Like Mr Conway I find the case of the CoI into the alleged plot to assassinate the President quite interesting for what it says about the manner in which police investigations are conducted (interviews or interrogations); how decisions are made; and the protocols and chain of command. And it is intriguing for the manner in which Gillard’s tale had its genesis.
What are the terms of the CoI? To pronounce on possible police misconduct; whether the police bungled, or worse botched the investigation?
The top cop has the power to order the same day release of someone held, with or without bail. Based on the information he had, he made that decision. It appears his lawyer advised him to go “nuanced” on this question; did he order the release or merely suggest it? Hedging made him look weak. He knew the parties in the complaint. He made a determination the report was false. He had the power to order the release. When he returned to office he should have called a press conference and explained his decision. End of story.
Police protocol ‒ obey the chain of command ‒ is very powerful. If the police investigators had any doubt about the order coming from the top cop, they could have called the top cop and had the order confirmed.
The larger issue in this matter is that any malicious person could make up a false report just to spite someone with whom he has a festering dispute. Should the police react with panic and lock-up the ‘victims’ because the President is the named target of the report? Do the police have the power to make a determination (after an investigation) that the report is false and release all the suspects? Of course they do. And, if they do, they should also charge the mischief-maker.
This thing blew up the way it did because the top cop never explained his decision publicly, nailed the report as false and said there was therefore no need to keep the ‘suspects’ in the lock-ups. He had the power. He should not be intimidated by the powers of his office.