Many people have asked me to tell the real story of my experiences with rogue amateur radio operator Robert Lionel Lear of Mt Riverview NSW. Because I believe that it is in the public interest for people to know what really happened, rather than the speculation and blatant lies that have been circulating for years on amateur radio and other avenues, here is the unvarnished truth, backed up by copious amounts of hard evidence in the form of official documents, tape recordings, court transcripts and police records and my own recollections, which have been considerably tested under oath in various courts and tribunals and never disproved.
For years I had wanted to be an amateur radio operator. Having played around with American CB equipment since 1963 and eventually becoming one of the first licensed UHF CB operators in Australia in October 1978, I decided to study for my amateur licence in 1982. In March 1983, I passed the theory and regulations exams, qualifying for the Amateur Operators Limited Certificate of Proficiency and was allocated the callsign VK2XZM. The following year I passed the full Morse exam and gained the Unrestricted (now Advanced Class) Amateur Operator's Certificate of Proficiency and callsign of VK2TN, which I still hold.
Although I was first licensed in February 1983, I started operating four months later from June 1983 because I did not own a transmitter until then. When I eventually went on air, one of the first voices I heard was that of Robert Lear. At that time I had no idea who he was. Unbeknown to the amateur fraternity, Lear failed to renew his amateur radio licence in 1982. The State Manager of the Department of Communications, John Milton, declined to issue him a licence because Lear was facing charges of breaching the Wireless Telegraphy Act and charges of serious assault against radio inspectors. Nevertheless, Lear continued to operate illegally and he was conducting himself in a most peculiar manner. 01
In April 1983, DOC received complaints of TV interference and also many complaints by amateurs of jamming and harassing transmissions. A number of amateurs had traced some of the jamming to Lear's house in the lower Blue Mountains and demanded action by DOC. An official investigation confirmed that the offending signals were emanating from Lear's premises and in September 1983, a raid was conducted upon his house and transmitters were seized. 02
After listening to Lear's abusive antics on air and having the source of the jamming confirmed beyond doubt by a number of reliable operators who had traced it to Lear's house, I made up my mind not to ever communicate with him. This policy proved to be very wise, as subsequent events proved. The fact that I studiously ignored Lear and actively opposed the vandalism occurring on the 2-Metre band seemed to enrage him, thus I became his prime target for unrelenting abuse and obscenities. 03
On the 27th of September 1983, Lear applied for a CB licence and according to DOC, named Departmental officers in defamatory terms and transmitted their addresses and telephone numbers on the CB band. This action resulted in a myriad of harassing nuisance calls, forcing officers to have their phone numbers changed. Only three weeks after it was issued, on the 19th of October 1983 the Minister for Communications, Michael Duffy, cancelled Lear's CB licence on the grounds of public interest. 04
Meanwhile only one week after the DOC raid, more complaints were received of jamming on the 2-metre amateur band. Radio inspectors again traced the offending signals to Lear's house and warned him against continuing such transmissions. According to DOC, Lear allegedly produced a rifle and threatened the radio inspectors. He was arrested and charged on the 28th of September 1983 and on the 7th of February 1984, he was convicted of two counts of assault. 05
Notwithstanding DOC action, Lear continued to operate illegally and harass operators on the 2-Metre amateur band. Following further complaints by amateurs of jamming and abuse, on the 12th of January 1984 radio inspectors yet again traced offending transmissions to Lear's premises and raided him. More equipment was seized and Lear was charged with breaches of the WT Act.
Just five weeks later, on the 22nd of February 1984, NSW police and radio inspectors raided Lear again after information was laid that he was still transmitting. A rifle was seized and Lear was arrested and charged with further offences against the WT Act and for possessing a firearm. On the 1st of May 1984 he was convicted for these offences and also for assault.
In total defiance of the law, Lear continued to operate illegally. After DOC had been deluged with well over 200 complaints regarding obscene and profane transmissions on amateur radio, on the 9th of January 1985 radio inspectors yet again traced the source of some of the offending transmissions to Lear's premises.
Around this period, the Dural and Heathcote 2-Metre repeaters were being subjected to an incredible amount of antisocial activity. Amateurs were being victimised and jammed around the clock and vital emergency traffic was deliberately disrupted. These repeaters were literally rendered unusable and became nothing more than a playground for radio pirates.
