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'Explain errors in Mohd Haneef's case'

Indian doc's counsel seeks an explanation as to why police wrote on the diary that can be required as an evidence.

world Updated: Jul 23, 2007 11:38 IST

Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef's barrister has said "errors" by police in handling the case against his client have raised serious questions and sought an explanation as to why they wrote entries in his diary.

Barrister Stephen Keim said while there was no suggestion that police were trying to trick Haneef, who is charged with recklessly supporting a terrorist organisation, the question remained about why police would write on a diary that could be required as evidence.

"The question really is: if it is written on the diary, why would investigating police officers write on something which may later turn out to be evidence?, Keim told ABC Radio.

"So it's more a question of an issue of policing rather than issues in the case against my client," he said.

The Australian newspaper on Monday reported that Australian Federal Police (AFP) officers wrote the names of overseas terrorism suspects in the Gold Coast doctor's personal diary.

They later grilled him during an interrogation over whether he had written the potentially incriminating notes.
Keim's remarks came as the federal government accused Haneef's lawyers of waging a campaign to undermine anti-terrorism laws.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock criticised Keim for leaking to the media a record of an interview with his client.

"These matters should not be dealt with in the way in which they have, either by leak or by counter-leak or whatever," Ruddock said.

Keim said he was grateful for the extraordinary move by AFP chief Mick Keelty to dismiss as inaccurate a weekend report that police had discovered evidence of a plot by Haneef to blow up an apartment block.

But the question remained about who leaked the story, why it was leaked and why a story like that was published, he said.

Referring to reportedly incorrect information concerning a mobile phone SIM card given by Haneef to a relative charged in Britain over the bungled bomb plots, Keim said broader public policy questions had to be asked after the series of blunders in the case.

"Why was the court provided misleading information and, more particularly, why was that not corrected immediately by those instructing the barrister or two hours later when the court resumed or two days later when the court resumed?" he asked.

He further asked "Why was it allowed to stand on the public record for another five days until presumably Scotland Yard detectives were so embarrassed that this false information was in the public arena that they made this leak?

"The question is, if it was an error, if they (prosecutors) misunderstood something that they were told by the police, why were they not instructed immediately that they'd made an error and been asked to correct it? Why was it allowed to be on the public record for so long?" he asked.