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The offence of public mischief in NSW

<p>A professor at the University of Technology, Sydney is facing court for allegedly making a complaint to police that she was the victim of harassing letters, when she actually sent the letters to herself.</p> <p>Police arrested and charged UTS professor Dianne Jolley in November last year, after a lengthy police investigation concluded that she sent harassing letters to herself after the university planned to cancel a Chinese Medicine Course.</p> <p>Police say the investigation wasted their resources and also those of key employees at the university.</p> <p>Court documents suggest the university spent more than $150,000 in security measures over the course of several months to ensure Ms Jolley’s safety, due to her claims that she was in physical danger.</p> <p>Ms Jolley is currently on paid leave from her role as The Dean of Science and Technology.</p> <p><a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/09/sydney-professor-charged-again-with-sending-herself-fake-harassing-letters">But, despite her arrest, the letters have continued</a>. In recent weeks, 9 additional threatening letters arrived at the UTS, resulting in further charges being laid against the professor.</p> <p>The charges against Ms Jolley include fraud, giving false information that a person or property is in danger and public mischief.</p> <p>Her bail has been revoked and she will appear in court later this month.</p> <p><strong>The offence of fraud</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/crimes-act/fraud/">Section 192E of the Crimes Act 1900</a> makes it a crime to obtain property belonging to another, or obtain any financial advantage or cause a financial disadvantage to another, where this is done dishonestly by any deception.</p> <p>The maximum penalty is 10 years’ imprisonment when the matter is referred to the District Court, or 2 years if it remains in the Local Court.</p> <p>To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:</p> <ul> <li>The defendant engaged in a deception,</li> <li>The defendant’s actions were dishonest,</li> <li>The actions created a financial advantage over another person’s property, or caused the other person to suffer a financial disadvantage, and</li> <li>The actions were intentional or reckless.</li> </ul> <p><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/defences/">Defences to the charge</a> include duress and necessity.</p> <p><strong>The offence of falsely conveying that a person or property is in danger</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/crimes-act/false-information-that-person-in-danger/">Section 93Q of the Crimes Act 1900</a> (NSW) makes it an offence punishable by a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison where the matter is finalised in the District Court, or 2 years if it remains in the Local Court, for a person to convey information that he or she knows to be false or misleading, and is likely to make the person to whom the information is conveyed fear for the safety of a person or of property, or both.</p> <p>The offence encompasses conveying information by any means including making a statement, sending a document, or transmitting an electronic or other message.</p> <p><strong>The offence of public mischief</strong></p> <p>Public mischief is an offence under <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/crimes-act/public-mischief/">section 547B of the Crimes Act 1900</a> which carries a maximum penalty of 12 months in prison.</p> <p>To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that:</p> <ol> <li>The defendant knowingly made a false representation that an act had been done, or would been done, or that an event had occurred,</li> <li>The representation was made to a police officer, and</li> <li>The representation called for an investigation by the police officer</li> </ol> <p>The offence covers situations where:</p> <ul> <li>The representation was made to a person other than a police officer,</li> <li>The nature of the representation reasonably required the person to communicate it to a police officer, and the person did communicate it to a police officer.</li> </ul> <p><em>Written by Sonia hickey and Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-offence-of-public-mischief-in-nsw/"><em>Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</em></a></p>

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Hundreds given on-the-spot fine for breaking little-known road rule

<p>Police have started cracking down on pedestrians for breaking one major rule around Sydney’s new light rail, with hundreds of people being penalised.</p> <p>Between December 2019 and January 2020 NSW Police conducted a Pedestrian Compliance Operation are the light rail route in the CBD and Kensington areas.</p> <p>This resulted in 253 infringements which were issued to those who failed to follow traffic signals.</p> <p>The offence is penalised with an on-the-spot fine of $76, with police saying the rule is put in place to help reduce the risk of pedestrians getting injured.</p> <p>“This operation aims to reduce the risk of collisions involving pedestrians through education and enforcement at locations identified as high-risk areas,” said NSW Police.</p> <p>“So far this year, three pedestrians have died on NSW roads.”</p> <p>A photo of a policewoman issuing a fine to a pedestrian was posted to Reddit on Monday, sparking a debate as to whether handing out fines was fair.</p> <p>Many believe it’s a form of “revenue raising” and that people should be given warnings instead of a penalty.</p> <p>“But how about issuing warnings instead of fines? Surely that will get the point across just as well?” asked one person.</p> <p>“The fines are completely unnecessary, and people are right to be calling this out as a revenue raising exercise.”</p> <p>Another agreed, saying penalising pedestrians for this act was the “epitome of a nanny state”.</p> <p>But despite the outcry, many disagreed saying that it was a matter of safety.</p> <p>“Not revenue raising when it’s trying to promote public safety,” said one person.</p> <p>“Was walking behind a chick that clearly saw these cops this morning, jaywalked anyway then acted surprised when she got a fine. There were about six of them in high vis, couldn’t have been more obvious,” wrote another.</p> <p>Police are urging people to always use pedestrian crossings, and to wait for all vehicles to come to a complete stop before crossing the road.</p>

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How will a drug supply conviction affect my ability to travel?

<p>Facing the possibility of a <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/how-to-avoid-a-criminal-conviction-for-drug-possession-or-supply/">drug supply conviction</a> can be a nerve wracking experience.</p> <p>Drug supply is considered a more serious offence than possession, and comes with harsher penalties.</p> <p>If you have been charged with <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/offences/drug-offences/drug-supply/">supplying prohibited drugs,</a> you will probably be concerned about whether you will receive a harsh penalty such as community service or even a prison sentence if you are convicted.</p> <p>But you may not have thought about what can happen in the future if you end up with a criminal record.</p> <p>Having a criminal conviction for a serious offence like drug supply can affect your ability to find work, and to travel to certain countries.</p> <p><strong>Do I have to declare any criminal convictions when I travel?</strong></p> <p>As an Australian citizen, you are required to apply for a visa so that you can travel to, or through, certain countries.</p> <p>These countries include the US, Canada, China and Indonesia, among others.</p> <p>When you apply for a visa, you will be required to disclose any criminal convictions you have received, along with any matters that you have outstanding.</p> <p>If you have a criminal conviction, it does not necessarily mean that you will be refused entry to a country – whether your criminal conviction affects your ability to travel largely depends on the individual country and their policies, as well as the severity of the offence.</p> <p>In Canada, for example, you can be refused entry over convictions for relatively minor offences, such as a drink driving, while other countries will restrict you only for more serious criminal convictions.</p> <p><strong>What if the conviction was a long time ago?</strong></p> <p>A drug supply conviction may exclude you altogether from entering certain countries on either a tourist or a work visa.</p> <p>However, whether previous convictions are considered relevant depends largely on the country.</p> <p>If you are seeking entry into Canada, you may be able to get an exemption for a previous conviction that is more than five years old by stating that you are ‘rehabilitated’, while the US is generally stricter.</p> <p><strong>Will it show up if I got a </strong><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/penalties/nsw/section-10-dismissal/"><strong>section 10 dismissal</strong></a><strong> or </strong><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/penalties/nsw/conditional-release-order/"><strong>conditional release order</strong></a><strong> for a previous offence?</strong></p> <p>Whether or not a non conviction order for a drug supply charge will show up on your criminal record depends on whether it was conditional or unconditional.</p> <p>If you received a non conviction order with a good behaviour bond, it will appear on your criminal record for the duration of the bond.</p> <p>Once the period of time for the good behaviour bond expires, the conviction will be considered ‘spent’.</p> <p>This means it is better to try and get an unconditional non conviction order, with no conviction recorded, if possible.</p> <p><strong>How can I check whether or not I have a criminal record?</strong></p> <p>If you are unsure whether you have a clean criminal record or not, you can apply for a copy from the <a href="http://www.afp.gov.au/what-we-do/police-checks.aspx">Australian Federal Police</a> before you travel.</p> <p>AFP police checks are also often mandatory if you are applying for a work visa for a foreign country.</p> <p>If you are facing a drug supply conviction and you are concerned about the effect it might have on your future travel plans, it is a good idea to speak to a lawyer.</p> <p>An experienced criminal lawyer may be able to help you avoid a conviction and reduce the impact of your drug charges on your future.</p> <p><em>Written by Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/how-will-a-drug-supply-conviction-affect-my-ability-to-travel/">Sy<em>dney Criminal Lawyers. </em></a></p>

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Catholic priest dies before being sentenced for child sexual abuse