The NSW division of the Wireless Institute of Australia appeared to be totally ineffective in dealing with the problem and it was left to individual amateurs to strongly insist that DOC deal with illegal operators. A small group of concerned operators, including myself, pressed DOC and the Minister of Communications to act rapidly. Some offenders were caught and brought before the Courts, but from its investigations, DOC concluded that the prime cause of the problems was Lear.
At that time, the legal requirement for a successful prosecution required radio inspectors to catch offenders actually in the act of transmitting and because of this condition, they encountered great difficulty in dealing with Lear. In previous raids, by the time they had entered Lear's premises, the transmissions had stopped. Due to the veritable mountains of radio equipment and other junk piled up to the ceilings everywhere, it was extremely difficult to even find the radio that Lear had actually been using.
According to radio inspectors, as soon as they had announced their presence at Lear's door, this gave Lear enough time to disable his radio by the simple expedient of unplugging the microphone or a valve, thus rendering the equipment inoperative by the time the inspectors had reached it. A successful prosecution could not be achieved unless Lear was actually witnessed transmitting via an operational radio.
Lear was aware of the evidence requirements and for a long time made it impossible for DOC to prosecute him, even though he was transmitting from a fixed location. He also used a high-pitched falsetto voice, apparently believing that any charges against him would fail on the basis of voice identification. An operation of unprecedented magnitude in amateur radio history was organised by DOC to catch Lear transmitting illegally.
On the 10th of January 1985, radio inspectors and police from the Tactical Response Group mounted a huge raid on Lear's house. Also involved were support personnel from Penrith and Parramatta radio technical units, police from Springwood and Penrith scientific officers who arranged aerial photography of Lear's property. To give an indication of the seriousness of Lear's activities, even the police Polair helicopter was involved.
There was one very humorous aspect to this event. Barry White VK2AAB, who had remote control of the Dural repeater, had switched it off right at that very moment due to the jamming and obscene language being transmitted. Radio inspectors and police who were about to take action were totally stymied, as Lear had ceased transmitting as soon as the repeater went off. Radio inspector Selwyn Carlyle rang White and pleaded with him to immediately activate the repeater or the opportunity to catch Lear with "microphone in hand" would be totally lost and the huge DOC and police operation would fail.
Predictably, as soon as the repeater was switched back on, Lear immediately started to transmit offensive material. When the radio inspectors heard his voice, they signalled the police, who smashed their way into Lear's premises and literally caught him in the act. Many amateurs, including myself who happened to be monitoring the frequency, heard Lear suddenly stop transmitting in mid-sentence. Moments later, a radio inspector was heard testing Lear's radio on-air. Thus DOC finally had all the required elements of evidence for a successful prosecution; Lear's fully functioning transmitter and a number of very reliable and credible witnesses who could testify that they saw Lear actually transmitting.
After a search of Lear's premises, numerous items of radio equipment were seized and Lear was arrested and charged. On the 14th of January 1985, he was convicted on two counts of maintaining an appliance for transmitting messages and two counts of transmitting messages by wireless telegraphy while unlicensed. This time however, the penalty was six months jail with hard labour on each charge, to be served concurrently. 06
Prior to this amazing raid, Lear had also indulged in some incredibly irresponsible behaviour that was to add to his already unenviable criminal record. Around that period, an intense police investigation was being conducted into the bombing of the Parramatta Family Law Court, the bombing of Justice Watson's premises and the murder of his wife, Pearl Watson. For reasons only known to him, Lear had broadcast on many occasions on the 2-metre band that he was the person responsible for committing these atrocities.
Amateur operator John Crowe VK2XJC had warned Lear that if he continued to transmit such material, he would be reported to police. Lear ignored the warnings and continued to broadcast that he was the bomber. Crowe duly contacted police, who were required to check out any possible leads and thus valuable resources were expended in investigating Lear's false claims. During the course of Lear's jail term for the radio offences, he was charged for making these false statements. Lear was taken from jail to Parramatta Court on the 26th of March 1985 for trial. He was convicted of the crime of Public Mischief and was sentenced to three months jail with hard labour. Also around that time at Penrith Court, Lear was convicted and fined for three offences relating to a previous DOC raid. 07
After his release from jail in early 1986, some amateurs who felt sorry for Lear and hoped to rehabilitate him, made representations to DOC for his amateur licence to be restored. Among them was Robert Walker VK2YRX, who would later become a victim of Lear's legal machinations. Lear's original callsign of VK2ASZ was re-issued and he commenced operating. However, I held grave reservations about Lear's intentions and within two months, my suspicions were fully justified when Lear reverted to his previous course of anti-social behaviour.
