alleged plot to murder police informer Terrence Hodson.
Collins — who was allegedly paid $150,000 to kill Hodson — was also charged with killing his wife, Christine, who died just for being at home that fateful night on May 16, 2004.
But Dale is the one the force spent millions trying to convict.
Dale remains a suspect in ordering and paying for Terry’s murder. The motive: Terry had ratted on him over a botched burglary on Grand Final day, September 27, 2003, and turned Crown witness against him and his partner, Dave Miechel.
To make matters worse, the Oakleigh drug house was allegedly linked to crime boss Tony Mokbel and, it is alleged, up to $750,000 and bags full of ecstasy tablets went missing.
It is the police case that Dale, who had formed a corrupt relationship with Williams over the previous year — would call on his underworld contact in Williams to have Hodson executed.
It took years for police to unravel a web of phone calls, safe phones, faxes and relationships inside and outside the law, which all started about four years before the murders.
WHEN PAUL MET TOMMY
PAUL Dale’s introduction to the underworld began with Tommy Ivanovic — a Brunswick criminal whom he picked up on drug matters in 2001. Their relationship would blossom and shortly after little Tommy graduated from drug dealer to killer.
On January 8, 2002, Ivanovic shot motorcyclist Ivan Conabere dead outside his West Brunswick house in a road rage incident. It was even captured by his own CCTV cameras. When homicide detectives arrested him, Ivanovic asked the officers to call Paul Dale and his police partner.
Dale attended Moonee Ponds police station to speak to some homicide investigators, but surprisingly, had nothing to help them regarding the murder probe.
What became apparent, however, was Dale initially failed to mention a threat to Ivanovic’s life — made by a stranger after Dale had been out drinking with his contact.
The sergeant, however, would visit Ivanovic in jail, where they would talk about a range of topics, including his murder charge.
But questions over Dale’s credibility would come after he made a statement about the night in the pub, recalling the threat about Ivanovic being a “dead man walking’’.
Dale would visit Ivanovic six times for “professional’’ reasons during the early part of his prison stint — telling superiors he was cultivating him as an informer but getting little useful information.
During one visit, Ivanovic gave Dale a name — Carl Williams — which the promoted drug squad detective entered into the police LEAP program as “Karl Williams’’ before getting the spelling correct on his second attempt.
It wasn’t long before Dale arranged to meet Williams, informing his superiors he wanted covert equipment — which they could not supply.
Their highly controversial relationship would end with Williams informing on Dale and others from prison, and bashed to death for it — right in front of little Tommy — in 2010.
Investigators from the force’s Petra taskforce — set up to investigate the Hodson murders — found Dale’s relationships with both Ivanovic and Williams were corrupt but ultimately would fail to land a conviction.
Whether Dale was corrupt or not, he was certainly living life on the edge. A series of incidents showed he was a very colourful individual.
Dale returned $1620 seized from Ivanovic for no apparent reason. He falsely stated Ivanovic claimed drugs seized in his house were found in his brother’s room and recommended charges not be laid. (They weren’t. And the record shows Ivanovic made a “no comment interview”.)
OAKLEIGH BURGLARY THEORY — A RECAP
There are theories a great deal of money is waiting for Miechel when he gets out of jail after serving his sentence over the burglary of a drug house in Dublin St, Oakleigh, on September 27, 2003.
But there is also the argument he won’t make a statement against Dale because Dale simply wasn’t involved.
A fact that is not in dispute is that Dale was not with Miechel or Terry Hodson when they burgled the house full of drugs and money.
But before Hodson was killed, he was set to testify that he and his police handlers were all in it together.
In statements made by Hodson, there are detailed accounts of three attempts to commit the burglary.
According to Hodson, the plan was cooked up at Romeo’s restaurant in Toorak.
It would prove critical that although alarm bells were sounding about Dale’s behaviour, his crew was given Operation Galop — and had the drug house under surveillance.
Miechel, who was in a relationship with Hodson’s daughter, Mandy, was bitten by a police dog when he was caught fleeing the burglary.
It is the police theory that Dale, after an unsupervised visit to Miechel at the Epworth Hospital after being injured by the police dog, stole a “blue folder’’ from the St Kilda Rd Police Complex filled with Hodson’s informer files.
In his book Disgraced?, Dale argues it is fanciful for police to believe that he would get his share of the loot without committing the burglary. Police maintain he was meant to be there, but pulled out on the night.
The “blue folder’’, containing 31 information reports about Hodson’s snitching, was taken that night, September 27, and distributed five months later to the underworld on February 28, 2004.
THE “DARREN JOHNSON’’ SAFE PHONE
AS investigators scrutinised him, Dale suspected his regular phone would be “off’’ and used a “safe phone’’ under the fictitious name of “Darren Johnson’’ to call key people, including a lawyer.
The pair would meet as police attempted to link Dale to the burglary. At the time, the lawyer was giving legal advice to Hodson.
Hodson, already under suspicion after being caught near the burglary crime scene, was told by the lawyer to speak to ESD after meeting him, and his son Andrew, at the Celtic Club in the city.
The lawyer made several notes of the 2003 meeting.
“Miechel will keep his mouth shut.’’
“Message to Dale’’
“Mandy and Miechel relationship for a long time.’’
The message the lawyer was to deliver to Dale was that Hodson wanted to meet. It didn’t eventuate.
But the lawyer did begin to see Dale informally in the months after the burglary and prior to his arrest, later stating that Dale was desperate to know whether Hodson had implicated him.
