On Sunday 9th December, Martin
Bryant’s mother Carleen phoned to say she was disturbed to hear that
authorities were demanding that Martin undergo full DNA analysis, in a
bid to find out what makes a mass murderer tick. Obviously concerned
about her only son’s welfare, Carleen Bryant continued nervously “I
suppose this means they will want to interrogate him [Martin] all over
At the time of her telephone call, Mrs Bryant was
staying with friends on the mainland, and the information on Martin and
his DNA was relayed by a contact in Hobart who had just read The
Sunday Tasmanian. Perhaps luckily for Martin and his mother, the
information provided by her contact in Hobart was incomplete. For the
present at least, Martin is not about to be tied down so that his blood
can be forcibly extracted, or once again be subjected to the modern
Australian equivalent of the Spanish Inquisition.
The call for Martin’s DNA apparently originated from Professor
Paul Wilson of Bond University in Queensland, touted by The Sunday
Tasmanian newspaper as a leading criminologist. Wilson
claims"There’s a lot of interest in the whole area of genetic
pre-disposition to crime"..."especially with DNA technology advances,
there is a big argument for looking at Bryant, it’s a unique case."
Martin Bryant is certainly a unique case, but examining his
DNA will not help at all in identifying mass murderers. As most readers
are already aware, hard scientific evidence exists today proving that
Bryant never visited Port Arthur on 28th April 1996, and therefore
cannot possibly be a mass murderer.
Presumably Professor Paul Wilson has not yet been advised
that nineteen of the twenty dead in the Broad Arrow Café were
killed with single shots to the head fired from the gunman’s right hip.
In total only 29 rounds were fired in the Café, killing twenty
and wounding another twelve. This was a staggering technical
achievement, a feat so far beyond the known capabilities of an
intellectually impaired invalid like Bryant, that it beggars the
Compare this deadly accuracy with the performance of
experienced Irish Loyalist gunman Torrens Knight, who in company with
one other, used a total of 120 rounds to kill eight and injure another
eleven in the Catholic Rising Sun pub at Greysteel, Northern Ireland,
during 1993. Only two of the victims were hit in the head, and
most of the rounds missed completely, burying themselves in the
furniture and walls.
Anyone deluded enough to suggest that intellectually impaired
Martin Bryant was three times as accurate as two of the top Loyalist
shooters in Northern Ireland, should probably make an appointment with
his or her psychiatrist as a matter of urgency.
Predictably perhaps, the Tasmanian Police Service does not
appear keen to participate in any new DNA adventures where Bryant is
concerned. According to the newspaper, a police representative said
that the "CrimTrac" database uses only junk DNA for identification
purposes which does not contain any detailed genetic information. Any
detailed examination of Bryant’s DNA might bring to light the
embarrassing fact that no DNA matches were made between Bryant and the
Broad Arrow, nor between Bryant and the expended shell cases
found on the floor.
Put bluntly, the Tasmanian Police Service has no scientific
evidence at all linking Martin Bryant to Port Arthur. Today, nearly
five years after the event, TasPol has still not conducted the routine
procedure of walking Bryant around the crime scenes to "validate" his
seventy-two guilty pleas extracted under duress during November 1996.
In the view of this author, some senior Tasmanian Police
Officers would probably be prepared to walk over broken glass in their
bare feet, rather than conduct another interview with Martin Bryant,
this time properly recorded on dual videos not subject to the various
"breakdowns" claimed during his initial police interview in July 1996.
More interesting than Professor Wilson’s comments, are
remarks the newspaper attributes to forensic psychologist Ian Joblin,
who submitted a 30-page clinical psychological evaluation of Bryant to
the Supreme Court of Tasmania, based on four days of interviews. Mr
Joblin may be better known nationwide to the public for his work as
clinical psychological counselor to the "notorious" and high-profile
John Freidrich, Chief Executive of the doomed Victorian NSCA during the
Readers may recall that after trying desperately to dig
himself out of the mess he eventually found himself in, John Freidrich
a.k.a. "Iago", allegedly by shot himself through the back of the head
with a handgun - twice. Police recorded a verdict of suicide, although
no suicide note was ever found.
