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Morrison’s mixed messages on the coronavirus

<p>The Morrison Government recently introduced a range of measures and restrictions on the Australian public, as Coronavirus infections continue to rise.</p> <p><strong>Some of these new rules include:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Non-essential gatherings of more than 100 people are forbidden</li> <li>Pubs, clubs, sporting and religious venues are closed</li> <li>Restaurants and cafes will only be allowed to offer takeaway services. </li> <li>No more than one person per four square metres in a room, including outdoor events</li> <li>In addition, we’re all to practice, wherever possible the 1-metre or 1.5-metre distance between each of us. </li> <li>Hand hygiene products must be made available in all venues</li> <li>Restricted travel into remote Indigenous communities</li> <li>All non essential domestic travel should be avoided </li> <li>Visits to prisoners being reviewed. </li> </ul> <p>No doubt there are more to come, and of course the federal and state governments are well within their rights to impose these measures in the face of a pandemic. A lot has been said about personal space, with <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/will-coronavirus-lead-to-a-rise-in-domestic-violence-offences/">people encouraged to stay home as much as possible</a> and keep away from each other in shared spaces.</p> <p>The result of the harsher crackdowns were a direct response to footage of Sydney-siders taking advantage of a beautifully warm autumn day and ignoring the ‘self-distancing’ recommendations, at Bondi Beach and cafes and restaurants. The Government reacted harshly, moving to close beaches. Effective immediately. This will be enforced by lifeguards and police. That said, the rule is hazy at best, considering it was originally intended that Bondi would only be open to 500 people at a time.</p> <p>All of this is, of course, designed to ensure that we are limiting potential opportunities for the spread of the virus.</p> <p><strong>Did the Government act swiftly enough?</strong></p> <p>But in recent weeks a number of health  experts have slammed the Morrison Government for not acting more swiftly on Coronavirus. They believe that if the government had made essential quarantine decisions earlier, we could potentially have substantially curtailed the rise in the number of infections. They’ve also criticised the ‘mixed messages’ coming from our leaders.</p> <p><a href="https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/news/politics/2020/03/21/what-morrison-did-wrong-coronavirus/15847092009555?fbclid=IwAR03E6i-SqQBgw8GRzKObpwCBwpvGd3MqP-OK38qIVDMz2-jXFgsLOuwrmo">One such expert is Bill Bowtell</a>, an adjunct professor at the Kirby Institute for infection and immunity at the University of New South Wales. He designed Australia’s world-leading response to the AIDS epidemic several decades ago. More recently, he worked for 15 years with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.</p> <p>He says the Government knew about the severity of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/what-does-the-law-say-about-self-quarantining-in-nsw/">Coronavirus</a> 12 weeks ago, and at that time should have accumulated testing kits, brought in necessary emergency equipment and medical supplies, provided money for science and vaccine research and immediately begun a public educational campaign.</p> <p>He points to the swift decision-making of a handful of nations – South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong – that responded early and decisively and have succeeded in flattening the curve of infections, if not stopping the spread of Covid-19 almost completely.</p> <p>For example, in China, just three weeks after the World Health Organisation and Wuhan health authorities were alert to the appearance of a new disease, the Chinese government ordered what has been called the largest quarantine in history. As a result, four months later, the country us beginning to move on from the threat of Coronavirus.</p> <p>Instead, Australia’s response has been similar to the approaches taken in Europe and America, where cases have been, and still are, growing exponentially.</p> <p><strong>Impending strain on the health system</strong></p> <p>Now, as more Australians test positive for the virus, in the weeks and months ahead we’re likely to see an incredible strain on our already stretched health system. OECD data shows us well down the list on the number of hospital beds: 3.8 per 1000 population. That is about the same as Norway, a little ahead of Italy and Spain, but way behind Japan and Korea, which have nearly four times as many. Even China has more.</p> <p>The Australian Medical Association (AMA) is seriously concerned that face masks, and other protective supplies are at an alarming shortage for medical staff, and many staff are fearful they have not had the appropriate training to deal with patients who have the virus.</p> <p>There are questions whether the recent Federal Government pledge of $2.4 billion to the health sector is actually going to be enough.</p> <p><strong>Mixed messages</strong></p> <p>The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has also been critical of the mixed messages that have been given to all Australians, too.</p> <p>At a press conference in February Scott Morrison assured Australians: “There is no need for us to be moving towards not having mass gatherings of people. You can still go to the football, you can still go to the cricket … You can go off to the concert, and you can go out for a Chinese meal. You can do all of these things because Australia has acted quickly.”</p> <p>More recently he said he was going to watch his beloved Cronulla Sharks – a decision that was reversed just hours later.</p> <p>Only last week Chief Medical Officer, Brendan Murphy, said people should practise social distancing with recently returned travellers and / or people known to have come into contact with the virus, but that it was otherwise permissible to be close and shake hands. That advice too, has since been changed.</p> <p>More alarmingly, on the same day Bondi Beach was ordered closed, the government allowed 2,700 people to walk off a cruise ship in Sydney’s CBD which had reported more than 150 illnesses. At least five people from the Ruby Princess have since tested positive to Covid-19, some of whom boarded domestic flights home.<br /><br /></p> <p><a href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/coronavirus-ama-wa-president-doctors-losing-confidence-in-scott-morrison-response/29ce2b69-3a4e-4975-9188-b006fc46b7f5">The AMA in Western Australia is also calling for state borders to be shut</a>. New South Wales and Victoria are said to be in discussions about whether or not to draw a line, and the NT has already effectively done so – enforcing anyone who enters the Territory into strict quarantine.</p> <p><strong>So what happens now?</strong></p> <p>Even though the Government has certainly flexed its muscle in terms of enforcing a range of new rules and regulations, there’s still a remarkable lack of ‘leadership’ at this critical time. If social media is any gauge, by and large, people are polarised when it comes to what they believe and how we should react to Coronavirus.  </p> <p><strong>But we are facing two truths: </strong></p> <ol> <li>Cases of Coronavirus are on the rise. </li> <li>There’s still an overwhelming amount of mis-information in the media and public domain about how to avoid contracting it and what to expect if we do. </li> </ol> <p>As of 21 March, in Australia there are more than 1,000  confirmed cases – and by State, NSW has the highest number of infections – 461. There have been 7 deaths. While the mortality rate remains low, the concern has always been Coronavirus will severely impact people who are elderly, frail, or have pre-existing health conditions.</p> <p><em>Written by Sonia Hickey. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/morrisons-mixed-messages-on-the-coronavirus/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a></em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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Chomsky declares “Morrison’s Australia” amongst top three climate criminals

