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12 January 2015
by Bob Ellis

The secrets and lies of the Lindt Cafe

'Multiple police sources' told Fairfax Katrina Dawson died from a police bullet, possibly a ricochet, on the morning of Tuesday, December 16.

This meant Mike ("We will get through this") Baird had covered up – and also exploited – a young mother's death, while stifling eyewitness accounts of a world event, in order to protect manslaughterers from public opprobrium.

It meant, in turn, that the police who tasered the bare-chested biscuit thief Roberto Curti repeatedly until he was dead, and the police who ran down a little girl in a children's play area and so killed her, and the police who fired 20 rounds into the Lindt Cafe after their target was dead, were all of a piece and their culture should be investigated by a Royal Commission, and some of them imprisoned.

It meant, too, Abbott, who could have secured her release by taking a call from the terrorist, is implicated in her death.

Worse, though, probably, is Mike Baird, who sought to bury beneath a hectare of fresh flowers his startling administrative incompetence in a siege situation. He censored Monis's demands, saying no-one could publish them. He refused Mamdouh Habib's offer to negotiate with his friend Monis and get the hostages out, if he could. He refused the army's offer to snipe him through the window. He let the police wait nine minutes after the first shot was fired, and only after Tori was killed, go in.

And he, amazingly, arranged a memorial service only 12 hours later, in a church neither corpse had gone to, without those corpses' relatives in attendance. He was clearly in a panic and hanging round the field of flowers saying, "We will get through this; we will get through this", and hoping it would all go away, in a state which would have been called, in another era, "nervous breakdown".

He will face now, probably, demands from Tori's family, and Katrina's family, for money in hundreds of thousands or millions, as recompense for the many mistakes he, the police and Abbott made, in a situation that has many, many precedents, and is as old and familiar as the 1975 film Dog Day Afternoon.

He will then have to face an election, apologising frantically, which he may not survive.