On December 5, 2003, Dale, Miechel and Hodson were charged over the Oakleigh burglary and Dale, detained in the Melbourne Custody Centre, phoned the lawyer. The lawyer met him in the cells, beneath the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
Nine days later, following another phone call, the lawyer went to see Dale again, this time in Port Phillip Prison. The lawyer refused to act for him.
They chatted about Carl Williams’ daughter’s christening, which was going to be at Crown Casino later that day.
On December 19, Dale successfully argued to be released on bail.
Early in 2004, Dale and the lawyer would continue having dinners and drinks.
He would even ask whether Azzam Ahmed, the drug trafficker in charge of the Oakleigh house, had made a statement to police regarding the theft of drugs and money.
THE BLUE FOLDER
IT had been five months since the “blue folder’’ and its contents went missing from the St Kilda Rd Crime Complex, but they had not yet hit the underworld.
In late February, 2004, that would change when 31 pages confirming Hodson as a police snitch were spread across the nation. Although Victoria Police fingered Dale for the missing “blue folder’’ early on, what they crucially did not know at the time was that the Australian Federal Police had intercepted a phone call between drug boss Tony Mokbel and the lawyer.
Other phone taps picked up the lawyer talking with Williams, telling him he was supposed to catch up with his “other adviser’’ – a reference believed to be to Dale.
The lawyer admitted passing messages between Dale and Williams despite suspecting they had a corrupt relationship. The lawyer later told police of meeting Dale for a drink that night, and police taps would catch Williams on the phone.
“How are ya buddy?’’ Dale says to Williams.
“Was hoping to catch up with you tonight. Been trying to get on to you for some time.’’
Williams reply was friendly: “…organise for one day during the week. Door’s open for you any time.’’
Williams would later confirm the voices are his, Dale’s and the lawyer’s and that there was no legitimate reason for the call.
Mokbel was in possession of the 31 pages of informer management file contained in the “blue folder’’ the following day, February 28, 2004.
They were faxed from Taiba Stables — linked to Mokbel — to underworld figure Mark Smith in Queensland.
The Herald Sun has learned that detectives investigating the Hodson murders — the Petra taskforce — only became aware of the intercepted conversation between Mokbel and the lawyer after Williams’ death in 2010.
Petra detectives planned to question the lawyer — by then their only living key witness in their investigation of the Hodson killings — over the intercepted phone call they did not know about for six years, but it never happened.
POLICE would monitor Dale in the months after he got bail in December 2003, but the Purana taskforce cracking down on the gangland war had physical and electronic surveillance on Williams.
The attention moved to Hodson, who after making allegations about his corrupt relationships with Dale and Miechel, was offered witness protection.
Hodson, who wanted to be near family, refused and even continued to sell drugs from his Kew home.
The heavily fortified house got a security upgrade, which ultimately would fail to save him or identify his killer.
The “Hillside’’ meeting, for which there is circumstantial evidence, is where police would allege Dale would offer $150,000 for the hit.
IN 2009, Dale was charged with murdering Terrence Hodson. Collins was charged over both murders, as the gunman.
Collins toyed with co-operating with police, offering some information, but wanted to strike an unrealistic deal, including a large reward for his girlfriend, Kylie.
All charges were dropped when Matthew Johnson, in an astonishing failure of the corrections system, killed Williams in their jail unit in April, 2010.
Johnson told police: “I acted alone.’’ There is much to suggest he lied.
Dale had one more hurdle to clear and he was acquitted of lying to the Australian Crime Commission in 2013.
The lawyer was not called to testify.
THE SECRET PLOT
The police case involving Paul Dale, Carl Williams and the Melbourne lawyer
■ Australian Federal Police phone surveillance captured Tony Mokbel talking with a Melbourne lawyer about documents just days before the Hodson informer files were leaked to the underworld.
■ That lawyer, who legally represented Terry Hodson before his death, was used as a go-between by Paul Dale to make contact with Carl Williams to pass messages and arrange meetings while he was charged and under scrutiny for the Oakleigh robbery.
■ A ”safe phone’’ under the fictitious name of Darren Johnson was used to communicate with Carl, the Melbourne lawyer and other Dale associates.
■ Dale made many desperate attempts to contact Carl from February to May in 2004, culminating in a call to Carl’s dad, George, on the lawyer’s phone where a drunken Dale exclaimed: ”Tell Carl to ring (the lawyer). He’s a f---ing useless prick.”
■ Within days, Carl and George met the lawyer where Carl alleges the lawyer gave Carl the number to Dale’s “Johnson phone”.
■ The next day on May 6, 2004, Carl rang the “Johnson phone’’ from a public pay phone at the Watergardens Shopping Centre. The same day, Dale allegedly ordered the execution of Hodson.
■ The same day, Carl met Dale in Hillside despite there being no policing reason to do so.
■ On May 7, two meetings between Carl and ruthless killer Rodney Collins took place in Maribyrnong and later in the city.
■ Within 10 days, Collins, who knew Hodson, allegedly shot Hodson and his wife.
■ The Petra taskforce investigating the Hodson deaths maintained that they corroborated ”99 per cent’’ of Carl’s two statements, made in 2007 and 2009. Carl could not have ”fluked’’ his first statement to police in 2007, having no way of knowing that his father’s car, in which he travelled to Hillside, was covertly being monitored by tracking and listening devices.
■ Victoria Police has investigated whether there were outside influences in ordering Carl’s murder because of his co-operation in murder investigations.
heraldsun.com.au 8 Dec 2014
Corrupt Victorian Police supporting more corrupt cops.
Australia, a country run by criminals, including the [corrupt] judicature.