<p>Amidst the responses to the burgeoning COVID-19 crisis, it’s somewhat easy to forget that just a blink of an eye ago, Australia was ground zero of the global climate emergency, as the nation bore witness to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/feb/25/unprecedented-globally-more-than-20-of-australias-forests-burnt-in-bushfires?fbclid=IwAR39cXyl61ORq0KGayD9ESvaIoFxgAkPmvJlSIc0EAByvmFanPpxanOKXs4">20 percent</a> of its mainland forest being engulfed by flames.</p> <p>And while the current virus pandemic is bound to pass in a matter of months, the climate and ecological crisis facing humanity isn’t going to go away. Indeed, it’s only going to get worse.</p> <p>As renowned US political dissident MIT Institute Professor Noam Chomsky put it during <a href="https://www.democracynow.org/2019/5/27/chomsky_nuclear_weapons_climate_change_the">an address</a> he gave at Boston’s Old South Church last April, our species is now facing an unprecedented question: “Will human society survive for long?”</p> <p>The father of modern linguists went on to name two major threats to our existence. The first being the seven decades-long prospect of nuclear war, while the second is global warming, which the academic described as being “on its inexorable course”.</p> <p>Chomsky told the crowd that humanity is fast approaching “conditions of 125,000 years ago”, when sea levels were 25 feet higher, with the consequences of this being “almost unimaginable”. And he added that under Trump, the US has become the world leader <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/policy2020/bigideas/the-united-states-can-take-climate-change-seriously-while-leading-the-world-in-oil-and-gas-production/">in fossil fuel production</a>.</p> <p>So, in light of all this, we reached out to the professor to ask his thoughts on the form of the Morrison government in regard to climate.</p> <p><strong>The main offenders</strong></p> <p>“Anyone with eyes open knows that we are now facing a potential environmental catastrophe that may literally end organized human life in any tolerable form,” Professor Chomsky said. “Most countries of the world are doing something about it, in a number of cases quite a lot.”</p> <p>“There are three states that are not only refusing to join in these efforts but are acting to accelerate the crisis: Trump’s United States, which is in the lead; Bolsonaro’s Brazil, which is destroying the Amazon; and Morrison’s Australia,” he continued.</p> <p>Chomsky further told Sydney Criminal Lawyers that the Morrison government makes it to the list of top three political offenders as it “continues to rely on production and export of the most dangerous of fossil fuels”.</p> <p>Australia is currently the world’s <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2019-08-19/australia-co2-exports-third-highest-worldwide/11420654">largest exporter of coal</a>. In terms of emissions, coal is the <a href="https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=73&amp;t=11">most carbon-intensive fossil fuel</a> that can be burnt. And <a href="https://www.tai.org.au/sites/default/files/P667%20High%20Carbon%20from%20a%20Land%20Down%20Under%20%5BWEB%5D_0.pdf">according to</a> the Australia Institute, per capita, Australia’s emissions – both domestic and exported – are only below a few small oil rich nations.</p> <p>An IPCC report released in late 2018 warns that emissions need to be cut by 45 percent of 2010 levels by 2030, and net zero by 2050, in order to prevent a temperature <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/resources/headline-statements/">rise above 1.5°C</a>. This will limit the great changes already coming, as they’d be much more catastrophic at a 2°C rise.</p> <p>And looking at the likely results that the current activities of the American, Brazilian and Australian governments are giving rise to, Professor Chomsky makes certain that these are criminal acts on a scale never seen before.</p> <p><strong>Crimes against life itself</strong></p> <p>Scott Morrison was wheeled in to stand before reporters as the Liberal Nationals new leader <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/when-will-australias-prime-minister-accept-the-reality-of-the-climate-crisis">in August 2018</a>, so as to replace outgoing PM Malcolm Turnbull, who made the political mistake of supporting a national energy plan that would have seen the nation’s emissions drop slightly.</p> <p>The newly-minted prime minister was a politician that fossil fuel barons could rely on. He’s the man who, as treasurer, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global/video/2017/feb/09/scott-morrison-brings-a-chunk-of-coal-into-parliament-video">turned up</a> in federal parliament in February 2017 with a lump of coal in his hand, screaming at the chamber, “This is coal. Don’t be afraid. Don’t be scared.”</p> <p>Greenpeace’s <a href="https://act.greenpeace.org.au/dirtypower">2019 Dirty Power documentary</a> outlines that the Morrison government’s staff is stacked with representatives from the fossil fuel industry. The PM’s <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-coal-industry-controls-the-coalition/">own office includes</a> a chief of staff and a principal private secretary that are both former fossil fuel lobbyists.</p> <p>And as the Morrison government plummeted towards an election that forecasters swore it would lose last May, <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/morrisons-victory-and-what-the-nation-has-agreed-to/">it ensured</a> that the final federal approval on the Adani mine was signed off the month prior. A move that opens up the Galilee Basin to five or six other huge coal mines.</p> <p><strong>Responses to a climate catastrophe</strong></p> <p>Although, it became apparent something had changed in August last year, as the bushfire season <a href="https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/131479/Bush-Fire-Bulletin-Vol41-No2.pdf">commenced early</a>. It continued periodically over the coming months, as scientists began to cite climate as the cause, but this didn’t stop the PM from spruiking new laws to prevent coal boycotts.</p> <p>Morrison addressed a Queensland Resource Council luncheon <a href="https://www.pm.gov.au/media/address-2019-queensland-resources-council-annual-lunch">on 1 November</a>, at which he announced he was drafting new laws to prevent secondary boycotts of fossil fuel projects. “We’re not interested in closing down the mining industry, but building it up,” the PM told the room.</p> <p>About a week or so later, bushfires on a scale never seen before started to kick in along the eastern seaboard and continued on into early February, when Australian parliament reconvened for the new year. More than <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2020-03-05/bushfire-crisis-five-big-numbers/12007716">12.6 million hectares</a> were lost and around a billion animals perished.</p> <p>And <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/as-the-climate-ails-fossil-fuel-addled-politicians-call-for-more-coal-and-gas/">on the third sitting day of parliament</a>, right before the rains came to sweep away the remaining fires, the Morrison government appointed a new resources minister – one that’s just itching to heat things up a little more.</p> <p>Fresh resources minister Keith Pitt <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/new-resources-minister-calls-for-more-coal-gas-and-uranium-exports-20200211-p53zu5.html?fbclid=IwAR1cv2bMtUtAlosm5O9m2m3_CIpdXrww93-4-Z4RUkqDCASdxB7GikYa6-s">appeared</a> in the press two days after the heavens extinguished the final fires, and declared that the nation needs more coal, more gas and more uranium exports to lift standards of living – as Extinction Rebellion would say, it was “business as usual”.</p> <p><strong>For the crime of ecocide</strong></p> <p>Of course, Chomsky – one of the world’s leading public intellectuals – makes clear that Morrison’s Australia is hardly alone, as our nation’s government is only one of the three most destructive climate <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/bushrangers-aussie-legends-or-vile-criminals/">criminals</a> on Earth.</p> <p>The climate change-denying Trump administration <a href="https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/11/07/trumps-climate-crimes-are-his-most-impeachable-offenses">began formally withdrawing</a> from the Paris Agreement last November, while the environmentally hostile Bolsonaro government has been <a href="https://theintercept.com/2019/11/25/amazon-bolsonaro-dorothy-stang-brazil/">presiding over</a> the destruction of “the lungs of the planet”.</p> <p>“These are criminal activities,” Professor Chomsky ended, “considering the consequences, the worst crimes in human history.”</p> <p><em>Written by Paul Gregoire. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/chomsky-declares-morrisons-australia-amongst-top-three-climate-criminals/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a></em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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"Wickedly negligent": Five-month-old left in car on 38-degree day while parents shop for TV