<p>Disgraced former Catholic Priest James Joseph Cunneen, who was <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/offences/sexual-offences/indecent-assault/">found guilty of indecently assaulting </a>six teenage boys in New South Wales in the late 1980s, has died before he could be sentenced.</p> <p>60-year old Mr Cunneen was due to be sentenced in Downing Centre District Court on 14 February 2020. He was arrested, charged and prosecuted last year after information given to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in 2014.</p> <p>After an extensive investigation, police extradited Mr Cunneen back to Australia in 2017 where he was charged.</p> <p>Molested, even in their sleep</p> <p>Mr Cunneen was originally ordained as a priest in his native country, New Zealand, in 1979 and worked within the Catholic church both New Zealand and Australia before leaving the church in 1997 and returning to New Zealand.</p> <p>After leaving the church, he worked for the Department of Education for three years, and then took a job running betting agencies across New Zealand’s north island.</p> <p>Originally charged with 10 child sex offences against eight teenagers, a jury found Cunneen guilty for acts committed against six of them.</p> <p>During the trial, the court heard that Mr Cunneed had molested the boys in various locations and situations, including while they were sleeping.</p> <p>Mr Cunneen <a href="https://www.odt.co.nz/news/national/disgraced-kiwi-priest-dies-suddenly-sydney">had a heart attack on 28 December 2019,</a> and died in the intensive care unit at Blacktown Hospital in Sydney.</p> <p>The Royal Commission’s impact</p> <p>Since the Royal Commission’s final report, several high profile Catholic priests including George Pell have been tried and found guilty of sexually abusing children.</p> <p>Others including <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/convicted-catholic-archbishop-resigns/">Adelaide Archbishop Phillip Wilson</a> have been convicted of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/crimes-act/concealing-serious-indictable-offence/">concealing a serious indictable offence</a> after covering up sexual abuse committed by convicted child sex offender, priest James Fletcher, which had occurred in the New South Wales Hunter region in the 1970s.</p> <p>Pell’s High Court Appeal</p> <p><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/george-pells-high-court-appeal-last-throw-of-the-dice/">In December 2019, the High Court of Australia decided that it will hear George Pell’s application for ‘special leave’ (permission) to appeal</a>, which if granted will provide him with the last throw of the dice to have his convictions for historical child sexual offences overturned.</p> <p>The High Court of Australia is the highest court in the land. Its primary function is to interpret and apply the law of Australia, including to decide cases of special national significance such as challenges to the constitutional validity of laws, and before cases can be</p> <p>heard, the High Court must decide whether to grant special leave from cases that have come from the Federal, State and Territory courts.</p> <p>George Pell’s lawyers applied for special leave after a two of a three member panel of Supreme Court of Victoria upheld his convictions for child sex offences earlier this year.</p> <p>Mr Pell is currently serving a six year sentence for those offence, becoming eligible for parole after three years and eight months. He has already served just over 5 months behind bars.</p> <p>The High Court has announced it will hear the case in front of a full bench of seven judges. A date has not yet been set, but it is expected to be sometime within the next few months.</p> <p>Pope remains silent</p> <p>Pope Francis has not yet spoken publicly about the case of George Pell, who was once one of the Church’s highest ranking officials, although the Pope has recognised that over the past few years that sexual offending within the church is a systemic problem that has perpetuated through the years because of an internal culture of secrecy and cover ups.</p> <p>It’s expected that the Pope may address the problems in Australia – <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/they-give-god-a-bad-name-says-victim/">the Royal Commission detailed</a> 4,444 allegations of child sexual abuse in its final report in 2017– but right around the country, police investigations are continuing and every day, complainants are continuing to come forward.</p> <p><em>Written by Sonia Hickey. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/catholic-priest-dies-before-his-sentencing-for-child-sexual-abuse/">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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What is stalking in New South Wales?

<p>The SBS Insight program featured a segment some time ago about the nature and prevalence of stalking in Australia, with alleged offenders, complainants and police officers relating their experiences of such conduct and the criminal justice system’s treatment of it.</p> <p>But those on the program struggled to define the term ‘stalking’, giving varying descriptions of what they consider the term to mean.</p> <p>So what is the definition of stalking in the NSW criminal law? What types of conduct amount to stalking under the law? What is the offence of stalking in our state, what does the prosecution need to prove, what are the penalties and how seriously do courts consider domestic violence related offences?</p> <p><strong>Definition of stalking in the NSW criminal law</strong></p> <p>‘Stalking’ is defined by <a href="http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/capva2007347/s8.html">section 8</a> of the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Act 2007 (NSW) (the Act) as including:</p> <ul> <li>the following of a person about,</li> <li>the watching or frequenting of the vicinity of, or an approach to, a person’s place of residence, business or work or any place that a person frequents for the purposes of any social or leisure activity, and</li> <li>contacting or otherwise approaching a person using the internet or any other technologically assisted means.</li> </ul> <p>The section makes clear that for the purpose of determining whether a person’s conduct amounts to stalking, a court may have regard to any pattern of violence (especially violence constituting a domestic violence offence) in the person’s behaviour.</p> <p>Examples of situations found by the courts to amount to stalking include:</p> <ul> <li>Continuing to call or send text messages to the targeted person after he or she has made clear they do not want to receive such contact,</li> <li>Attending multiple places where the targeted person frequents, in circumstances where the defendant would not normally attend those places,</li> <li>Repeatedly posting on the targeted person’s social media pages, after that person has made clear they do not want these publications,</li> <li>Continuing to send gifts to a person after he or she has made clear they do not wish to receive them, and</li> <li>Attending the targeted person’s home or workplace and watching, or repeatedly driving past these premises, in circumstances where there is no reason to do this.</li> </ul> <p><strong>What is the offence of stalking?</strong></p> <p><a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/criminal/legislation/domestic-and-personal-violence-act/stalking-or-intimidation/">Section 13 of the Act </a>prescribes a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and/or a fine of $5,500 – or 2 years in prison if the case remains in the Local Court rather than being referred to the District Court – for any person who <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/the-offence-of-stalking-or-intimidation-in-nsw/">stalks or intimidates another person with the intention of causing the other person to fear physical or mental harm</a>.</p> <p><strong>For the purposes of the section:</strong></p> <ul> <li>causing a person to fear physical or mental harm includes causing the person to fear physical or mental harm to another person with whom he or she has a <a href="http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/capva2007347/s5.html#domestic_relationship">domestic relationship</a>,</li> <li>a person intends to cause fear of physical or mental harm if he or she knows that the conduct is likely to cause fear in the other person,</li> <li>the prosecution is not required to prove that the person alleged to have been stalked or intimidated actually feared physical or mental harm, and</li> <li>an attempt to commit the offence is enough to establish the offence.</li> </ul> <p>‘<a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/what-is-the-meaning-of-intimidate-in-the-criminal-law/">Intimidation</a>’ is defined <a href="http://www5.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/capva2007347/s7.html">by section 7</a> of the Act as:</p> <ul> <li>conduct (including cyberbullying) amounting to harassment or molestation of the person,</li> <li>an approach made to the person by any means (including by telephone, telephone text messaging, e-mailing and other technologically assisted means) that causes the person to fear for his or her safety, or</li> <li>any conduct that causes a reasonable apprehension of injury to a person or to a person with whom he or she has a domestic relationship, or of violence or damage to any person or property.</li> </ul> <p>Again, the court can consider a course of conduct when determining whether a defendant has engaged in intimidatory conduct.</p> <p>How seriously do the courts treat stalking offences?</p> <p>The courts have <a href="https://www.judcom.nsw.gov.au/publications/benchbks/sentencing/domestic_violence_offences.html">gone to great lengths to emphasise the seriousness with which they treat domestic violence offences</a>, including offences that include elements of stalking, intimidation or physical violence in the domestic context.</p> <p>In <em>Munda v Western Australia</em> (2013), the High Court of Australia made clear that:</p> <p>“the long-standing obligation of the state.. [is] to vindicate the dignity of each victim of violence, to express the community’s disapproval of that offending, and to afford such protection as can be afforded by the state to the vulnerable against repetition of violence.”</p> <p>In the context of sentencing for the offences, the court remarked:</p> <p>“A just sentence must accord due recognition to the human dignity of the victim of domestic violence and the legitimate interest of the general community in the denunciation and punishment of a brutal, alcohol-fuelled destruction of a woman by her partner. A failure on the part of the state to mete out a just punishment of violent offending may be seen as a failure by the state to vindicate the human dignity of the victim; and to impose a lesser punishment by reason of the identity of the victim is to create a group of second-class citizens, a state of affairs entirely at odds with the fundamental idea of equality before the law.”</p> <p>In <em>The Queen v Kilic</em> (2016), the High Court recognised that:</p> <p>“[C]urrent sentencing practices for offences involving domestic violence depart from past sentencing practices for this category of offence because of changes in societal attitudes to domestic relations.”</p> <p>In that case, the court treated the fact the respondent’s offence involved domestic violence as a distinguishing aggravating circumstance of significance and referred to: “… the abuse of a relationship of trust which such an offence necessarily entails and which … must be deterred”.</p> <p>The denunciation of, and punishment for, “brutal” and “alcohol-fuelled” conduct in the context of a domestic relationship was considered to be particularly apt in the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal case of <em>Ngatamariki v R</em> [2016], where the court stated:</p> <p>“It is undoubtedly the case that the criminal law, in the area of domestic violence, requires rigorous and demanding consequences for perpetrators for the purpose of protecting partners, family members and the wider community.”</p> <p>The need for both general deterrence (deterring would-be offenders) and specific deterrence (deterring the particular offender) has been a theme in both judicial decisions and parliamentary inquiries.</p> <p><strong>The onus rests on the prosecution to prove stalking charges</strong></p> <p>It is important to bear in mind that the onus always rests is on the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendant engaged in conduct amounting to stalking.</p> <p>This can be a difficult hurdle for them to overcome in circumstances where the defendant refutes allegations of engaging in specific conduct – such as attending or driving past the complainant’s premises – or has a lawful reason for attending the locations or engaging in the alleged conduct.</p> <p>Where there is such a dispute, it is the defence lawyer’s job to push for the withdrawal of the charges so their client is not subjected to the costs, anxiety and stress associated with a defended hearing or, if the prosecution nevertheless insists on a hearing, raising doubt as to the elements of the offences during that hearing.</p> <p><strong>Going to court for stalking?</strong></p> <p>If you are going to court for stalking, call Sydney Criminal Lawyers anytime on 9261 8881 to arrange a <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/services/free-first-appointment/">free first consultation</a> with an experienced criminal defence lawyer who will advise you of your options, the best way forward and fight to achieve the optimal outcome in the circumstances.</p> <p><em>Written by Ugur Nedim. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.sydneycriminallawyers.com.au/blog/what-is-stalking-in-new-south-wales/">Sydney Criminal Lawyers.</a> </em></p>

