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Sensitive shredded grant documents recovered

<p>Documents the NSW Premier’s office tried to destroy relating to a grants scandal have been forensically recovered and are set to be handed over to a pork-barrelling probe.</p> <p>The documents, obtained by NCA NewsWire, reveal the Premier’s staff decided which projects will received funding from the Stronger Community Fund grants program, which is a more hands-on level on involvement than Gladys and her team have previously let on.</p> <p>The documents also expose the sudden decision to make changes to the program’s guidelines so money could be funneled to help settle a legal clash between two councils in a Liberal-held area of Sydney.</p> <p>There are also references to other ministers and Liberal members getting involved to steer funding to councils in their electorates.</p> <p>Berejiklian is facing increasing pressure to explain how she headlined the $252 million fund after an opposition analysis discovered 95 per cent of funds went to projects in Coalition-held seats on the eve of the 2019 election.</p> <p>The three documents were made by the Premier’s senior policy advisor Sarah Lau in 2018, as the government was preparing to allocate money from the program, which was set up the previous year to support merged councils.</p> <p>Ms Lau was interrogated by the NSW upper house’s inquiry into the fund last month by MPs from the Labor and Greens party, who were hoping to find out how the allocation decisions were made.</p> <p>The probe heard the Premier had used working advice notes prepared for her to indicate her approval of the funding decisions. But those notes have disappeared, according to Ms Lau, and the only records that still exist are of the Premier’s involvement were email summaries she wrote to Local Government NSW chief Tim Hurst.</p> <p>“It is likely that they would have been shredded,” Ms Lau said of the notes, adding that electronic copies were also deleted in line with her “normal record management practices”.</p> <p>Those electronic copies are the ones that have now been recovered from computer system backups after an order by the upper house.</p> <p>The notes bear the letterhead of the Office of the Premier and have Ms Lau’s name printed in bold up top.</p> <p>All three documents contain references to Hornsby Shire Council, a local government area in Energy Minister Matt Kean’s electorate that has received a substantial amount of attention as the grants scandal has unfolded because it received a hefty $90 million, more than a third of the total funds.</p> <p>The Premier’s office’s handling of the working advice notes is also the subject of a probe by the State Archives and Records Authority.</p> <p>“The complaint raised provides a sufficient basis and meets the threshold … to commence a record-keeping assessment,” the body previously wrote in a statement.</p>

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Man fakes own kidnapping to extort money from his mum

<p>A man from Sydney accused of faking his own kidnapping to extort $10,000 from his own mother has faced court.</p> <p>Raynor Earnshaw, from Toongabbie, is accused of faking an assault on himself and forcing his mother to pay a ransom.</p> <p>The 31-year-old’s mother visited the police on Tuesday morning after she received a message from her son.</p> <p>“If you don’t give me money you’re never going to see me again. Mum I need help!” Earnshaw is alleged to have written to his mum in a text.</p> <p>“Do you think I want this? I need this or I’m done.”</p> <p>The messages ended up sparking a large-scale police response, as they seemed to get darker.</p> <p>“Thanks, mum, that is the start. It’s going to be a finger every f****** 15 minutes,” he told his mum alongside a photograph of a torso with two stab wounds.</p> <p>After discovering leads, police ended up tracking Earnshaw to a cafe in Brighton Le Sands where he was found unharmed and hanging out with friends.</p> <p>CCTV showed the 31-year-old had spent several hours at the cafe and was seen making regular phone calls.</p> <p>He was arrested by police and charged with a number of offences, including giving false information and using a carriage service to menace.</p> <p>Earnshaw faced court on Wednesday and was refused bail.</p> <p>Court orders have also been put in place to prevent him from contacting his mother.</p> <p>The 31-year-old will face court again next month.</p>

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Don't take our medals: War veterans launch petition after Afghanistan enquiry