<p>Parents who left their five-month-old baby in a locked car on a 38C day as they shopped for a television have been fined only $300 each.</p> <p>The couple from Mt Druitt in Sydney’s west, who can’t be named for legal reasons, parked at The Good Guys in the Prospect Homemaker Centre, on January 26.</p> <p>Passers-by noticed the child crying in the car alone, which prompted them to alert staff who tried to page the parents multiple times.</p> <p>After receiving zero response, the staff rescued the child themselves before calling the police.</p> <p>The Blacktown Local Court heard the mother returned to the car after the call to police was made.</p> <p>A short while later, the child’s father was found still inside the store trying to finalise the purchase of a television.</p> <p>Police revealed that the pair showed “no remorse” for their actions.</p> <p>“They appeared more concerned with finalising the purchase of their electronic equipment,” said police.</p> <p>Magistrate Jennifer Giles slammed the couple for leaving the baby in the car on a scorching hot day.</p> <p>“You cannot leave a baby in a hot car in Australia, the kid will be dead in 20 minutes,” said Ms Giles.</p> <p>“It is wickedly negligent for you to have done so.</p> <p>“It is a prevalent offence and the court needs to make sure you are denounced and deterred.”</p> <p>With the help of an interpreter, the father apologised before explaining that they had left the child in the car because it was sleeping, and they had turned the air conditioning on.</p> <p>Both parents were charged with one count of leaving a child in a motor vehicle and causing distress but were fined just $300 each.</p>

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Convicted paedophile says he should remain priest after sexually abusing 34 boys

<p>Convicted clerical sex abuser Vincent Ryan said he should remain a priest after decades of abusing children.</p> <p>In the new <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-03-17/convicted-paedophile-vincent-ryan-thinks-he-should-remain-priest/12059530">ABC</a> documentary series <em>Revelation</em>, the Catholic priest said there was no reason he should not retain his role.</p> <p>“It’s a duty. I’ve committed myself to it,” he said. “It’d have to be a very serious reason, unless I’m stopped by authority, for me to make that decision and at this moment I don’t see it.”</p> <p>The interview was filmed before Ryan was sentenced in <a href="https://www.newcastleherald.com.au/story/6155389/monster-of-merewether-goes-back-to-jail-for-another-three-years-and-three-months/">2019</a> to three years and three months in jail for the sexual abuse of two altar boys at the Junction and Cessnock. He has previously served 14 years in jail for the abuse of 34 boys from the 1970s to the 1990s, including a child who was <a href="http://www.brokenrites.org.au/drupal/node/82">abused more than 200 times from the age of 10</a> over a period of six years.</p> <p>After he was released in 2010, Ryan remained a priest and was allowed to perform the Catholic mass in private.</p> <p>Ryan told the <em>ABC </em>he confessed that he was sexually assaulting boys to his priest, who gave him a penance of “three Hail Marys and a decade of the Rosary”.</p> <p>“I don’t know the exact words, but they would have been aware that I … that I had offended against children because … I can remember one priest saying, ‘you’ll go to jail if you don’t stop this’,” Ryan said.</p> <p>According to <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.crikey.com.au/2019/06/24/inq-pathology-predator-paedophile-priest-vince-ryan/" target="_blank"><em>Crikey</em></a>, Ryan informed at least two other church officials in the 1970s that he was a paedophile.</p> <p>Ryan blamed his immediate superiors at the Catholic church for not monitoring him more closely after they learned of his crimes. “The church still was in a fortress, defending itself against all these horrible [people] wanting to drag it down.”</p> <p>Peter Dorn, who was abused by Ryan as a primary school student in Maitland in the 1970s, questioned the church’s refusal to remove the sexual abuser from priesthood.</p> <p>“How does the church want somebody like that? How did they say that’s a person acting on behalf of God?” Dorn said. “They say they have acknowledged it, but if they still recognise him as a priest, you know that’s disgraceful.”</p> <p>When asked if he could be forgiven for his decades of sexual abuse of children, he said, “By God, most certainly.”</p>

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High court rules on the admissibility of illegally obtained evidence

<p>Animal protection organisation, Animals Australia, received an anonymous tip off <a href="http://eresources.hcourt.gov.au/downloadPdf/2020/HCA/1">in November 2014</a> regarding the illegal practice of live baiting greyhounds being used at a Londonderry property in Sydney’s western suburbs.</p> <p>As a result, the organisation’s chief investigator, Lyn White, engaged the services of documentary photographer Sarah Lynch to set up an optical surveillance device focused on the training ring at the property. This led to the capture of seven recordings that revealed the practice was indeed occurring.</p> <p>By doing so, Lynch contravened <a href="http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/sda2007210/s8.html">section 8</a> of the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW), which makes it a crime to install such equipment without the consent of the owner or occupier. White chose this unlawful line of investigation, as she was of the view it was unlikely that a warrant would be issued pursuant to an anonymous lead.</p> <p>In February 2015, Ms White provided the footage to the RSPCA, which went onto execute a search warrant at the Londonderry property that turned up evidence of live baiting. Posing as a dog owner, Lynch twice spoke to the owner Zeki Kadir, who allegedly admitted to engaging in the practice.</p> <p>Racing trainers Mr Kadir and Donna Grech were both subsequently charged with intentionally perpetrating acts of serious animal cruelty, contrary to <a href="http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/ca190082/s530.html">subsection 530(1)</a> of the Crimes Act 1900. The offence carries a maximum penalty of five years behind bars.</p> <p><strong>The breach outweighed the findings</strong></p> <p>On the first day of their trial in the NSW District Court, the defendants applied for the surveillance evidence, the search evidence and the evidence from Kadir’s admissions to be excluded under the provisions of the Evidence Act 1995 (NSW).</p> <p><a href="http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/ea199580/s138.html">Section 138</a> of the Act provides that evidence obtained in contravention of the law should not be admitted, “unless the desirability of admitting the evidence outweighs the undesirability of admitting evidence that has been obtained in the way in which the evidence was obtained”.</p> <p>Subsection 138(3) provides eight factors the court must take into contact when considering whether the evidence should be accepted in the public interest. And 138(3) factor (h) requires consideration of the difficulty in obtaining the evidence if the law was not broken in doing so.</p> <p>On 28 June 2017, NSW District Court Judge Mark Buscombe ruled that all three categories of evidence be thrown out, because they resulted from an illegal act that uncovered evidence of “very high” value, but the gravity relating to how the law was broken was a more serious matter.</p> <p><strong>Overturning the decision</strong></p> <p>The Director of Public Prosecutions went on to challenge the judge’s evidentiary ruling in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal (NSWCCA) based on grounds which included that the trial judge had made an error by not sufficiently taking into account the difficulty of obtaining the evidence without breaking the law.</p> <p>The three justice panel of the NSWCCA partially upheld the ground, ruling that the difficulty in obtaining the surveillance evidence did indeed warrant the breaking of the law in relation to the first recording. Their Honours expressed the view that it was at that point that the authorities should have been notified.</p> <p>The court also found that the trial judge made an error by applying his finding relating to the surveillance evidence directly to the search and admissions evidence. The NSWCCA justices found that the first video recording, along with the search evidence and the admissions, should have been admitted.</p> <p><strong>The final appeal</strong></p> <p>Mr Kadir and Ms Grech challenged the NSWCCA findings in the High Court of Australia on 15 October last year. They did so on grounds including that the appeals court had made an error by not considering “the entire chain of causation” when it ruled on the search evidence and the admissions.</p> <p>The High Court panel of five justices ruled that the trial judge had been correct in finding all the video footage was inadmissible when the gravity of the way in which the law had been contravened in obtaining it had been factored in.</p> <p>However, their Honours went on to point to the provision within section 138 of the Evidence Act which stipulates that when considering evidence, the “way” in which it was obtained must be scrutinised. And this applied to the search and admissions evidence in this case.</p> <p>So, in relation to the search evidence there was a serious breach of the law which led to obtaining the search warrant, however the RSPCA acted lawfully within its regulatory functions, when it obtained the warrant that allowed for the gathering of evidence at the Londonderry property.</p> <p>In relation to the admissions, the High Court found that the “causal link” between this and the surveillance evidence was “tenuous”. The court found that as a result, permitting this evidence didn’t encourage the breaches of law involved in obtaining the surveillance evidence.</p> <p>“The weighting of the factors that are concerned with the impropriety or illegality to the balancing of the public interests may differ as between the surveillance evidence, the search warrant evidence and the admissions,” their Honours found.</p> <p><strong>Both court findings partly upheld</strong></p> <p>Mr Kadir’s lawyers also argued that, should the justices find an error in the decision of the NSWCCA, the matter should be remitted to the trial judge for reconsideration.</p> <p>However, the High Court justices pointed out that under <a href="http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/caa1912137/s5f.html">section 5F</a> of the Court of Appeal Act 1912 (NSW), their court has the jurisdiction to vacate the ruling of the appeals court and may give “such judgement as ought to have been given in the first place”.</p> <p>The High Court went on to find that while admitting the surveillance evidence could encourage further acts of “vigilantism”, this was not the case in regard to the search warrant evidence gathered lawfully by the RSPCA.</p> <p>And in looking at Ms Lynch’s claims to be someone else when gathering the admissions evidence, the High Court ruled that in accepting this evidence – which was of high value – there were no concerns of encouraging vigilantism and the breaching the <a href="https://nswcourts.com.au/articles/are-nsw-courts-getting-tougher-or-softer-the-facts/">rules of evidence</a>.</p> <p>For these reasons, the High Court ruled <a href="http://eresources.hcourt.gov.au/downloadPdf/2020/HCA/1">on 5 February this year</a>, that the NSW District Court was correct in finding the surveillance evidence was inadmissible, while the NSWCCA was correct in determining the search evidence and the admissions were admissible.</p> <p>So, Mr Kadir and Ms Grech will now be returning to the NSW District Court to stand trial on the original <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/crimes-act/serious-animal-cruelty/">animal cruelty charges</a> laid against them.</p> <p><em>Written by Paul Gregoire and Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/high-court-rules-on-the-admissibility-of-illegally-obtained-evidence/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers. </a></em></p> <p> </p>

