Sunday, 24 August 2014

Drury Coincidence to Donald Mackay

Police Officer Mike Drury
The name for the building changed from Summit Flats to Drury House.

Donald Mackay link to Police Officer Mike Drury linked to 1973

Mackay 1973-77

It perhaps says something that in practical terms one of the more successful investigators of 'Ndrangheta drug activities was the proprietor of a small furniture business in Griffith, Donald Mackay. He began urging action on drug activities in the Griffith area in 1973. Concerning Judge Newton's sentences on cannabis producers in May 1974, Bottom (1988, p. 18) reports that Mackay complained that young persons charged by local police with smoking marijuana had got heavier fines and sometimes imprisonment. Mackay's wife, Barbara, wrote to the Police and Justice Minister in the Askin Government, John Maddison, to say that the contrast in sentencing was 'alarming', but Maddison appears to have thought Newton's sentences were about right; he did not seek heavier sentences in the Appeal Court.
Mackay got a tip in 1975 about a major cannabis plantation in the vicinity of Coleambally, 60 kilometres south of Griffith. He did not inform Griffith detectives, three of whom later went to prison for corruption, but went to Sydney and helped organise a raid by selected Drug Squad detectives, including Ron Jenkins and Michael Drury, the same Drury who was shot nine years later to prevent him giving evidence against a Melbourne drug-dealer. The detectives raided the plantation on Monday 10 November 1975. Its size, 31.5 acres, and value, then said to be worth $80 million [$306.4 million at 1993 rates] wholesale, were stunning; in 1993, a single cannabis plant produced marijuana worth $2000 on the street. At the March 1977 trial of the five arrested at Coleambally, Judge Jack Newton permitted defence solicitors and barristers, over Detective Jenkins' objections, to peruse his notebook, which contained Mackay's name as the informant. Sentencing the four found guilty, Newton said it was very sad to see 'respectable' men growing cannabis for money, and recommended that they do the time (two got five years, two got two years) on prison farms.
The lack of concern evinced by Menzies and other politicians about 'Ndrangheta had a further effect soon after the Coleambally trial: it was decreed that Mackay was to get the white lupara(he was to be murdered and the body was not to be found). The police chief's friend, Trimbole, asked Tizzoni to procure an assassin. Through gunsmith George Joseph, Tizzoni hired Jim Bazley, a veteran soldier of the Melbourne dock wars of the early 1970s. A jury later found that Bazley murdered Mackay in Griffith on Friday 15 July 1977. The body was never found but there was enough blood and other evidence to indicate that Mackay had been shot. A Homicide officer, Joe Parrington, was in charge of the Mackay investigation, without success, for seven years.

  • 1977, July 15 - Griffith businessman Donald Mackay disappears in a suspected Italian-Australian mafia assassination. Police find blood and bullet cartridges near Mr Mackay’s locked van in the car park of the Griffith hotel.
  • 1979 - The Woodward Royal Commission finds Mr Mackay was murdered by a Griffith-based cell of the Calabrian`Ndrangheta mafia. The commission names six people - including mafia kingpin Robert Trimbole -  as influential members associated with the assassination of Mr Mackay.
  • 1984 - A coronial inquest concludes that Mr Mackay died of willfully inflicted gunshot wounds. 
  • 1986 - James Frederick Bazley is jailed for life for the murder of drug couriers and given nine years' jail for conspiring to murder Mr Mackay. He was released in 2001.
  • 2001 - Barbara Mackay, the widow of Don Mackay, dies; never to know what really happened to her husband.
  • 2012 - A $200,000 reward is offered for information leading to the remains of Mr Mackay.
  • 2013 - Police excavate a property near Hay in a bid to find Mr Mackay's body. Nothing is found.

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