16. Silver Medal for Class 26
Few aspects of my weird and wonderful journey over these past years have been as magic as the timing of it all. Small and otherwise insignificant incidences happened with precision timing, which spooked even me at times. They occurred with increasing frequency. I knew that is was not any power I possessed, but a divine being was at work. This thought assured me. I was not alone in my struggle for truth and justice. I was on a Royal Commission.
I had total confidence it was God who had lead me in April 05, for a second time, across an ocean. He wanted to show HIS mighty power to all who would believe, even in the far corners of HIS world.
On the very morning of writing, almost 7 months after it happened, God showed me a quirk, which at the time I had not seen. (Those of you, who think in my code, may have discovered it already, when reading Chapter 6). It was in Longbeach, California, where I had been led to an intersection. I had noticed the name of the building - Sea spray Gardens.
Later I reported that only a few kilometers away, I had spotted the huge sign of the EA Games Company. (I tried in vain to make contact, to show them our road safety game). This morning a thought came to me. I had changed the letter a in sea spray to e, making it ‘sees pray’. Perhaps someone was playing games with me - the ‘EA Game’?
Not long after returning from the USA the inquiry into a road fatality near Freeling, 60 kilometers north of Adelaide, occupied a lot of my time. The process took the form of a Royal Commission, whose function I have already described elsewhere. It was held at 26 Flinders Street, Adelaide and commenced on May 12th, 2005. The final report by the Commissioner was released on July 15th, 2005.
The following is an overview, how events were reported, surrounding the the hit-run crash of a high-profile barrister, on Sunday afternoon, November 30th, 2003.
The victim: Ian Humphrey of Evanston Gardens, a keen cyclist, tells his wife at 4 PM that he is going for a bike ride. He cycles towards Freeling north of Gawler, a nearby regional centre 45 kilometers from Adelaide.
The motorist: A prominent Adelaide Barrister, Eugene McGee, is having lunch with his mother Marjorie and brother Craig at the Wheatsheaf Hotel, Allendale North, approx. 4 kilometers Northwest of Kapunda. He was originally from Kapunda. His elderly mother still lives in No. 5 Rowett Street.
Together with their meal the two brothers pay for three bottles of wine. Later in the afternoon Eugene McGee is taking his brother and mother in his 4WD Mitsubishi Pajero back to Kapunda around 4 pm, stays there for a short time, then commences his return to Adelaide at about 4.30 pm.
Halfway to Gawler, at the Freeling turn-off, he draws the attention of one of two brothers, as they wait to give way at the Stop sign on the T-junction. Minutes later, further south on the Kapunda Road, another motorist, traveling with his wife, sees a 4 WD vehicle in his rear view mirror. It is so close, he can describe even the colour hair of the driver.
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On the same day I bought 8 Tomatoes, weighing exactly 1000 G, I saw this. The way it said WALK THIS WAY I asked myself, where is the arrow pointing to?
To a large blue P, which points to LC House. How I wished they all would walk this way and see the P and then the L.
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Moments later, still looking in the rear view mirror, the motorist sees the car hit a cyclist, causing him to fly through the air. He sees the Pajero overtaking, slowing, but then continuing on, leaving a dead cyclist behind.
They stop. His wife calls the emergency number. Other passers-by arrive at the crash scene, the two brothers, who saw McGee at the junction, were next on the scene. Police arrives, directs traffic and seals off the road to the north and south.
McGee and his vehicle disappear for a few hours. (He later claims long lapses in memory). He phones his brother. Both return to their mother’s house in Kapunda. McGee tells his brother he ran over a cyclist and didn’t stop at the scene. His brother drives him back to Adelaide, first to his home in Collinswood, then to a lawyer friend in Norwood, a suburb a few minutes east of Adelaide.
Police is searching for the crashed vehicle and the driver. (The wife of the motorist, who witnessed the crash, the only person who did), had noted the registration number and passed it on to police).
At 11.30 pm McGee is arrested by police at the Norwood address and is taken to the City Watch House to be charged.
These were the events, as I researched them, in a nutshell. At no time was a blood sample taken from Mr. McGee, an omission, which later became the catalyst for much protest by the public.
As I saw it right from the start, too much in the case was focused on one factor – Why was no blood sample taken from McGee? Was he let off because of his standing, influence and connections? (He served in the police force, before entering the law profession).
