Town council grapples with Falconio poster: Author hits out at Mayor Ryan

By ERWIN CHLANDA

 

Posters in Alice Springs offering $40,000 for disclosure of the “whereabouts” of Peter Falconio were the subject of a curiously cautious debate during the town council committee meetings last night.
Mr Falconio disappeared near Barrow Creek in 2001 and Bradley John Murdoch (pictured below, image Wikimurder) is serving a 28 year sentence for his murder.
Keith Allan Noble in his book “Find! Falconio – dead or alive” claims Mr Murdoch may be innocent.
Cr Eli Melky started the discussion by referring to a “recent attempt to capitalise on an unfortunate incident regarding a victim in or around Central Australia, I prefer not to mention the name” and asking council do something “if there is misleading and false advertising offering rewards” which may be in conflict of “stringent legislation”.
Director Technical Services Greg Buxton said he was unaware of the poster and – this being a public meeting – Cr Melky offered to talk to him “later, afterwards, if you like. I have some information I can show you” rather then disclosing it in the public part of the meeting.
This was an odd tack for Cr Melky who likes to be known as the champion of transparent government, and considering the story had run both in Australia and Europe.
Cr Liz Martin also suggested the matter may be raised in the “confidential” part of the meeting closed to the public, later in the evening.
Mayor Damien Ryan clearly thought this was a bit over the top: “I’ve been doing media throughout Europe for the last couple of days on this issue. I think if you look closer at it [the book author linked with the campaign] is on a mission”.
Mayor Ryan said: “I made the mistake saying he’s raising money before finding out he’s giving away the book free. I don’t know where we go with it.”
Cr Melky said whether or not the council acted on the matter, it would generate publicity but “we must protect our own brand, which is the Alice Springs town” and this would serve as notice to “those who willingly come in to capitalise on anything that happens [here].”
CEO Rex Mooney, asked to comment by Cr Martin, who was in the chair, said if the council wanted him to act (which in the end it did), he would be referring the matter “to the appropriate body”.

 

UPDATE May 17, 2012 07:30am: Meanwhile the author of the poster, and a book about the case, Keith Noble, has described Mr Ryan’s remarks as “rubbish”.
Dr Noble, who gives his address a location in inner city Vienna, Austria, says in a letter to the Mayor: “No doubt you are critical of those residents for posting the posters in Alice Springs.
“Your ill-conceived remarks surfaced on an English newspaper website” quoting Mr Ryan as saying that Dr Noble’s reward offer was a “cheap stunt”.
He says: “Yes, it is only A$40,000 (£25,000) but people have spoken to me about contributing more so the reward can be increased.
“But I think that your remark really relates to your inaccurate belief that the poster is part of a book promotion effort.
“To accuse good people who seek the truth as being involved with a cheap stunt is indescribably offensive to me.
“Surely you have not forgotten the gross miscarriage of justice that was the Dingo-Baby case. Murdoch was set up. It was a show trial.
“So-called evidence was manipulated, other evidence was withheld from the trial. There was not one shred of incontrovertible evidence
presented at the trial that proved guilt, or proved a murder took place.”

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20 Comments (starting with the most recent)

NB: If you want to reply to a previous comment, start your comment with this notation: @n where n is the number of the comment you want to reply to.
  1. Tuesday Myst
    Posted May 24, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    @ Barry Davis, I think it is far more important to have Peter Falconio found than hearing about your “hobby” regarding the case. I’m sure the Falconios are quite capable of speaking for themselves without, your biased opinion.
    Hopefully this reward poster will bring closure to the entire mystery of the location of Peter Falconio – dead or alive!

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  2. Karen
    Posted May 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    You’d have thought the Falconios would be leaping with hope and excitement that somebody they don’t even know is prepared to put up quite a considerable amount of money to find their son / brother. A polite “thank you” from them would be in order. Yet I have not read or heard anything to suggest that this has happened. I wonder why this might be? If the Falconios cannot bring themselves to join forces with, or thank, Mr Noble, then why cannot Joanne Lees do this on their behalf? Peter was the love of her life (allegedly) so you’d think she might want to find out where he is.