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Miranda Kerr slammed over promoting “dangerous advice”

<p>Australian supermodel and influencer Miranda Kerr has been slammed for sharing controversial advice in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.</p> <p>Kerr shared a guide called the “Virus Protection” guide with her 12.2 million Instagram followers, and the move has been labelled “dangerous” and “irresponsible” by a medical professional.</p> <p>The guide that Kerr shared is written by a medical medium known as Anthony Williams, who has no medical qualifications and has previously stated that celery juice is the “greatest healing tonic of all time”.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9rxfO3ni1m/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B9rxfO3ni1m/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Great info to help people at this time 🙏🏻💖 @medicalmedium</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/mirandakerr/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Miranda</a> (@mirandakerr) on Mar 13, 2020 at 11:31am PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>His medical advice and theories come from “communications with the gods”.</p> <p>Kerr is still standing by the advice, despite Dr Joshua Wolrich slamming the post.</p> <p>"ABSOLUTELY NOT. Do better with your influence,” he said.</p> <p>"This 'virus protection' guide is full of unscientific nonsense that has ZERO medical validity.</p> <p>"Celery juice doesn't fight viral infections, nor does any of the rest of the advice in this guide.</p> <p>"Open your eyes people. Misinformation is dangerous. Stop spreading it."</p> <p>Kerr rarely shares health advice with her followers, and some have reacted strongly to her post from the medium.</p> <p>Please don't share information when you're not qualified to do so (especially from someone who REALLY isn't qualified to do so),” one follower wrote.</p> <p>"The information you're sharing isn't in any way valid and to anyone who reads this, IT WILL NOT PROTECT YOU FROM THE VIRUS.</p> <p>"Please take it down."</p> <p>Another follower said that it was “dangerous nonsense”. </p> <p>Others agreed, saying that the advice is in “no way supported by science or medicine. Shameful”.</p>

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Economic growth near an end as Treasury talks of prolonged coronavirus downturn

<p>Australia’s three-decade run of near continuous economic growth is set to end, with treasury warning of a hit to growth of “at least” 0.5% in the first quarter of this year, potentially followed by a “prolonged downturn”.</p> <p>If it came to pass, treasury’s preliminary assessment would most likely mean economic growth vanished and went backwards for several quarters, producing what is commonly known as a “<a href="https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/the-really-lucky-country-talk-of-recession-as-australia-takes-world-record-20170601-gwiiwl.html">technical recession</a>” – two quarters or more in which income and spending shrink.</p> <p>Providing the <a href="https://treasury.gov.au/speech/opening-statement-march-2020-senate-estimates">assessment</a> to a Senate estimates committee on Thursday morning, treasury secretary Steven Kennedy said the COVID-19 coronavirus would take “at least half a percentage point” from economic growth during the current March quarter and more beyond that.</p> <p>In recent quarters economic growth has been about half a percentage point.</p> <p>Treasury’s preliminary estimate of a hit of at least half a per cent took into account only the direct impacts of the virus on tourism and education, and some exchange rate effects.</p> <p>It did not take into account broader economic effects or the impact of the coronavirus on supply chains.</p> <p>The half a percentage point hit to growth would come on top of a hit of 0.2% from the summer bushfires, most of which would be felt in the March quarter.</p> <p>Dr Kennedy, a former nurse who retrained as an economist, stressed that the impact of the bushfires would extend well beyond the immediate hit to economic growth.</p> <p>“Evidence from past episodes suggest bushfires can lead to long-lasting physical and mental health effects and destroy cultural heritage,” he said.</p> <p>“Research by the University of Melbourne after the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 found mental health problems continued for three to four years.”</p> <p>The bushfires made clear the increased probability of such events in a world of climate change.</p> <p>“The CSIRO predicts climate change will make bushfires more likely, as fire weather patterns worsen as a result of an increase in weather patterns with hot and dry winds and fuel becoming drier.”</p> <p>Deeper, wider and longer lasting than SARS</p> <p>As of Wednesday there had been 91,868 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide and 3,131 deaths, most in China. COVID-19 had spread to 77 countries.</p> <p>When the virus first emerged in China in December, the treasury saw it through the lens of the 2002-04 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pandemic.</p> <p>It was now clear COVID-19 would be different.</p> <p><em>The impact of SARS took on a V shape, a relatively contained reduction in activity, mostly in Asia, followed by a quick bounce back.</em></p> <p><em>The economic impact of COVID-19 is likely to be deeper, wider and longer when compared with SARS.</em></p> <p><em>It will create more risk of a prolonged downturn, and fiscal support will be needed to accelerate the recovery of the economy, especially once the health and health management effects of COVID-19 begin to fade.</em></p> <p>The first phase of the economic support package to be delivered next week would target assistance to the businesses and sectors most affected in order to keep people in jobs.</p> <p>After that, support for aggregate demand (overall spending) would become more important.</p> <p> “A very substantial part of the impact is actually confidence among consumers and the business sector because of the uncertainty,” Dr Kennedy said.</p> <p>“Frankly, effective health management will be very important. The economy is actually quite solid. One of the key things will be to to explain to the community how well placed the economy is to manage such a short-term shock.”</p> <p>The shock would last for some time but the economy would “recover on the other side”.</p> <p>Keeping workers employed would be very important.</p> <p><em>Written by Peter Martin. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://theconversation.com/economic-growth-near-an-end-as-treasury-talks-of-prolonged-coronavirus-downturn-133053"><em>The Conversation</em></a><em>.</em></p> <p> </p>