Many amateurs, especially myself again, were subjected to continual harassment and abuse from Lear, who used a falsetto voice. Virtually every time I appeared on air, Lear called me a "Polish Palestinian Scumbag" or "Flying Pig" and made other offensive comments about my family and myself. Lear also attacked Steven Kuhl VK2TQ in the most disgusting way. Kuhl's wife had recently died of cancer. Whenever he heard Kuhl on air, Lear would continually broadcast that Kuhl kept his wife's corpse in his refrigerator and would take it out periodically to have sex with it. Other operators and their families were also constantly abused. A torrent of complaints flooded the Minister for Communications and DOC again. For approximately one year the harassment from Lear continued around the clock. An investigation by DOC confirmed the abuse and action was taken to obtain proof.
On the evening of the 20th of February 1987, DOC investigators staked out the area around Lear's premises to monitor his transmissions. Radio inspector Selwyn Carlyle came to my house and asked me to just make a normal call via the Dural repeater while he witnessed and recorded the activity. I called another operator and Lear immediately abused me in his falsetto voice. I made a few more calls and Lear continued his harassment. The DOC investigators at Lear's premises verified that it was indeed Lear who was making the offending transmissions. 08
Further investigations also confirmed that Lear was abusing many other amateurs, among them Steven Kuhl VK2TQ and Chris Jupp VK2YZ, so the Minister for Communications took the unprecedented step of cancelling Lear's amateur radio licence for harassment. As far as I was aware, this was the first instance in the history of amateur radio in Australia that such a drastic measure was taken and it served to give an indication of the seriousness of the problems caused by Lear. 09
Lear launched an appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal to attempt to have the Minister's decision to cancel his licence overturned. At the AAT hearing in October 1988, much evidence was tendered by DOC, including tape recordings and testimony from DOC officers and amateurs. Details of the harassment suffered by me from Lear on the 20th of February 1987 and other times comprised the major part of the government case against Lear. I was called as a witness and after all these years, this was the first time that I had actually come face to face with Lear.
I gave testimony about the harassment I had received from him for so long and I was also asked to identify and distinguish Lear's falsetto voice from the falsetto voices of other pirates that had been recorded. Lear then put me to the test with an intense cross-examination and attempted to show that I could not identify his voice. To his chagrin, I had no trouble identifying Lear's voice from those of the other pirates on the tapes. Steven Kuhl also identified Lear's voice on the tapes and the Tribunal was completely convinced of the accuracy of our testimony.
In their judgement, the Tribunal stated that the evidence showed that Lear had a habit of using a high-pitched voice to butt in to other people's conversations and to make observations about other persons and that he admitted that on several occasions he had called me a Polish Palestinian Scumbag.
The AAT also stated that it considered that Lear intended the natural consequence of his acts and these were done for the purpose of harassing me and had been done with persistence. The AAT considered his conduct warranted cancellation of the licence and upheld the Minister's decision. Despite his efforts to regain his licence by having the Minister's decision overturned, Lear remained unlicensed for four years, however again demonstrating his contempt for the law, he still transmitted illegally, continuing to harass and abuse amateur operators. 10
In 1989, much to my surprise I was served with three summonses. These were initiated by Lear and charged me with harassment under Section 25 of the Radiocommunications Act. Lear had complained to DOC with allegations that other amateurs and I had been harassing him and another operator, Paul Cudmore VK2AMK. Lear had demanded that DOC prosecute us, however legal officers of DOC investigated his claims and informed him that there were no grounds for action. Disregarding this advice, Lear launched a series of private prosecutions against me and also against John Crowe VK2XJC and Robert Walker VK2YRX.
