May 21, 1997
Alice Springs police say John Liddle, the head of the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress in Alice Springs, will be charged over alleged drug offences.
A CIB detective says he is investigating the finding of three cannabis plants and a quantity of cannabis leaf allegedly discovered on a property at Ilparpa owned by Mr Liddle.
The Alice News understands that charges may be be laid by the end of this week by way of a summons.
When contacted by the News, Mr Liddle claimed to know nothing about the matter, and demanded to know where the information had come from.
Told that the information had been confirmed by police, Mr Liddle said he would ring the Alice Springs Police.
Mr Liddle, born in Alice Springs, is a high profile member of a well known Aboriginal family and a former chairperson of the Alice Springs Regional Council of ATSIC.
He became the director of congress last year which is the town's major Aboriginal health organisation.
It operates a welfare department, dental and medical clinics, as well as a child care centre.

Alice Springs will get its own Star Wars with the July 1 deregulation of telecommunications, if local TV activist Les Brooks has his way.
As Austar is scrambling to sign up locals as paying viewers before the change, Les is touting a huge range of free to air programs that will become available.
Galaxy is working with a distributor company named Austar, whoÍve set up an office in the Yeperenye Centre.
Austar, an American owned company, using a large satellite dish, will receive the Galaxy signal and then retransmit 11 different TV channels from Galaxy to individual homes in Alice Springs by microwave.
Subscribers will pay an installation cost of around $100 and $39.95 monthly for the Austar service.
A decoder box, smaller than a VCR, sits on top of the household TV set, and accepts a smart card, which is purchased by the subscriber.
A microwave antenna to receive the signal will also be installed for this cost.
When asked for a start up date in Alice, an Austar spokesman would only say: "Our Alice Springs rollout is scheduled for the month of May.î Asked if preparations were on schedule, he said: "On past performances elsewhere in Australia, I'd have to say we've frequently been late.
With the recent advent of TV signals going digital, Galaxy / Austar utilises for 10 TV channels and 8 radio channels the same amount of space on the satellite (one transponder) as was previously required for - say - Imparja TV alone.
An important change is that advertising will be permissible on pay TV channels after July 1, and Austar will have the ability to insert local advertising for Alice audiences.
After deregulation the interesting question is who else will make services available.
It would be absolutely astonishing if Foxtel (25 or 32 channels) and Optusvision (23 channels) didnÍt join in what is sure to be a battle royal for subscribersÍ dollars.
Rupert MurdochÍs Star TV going into Asia is already on satellite with 46 channels and after July 1 would not be barred from distributing its programs in Australia.
Although no one wants to preannounce their intentions, international reception engineer and TV guru Brooks says: "After July 1, the skyÍs the limit.
Anybody can offer a free-to-air or pay TV service.
"Optusvision have already booked space on the satellite and are currently test broadcasting."
He says other countries might also decide to compete such as Japan, Malaysia, France, China, US, Egypt, Portugal or The Philippines, all of whom presently have their signals on satellite.
The UK is currently running tests and may also be a player.
Viewers here could watch these free to air services from overseas now by buying a 1.8 metre satellite dish for around $1,100 plus installation costs, then there are no ongoing subscriptions to pay.
"People just don't believe the TV bonanza that's coming," says Mr Brooks.
Four years ago we had two channels here. Then I was instrumental in bringing SBS and Channel 10 into town."
Les has also done extensive survey and reception work for Austar: "I've been the only person to receive Austar between Adelaide and Darwin for the last nine months, and I can tell you, I've had a lot of friends."

The large Catholic community of Alice Springs is in deep shock over the criminal conviction last week of Marist Brother John Dyson, the former principal of the Catholic High School, for indecently assaulting young boys.
Several parishioners, all of whom asked the Alice News to refrain from publishing their names, and some of whom say the church had lied to them by withholding available facts for several months, were outraged that the present principal of the school, and its campus head, travelled interstate last week to support Br Dyson.
