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Australian Casino Ransom Man loses appeal

22 July 2002

AUSTRALIA -- As reported by the West Australian: ``Casino extortionist Roger Payne has failed in his bid to have his 12-year jail sentence reduced.

``In a two-to-one majority decision handed down in the Court of Criminal Appeal, Justices Robert Anderson and Kevin Parker ruled that the sentencing judge had not failed to take into account mitigating factors.

``...The former British paratrooper and Australian soldier, who lists army chief Lt-Gen. Peter Cosgrove as a referee, said he had mental problems. Judge Hammond had not given enough weight to the fact that he was suffering from bipolar mood disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and sleep apnea, he said.

``...'The psychiatric and psychological evidence had to be evaluated against the extremely high degree of criminality engaged in by the applicant involving meticulous and skillful planning over an appreciable period, the use of highly effective guerilla tactics, the high degree of disruption caused to the section of the community involved and to the business entity against whom the ransom demand had been made, and the display of ruthlessness, if not cruelty, in the applicant's treatment of the police officer who delivered the ransom to him,' he said.

``Justice Parker said he could not rule that a 12-year jail sentence was excessive.

``...Payne kidnapped and drugged an undercover police officer and forced him to strip naked during the extortion bid last year.

``More than 5000 people were evacuated from the Burswood Casino after he sent a detailed ransom note on August 31 threatening to detonate a bomb and demanding $2 million.

``The following day, Payne rang the resort and demanded a courier take the money to a McDonald's restaurant carpark in Maddington.

``When the courier arrived, Payne pulled out a replica semi-automatic handgun and got into the man's car. He told the courier to drive to a remote location in Kenwick or be shot in the back of the head. The courier, an undercover police officer who did not know the gun was a fake, was made to drink a sleeping potion and strip before being made to run away..."

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