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Why Madeleine McCann case is “unsolvable”

<p>Madeleine McCann’s disappearance will never be solved due to a vital missing CCTV footage, a former detective and child abuse investigator said.</p> <p>Former constable Mark Williams-Thomas said the young girl was a victim of a random act of crime.</p> <p>In his new book <em>Hunting Killers</em>, Williams-Thomas said the kidnapper could leave undetected because a crucial CCTV camera was turned off during the abduction.</p> <p>“The abduction of Madeleine McCann is one I’d put into the unsolvable category.</p> <p>“I believe Madeleine was the victim of an opportunistic criminal whose act was random – she wandered out of the apartment and into the path of this person.</p> <p>“The case hasn’t been solved simply because a crucial CCTV camera was turned off, meaning that whoever took Madeleine was not identifiable at the scene.”</p> <p>The 49-year-old said statistics show McCann’s case is unlikely to be solved.</p> <p>“The sad reality is, this far on, the likelihood of Madeleine being alive now is incredibly slim,” he wrote.</p> <p>“Unfortunately, in almost every case of stranger child abduction, within the space of 24 hours the child is dead.”</p> <p>McCann was three years old when she vanished from a holiday apartment in Portugal in May 2007. The British child was last seen in her bedroom with her younger twin siblings. She would be 16 years old today. Inquiries into the case – including Britain’s Operation Grange – remain <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-48533619?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/c8255n4mp88t/madeleine-mccann-disappearance&amp;link_location=live-reporting-story">ongoing</a>.</p>

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The problem with Harry and Meghan’s “financial independence” plan

<p>Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan managed to dismantle the royal family on Thursday morning after they announced that they would be stepping down as senior royals and transition to financial independence.</p> <p>However, questions are rife about the royals’ new “working model” for 2020, and why the two – who have a combined independent wealth of around AU$60 million – need to “work to become financially independent”.</p> <p>“In 2020, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have made the choice to transition into a new working model,” read the official Royal Sussex website.</p> <p>“As they step back as senior members of the Royal Family and no longer receive funding through the Sovereign Grant, they will become members of the Royal Family with financial independence which is something they look forward to.”</p> <p>Buckingham Palace issued a statement regarding their exit: “Discussions with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are at an early stage. We understand their desire to take a different approach, but these are complicated issues that will take time to work through.”</p> <p><strong>What are these “complicated issues”?</strong></p> <p>The pair “value the ability to earn a professional income, which in the current structure they are prohibited from doing,” the official website reads.</p> <p>This decision simply means that in order to become financially independent, the couple will no longer receive funding from the taxpayer-funded Sovereign Grant – which previously covered 5 per cent of their costs.</p> <p>“Their Royal Highnesses prefer to release this financial tie.”</p> <p>The remaining 95 per cent is provided through the Duchy of Cornwall as allocated by Prince Charles, under the system in place since Prince William and Prince Harry first established their offices.</p> <p>It seems Harry and Meghan will still receive these funds from the Duchy of Cornwall, but this may be one of the “complicated issues” Buckingham Palace referred to in its statement.</p> <p>The Duchy of Cornwall is the estate managed by Prince Charles, which has an income of over $40 million according to 2018 financial statements.</p> <p>“The current Prince of Wales chooses to use a substantial proportion of his income from the Duchy estate to meet the cost of his public and charitable work as well as the public and private lives of his family, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, and their children,” reads the Duchy of Cornwall website.</p> <p><strong>Private wealth</strong></p> <p>But despite the grant and funds from the duchy, Harry and Meghan were already wealthy beforehand with the Duchess having a reported net worth of $7 million prior to marrying Prince Harry.</p> <p>Prince Harry’s net worth was even more substantial thanks to a hefty inheritance from Princess Diana, an allowance from Charles, his salary from serving in the army and a trust set up by his great grandmother. In 2018 his worth was reported to be between $36 million and $60 million.</p> <p><strong>Other things to know</strong></p> <p><strong>Travel costs</strong></p> <p>The Duke and Duchess will pay for any travel expenses in their private time from their own income, as they pointed out that the royals have never used taxpayer funds to cover travel.</p> <p>When in the UK, their security team will be paid for by taxpayers, via the royal family as they are considered “internationally protected people”, and as such, security is required.</p> <p><strong>Frogmore cottage</strong></p> <p>According to<span> </span><em>The Times</em>, the couple may be asked to fork out money for rent if they choose to continue living in the $4.6 million Frogmore Cottage after a series of renovations took place on the historic property.</p> <p>“Frogmore Cottage will continue to be the property of Her Majesty the Queen,” reads a statement on the official Royal Sussex website.</p> <p>“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will continue to use Frogmore Cottage – with the permission of Her Majesty The Queen – as their official residence as they continue to support the monarchy, and so that their family will always have a place to call home in the United Kingdom.”</p> <p><strong>Charities</strong></p> <p>The two will still remain patrons of the same charities as they were before, but will also launch a new foundation. They will most likely receive a salary from working in the charity.</p>

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Five punishments past and present for jurors who fall foul of the law