<p>A former Special Forces officer says the decision to strip diggers of their medals after last week’s damning report on alleged war crimes in Afghanistan would risk punishing thousands of veterans without conviction.</p> <p>A four-year investigation by Justice Paul Brereton found there was credible evidence of 23 incidents in which 39 Afghan nationals were unlawfully killed, mostly between 2009 and 2013.</p> <p>As a result, Australian Defence Force Chief Angus Campbell said: “I have accepted the Inspector General’s recommendation and will write to the Governor-General, requesting he revoke the meritious unit citation.”</p> <p>This would result in over 3000 veterans who served in the Special Operations Task Force between 2007 and 2013 having their medals stripped.</p> <p>Heston Russell, a former Major in the 2nd Commando Regiment, said the move would punish many for the alleged crimes of a few.</p> <p>“He’s decided to reprimand and punish over 3000 people including 20 fallen heroes before any proof has been provided of the criminal allegations,” he told<span> </span><em>Sunrise</em>.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Disgraceful that the ADF is treating our Special Forces like this... <a href="https://t.co/olKOpctROw">https://t.co/olKOpctROw</a></p> — Samantha Armytage (@sam_armytage) <a href="https://twitter.com/sam_armytage/status/1330965598872817665?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 23, 2020</a></blockquote> <p>Russell said the decision had “dug up” the “pain and agony” for veterans and the families of those who died in combat.</p> <p>“As a veteran community we feel like we are under attack, you know, painted with this brush of being convicted without any trial.”</p> <p>Russell is asking Australians to “show your support for common sense and help us stop this persecution of ‘the many’ who served with honour” by singing the petition on the<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.voiceofaveteran.org/" target="_blank">Voice Of A Veteran website</a>.</p> <p>“The response from the Australian public has been absolutely incredible.”</p> <p>“I’ve been dumbfounded at just how much support there is out there and it’s great to see commonsense coming through,” he said.</p> <p>The Governor-General has the power to reject the request made by the Chief of the Defence Force, but that is extremely rare.</p>

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Distraught mother stabs her own son

<p>A Sydney man remains in hospital after allegedly being stabbed by his own mother in the early hours of Saturday after allegedly confessing to her about murdering someone.</p> <p>The shocking incident occurred at around 1:40 am on Saturday, with emergency services being called to a home at Drumalbyn Rd in Bellevue Hill in the city’s east.</p> <p>They discovered 22-year-old Hugo Ball with “multiple stab wounds” and was treated at the scene before being taken to St Vincent’s Hospital in a critical condition, where he will reportedly stay after undergoing surgery.</p> <p>Mr Ball’s mother Samantha Palmer, 55, was charged with wound person intend to cause grievous bodily harm (DV).</p> <p>She was refused bail and appeared before Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday.</p> <p>The Daily Telegraph reported that Ms Palmer’s lawyer revealed to the court that Mr Ball had a history of drug abuse issues, and that the incident occurred when he returned home and began acting “erratically” and “incoherently”.</p> <p>“My client is alarmed. She asked him what’s wrong, what’s the problem?” the publication reported Mr Emmery as saying.</p> <p>“He tells her that he has committed a murder.</p> <p>“You don’t have an accused person like this all of a sudden commit a crime like this … a mother in her 50s with no criminal history.”</p> <p>He said his client had been threatened, and that there was a history of violence in the family.</p> <p>Witnesses who were at the scene of the crime painted a confronting picture of what happened that night, with Ms Palmer heard screaming “I love you” as she was escorted into the back of a police van.</p> <p>“I’m the mother of this child for God’s sake,” Mrs Palmer could be heard saying.</p> <p>NSW Ambulance Inspector Giles Buchanan told<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.9news.com.au/national/bellevue-hill-woman-charged-after-allegedly-stabbing-son-at-sydney-eastern-suburbs-home/d89f282c-18ac-4915-b6e2-30e7d56c07fb" target="_blank">9 News</a><span> </span>Mr Ball’s multiple stab wounds – including in the base of his skull – could have ended in tragedy.</p> <p>“Initially he had extremely low blood pressure indicating he had a significant amount of bleeding and the location of the wounds can certainly be fatal,” Mr Buchanan said.</p>

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Oatlands killings spark major road rules changes

<p>Speed camera warning signs will be scrapped and motorists caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol will face harsher penalties under a number of new laws for NSW.</p> <p>The government is hoping the change will help crack down on those speeding, including removing warning signs often located 250m and 50m ahead of mobile speed cameras which would warn motorists to slow down.</p> <p>The changes have been introduced after four children were tragically killed by a drunk driver in Oatlands earlier in the year.</p> <p>Leila and Daniel Abdallah lost three children in the crash, and one of the children’s cousins was also killed.</p> <p>NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance said the changes are about shifting culture and behaviour.</p> <p>“We want to make a difference,” he said.</p> <p>“We can't keep doing what we’re doing, year in, year out, knowing the impact it has on families, loved ones, children and our community.”</p> <p>Bridget Sakr, who lost her 11-year-old daughter Veronique in the crash, spoke to NCA NewsWire and said: “We’re extremely overwhelmed with the change in the law. It’s taken nine months to get this legislation into place, that’s never happened (as fast) before. I think that in itself speaks to how much impact this tragedy has had on people’s lives, all over Australia.”</p> <p>Ms Sakr was present at the announcement of the proposed new road rules alongside Mr and Mrs Abdallah, who lost their children Sienna, 8, Angelina, 12, and Antony, 13.</p> <p>The changes will be rolled out over a 12-month period.</p> <p>Mr Constance went on to reveal that harsher penalties will be introduced for those caught driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs from next year.</p> <p>Drivers are 23 times more likely to crash if they’re under the influence of alcohol and drugs, he said, citing recent research.</p> <p>“This massive, life-threatening risk needs a stronger penalty,” Mr Constance said.</p> <p>“Across our roads network we have seen this reckless and irresponsible behaviour result in far too many deaths and serious injuries, and these tougher penalties send the message that this behaviour won’t be tolerated.”</p> <p>Since 2015 over 100 serious crashes have involved a driver or rider with illegal levels of both alcohol and drugs in their system.</p>

