Man posed as ASIO agent for sex
Benjamin Lord posed as an ASIO agent and a Federal Police Officer. Photo: Jason South
This is Benjamin Lord - an unemployed call centre operator who claimed to be a high-ranking Federal Police officer and ASIO agent to get sex from a fellow prison inmate, a court heard on Monday.
Lord, 31, of Ashwood claimed to know powerful people including Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, former Victoria Police Commissioner Simon Overland and County Court Chief Judge Michael Rozenes.
Lord pleaded guilty in the County Court on Monday to two counts of impersonating a public official with the intention of obtaining sexual services and two counts of obtaining a financial advantage by deception.
The fake ASIO pass. Photo: Mal Fairclough
He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years' jail.
Prosecutor Michelle Sewell told the court Lord's victim was 28 when jailed for 15 months in April 2009 on drug charges.
The court was not told why Lord was also in prison at that time.
Ms Sewell said Lord told his victim, who cannot be named, he was an undercover federal police agent who had been put in prison to investigate the victim's female co-accused.
Lord promised to help the victim get out early on parole and made phone calls from prison claiming to be discussing the victim's case with court officials and the Parole Board.
Lord claimed to even know the victim's sentencing judge.
In July 2009, Lord demanded the victim allow him to take hair samples from his chest so the Australian Federal Police forensic department could analyse the hairs to ensure the victim had not been taking drugs or had any diseases.
After Lord was released from prison in September 2009, he would visit the victim in jail and continue to take hair samples from him.
He claimed the hair samples provided important information as to what the victim should be eating.
Ms Sewell said that on some occasions when Lord was still in prison he would conduct a strip and cavity search of his victim, forcing him to remove his clothes.
The prosecutor said the two men also had sex in a cell.
She said it was alleged that as a result of Lord's offending, "sexual services were obtained".
When the victim's stepfather decided to ring the AFP to check if Lord really worked there, the agency told him they had no record of Lord.
On January 8, 2010, Lord told the victim his job at the AFP had been terminated but he was now a commander at ASIO working in counter-intelligence with the CIA and MI6.
He warned the victim that if his stepfather continued to ask questions about him that he could be arrested and jailed for life.
Ms Sewell said Lord told the victim: "At ASIO, we know everything. Anyone I believe is a security threat to Australia I can get."
During one prison visit, Lord was wearing a shirt with epaulets which he claimed was an ASIO shirt and he also carried an ASIO identity card with his photograph and name on it.
Ms Sewell said Lord would drive hire cars to the prison and claim they were ASIO cars.
At one stage the victim said: "Wouldn't it be funny if all of this was just a scam to get me?"
When the victim was released from prison in 2010, Lord told him part of his parole conditions was to live with him in a granny flat at Ashwood behind the main house where his mother lived.
Ms Sewell said Lord ordered the victim to write letters to him and continued to pressure him to tell him he loved him.
The victim was not allowed to walk around the neighbourhood without Lord.
Judge Julie Nicholson said it appeared Lord had been involved in an extensive effort to control the victim "in every respect".
The judge did not know if Lord had amazing creativity, was cunning, watched too many movies, or lived in another world.
"Every case is unique but this case has some twists and turns," she said.
The plea hearing resumes on Wednesday.