The Association of British Investigators held its 2019 annual general meeting at the Château Rhianfa in Anglesey North Wales. It is at the formal banquet after the business meeting when members and guests are in a more relaxed mood that the association presents those members given recognition by their peers the prestigious Awards, including The Frank Martin Award, The Peter Heims Life-Time Achievement, The Zena Scott Archer Investigators of the Year, and The WAD Richard Jacques Turner Award for Excellence. The WAD and ABI have long held close ties and a history of interaction and influence none more so than in the ABI annual Awards as can be seen by the dual membership of the people involved as indicated below.
Peter Heims Life-Time Achievement Award
This Award was presented to the ABI by Iris Heims, the widow of Peter Heims (ABI/WAD), who was a past President of the Association, a recipient of the Frank Martin Award and who regularly acted as Master of Ceremony during ABI banquets.
Recipient of Award: Richard Jacques-Turner (ABI/WAD), Life Member and Past President, who was nominated by Tony Imossi (ABI/WAD), Past President. The nomination read as follows:
The nomination read as follows:
Richard has achieved so much during a very long and distinguished investigative career not least 50 continuous years as an ABI member, which was celebrated in February 2019 and I can do no better than rely on the excellent tribute to Richard's career written by Eric Shelmerdine, click here.
This Award bequeathed to the Association by Iris Heims in 2013, the ABI's Centenary, in honour of Peter Heims who past away the very night of the Centenary, is by far the most prestigious and difficult to achieve. Few from the ABI hall of fame can boast having reached this accolade and I am humbly honoured to have nominated Richard as the deserving recipient for 2019.
Richard Jacques-Turner Award for Excellence
This award was presented to the A.B.I. in friendship by WAD at our Centenary celebrations in April 2013. The Award is named after Richard Jacques-Turner (ABI/WAD) to honour his commitment, over many years, to both the A.B.I. and W.A.D. It is presented to a deserving member, who has achieved a notable accolade within the Investigation, Security or Educational sectors.
Recipient of Award: Mike LaCorte (ABI/WAD) who was nominated by Eric Shelmerdine (ABI/WAD) Life member and Past President.
The nomination read as follows:
Mike became a member of ABI in 2008 after establishing his London based business Conflict International Limited.
I have watched Mike become one of the most respected professional investigators not only in the UK but also on the International scene where I have personally observed his common sense, constructive and fair contributions as a fellow WAD board member. His talent finally recognised by his peers, resulting in his election as President of WAD in 2017 in New Delhi India, only the fourth Brit to reach this honour in WAD’s 94 year history.
I have witnessed Mike fly the flag for ABI at many WAD conferences around the world. He is a true professional who presents the correct image of our industry.
I feel that Mike is a worthy and deserving candidate to receive this award and it would be fitting as the original award was presented to ABI by WAD in 2013.
Zena Scott Archer - Investigator of the Year
This prestigious award was donated by the late Zena Scott-Archer (ABI/WAD) and is awarded to an ABI member who has demonstrated outstanding professional investigative skills in carrying out a commendable investigation.
Winner: Oliver Laurence (ABI/WAD) nominated by Amarick Gill LLC :
My name is Amarick Gill and I am a Barrister-at-law of the Middle Temple (UK and Wales) and am an Advocate and Solicitor of Singapore. I am primarily a criminal defence lawyer in Singapore and have been now for over 21 years. I specialise in many areas, but regular ﬁnd myself dealing with Capital Punishment Offences, offences which sadly still carry the death penalty.
I write to you to nominate one of your members for an award this year at your annual association gathering.
From the research I have done it appears to be the Zena-Scott Archer Investigator of the Year Award which would be most appropriate.
Allow me to elaborate. In March of 2018, my ﬁrm, Amarick Gill LLC, was briefed with a capital matters. An Australian family made up of two daughters of the client (the Accused) contacted me as their father had been arrested for bringing in approximately 87.00 grams of cocaine which was hidden in the lining of his suitcase. The drugs were analysed and found to contain a purity level of 39.4 grams at a conﬁdence level of 99,999 %. This was well over the capital threshold of 30 grams. If found guilty, my client would be sentenced to death and duly executed and by way of hanging.