"The Sunday Tasmanian quoted Mr Joblin as saying that
anxiety and stress after Port Arthur may have affected Bryant’s
demeanour during those four days of interviews and it was time for more
research. "I’d like to see him again to compare notes" Joblin said, "To
try and understand .... five years later."
If these quotes are accurate, then we have a truly
extraordinary situation. Out of his own mouth, the only forensic
psychologist to interview Bryant appears to be suggesting that his
reports may have been different if Bryant was not under stress after
Port Arthur, though straightforward stress can have nothing to do with
At the time of these interviews Bryant was in agony from
third-degree burns to the back and side, suffered when Seascape caught
fire. There can be few stresses more powerful than those induced by
third degree burns. If the quotes in The Sunday Tasmanian are
not accurate, Mr Joblin should ask the newspaper to print a retraction.
Quite obviously neither Mr Joblin or anyone else has the right
to talk to convicted felon Martin Bryant without his consent, and
because Bryant is an intellectually impaired invalid, any applicant
would also need to seek consent from his guardian. Because the
Tasmanian Government and Supreme Court blatantly failed to provide
Bryant with a guardian, the only person at this late stage who can lay
claim to this position is his own next-of-kin and mother, Mrs Carleen
Bryant. Mrs Bryant has confirmed for me that Mr Joblin has not
approached her on this matter.
One can reasonably ask why all of the sudden renewed interest
in Bryant after five years of almost total neglect, but the answer is
obscure. Perhaps the best clue is that Risdon Prison suddenly received
a large number of written apologies for Martin Bryant in the week
leading up to "Martin Bryant Sorry Day" on 22nd November, two weeks
before the newspaper was published.
The apologies were signed by ordinary Australians, all
seriously concerned that Bryant had not received a trial, and wishing
him well. By all accounts, this sudden rush of mail to Risdon led to a
limited number of panic attacks around the Australian establishment,
Within days of the same event, the author suddenly received
multiple inquiries from the mainstream media asking for interviews,
with at least one caller showing considerable ingenuity. Because we
have a silent telephone line, Radio 2UE managed to find the telephone
number of the house across the road here in Perth, and asked its owner
to walk over and ask me to call the John Laws Programme in Sydney.
Apparently Mr Laws wished to speak to me on air about "Martin Bryant
My response to a producer of the John Laws Programme, was
that I could see no point in going live to air on the matter, unless a
format could be devised which provided ordinary people with the
background, i.e. why we had to arrange "Martin Bryant Sorry Day" in the
After thinking about the options, I suggested that John Laws
find a commissioned Tasmanian Police Officer to go head-to-head with me
on live radio, thereby providing an opportunity to convince the
Australian public once and for all time that there is absolutely no
evidence linking Martin Bryant to Port Arthur. On the flip side of the
coin, it might provide an opportunity for a major Australian media star
to put me down completely, and thus rid the poor harassed Australian
politicians of an arch "Conspiracy Theorist".
But I would only be put down if I failed to convince
Australian listeners that my independent investigation was accurate,
and the Tasmanian Police Service investigation of 1996 inaccurate. A
calculated risk by any media standard. To be fair, the producer seemed
quite enthusiastic and said she would pass on my offer to John Laws.
Then she told me John Laws was going on holiday, and then of course
there was Christmas. Oh well, maybe we can talk about it again in the
Regardless of who wants to interview whom about what, the
sudden resurgence of interest in Martin Bryant is the single most
important factor. No matter whether it is academics and doctors who
wish to use him as a human guinea pig, or the media and others who
might prefer to vilify him all over again, his name has once again been
put in front of ordinary Australians. And so it should be.
Our initial collective lack of concern for an intellectually
impaired young man tortured into admitting guilt for a mass murder he
did not commit, shames Australia and Australians as no other single act
could. We owe it to ourselves to ensure that Martin Bryant receives the
trial he is entitled to in law.