Fred Martens met his seven-year-old son for the first time last week. Read about it here (Herald Sun, 12/6/11). Here’s my original post on him.
Martens is the Australian pilot who, up until 2004, had several thriving businesses in Papua New Guinea. One of those, Pioneer Health Services, involved flying doctors into the country to provide medical care. He also ran construction companies and a security company. But then Martens got caught up in a bitter custody battle with his wife Raina, and it seems the playing field in family court wasn’t exactly level.
That’s because the Australian Federal police conspired with Raina Martens to charge, try and convict Fred of the rape of a 14-year-old girl in PNG. Those claims arose for the first time during his divorce and custody cases and were made by Raina, but one police officer, Tania Stokes became an enthusiastic participant. She falsified evidence and submitted a false affidavit to the criminal court saying that flight records showed Fred Martens to have been in PNG at the time of the alleged assault. In fact, they showed the opposite – that he was in Australia on the date in question.
But Martens’ legal team couldn’t pry the records away from the Federal Police until he’d been in prison, convicted of rape, for almost 1,000 days. Eventually they were able to get the records, prove his innocence and get his conviction overturned. Now he’s suing the Australian government for $45 million due to its malicious prosecution and incarceration of him. That case is ongoing.
Mr Martens alleges the prosecution was organised by his ex-wife Raina Martens, with whom he was locked in a bitter custody battle, and the statement of claim alleges she arranged interviews between the girl and police.In short, the police worked hand-in-glove with Martens’ ex-wife to falsely accuse and incarcerate him and deprive him of his children.
With his civil suit in progress, Fred Martens has finally gotten to see his son Lee who was born just three weeks after he was imprisoned.
A tearful Mr. Martens told reporters it was a remarkable experience to finally meet his child.Of Raina Martens, there’s not a word. Likewise, there’s nothing about why it took Fred some three years to get to see Lee after his conviction was overturned. With whom have the children been living? Has Raina been punished for lying to courts and police? Has her malicious behavior affected her custodial rights? What about all the employees of Martens’ companies who surely lost their jobs when his businesses went under due to his incarceration? Have they found work? How did their families fare during their unemployment?
“There’s no words for it, no words,” he said.
Mr. Martens said he was in the process of getting his other children to Australia.
“I’ll get them all home, don’t you worry. It might take a while, but I’ll get them all home,” he said.
So far, the Australian press has been silent on those issues preferring to focus on Fred and his civil suit against the government. Perhaps we’ll learn in time.