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  3. Posted May 21, 2012 at 12:26 am

    @ Jack Smarts
    Hi Jack, As I said in my last message: “Personally I have no issues with a reward being posted, providing its written in a manner that is respectful to the family concerned, no problem with a book being plugged either.” Jack you may or may not be aware but the reward poster is only a part of the issue. Before the reward was issued Mr Noble sent a stream of appalling letters (5 in total) to the Falconio family. Demanding they provide information and issuing ultimatums. They chose not to reply and this has angered Mr Noble. Now he refers to the Falconios as secretive.
    So there is a lot more to this than meets the eye, it not just about a reward poster. For me personally I would like to see Peter found dead or alive, I would also like to see the Falconios treated with respect and empathy.
    My agenda is I’m interested in this case and have been for 10+ years. I have created a web site about the case and correspond with a number of people who are also interested in the case. Its a hobby for me, one which I put a lot of time into. Mr Noble and I share opposing views. So that’s the story Jack, there is nothing going on, no agenda and I’m not part of any conspiracy to hide information about Peter.

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  4. Jack Smarts
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    @ Barry Davis. What’s your problem? You are clearly hiding something or are in fear that the truth may be revealed. If you don’t have a hidden agenda or something to hide, then I don’t see the harm in a monetary offer to find Mr Falconio, dead or alive. It would bring closure to the Falconios.

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  5. Tuesday Myst
    Posted May 20, 2012 at 12:59 am

    I assumed the Falconio family would embrace the news of a reward in the hope of finding Peter. Nick Falconio once said “there is no closure till we find Pete”. But there doesn’t seem to be any response from them at all, not during all the months Mr. Nobel wrote to them, and still not now. I wonder why?

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  6. Posted May 19, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    @ Keith Allan Noble.
    Surely you can understand people would be divided and highly critical of the reward poster. Many people believe justice was served when Bradley Murdoch was found guilty and may view the reward as a cheap stunt to promote a book. People who feel Bradley Murdoch is innocent would naturally support the reward. I think Mr Ryan’s comments were quite reasonable and if you put yourself in his position you may understand why. Mr Ryan is the mayor of Alice Springs so he has every right to express his views about matters concerning the town. The posters were offensive to many people (Mr Ryan included) because in their opinion they believe justice was served and the case is closed. Therefore talk about a reward for a person assumed dead would seem bizarre and disrespectful. The posters were disrespectful of the Falconio family by labeling them as secretive. You also listed their address in the UK and Italy without their permission and you plugged your book. So I think under the circumstances Mr Ryan’s comments were justified.
    Personally I have no issues with a reward being posted, providing its written in a manner that is respectful to the family concerned, no problem with a book being plugged either.
    The Falconio family has not done anything to deserve the derogatory remarks being made about them, they have lost a son and deserve the utmost of respect and empathy. I think you have overstepped the mark and you owe the Falconio family a sincere apology.

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  7. Tuesday Myst
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    @ Barry Davis, your comment is incorrect, unlike mine, and personal retorts are not necessary. The important agenda is to hope the reward will greatly help solve the mystery regarding the whereabouts of Peter Falconio, and as others are now offering to contribute to the reward I can only assume they also feel the reward is a very important step towards finding that location.

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  8. Posted May 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    @Tuesday Myst
    As we both know you are member of the ‘FREE Bradley Murdoch facebook group’ and have links to a member of Mr Murdoch’s family, so it’s no surprise that you would come out in defence of Mr Noble’s actions. It’s also no surprise that you would come out and make personalised comments about myself, as you have done on numerous occasions before. You won’t engage me in your [issues], so spare yourself the effort in trying. BTW: I believe my comments were directed towards Mr Crowley.