On the 19th of February 1990 at Penrith Court, the first of the three charges against me was heard. Lear alleged that I had been harassing Paul Cudmore who had died some time ago. On the occasion relied upon by Lear for evidence, to my utter amazement he produced a tape recording which showed the exact opposite of what he was attempting to prove. The tape demonstrated conclusively that Cudmore had become abusive after I had asked him to cease his interference and showed him obviously jamming my conversation and actually admitting on-air to doing so. It was very apparent that Cudmore was very drunk at the time and evidence was tendered that being inebriated was a normal state of affairs for him.
Lear claimed that my response to Cudmore's jamming had caused Cudmore to eventually die, however Lear could not produce any evidence to support this preposterous allegation, or that Cudmore had ever complained to anybody about me. Testimony was given that in his drunken state, Cudmore had interfered many times in conversations between amateurs and that he had received official warnings from DOC. The magistrate Mr Johnston found that I had no case to answer and dismissed the charge, awarding costs of $1,500 against Lear. 11
Then it was the turn of John Crowe to face the Court on the 21st of May 1990. Lear alleged that Crowe had harassed him using amateur radio. The hearing lasted two full days but the result was the same as in Lear's case against me. On the 24th of May 1990 the magistrate dismissed the charge and ordered costs of $3,200 against Lear. I appeared as a witness for Crowe and the fact that I was present in the courtroom to hear Lear's evidence was to have very grave consequences for Lear. Not knowing this, Lear started a Supreme Court defamation action on the 30th of May 1990 against Crowe. 12
My turn came again on the 6th of August 1990, when I faced the second charge from Lear. In this instance, Lear claimed that I harassed him on amateur radio, even though he was not licensed at the time of the alleged offence. To my amazement, Lear literally destroyed his own case again, when under cross-examination he admitted that I had never spoken to him at any time and had actually made a strong point of always ignoring him.
After hearing Lear's evidence and tapes, the magistrate found that there was no harassment whatsoever. The magistrate remarked that as Lear was unlicensed, he could not have been in a position to be harassed and also concluded that Lear could not have been harassed by me if I had never spoken to him, as Lear himself testified. Again I had no case to answer and the charge was dismissed. After awarding costs of $1,500 against Lear, the magistrate ordered that no more cases against me were to proceed until Lear paid all previous costs awarded to me. 13
In early 1991, Lear appeared on the 2-Metre amateur band using the callsign VK2GLS after DOC had issued him a licence again. He identified himself as "VK2 Girls Love Sex" which provoked many complaints, notably from a number of female amateur operators and one particular male amateur whose complaints led to yet another Supreme Court action some years later.
On the 4th of February 1991, Robert Walker faced the first of two charges at Penrith Court brought by Lear. This charge, under Section 25 of the Radiocommunications Act, was that Walker had induced a false belief in Lear. The hearing lasted all day and continued on the 19th of February 1991 with Walker defending himself.
As in all the previous cases run by Lear against amateurs, Magistrate Johnson found that no case could be sustained. He dismissed the charge and awarded costs of $1,950 against Lear, who then informed the incredulous magistrate that he intended to bring another eight prosecutions against Walker. Upon hearing this, the magistrate immediately made an order preventing Lear from proceeding with any further cases against Walker until all costs were paid in full. 14
The defamation action which Lear had taken out against John Crowe was settled out of court in June 1991 on the basis that Crowe waive the costs he won against Lear in the previous case at Penrith Court. Crowe had told me that he could not defend himself, due to the fact that he was about to move to Queensland and had no funds to fight a Supreme Court case, even though there was evidence to show that Lear had used fabricated evidence in his Statement of Claim. At that time Lear also initiated a defamation suit in the Supreme Court against me. 15
Prior to this, I had been served with a subpoena to attend Penrith Court as Lear's witness in his case against Robert Walker. I was flabbergasted to think that Lear would dare subpoena me as his witness, as I would be totally hostile to his cause, but I went to court as required. However, Lear did not call me as a witness and in fact he did not even approach me. I decided to demand an explanation from Lear, but he denied issuing the subpoena, even though his name was noted on it as the issuing party. I was determined not to allow Lear to get away with such conniving.
