Ralph Blewitt was never going to be a highly credible witness given he is a confessed fraudster but he went one step further yesterday and poured his last ounce of credibility down the drain.
Blewitt said he did not write his own statement that he gave to the Victorian Police. He said he did not even read it in full. He said that Harry Nowicki who is a former lawyer wrote it for him and he was relying on Nowicki to make sure it was correct. It is bad enough he did not even read his own statutory declaration, but it becomes a lot worse when you know that Harry Nowicki is a confessed perjurer who lied in an affidavit in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
What happened today was always on the cards and I wrote about this scenario in March last year and said this about Nowicki:
Harry Nowicki – The former lawyer, fraudster, thief and apparently unknowingly perjurer
Mr Nowicki is a key player and is the one who brought Ralph Blewitt to Australia.
In 2001 Mr Nowicki was found guilty of professional misconduct as a lawyer and fined $15,000 in a matter that related to him ripping off a personal injury client $20,000. From reading the judgement Mr Nowicki also perjured himself in an affidavit to the Supreme Court of Victoria although he apparently perjured himself unknowingly. It says in the judgement in relation to Mr Nowicki at paragraph 36 “Certainly, a failure to look at the file note or failure himself to carry out the sort of independent investigations which would have led him to the truth and revealed the falsity of the affidavit are the sort of matters that proper discharge of professional duty requires.” Not a good look for a lawyer and one who has helped Mr Blewitt with his police statements. (Click here to read the judgement)
Mr Nowicki’s background is important as Julia Gillard would without a doubt subpoena Mr Nowicki as a witness if she was charged. Julia Gillard would have numerous grounds to do so, the first being that Mr Nowicki has paid for Ralph Blewitt to come to Australia and I believe his legal fees. Then add the fact that Mr Nowicki helped Mr Blewitt with his police statements then that would be enough to subpoena him. (Click here to read the full post)
At the Royal Commission Tuesday the 13th May 2014
Blewitt was back in the witness-box starting at 2pm for a bit over 2 hours after spending the previous day in the stand. This was the first opportunity that Bruce Wilson’s barrister Dr Kristine Hanscombe QC had to question Blewitt and it went downhill fast for Blewitt.
Dr Hansconbe quickly asked Blewitt who had paid for his bills and who had he been talking to about the evidence with. The two names that came up were Harry Nowicki and Michael Smith. Harry Nowicki I have just dealt with but Mr Smith is no mystery to regular readers of this site as he is the former radio host who lost his job when Julia Gillard tried to close down the reporting of the AWU fraud in 2011.
Michael Smith it could be argued has a vendetta against Julia Gillard and was always going to get a mention in any defence of Wilson or Gillard in an attempt to undermine Blewitt’s credibility the same as Nowicki. (Click here to read more)
Blewitt had his foot in his mouth a number of times but some of the key issues Dr Hanscombe raised and the answers were:
1. Ralph Blewitt, Harry Nowicki and Michael Smith have discussed the evidence up to 100 times over last 2 years. That includes when there was all three and when there was just two of them.
2. On Monday (12/5/14) when Mr Blewitt first gave evidence Mr Blewitt, Mr Nowicki and Mr Smith discussed the evidence at least 4 times. This includes during the lunch break.
3. Harry Nowicki wrote the statutory declaration that Mr Blewitt gave the Victorian Police. And Mr Blewitt did not bother to read it in full. From memory I think he said in the witness stand he just “glanced at it”.
4. Harry Nowicki who says he is writing a book about the AWU has paid for the airfares and accommodation for 4 trips back to Australia for Ralph Blewitt over the last 2 years.
Where Dr Kristine Hanscombe QC is heading is very clear. She is moving towards an argument that Ralph Blewitt has been paid to give his evidence and has been coached by Harry Nowicki and Michael Smith who both have an agenda to get Bruce Wilson so they can get Julia Gillard.
When someone is accused of a crime and has no defence it is stock standard for them to attack the credibility of the witnesses giving evidence against them as that is their only way out. And that is why Bruce Wilson’s barrister is attacking the credibility of Ralph Blewitt. Harry Nowicki is a former lawyer and Michael Smith is a former policeman and should have known better and what was coming. There was no need to compromise their positions so badly. If the Royal Commission calls either of them as witnesses then they will end up highly embarrassed at the very least.
One thing that you have to give Blewitt is that he is the only person so far to stick his hand up and admit his crimes.
Left to Right: Bob Kernohan (sitting), Harry Nowicki, Ralph Blewitt, Bob Galbally SC (Blewitt’s barrister), Michael Smith (sitting)
The Good News
The good news for people who want to see Julia Gillard and Bruce Wilson held to account is that Blewitt’s evidence is not what I would regard as being crucial in any conviction of Wilson or Gillard although it would be handy. Julie Gillard has too many questions that she can not answer and so does Bruce Wilson. So if the Royal Commission does do as expected and calls both Julia Gillard and Bruce Wilson as witnesses then they are both in a lot of trouble.
The Royal Commission is adjourned until advised. Maybe a few weeks or maybe quite a few, I’ll keep you advised when I know. I have set up a specific page for the Royal Commission which you see up near the top called “Trade Union Royal Commission”.
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