A Four Corners special sees host Sarah Ferguson look into the coronial inquest’s findings into the terror attack in Sydney’s Martin Place, writes COLIN VICKERY
IT is six o’clock at night and Man Haron Monis, armed with a 12-gauge, pump-action shotgun has been shuttered inside the Lindt Café in Sydney’s Martin Place with 18 hostages since 8.30am. Eight and a half hours later, café manager Tori Johnson had been murdered, prompting police to storm the building - killing Monis, and tragically, fatally wounding lawyer and hostage Katrina Dawson in the crossfire. Now, in the finale of two-part special on the coronial inquest’s findings, host and senior correspondent Sarah Ferguson claims it was the latenight decisions made by police which turned the siege deadly. “The police were telling everybody that it (siege) was going to be resolved peacefully [but] what emerges …is inflexibility in the police approach. “Even though it had been declared a terrorist event, it was being treated (by police) as a domestic (violence) event,” Ferguson says. “The police had a choice. They could send in the highlytrained, anti-terrorism tactical force to rescue the hostages. They chose not to do that.
“They said they would only go in if there was an emergency. What was profoundly shocking for the families (at the inquest) was that they set that trigger (to go in) at death or serious injury.”
Much of the power of part one of this story came from Ferguson’s interviews with members of the Johnson and Dawson families.
“Tori and Katrina were very special people and you can see it reflected in their families,” Ferguson says.
“None of them went into the inquest for retribution. They went in looking for truth and the courage of all authorities involved to admit they made mistakes. They saw none of it, so the experience for them was very tough.
“We (at Four Corners) wanted to lay out a rigorous, forensic account of what happened. I want people to experience this event through the eyes of these families and understand what that was like.”