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  9. Mono
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    Peter Falconio has never been found and for people to go looking for him via REWARD POSTER / Letters in media outlets / Missing persons posters / Letters to Legal representation … WHATEVER … then I am OK with this. I believe people have the right to look for him in whatever capacity they see fit because this is a case that was never proven beyond reasonable doubt and if it had been then none of us would be here making noises about it. [Some] people who are critical of this [may be] either directly involved in Falconio’s disappearance or they are afraid there will be another investigation if he is found DEAD OR ALIVE. … authorities are terrified they could have another AZARIA case on their hands and that NT TOURISM could suffer if this is bought into the public arena again. 28 years is a long time if you are innocent.

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  10. Keith Allan Noble
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    Barry Davis (pseudonym?) is a very secretive person who insists on posting comments on many websites. (Why? Who is he?) It is obvious he is not interested in finding Peter Marco Falconio and only wants the official version of the Falconio case to be believed. Bradley John Murdoch was sentenced to 28 years prison without parole – literally to die there with no chance of release – even though evidence essential for the proof of murder was not presented and proved in court. It is one of Australia’s worst miscarriage-of-justice cases.
    What follows are all the things that were not presented or not conclusively proved at the trial:-
    No fibre, gun(s), intent, motive, dog hair, projectile, footprints, tyre prints, finger prints, rolls of tape, time of death, sexual assault, cause of death, undisputed DNA, vehicle trailer, manner of death, blue heeler dog, financial report, physical assault, gun shot residue, credible scenario, accurate timeline, mechanism of death, source of restraints, source of cable-ties, spent cartridge case, communications report, credible alibi for Lees, body (includes remains), credible VW Kombi speeds, vehicle driven by the man, credible stories from Lees, blood in Murdoch’s vehicle, driver who parked VW Kombi, blood spatter / splatter / spray, video clearly identifying Murdoch, eyewitness to Falconio’s presence, uncontaminated human blood at scene, corroborated identification of Murdoch, eyewitness to Falconio’s disappearance, long-haired middle-sized male (the man), evidence going beyond a reasonable doubt, detailed Sydney to Barrow Creek travel report and no credible chains of custody / evidence / possession; and so on.
    There is uncertainty in the Falconio case and reasonable doubt related to every bit of significant so-called evidence.
    A human being has been imprisoned even though there is not a shred of hard incontrovertible evidence. Even within the spurious words of Barry Davis, there is uncertainty. He says “if the gun was a revolver”. This is the point. We do not know if there were guns (officials actually spoke about two guns). If there were guns what sort of guns were they, were they fired, who fired them if they were fired, etc.
    The whole official story is based on the words of just one person who had to admit that she witnessed no killing (police said her stories were “bizarre”).
    Barry Davis’ unjustified criticism of the Daily Mail newspaper (and of many other people elsewhere), does not help the matter one bit. What we all need to do is focus on finding Peter Marco Falconio – dead or alive.

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  11. Tuesday Myst
    Posted May 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm

    Barry Davis’s comment regarding the case is only his opinion, which he has tried to claim as facts. He also did a family trace on Joanne Lees as he believed they were related due to his obsession, his opinions are not correct, as everyone knows there were many more than two inconsistencies in Joanne’s story as the original “Barrow Creek updates” issued by the NT police clearly show. Although he belittles the media, the authors and anyone who opposes his opinion he refuses to acknowledge they are the ones who have spoken to witnesses, who have spoken to police and who know a lot more than he does.
    Regarding the reward I think it is a excellent way to put this matter to rest once and for all, to find Peter Falconio and give closure to his family, and to the people of Australia as well as the rest of the world. Bickering about authors and the media is not the way to do it, that is childish, and not very insightful. It seems to imply Barry Davis does not want Peter Falconio to be found, why would that be?
    Tuesday Myst
    Sydney

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  12. Posted May 18, 2012 at 7:51 am

