Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Flight log clears convicted Australian pilot

A PILOT convicted of child sex tourism was 1000km away on the night he was accused of raping a 14-year-old girl, certified civil aviation records show. New evidence seen by The Courier-Mail has emerged 18 months after Australian Frederick Arthur Martens was convicted of having sex with a 14-year-old girl in Port Moresby in 2001, raising a string of questions about the Australian Federal Police investigation. A second charge against Martens for child sex tourism was thrown out of Cairns Supreme Court earlier this year after the complainant admitted she had made up the allegations.

The AFP confirmed it had launched an internal investigation but refused to comment further. Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter said it was "outrageous" Martens was sitting in jail with an "absolute record that he's in an aeroplane on the other side of New Guinea when this was supposed to have taken place". "You know this was not a fair trial, not even remotely," Mr Katter said.

Martens has claimed in a last-ditch appeal to clear his name that Australian and Papua New Guinean police ran a corrupt investigation. Martens made the allegations through his lawyers who sent Federal Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus a 672A application, seeking a pardon and/or a referral back to the appeals court. Mr Katter said he'd had "enormous difficulty" approaching Mr Debus over the matter. A spokeswoman for Mr Debus would only confirm the application had been received.

Martens was convicted of child sex tourism after a jury trial in 2006, and sentenced to five-and-a-half-years' jail with a non-parole period of three years. He later lost an appeal. However Martens has been a prolific letter-writer from jail, insisting on his innocence to the AFP, Federal Government ministers and Mr Katter.

His wife, Rose, and brother Peter Wheatley have spent thousands of dollars locating evidence in Australia and PNG which was missed in the original investigation. Mr Wheatley said certified Papua New Guinean Civil Aviation Authority documents matched Martens' pilot's logbook and flight plans, placing him in the isolated western provinces of PNG on the night he allegedly had sex with the girl in the capital, Port Moresby.

None of the documents were evidence in Martens' trial. "Fred's innocence boils down to these few paper documents," Mr Wheatley said. Mr Wheatley has also secured signed affidavits from key witnesses alleging a conspiracy.

Original report here

(And don't forget your ration of Wicked Thoughts for today)

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