Sunday, November 28, 2010

Menachem Vorschheimer in the news again

Today's Age has a very interesting piece written by their well-know crime reporters Andrew Rule and John Silvester (aka "Sly of the Underworld") regarding the Vorschheimer affair.
Seeing that many in our community no longer subscribe to the Age, and after having recently criticised Menachem's blog effort, we feel it is only fair to post this article to show what the upset is all about.
THERE'S the strange case of the policeman accused of long-term bullying who has been on fully paid leave for two years. It seems he's lucky enough to have a doctor willing to declare his ''patient'' unfit to face questions about the alleged offences. We hope the (alleged) bully's victims are being looked after nearly as well.

Then there is the case of the fortunate Leading Senior Constable Terrence Moore. He used to be a plain senior constable, but has been promoted since - or despite - being revealed as the driver of a minibus full of louts who assaulted a man for objecting to their racist abuse. Promoted, in fact, despite being the subject of an internal inquiry by the force's ethical standards unit. He, too, seems lucky.

Either the police force is an extraordinarily forgiving employer - or the police union is too tough to mess with. Like the 250-kilogram pet gorilla in the old joke, it sits anywhere it bloody well wants to and gets called ''Sir'': the sort of ''pet'' that makes senior police and their political masters nervous, especially before elections.

Advertisement: Story continues below But Menachem Vorchheimer is neither a politician nor a senior policeman and he's not nervous - of the police union, the chief commissioner's office or the government, it seems.

Vorchheimer hit the news in the spring of 2006, when the then off-duty Constable Moore was driving a minibus full of country footballers home from Caulfield races through East St Kilda towards the road to Geelong. The constable was not subsequently breathalysed - so he gets the benefit of any doubt about that - but being more sober than his passengers didn't help him to stop them from racially abusing Jewish people walking home from weekly worship.

Our heroes, from Ocean Grove footy club, were mostly young and mostly drunk, which explains some of their tasteless and offensive behaviour but does not excuse it - especially when it turned violent.

One genius yelled an obscene sexual suggestion to a Jewish mother of five. Another wit mimed machinegun fire as his mates jeered ''Go the Nazis'' and ''F… the Jews''.


But, being almost as full as the bus was, the footballers made a couple of tactical mistakes. One was to yell insults just before the bus stopped at a red light. The other was to pick on someone who would fight back - the aforesaid Menachem Vorchheimer, who was walking his two small children home from the nearby synagogue.

Incensed by the abuse, Vorchheimer ran to the bus driver's door and demanded to know who was in charge.

The driver (he says) was surly and refused to identify himself, the group, or anyone in it. It might have ended there but a passenger snatched Vorchheimer's hat and yarmulke (religious skull cap) through an open window.

A passing motorist who saw this blocked the bus by parking his car in front of it. The bus driver wasn't happy. In fact, he allegedly tried to reverse and drive off. What might be called ''doing a runner''. One of the footballers tossed Vorchheimer's felt hat on to the ground but they still had his skull cap. When he demanded it back, someone in the bus punched him in the face, giving him a black eye. It was a mistake. Vorchheimer promptly sat in front of the bus.
Meanwhile, passers-by gathered around. Despite the driver's demands not to call the police, someone did.

Three cars came from St Kilda police station. The officers soon learnt an inconvenient truth: the driver was an off-duty ''member''. Not that anyone was shouting it from the rooftops. In fact, if a reporter hadn't dug it up days later, maybe no one outside ''the job'' would ever have known.

The policewoman taking notes recorded an interesting fact about her off-duty colleague's actions, later recorded in a carefully worded statement. When Vorchheimer said that whoever punched him was wearing a pink tie, Moore got on to the bus and spoke to his passengers and within seconds all of them removed their ties. It was then impossible for Vorchheimer to clearly identify his attacker.

The bus was blocking traffic, no one was volunteering information and, in any case, statements from intoxicated people do not fly in court, so the police allowed the culprits to leave. One policeman gave Vorchheimer his telephone number and assured him ''justice would be done''.