<p>Jurors in England and Wales have come under repeated criticism in recent years for the ways they’ve carried out their duties. In late March, a jury member at Carlisle Crown Court <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-43490590">was fined £1,000</a> for playing on his phone during a trial in what the judge described as “blatant contempt of court”. In November 2017, a jury was <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-wiltshire-42100936">dismissed</a> at Winchester Crown Court after what one newspaper described as <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/23/parachute-trial-jury-discharged-failing-reach-verdict/">“an extraordinary row”</a> between judge and jury. Some jurors have <a href="http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/juror-who-took-role-seriously-13616425">even been imprisoned</a> for carrying out illicit research into the case before them.</p> <p>In the past there were a number of ways to punish jurors – some of which still stand today.</p> <p><strong>Attaint</strong></p> <p>In medieval England, if it was suspected that a jury of 12 had returned an inaccurate verdict in a civil trial, the case could be reheard by a 24-strong jury. If the second jury disagreed with the first jury’s verdict, the first jury would be punished. This procedure was <a href="https://www.academia.edu/33924828/Before_the_Criminal_Justice_and_Courts_Act_2015_Juror_Punishment_in_Nineteenth-and_Twentieth-Century_England_2016_36_2_Legal_Studies_179">called the attaint</a>.</p> <p>Initially, punishment under the attaint meant imprisonment and the destruction of the jurors’ homes and lands, although by the end of the 15th century this had been replaced with perpetual infamy and a fine. The attaint never seems to have been used on criminal juries, and by the end of the 16th century it seems to have stopped being used even in civil trials. The system was formally abolished in 1825.</p> <p><strong>Embracery</strong></p> <p>Chief Justice Vaughan famously <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bushel%27s_Case">ruled</a> in 1670 that jurors could not be punished simply for returning a verdict which the trial judge disagreed with. He was happy to punish jurors in some circumstances, however, having convicted two jurors of “embracery” the previous year.</p> <p>Embracery occurred where threats or bribes were used in order to encourage jurors to return a favourable verdict. It was an offence both to try to “embrace” a juror and to be “embraced” when actually serving as a juror.</p> <p>One embracer was convicted as late as 1975, although the Court of Appeal complained that a simple charge of contempt of court would have been better. This stopped any further prosecutions for embracery, and the offence was <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/23/section/17">formally abolished in 2010</a>.</p> <p><strong>Perverting the course of justice</strong></p> <p>Perverting the course of justice as a juror is a broader offence than embracery, but it works in a similar way. It’s possible both for the person interfering with a jury, and for a juror who accepts a bribe or is otherwise compromised, to be punished. The offence still exists today, but prosecutions of jurors for perverting the course of justice have always been rare.</p> <p>As recently as 2011, the Court of Appeal <a href="http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/format.cgi?doc=/ew/cases/EWHC/Admin/2011/1629.html">made reference</a> to the option of prosecuting jurors under this offence where a juror had been communicating with a defendant, but judges seemed satisfied with the more conventional charge of contempt of court made against the juror.</p> <p><strong>Contempt of court – and new offences</strong></p> <p>Contempt of court is a broadly defined offence, consisting essentially of anything which undermines the authority of the court. A famous example of jurors punished for contempt came in 1670, when several jurors – including their foreman, Edward Bushel – were imprisoned for refusing to convict a pair of Quaker preachers. The Court of Common Pleas, ruling in Bushel’s case, held that juror punishment in these circumstances was unlawful. But the fact that judges could not longer punish jurors simply for returning verdicts with which the judges disagreed doesn’t mean that jurors are completely protected from contempt proceedings today.</p> <p>In recent years, several jurors have <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-16676871">been imprisoned for contempt</a> after disobeying clear judicial instructions not to go online in order to find additional evidence in the cases they are trying.</p> <p>In 2015, four <a href="http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/2/part/3/crossheading/juries-and-members-of-the-court-martial/enacted">new criminal offences were created</a> relating to independent research done by jurors. These new offences were intended to “send a message” to potential jurors that the government takes juror misconduct very seriously. It is now a criminal offence – triable by jury – for anyone acting as a juror to:</p> <ul> <li>Research the case they are trying as a juror.</li> <li>Disclose the product of any such research to a fellow juror.</li> <li>Act in any other way which demonstrates an intention to reach a conclusion based on something other than the evidence presented in court.</li> <li>Solicit or disclose the details of the jury’s deliberations to people who were not on the jury.</li> </ul> <p>In September 2017, the foreman of a jury <a href="https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/juror-who-took-role-seriously-13616425">was sentenced to four months’</a> imprisonment after going online to research some of the details of the case he was trying.</p> <p><strong>Rebukes from the bench</strong></p> <p>Beyond these formal kinds of punishment which are still possible, it’s also possible for judges to simply rebuke their jurors. In 1917, a group of jurors were kept in a state of <a href="https://www.academia.edu/33924828/Before_the_Criminal_Justice_and_Courts_Act_2015_Juror_Punishment_in_Nineteenth-and_Twentieth-Century_England_2016_36_2_Legal_Studies_179">virtual imprisonment</a> after a falling out with their judge. They were told they would never serve on another jury, but that they must still report for jury service for several weeks, on pain of punishment under the contempt laws if they failed to attend.</p> <p>In the case in November 2017, the jury at Winchester Crown Court was warned that they should not bully each other during their deliberations. Before they were discharged, they <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/nov/23/jury-dismissed-in-trial-of-man-emile-cilliers-accused-of-tampering-with-wifes-parachute">wrote a note</a> to the court, complaining that:</p> <p>But while these jurors might feel slighted, at least they did not have to face formal sanctions. As the trial judge explained to them, it was his responsibility to keep an eye on any misconduct, and to find some way to “flush it out”.</p> <p><em>Written by Kevin Crosby. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/five-punishments-past-and-present-for-jurors-who-fall-foul-of-the-law-88432">The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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Disgust as firefighter is charged for starting 17 blazes while on bail for “serious sex offence”

<p>A volunteer firefighter has faced court after being accused of lighting multiple large blazes in Darwin with 17 counts of causing a bushfire.</p> <p>Mike Richard Holden, 27, applied for bail in the Darwin Local Court on Wednesday after police raided his home and arrested him the day before.</p> <p>The court, according to<span> </span><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.ntnews.com.au/news/crime-court/volunteer-firefighter-faces-court-charged-with-lighting-17-bushfires-in-the-darwin-rural-area/news-story/0fa1d244d369efb046376d5a4c28f0cc" target="_blank">NT News</a></em>, heard that Holden was on bail for alleged “serious sex offences” and was wearing an ankle monitor that placed him near the scenes of the fires within minutes of them starting between January and September last year.</p> <p>Holden’s lawyer, Shane McMaster, said that Holden doesn’t fit the typical profile of an arsonist, who is a “loner”.</p> <p>“He’s somebody who doesn’t fit that profile in my submission,” he said.</p> <p>McMaster said that in the bail application, his client had called some of the fires in and attended others to fight the blaze.</p> <p>McMaster explained that Holden had no prior criminal record, and the case against him was “obviously circumstantial”. McMaster also explained that Holden’s compliance with his bail conditions “barring these allegations, has been very good”.</p> <p>Judge Alan Woodcock refused bail and said that while Holden was a young man with a supportive family, he was also charged with “very serious indictable offences” which were allegedly committed while wearing a tracking device.</p> <p>Holden was remanded in custody and will return to court on February 26th.</p>

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Disaster recovery from Australia’s fires will be a marathon and not a sprint

<p>After reporting on the deadly 2011 Queensland flash flood disaster, I spent a year documenting <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/archived/360/the-day-that-changed-grantham/3584672">accounts</a> of <a href="https://www.uqp.uq.edu.au/Book.aspx/1418/The%20Torrent-%20A%20True%20Story%20of%20Heroism%20and%20Survival%202nd%20Edition">heroic rescues, tragic deaths and extraordinary survival</a>.</p> <p>Five years later, I returned for a follow-up <a href="https://ojs.aut.ac.nz/pacific-journalism-review/article/view/402">study</a>. I found some survivors had recovered, but many were far worse off.</p> <p>This research suggests there is a long road ahead for survivors of the current bushfire crisis. However, there are key lessons to be learned.</p> <p><strong>The initial response</strong></p> <p>At the time of the 2011 Queensland flood crisis, the Australian Defence Force arrived to help. Community spirit was high. Australia and the world donated very generously.</p> <p>But after the first few weeks, initial assistance gave way to often intractable difficulties with housing, insurance claims, job losses and chronic physical and mental health conditions.</p> <p>Blanket media coverage of the crisis soon dwindled. And for many people, there simply was no return to “normal” life.</p> <p><strong>Five years on</strong></p> <p>Five years after the event, many still struggled. The journey was far longer and more difficult for people who:</p> <ul> <li>lost family members during or after the disaster</li> <li>were traumatised by a near-death experience</li> <li>could no longer work in their old job</li> <li>had significant health problems</li> <li>had insurance claims that were slow, difficult or rejected.</li> </ul> <p>Those people who were most able to recover were people who:</p> <ul> <li>lost possessions but who were not traumatised by the disaster</li> <li>remained healthy and had insurance with companies that promptly paid their claims</li> <li>were able to resume work</li> <li>were able to repair or replace their homes and return to a relatively normal life within a few months to a year.</li> </ul> <p>After five years, some people realised they would never recover. Some said they would have preferred to die than endure the five years post-flood.</p> <p>Several survivors spoke of the “near miss” they had with death. For some, it was an incentive to live every day with renewed gusto. For others, the near miss reinforced the fragility of life and left them feeling more vulnerable.</p> <p><strong>Death and near-death experiences</strong></p> <p>Thirty-three of the rescuers and survivors in the disaster experienced a near-death experience. Five years on, some of them had still not attended any counselling and reported memories of near-death experiences playing out in their minds in an endless video-loop. Some became hermits, afraid to leave home.</p> <p>One of the rescuers told me it took five years to even acknowledge he had risked his life.</p> <p>One mother whose children were at risk said:</p> <p><em>Life as you know it changed on that day. You know that one second your life is normal and then how quickly things can change. I scan all the time. I scan rooms for the exit. I scan terrain in case something happens […] which is the quickest way to escape?</em></p> <p><strong>Lasting psychological impacts</strong></p> <p>Two thirds of the people interviewed still had ongoing traumatic memories five years after the disaster – including seeing or hearing the sounds of the disaster, smelling the fetid aromas associated with floods or feeling anxious at the sound of helicopters.</p> <p>For some, the trauma triggers occurred only in the flood zone, while for others it could be anywhere, whcih meant moving away offered no respite.</p> <p>In the small town of Grantham, where 13 people died, witnesses told an inquiry into the disaster that counsellors <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-07/medical-help-arrived-days-after-grantham-flood-inquiry-hears/6682154?&amp;section=latest&amp;date=(none)">changed from week to week</a> (meaning survivors had to retell their stories again to a new counsellor). The service then stopped because townspeople didn’t want to see them.</p> <p><strong>Return or move away?</strong></p> <p>Many people no longer felt safe at home. People who had to rebuild as property values fell and insurance premiums skyrocketed – some up to A$34,000/year – could not afford to insure their house. They feared a total loss of their homes next time.</p> <p>Some people who never returned to affected towns fared better psychologically than those who did go back.</p> <p>Some people returned initially, rebuilt, but then sold up and left again. Some told me they would not be alive unless they got out when they did.</p> <p>Whole communities all but disappeared as almost the entire population left town.</p> <p><strong>Natural disasters are financial disasters</strong></p> <p>After a natural disaster, mortgages still need to be paid, even on houses that are uninhabitable. Accommodation costs mount. The risk of homelessness and bankruptcy increases and relationships can be put under enormous stress.</p> <p>Property values in the towns and districts affected by the 2011 floods fell dramatically and immediately, meaning some people couldn’t sell and move away.</p> <p>Several survivors were unable to return to their old jobs because their workplace had been destroyed or because it was too traumatic.</p> <p>One who stayed to rebuild his business experienced another disaster two years later and lost his service station a second time. He rebuilt again only to have his business destroyed a third time the following year.</p> <p>People who are injured at work in Queensland are eligible to claim on WorkCover, a government funded program that assists workers to recover and return to work. People injured in disasters, however are not eligible for the same type of assistance.</p> <p>Many people relied on charities for food, clothes and shelter for months to years after the flood. Some refused or resisted charitable help or government help.</p> <p>Some older people reported becoming dependent on their adult children for the first time.</p> <p><strong>What is needed</strong></p> <p>The research suggests several possible ways to help natural disaster survivors including, but not limited to:</p> <ul> <li>better access to publicly funded psychological care beyond the current 10 visits allowable under the current Medicare system, especially for people who have lost family or their home or business</li> <li>free and well coordinated government-funded counselling in disaster zones</li> <li>income support and emergency <a href="http://tatsuki-lab.doshisha.ac.jp/~statsuki/papers/JDR/JDR2007/Tatsuki(2007).pdf">housing</a> for people who have lost homes</li> <li>government-funded funerals for those who die in a natural disaster</li> <li>provision of short-term retraining for those who cannot return to their old jobs</li> <li>the creation of a “DisasterCover” system to support volunteer rescuers or firefighters with access to counselling, income support and job security – in the same way that WorkCover might support professional firefighters. A legislated scheme would mean survivors are not at the whim of ad hoc emergency government funding or relying on public appeals</li> <li>such a scheme could cover emergency medical, rehabilitation and wage costs and then claim them back, where possible, from the claimant’s private medical and income protection insurance</li> <li>improved land planning around where it is safe to build.</li> </ul> <p>All of this sounds expensive. But the cost of not learning these lessons may be greater in the long run.</p> <p><em>Written by Ananda Gearing. Republished with permission <a href="https://theconversation.com/disaster-recovery-from-australias-fires-will-be-a-marathon-not-a-sprint-129325">of The Conversation.</a> </em></p>

