The GOTBA Executive would like to update participants in relation to recent allegations of covert, illegal surveillance of greyhound properties.
As most participants would know by now if they have followed this saga on social media and in national newspapers, Mr. Charlie Wilson has made a number of claims including that he was working with Animals Australia conducting illegal breaking and entering into of greyhound premises to capture footage of illegal drug use in the greyhound industry.
With our members’ interests at the forefront of our thoughts, we have ourselves spoken to Charlie Wilson on a number of occasions in the last week. We are satisfied that many of his claims as to surveillance of our members are plausible, and have seen material that appears to independently back up many of his claims. This is not to say that all claims in the public arena are true, but prudence dictates that we, and therefore our members, take the claims of coordinated, covert surveillance by Animals Australia or other organisations extremely seriously.
We have received information regarding both the planning of the covert surveillance as well as the participants alleged to have been targeted. Equally, we have sought information on who managed and paid for the apparent operation and the names of those alleged to be involved.
In the next few days, we will be contacting those of our members whose names have been provided to us as surveillance targets. On behalf of those of our members whose privacy we believe may have been illegally violated, GOTBA may (with consent) shortly lodge a formal complaint with Victoria Police. We would strongly recommend that those individual members also lodge a police complaint if they are able to and wish to do so.
On a related issue, we are led to believe that Animals Australia has handed over some or all of the footage from the illegal break-ins to GRV, and some to other regulatory bodies.
While GOTBA has no problem with GRV, by proper processes and in accordance with the law (including all protections to individuals and against misuse of material that the law affords), conducting its own covert operations as part of an investigations process, we take issue with any direct use of illegally obtained footage against participants. There can be no assurance, given the alleged source, that the material – whatever it contains – is complete or devoid of alteration, and it would be immoral, not to mention legally questionable, for the footage to be used as direct evidence of any act.
We at the GOTBA will fight for the rights of our members. We remind all participants to be vigilant, regularly consider if your personal and kennel security is adequate and take measures to bring each up to speed if not.