I sent Lear a demand for compensation for my expenses incurred in attending court as his witness, however Lear again denied issuing the subpoena, so I proceeded to sue him. The matter came to trial at Ryde Court on the 2nd of August 1991. Lear maintained his denial that he had issued the subpoena and in fact claimed that the issue of this subpoena was the result of a conspiracy between Robert Walker and myself. I totally refuted this by tendering evidence in the form of documents from Penrith Court that showed Lear had issued a number of subpoenas that day including the one to myself. Magistrate Darcy Leo found my case proven and ordered costs of $210 against Lear. 16
On the 17th of September 1991 Lear dropped the last of the three criminal charges that he had taken against me and the Department of Public Prosecutions took over and promptly dropped the outstanding charge against Robert Walker. This was the culmination of Lear's efforts at criminally prosecuting amateurs, as he could not show any wrongdoing by Crowe, Walker or myself. The end result was that costs of $8,150 were awarded against him as well as the $210 witness expenses I had recovered by suing Lear at Ryde Court.
A far more serious matter was yet to unfold. During Lear's private criminal prosecution of John Crowe at Penrith Court on the 21st of May 1990, Lear tendered tape recordings into evidence and testified under oath that these were true and accurate representations of conversations that occurred on the amateur band on the 6th and 7th of March 1989. As I had been called as a witness for Crowe, I stayed in the courtroom to listen to the rest of the trial.
Upon hearing Lear's tapes, I recalled that I had actually heard these conversations at the time they were transmitted, but realised that his recordings were not a true representation of what actually occurred. Concluding that the tapes had been deliberately fabricated to incriminate Crowe, I informed Crowe's barrister of this.
I also remembered that I had recorded the conversations and had sent my tapes as part of a complaint to DOC ten months previously in July 1989. It was obvious that my tapes could not have possibly been tampered with, as they had been in the custody of DOC for nearly a year prior to this trial, long before Lear issued the summons to Crowe or revealed his evidence. The tapes were retrieved from DOC in Canberra by Crowe's barrister and were produced as evidence at Penrith Court on the 24th of May 1990.
In June 1990 I laid an information with Australian Federal Police regarding Lear's false testimony and his fabricated tapes. AFP Detective Andrew Gary Wills seized Lear's tapes that were still held at Penrith Court. After my tapes were forensically tested and compared to Lear's tapes, police concluded that there was more than sufficient evidence to charge Lear with fabrication of evidence and giving false testimony and he was arrested on the 14th of October 1991.
At the Downing Centre Court on the 14th of September 1992 a committal hearing commenced. After hearing much evidence for seven days including the testimony of a number of amateurs including myself, Magistrate Davey found that there was a prima facie case and Lear was committed to stand trial in the District Court. 17
In an attempt to prevent his own tapes being used as evidence against him, Lear launched a case in the Federal Court against Detective Wills. Lear alleged that the search warrant used in the seizure of his tapes from Penrith Court was invalid and that Wills had no right to retain them. On the 21st of September 1992, Lear's action was dismissed and he was ordered to pay costs. 18
As well as all this court action, Lear also initiated yet another defamation case in the District Court against Robert Walker VK2YRX. In his Statement of Claim, Lear alleged that Walker had defamed him on amateur radio and also verbally when he met with the Minister for Communications to discuss Lear's radio activities. Walker decided to defend the matter, however literally since the filing of the claim, no further action had been taken by Lear. 19
Throughout 1993, Lear continued to use the words "Girls Love Sex" when identifying himself, even though many amateurs complained that they found such words to be offensive. I firmly believed that the only conceivable reason Lear used these words was to generate complaints from operators and then sue them for defamation.
My suspicions were completely justified when Dr Miles Burkitt VK2BUR publicly complained about Lear's offensive phonetics in a message placed on packet radio bulletin boards. In August 1993 Lear promptly launched a Supreme Court defamation action against Burkitt. I observed that Lear did not proceed against other operators who also complained, however it was widely known that Burkitt was a successful and wealthy medical practitioner who also owned a communications company and would have been considered as a very lucrative target for litigation. 20
In 1994, Lear's trial for fabrication of evidence and giving false testimony commenced in the District Court but was aborted due to an irregularity with a juror, however on the 25th of September 1995 Lear faced the District Court again. After a four-day trial, he was found guilty of fabricating evidence and giving false testimony in his private prosecution of John Crowe VK2XJC.