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The one thing more important than any bucket list

<p><em>By Andrew Simpson</em></p> <p>Regardless of age, each of us has a multitude of things we’d like to achieve before we die. That’s why creating a bucket list is such a powerful way to start documenting what we’d most like to accomplish. But before we get too excited about all the wonderful possibilities that can be achieved over a lifetime, it’s important to make sure we plan for our inevitable departure. This means preparing a valid Will.</p> <p><strong>Why a Will is so important</strong></p> <p>As I covered in<em> </em><span><em><a href="http://www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/ebook">The Australian Guide to Wills &amp; Estate Planning</a>,</em> c</span>reating a valid Will gives you choice and control over how your Estate is distributed and, importantly, it simplifies the administration of your Estate for your loved ones who would otherwise be left to sort it all out. You might want a certain family member to inherit specific items once you pass on, or perhaps you’d like to allocate an inheritance to children from previous relationships. You can also distribute items of sentimental or emotional importance in your Will by documenting those wishes which will then be executed in accordance with your desires.</p> <p>Think of your Will as a gift you leave your family and loved ones, making the management of your Estate clear and easy for them to follow.</p> <p>The main reasons to create a Will include:</p> <ul> <li>to appoint someone – an <a href="https://www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/blog/2016/november/18/think-you-don-t-need-a-will-think-again/">executor</a> – who has the authority to step into your shoes and tend to your affairs when you die</li> <li>to communicate your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets after your death, and</li> <li>to try to avoid disputes that may arise if you do not create a Will.</li> </ul> <p>Many of the disputes we deal with at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers result from people not having a Will, or having one that is out of date, meaning it does not reflect the deceased’s circumstances at the end of their life.</p> <p>Preparing your Will now will help you feel organised moving forward so you can achieve what you want in life.</p> <p><strong>Now you can enjoy planning your bucket list</strong></p> <p>Once your Estate is in order and your assets are protected, get out there and start taking advantage of the rest of your life – because before we know it, life catches up with us.</p> <p>Only a quarter of people aged over 50 say they’ve achieved their life goals, but bucket lists are helping them tick off their biggest ambitions. Writing down your list of ideas helps you realise what you want to achieve. Apart from having a set list of goals to strive for, it will also help you reflect on what you’ve already accomplished.</p> <p>Making sure you’ve got everything in order will enable you to make the most of every day with peace of mind that your wishes have been clearly laid out should anything unexpected happen. That way you can focus on enjoying your latter years and ticking off items on your ‘to do’ list.</p> <p><strong>Here are some ideas to get you started:</strong></p> <p><strong>Get out and about</strong></p> <p>Retirement is often a time when enjoying life takes precedence over asset accumulation. It is a time to pursue an old hobby or try a new one and there is plenty to get involved in. You might go on a hot-air balloon ride and find it a fun and peaceful experience. You might devote more time to the arts by auditioning for the local community theatre. If you’re an animal lover, you could apply to become a foster parent to a shelter pet in need. The options are limitless.</p> <p><strong>Travel</strong></p> <p>If travel is your thing, you might contemplate a cross-country RV trip, a cruise or a holiday in Europe. As with many things in life, the planning is half the fun!</p> <p><strong>Start a business</strong></p> <p>Have you always had dreams of starting your own business and being your own boss? If so, why not add that to your retirement bucket list? It’s never too late to reinvent yourself.</p> <p><strong>Volunteer</strong></p> <p>Volunteering is good for the soul and a great way to give back to your community in retirement. Whether you’re passionate about animals, children with special needs or homelessness, there are countless volunteering opportunities available throughout the country and around the world. Get involved by exploring charitable and not-for-profit organisations in your community.</p> <p><strong>Enjoy time with grandchildren</strong></p> <p>Spending time with grandchildren and watching them grow is a special gift for both of you. They will cherish memories you create for the rest of their lives. Organise schedules and school vacations so you can visit them or they can take a trip to see you. Maybe even plan a special holiday for a large group of family members or just take the grandkids.</p> <p><strong>Learn something new</strong></p> <p>Have you always wanted to learn something new but never had the time? The retirement bucket list ideas are endless when it comes to learning. This fresh chapter is a great opportunity to finally learn a different language, take a cooking class, play an instrument or become an expert on wine. Check out a local college for class ideas and let the learning begin.</p> <p><strong>Tips to make your retirement bucket list a reality:</strong></p> <ul> <li>Determine your lifestyle – setting expectations for your overall lifestyle can help you create a budget and save for the things that matter most to you in retirement.</li> <li>Financial planning – creating a budget and having a plan to cover living expenses and health care costs will be important to determine what discretionary funds you have for your bucket list.</li> <li>Plan your Estate – if you’re looking to the future, consider getting a lawyer to assist you with your Estate planning. <a href="http://www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/createmywill">Maurice Blackburn</a> has many options available at fixed prices. Everything from a valid lawyer-drafted Will to an Estate planning bundle that includes Powers of Attorney and the various medical documents required if you become incapacitated for whatever reason.</li> </ul> <p><strong>How do I make a Will?</strong></p> <p>Our online Wills service, <a href="http://www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/createmywill">MyLife Wills™</a> is a great place to start. You can provide the information for your Will online in the comfort of your own home or on your lunch break. It only takes about 30 minutes, reducing face-to-face time with a lawyer, therefore reducing the cost. The main difference with our online service is that an expert Wills and Estates lawyer will draft your Will so you can be confident that it is not only thorough, but also legally valid.</p> <p>To protect yourself, your assets and your loved ones when you eventually do kick the bucket, it’s time to take your Will out of the too-hard pile and put it in the must-do pile. Maurice Blackburn has made it easy for you to <a href="http://www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/createmywill">start online</a> today.</p> <p>Andrew Simpson is the National Head of Wills &amp; Estate Planning at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.</p> <p>Andrew has 20 years’ experience as a lawyer and for the past 18 of these years he has practiced in <a href="https://www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/our-people/lawyers/andrew-simpson/">Wills disputes</a> and <a href="https://www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/our-people/lawyers/andrew-simpson/">Estate planning</a>, so he understands the many facets of <a href="https://www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/our-people/lawyers/andrew-simpson/">Estate law</a>.</p> <p>He is so passionate about this area of law that he wrote a plain English book about it to help people understand the importance of Estate planning.</p> <p>A best-seller, <em><a href="http://www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/ebook">The Australian Guide to Wills &amp; Estate Planning</a></em>, has just been republished and is available in all good bookstores.</p> <p>For all oversixty.com.au readers, we are pleased to offer a <span><strong><a href="http://www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/ebook">FREE download</a></strong></span> of Andrew’s book, valued at $29.95</p> <p><em>This is a sponsored post written in partnership with </em><a href="http://www.mauriceblackburn.com.au/createmywill"><em>Maurice Blackburn Lawyers</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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ANZAC disgrace: Man charged with "offensive act" at war memorial

