A veteran of an elite police unit has been accused of fabricating stories about his service, including being sent to Port Arthur on the day of the 1996 massacre.
Christopher Glasl has written about his four years in Victoria’s feared Special Operations Group (SOG), sometimes known as the ‘Sons of God’ or the ‘Men in Black’.
Special Operations Group – The Inside Story of the Australian Police’s Most Fearsome and Fearsome Unit was described as a behind-the-scenes look at the tactical squad.
But 12 days after the memoir hit shelves, publisher Hachette withdrew it from sale after learning that “some of the content in this book is inaccurate.”
Victoria Police have said that he was not in Port Arthur on the day of the massacre and claim that he was not even in Tasmania.
Chris Glasl, a veteran of Victoria’s elite Special Operations Group, has been accused of fabricating stories about his service, including being sent to Port Arthur on the day of the 1996 massacre.
Formed in 1977 to combat terrorism, the SOG is called upon to end sieges, rescue hostages and arrest armed criminals in the most dangerous circumstances.
“The Special Operations Group is made up of highly trained and physically fit officers who are hired to do the jobs other police officers can’t do,” the publicity material for Glasl’s book states.
“Since he was a nineteen-year-old recruit to the Victoria Police, Chris Glasl aspired to join this elite group – the SOG was untouchable, indestructible and so tight-knit that it was a brotherhood like no other.
‘Special Operations Group is the story of Chris’ life in the SOG, where solidarity, camaraderie and loyalties were undermined by intimidation, bastardization, drug use, lies and betrayal.
“It’s a gritty, behind-the-scenes look at what happened at SOG and a gripping account of the major jobs he attended.”
Among the stories Glasl tells is that he was sent to Port Arthur on April 28, 1996 after Martin Bryant shot dead 35 tourists and staff at the Tasmanian historic site.
Glasl claims he was on duty that day when the SOG was asked to support local police who did not have the proper experience or training.
“The world’s worst mass murder had just taken place in Tasmania,” he writes. ‘Our phones rang and we were told to walk to Essendon airport to deploy there.
Never before has an interstate police department requested our help, anywhere in Australia. This situation was different.
“We met at Essendon Airport in the Police Air Wing hangar, boarded a fixed-wing aircraft that was prepped and ready to fly, and flew to Tasmania for the carnage.”
Glasl writes about how a SOG sniper had an opportunity to kill Bryant when he was hiding at Seascape Cottages after the massacre, but was not allowed to shoot.
Glasl claimed in his book Special Operations Group that he was present when gunman Martin Bryant was arrested at Seascape Cottages (above), but Victoria Police say he was not.
‘Bryant had an excellent vantage point from the second floor of the main residence. A foot assault on the facility would leave us exposed and vulnerable,” she writes.
“We started thinking about other options, a tank or an armored car, but nothing was available. One of the team leaders suggested a bulldozer that could act as a giant shield.
Glasl writes that when a SOG sniper known as Sierra was given the opportunity to shoot Bryant, the Tasmanian police commissioner would not allow it.
Instead, the SOG team had to wait until dawn when the main cabin was on fire and Bryant ran out of the building with his clothes on fire.
“It was a totally surreal scene, flames and smoke billowing from the building, as the rising sun replaced the night sky, birds began to sing, and a picturesque backdrop of ocean and forest appeared,” writes Glasl.
Hachette Publishing has withdrawn Glasl’s book Special Operations Group from sale
The problem with Glasl’s vivid account is that he was not in Port Arthur that day, according to Victoria Police.
A Hachette spokeswoman told Daily Mail Australia on Monday afternoon that it had withdrawn Glasl’s book from sale pending further investigation.
“It has come to our attention that some of the content in this book is inaccurate,” the spokeswoman said.
“We have made the decision to withdraw this book from sale immediately while we conduct additional review.”
Minutes earlier, a Victoria Police spokeswoman warned the media against publishing stories promoting the book.
“Victoria Police are aware of a recently published book on the Special Operations Group (SOG) written by a former member,” the spokeswoman said.
“We are concerned about the accuracy of the book, including some of the author’s claims about the jobs he attended.
“Of particular concern is chapter 18 which focuses on the author’s alleged involvement in the resolution of the Port Arthur massacre.
‘To confirm, the former member was not part of the SOG deployment to Port Arthur or even in Tasmania at the time.
‘If anyone plans to promote this book or interview the author, please feel free to contact us beforehand to confirm the validity of the papers you attended and any associated claims.’
Publicity material for the book states that Glasl took drugs while serving in the SOG “to switch off the adrenaline, sleep at night, get through the day.”
“And those days involved fatal shootings, a triple murder, a $100 million drug bust and the Port Arthur massacre, to name just a few.”
Glasl writes in the afterword to his book: ‘I have tried to be as honest and open in this book as my memory allows. Is it all true? I will say that almost everything is true.
‘Legally, I have to cover myself from the possibility of any ramifications. The reader can decide if I have written the truth. I’m sure you know.