Way back in 1989 this bloke named Angelo Vasta (pictured above) was punted from the Queensland Supreme Court Bench.
He fucking should have been too, because he was a venal, pompous, perjuring, tax-evading, ethic-executing, pusillanimous, putrid puisne prick.
Well intended. And true.
Angelo Vasta was an arse-licking, career climbing, commissioner cuddling, justice juicing, due process perverting, expense inflating, Fitzgerald fleeing, felicitous fuckwit.
He misdirected a jury in a highly politicised murder case, his misdirection unjustly sending a fella to the slammer for life (gee doesn’t that sound familiar?)
He decided that a lay down misere case against a junket of coppers who injected a pair of junkies with triple shots of Harry Horse, and then lied about it under oath, should be thrown to touch and not prosecuted.
He abused his office by pursuing personal profit while wearing the robe.
He ripped off the tax man.
He ripped off us.
He got away with it for years. And then, like crap shooters run on the dice, in an instant Vasta’s luck ran out.
Terry Lewis’s diaries were produced at the Fitzgerald Inquiry.
They showed that a few years before Vasta had told massive porkie pies to a Master of the Courts in a richly rewarding defamation case.
The Judge had sworn black and blue that he and the corrupt chief cop were only acquaintances on a casual nodding basis.
Police Commissioner Lewis’s diaries – totally damning to him personally, and therefore certain prosecution evidence in the event of any future trials – showed that were not just simply nodders, but rather nudge, nudge, wink, wink Dear Terry and Fam Merry Christmas?, oh yeah Thanks Angelo Do You Wanna Come Down to Our Joint During the Holidays? style mates.
And, most unfortunately for Vasta, a bloke named Ian Callinan – who was a big shot, red hot, barrister later to become a High Court Judge – just happened to in the ringside seats when the diaries entered the bout, and Callinan both hated Judge Angelo’s guts to the extent that he’d tried to block his elevation to the bench, and knew all about the testimony that he’d given in the defamation case.
Being a Tory dog type of character Callinan immediately lagged Vasta to the Premier and the Attorney-General, and before you could say ‘Brisbane Grammar Boys are Stuck Up Small Pricks’ old judge Angelo was fucked.
Fitzgerald asked him to appear at the inquiry to explain himself.
The judge sneered and said ‘I’m not appearing before a mere QC’.
Funnily enough, in doing so he relied on the advice of a mere QC.
A QC pie named Tony Morris, who is no doubt familiar to the sportsfans smart enough to read the real news on this site. He was Vasta’s counsel and Praemonstratrix.
In one of life’s delicious ironies the QC pie Morris also just happened to be the modern day saint Tony Fitzgerald’s best mate.
So Vasta – who steadfastly refused to give evidence that could have cleared his name, if he’d lied – sent his barrister the QC Pie to go and see his mate Fitzy on a Sunday and see if he could cut him a deal.
Morris did the Judge’s bidding and on that fateful weekend in 1988 the QC Pie paid Fitzy and his right hand man Gary Crooke QC a sly visit, much I am sure to their later chagrin, for did his best to pervert the course of justice and get his man Vasta a result that no other bastard could ever have hoped to achieve.
One law for all?
Fuck off. Are you stupid bro?
Fitzy offered Angelo a deal. One the average punter could never dream of.
You look after us and we’ll look after you.
The rub was that it was contingent upon Vasta giving a statement to, and appearing to give evidence before, the inquiry.
Tony relayed it to the judge, and advised that he take it.
Angelo got the shits, because that wasn’t what Tony had wanted him to do the week before. He reckoned that the QC Pie had sold him out.
So the Judge decided to tape his conversations with his counsel.
It almost brought the whole inquiry crashing down.
After all, you can’t have an inquiry into high-level corruption that treats fellas suspected of high-level corruption differently than the average graft seeking sportsfan can you? Shit, people might even start to suspect that Fitzy wasn’t a saint after all.
We’ll tell you the story about what happened next soon. But first we’ll play you the tapes.
Here’s the first one.