<p>A man who allegedly relieved himself on the ANZAC memorial in Sydney’s CBD has been charged.</p> <p>The 23-year-old man was grabbed by officers after allegedly urinating on the western corner of the memorial building in Hyde Park. This occurred just before 11 pm on Thursday.</p> <p>He is due to face the Downing Centre Local Court on January 22 after being charged with committing an offensive act in or on a war memorial.</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/BTSML4-DPY6/?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/BTSML4-DPY6/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">Today we remember the brave men and women who have served our country. Lest we forget. Pic: @zxlee618</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/cityofsydney/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank"> City of Sydney</a> (@cityofsydney) on Apr 24, 2017 at 3:05pm PDT</p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Police say that he is the second man to be arrested for that specific offence this month, as a French tourist was allegedly caught doing the same thing on December 10.</p> <p>The 22-year-old man was walking through Hyde Park at around 10 pm when he stopped to relieve himself on the building.</p> <p>He was arrested by officers as well and charged with committing an offensive act in or on a war memorial or internment site.</p> <p>The man was granted conditional bail and is due to appear at Downing Centre Local Court on January 15th .</p>

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Woolworths’ $300 million wage scandal expands to include Dan Murphy’s and BWS staff

<p>Woolworths Group chairman Gordon Cairns has revealed that the Woolworths underpayment scandal – which saw close to 6000 workers underpaid by $300 million across a decade – also involved staff from liquor arms Dan Murphy’s and BWS.</p> <p>Speaking to shareholders in Sydney today, Cairns said Woolworths had “fully expected” to discover more cases across the business, “and we have”, though “not to the same extent as in the supermarket business.”</p> <p>Cairns felt that that the fact so many staff members were underpaid was “incredibly disappointing”, he said at today’s annual general meeting.</p> <p>“It was brought to our attention by three of our team members in February this year. We immediately investigated, found their assertions about their individual circumstances to be correct, and we remedied.</p> <p>“We then began an across-the-board investigation, which continues given we are checking every shift for every salaried team member back as far as this has been an issue or records exist.”</p> <p>He proceeded to say that he and CEO Brad Banducci were “accept[ing] responsibility by voluntarily taking reductions in [their] pay” with Banducci forfeiting his short-term incentive while Cairns would face a 20 per cent reduction in his director fees.</p> <p>Back in October, Banducci had said that he was fully prepared for his bonus to be cut due to the underpayment incident. Last financial year, he pocketed $2.66 million as well as $4 million in bonuses.</p> <p>“I fully expect to have a conversation with the board on the consequences of this and I fully expect it will be impacting bonuses for myself and maybe there will be other things that come out of it,” he said.</p> <p>“We apologise to our team, we’re going to make it right, but it’s a very complex issue.”</p> <p>Law firm Adero Law has filed a class action against the grocery giant, saying the total amount is over $620 million.</p> <p>“Adero is instructed that current and former Woolworths employees have suffered underpayments and systemic wage theft during their employment at Woolworths on a far greater scale than the retail giant has disclosed,” Adero’s website stated.</p> <p>But Woolworths said it will “fully defend” the proceedings.</p> <p>“In the context of its commitment to fully remediate all affected salaried team members, Woolworths Group believes the class action proceedings are without merit,” the company said.</p> <p>“Woolworths estimates that the one-off impact for remediation is expected to be in the range of $200-300 million (before tax).”</p>

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No guilt, no liability: Stunning details of the massive Harvey Weinstein settlements

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text "> <p>Disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein has come to an agreement with his several accusers that does not require an admission of guilt.</p> <p>After a two-year legal battle, Weinstein has agreed to a $US25 million ($A36.3 million) settlement with over 30 actresses and former Weinstein employees, who in lawsuits have accused him of multiple offences ranging from sexual harassment to rape.</p> <p>The 67-year-old will not be paying out the settlement from his own pocket, but rather, his insurance companies representing his former company, the Weinstein Company, will be responsible for handing over the large sum.</p> <p>The company is currently in the middle of bankruptcy proceedings.</p> <p>The deal, which requires court approval and a final sign-off by all parties, marks the end of almost every lawsuit filed against the former Hollywood heavyweight.</p> <p>He is still scheduled to go to trial in New York in early January on charges of sexual assault involving two women, claims he denies.</p> <p>Speaking to the<span> </span><em>New York Times</em>, Katherine Kendall, an actress who said Weinstein chased her around his New York apartment naked in 1993 after she was under the impression that she was meeting him for a work chat, said she only agreed to the terms because she didn’t want to block fellow plaintiffs from getting whatever recompense they could.</p> <p>“I don’t love it, but I don’t know how to go after him,” she said. “I don’t know what I can really do.”</p> <p>On Wednesday, Weinstein’s bail was increased from $1 million to $5 million, over allegations he violated his bail conditions by mishandling his electronic ankle monitor.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div> <div class="post-actions-component"> <div class="upper-row"><span class="like-bar-component"></span> <div class="watched-bookmark-container"></div> </div> </div> </div>

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White Island tour firm could face millions in fines

<p>The death toll from New Zealand’s White Island volcano eruption has increased to eight as authorities are investigating tour companies for potential breaches of health and safety laws.</p> <p>Tour operators – including White Island Tours, which brought visitors to the island on the day of the eruption – could be fined up to NZ$1.5 million (AU$1.43 million) if Worksafe finds serious breaches of the Health and Safety at Work Act.</p> <p>A fine could only be imposed by the courts if a prosecution found any breaches, according to a Worksafe spokeswoman.</p> <p>Hemi Morete, the safety auditor for White Island Tours said the company was “a very professional outfit” and had passed its safety audits over the past three years.</p> <p>“They passed their audit,” Morete told <em><a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/118130800/fine-of-up-to-15-million-possible-if-white-island-tour-operator-breached-safety-laws">Stuff.co.nz</a></em>. “I can’t go into the details of it now as Worksafe is investigating.”</p> <p>White Island Tours was named New Zealand’s safest place to work in <a href="https://www.safe365.co.nz/news/2018-sptw-finalists-announced/">a workplace safety award</a> in 2018.</p> <p>Mayor Judy Turner of Whakatane said the tour organiser is “a very responsible operator”.</p> <p>“I think the nature of adventure tourism, where people do consider a degree of risk, and trust an operator to safely conduct them through that, that’s going to be a challenge with this one,” Turner said.</p> <p>Other companies – including US-based cruise operator Royal Caribbean – also held guided tours to the island, <em>Stuff.co.nz </em>reported.</p> <p>Specialist insurance lawyer Graeme Christie told the <em>New Zealand Herald</em> grieving families could file personal injury claims against Royal Carribean in the US to get around restrictions in New Zealand.</p> <p>Eight people have been confirmed dead following the Monday incident. Seven are Australians and one a New Zealander, tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman. Twenty-eight people remain in hospital.</p> <p>According to police, there were 47 people on the island at the time of the eruption, including 24 Australians, nine Americans, five New Zealanders and others from Germany, Britain, China and Malaysia.</p>

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Time to end drug company distortion of medical evidence

