by ARCHIE BUTTERFLY of the now defunct website itsnotnormalisit

A week ago five armed Queensland Police officers arrived unexpectedly at my home and with a warrant in hand walked uninvited through my door with guns on one hip and tasers on the other.

As my dad, my wife, her sister, and my baby grandson watched on, these plain clothes coppers from the Major Crimes Squad first seized my computer, and then placed me under arrest in relation to a story that they reckoned I had written and published on the website  

The charge they loaded me up with was stalking.

They may as well have called it a brick.

I have never stalked anyone in my life. 

I'm just a writer. A bloke who loves his family, and tries to do good wherever he can. 

I admit that I stuff things up from time to time - the (jockey) Lani Fancourt story I recently wrote and greatly regret is a prime example - but I always put my hand up for my mistakes and try to set them straight, and when I f*ck things up it's a matter of principle for me to acknowledge that I've done wrong, apologize and try to make amends as best I can.

I'm human, and often stupid, and like all of us sometimes without meaning to I just balls it up.

Lani Fancourt you are a gutsy and talented individual and I unjustly did you wrong, and from the depths of my heart I apologize.

I am a dickhead for sure.

But I am not a criminal, and I never have been been and I never will be.

The police that day -  for reasons of their own - disagreed.

They told me in front of my seriously ill dad that they would be opposing my release on bail, although they refused to tell me or him why.

It was weird, really weird. 

It was absurd really. 

I have no criminal history. 

None. Nil zip nada. A blank sheet.

I have never been questioned about the matter that I was arrested for, and have never been given a formal opportunity to answer any questions about the matter for which I have been charged. 

Never. Never, ever, ever. 

I wouldn't say anything to the police anyway, because my Mum and Dad brought me up right and taught me not to dob, but that's not the point. I should have been asked to talk, and given the opportunity to say nothing on tape in a formal police interview, but I wasn't.

Even murderers get asked to tell their side of the story before they are cuffed and carted away.

Not me though. I was simply chucked in the back of an unmarked car and hauled off to the watch-house like a common thug. 

To this day I haven't got a clue what the details or particulars of the charge are, because the police haven't told me.

And they call this democracy.

What a joke!

After my arrest at 10.30am and removal to Roma Street, I spent more than five hours in a jail cell - well several cells actually; I was transferred from one vacant pen to the next, and each was considerably colder than the one before as my captors turned the air conditioning down to torture me in a strategy akin to waterboarding - and it wasn't until after three in the afternoon before I was even fingerprinted, photographed, DNA swabbed and formally charged.

I was treated like a piece of sh*t on your shoe, and kicked like a mongrel dog.

All just for writing some stories.

The police who pinched me knew that I was diabetic and hadn't eaten, and that if I wasn't given some grub I was at risk of falling into a diabetic coma. I had told them this on the way in - yet still I was denied food and drink the whole time that I was kept in the cells.

Human rights? 

What are they?

I'm just a writer. 

What the hell did I do to deserve this?

A racehorse trainer who's also a QC was once an adversary of mine in a former professional life but these days thanks to a share interest in the great sport of racing he's become a mate of mine, and I will be forever grateful that he cared enough about me to drop all the important things he was doing and whistle up the cavalry to come and save me from a life in a cell without cigarettes.

You can say whatever you like about the QC, but unless it's highly complimentary don't ever say it in  front of me because he's a champion and so too are my solicitors Brendon Ryan and Wendy Mulcahy, both highly skilled practitioners who are at the very pinnacle of the game.

If it wasn't for the pairs' finely honed skills and absolute dedication to their clients and their craft, that dog day Wednesday afternoon could have turned out a whole lot uglier for me I am sure, for it's my belief that the coppers had intended to delay things so as to keep me in the concrete dungeon overnight and teach me a tough lesson, and on this occasion I sure am glad that they aimed at the target but missed.

The whole thing though didn't make sense then, and it still doesn't now, and there is only one conclusion that a febrile brain like mine can form, and that is that the fix was in.

It probably still is.

After all, this is Queensland. 

The fix is always in.

In the weeks prior to my arrest a number of stories had been published on the website, featuring high profile, powerful public officials from both Victoria and up here in the Sunshine State. 

Central to these tales were are number of questions about contracts awarded to a company in Victoria that was established, owned and directed by a group of former police officers from that State; queries about the relationship between the Victorian and Queensland Racing Integrity Commissions and Commissioners; and the role of the Victorian Commissioner as an Advisor to QRIC.

Questions were also raised in separate articles about why the role of Assistant Commissioner of QRIC had been left unfilled for more than 15 months when the position was required by law to have been filled at the commencement of the Act.

A series of other  perhaps not unrelated stories were also published on the website during this period about the arguably dubious dealings on Queensland racetracks by members of the world's biggest gambling syndicate, including the mounting yard activities of at least one website owner who some say is an employee or contractor of the syndicate and holds a media accreditation issued by Racing Queensland that allows him to act as a photographer in restricted areas of Queensland racecourses.

These stories posed questions asking how the people allegedly involved have been able to get away for so long with what they appeared to be doing in broad daylight and in the full glare of the Government official whose job it is to enforce the Rules of Racing and the laws of our land.

I'm not for a moment saying that my arrest was in any way related to these matters - you can make up your own mind about that - but I can say without equivocation that my bail conditions are the reason that the website has been closed, and that the content of these stories has been removed.

A number of factors prevent me from discussing the specifics of my charge or in any way identifying those allegedly involved, but I can reveal that the stories published on were only the tip of the iceberg, and that there was much more planned to follow.

I can also say with hand on heart that neither the published nor the planned stories came about as the result of any information received but rather stemmed from detailed investigation, extensive research and old-fashioned gutter instinct.

What's that old saying? You can kill the messenger, but the message never dies? 

I want to continue writing articles that entertain, shock and inform the sports fans on subjects like racing, gambling, crime, politics, corruption and pedophilia, but this will only be possible if I am able to raise the dough that is required to engage a top class legal team who can knock off this ridiculous trumped up charge.

This is the go.

Its Not Normal has operated on a not-for-profit basis since the very day it started, and has always been openly and freely available at no cost to readers. The site has never featured any advertising, and neither I nor the publishers have ever asked for or accepted a cent from any person despite being offered plenty on occasions.

The publisher doesn't intend to change that, but things are crook out here in Tullarook and we're rather short of Readies.

To be blunt, this is our hour of need. 

If the dosh needed to fund the legal defence can't be raised the website will be forced to close permanently, and in these circumstances there is a reasonable chance that the fix and fit might be made to stick and I could go to jail as well, for nothing more than writing the stories that you have enjoyed reading so much, and for simply telling the bloody truth.

If any of these things were to happen, I reckon it would be a tragedy.

Not for me personally - I'm a big boy and have broad shoulders, and will cop what comes sweet but it will be a tragedy for the integrity of the three codes of racing, for the ideal of media freedom, and for the right of citizens to write, speak and read without fear of censorship or retribution.

When it all boils down to it though the greatest tragedy of all is the unbridled assault on democracy itself.

I've never asked you for anything readers, but now I am.

The only way that I can raise the funds for my defence is to pass around the hat in the time honored Aussie way.

Please throw a few coins in if you can. Don't the bastards steal our dreams.

Hooroo and TA,

Archie Butterfly.

PS: All funds raised will be deposited into the Trust Fund of my solicitors MULCAHY-RYAN LAWYERS, and any money left over at the end of my legal battle will be donated in full to the NATIONAL JOCKEYS' TRUST.




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