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Lindt inquest rocked by police chief's SMS

AAP logoAAP 15/08/2016 By By Daniel McCulloch

The chief of NSW Police sent his deputy a text message in the critical final hours of the fatal Lindt Cafe siege, telling her that the force needed to buy better high-tech equipment, as officers battled to bring the stand-off to a peaceful resolution.

Details of the explosive text message were revealed as NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Cath Burn took the stand for a second day of grilling at a coronial inquest on Tuesday.

Commissioner Andrew Scipione sent her the text at some stage during the siege. Ms Burn copied his message into an email, which she sent to herself at 10.37pm on December 15, 2014.

"Catherine, I have had a quick chance to talk to the SSG (Specialist Services Group) team that were forward tonight," Mr Scipione wrote to her, the inquest heard for the first time on Tuesday.

"It has become apparent that we should be preparing a fresh bid for new equipment that is necessary."

He directed Ms Burn to seek advice on what new electronic imaging, audio and intelligence equipment may be required.

"I will need this soon in order to make sure we are appropriately prepared for the future," Mr Scipione wrote.

Ms Burn had been told to clock off at around 10pm on the night of the siege, and return to her post at 5am the next day.

However, Ms Burn said while she was sent home, she remained contactable and "acutely interested" in the Martin Place siege, which reached its deadly conclusion shortly after 2am on December 16, 2014.

Ms Burn said it was "a bit of a shock" to learn the email was only found on Monday night and brought to the attention of the inquest on Tuesday.

The last-minute discovery came after Ms Burn was on Monday forced to explain why she deleted text messages sent during the fatal siege, telling the inquest she didn't believe she needed to keep them.

Ms Burn, the state's counter-terror head, insisted she was never told of any equipment or resourcing failures or problems while on duty.

"If there are resourcing issues it is up to the police commander and police forward commander to identify and rectify," she said.

"If they can't, and they need support, they will come to me."

The deputy commissioner said she was happy with the tactics being pursued in the siege and insisted she never deemed it necessary to offer any advice to frontline officers.

Under cross-examination from Phillip Boulten SC, acting for the family of slain hostage Katrina Dawson, Ms Burn was quizzed about her view on using third parties in negotiations.

Ms Burn said she was never told the Grand Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed had offered to negotiate with gunman Man Haron Monis.

However, she was aware of at least two others from the Muslim community, as well as a lawyer known to Monis, who were willing to help.

A note Ms Burn prepared ahead of an afternoon media briefing during the siege, in case she was asked about third party assistance, said: "Lives in the balance. Would not put their lives in the hands of amateurs."

The inquest continues.

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