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Inquest hears evidence on three-year-old’s death on inflatable trampoline

<p>A funfair worker attempted to catch a three-year-old girl who was thrown higher than a house when an inflatable trampoline exploded, an inquest has heard.</p> <p>Ava-May Littleboy was playing on the trampoline when it burst on the beach at Gorleston-on-Sea in Norfolk, England on July 1, 2018. Beth Jones, a friend of Ava-May’s aunt Abbie Littleboy, said the toddler “went up so high, it was higher than my house, about 20 feet [6 metres]”.</p> <p>Jones said she heard a loud bang before she saw Ava-May in the air.</p> <p>“There was a massive thud and Ava came down on her face and tummy. I wasn’t close enough to catch her,” said Jones.</p> <p>She said a funfair worker “had her arms fully out to try to catch her, but she couldn’t as it was so quick”.</p> <p>Abbie Littleboy said the sides of the inflatable trampoline seemed “stiff” but thought it was “meant to be” that way.</p> <p>She said she saw Ava-May “flipping” through the air after a loud boom.</p> <p>“I just remember my little niece flipping. Her eyes were closed and she didn’t scream. I remember looking at her little face and I think the force that sent her up had already done something to her. It was like she was asleep.”</p> <p>Ava-May landed on her face on the sand, suffered a head injury and died in hospital.</p> <p>In a statement read by the coroner, the child’s father Nathan Rowe said: “My heart is scattered all over that beach. I will never go back there as long as I live.”</p> <p>The other child on the inflatable trampoline had no severe injuries.</p> <p>Norfolk senior coroner Jacqueline Lake said the inquest would hear evidence about the “acquisition of the inflatable trampoline, risk assessments carried out, working practices at Johnson Funfairs Limited and the responsibilities and roles within that business”.</p> <p>It would not “include the reason why the inflatable trampoline exploded”.</p> <p>Last year, Norfolk Police announced that <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-norfolk-47557228">no individual or company would be charged with manslaughter offences</a> over the incident.</p> <p>The nine-day inquest continues.</p>

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William Tyrrell inquest: Convicted sex offender unable to say where he was on day of toddler’s disappearance

<p>A person of interest in the William Tyrrell case has lashed out at the media and knocked a camera to the ground outside a courthouse <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/william-tyrrell-inquest-son-of-pedophile-tony-jones-gives-evidence/96fa40f8-755b-427f-b10e-c28976ff7442" target="_blank">as he was asked if he knew what happened to the missing child</a>.</p> <p>Giving evidence at Taree Court House on Tuesday, convicted sex offender Anthony Keith Jones said he could not remember what he did on the day the three-year-old disappeared in 2014 on the NSW mid-north coast.</p> <p>“I have no recollection, none whatsoever, and I’ll be honest, if I wasn’t scrapping I was probably sleeping with [ex-wife] Debbie’s friend next door,” Jones said.</p> <p>Jones was also asked about a witness account, which claimed he was seen on the day in a white car parked 15 minutes away from the street where the toddler was last seen.</p> <p>His ex-wife Debbie Jones owned a white Camry, but he claimed she would not allow him to drive her car.</p> <p>“That person who has recognised me needs to go to an optometrist,” he said.</p> <p>The court had earlier heard from Jones’son Duane Gardoll, who said he “hadn’t seen him all day” that day.</p> <p>Jones yelled at reporters on his way out of the courthouse and <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/australia/william-tyrrell-inquest-hears-convicted-paedophile-unable-to-say-where-he-was-on-day-of-toddlers-disappearance/ar-BB10YyUX?li=AAgfYrC" target="_blank">knocked the camera out of the hands of a photographer</a>. He warned another cameraman he would be next as detectives rushed him to an unmarked car waiting outside.</p> <p>Jones was imprisoned for child sex offences weeks after Tyrrell’s disappearance, but has never been charged in relation to the toddler.</p> <p>The inquest continues.</p>

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George Pell’s bid for freedom will change in six minutes

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>The full bench of the High Court has set aside two days to hear the case of George Pell, as his lawyers believe that the guilt, reputation and legacy of the influential clergyman will turn on six minutes.</p> <p>Pell was found guilty in 2018 of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys in the 1990s.</p> <p>Cardinal Pell’s legal team has drawn the court’s attention to the greatest doubt over Pell’s conviction for child sex offences, which the legal team have submitted for its final argument.</p> <p>Their final argument is when would the archbishop of Melbourne have found himself alone in the priests’ sacristy with two choirboys for the five to six minutes required to assault them?</p> <p>Another aspect to their final argument is asking where were the seven altar servers who file into the sacristy to bow to the crucifix after the completion of mass?</p> <p>These questions go to the heart of the issues before the High Court, which is whether it was open to the jury on the basis of evidence provided to find Pell guilty.</p> <p>There are three possible outcomes of the final appeal.</p> <p>The first outcome is that the court may refuse special leave to appeal, despite clearing its calendar to deal with Pell.</p> <p>The second outcome is that the court may grant leave and dismiss the appeal.</p> <p>In either of these outcomes, Pell would remain a convicted child sex offender and serve the remainder of his minimum three year and eight month prison sentence.</p> <p>The third outcome is that the High Court may grant special leave to appeal and remove Pell’s conviction.</p> <p>La Trobe University law professor Patrick Keyzer believes that the second outcome is the most likely outcome.</p> <p>“Even though this case is about a very important person and a notoriously significant decision, it is nevertheless still a case about a jury verdict of guilt where a court of appeal has found no legal reason for questioning that verdict,’’ Professor Keyzer told The Age and<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="https://www.smh.com.au/national/george-pell-s-final-bid-for-freedom-rests-on-six-missing-minutes-20200310-p548pp.html" target="_blank">The Sydney Morning Herald</a>.</p> <p>“The Chief Judge of the County Court heard the criminal trial and it was for the jury to determine whether Pell was guilty. The jury performed its role.</p> <p>“A majority of the Court of Appeal very carefully went through the trial judgment, found no errors of law and concluded the verdict was open to the jury on the facts.</p> <p>“There are hundreds of jury trials going on in Australia every year. We have held on to a tradition of jury trial in many jurisdictions for many types of trial because there is a strong belief that people have a significant role to play in making that assessment of guilt."</p> <p>No one expects the third outcome to happen as early as Wednesday, but even if it does, Pell won’t be there to see it as he is in a high security unit of Barwon Prison.</p> </div> </div> </div>

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Son opens up about murder of wheelchair-bound mother

