Friday, April 2, 2010

Martin Bryant Facebook page smears ex-cop Michael Dyson

Martin Bryant

Port Arthur gunman Martin Bryant days prior to massacre.

  • Facebook page says Bryant is innocent
  • Page points finger at former policeman
  • Administrators have not removed the page

A MALICIOUS website has launched an outrageous attack on a former Tasmania Police officer, claiming he was a gunman in the Port Arthur massacre.

The Facebook hate page claims convicted mass murderer Martin Bryant is an innocent man and long-serving former Special Operations Group member Michael Dyson is responsible.

Mr Dyson, who assisted investigations into the 1996 massacre when 35 people were killed, has shrugged off the allegations but says the internet is out of control and accountability is needed.

He said despite attempts to contact Facebook administrators since finding the site this week, nothing had been done to remove the defamatory page.

Mr Dyson, 52, said he had also contacted Tasmania Police and Australian Federal Police because the site includes his photo and contact details, but was told they were powerless.

"Most people see these sites and people for the lunatics that they are, but if I've learned anything from my time in the force it's that there are also people out there who believe it," he said.

"They're the ones that I'm concerned about the sort that will try and take me out to even it up for Martin Bryant." Facebook faced harsh criticism only last month, when obscene and pornographic content was posted on tribute pages for two Australian children killed in separate acts of violence.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd weighed in then on the debate, backing an inquiry into creating a federal office to combat cyber crime.

The latest controversial page: Martin Bryant is Innocent Michael Charles Dyson shooter at Seascape, not only accuses Mr Dyson of being involved in the massacre but has several links to conspiracy theory websites alleging the massacre was a government plot to force the introduction of gun control legislation.

It also targets former prime minster John Howard, former Tasmanian premier Ray Groom and former Tasmanian and Commonwealth director of public prosecutions Damian Bugg, who prosecuted Bryant.

The men feature on a poster which says: Wanted for Mass Murder, for Port Arthur massacre plot to enforce gun control in Australia. Martin Bryant is innocent and was set up to conceal the Liberal plot.

The creator of the page is not identified and only six people featured as fans are members, including one who has assumed the identity of Australian Vietnam War veteran Ted Serong, who died in 2002 and who was said to have believed Bryant was not the shooter.

Mr Dyson was one of the first investigators to search Bryant's New Town home after the massacre on April 28, 1996.

He retired from the force the following year, after 23 years' service, and now runs a security agency in Tasmania.

He said he had no doubt Bryant was responsible for the massacre and was in disbelief that anyone could allege he was involved.

"How could anyone ever doubt that Martin Bryant killed those people?" he said. "What's more absurd is that people can make allegations saying I was involved and to do so in the public eye for everyone to see.

"Meanwhile, I'm powerless to stop it. People need to be accountable for what's on the internet, it's just getting out of control because no one is controlling it."

Bryant pleaded guilty and is serving 35 life sentences without parole. He killed 20 people in the Broad Arrow Cafe, 12 on the way to the nearby Seascape guesthouse and three inside Seascape.

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