Several in the Catholic community suggested instead that the two should have been offering counselling to the student victims. For eight years from 1988 until August last year Br Dyson, 47, was principal of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School (OLSH) in Alice Springs and a highly regarded and forceful member of both the diocese and the Alice Springs Catholic community. But serious allegations from Br Dyson's past, when he was a teacher and dormitory master at Assumption College in Kilmore, Victoria, finally caught up with him in Alice Springs.
Although reports of sexual abuse by Dyson against three College boarders, boys aged 14, were reportedly known by the Vicar General of the Catholic Church in Victoria, the church in the NT claims it was unaware of these allegations. That position changed abruptly when police from Victoria arrived in Alice Springs to question Dyson on August 15 last year. Br Dyson withdrew from the school and resigned his position that same day.
Many in the Catholic community here were surprised at the sudden departure of the high school principal, but were told that Br Dyson had gone on "stress leave." It was only on Thursday last week when Br Dyson pleaded guilty in Seymour Magistrates Court to four charges of indecently assaulting three boys, that parents and others in Alice Springs learned the news from television reports that evening.
The court was told that Br Dyson's attacks on three vulnerable children in his care were "like a monster attacking his prey". One of the victims, an orphan, in a statement to the court recalled Br Dyson had regularly sexually abused him at night, sometimes up to five times in a week.
Br Dyson was sentenced to 12 months prison after pleading guilty to the charges, but had his sentence suspended to serve the term in community service.
Br Paul Gilchrist, present principal of OLSH, Alice Springs flew to Victoria to appear as a character witness for Br Dyson, and a written reference was also presented from Bishop Ted Collins, in Darwin. The Alice News has learned that Monica Davies, a former close associate of Br Dyson, also went interstate last week to offer her support.
Last Friday a letter from Br Gilchrist was sent to all parents of children at OLSH announcing what it termed "some rather unpleasant and difficult news," about Br Dyson's conviction. Attached to Br Gilchrist's letter was a copy of a letter from Marist Brothers in Victoria written by Br Des Howard addressed to the Catholic School Community of Alice Springs. In his letter Br Gilchrist says: "I am aware that this news (of Br Dyson's conviction) will come to you as a shock, and it is a most distressing situation for us all, especially the victims of the abuse and those who feel betrayed by this revelation."
The letter claims that "Marist Brothers had no prior knowledge of these allegations until they came to our attention through the police investigations on 15th August, 1996." It goes on to explain that the church was "not able to bring this matter to your attention before now, but because the matter was before the courts we were not permitted to comment about the case prior to today."
In fact, unless a court order suppresses such details, the name, age, occupation and nature of charges in relation to an accused can always be reported under Australian law.
To say the Alice Catholic community is in shock over these revelations and the way in which they've been handled would be an understatement. The Alice News has spoken to a number of prominent Catholics in town and their reactions have all been very similar.
An Alice businessman whose son attended OLSH said he was "shocked and appalled. I would not like to think that the church hides such things. "It's rotten stuff, and as Catholics we all feel very embarrassed about it. "None of us knew anything about it beforehand, but it did seem strange to me at the time when he (Dyson) left town so quickly."
A long term employee of Centralian College, a woman active in Catholic community work, said: "Putting him inside is not going to do anything. "I think that having to live amongst the community will probably put him through more hell than if he was locked up. "I just feel very sorry for him and his victims." Northern Territory Bishop Ted Collins says: "At the time the religious societies here didn't have a clue that he (Dyson) had these things against him.
"He was a high profile bloke who'd done an important management role in Perth before he came to Alice.
"We certainly scrutinised him. We just don't take anybody. Our whole Catholic education system is geared in that way."
Asked what precautions the church has in place to try and prevent further occurrences of this kind, Bishop Collins said: "We have been working at national Bishops' conferences towards a plan for the past six years.