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Father breaks down as daughter recalls alleged abuse from Kyle Daniels

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>A father of a young girl broke down in court after recalling his daughter telling him about the alleged sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her swim coach Kyle Daniels.</p> <p>The man, who cannot be identified, recalled vividly that he was riding the bus to work when his wife rang him to tell him their daughter had said she was touched by her swimming teacher.</p> <p>“I got off at the next stop and walked back home as quick as I could,” he said.</p> <p>There, his daughter told him: “My instructor touched me when I was in class, touched me on my privates when I was in class.”</p> <p>“I recall I said to her, are you OK? You are brave for telling me,” the father said.</p> <p>The man was asked if his daughter had offered any more details, to which he said: “She did say that the instructor had gone under her costume with his fingers and sometimes fingers went inside her.”</p> <p>The man stopped his testimony as he began to cry and stopped speaking. He resumed 40 seconds later after wiping tears from his eyes.</p> <p>His daughter is among nine young girls who police alleged were touched by Kyle Daniels, 22, as he taught them at Mosman Swim Centre between February 2018 and February 2019.</p> <p>Eight of the girls had their prerecorded evidence played to a jury, with several parents also taking the stand.</p> <p>The girl whose father gave testimony had prerecorded evidence played to the jury on Wednesday, and said that Mr Daniels had touched her 3-5 times per lesson in eight different classes.</p> <p>The trial continues.</p> <p><em>Photo credits: </em><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/kyle-daniels-trial-dads-breakdown-over-daughters-confession/news-story/b366882c3b562629b6772f183310f322" target="_blank" class="editor-rtflink">news.com.au</a></em></p> </div> </div> </div>

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Madeleine McCann suspect injured while awaiting trial

<p><span>A suspect involved in the disappearance of the British toddler who vanished from a Portugese holiday resort 13 years ago has suffered two broken ribs in an incident at a German court.</span><br /><br /><span>Christian Brueckner is serving time on a drug conviction and was taken to Braunschweig state court on Monday for a hearing on that case.</span><br /><br /><span>Court spokeswoman Jessica Knab-Henrichs told <em>The Associated Press</em> that he was treated in hospital for two broken ribs.</span><br /><br /><span>He was then returned to the court where the hearing was carried out.</span><br /><br /><span>While details have not been released yet, the spokeswoman says the incident is under investigation.</span><br /><br /><span>Brueckner is a suspect in the disappearence of Madeleine but prosecutors say they do not have enough evidence to hold him on the McCann case alone.</span><br /><br /><span>Brueckner will finish serving his drug trafficking charge in January, but he has been convicted in of the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Portugal and sentenced to another seven years.</span><br /><br /><span>That conviction is under appeal.</span><br /><br /><span>McCann was 3 at the time of her 2007 disappearance from an apartment while vacationing with her parents and siblings in the seaside town of Praia da Luz in Portugal's Algarve region.</span><br /><br /><span>German authorities in June said they had identified the 43-year-old German citizen as a suspect in the case and were looking into him on suspicion of murder.</span></p>

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"Do not lose heart": Trump party plea after finding uncounted votes