    @Mal Crowley
    Hi Mal. I understand where you are coming from and I would agree with you if I had not discovered that almost all of the rumours in this case were based on media speculation and distortions. The contaminated blood story was based upon DNA samples taken from not just the blood, but rocks, stones and dirt from the side of the road.
    Samples were also taken from under the vehicle and were found to have DNA from an animal, roadkill. The actual blood pool was not contaminated with animal blood, it was human and the DNA matched Peter Falconio.
    That is just one of the many rumours that I found were false. There is a big difference between what Joanne actually said about her attack to what the media claims she said. A writer once claimed there were 12 inconsistencies in Joanne’s story, but in fact there are only two.
    There are logical reasons for the way Joanne behaved but the media were not interested in what was logical only what was sensational. This case was not a set up or an insurance scam, there was no conspiracy. Yes, there was no body or gun and there was no spent cartridge either, but if the gun was a revolver then the cartridge would not be automatically ejected to the ground. The one thing the attacker could not get rid of was the blood. But he attempted to hide it by placing dirt on top of it.
    The attacker cleaned the scene the best he could, he needed to buy time to make his escape. He was calculating and calm, he knew what he was doing.
    I believe the media has a lot to answer for, especially the Daily Mail in Britain as they started speculating about the case from the word go.

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  13. Mal Crowley
    Posted May 17, 2012 at 10:58 am

    Beyond reasonable doubt, to me is what a reasonable prudent man faced with the same set of circumstances would believe to be true and correct., BEYOND RESONONABLE DOUBT; Yet how can 12 good men and a Judge get it so wrong, No body, No fire arm, No known motive, only a small amount of contaminated blood on a roadway alleged to be that of a missing British backpacker.
    Then an alleged attempted abduction of his female partner, who claims she had her hands restrained behind her back and was pushed into the front passengers seat of the attempted abductors vehicle, to sit on a seat to which the alleged abductors dog sat beside her and yet not have one dog hair on her clothes. – a dog she described as a Blue Healer, yet the alleged attempted abductor owned a Dalmatian.
    She then claimed that she climbed between the bucket seats of the alleged abductors Toyota Landcruiser Ute into the canvas sided, covered tray area, before escaping her alleged abductor by exiting the canopy through a solid steel rear panel of the canopy – a Toyota Ute with conversions that has never been proven to have been owned by the alleged abductor, and a vehicle that could never be found with this sort of conversion or been seen by anyone in Australia.
    The alleged abductee claims she then hid in the bush for 5 hours before stopping a passing Roadtrain, the driver of which was reported to have been amazed that she was so warm when he found her, and how clean her clothes were, considering her many hours reported hiding under a bit of scrub in the middle of July on the side of the Highway, to scared to come out, and wearing only a light top, shorts and sandals.
    She is also the only witness to this case.
    Over ten years down the track many Books, TV Reports and even a Movie, and still one son is missing, never proven beyond reasonable doubt as dead or alive, another son is in jail for 28 years for the murder of a British backpacker and the attempted abduction of a British female backpacker; and all the people of the Alice, Australia and Overseas can hear is our Mayor and some of our Councilors making misinformed comments, and looking for someone to blame for making a wrong right.
    Peter Falconio must be found Dead or Alive ?
    Mal Crowley Alice Springs

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  14. Barry Davis
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    Mr Noble made the comment: “It seems they already know where he is” referring to the Falconios knowing where Peter is. Surely a comment as audacious as that must be based on some fact or evidence? Not so, Mr Noble believes this to be true because the Falconio family failed to answer any of the letters he wrote to them. So according to Mr Noble, no response is a sign of suspicious behaviour. He now claims the Falconio family is hiding a dark secret. Perhaps the Falconios decided not to answer Mr Noble because they thought he was an eccentric or perhaps his letters lacked empathy and respect. I have seen the letters he sent to the Falconio family and whilst they were written with a semi polite tone, they issued an ultimatum. If I received letters such as those I too would ignore them.

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  15. tuesday
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    Gosh! Alice Springs council seems to have too many Chiefs and not enough Indians! Not only all of Australia, but many other countries are wanting to know where Peter Falconio is, his parents also would want to know where their son is – what parent wouldn’t? If this reward poster helps to find Peter – isn’t that a wonderful thing?