"Now quite apart from this present case, we have a comprehensive and important document, issued in December 1996, [called] Principles and procedures in responding to complaints of sexual abuse against personnel of the Catholic Church in Australia."
The document has resulted in "contact persons" appointed in every diocese to "take details and immediately pass them on to the appropriate church authority."
However, Bishop Collins could or would not name the people in the NT with whom complaints could be lodged. A structure has been set up to deal with complaints of sexual abuse within the church to include, in addition to contact persons, "assessors, victim support persons, and accused's support persons." Bishop Collins says: "There is also provision in this structure for liaison with police."
Commenting on his own reaction to the Dyson case, the Bishop said: "Everyone has been absolutely shocked because he was such a high flyer, such a nice guy, and so competent in so many areas.
"I was at a Catholic school in Darwin this morning and the principal there, who knew Br Dyson, was saying she was absolutely flattened.
"He was the last person I would have ever suspected of this sort of behaviour.
"Maybe you have to say you just don't know what someone's capable of."

While public concern about crime in Alice Springs is reaching new heights, the number of many offences is actually going down, according to Police Commander Robin Bullock, although the total number of reports has grown.
Commander Bullock told the Alice News: "Normally in Alice we're taking about 13,000 people into protective custody in a year, which gives an example of the ongoing nature and size of the problem.
"But we need to look at where these people are coming from, and if there are people from out of town coming into Alice, how do we repatriate them? The nature of the problem is beyond police capacities.
"There's a whole community approach needed to deal with what is essentially a very deep seated problem in this community."
On the question of enforcement of the two kilometre law, Commander Bullock says: "Over the preceding 10 days we have actually tipped out in excess of 120 litres of wine and 34 litres of beer from people apprehended in contravention of the two kilometre law.
"The reality is that the law is being enforced, but what people are failing to accept is the nature and size of the problem."
Asked then about the visible groups who continue drinking within two kilometres of licensed premises, Mr Bullock said: "We have to prioritise the matters we're dealing with.
"There are sometimes matters of a more serious nature than a report of people drinking in public, but of course we will respond to the drunks report. But if for example there's been an accident, then we have an obligation to attend to those sorts of things first."
The commander believes police will be in a better position to address the town's problems when additional staff graduate from their training in July.
"We will then be at appropriate levels when we receive eight more constables and 16 auxiliaries.
"There may be some attrition of existing staff between now and then.
"When the new staff finish their training in July, we have to relocate them from Darwin, and then get them up to speed in this location."
Commander Bullock said he'd found the Alice Town Council, which he recently addressed, "very supportive and understanding, and I passed on to them as I do to the rest of the community our commitment to deal with the problems as best we can, but there has to be a co-ordinated approach.
"The problem [of alcoholism] is not the sole responsibility of the police.
"We have to deal with the consequences of it, but we do not have management of the reasons for these problems."

The eighties boom in real estate was followed by a slow start to the nineties - but then the market took off like The Alice has never seen it before. Agent and auctioneer IAN BUILDER continues his recollections.
The turnover of properties out-classed the eighties and the seventies by a mile and has become extraordinary since the mid nineties. The reason lies in growth of the town's population, due in part to a recent expansion of the Joint Defence Facility at Pine Gap and a gradual demand from the Department of Defence for land in certain areas.
"Apart from that, it's got me beaten," says Ian.
"There must be a lot of people coming into town in the service industries as we don't have the other things that I can think of that would bring people in. "But it's happening."
If the railway line comes to pass that will also lead to at least a temporary demand for accommodation in Alice Springs. Have there been any dangers during this period of exceptional growth?
"I've often felt a bit peeved about having to develop all these units around the place," says Ian.
"If land becomes more readily available then units might lose value more quickly than anything else.
"Apart from that, if we've got around 28,000 people here now and we retain our natural growth with a little bit of an impetus from outside then I would expect we'd go along like most other towns in Australia.
