The Angelo Vasta story is a long and torturous tale of everything and nothing and a sum of a multitude of the things in between.
It’s a biblical tale of deadly sins and layers of lies that, although centered around one man’s venal stupidity and fragile avarice-driven ego, shines a bright and inquisitive light down into the deep layers of the peat-bog of state and judicial corruption that formed the bedrock of the State of Queensland, and in all well-reasoned likelihood probably still do.
One day soon I’ll tell it to you, but right now it’s 5.00 in the morning and the dawn’s about to break, and this writer must rest his head upon the pillow before it becomes overtaken by Sol’s shards.
As I depart and step into the land of Nod I will leave you with a wee vignette about men who suffer from persecution complexes that blind them, and politicians in their pay, and men who are held to be honorable and esteemed but are really just rich folk who are rotten to the core.
The hour is late so I must keep it short, paint the piece in pictures in the trust you will work them out.
A son of a Mad Hatter who dwells in a House of Broken dreams and sustains himself by supping at the public teat is approached by a man who the Hatter once did harm. The two men hold discussions behind shut doors and a deal is struck, although the consideration of their private contract remains behind the doors and unknown.
The Hatter’s child lays a treaty upon the table of the Broken Dreamed House.
In part it alleges this:
So the tired writer turns to the commissioned inquiry’s report that it the object of such vitriol and the target of the Hatter’s son’s scorn.
This is what the writer finds, and below it are his thoughts.
And with that, writing in reverse upward from the end to the start, I bid you adieu, and wish you the sweetest of sweet dreams.
The Commission of Inquiry found that Angelo Vasta had lied in the course of making sworn declarations that formed the basis of his statement of claim taken in a defamation proceeding against a satirical magazine named Matilda.
It found as a matter of fact that denials that Vasta made in evidence in the course of the matter about he and his wife sharing a taxi ride with two journalists named Campbell and Goff were false, and that he had known this to be the case when he gave the sworn evidence to the fellow judge who had carriage of the matter.
That finding of and in itself raises serious questions about Vasta’s character and his suitability to remain on the bench – after all, if a judge will lie to suit his own ends, what guarantee is their that he will not make false findings to suit his or others? – but what came next rang alarm bells and sirens.
The Commissioners found that Vasta had willfully and deliberately lied to their Commission of Inquiry too.
Pause and think about that for a moment.
A Judge of the Supreme Court of Queensland had appeared before a lawfully enacted and constituted Commission of Inquiry, formed at his own request and presided over by three of the most eminent judicial figures in the State’s history – one of them a retired Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia – looked the trio in the eye, and told them bald-faced lies.
If you or I had done it we would have been placed in handcuffs, sent down, and locked away until tried for our impertinence and flagrant criminal dishonesty. At the conclusion of our trial, after the inevitable guilty verdict had been found and tabled and the gavel had been struck, we would have been placed in a prison cell and transported to a small, cold concrete cell without windows where the seasons would pass us by as our skin became sallow and our hair turned slowly to grey, desperately attempting to hold on to our last vestiges of sanity and freedom by summoning up in our mind images of that little blue tent that once we called the sky.
All animals may well be born equal, but in the eyes of the men who sentence other men to deprivation, defilement and on occasions even death there are animals that are good and animals that are bad, and though the good may stray from the path and wander into the paddocks filled by the bad they must not be permitted to stray so far that they fall of the edges of the cliff, for if they fall so far and hard that their inners become exposed so too may the immutable truth that they were always equal inside.
And so the erstwhile judges of all things fair and true, three men who had long ago sworn an oath to apply justice equally to the pineapple punter citizens subject to the Pineapple State’s laws pursed their blood-stained lips, and shut their failing eyes, and placed their gnarled hands over their ears and in soft voices pronounced in unison that they could not cast judgement upon matters they could neither hear nor see, and when their words sailed across the winds and in through the windows of the House of Broken Dreams not a soul among the leather-perched many whispered ‘why did you not simply ask?’
That’s the true story of how and why disgraced judge Angelo Vasta, the deemed and damned liar, was never called to his account for his criminal sins in a court of law, and the reason he was neither charged with nor faced trial for his raft perjuries and belligerently deliberate self-serving lies.
The men who tried him in a court of his choosing may have loathed him, but they too also lived lies.
In a land that was once a penal colony, filled with pineapples first planted by prisoners, justice has never been anything other than an unjust elite’s game.
Don’t you worry about that.