<p>While there’s much to celebrate in medicine, it’s now beyond doubt that we have <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f7141">too much</a> of it. Too many tests, diagnoses, pills and procedures are wasting resources that could be better spent meeting genuine need.</p> <p>As a recent <a href="http://www.oecd.org/health/tackling-wasteful-spending-on-health-9789264266414-en.htm">OECD report</a> concluded, up to one-fifth of health spending may be wasted, and many patients “unnecessarily harmed” by treatments they didn’t need.</p> <p>Antidepressants, for example, can be life-savers for some people. But drug company-funded studies have <a href="https://ebm.bmj.com/content/early/2019/09/24/bmjebm-2019-111238">overplayed their benefits</a> and <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/351/bmj.h4320">downplayed</a> their harms, contributing to overuse and unnecessary side effects.</p> <p><a href="http://www.nationalacademies.org/hmd/Reports/2009/Conflict-of-Interest-in-Medical-Research-Education-and-Practice.aspx">Widespread industry influence</a> is jeopardising the integrity of research and medical education, and threatening the quality of patient care.</p> <p>Today in <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/367/bmj.l6576">The BMJ</a> a global group of researchers, doctors, editors, regulators and advocates outline key strategies to reduce the financial entanglement with industry. The first step is ensuring the evaluation of any new tests, treatments and technologies are free from industry influence.</p> <p>Distorted research, education and clinical practice</p> <p>A huge proportion of medical research is currently funded by industry – in the United States <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2089358">almost 60%</a>. Yet there’s a <a href="https://www.cochrane.org/MR000033/METHOD_industry-sponsorship-and-research-outcome">mountain of evidence</a> that company-sponsored studies tend to overstate product benefits and playdown harms.</p> <p>One example is cholesterol-lowering drugs, or statins. A <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0040184">review</a> analysing almost 200 studies of statins found that company-sponsored studies were much more likely to find results favourable to the sponsors’ drug.</p> <p>There’s similar distortion with devices, like <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/359/bmj.j5515">pelvic mesh</a>, used to treat pelvic organ prolapse. In this case, poor testing meant many women received the mesh without knowing the risks of horrendous harms, including severe pain, infection, and repeated surgery.</p> <p>Those same companies then <a href="https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/7/6/e016701">sponsor the “education” of your doctor</a>, often with the evidence they’ve funded, and good food and wine.</p> <p>As a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2528290">study of 280,000 doctors reveals</a>, accepting just one sponsored meal is associated with higher prescribing of the sponsor’s products: a 20% increase in statins, and a doubling of antidepressants.</p> <p>Industry argues it’s information helps patients, but a <a href="https://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1000352">systematic review</a> found differently. Doctors who accept marketing, including sales representatives, tend to prescribe more, at higher cost, and lower quality, such as prescribing an inappropriate drug, or prescribing that is not in line with guidelines.</p> <p>Just look at the opioid epidemic in the United States. One <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2720914">study</a> found the amount of marketing, including payments to doctors, was associated with small but significant increases in both prescriptions and deaths from overdose.</p> <p>How to end commercial influence</p> <p>Evidence of the dangers of financial relationships with industry has caused many groups to seek more freedom. As we show in today’s <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/367/bmj.l6576">BMJ Analysis</a>, there are signs of change.</p> <p>In Norway, industry-supported education can no longer be used formally by doctors, and the government funds independent drug information.</p> <p>Some medical journals no longer accept drug company advertising. Citizen groups like the US <a href="https://www.nwhn.org/">National Women’s Health Network</a> accept no funds from companies selling healthcare products.</p> <p>The biggest challenge is working out ways to evaluate tests and treatments, free from the influence of companies developing them. But radical reform is in the wind in many places.</p> <p>In <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1365-2362.2009.02226.x">Italy</a>, the promotional budgets of drug companies are taxed to create a pool for independent research.</p> <p>In Britain, <a href="https://cancerunion.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Medicines-For-The-Many.pdf">Labour</a> is proposing the government funds clinical trials and creates <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/sep/24/labour-pledges-to-break-patents-and-offer-latest-drugs-on-nhs">state-owned pharmaceutical makers</a>.</p> <p>More needs to be done</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/367/bmj.l6576">proposals</a> are from a team with expertise across medicine, law, and philosophy and includes people from The BMJ and the World Organisation of Family Doctors.</p> <p>We argue the pathway to independence includes three key reforms:</p> <ul> <li>government policies ensuring the evaluation of tests, treatments and technologies is free from sponsor influence</li> <li>reforms to ensure medical education is free from industry support and on-going professional accreditation can’t be gained from company-sponsored events</li> <li>new rules to end marketing interactions between industry and prescribing doctors, such as sales representatives’ visits.</li> </ul> <p><em>Written by Roy Moynihan. Republished with permission of <a href="/While%20there’s%20much%20to%20celebrate%20in%20medicine,%20it’s%20now%20beyond%20doubt%20that%20we%20have%20too%20much%20of%20it.%20Too%20many%20tests,%20diagnoses,%20pills%20and%20procedures%20are%20wasting%20resources%20that%20could%20be%20better%20spent%20meeting%20genuine%20need.">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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How plant-based meat is stretching New Zealand’s cultural and legal boundaries

<p>Earlier this year, the New Zealand-based pizza chain <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/food-wine/78790234/the-history-of-hell-pizza">Hell Pizza</a> offered a limited-edition “Burger Pizza”. Its customers weren’t told that the “meat” was plant-based.</p> <p>Some customers <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/113824494/hell-pizza-covertly-dishes-up-beyond-meat-burger-patties">complained</a> to the Commerce Commission, which enforces consumer law in New Zealand. Yet, <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/113867599/scorned-hell-pizza-customers-bitter-over-fake-burger-meat">others</a> did not mind – or even appreciated – the move. The Commerce Commission, however, warned that the stunt likely breached consumer protection law.</p> <p>Hell Pizza’s ruse should catalyse discussion around the scope and purpose of consumer law, the culture of meat consumption and the future of animal farming. Under current law, “teaching through deception” is not possible. But we argue that consumer law needs to adopt a more nuanced approach.</p> <p><strong>Traditional legal approach</strong></p> <p>In October, the Commerce Commission <a href="https://comcom.govt.nz/case-register/case-register-entries/the-depths-lp-ta-hell-pizza/media-releases/commission-warns-hell-pizza-over-burger-pizza">warned</a> the pizza chain that it had probably breached the <a href="http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1986/0121/latest/DLM96439.html">Fair Trading Act 1986</a>. In particular, it had likely made false or misleading representations.</p> <p>The Commerce Commission <a href="https://comcom.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0034/178792/Warning-letter-to-The-Depths-LP-trading-as-Hell-Pizza-Redacted-25-September-2019.pdf">stated</a> that a “burger traditionally includes a patty of minced beef” and “medium-rare is a term associated with meat, usually beef”.</p> <p>As a result, the pizza chain advised it had <a href="https://comcom.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0034/178792/Warning-letter-to-The-Depths-LP-trading-as-Hell-Pizza-Redacted-25-September-2019.pdf">no intention</a> of engaging in this kind of campaign again. Interestingly, the pizza company has recently announced that the <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbaEo19Oc9k">Burger Pizza is back on the menu</a>.</p> <p>Australia’s consumer law around misleading and deceptive conduct is notably similar to New Zealand’s. In Australia, <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09-15/push-to-ban-milk-meat-seafood-labels-on-plant-based-produce/11513754">debates</a> around the meaning of the terms “milk”, “seafood” and “meat” are taking place. These discussions present an opportunity to rethink some of our conventions.</p> <p><strong>When is meat meat?</strong></p> <p>The traditional need to protect consumers from deceptive practices is clear. That said, it is perhaps also time to nudge consumers to reconsider their preconceptions and consumption of meat.</p> <p>Hell Pizza said it launched its plant-based meat product out of concerns for the future of the planet. According to the company, <a href="https://hellpizza.com/wickedpedia/2019/07/03/burger-pizza-statement">80% of consumers did not have an issue with being duped</a>, and 70% would order the pizza again.</p> <p>There are a few good reasons to reduce the amount of meat we eat. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19339402">Research shows</a> that meat consumption is putting pressure on the environment. The amount of food and water required to raise animals for consumption <a href="https://news.cornell.edu/stories/1997/08/us-could-feed-800-million-people-grain-livestock-eat">exceeds</a> the nutrient value humans get from consuming meat. Further, livestock create <a href="https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/full/10.1289/ehp.11034">waste and emissions</a> that contribute to climate change.</p> <p>Plant-based meat may be more environmentally friendly. It also eliminates concerns around animal rights. Additionally, it is often perceived as a <a href="https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/cf90/d287aa226b483aed430ff4f0432081bfd3d7.pdf">healthier alternative</a>.</p> <p><strong>Future foods</strong></p> <p>The plant-based meat industry faces two immediate challenges. The first is taste. If meat substitutes do not taste as good as animal-based meat, people will be <a href="http://freakonomics.com/podcast/meat/">less willing to consume them</a>.</p> <p>The second main challenge is cost. If plant-based meat is significantly more expensive than animal-based meat, consumers may opt for the latter.</p> <p>The cost of plant-based meat has become affordable enough for prominent market players, such as <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/116767086/dominos-adds-plantbased-meat-to-its-pizza-menu">Dominoes Pizza</a> and <a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/116657991/burger-king-finds-recipe-for-success-with-its-impossible-whopper">Burger King</a>, to offer plant-based products.</p> <p>Hell Pizza was not the first New Zealand company to offer its consumers plant-based meat products. In another controversy, Air New Zealand offered plant-based burgers in the business cabin on selected flights. This led to some criticism, including the deputy prime minister, Winston Peters, who was acting prime minister at the time, complaining that it was a “<a href="https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/105216779/air-nzs-impossible-burger-criticised-by-former-primary-industries-minister">bad look</a>” for the airline not to promote New Zealand meat.</p> <p>Such a response is short-sighted. Animal farming is an important industry in New Zealand, <a href="http://www.environmentguide.org.nz/activities/agriculture/">contributing significantly</a> to the economy and social fabric. Because of its importance, New Zealanders should take seriously the potential impact of plant-based meat and the consequences of this emerging market.</p> <p><strong>Market disruption</strong></p> <p>Some companies have already stated their aspiration to completely <a href="http://freakonomics.com/podcast/meat/">replace animals as a food production technology</a> by 2035. The meat industry is likely to use its power to protect its interests. But these interests are not the only ones that should be voiced and considered.</p> <p>Instead of merely criticising companies that offer meat alternatives and use innovative marketing tools to do so, we should embrace these initiatives as an opportunity to rethink some of our conventions. We need to adapt to new realities in ways that make our societies more ethical, while also encouraging consumers to be more mindful of the environment and health-related aspects of their foods.</p> <p>The boundaries of consumer law should reflect this. The law regulates against misleading and deceptive conduct mainly because it is purportedly bad for consumers. However, the law should adopt a more holistic approach - one that considers the motivation for the allegedly misleading behaviour.</p> <p>Protecting consumers from deceptive conduct is not an end in itself. Perhaps the degree and context of the misleading behaviour should be considered against other legitimate objectives. We believe that such legitimate objectives include caring for the environment, minimising animal cruelty and advancing public health.</p> <p><em>Written by Samuel Becher and Jessica C Lai. Republished with permission of <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-plant-based-meat-is-stretching-new-zealands-cultural-and-legal-boundaries-127901">The Conversation.</a></em></p>

