Monday, March 28, 2011

Schapelle Corby, Easton Barrington James & The Appalling Incompetence of Qantas

Dear Allan,

Your former baggage handler Easton Barrington James (Sydney Domestic Airport), was sacked around February 2006, after three and a half years on the pay roll, because of a drugs offence serious enough to warrant six months inside. He was jailed in 2000, just before he started working with you in 2002, and Qantas also admitted (in press articles a few weeks after he was terminated), they knew about the adverse findings of the 2001 Levi Report (re this man).

Strangely, in April 2006, Qantas denied knowledge of his conviction even though police said this colourful past was well known to his co-workers, he was under formal surveillance for six months and this blot pre-dated initial (and later), security checks. Here are my questions . . .

1. When Schapelle was arrested in October 2004, why didn’t Qantas volunteer information to her legal team about James’s involvement in the Levi investigations, as reported to the New South Parliament in 2001? The company admitted they knew about it, and your security managers were living under a rock if they were ignorant of the headlines.

2. Why did you employ him shortly after a serious drug offence (that should have been picked up at once), and after his high profile involvement with corrupt police? And why did you continue to employ him for three and a half years post this, as (by your own admission), this should have been revealed (in regular security checks), by May 2004 at the latest (2 years after he was taken on)? Your security chief at the time also publicly said “Intelligence” about staff (not just formal convictions), should be taken into account when hiring them.

3. Why didn’t your admitted knowledge of the Levi investigation (and the adverse findings about James), prompt you to look more closely at his criminal past, and how was it possible for him to be on formal police watch for six months (in 2005/6), without his conviction coming to light? Did everyone train with the Keystone Cops?

4. Why didn’t you instigate ad hoc, and one-off background checks on your baggage handlers in the wake of Schapelle’s arrest in October 2004, considering the major public concern this incident created? Why was this very obvious point so far below the radar he was allowed to continue working for another 17 months?

Regards, Kim