Since then, Vorchheimer and his legal advisers have tried to make sure that happened. Three footballers were subsequently fined for offensive language but none was found for the assault. Worse, he says, he didn't get a sincere apology - except from AFL boss Andrew Demetriou, who made one on behalf of the football community in a way that made the Ocean Grove club look flatfooted and ungracious, at best.

As Vorchheimer sees it, he didn't get much joy from the police hierarchy, either. After a barrister advised him to study relevant law and police regulations, he concluded that Senior Constable Terry Moore had failed his sworn duty to uphold the law.

Not only had Moore failed to prevent his passengers from committing the original offences but he was suspected of tipping off an assault suspect to remove his tie to confuse detection. And he had tried to drive off after asking witnesses not to call the police.

But when Vorchheimer pressed these points with Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe, the meeting ended abruptly with Walshe insisting that Moore would not be suspended.

The top cop was as good as his word.

Early this year, a truck sideswiped a car on the Western Ring Road, spinning into a barrier and back on to the freeway, where oncoming traffic narrowly avoided it. The driver, a 25-year-old woman, was lucky to survive the ordeal. As her battered car spun to a halt, she saw the truck slow down, then speed off. She didn't get its registration number.

Police appealed for witnesses but none came forward. One policeman from the Brimbank Traffic Management Unit was so concerned he even spoke to a local newspaper about it.

"It is an offence to not stop at an accident or render assistance if someone was injured," the policeman said. "In a lot of instances trucks don't know they have hit a car, but he would have known. It is disappointing he didn't stop.''

The speaker? None other than Terry Moore, basking in his promotion to leading senior constable. A policeman's lot can be a happy one, after all.

Or, to quote another lyric, ''You don't get me, I'm part of the union.''


  1. Thanks AJNWATCH for showing decency and fairness.

  2. B'H

    good on the AJN for bringing this article to our attention and The Age has partially redeemed itself in my eyes for publishing this article. What will be the repercussions though? Will Mr Terry Moore scream defamation? Will he say he is being unfairly targeted and say Menachem Vorchheimer is the bully boy for continuing to fight for his rights and for justice? This will be interesting.
    I say GO Menachem and make the bastards accountable for their actions. I am still writing my book on my experience of being bullied out of teaching in NSW. People need to know how some abuse their powers and are protected by those who should know better at the expense of the victims!
    Shame and Name is the game. Maybe then they will wake up and change their attitude.

  3. בס"ד
    The name is" Vorchheimer" ) pronounced with an "F", NOT "Vorschheimer" and derives from the Bavarian town of Vorchheim, now spelt Forchheim.

    Menachem was raised on Liberal Party politics and also on the importance of the Separation of Powers and fighting corruption in government. As Honorary Secretary of the Law and Justice Policy Committee of State Council of the Liberal Party of Australia (NSW Division), I was part of the framing of policy (and subsequent enactment of legislaion), under first Shadow A-G, then Attorney General, The Hon John Dowd AO, QC which instituted ICAC in New South Wales to overcome, in 1988, two centuries of corruption in that State.

    Menachem and his brothers used to help NSW Liberals in letterbox drops and mixed with senior Liberal Party politicians and their children. Issues of law and justice were, along with Yiddishkeit and adherence to Torah Law, every day topics for conversation and for action in our home.

    I am Menachem's mother. I do not read AJN or the Age. I read "Hamodia".

  4. Menachem Vrosheimer is a good example for us of being a person of principle who is willing to fight for what is right. I admire his efforts to make Yeshiva Centre come clean and am disgusted at how our esteemed Vaad has treated him.

