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Robber testifies against speed king

A SERIAL armed robber linked to the Russell St police headquarters bombing in Melbourne - one of the most infamous episodes in Australian criminal history - has admitted he has at least twice testified against his fellow criminals to get reduced jail sentences.

Paul Hetzel, who claimed he was good mates with Mark "Chopper" Read, detailed in the Brisbane Supreme Court on Monday how he would regularly drive from the Warwick area to meet Sunshine Coast drug trafficker William Barker to exchange drugs and cash.

Under cross-examination from defence barrister Tony Kimmins, Hetzel conceded he rolled on Barker just like he had on the architects of the bombing which killed one young female constable and injured about 20 other people.

"Because you understood and knew that you were in a whole lot of strife?" he asked.

Mr Hetzel agreed.

But he refused to accept references from Chopper's books that he was a member of the notorious Overcoat Gang which had deemed him too "treacherous" to keep him as a member.

Hetzel also refused to accept he became an accustomed liar in prison, only that he learned to stand up for himself.

He said he could not remember being diagnosed as being egocentric and having a psychopathic personality when he was serving an 11-year sentence for armed robbery and attempting to murder a police officer.

That jail sentence was before the bombing which earned him another eight years, halved from the 16 years he would have got without helping police.

Hetzel, who appeared on ABC's Australian Story last night over his missing step-daughter Prue Bird, got another three years when he was caught with drugs at Bagara, near Bundaberg, and five years for his drug business with Barker.

Referring to diaries where he made notes of his moves from 2007 to 2009, his evidence suggested Barker was trafficking for a lot longer than he was prepared to plead guilty to.

Hetzel said all his diary entries indicated times he met up with "Bill" over drugs, testifying he mostly bought speed but twice he bought $2000 worth of ecstasy pills.

He said his diary entries matched his memory of the meetings and added further exchanges, that were not diarised, to his testimony.

But, under questioning from Mr Kimmins about how his client had been overseas on at least one of the meeting dates, Hetzel was forced to admit he was wrong.

Immediately defensive and asking if he needed to spell it out, Hetzel said he must have met with one of "his agents" instead, specifically mentioning meetings with Barker's son.

Mr Kimmins suggested Hetzel was now "slipping and sliding" to avoid the fact his memory had not served him correctly.

Hetzel said the lawyer would be "generalising" if he implied that error meant his memory was wrong on every occasion.

Another witness, Kylie Haner, will give evidence today about Barker's financial situation before Justice Peter Flanagan is expected to hear final submissions from each party on sentence. 

IN CODE

Want a meat pie? = Let's meet at Beefy's at Ettamogah Pub

Meet for a cuppa? = Let's meet for at Mad Hatter Teahouse in Landsborough

I like the horse in barrier 4 = I want four ounces of speed

Topics:  court crime drugs



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