On the 8th of December 1995, Lear was sentenced in the District Court. Justice Shillington said the jury found that the evidence showed that Lear had transmitted on the 7th of March 1989, using a falsetto voice to provoke Crowe into making statements. This was during the period when Lear's licence was cancelled for harassment. Lear then removed his participation from the recording and prosecuted Crowe for harassment of himself.
Justice Shillington said that Lear gave false evidence in relation to the tape itself. He also stated that the charges were most serious and that Lear had shown no remorse by pleading not guilty. The judge also said that the lenient sentence was due to Lear's medical condition and age. He sentenced Lear to six months in jail on each charge, to be served concurrently. 21
On the 4th of February 1997, Lear's defamation suit against myself commenced in the Supreme Court where both Lear and I represented ourselves. Lear had alleged the amazing number of 96 imputations of defamation. These arose from letters of complaint that I had written to the Minister for Communications and DOC, from my on-air conversations and from a press release that I submitted to the WIA in relation to Lear's failed prosecution of Robert Walker and even a document that I had prepared for my own use in my defence in one of the Penrith Court cases.
The trial was allocated a duration of three weeks however it continued for a marathon seven weeks. Lear presented much evidence, however a considerable amount of it was proven to be false.
For instance, very early in the trial, Lear alleged that my complaints about him to the authorities and derogatory comments I allegedly made about him around 1983 to 1985 caused him to lose the opportunity to work for Air New Zealand as a flight navigator. He tendered into evidence a student pilot licence and some very old records of a few commercial pilot theory examinations that were completely invalid because their currency had expired decades ago.
Being a fully qualified commercial pilot myself, I was very familiar with the requirements and the employment opportunities for flight crew positions. Due to inertial navigation systems being fitted to virtually all airliners, flight navigators had been made redundant some years before the time Lear claimed he could have obtained a job. Not only that, Lear was totally unqualified and would have been over fifty years old in 1983. Certainly no airline would remotely consider employing even fully qualified flight crew of that age, let alone somebody with no previous commercial flying experience or qualifications. I was quite shocked that Lear attempted to present such brazenly false evidence to the court and I resolved to expose his efforts to mislead the court.
As soon as I arrived home from court that evening, I sent a fax to Air New Zealand, enquiring about the last time this airline had employed navigators. I immediately received a response from their Australian Regional Airports Manager, John Roach, who stated that navigators ceased flying with Air New Zealand in the late 1970s. The next morning in court, I tendered this fax into evidence, along with a newspaper article about a case before the courts at that very time. This matter dealt with a very experienced airline pilot with command endorsements on many current heavy passenger jets and over 20,000 hours logged flying time, who was suing Qantas because he had been rejected for a job on the grounds that at the age of 45, he was too old to be employed as flight crew.
My evidence proved clearly that Lear's brazen claims regarding him losing the opportunity to work as a flight navigator with Air New Zealand because of my actions were a complete pack of lies. Of course the judge and jury were quite flabbergasted that Lear had attempted such chicanery and this incident, one of many similar attempts by Lear to mislead the judge and jury, helped my defence to a huge extent.
In one instance when I had discredited one of Lear's attempts at tendering misleading evidence, Lear was quite peeved and complained to the judge that I was going out of my way to disprove everything that he had submitted. I stated to the court that I would be examining every solitary item of evidence that Lear tendered and would disprove or discredit anything found to be lacking in fact, which did not please Lear one bit. Lear was quite shocked when he realised that he had completely underestimated my ability to expose his lying and conniving. However this did not deter him from continuing to try and mislead the court and this stupidity led to his undoing in spectacular fashion.
The real pivotal moment in the trial came when one of my witnesses, Michael Mihailovic VK2OZ, was being cross-examined by Lear after giving testimony that he and Ron Hawkins VK2OM, who had also been cross-examined by Lear after giving the same testimony, had visited Lear on a number of occasions in early 1985. For a considerable length of time over two days, Lear badgered Mihailovic relentlessly, accused him of being a liar, insinuated that he and Hawkins were homosexual and demanded that Mihailovic recant his testimony about ever being at Lear's house at any time. Eventually after failing to coerce Mihailovic into changing his testimony, Lear finished his cross-examination and Mihailovic was discharged as a witness.
