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Australian Police Are Totally Fine With The Way They Handled The Bali Nine Case

The Australian Federal Police has refused to apologise for tipping off Indonesian authorities a decade ago.

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The Australian Federal Police has defended its role in the 2005 arrest of the Bali Nine.

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AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin, deputy commissioner Mike Phelan and deputy commissioner Leanne Close held a news conference in Canberra this morning.

The AFP has not commented on the controversial matter until now, on the grounds that it would have affected the clemency efforts for Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran.

In 2005, the AFP alerted Indonesian police to a potential Australian drug operation, leading to the arrest of the Bali Nine and the execution of Myuran Sukumaran and Andrew Chan.

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Over the last week, the AFP has faced mounting calls to explain why they didn't just arrest the nine people in Australia, and instead let them travel to Bali, where they faced the death penalty.

Here's what we learned from the Australian Federal Police today:

1. The AFP knew the Bali Nine could face the death penalty when they tipped off the Indonesian police.

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"That decision was made in the full knowledge that we may well be exposing those individuals to the death penalty. I have said that before and it's not a position that the AFP has stepped away from. We knew what may occur as a result of that."

2. The tip-off from Scott Rush's father did not lead to the arrest of the Bali Nine.

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The AFP say they were already investigating a syndicate that was recruiting couriers to import drugs into Australia when they received information from a lawyer acting on behalf of the father of Bali Nine member Scott Rush.

"It's been reported that the AFP took the tip-off from Scott Rush's father and then promised that his son would be prevented from leaving Australia... This is simply not true," said deputy commissioner Mike Phelan.

"If Scott Rush's father or his lawyer acting on his behalf had never made contact with the AFP, we would still be in exactly the same position we are today. It made absolutely no difference."


3. The AFP did not have enough evidence to arrest the Bali Nine in Australia.

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The AFP said they had "bit and pieces of information" but no grounds to arrest anyone involved at the time.

Deputy commissioner Phelan denied police could have arrested the Bali nine on conspiracy charges.

"If we'd charged someone with conspiracy at that time, a first-year lawyer would've been able to walk at a first hearing. There was simply no information. There was no evidence," he said.

4. The AFP believes the guideline about cooperating with death penalty countries is appropriate.

AFP Commissioner says he thinks the guideline is appropriate.

"I think the guideline is good. The guideline was reformed and it should've been. It took into account circumstances that needed to be taken to account," said the AFP commissioner.

5. It could happen again.

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AFP commissioner Andrew Colvin says its vital for police to co-operate closely with countries in the region, some of who still have the death penalty.

"We cannot limit our cooperation just to those countries that have a similar judicial system or similar policies to that of our own," he said.

On the key question of could this happen again, I wish I could assure you that this scenario could never happen again but I cannot."

6. Australia's diplomatic relationship with Indonesia didn't factor into the decision to alert Indonesian authorities.

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"The idea that we shopped these Australians into this situation because we wanted to try to curry favour in relation to other investigations is fanciful and offensive," said the commissioner.

Deputy commissioner Phelan said he was the officer who made the decision and "the relationship with Indonesia was not in my mind".

7. The AFP doesn't believe it owes the families of Chan and Sukumaran an apology.

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Commissioner Colvin said that he regrets that the Indonesian government went though with the executions.

"I mean, we can't apologise for the role that we have to try to stop illicit drugs from coming into this community," he said.

"We've said many times that illicit drugs are destroying families and our communities."