Smoking Gun - Book One in the Adam Cartwright Trilogy
Adam Cartwright, a 28 year old construction engineer, narrowly escapes two attempts on his life while he is engaged on the construction of a gold mine in Far North Queensland. At first he suspects that the attacks are connected with construction site fraud by organized crime that he had uncovered. But he later becomes aware that criminals responsible for the robbery of a gold mine, and the murder of three workers, believe that he possesses a key piece of evidence that could bring them undone. In order to survive he has to discover what the ‘smoking gun’ is and how it can be used to bring the criminals to justice, and thus ensure his safety.
The term ‘Smoking Gun’ refers to an object or fact that serves as fairly conclusive evidence that a person is guilty of a crime. The level of proof being just one degree less certain than being caught in flagrante delicto. The expression originated from the idea of finding a just fired gun in the hands of a person at the scene of a shooting. The still smoking gun being almost indisputable proof of that person having committed the crime. The phrase originated in the Sherlock Holmes story, ‘The Adventure of the Gloria Scott’ (1893).
Smoking Gun is fiction but the references to the Comancheros bikie gang’s infiltration of construction workers Unions hierarchy and their involvement in construction project blackmail and fraud are factual.
As are the descriptions of the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission and its powers. The Commission evolved from the Criminal Justice Commission, formed after the Fitzgerald Inquiry into police corruption in 1989. At the same time the Queensland witness protection service was created. The Commission’s initial role was to investigate police and public sector misconduct and to work with the police to investigate organised and major crime. In 2001 the Queensland Government decided to form a single body to fight crime and public sector misconduct and created the Crime and Corruption Commission to oversee the police and the public sector as well as providing protection for witnesses.
The Commission is the only Queensland law enforcement agency with the power to conduct coercive hearings that require witnesses to attend and give evidence. These Hearings enable investigators to override the right to silence and the privilege against self-incrimination. This allows them to secure otherwise unobtainable evidence, including intelligence regarding activity by criminal organisations. The references to the vulnerability of gold produced at gold mines in remote areas is true for not only Australia, but in virtually all gold producing countries. In some countries, more than thirty percent of gold mine employees are working as security officers. The incidence of violent robberies of gold mines world-wide is escalating year by year. In Mexico recently, four gold mine workers were tortured to death to gain inside information for a subsequent robbery at the mine.