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  16. Hal Duell
    Posted May 16, 2012 at 12:55 am

    @Eli
    It is very encouraging to hear you reaffirm your commitment to open government.
    Is there any progress on my suggestion the public be allowed to challenge the placement of items into Confidential? It’s not like I am asking to discuss these agenda items out of turn, because I’m not. What I am asking for is the opportunity to ask those officers responsible for placing items in Confidential to publicly explain why they have done so.
    Perhaps we can agree too much public business gets swept into secrecy. As a Councillor you can help reverse this trend.

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  17. Keith Allan Noble
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Dear Reader, To reasonable feeling people, it is not offensive to reunite the Falconio family with their son and brother Peter Marco Falconio. But yes, it would be offenisve to them if they do not want to be publicly reunited with him. (It seems they already know where he is.)
    Of course this reward has sent officials in Alice Springs into a really silly spin. I have already written the mayor Damien Ryan about his ill-conceived words, and must now write him again. Email me if you would like copies. Finding Peter – dead or alive – might completely destroy the official narrative of the Falconio case.
    Please note the reward has nothing to do with selling my related book. PDF copies are available for free, they always have been. Just email me and ask – FINDFALCONIO@gmail.com – KEITH ALLAN NOBLE.
    Postscript: Many thanks to all Territorians who want to know the truth in the Falconio case and who have helped the cause with information and / or assistance. Without the truth, there can be no justice.

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  18. Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:50 am

    Posted May 15, 2012 at 9:26 am re Hal Duell
    Dear Hal, you say I went to Ground on 2 occasions last night during the council meeting. I have put up one explanation regarding the wanted poster, see post (Dear Erwin, regarding your article posted: May 15, 2012 at 7:21 am Town council grapples with Falconio poster.)
    As to your claim of my interrupting Cr Douglas as he talked about rubbish and Charles Creek, “with a warning not to say too much”. I can assure you that you cannot be further from the truth, I do support open discussion. However as Councillors are not afforded the protection against litigation for slander and defamation, I felt the need to speak up to avoid any further naming of third parties in the discussion.
    I did not hide in confidential and was prepared to discuss these matters in open at all times.
    Best wishes
    Eli Melky
    Councillor

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  19. Posted May 15, 2012 at 11:16 am

    Dear Erwin, regarding your article posted: May 15, 2012 at 7:21 am Town council grapples with Falconio poster.
    You referred to my careful address of the issue as (“This was an odd tack for Cr Melky who likes to be known as the champion of transparent government”).
    You are right to suggest I support discussion in the open section, which by raising the matter in open only further cements my strong stand on supporting open discussion.
    However I think this was a matter that did require a delicate approach as clearly I did not want to present any parties mentioned in open with an opportunity of possible litigation against me or anyone else who was to discuss the matter in open.
    I asked the CEO to investigate if the promoters of the wanted poster could be in breach of any false and misleading advertising given they have promoted a cash reward and if so to refer it to the relative authority. Doing this without mentioning names, even though they are already in the public domain, was an attempt to reduce the potential of litigation for slander or defamation against me and others.
    I do not support any type of propaganda marketing at the expense of our town and will act to discourage any further outbreak of this kind of marketing.
    Regards
    Eli Melky
    Councillor

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  20. Hal Duell
    Posted May 15, 2012 at 9:26 am

    It was a bit disappointing to see the immediate default to confidential shown by Crs Melky and Martin. Luckily Mayor Ryan spoke up to calm their fears.
    This was the second time in the meeting Cr Melky went to ground. Earlier Cr Douglas was asking a question about the rubbish in Charles Creek, and he was interrupted by Cr Melky with a warning not to say too much.
    Is rubbish in public places now a matter to be discussed in confidential?
    It still astonishes me how elected officials from all tiers of government campaign on promises of “open” and “transparent”, and yet when elected the predominant sound is that of shutters coming down. Is someone getting in their ear with threats of fines and / or imprisonment, or is it more the lure of knowing something others don’t?
    I wonder who the “appropriate body” will be, and if we will be told. Is there a Minister for Media Beat-ups?

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