The coroner’s report into the Lindt Café siege in Sydney’s Martin Place on December 15, 2014, will be released today at 10am.
State coroner Michael Barnes will hand down his findings into the 16-hour siege, which ended in the deaths of hostages Katrina Dawson and Tori Johnson, as well as the gunman Man Haron Monis after police stormed the building just after 2am.
A Police Association of NSW executive member and veteran policeman, Tony King, took a preemptive strike against the coronial inquest on Monday labelling it a “witch-hunt”.
King penned a 3400-word defence of police he published on Monday, saying the 14 officers who stormed the café after Monis shot Johnson, the cafe manager, expected that he had a bomb that would explode.
Dawson, a barrister, was killed by fragments of a police bullet.
“Our members are devastated by the tragic loss of innocent lives but to suggest they are to blame is an absolute disgrace,” King said.
“The reason these people died was that Man Monis was out on bail – for reasons that still haven’t been explained.
“This inquest has failed the community by becoming a witch-hunt into policing rather than a sober, level-headed search for the truth.”
The inquest was told that Monis was released on bail three times in the a year before the siege, despite facing serious charges, including being an accessory to the murder of his ex-wife, and 43 counts of sexual assault against women.
Monis took 18 hostages in the cafe in the name of the Islamic State, and police believed he had a bomb in his backpack. The gunman told authorities that three bombs had been placed around the city — a claim that was false.
Central to concerns was the police action plan, which meant they would not storm the cafe until someone was seriously injured or killed.
The inquest became a battle between lawyers for the Dawson and Johnson families and police over what evidence should be presented in open court.
Repeated examples of communications failures were detailed during the inquiry and outlined on ABC TV’s Four Corners program on Monday night.
Claims by police that one of the hostages who managed to escape during the siege told them he saw wires sticking out of Monis’ backpack — confirmation of a bomb — were disputed by cafe worker Paolo Vassallo.
Business Insider will have the details of the coronial findings when they are handed down.
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