Early in the morning of Thursday, June 9th, 05 I read Day 3 of the McGee trial online. (There used to be a link from the KRRC website, which now appears to have been removed). That day the publicans of the Wheatsheaf Hotel were in the witness box.
How ironic - on that Thursday I had already planned to visit the Hotel and Kapunda. I found in previous investigations that a physical inspection, just walking around with eyes opened, usually produced a surprise or two.
I packed a snack and a drink and loaded my bicycle into the back of my Suzuki. An hour later I pedaled along the tree-lined streets of historic Kapunda. I first wanted to have a closer look at 5 Rowett Street, a short street, located at the northern edge of the township.
The McGee property is on a large corner block, slightly sloping with plenty of trees, shrubs and outbuildings. The name of the side road escapes me, but I am sure it was a fitting Da Ninci name. Did you notice I have not made once a fuss about the property being number 5, nor mentioned that Eugene McGee’s Pajero carried the registration plate …35?
One thought came to mind immediately, as I realized how large the grounds are, which surround the McGee property. Nowhere in the transcript of the trial did I read that on the night, following the crash, the police were searching for McGee in the surrounding grounds or outbuildings. On the first occasion, around 7 pm, a policeman knocked on the door and talked to Craig McGee, who simply said his brother was not there.
Two hours later, from 8.50 pm to 9 pm, another police officer visited the Rowett Street premises and met with no response at the door. The Pajero was parked outside the house. If McGee had been hiding from police, he would know each square inch of this property. Why didn’t the police officers mention that they searched the surrounding area, including the outbuildings. If they had not searched them, looking for McGee, why not?
Where was Marjorie McGee, while the police were on her property? A police officer stayed there to guard the vehicle for a considerable time.
Kapunda, a historic town, making more history at present.
New season’s fruit trees at bargain prices. What kind of fruit trees are they?
The road to the Allendale Hotel is slightly winding and not exactly flat; perfect for my kind of bike riding. The historic building is of solid stone construction, with a typical colonial front porch and tin roof. The side road, how could I not notice, is called Mount Allen Road. I wouldn’t have minded cycling on a bit, but I was not on a pleasure trip, but came for business. Or one could say, I knew how to combine pleasure with business.
The young couple running the Hotel was very friendly. I told them straight out that I was making a submission to the KRRC and wanted to check up on a few facts. We talked while I slowly sipped a shandy.
How strange - a shandy is the only alcoholic drink I consume in a public place, generally. It has a wow Da Ninci name, and in German the drink (beer and lemonade mixed) is called 'Radler'. The literal translation is (pedal-) cyclist!
I had hoped to perhaps uncover a clue or two, which I could include in my submission; mainly about the medical or mental condition Mrs. McGee was in. In the trial notes it said, Mrs. McGee was not asked to give evidence; she has a medical condition.
How ill was she? Did she suffer from dementia or another illness, which prevented her from saying, how her son’s driving was between the hotel and home after lunch? Not even Craig McGee was asked this question (At least I didn’t read it anywhere).
If Mrs. McGee was thinking reasonably clearly, she could also have given witness as to how much alcohol was consumed and by whom. I could even imagine that her motherly instinct would come through and say: “Boys, don’t drink so much; remember you have to drive home later”. The publican’s wife Patricia told me that Marjorie McGee comes across as a beautiful, elderly lady.
Her son Craig, who shared the wine that was consumed, later launched a court action, to exempt himself from giving evidence at the KRRC. He did not want to be forced give evidence, incase he incriminated himself. This makes me ask logically: Did he consume the lion share of the three bottles of wine? The accused, Eugene McGee stated that he had only 4 or 5 glasses. He felt that this did not impair his driving at all.
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A driver allegedly died on this pole at the end of September 05. The way I heard it on the news, something inside me registered. I took this photo on Sunday 2/10/05.The deceased's name on the memorial is given as Marty. It tied in, somehow, with the automotive spare parts place right opposite, PartsMart, which I read as 'part Smart'.
Around the corner I noticed a branch of a world-wide German company. I had written to them months ago, having fun by making their name into LIGHTS, by adding a G.. The address was Glebe St. I wondered if I was to read G-lebe? (Lebe is German for - live).