"There's a floor price wherever you are for the cost of development and building. Our costs are recognised as being much higher than in areas along the coast because of the cost of carting in all the gear.
"You could say our costs are probably 25 to 30 per cent higher than down south and that's only if we're building in town.
"Since 1970 when I first came here, it's always been an exciting place. The town has certainly had its hard times but we've never felt the real pressures of credit squeezes like we've seen in other areas of Australia.
"I doubt that we'll be protected from that in the future."
Ian says there's always a surprise around the corner, such as the development of Aboriginal housing in the Larapinta Valley up to Jay Creek. Prior to native title he thinks the government would have been wise to have actually made parcels of land, taking from 50 to 200 house sites, available to developers as they saw the challenge for it.
They could have been strategically placed in relation to where head works are likely to be in the future.
Instead of the government determining when to begin the next subdivision, they could have said we have a requirement this year for so many houses for welfare, for defence, for something else. The developers could have taken up the challenge.
In Ian's view development in the industrial land has gone the same way as development of unit sites, that is towards the development of industrial estates. The best example is in Smith Street where there are a number of industrial sheds on about 18,000 square metres of land.
There has also been a similar development on Lovegrove Drive, Elder Street and George Crescent and another, on a larger scale, is underway in the old railway housing estate close to the town centre.
These industrial estates provide for the needs of smaller operators who require good quality workshops and a bit of land or the service industry requiring sheds of 200 to 400 square metres.
"The days when we needed much bigger parcels of land for specialist contractors are no longer with us," says Ian.
"But they may come back and where would we go for bigger parcels of land, perhaps south of the Gasp?"
Better planning, especially in the rural areas, is a must, in his view: "With the right planning we could probably reduce the size of the blocks, particularly if there's some water available.
"Unfortunately we've been developing the good old-fashioned way of straight roads, with nothing nice about the subdivisions, the land's all little squares on a map.
"Everyone builds up on the farthest corner so you've got four houses stuck in the middle of 20 acres.
"We should be seeing rural areas with nice winding roads, good places for people to ride horses and do all sorts of things which are supposed to be available in rural areas.
"Horses, motorbikes and dogs all have a part to play, but there should also be big areas for gatherings in a nice setting, picnic grounds, community centres. "We've probably missed opportunities for all this but as the town expands we'll see more rural developments, hopefully off the flat country and a little more interesting."
It's also clear, says Ian, that in this arid part of Australia we have to develop landscaping around our housing that does not rely heavily upon watering.
"We need to conserve water, learn how to utilise it more effectively. I've seen some ideas, for instance, about using our grey water (washing, bath water, etc) but people should get some financial benefit from it.
"We need to do it on a broader basis than letting one individual do it and the rest not.
"So, for example, if you're going to build a subdivision of 20 or 30 homes, you build in an incentive for people to use their grey water."
Commercial buildings have also experienced a substantial recovery in the nineties. A number of complexes including the Commonwealth Government building went up in the late eighties.
All the private buildings were struggling to get tenants in, particularly for their first floors and parts of their ground floors. "The local investors were really in a bit of a mess," says Ian.
Now, in 1997, most of the areas that were vacant are taken up. There's probably no more than three or four per cent of retail and office space vacant.
"It's very healthy for Alice Springs to have recovered like it has from the problems of the eighties," says Ian.
"If we grow to 40,000 people, we'll probably go looking for a satellite somewhere - that was mooted a few years ago, moving into Undoolya.
"But maybe the area south of the Gap will take precedence.
"That will depend on what we do with our sewerage pond system.
"Before too long that will probably have to move well away from the town. Then there would be a lot of land ready for development for all sorts of uses. "We've got a new power station being completed in the Brewer Estate, and our water supplies originate south of the Gap. There are better opportunities to take up development south of the Gap rather than breaking up all the works that are currently in place east of Alice Springs.
"Maybe we will come back into Undoolya from the south rather than the other way round.
"Whatever happens, somehow this town just keeps on going."

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