Aﬁer I met with my client, I was quickly and extremely concerned about the level of guilt that was being attributed to my client by the Prosecution even though my client was adamant the drugs (although discovered on his person) were not his and had been have been planted in his bag either by person(s) unknown to him or even worse by
person(s) known to him in Australia. I immediately advised the daughters that this matter would need the assistance of a Private Investigator in Australia who could assist with carrying out an investigation to prove my client’s innocence. They agreed and subsequently hired the services of Oliver Laurence from OJT Investigations Group, a member of your organisation, a former police ofﬁcer and government investigator of some thirteen years.
Oliver from the start of engagement immediately understood the gravity of this investigation and also immediately appreciated the fact that failure for us was not an option, as the consequences would be both dire and irreversible.
Over the next twelve months, I witnessed from Singapore one of the greatest investigations and gathering of
evidence to support the release of our client, the like I have never seen before. Oliver, after an initial meeting with our client’s family raised a serious and quite confronting concern with me and one that I did not disagree with and thought of myself but I did not Want to sway his views or judgments. Oliver and his team collated vast information and statements which were both factually accurate, supportive of our case and covered the key elements of a conspiracy against our client. An extremely troubling set of circumstances was revealed which shocked all on the defence team.
What made this matter even more sensitive in nature was the discovery that the suspects believed to be involved in this matter were ultimately shown to have both motive and opportunity to commit this offence against our client.
Oliver travelled all over Australia collating statements with his team and briefed me the entire way throughout his investigation. He respected my position as lead counsel and ran all his decision-making processes by me. Ever so often, one will ﬁnd investigators who behave irrationally without consultation and more often than not do more damage than good. This was certainly not the case here. Oliver’s ability to manage such a large, sensitive and protracted investigation was both impressive and remarkable which led to our client being released without a trial on 22nd February 2019. He was granted a discharge and is now back home. He had spent 353 days in prison.
Oliver had taken all measures to ensure a comprehensive police investigation with his material which would lead to the detentions and arrests of the two persons known to our client. A matter, which at the time of writing this, is with the NSW Police Force. Upon being appraised of the imminent release of our client, Oliver then switched to
providing total safety and security for our client by boarding the ﬁrst ﬂight to Singapore and escorting our client home after his release from custody back into the arms of his daughters, free again and more importantly alive.
If there was ever an example of commitment, professionalism and dedication in ﬁnding out the truth behind a matter, this is it in my mind. To solve any investigation is a real credit to any investigator, to solve one where a person’s life has been saved is quite another.
I look forward to working with Oliver again in the future on other matters. He is a
credit and an asset to your profession and organisation.
AMARICK GILL LLC
Frank Martin Award
Dedicated to the memory of the late Frank Martin who played a principal role in creating the ABI Benevolent Fund and left a lasting legacy by his dedication and generosity. This award is presented to a member who is considered to have served the Association or the P.I. profession above and beyond the call of duty.
Recipient of Award: Kevin Regan nominated by John McNulty.
Kevin has been in the investigation industry for over 30 years and is the MD of Burton Regan Limited in Leeds.
He joined the A.B.I. in 2011 and during that time has assisted the Northern branch in various official roles including secretary, treasurer and has been the branch Chairman for the past 2 years. Recent meetings have been a resounding success with strong attendances and excellent speakers.
In 2014, he became a founding member of the A.B.I. Academy and continues to serve by running Process Serving master classes and offering the IQ Level 3 Award for Professional Investigators. Indeed, over 100 ABI members have achieved this Award from Kevin’s training company.
Kevin proof-read The ABI Process Servers' Guide and the Focus Training (UK) Ltd training material which he also contributed towards, this being adopted by the Academy in 2016.