Here is some of the evidence that the police fabricated evidence against Stuart and Finch;
- Eyewitness accounts make Finch’s confession (unsigned record of interview) logistically implausible. His confession states he rolled the two drums from the north west corner into the foyer. However, one of the patrons was at this spot when the fire was ignited. He did not see Finch or anyone here.
- Regarding his refusal to sign his confession (as stated on his unsigned confession), Finch supposedly said, ‘That is always the code that I have followed in the past and that is my desire in this case.’ This was patently false. On seven previous occasions when Finch had confessed to a crime, he had always signed his own handwritten confession.
- According to the lead detectives Finch supposedly made a confession in the watch-house. The watch-house staff made internal statements which were never made public. These eyewitness accounts are in conflict with the lead detectives. They carry none of the incriminating verbal exchanges between Finch and Stuart where they admit their guilt.
- Finch, after having admitted to police that he was guilty, firstly at the Jindalee shopping centre, then at the Criminal Investigation Branch in his unsigned record of interview interview (less than three hours earlier), and then at the watch-house, seconds after saying to a room of a least 11 police officers that he was guilty, had his first opportunity to put his true thoughts down in his own handwriting. He did so on the charge sheet, writing ‘This property sheet is signed under protest as I have no knowledge whatsoever of record of interview. This is a police fabrication.’ In jail Stuart and Finch immediately wrote letters to detectives stating they had made no confessions. The letters are reproduced in Plunkett’s book.
- The detectives prepared Stuart’s 16 charge sheets before he was charged and before there was any evidence against him.
- Roger Rogerson had told a Bulletin reporter that he and the other lead detectives fabricated evidence. They did so because, although they ‘knew’ Stuart and Finch were involved, they had insufficient evidence to convict them. The police confirmed Rogerson was the ‘mole’ during an early 1990s secret investigation called ‘Operation Graveyard’.
When Stuart and Finch went to jail all investigations ceased, including the obvious evidence that others were involved.
The result of the ‘verballing’ is that one of Australia’s most prolific serial killers, Vincent O’Dempsey, an architect of the Whiskey fire, roamed free and murdered four more people, the McCulkins and Margaret Ward.
Why did they do it? Pressure. Despite the warnings specifying the Whiskey as a target, 15 people died. Reporter Brian Bolton piled on the angst with headlines such as ‘HEADS MUST ROLL’. The police needed an instant result. Finch, despite being beaten up would not talk and Stuart had an iron clad alibi at the time of the fire. As Roger Rogerson told reporter Bruce Stannard, ‘So, in the end, we said, right, fuck you, smart arse (Finch), we’ll do it our way. So we left him. We went into another room and that’s where we proved that the pen really was mightier than the sword.’