MEDIA RELEASE 30 April 2001 by B A Sutcliffe Melbourne Australia
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Media Release ————————————————————–
30 April 2001
RE: Alleged Stalking of Canadian Degrassi TV Actress Sara Ballingall
Australian Police Fabricate Evidence in Degrassi Stalking
The Victoria Police officer in charge of the
alleged stalking of Canadian Degrassi TV actress Sara Ballingall case has been
found to have fabricated evidence.
On 30 August 1999 the Melbourne
Magistrates Court was told the Ontario Police Bomb Squad had destroyed the box
containing a stuffed koala bear I sent Ms Ballingall in 1995 when they opened it
( and for that reason it could not be returned to me ). The claim was reported
widely in the media both in Australia and Canada – newspapers, TV, & radio.
Following a complaint made with the Victorian Ombudsman’s Office based
on a contradictory statements by Ms Ballingall and her mother ( who were the
ones who actually handled the box ) it has now been admitted by Victoria Police
the bomb squad claim is false. This follows an ethical standards department
The Ballingall’s sworn statements said the box was thrown
away unopened. The same has recently been confirmed by Toronto Police in media
reports ( see below ).
I would like to know why this false statement to
a court was made. I believe it was deliberate and a malicous attempt to damage
my good name and reputation. There has not been a satisfactory explanation for
this deception before the court. At the time it was made police were trying to
prevent an intervention order from being revoked – police claimed it should be
delayed because they had no evidence in their possession, yet this claim was
made as fact and as evidence.
Following that claim police attempted to
withhold handing over the Ballingall’s statements for as long as they could.
The statement was made by Senior Constable Mark Higginbotham at the
advice of Senior Constable Michael Pena.
At the bottom of this webpage
are links to the segment of the court tape containing the claim – Higginbotham’s
voice – and also press articles at that time.
January this year Inspector G. Schidper of the Victoria Police Ethical Standards
Dept said to me when consulting on the complaints quote: ” It concerns me when
all this goes on”.
On 25th May last year the Ombudsman’s office also
found police property handling procedures in this case ( involving Pena ) were
“totally unsatisfactory” after a complaint was made about property having been
seized by police and no receipt issued for it. Several missing items which Pena
claimed he did not have were later miraculously located only after the
Ombudsman’s office was given a copy on video of Channel 10’s TV News footage on
30 August 1999 which revealed the missing items in Pena’s police car outside the
court. Schidper’s visit to my house in January was in fact to return one of the
missing items that had taken 17 months to find. Several items are still missing
– stolen – and the Ombudsman’s Office has recommended I be compensated for them.
All this is part of Senior Constable Pena’s activities in this case.
is currently unclear what action will be taken against Pena and Higginbotham
over the false evidence provided to the court. The matter may be referred to the
Director of Public Prosecutions.
Shortly after the claim was made in
1999 I received a number of abusive e-mails from other Degrassi fans and have
had to put up with the consequences flowing from it – the inference Pena created
from that false claim was that I had or attempted to send a bomb to Ms.
Ballingall – which is something I would never even consider doing and is totally
false. At the time and subsequently nobody wanted to accept what I said was
This follows a pattern of police harrassment I have been
subject to over the years and is an example of the flavour of this case and what
has gone on at this end. There have been a series of false statements made about
me by police both in court and for media consumption and one can only draw the
conclusion it is a deliberate campaign to damage my reputation. It is
disgraceful and a total abuse of court process.
This release now sets
the record on this matter straight.
Brian Andrew Sutcliffe
Senior Constable Higginbotham below leaving the court on 30 August 1999
after making the bomb squad claim.
National Post Article in Feburary 2001 Toronto police said of the Ballingall’s:-
They became more concerned when Mr. Sutcliffe sent the actress a
package indicating it contained a stuffed animal. “What troubled the family is
that the box was from a rifle manufacturer in the United States,” Det. Kyriacou
explained, noting the package was disposed of unopened, but that Mr. Sutcliffe
began insisting on its return.
This confirms the fact this box was
disposed of unopened.
( It should be noted the box I sent, if it was a
used packaging container relating to the firearm industry, it would have been a
cardboard ammo box from an Australian ammunition manufacturer, not a US rifle
one, and was merely a cardboard shipping container. Nearly everyone at sometime
re-uses an old cardboard box for shipping or storage and this aspect has been
blown out of all proportion in this case. I suppose if I had sent it in an old
cardboard box relating to matches they would be alleging I was intending arson
at the Ballingall house or something equally as silly. Those boxes are extremely
heavy duty and can take the buffeting around that an ordinary box would not last
an an international mail route. Also I am a Greenie and believe in recycling – I
have a garage full of old ammo boxes used for storing stuff in – I bring them
home rather than let the supplier pollute the environment by burning them ).
Below are some pictures of the stuffed koala bear I sent Ms.
Ballingall in the box – photos taken before it was mailed.