<div class="body_text "> <p>The son of South Australian wife killer Peter Dansie has opened up about the drowning murder of his wheelchair-bound mother.</p> <p>He spoke to<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/son-of-south-australian-wifekiller-opens-up-about-drowning-murder-of-wheelchairbound-mother/03a2d210-6922-4c9c-b4e4-4f00216bcc87" target="_blank"><em>9News</em></a><span> </span>exclusively about the murder, where Grant’s mother Helen drowned after her husband Peter pushed her wheelchair into a pond in the Adelaide parklands in April 2017.</p> <p>"To think that's how she spent her last moments, just in utter fear in a dark cold, pond and there was nobody to help her… there was nothing she could do, she was completely alone," Grant said sadly.</p> <p>In December, Peter was sentenced to 25 years behind bars for Helen’s murder and Grant revealed how he helped detectives arrest his father.</p> <p>"I always knew that he was a horrible person, a vindictive person, focused on power and control, but I didn't think he had it in him to do that," Grant said of his father.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7835038/peter-dansie.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/7da41441e0534afb84b73a5b1191da0f" /></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><em>Peter Dansie</em></p> <p>Grant said that detectives had just two questions for him.</p> <p>"They had two questions – first, are you willing to testify? And second, are you willing to wear a wire?"</p> <p>Grant quickly agreed to both and met with his estranged father for the first time in 17 years to hear why he did it.</p> <p>"He didn't care. He showed no emotion. He showed no remorse. He showed no love for this woman," he said.</p> <p>Inconsistencies in Peter’s story to his son helped police arrest and ultimately convict the 70 year old.</p> <p>However, Grant worries as to how he’ll tell his children what happened to their grandparents.</p> <p>"I still haven't concluded how to do that properly - it's kind of hard. We've just said that their grandparents have died," he said.</p> <p>As Peter is trying to appeal his conviction, his son is confident he won’t be going anywhere.</p> <p>"The thought that he will be in jail for life is actually quite nice," Grant said.</p> <p><em>Photo credits: <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/son-of-south-australian-wifekiller-opens-up-about-drowning-murder-of-wheelchairbound-mother/03a2d210-6922-4c9c-b4e4-4f00216bcc87" target="_blank">9News</a></em></p> </div>

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Sports rorts scandal: A coalition “slush fund”

<p>Calls of ‘corruption’ and ‘misuse of public funds’ have come from far and wide, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison continues to reject evidence which suggests that the government’s sports funding program was <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-sports-rorts-scandal-buying-votes-in-targeted-electorates/">improperly used to enhance its prospects of winning marginal seats in the lead up to the 2018 federal election</a>.</p> <p>Now, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2020/feb/27/coalition-labor-morrison-sports-rorts-inquiry-labor-politics-live">more than 130 emails between senior staff members</a> have come to light which suggest just that – that the allocation of funds was to marginal and other ‘targeted’ electorates rather than based on merit.</p> <p><strong>The story so far</strong></p> <p>When the ‘sports rorts’ scandal hit the headlines a few weeks ago, accusing the Federal Government of using money allocated for community grants to ‘buy votes’ in targeted election areas, the PM was quick to disassociate himself from any wrong doing, saying that his staff simply made ‘suggestions’ about where money should be channelled and that final decisions were the responsibility of Senator Bridget McKenzie, who has since stood down from the role.</p> <p>Around the same time, a senate inquiry heard nearly half – <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/sports-rorts-scandal-43-of-grants-were-ineligible/">43% of projects which were awarded grants</a> in the lead up to the 2019 federal election were not eligible for the money.</p> <p>In many cases, the projects ticked off by Sports Australia were found to have fallen short of the selection criteria – and funds were allocated to marginal electorates, the inference being that this was done to enhance the prospects of Coalition MPs in those electorates keeping their seats.</p> <p><strong>Damning evidence</strong></p> <p>Since the scandal broke, the Auditor-General has stepped in, and there is currently a senate inquiry underway. <a href="https://www.watoday.com.au/politics/federal/emails-reveal-morrison-office-s-role-in-100-million-sports-grants-program-20200226-p544n5.html?fbclid=IwAR3Z5mDSHJy_MUuaddzsJclTAEUbvhl31jr3QnOcR7e9UL1cplEWMi-3FMA">Recent investigations by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO)</a> shed new light on the extent of contact between the PM’s office and the ministerial staff, including, Bridget McKenzie, who created a colour-coded spreadsheet to help decide grants.</p> <p>Labor has declared the scheme corrupt on the grounds the spreadsheet tracked applications according to their electorate and thereby used taxpayer funds to help the Coalition win seats at the last election, a claim the government denies.</p> <p>And while the PM has consistently suggested that his team had some interest in the programme, the extend of the emails suggests his staff had more than ‘some interest’. As some have already suggested, the sheer volume of emails shows active collaboration.</p> <p>ANAO has discovered 136 emails between the Prime Minister’s office and Senator McKenzie’s office about the program in the six months before the election last year. The emails involved key staff members in Mr Morrison’s office and also in Senator McKenzie’s office.</p> <p>The details from ANAO counter some of the claims made about the program by Phil Gaetjens, the Secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and Mr Morrison’s former chief of staff. While Mr Gaetjens said he was told Senator McKenzie never saw the colour-coded spreadsheet, the ANAO revealed she had attached part of the document in direct correspondence with Mr Morrison.</p> <p>“On 10 April 2019 the minister wrote to the Prime Minister attaching printouts of two worksheets within the spreadsheet – the list of projects she intended to approve for round three funding and the worksheet with the summary tables (of distribution by state, political party and electorate),” the ANAO alleges.</p> <p>The ANAO also says that Senator McKenzie signed a formal brief to Sports Australia with a printout from the spreadsheet to ensure her decisions on the grants took priority over the of the independent agency.</p> <p>Furthermore, Mr Boyd told a senate inquiry that Senator McKenzie “maintained the spreadsheet at all times”, and the document was under continual revision. Sometimes, Boyd said, the prime minister’s office made representations, “but not all of those representations led to a change”.</p> <p><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/mar/03/scott-morrison-wants-the-nation-to-trust-him-but-how-can-we-after-sports-rorts">But at other times those “representations” led to concrete outcomes</a>. “For example, when I referred to one project coming out and one project coming in, in terms of the 8.46am version, that was at the request of the prime minister’s office”.</p> <p><strong>What happens next?</strong></p> <p>What all of this testimony and evidence mounts up to is the simple fact that criticisms being levelled at the government about the fairness of the allocation of the money, as well as the independence and integrity of the decision-making appear to be very well-founded.</p> <p>What happens next is not certain, as The PM and is key advisors continue to insist no wrongdoing whatsoever despite mounting evidence to the contrary.</p> <p><strong>Will history repeat?</strong></p> <p>Those with a keen interest in political history may remember a similar scenario in 1994 that led to Sports Minister Ros Kelly’s political demise.</p> <p>Ms Kelly had been a key player in Paul Keating’s government, but after being unable to credibly explain the distribution of $30m worth of federal sporting grants to marginal electorates held by Labor, she faced backlash which led to her eventual resignation. This triggered a by-election which delivered an unexpected win to the Liberals in the normally comfortable Labor seat of Canberra. Two years later, in 1996, the Liberal Party won the federal election by a landslide, making John Howard the Prime Minister of Australia.</p> <p>In the meantime, the senate inquiry continues and several programmes remain under scrutiny: Building Better Regions fund, Female Facilities and Water Safety Stream programs, Community Sport Infrastructure program, Safer Communities fund, the Stronger Communities program, and Community Development grants.</p> <p>Data shows the government awarded about $200 million in grants in the lead-up to the election, (between December 2018 and May 2019), with 156 of the 166 grants announced two months prior to the election being awarded to seats the Coalition was targeting.</p> <p>This is by any means, a significant chunk of tax payer funds, which should have been allocated according to appropriate guidelines and with consideration for both original intended purpose and desirable outcomes, and yet the PM continues to try to play down the issue, brush it aside even.</p> <p>This seeming disregard could potentially be a mistake come election time.  As vastly conflicting versions of how grants were allocated keep coming to the fore, voters will be left to make up their own minds about which version they believe.</p> <p><em>Written by Sonia Hickey. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/sports-rorts-scandal-a-coalition-slush-fund/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p>

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The offence of filming a private act without consent in Sydney

