The Problematic Evidence of Star Coronial Witness Kathryn Potter (12 July 2021)

Kathryn Potter is the only witness to the firebombing of the Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub at 2.08 am. Her evidence matches Jim Finch’s confession to Dennis Watt, that three people in a black car stopped near the near the entrance and tossed drums into the foyer.

Potter’s evidence before the Coroner on 16 June 2021 was contradictory and difficult to reconcile.

I welcome Potter’s clarification of the following issues;

1. She was adamant she was in a telephone box at the south east corner of the club (on St Paul’s Terrace and opposite the Shamrock Hotel) when the car made the attack. Photos show there was no telephone at this location.

2. Potter said she saw a black car park near the Whiskey entrance. The entrance is on Amelia Street, which is around the corner from where the phone box was said to be. Potter said she could see the action through the glass windows, even though this was a showroom filled with tile samples.

3. Potter said she was with a friend when the massacre occurred. The friend agrees they had gone together to the Whiskey on occasion, but not on this night.

4. Potter argued she made a statement but was heavied by the police (a week later) to recant. They did not like her stating three had bombed the Whiskey as this didn’t fit with their narrative that only Finch and Stuart did it.

There are hundreds of statements, which I have personally viewed, and this is the only one missing. The inference is that it was destroyed as it contradicted the prosecution case.

In the book I showed multiple statements contradicted the police case. In particular four police staff at the watch house did not hear Finch and Stuart confess, yet all the lead detectives in the case did.

5. Potter is adamant Donna Porter was not on the front desk on the night/morning of the fire. She could not know unless she was there all night. Porter’s presence there is corroborated by usual receptionist Jeanette Zidich (now Little) whose 10 March 1973 statement reads, ‘About 12.30 am I was feeling tired and Brian [Little] suggested that Donna Porter could take over my job…’

6. Potter varied on her time time in the club, from briefly, to an hour and a half (12 am to 1.30 am) and says she was in the phone box about 1.30 am ringing Chequers. As the firebombing occurred at 2.08 am, the call would have been 38 minutes long.

7. Potter saw (only viewable through the showroom) the men roll a petrol drum on its bottom rim toward the club. The maximum weight of a drum was 15 kilograms, easy enough for a boxer like Finch to quickly carry to the foyer.

Potter said they lit it as it was being rolled and before being tossed into the club, which seems a particularly hazardous methodology.

8. The culprits were particularly slow. Potter walked from the south east corner of the club, past the black car, across to the Caltex station, where her car was parked. As she drove off she saw all three offenders still standing in the foyer, while is was alight.

Update – 27 January 2022

Under oath to the Coroner, the woman who Potter said was with her when the Whiskey was firebombed, denies she witnessed any of the above ‘eyewitness’ accounts.

What’s more, the woman stated that three weeks after the bombing, she and Potter went to New Zealand for six months and does not recall Potter relating any of the above drama.