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Lindt inquest hears of Scipione email

AAP logoAAP 14/08/2016 By Daniel McCulloch

Shortly before midnight on the night of the deadly Lindt cafe siege, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione emailed several senior police to take down a YouTube video posted by one of the hostages saying "the police were doing nothing".

The clip was uploaded by hostage Marcia Mikhael at the direction of gunman Man Haron Monis, a coronial inquest into the Sydney stand-off has heard.

"Let's move to have it pulled down from YouTube as soon as possible. I'll leave it to you and others," Mr Scipione said in his December 15 email, the inquest was told on Monday.

Acting Deputy Commissioner Jeff Loy, who was among the few officers to receive the email, said it was the only documented request he received from Mr Scipione during the 17-hour siege.

Commander Mark Jenkins and a police public relations officer were also included in the email, to which Mr Jenkins replied "onto it" minutes later.

Counsel assisting the coroner, Jason Downing, put to Mr Loy that pulling the video down was an operational decision that could have potentially frustrated gunman Man Haron Monis and have possible consequences for hostages.

"Did it strike you as unusual that the police commissioner was making the request?" Mr Downing asked.

Mr Loy agreed the decision was best left to Mr Jenkins but said he didn't consider that Mr Scipione was intruding.

"At the time I didn't make the connection that the commissioner would have been interfering," Mr Loy told the inquest.

Later on Monday, Mr Loy said he didn't view the email as a direction from Mr Scipione, adding that moves were already afoot to take the video down.

Mr Loy was managing the emergency response to the Martin Place stand-off, and acting as a conduit between the police operations commander and State Crisis Centre, but told the coroner he played no strategic or operational role.

Early in the siege, Mr Loy had been told an "emergency action" (EA) would be triggered if Monis starting shooting inside the stronghold, sending police storming into the building.

He was never made aware about whether or not this trigger had changed.

Soon after 2am on December 16, Mr Loy received a call from Mr Jenkins, informing him that Monis had fired his sawn-off shotgun as a group of hostages escaped.

Phillip Boulton SC, counsel for the family of slain hostage Katrina Dawson, asked Mr Loy if he thought it was appropriate to send officers inside at that point.

"You didn't say to him (Mr Jenkins) 'You think it's time?', or 'S*** we better do something', or something like that?" Mr Boulton put to the witness.

"No, that wasn't said, no," Mr Loy said.

Mr Loy, Mr Scipione and Deputy Commissioner Cath Burn have all denied giving any key operational guidance, directions or advice during the stand-off.

NSW Coroner Michael Barnes is trying to find out whether any of the trio inappropriately intruded - or failed to interfere when they ought to have - during the siege.

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