The cop who once led the investigation into missing boy William Tyrrell is challenging a magistrate who said he had pursued a person “at all costs”.
Jubelin, once the lead investigator into the 2014 disappearance that gripped Australia, was convicted and fined $10,000 in April over four conversations he recorded on his phone with person of interest Paul Savage, who lived across the road from the Kendall home where William was last seen. Mr Savage is no longer a person of interest.
But Jubelin maintains his innocence and is appealing on a number of grounds, including that he had a lawful interest in making the recordings and that Savage’s right to privacy had already been “stripped away” by a court-ordered surveillance warrant.
The recordings were made in the context of a “novel” investigative strategy that involved Jubelin ingratiating himself with Savage, his barrister Margaret Cunneen SC told District Court Judge Antony Townsden on Thursday.
She hit out at the findings made by Magistrate Ross Hudson in April, who said Jubelin had pursued Savage “at all costs” and when there was “no real evidence” against him.
“(Magistrate Hudson), we respectfully say, doesn’t have the expertise in investigation to say you shouldn’t go on if there’s no fingerprints, DNA, eyewitnesses,” Ms Cunneen said.
“We say Mr Jubelin is no more a lawyer than the local magistrate is a criminal investigator,” she added.
“His conclusion that Mr Jubelin pursued Mr Savage at all costs is inconsistent with the fact that there was no arrest and charge and so forth.”
She said it was “ludicrous” that Magistrate Hudson had labelled Jubelin’s evidence in his own defence as “partisan”, and said he had mistaken the case for one where Savage was on trial and Jubelin an “overzealous police officer whose ears have to be clipped by the magistrate”.
Ms Cunneen also argued the first three conversations in November 2017 and May 2018 fell under a Supreme Court warrant authorising surveillance of Savage, with devices installed in his car and home. “The privacy had been already stripped away,” she said.
But Judge Townsden appeared sceptical, pointing out the warrants didn’t authorise a mobile phone as a listening device, and saying the police couldn’t invoke an investigative strategy to get around surveillance laws.
Crown prosecutor John Bowers said it was clear from the evidence Jubelin had made the recordings to aid the police operation, hoping to obtain evidence that would implicate Savage, and then “dishonestly sought to conceal them”.
He rejected Jubelin had a lawful interest in making the recordings to protect himself in the event that Savage accused him of doing something improper or was harmed in the course of the strategy.
Jubelin is also appealing his sentence.
Ms Cunneen urged Judge Townsden to consider not recording a conviction, citing Jubelin’s outstanding reputation, the “minuscule” harm done to Savage, and the punishment already inflicted on her client by the media storm around his prosecution.
The fact Jubelin engaged with journalists makes no difference, Ms Cunneen said, quoting television presenter Kerri-Anne Kennerly, who was dumped by Channel 10 this week and declared: “Well, when you’re being run out of town, get in front of the parade.”
“And that is the only thing a person getting assailed by all this media attention can do,” she said.
Bowers flatly denied Jubelin had suffered from the attention: “This is a very different situation to someone being chased down Castlereagh St.”
Judge Townsden will hand down his decision on September 18.