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Understanding the financial pages

<p>Looking at the financial pages of the daily newspaper may seem like a bewildering onslaught of information with reams of market statistics and measurements. This can make the investment world seem quite complex and intimidating, but when you break it down and try to grasp each of the component parts, it is well within the capacity of most lay people to understand.</p> <p>Here are a few tips that may help to get you started:<strong><br />Firstly, a word of warning</strong><br />Beware of the temptation to start reading the financial pages in the same way you would read the form guide for horse racing!</p> <p>It is easy to get caught up in habit of tracking daily movements of particular share values, but this can distract you from the taking the broad, long term view that is so essential to successful investing. In short, don’t be tempted to try and ‘pick winners’.</p> <p><strong>Understanding the ASX table</strong><br />The financial section of the newspaper will normally show the full list of companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. Next to each company will be a range of figures, usually beginning with the price of the share for that company at the end of the previous day’s trading. Some publications will also show a three letter ‘ASX code’ used to identify the company.</p> <p>Other measurements shown on this table include:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Weekly volume</strong> – The total number of shares of a company that were bought and sold within the last week.</li> <li><strong>Price movements</strong> – This may be shown as the price change since the previous day’s closing price, or it may be shown as a change over the previous week and some financial tables will even show the change over the last 12 months.</li> <li><strong>Dividend yield percentage</strong> – This figure is sometimes also shown and is the amount a company pays out in dividends each year as a percentage of the current share price. For example, if a particular share has a value of $100 and has paid a dividend of $5 then its dividend yield is 5% ($5 divided by $100).</li> </ul> <p><strong>Market indices</strong> <br />While the ASX table breaks down the performance of each company separately, you can also look at the collective performance of the market as a whole via the ‘All Ordinaries Index’. This tracks the movement of the total value of all shares on the exchange and the change over the last week and month may also be shown.</p> <p>Apart from the All Ordinaries Index, there are also a range of other sub-indices which indicate the performance of different segments of the market. The ASX 200, for example, is an index that tracks the change in collective value of the largest 200 public companies.</p> <p>Some indices focus on specific industrial segments. The S&amp;P ASX200 Energy Index, for example, measures the largest 200 energy companies. There are indices for and range of other sectors, such as health care, industry, finance, and metals and mining.</p> <p><strong>International markets</strong><br />Financial pages will also usually show various indices for major stock markets in other countries, such as the Dow Jones index in the USA, the FTSE in the UK and the Hang Seng in China.</p> <p><strong>Commodity prices</strong><br />The prices and price changes of key commodities are also a feature of many financial pages. Oil and gold are two such commodities that will usually be shown because of their importance as indicators of the general direction of the world economy and of market sentiment.</p> <p><strong>Exchange rates</strong><br />These are another important indicator of economic conditions and the state of the economies of different countries relative to each other. The financial pages will usually show the daily movement of the Australian Dollar against major world currencies, such as the US Dollar, the Euro and the Yen.</p> <p>There can be many factors within each country’s domestic economy which influence the movements in exchange rates. These can include interest rates, inflation, political stability, government debt and terms of trade.</p> <p><strong>Making sense of it all</strong><br />It would obviously take quite some time if you were to review and analyse all the items being reported and measured on the daily financial pages. Even if you do have the time to do that, it takes a considerable amount of skill and experience to interpret what different movements mean.</p> <p>Often the day to day movements in things like share prices and exchange rates are the result of transient factors and it is only a consistent analysis over a long period of time that can start to make a coherent interpretation.</p> <p>While it can be interesting to follow the fluctuating fortunes of particular shares, or the daily machinations of indices, commodities and exchange rates, it helps to have a financial adviser on your side to look at the bigger, long term picture.</p> <p>They will have access to expert research resources that constantly analyse markets at home and abroad and can position you to grow wealth without the need to personally keep track of day to day changes.</p> <p>Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.wyza.com.au/articles/money/financial-planning/understanding-the-financial-pages.aspx">Wyza.com.au.</a></p>

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Ex-police sergeant charged for stealing from homes of the dead

<p>A 66-year-old ex-police sergeant whose job it was to comfort grieving families may land himself in jail after it was found out he was stealing from the homes of the dead. </p> <p>Graeme 'Taff' Williams’ role was “sudden death coordinator” at Stoke Newington police station, in London, UK, until 2013.</p> <p>His job was to locate relatives of the deceased and log their belongings and valuables.</p> <p>However, it was revealed William’ stole more than $10,000 and valuable furniture from the homes of three deceased people after visiting their homes.</p> <p>He was “trusted implicitly” by his employers and was paid an annual salary of $52,966.82 by the time he retired.</p> <p>Williams was convicted of three charges of theft by a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court.</p> <p>Prosecutor, Alexandra Felix, said Williams abused his position “by helping himself to the cash that was recovered, stealing it and providing information to heir hunters in return for payment”.</p> <p>Expensive furniture, artwork and other pricey goods were stolen from the home of one deceased, whose family thought were being taken to a homeless charity.</p> <p>An $800 watch, a 60-inch flat-screen TV, a fridge-freezer and washing machine were missing from the home, said the deceased's sister.</p> <p>She noted only the expensive items were the ones that had gone missing.</p> <p>William told Hackney council in 2012 that $35,835 had been recovered from the home of an elderly man who had been moved to a care home despite $40,835 being “banked” in the superintendent’s safe.</p> <p>Despite retiring in 2013, he continued to volunteer at Newingtown station and made money from heir hunters.</p> <p>Jurors heard $6,520 was missing from $46,315 cash that was found from under the bed of a man who died in his flat in 2015.</p> <p>Police raided Williams' home and found $20,000 in a safe and $5,000 in a box.</p> <p>Not stopping there, he had also received $11,504.02 in “discretionary” referral fees from heir hunting firm Fraser and Fraser, after he left the force.</p> <p>Company boss Andrew Fraser told jurors that as far as his firm was aware Williams was retired.</p> <p>Her further went on to say he hadn’t realised he was still working with police.</p> <p>“I knew he was retired because I was invited, as lots of other people were to his retirement. I didn't know he continued to work at Stoke Newington police station” Mr Fraser explained.</p> <p>“A number of cases were referred to us after his retirement. I think there might have been a dozen or so.</p> <p>“A couple of cases were looked at but we didn't spend much time on them but couldn't establish much value in them.</p> <p>“'After he retired he was a private individual. These referral fees were paid out at discretion.</p> <p>“Payments of $8,000 and $3,504.02 were paid in discretionary referral fees in relation to two estates.”</p> <p>The court heard that Firm Fraser had received an email addressed to them from William’s police email on at least one occasion.</p> <p>“The whole firm thought he had retired from the police,” Mr Fraser said.</p> <p>“If I knew he was still any matters referred to us from a police officer I would not have made payment. We saw him as a member of the public from after his retirement.”</p> <p>Williams denied but was convicted of three charges of theft. A separate charge of fraud was dropped earlier in the trial.</p> <p>Judge Alex Gordon ordered a medical report and bailed Williams ahead of sentence on 7 January.</p>

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“You destroyed my life”: Widow’s heartbreaking reply to man who killed her husband

<p>A man who bashed a grandfather in Adelaide to death with a hammer in front of his wife has been ordered to spend the rest of his life under mental health supervision.</p> <p>In May 2018, Steven Berg stormed the house of the couple and attacked 74-year-old Deon Hewitt who was cooking dinner with his wife, Patricia. The attack ended in death.</p> <p>Patricia saw the horrific crime and said to Berg in court that he “destroyed my life”.</p> <p>"You destroyed my life. I couldn't even say goodbye to the man I spent the best parts of my life with…. For this I will never forgive you."</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2F9NewsAdelaide%2Fvideos%2F1434612646686069%2F&amp;show_text=0&amp;width=560" width="560" height="315" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe></p> <p>Berg was found not guilty of murder due to mental incompetence as the court was told he was suffering delusions at the time of the unprovoked and random attack.</p> <p>"My husband was my best friend, taken from me in the most horrific way - You have inflicted more pain on my family than any sentence can on you - until my final day I'm to live without my husband, stuck with the memory of that night," Ms Hewitt said.</p> <p>Five victim impact statements were read out in court by family members of Leon, as his grandchildren outlined their grief and the toll his passing had on their mental health.</p> <p>"When we were feeling down, we had Pop to call," they said.</p> <p>Leon and Patricia’s daughter Vanessa said that as long as Berg is detained “society is a safer place”.</p> <p>"the day you took dad from us, we lost a mother as well - I fear for the day Berg is released - While he is detained, society is a safer place,” she said.</p> <p>Berg is being held in the secure mental health facility of James Nash House.</p>

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