Nearby was a vehicle with a for sale sign on the window. Private sale, Holden NOVA, $ 5500, 132000 km. I remembered, when the crashed vehicle was shown on TV, I read in a nanosecond the rego plate... 132 (or 123). This may have been why I was alerted. There's more:
On the way home I was checking out the house of photographer Derick Sands (Chapter 42, Mind). I followed a garage sale sign to No. 79 ...St. There was nothing there to even look at, except a Holden Barina (in a bar) parked in the driveway. Rego Victory & Cross ...21). 2/10 was that day's date.
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(Back to the McGee case)
The prosecution went to great lengths trying to prove the point of intoxication. Was it ever publicized in the press that three bottles were purchased, but only two glasses were poured from the third bottle? The McGee brothers became aware of their alcohol intake.
A Forensic Scientist, Robert Lokan, had given expert opinion at the McGee trial, regarding the alcohol aspect. I was looking in vain for a clear statement from him saying, McGee either was, or was not, capable of driving safely that afternoon. In one paragraph the scientist seems to let McGee completely off the hook:
Assuming an average elimination rate of .016% per hour, he estimates Eugene McGee’s blood alcohol concentration was 0.02. Assuming a different elimination rate being the reasonable maximum value for the elimination rate, the Eugene McGee’s blood alcohol concentration would have been zero. (KRRC Report - Chapter 2, Page 20, The trial).
I don’t fully understand this. Does this mean: Depending on how quickly McGee’s body absorbed (eliminated) the alcohol, he could have been zero reading at 5pm that afternoon? One must remember that drinking may have commenced as early as half past 12 or 1 pm.
Why was there no headline saying: McGee not drunk says expert. Even the possibility that McGee was under the limit, when the crash occurred, gave ground for a headline, surely? (Perhaps there was such a headline in the Advertiser? I was in the USA at the time of the trial).
Was it a foregone conclusion that McGee was really drunk? Was the trial constructed around this assumption? Perhaps a blood sample soon after the crash would have been a good idea? It may have revealed a far lower reading, destroying the prosecutions case?
This would explain, why no less than six witnesses testified in court in regard to the alcohol: The two publicans, two expert scientists, two customers at the hotel. In contrast, nowhere did I read that the ambulance officer, who attended the scene, or any ambulance officer, was called to testify, that he saw a dead cyclist when he got there. Everyone deserves a fair trial.
If I sound like sticking up for a drunk hit-run driver, so be it. My ultimate aim is for the truth to be told and to see the guilty ones punished. If there are innocent people in jail, and I have been told there probably are, God is not pleased. He hates it.
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Top: The photo meant to show the Crown and Sceptre Hotel. I only noticed this red car parked outside, rego VR.. 611, after collecting the photo from development.
Bottom: Moments before taking the photo of the red vehicle, (what strange timing) I had taken a photo of these blue markings in Adelaide's Weymouth/Corner Bentham St. It was not long after I wrote the chapter about the numbers 1,9. I had noticed the blue markings while cycling and returned later with the camera.
Years ago, when I was still teaching learner drivers from 7.30 am until 6.30 pm, a crime-fighter died in a bomb blast in the Weymouth Street office building, another was badly injured. It is suspected that a drug dealer had sent the parcel bomb, which killed the unsuspecting officer on opening.
A man, already on other drug charges, was caught and almost convicted. Just as the case was going to trial, overnight and unexpectedly, it was dropped. I suspected foul play by underworld figures.
The partner of the surviving, but badly and permanently injured detective, was closely involved in the Kapunda Road Royal Commission.
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(Back on my bike)
I climbed back onto my bicycle, mildly disappointed that I hadn’t really picked up much at the hotel to play with. There was one minor point. I had read in the trial transcript (or it may have been in a press report) that the McGee’s were regular customers, and always sat at their favourite table, Number 7. The publican, Patricia, told me, this was not so.
I was not very successful picking up information at the pub, but the day wasn't over yet. My lucky break came as I cycled back the short distance to Kapunda. I spotted something interesting. It was perfect for my show and tell segments, plus, who knows, a future exhibit for the proposed Da Ninci Museum. (Or had I abandoned the idea, I have forgotten).
Before telling what I picked up, allow us a slight detour.
My son recently gave me a strange look, which said: Are you for real dad? He had been into the shed and discovered my overflowing Da Ninci museum-in-the-making, the size of a shoebox.