<p>A truck driver has faced <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/courts-we-attend/downing-centre-local-court/">Downing Centre Local Court</a> accused of using his mobile phone to film a naked woman while she was showering at the Sydney Morning Herald’s Sydney offices, and film a woman while she was showering.</p> <p>The 25-year old man, Braiden Head, from Western Sydney, allegedly entered the female changing rooms in the building between 10.10am and 10.30am.</p> <p>The woman claims she entered the shower at around 10am and, several minutes later, noticed the phone pointed at her. She says she attempted to chase the person but failed to catch up with him, before contacted police who arrested and charged the defendant the following day.</p> <p>Mr Head is not an employee of the Nine Entertainment Co. Holdings Limited – the owners of the Sydney Morning Herald. Nine’s management says they are unaware how the man entered the building, although <a href="https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/woman-allegedly-filmed-while-having-a-shower-at-work/news-story/2d7c9bd6f8fb7e9b206ded998c1b96a9">it has been reported</a> he is a driver for a uniform and wash room supply company.</p> <p>Mr Head has pleaded not guilty to filming a private act without consent and is scheduled to reappear in Downing Centre Local Court in April.</p> <p><strong>The offence of filming a person engaged in a private act</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/crimes-act/filming-person-engaged-in-private-act/">Filming a person engaged in a private act</a> Is an offence under <a href="http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/ca190082/s91k.html">section 91K of the Crimes Act 1900</a> which carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison.</p> <p>To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:</p> <ul> <li>You filmed another person,</li> <li>The person was engaged in a private act,</li> <li>The filming was for your sexual arousal or sexual gratification,</li> <li>You did not have consent to undertake the filming, and</li> <li>You knew you did not have consent to undertake the filming.</li> <li>The maximum penalty increases to 5 years in prison where:</li> <li>The person filmed was under the age of 16, or</li> <li>You installed a device for the purpose of the filming.</li> <li>A ‘private act’ is defined as:</li> <li>A state of undress</li> <li>Using the toilet, showering or bathing</li> <li>A sexual act of a kind not ordinarily done in public, or</li> <li>Any other like activity.</li> </ul> <p><em>Written by Sonia Hickey and Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-offence-of-filming-a-private-act-without-consent-in-nsw/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a></em></p>

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Australian law says the media can’t spin lies – ‘entertainment magazines’ aren’t an exception

<p>In a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/feb/17/womans-day-headline-declaring-meghan-and-harrys-marriage-over-blatantly-incorrect">recent ruling</a> the Australian Press Council has given a signal to gossip magazines it is OK to make up and publish rubbish about people, so long as the stories aren’t “blatantly incorrect”.</p> <p>This is despite the council’s own guidelines stating all member publications must strive for accuracy and avoid being misleading.</p> <p>The council, which adjudicates complaints against the print media, has also suggested it’s OK to have less rigorous standards when reporting on royalty and celebrities.</p> <p>And all this happened in a ruling <em>against</em> a magazine for publishing falsehoods.</p> <p><strong>A confused adjudication</strong></p> <p>The council has upheld a complaint about an article published in Woman’s Day on May 27 2019. The cover declared: “Palace confirms the marriage is over! Why Harry was left with no choice but to end it.”</p> <p>The inside story was titled “This is the final straw” and claimed: “Prince Harry has been left enraged and humiliated by a series of shock revelations about his wife’s past” and he “has finally reached breaking point”.</p> <p>In upholding the complaint, the <a href="https://www.presscouncil.org.au/document-search/adj-1773/">Press Council said</a> the headline was “blatantly incorrect” and not supported by the article’s contents. It also ruled the headline “was more than just an exaggeration […] it was misleading”.“</p> <p>But the council has sent a strong signal it will be lenient with publications that exaggerate.</p> <p>It said: ”[A]n entertainment publication can be expected to use some exaggeration" and “celebrity and gossip magazines are purchased for light entertainment, with readers not necessarily assuming that everything presented is factual”.</p> <p>The phrase “not necessarily” suggests some people might believe what’s presented <em>is</em> factual. But, that aside, why is the Press Council making rulings at odds with its own general principles?</p> <p>The <a href="https://www.presscouncil.org.au/statements-of-principles/">first principle</a> says publications should “ensure that factual material in news reports and elsewhere is accurate and not misleading and is distinguishable from other material such as opinion”.</p> <p>How does it reconcile these two contradictory ideas? It’s a question Marcus Strom, the president of the journalists’ union, MEAA Media, has been considering. He told <a href="https://theconversation.com/australian-law-says-the-media-cant-spin-lies-entertainment-magazines-arent-an-exception-132186">The Conversation:</a> “The Press Council guidelines are clear that all member publications must strive to be factual and not misleading. I’m surprised that falsehoods – where not “everything presented is factual” – are allowed within that definition.”</p> <p>If you’ve walked past a rack of magazines in the supermarket and wondered just how many times the same celebrity can become pregnant, you may have asked yourself why these publications can print falsehoods on an almost industrial scale. You might have concluded they’re just gossip magazines and no one takes them seriously.</p> <p>That same thinking seems to be driving the Press Council’s comments. But is that good enough?</p> <p>The idea these publications have a special exemption from journalistic standards is a concept with almost no foundation in law. There is no special provision under Australia’s defamation laws for this class of magazines.</p> <p>There is no “celebrity” defence that allows the media to make up lies about people. Even the defamation law’s defence of “triviality” offers very little protection. The Rebel Wilson case made that perfectly clear.</p> <p>Lawyer Dougal Hurley, of Minter Ellison, tells The Conversation gossip magazines trade on light entertainment, and readers “can and do expect a level of hyperbole that they would not in news media”.</p> <p>However, he concludes: <em>“This does not mean that the defence of triviality will succeed if these magazines are sued for defamation. Indeed, the rejection of triviality defences by the jury [in the case of] Wilson is evidence of this. Gossip magazines that have not already changed their editorial practices risk being liable for significant defamation payouts.”</em></p> <p><strong>Out-of-step thinking</strong></p> <p>The other controversial suggestion in the ruling is that the media can apply less rigorous standards when reporting on the royal family and celebrities.</p> <p>“The Council also acknowledges that the reasonable steps required to be accurate and not misleading in an article concerning royalty and celebrities can, depending on the circumstances, be different to those required in respect of other persons, particularly those who are not usually in the public eye.”</p> <p>The council offers little reasoning for this, but is no doubt assuming that, as public figures, they should expect incursions on their privacy and sensationalised coverage. Again, the council’s thinking is looking out of step with the <a href="https://www.afr.com/companies/media-and-marketing/australia-the-defamation-capital-of-the-world-20190904-p52nuh">increased use of the courts</a> to combat inaccurate reporting and false gossip.</p> <p>Hurley says: “Although in many respects gossip magazines are as they ever were, it is also true that they are bearing more risk in circumstances where they purport to report news and publish to a global audience instantaneously.”</p> <p>He continues: “While international celebrities may appear to be easy targets for gossip magazines, our notoriously plaintiff-friendly defamation laws mean that these celebrities can and will sue in Australia. Only a major overhaul of Australia’s defamation laws will prevent the libel tourism that has contributed to Australia becoming the defamation capital of the world.”</p> <p>Perhaps in these circumstances, the Press Council might do its members – and the public – a greater service by insisting proper standards apply to all reporting, and that accuracy and fact checking be the norm, even for the magazines at the supermarket checkout.</p> <p><em>Written by Andrew Dodd. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/australian-law-says-the-media-cant-spin-lies-entertainment-magazines-arent-an-exception-132186">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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Friend reveals killer dad Rowan Baxter plotted to kill other family members

