In late 2012 Victoria Police set up a task force with up to a dozen detectives to investigate The AWU Scandal.
Over the next few years they executed at least a dozen search warrants, spoke to scores of witnesses and seized a large volume of evidence.
Five years down the track and Victoria Police have not laid a single charge.
Victoria Police command would have you believe that no offences were detected.
I'm told the evidence collected by police suggests otherwise.
WA Police started investigating the same matter in 1996. WA Police's response to a 2012 FOI application revealed that police in the west hold 593 folios of evidence resulting from the enquiry.
After all of that police effort and expense, one man stands in the dock alone.
Ralph Blewitt faces 31 charges laid by WA police alleging that he caused Thiess to suffer a financial detriment through fraud.
The WA charges allege that Blewitt did it all by himself.
That's the position Wilson and Gillard started promoting in August 2012 - it was all Ralph.
Ralph set up the association, Ralph sent out the invoices, Ralph did the banking. Don't ask us, ask Ralph.
They should have been more careful in what they wished for.
They've got what they wanted - Blewitt in the dock.
But they've also opened up Pandora's box; and it's full of evidence.
One of the quirks of WA's criminal justice system is the removal of the Committal hearing in the Magistrates' Court.
A Committal in other mainland states is designed to test whether or not the prosecution has established a prima facie case. It also allows a defendant to test the evidence and try to knock out potentially inadmissible or unreliable material.
To ensure defendants aren't disadvantage in WA, much stricter disclosure obligations have been placed on WA prosecutors.
And the obligations are in L-A-W law.
I'll paraphrase the law to make it easier to read:
... the prosecutor must serve Ralph with any evidentiary material that is relevant to the charge.
evidentiary material relevant to a charge, means —
(a) a copy of —
(i) every statement that has been made in accordance with Schedule 3 clause 4 by; and
(ii) every recording that has been made in accordance with Schedule 3 clause 6 of evidence given by; and
(iii) every recording that has been made under the Evidence Act 1906 of; and
(iv) every other recorded statement, whether oral or written, by,
any person who may be able to give evidence that is relevant to the charge, irrespective of whether or not it assists the prosecutor’s case or the accused’s defence; and
(b) if there is no statement or recording referred to in paragraph (a) of a person who the prosecutor intends to call as a witness, a written summary of the evidence to be given by the person; and
(c) a copy of any document or object to which a statement or recording referred to in paragraph (a) refers; and
(d) a copy of every other document or object that the prosecutor intends to tender in evidence at trial; and
(e) a copy of every other document or object that may assist the accused’s defence,
that is in the possession of the organisation or person who investigated the offence.
Blewitt has made his defence clear. There was no fraud on Thiess, rather Gillard, Wilson, Jukes and Trio conspired to pay/receive secret commissions. I'm sure there's a range of evidentiary material that may assist Mr Blewitt in that defence.
Gillard and Wilson tried to get Blewitt to carry the can - alone - for the AWU Scandal.
In doing that, they've potentially equipped him with the evidence to sink them.
In November 2005 High Court Justice Michael Kirby wrote this in the Full Bench judgement in Mallard v The Queen:
The role of the prosecutor is as:
"the representative not of an ordinary party to a controversy, but of a sovereignty whose obligation to govern impartially is as compelling as its obligation to govern at all; and whose interest, therefore, in a criminal prosecution is not that it shall win a case, but that justice shall be done."
............"the fruits of the investigation are not the property of the Crown for use in securing a conviction but the property of the public to be used to ensure that justice is done"
The investigation into The AWU Scandal isn't over yet.
The prosecutions have barely started.
Every touch leaves its trace.