  5. B'H
    Dear Mrs Vorchheimer if you you read Hamodia it shows that your values are well grounded. Personally I have not subscribed to The Age for something like six or seven years now and would not, despite an article or two that is fairly balanced,The Age is no longer in my eyes, reputable or factual because of its often strong bias and emotive reporting.
    You may have fought and lost a battle against corruption in that state NSW. I am here to tell you, it is alive and well and it is very hard to get justice in any form except that which you buy for a grand price. That, strictly speaking, is not justice, it is called bribery. My experiences with a shonky NSW lawyer who represented my case, dragged it out then went behind my back and tried to say that I was too unstable for my case to go to a full Workcover hearing and wanted his money quickly when I had a strong case against the NSW Department of Education, so I was eventually forced to settle for $12,000 and to live on a pension for four years or more until I can retrain in another career, still rankles. Needless to say when I googled him I found that he had been up before the NSW Law Commission and fined for exactly the same thing he did to me, the year before in July 2007. The only reason I did not put in a formal complaint was because a woman called Michelle Allard advised me not to and focus on my case which Slater and Gordon, the firm she worked for, later dropped.
    Now I left my case because of exhaustion, not only of finances and being only one person with a small child and a single parent to boot. It is now too late to pursue a course of legal action that would have been a breeze for a half way decent lawyer to expose the corruption and lies of doctors reports, the anti semitism of a Principal who discriminated against me because he did not like older single parents and possibly me. Who really cares, I am broke and I have moved on and am writing a book about the system that destroyed my teaching career rather than vindicated my complaint against a Principal in 2005. It was originally vindicated because I was very careful before I made my complaint I made sure I had absolute proof and it was upheld.

  6. B'H
    It was what happened afterwards, that was both unprofessional and grossly unjust.
    When a person is decent and hard working, does their job in other words, they should not have many problems in life. However, when they are victimised, told they 'should not work too hard or care too much' and harassed to the point of a nervous breakdown and told that they are 'suicidal and manic depressive' and 'need help' when all they are trying to do is their job which is to teach and not play games and pretend they are teaching and not to join in the inane conversations in a staff room that bitches about other staff constantly and denigrates those a bully boy Principal doesn't like, then you have failed to halt the corrupt standards in NSW public schools, its legal system, the union bully boys and by default other government departments like the police and the health systems that are riddled with flaws because of nepotism, slack standards of service and a blatant failure to adhere to their own policies. (People get paid to write them but do they actually follow them.)
    The corruption in NSW in all government departments will only be halted once they clean out all the left wing demagogues from the public school system and ensure that there is a more balanced bi partisan approach. When I say 'clean out' I am not thinking along the lines of Stalinist purges but taking away their power to confuse, muddle and brainwash thousands of school children year in year out into thinking that Labor or the ALP is the only way to support the 'working classes'.
    Trouble is I think the NSW governments are still over two hundred and two years later stuck with a rum rebellion mentality. Anything that goes against the interests of a few well placed monopolists is vigorously attacked and it is almost impossible to root out the type of corruption within NSW unless you have a landslide liberal coalition government with the power and the will to sever the ties of those who would seek to use government for his or her own agenda. We are far more civilised and thoughtful in both Queensland and Victoria and I think that goes back to a base population that came out as free settlers in both those states.

  7. בס"ד
    To Ilana,עומ"ש

    G-D willing, the Liberals will regain power in NSW. However, discrimination and prejudice are not matters of corruption that a body like ICAC can deal with. They can be very entrenched. Anti-Discrimination legislation is inadequate.

    If you believe your litigation was mishandled, you should complain to the Law Society of NSW. (I know that formal complaints are handled by another body now, but they can direct you.) All litigation is long, expensive and exhausting for litigants and, unless settled, one side always loses.

    Having been a litigation lawyer before I retired, I would advise anyone to avoid litigation at all costs. If it is necessary, then work towards a settlement or a mediation.

  8. Dear Mrs Vorschheimer, You must be very proud of your son, I loved his work and had to stand up when I thought he was being unfairly criticized for his good work.

    I too was raised in legal circles with a deep appreciation of the Separation of Powers in a Westminster democracy. Under Brumby we were heading towards a police state in Victoria at a rapid rate. The policeman involved with your son seems to be none the wiser for his experience, African kids are also targets.

    A Great Family you have there Sarah :-)

  9. B'H

    The people who are so critical of Menachem V are the sort that allows bullying to flourish unchecked. If you do not support the sort of behaviour he was subjected to as well as the consequent cover up and the failure to give adequate consequences for the abuse of power, then you should speak out and make yourself heard.
    If you do not and criticise the victims, you are compliant with those who misuse the powers they have or have been given the responsibility to wield. Silence is not always golden, it can be a dangerous blanket that smothers justice and fairness.


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