Police accused of victimisation

by Chris Griffith
Published 13 Oct 1996 in The Sunday Mail


my face


A Rockhampton man says police visited him and reminded him that he had failed to vote in the 1989 state election, one day after he had complained about an unrelated police investigation.

Last week the man, used-car proprietor Warren Marsden, lodged a complaint with the CJC about the police visit which had taken place in May this year.

The saga began in 1994, when Mr Marsden agreed to sell 49 percent of his used-car business Workers Wheels to retired bank manager Howard Rix.

But a protracted dispute developed over two different signed versions of the Bill of Sale which consumated the deal.

Somehow, a mix-up had occurred, which meant Mr Rix's registered and signed copy of the Bill of Sale did not contain around 50 agreed alterations found in Mr Marsden's signed copy.

In November last year, the proposed partnership fell apart.

On January 29 this year, Mr Rix enforced his version of the agreement, and a receiver was appointed to take over Mr Marsden's business, after a further dispute over repayment dates.

However, correspondence obtained by The Sunday Mail shows that receiver Peter Geroff of Ferrier Hodgson had received advice that his appointment had been "invalid due to a technicality concerning the Bill of Sale under which my partner and I were appointed".

Mr Marsden said that on the same day, he phoned Rockhampton CIB and requested police to investigate why he and Mr Rix possessed different signed versions of the Bill of Sale - when only one document had been signed.

Mr Marsden said that on May 28, he sent a follow-up fax to police expressing his concern about their apparant inaction.

He said he was stunned when the next evening, two police officers called at his home and notified him of a series of minor matters including unresolved traffic violations, parking tickets, and for his failing to vote.

Some matters, he said, were 10 years old.

"One warrant was for not voting at the 1989 state election," he said.

"The message was quite clear, let it die."

Yesterday the CJC refused to comment on Mr Marsden's complaint.

However former Rockhampton CIB detective Snr Const Les Gerke said he had fully investigated the affair and had prepared "a thorough report".

He confirmed that a solicitor had registered a copy of one version of the Bill of Sale which contained four pages of signatures from the other version.

"What happened was very traumatic for him (Mr Marsden)," Snr Const Gerke said.

"But there's a lot more to it than meets the eye."

He said he could not verify whether police had visited Mr Marsden the day after he had faxed another officer at Rockhampton CIB on May 28.

The Sunday Mail left messages on Mr Rix's voice-mail inviting him to comment. He could not be contacted.