It’s true, not many of his friend’s dads would get excited about an odd baby sock, an old tea towel or an empty, dirty drink container with ‘Classic’ or ‘Feel Good’ written on it. But I really thought it was all classic material. To pick it up made me feel good.
I treasured my trophies (the tea towel came all the way from Perth/Western Australia, the baby sock all the way from California/USA) as much as if I had brought a tiger skin from Africa. Another plus - tea towels and baby socks are far easier to replace than African tigers. Even my son would agree to that.
Forgive the distraction, but on the day of writing I had gotten myself into an argument with my son. I read a sentence on the front page of our free newspaper, (The Messenger Press Nov. 2, 05) which didn't make sense:
The man, whose age has not be (sic) released. Aha!
An old man fishing on a breakwater suffered a heart attack (two months earlier on 5/9/05). Because the location was rough to access, the man had to be brought out by boat. Authorities argued, had the ambulance been able to access the breakwater, his life might have been saved.
The paper is asking for feedback. Here is mine: Make a law that stipulates, where people are allowed to have their heart-attacks!
The statement that his age had not been released just did not make sense. Had it said his name (or identity) has not been released, I could understand it. My simple questioning brought a vehement response of condemnation: “What are you reading into this, dad? They just didn’t know how old the man was”.
I argued: “It did not say, age unknown, it said it was not released. Why print anything about his age in that case?” I felt like a criminal for using my brain and asking questions.
My son must have sensed that I did read something into it. I admit I did, but had certainly not told him. The headline was FISHING FATALITY. Above it was a photo of three happy children laughing, obviously having fun. The reporter’s name David Knight tickled me too.
Just as I write I noticed the story goes from page 1 to page 9. On page 9, beside the 'fishy' story is a smaller item - Goodman Road will be temporarily closed on November 19... I could go on. (I gave my one and only political speech in Goodman Road almost two years ago).
I dare not mention any of this to my family. Anyone who can’t understand that there is no logic in withholding a dead man’s age (his name was withheld too, but this was not pointed out anywhere), will never understand my more complex linking and thinking. The fact that it all didn't make sense, was the only thing that made sense.
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Let's return to the road outside Kapunda. I picked up an empty bottle of wine on the side of the road, about one kilometer from the Allendale North Hotel. I was not going to bother with it, only when I spotted a second bottle and then a third bottle a little further on, did I turn back and pick one up. Three bottles of wine - that make sense. I picked one up to take home. (Usually, when I return with a larger item, I sneak in the shed, hoping to not be detected and questioned).
I didn't check, if one of the bottles littering the road, was still ľ full. This too would have made sense. I strapped this bottle onto my luggage carrier and took it home. My scanner, an AV 260C Plus, by AVISON INC. had no trouble scanning the label, while still on the bottle.
Strange a few days ago in Melbourne I had an incredible 1 - 3 experience. (More later, God willing). The Y is the last letter of Chardonnay. The S the final letter of the Winery WOLF BLASS. It won a price in Class 26 at the Royal Hobart Wine Show. (I scanned this bottle at random, not to make a point. This bottle speaks for itself).
Back in Kapunda I decided to check out the ex-residence of Mr. Liddy. In Chapter 2 I have already uploaded a photo of the large mansion, which was taken from him, and sold. The proceeds are meant to (eventually) compensate his victims. (Why don't we hear how these proceedings are going?)
I had seen a picture on the news a few days after returning from the USA. From memory, it was reported that the mansion was in disrepair, vandals were getting into it. It certainly didn’t look like it that day in June.
It surprised me that the person I asked at the post office, did not know, which mansion I was talking about. In a town the size of Kapunda this was unusual. I scanned the surrounding hills with my observing eye and, after a few minutes pedaling, recognized the red brick fence. The place had been renamed Mount Saint Rose, the number 5 was prominently displayed beside the front gate.
How co-incidental - the address of the Liddy mansion and the McGee residence are both Number 5! That day, before returning to Adelaide, I also found out the name of the street, where the ex-Liddy mansion was situated.
Read on and be astounded, as I was, when months later I was led to a property, another landmark mansion in Adelaide’s south. I experienced a unique example of perfect timing.
I shed tears just writing about it. Tears of joy and tears of pain. There is a fine line.
One thing I know - those who sow with tears, will reap in joy.