Shortly afterwards, Lear tendered as evidence what purported to be an extract from his handwritten diary to show some other event that happened around that time. As Judge Donovan perused this document, he suddenly stopped and questioned Lear about his cross-examination of Mihailovic and how Lear had attempted for such a long time to make Mihailovic recant that he had been to Lear's house with Hawkins in early 1985. Lear agreed that he had done so because he maintained that Mihailovic and Hawkins were liars and had never been there.The judge then pointed to an entry in the diary a little way above the entry that Lear had tendered. He noted that Lear had himself written that Mihailovic and Hawkins had been to Lear's house at the exact dates and times that they had given in their sworn testimony and that Lear's own tendered evidence had proven beyond doubt that Mihailovic and Hawkins were telling the unvarnished truth.
Judge Donovan was absolutely beside himself with anger and berated Lear for such an obnoxious act. He stated that if Lear had been a barrister and committed such a blatant stunt, he would have been immediately jailed for contempt of court. Because Lear was representing himself, the judge said that he was obliged to give him some leeway. However from the stunned and angry looks on the faces of the jury, I realised then that this event was the definitive turning point of the trial for me.
Apart from the complete ineptitude of Lear's only witness, Robert Yorston VK2CAN, whom I had literally demolished in the witness box, Lear had committed so many blatant transgressions and blunders, told so many obviously transparent lies and tried to mislead the judge and jury on so many occasions, that unless a miracle occurred, Lear had no hope of winning. 22
I had the sneaking suspicion that the judge had decided not to punish Lear for contempt of court, but was allowing him to proceed with his case to the bitter end, realising that the jury would not sustain one single imputation of defamation against me. At that point I could have asked the judge for a summary verdict and had the entire matter dismissed with all costs awarded to me. However, I realised that if the jury were the ones to dismiss all imputations instead of the judge, Lear would have absolutely no grounds to appeal the verdict on the grounds of judicial bias or an error in some point of law.
So I just let Lear present the rest of his case, kept drawing the jury's attention to any lies that Lear told, then made my closing address to the judge and jury and awaited their verdict. I felt very confident by this time, as Lear had been literally shooting himself in the foot all the way through the trial. However once Judge Donovan had exposed Lear's blatant lying and conniving in regard to Mihailovic and Hawkins, I did not think that Lear stood any chance at all of winning.
As I expected, the jury dismissed all 96 imputations. On the 14th of March 1997, Acting Justice Brian Donovan delivered a verdict overwhelmingly in my favour. He also awarded full indemnity costs to me for the entire ten years that the matter had been before the court, to be paid by Lear. In his summing-up, Justice Donovan was most scathing in his remarks to Lear, saying that Lear's case against me was totally worthless, absolutely without merit and was doomed to failure from the start. He also said that the matter had wasted seven weeks of valuable Supreme Court resources.
Judge Donovan also stated that Lear had lied to the Court and that he would be referring his transgressions to the Attorney General. This indicated that an investigation would be requested to determine if Lear was to be charged with offences in relation to his evidence and running of the case and possibly other matters.
Judge Donovan also stated that although he was not a voice-recognition expert, it was obvious that the falsetto voice heard on my tapes in evidence was certainly that of Lear, although Lear had strenuously denied ever using a falsetto voice to transmit. This observation concurred with the remarks of Justice Shillington in Lear's District Court trial where evidence also showed that Lear transmitted illegally in 1989 using a falsetto voice. 23
Eventually I was contacted by Detective Paul Albury from Sydney Central Police and asked to provide information for an investigation of Lear and his court cases. On the 27th of January 1998, I supplied Detective Albury with copious material, including the five reams of transcript from my defamation trial and many other items that I believed showed how Lear had attempted to pervert the course of justice and had committed perjury on so many occasions. On the 7th of April 1998, I made a sworn statement. In January 1999, Detective Albury informed me that he had recommended to the Department of Public Prosecutions that Lear be prosecuted.
Meanwhile for the past few years since Lear had become licensed again, he had broadcast comments that were very racially vilifying and many were very obviously aimed at me. In 1997 I started to record and transcribe these remarks whenever possible and also sent many complaints to the ACA, demanding action. For a long time no action was taken, however after I put repeated pressure on the ACA, on the 28th of October 1998, radio inspector Lance Aggett interviewed me and took a sworn statement.