<p>The man who killed his estranged wife and their three children in a car fire planned on murdering other people, his wife’s friend said.</p> <p>Rowan Baxter ambushed Hannah Clarke and their children Aaliyah, 6, Laianah, 4 and Trey, 3, on their school run before dousing the four in petrol and setting them alight in a car in Brisbane’s suburb of Camp Hill last week.</p> <p>Baxter later died from self-inflicted wounds.</p> <p>Speaking to <em><a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/rowan-baxter-hannah-clarkes-killer-had-planned-to-murder-expartner-and-son/news-story/da79c7251c769c172289187793bcd76d">The Australian</a></em>, Clarke’s friend Nikki Brooks said Baxter had told Clarke how he had planned to kill his ex-partner and their son Isaiah years earlier.</p> <p>“Hannah had told me that he had a rope and something in his car,” Brooks said.</p> <p>“He’d driven to do it. He’d prepared what he needed to kill Isaiah and [Isaiah’s mother] and then didn’t do it. Isaiah would have been maybe seven or eight. It was the first time she was going to leave him as well.”</p> <p>Brooks said Baxter told Clarke he had almost killed another person in a separate incident, resulting in a conviction for grievous bodily harm.</p> <p>“Hannah just knew there was a road rage incident – he lost his mind and nearly beat someone to death,” she said.</p> <p>“He would make it out to be someone else’s fault, of course – someone did something and he acted the way he did because he had a baby in the car.”</p> <p>Brooks gave a statement to Queensland police a week before Clarke’s death.</p> <p>“I was giving an affidavit to the police to support Hannah’s claim that he’d breached a Domestic Violence Order,” she told <em><a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/a-current-affair/camp-hill-car-fire-hannah-clarkes-best-friend-predicts-tragedy/9f5a1aaf-578a-46d4-8122-f1c1c122fef7">A Current Affair</a></em>.</p> <p>Brooks said when Clarke “knew she’d made the right decision” when she left Baxter late last year.</p> <p>“The day she came back she stayed with me and we felt safe. He didn’t know where I lived,” Brooks said.</p> <p>“It was the happiest afternoon and night of our lives … She just looked relieved and she just seemed really happy. She knew she’d made the right decision.”</p> <p>The Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Charitable Trust is now assisting Clarke’s family to set up a charity named ‘Small Steps 4 Hannah’, which aims to raise awareness of domestic violence and help save lives.</p>

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Special treatment for Weinstein amid fears of “another Jeffrey Epstein incident”

<p><span>Convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein will reportedly be given special treatment as jail officials raise concerns over another possible “Epstein incident”.</span></p> <p><span>According to <em><a href="https://www.tmz.com/2020/02/26/harvey-weinstein-worries-nyc-prison-officials-rikers-jeffrey-epstein/">TMZ</a></em>, officials at New York City Department of Correction are taking extraordinary measures to monitor Weinstein amid fears of an event similar to the death of convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was found hanging in his federal jail cell at Manhattan’s Metropolitan Correctional Center in July 2019.</span></p> <p><span>“The last thing you want is another Jeffrey Epstein incident,” a source told <em><a href="https://nypost.com/2020/02/26/harvey-weinstein-may-stay-out-of-city-jails-to-avoid-another-epstein-incident/">The New York Post</a></em>.</span></p> <p><span>“Harvey is going to be isolated as much as possible and will always have a detail with him throughout the prison. He’s never going to be like other prisoners, able to walk down the hallway or sit in the canteen alone.”</span></p> <p><span>The special surveillance has started on Monday at Bellevue Hospital Center, where Weinstein was being treated for chest pains following his conviction of third-degree rape and sexual assault. </span></p> <p><span>A jail captain escorted Weinstein on every move and the entire hospital unit was shut down to prevent him from encountering other inmates, Joe Russo, president of the Assistant Deputy Wardens / Deputy Wardens Association told <em><a href="https://thecity.nyc/2020/02/convicted-rapist-harvey-weinstein-may-avoid-rikers-island.html">The City</a></em>.</span></p> <p><span>“There seems to be a Jeffrey Epstein influence here,” Russo said.</span></p> <p><span>Russo said Weinstein could get an entire housing unit just for himself if he is sent to Rikers Island as expected.</span></p> <p><span>“He’s very high-profile and you can’t put him with somebody else.”</span></p> <p><span>Sources told <em>The Post </em>state officials will have the final decision on where Weinstein will stay.</span></p> <p><span>Weinstein faces up to 29 years in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and raping former actress Jessica Mann in 2013. The 67-year-old faces more charges in Los Angeles, but <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-26/harvey-weinsteins-life-now-that-he-has-been-convicted/12001272">no date has been set for the case to begin</a>.</span></p>

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“Very sad day”: Disgraced star Bill Cosby offers support to rapist Harvey Weinstein

<p>Convicted sex offender Bill Cosby has shared a statement in support of Harvey Weinstein, claiming the movie executive’s rape trial was not fair and saying his conviction marked a “very sad day”.</p> <p>The disgraced comedian’s publicist Andrew Wyatt took to Instagram to release a statement which questioned where “wealthy and famous men” can “go in this country to find fairness and impartiality”.</p> <p>Yesterday, Weinstein was convicted of raping a former production assistant Mimi Haleyi in 2006 and sexually assaulting a slew of other women in 2013.</p> <p>Cosby’s account suggested the verdict was “not shocking” – but he placed the blame on the legal process.</p> <p>He said because jurors were exposed to media coverage of the high-profile case, they were swayed by “the sentiments of public opinion”.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B89geHGnjfT/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="12"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="margin: 8px 0 0 0; padding: 0 4px;"><a style="color: #000; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none; word-wrap: break-word;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B89geHGnjfT/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Official Statement From Andrew Wyatt Regarding The Verdict Of Harvey Weinstein: This is not shocking because these jurors were not sequestered, which gave them access to media coverage and the sentiments of public opinion. There’s no way you would have anyone believe that Mr. Weinstein was going to receive a fair and impartial trial. Also, this judge showed that he wanted a conviction by sending the jurors back to deliberate, after they were hung on many of the counts. Here’s the question that should haunt all Americans, especially wealthy and famous men...Where do we go in this country to find fairness and impartiality in the judicial system; and where do we go in this country to find Due Process? Lastly, if the #metoo movement isn’t just about Becky [White women], I would challenge #metoo and ask them to go back 400+ years and tarnish the names of those oppressors that raped slaves. This is a very sad day in the American Judicial System. #FreeBillCosby #FarFromFinished #DueProcess #JusticeReform</a></p> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;">A post shared by <a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/billcosby/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> Bill Cosby</a> (@billcosby) on Feb 24, 2020 at 11:17am PST</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>“There’s no way you would have anyone believe that Mr Weinstein was going to receive a fair and impartial trial,” said the statement.</p> <p>It also suggested the judge “wanted a conviction" as he told jurors to spend more time deliberating when they had been hung over some of the charges.</p> <p>“Here’s the question that should haunt all Americans, especially wealthy and famous men … where do we go in this country to find fairness and impartiality in the judicial system,” read the statement.</p> <p>It was then accompanied by hashtags including “#FreeBillCosby” and “#FarFromFinished”.</p> <p>In 2018, Cosby was found guilty on three counts of aggravated indecent assault and sentenced to serve three to 10 years in prison.</p>

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