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Julian Ripley & the 1971 Labour & National Service Bombing in Perth

Julian Ripley: framed for a bombing he didn't do.
Did the present WA Minister for Health, Bob Kucera, frame Julian 30 years ago?

In the last few days I have had enquiries from reporters and private investigators about the framing of Julian Ripley. My website is the only one on the web to mention Julian. It seems that after all these years the allegations that Julian Ripley was verballed and intimidated into signing a false statement of interview, is at last proving worthy of investigation. The motivation for all this is the current Minister of Health, Bob Kucera, who allegedly framed Julian Ripley 30 years ago when he was a Detective Sergeant. It seems some testimony in another case is bringing him undone....

Takver, June 2002

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What goes around comes around. Thirty years ago, in 1971, the Vietnam war was at its height and growing numbers were opposing conscription in Australia. A bomb was planted in the Perth offices of the Department of Labour and National Service. There was a raid on the Anarchist Freestore in Melbourne, the premises searched and two anti-conscription campaigners were taken away to Russell St Police Headquarters for questioning, before being flown back to Perth.

Julian Ripley and Rupert Gerretson were both charged in connection with the bomb. At the time Julian claimed he was verballed by the questioning officer, a Detective Sergeant Bob Kucera. He also claimed he was intimidated into signing the typed statement of interview. Just before the matter went to trial, Gerretson did a runner, but not before making a full statement admitting sole responsibility which he left with his lawyer. That left Ripley alone facing the charges. The case came down to the signed interview supported by Bob Kucera or the word of Ripley. There was no independant evidence such as fingerprints to connect Ripley with building the bomb. And the Prosecution successfully prevented the admittance of Gerretson's statement as evidence. So whose story do you think the Jury might believe, the suited detective sergeant, or the revolutionary anarchist?

Julian Ripley was convicted of causing an explosion, 5 years gaol with a one year non-parole period. Bob Kucera probably got a commendation, and a rise in his career prospects.

Thirty years on and Bob Kucera is now Minister for Health in the Gallop Labor Government in Western Australia. He had successfully risen through the police hierarchy to Assistant Commissioner, before resigning to enter State Parliament for Labor. In the police culture of verbals and covering your mates, sooner or later someone becomes a whistleblower on this corruption of justice, if people hassle for long enough. The Mickelberg's have been a judicial pain for nearly 20 years - they have continued to point the finger at police corruption in their own case.

In this case the whistleblower is Former detective Tony Lewandowski, who has admitted he and former CIB chief Don Hancock had lied and fabricated evidence to convict Peter, Ray and Brian Mickelberg of a $653,000 Mint gold swindle in 1983. In an affidavit, Mr Lewandowski said Peter Mickelberg was stripped naked and punched by Mr Hancock during questioning at the Belmont CIB. Kucera, at the time was in charge of Belmont CIB. They maintain on the night in question they had complained of their treatment to Kucera and asked for help. He then and in all subsequent appeals has maintained that he only ever saw an interview being conducted in a proper fashion with detectives reading in a gentlemanly fashion a statement from the accused to make sure they had got it right in between cautioning to his legal rights and obligations etc etc. Interestingly everything else that the whistleblower has confessed confirms almost exactly everything that the Micklebergs have been saying these last two decades. When Kucera appeared last before the supreme Court he covered for his detective 'mates' with what now must appear to be fabricated evidence.

How many more people were railroaded to prison in the last 30 years....

Here is a contemporary report of how Julian Ripley was verballed and railroaded to prison.
From FAAB No 2 (Melbourne) published late 1973:

Perth Western Australia

Dear comrades
Julian Ripley, is currently serving a five year sentence with a one year minimum for his supposed involvement in the planting of a bomb in the Labour and National Service last year. The facts of the case are these: Julian and myself hitched to Melbourne the month before the bomb attack, Julian arrived back in Perth one week before the bomb was planted. It was proved in the court that because he wanted to return to Melbourne, he had been working at hard manual labour every day to get enough money, and often did not get home till late. The house Julian stayed in was used for the construction of the bomb, a long standing friend of Julians, and a fellow activist in the anti-conscription movement, Rupert Gerretson, was also living there. It was Rupert who was responsible for the building and planting of the bomb. Julian, together with several other members of the household knew what was going on but took no part.

The day after the bomb was planted, Rupert, Julian and myself and another comrade, Rolly, returned to Melbourne. We knew each other well and talked freely during the journey. From the conversation that day I knew that Julian had no part in the bombing. After we got to Melbourne Julian appeared in court to answer charges of incitement against the National Service Act. He had been busted while handing out leaflets the last time we were in Melbourne. Julian filled me in with the rest of the story when we met up later in Perth, firstly when I visited him in Freemantle prison, and later when he managed to get the bail together before the trial. The night after Julians court case, Det Serg Kucera and several other cops burst into the Free Store in Collingwood where they were crashing. The place was searched and Julian and Rupert were taken separately to Russell St where they were questioned. Kucera would ask Julian questions. Sometimes Julian would answer, sometimes he would not. When he didn't answer Kucera would makeup the answers and type them in e.g. Q. Did you help Rupert make the bomb? A.Yes I bought the clock and batteries! Julian was intimidated by the cops into signing the record of the interview. Julian and Rupert were then flown back to Perth having been charged with conspiring to cause an explosion.

In Perth the trial was remanded for several months and eventually the charge was altered to read ... causing an explosion ... The trial was held in February. Rupert got the right idea and left a couple of days before it began. He made out a statement claiming sole responsibility for the bomb and left it with his lawyer. In court the sole evidence against Julian was the statement and Kucera's word that Julian had confessed. It was enough because pretty well any jury will believe a cop rather than a long haired revolutionary anarchist. Rupert's statement was not allowed. Other things pointing to Julians innocence were disregarded - e.g. he was supposed to have admitted buying the clock and batteries. The fingerprint expert testified that they were both excellent surfaces for detecting fingerprints ..however Julians prints were not among the prints detected.


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Last modified: 20 June, 2002

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