Since the conclusion of Lear's defamation case against me, I had attempted to recover the substantial sum of money in legal costs that I had spent. I demanded payment from Lear as per the full indemnity costs order, but he insisted that a formal bill of costs be drawn up and assessed by a court-appointed assessor.
I proceeded to do this and found Lear lodging objections to most of the claimed costs. At one point, he even offered to settle the matter for $11,000 and sent me a bank cheque, however I was not going to let him get away with such a ridiculous and insulting offer. I kept the cheque as part-payment and informed Lear that the assessment would proceed as planned.
On the 5th of March 1999, two years after the Supreme Court defamation trial, the costs were finally assessed and I received two certificates of determination of costs. One was for a very substantial five-figure amount of money for my costs for the entire ten year period that this matter had proceeded through the court and the other was for the assessor's costs for $2,975. I immediately had a writ of execution issued and it was served upon Lear.
On the 27th of April 1999, I received a cheque from Penrith Sheriff for the balance of the costs owing plus the cost of the writ and the defamation case was finally over. Lear's failed attempt at suing me had cost him a huge sum of money, apart from the many thousands of dollars he had to pay me for his failed private criminal prosecutions at Penrith court. I concluded that Lear would have had to sell his house to raise that money, as he had been on the dole and aged pension for well over 20 years. It would have been unimaginable to think that he had that much cash squirrelled away that he could afford to pay me that large amount of the costs that I was awarded, as well as the costs that he had to pay his other victims.
I did consider launching a cross-claim lawsuit against Lear for all the trouble that he put me through - the three failed private criminal prosecutions and the Supreme Court defamation matter, but I realised that such a case would take years to even reach a trial. In any case, Lear had no money and I would merely be wasting my time. So I decided not to pursue Lear and I was just satisfied that I had defeated him at every turn, saved some other Amateur Radio operators from being blackmailed by him and literally drove him into complete penury by forcing him to pay my substantial court costs.
I was astonished that literally within the same week that Lear paid my costs for his Supreme Court loss against me, Lear still proceeded with his Supreme Court defamation case against Miles Burkitt VK2BUR on the 3rd of May 1999. I attended the court hearing and after less than two days, all four of Lear's imputations of defamation were dismissed by the jury. Justice Adams awarded costs to Burkitt and commented that Lear's case was doomed from the start, literally echoing the words of Judge Donovan in Lear's defamation case against me. Burkitt had since informed me that he settled his costs with Lear for the amount of $20,000. 24
For his misguided attempts to criminally prosecute and then sue amateurs in the civil jurisdiction on completely worthless and spurious grounds, it had cost Lear a fortune, not to mention all the time wasted preparing his cases. For a person with no known savings and who had been on the dole and an old age pension since 1983, this would have been nothing short of disastrous. On top of that, Lear had been prosecuted many times and had served considerable time in jail for his disruptive and antisocial activities on amateur radio. And what did he achieve? The short answer is - absolutely nothing. He caused some inconvenience but he ended up a broken man with no money and no future.
Lear's remaining defamation matter, that against Robert Walker VK2YRX in the District Court, had not been finalised at that time. As no legal action had been taken on this case since 1983, it lapsed and was removed from the court lists. Also, going on Lear's track record and the grounds on which his Statement of Claim against Walker was based, Lear would have had absolutely no chance of success anyway.
In February 2001, I was contacted by Detective Tony Shaw of Sydney Central Police, who had been assigned to the prosecution of Lear for his court transgressions. After reviewing the evidence and interviewing me, he confirmed that a prima facie case could be sustained. He then suggested that because Lear was now an elderly man in poor health and that he had already served considerable time in jail for offences similar to those under consideration, that it would be merciful if the matter was suspended unless Lear caused any more problems, whereupon it could be reinstated. I agreed to this, as Lear had not been heard on the 2-Metre band for a long time and had not caused any more problems.
In January 2006, I was informed by another amateur radio operator that Lear died in July 2005, literally broke and homeless because of his sheer stupidity in trying to victimise me and other radio amateurs. That brought to a close the sad and sorry saga of the greatest nuisance to amateur radio that had ever been experienced in Australia.