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>Thousands of votes have been discovered on memory cards in Georgia, with the majority believed to be voting for President Donald Trump.</p> <p>However, the amount of votes was not enough to overcome Trump's deficit in the state.</p> <p>Trump continues to contest the results of the 2020 presidential election, which saw Joe Biden elected as President instead of Trump.</p> <p>Chairman of the Georgia Republican Party David Schafer said election monitors had discovered a memory card containing votes that had not been uploaded.</p> <p>“Walton County election officials have found a memory card that was apparently not uploaded. The number of uncounted votes is not as large as in Floyd or Fayette but the President will pick up votes,” he said.</p> <p>The head of Arizona's Republican Party has insisted that the election is "far from over".</p> <p>“Do not lose heart,” Arizona <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/topics/us-republican-party" target="_blank" class="editor-rtflink">Republican</a> Party chairwoman Dr Kelli Ward said in a video message on Monday.</p> <p>“Do not allow the negativity and the fake news to bring you down. Arizona is in this fight 100 per cent. We are out to make sure that our elections in our state have integrity.”</p> <p>Dr Ward said she was working "hand-in-hand" with the Trump campaign.</p> <p>“So stay strong, stay firm, understand that this election is far from over,” she said.</p> <p>“We do not have a president-elect at this time. States have not certified elections, and that’s what makes a president-elect – not the media, not the pundits, not the talking heads, not the fake news.”</p> <p>On Monday, Trump hailed a “big victory” in Clark County, Nevada after election officials threw out the results of a county commissioner race due to voting “discrepancies”.</p> <p>“Big victory moments ago in the state of Nevada,” the President tweeted.</p> <p>“The all Democrat County Commissioner race, on same ballot as President, just thrown out because of large scale voter discrepancy. Clark County officials do not have confidence in their own election security. Major impact!”</p> <p>The Clark County Commission cited the narrow 10-vote margin between Democrat Ross Miller and Republican Stavros Anthony as well as a range of discrepancies, including people who voted twice.</p> <p>“We have found discrepancies that we can’t explain that would cast a doubt on whether or not that margin of victory is solid,” Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria told commissioners.</p> <p>“That’s the only race in the entire election we have any concern related to the outcome. And it’s because of the margin.”</p> </div> </div> </div>

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Daughter unmasks sadistic Melbourne paedophile father

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>Landmark new laws in Victoria will allow tens of thousands of Victorian rape survivors to self-identify in the media, with the woman who started the #LetUsSpeak campaign reveals her true name and identity of her abuser.</p> <p>Jaime Lee Page won an eight month legal battle to reveal her real name and the horrific details of her abuse by the hands of her own father, David Hodson.</p> <p>Hodson is a convicted murderer and spent years sexually terrorising his daughter Jaimie and her older stepsister Carol, who he later murdered in 1997.</p> <p>He murdered Carol as she reported the rapes and incest occurring in the "house of horrors" to police.</p> <p>Until now, a sexual assault victim gag law prevented Jaime from revealing her own name and also protected her father as there was no way to reveal his identity without revealing her own.</p> <p>After a lengthy battle, Jaime has also produced landmark law reforms which are set to restore voice, identity and agency to tens of thousands of sexual assault survivors after campaigning since August with the #LetUsSpeak campaign.</p> <p>Jaime has gone into detail about what triggered the #LetUsSpeak campaign with <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/letusspeak-daughter-finally-unmasks-paedophile-dad/news-story/a42a69ec06c81d56fd398cfa6e142573" target="_blank" class="editor-rtflink"><em>news.com.au</em></a><em>,</em> with the abuse initially starting at the young age of eight.</p> <p>“He came into my room at night and asked if I wanted to play a game. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I was so young and so confused and I thought ‘is this what every father does?’”</p> <p>The abuse continued for years until Jaime was 16, with her older stepsister reporting the abuse she also endured for years at the hands of Hodson.</p> <p>“When Carol found out what happened to me, she came forward to the police to try and protect me,” Jaime says, “But unfortunately by doing that, she angered my father.”</p> <p>Carol went into hiding as she was the lead witness, but four days before she was due to give evidence, Hodson tracked her down and shot her three times in broad daylight.</p> <p>“I was at home one morning and a news clip came on,” Jaime says. “A woman had been gunned down in her car on the way to work and the man had also tried to kill himself. I just thought ‘what a terrible story’.</p> <p>“Then they had another clip and it showed my father being wheeled out on a stretcher to the air ambulance. I could see the tattoo on his hand that I had seen so many times in my life, and I just knew it was my father.</p> <p>“I fell to the ground, I was shocked. I was screaming. I wanted my sister back.”</p> <p>Hodson recovered from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was charged with murder.</p> <p>Things went from bad to worse as Carol's own mother Sue Morris married Hodson, which meant that she would never have to testify against him.</p> <p>“It made me sick. The wedding was at Port Phillip prison. They even sent me an invitation. It was a gigantic slap in the face to Carol. I wanted nothing to do with it” Jaime says.</p> <p>With Carol no longer alive to testify and Jaime too traumatised to testify in court, police dropped the sexual abuse charges in 1998 and pursued the single murder count. </p> <p>Hodson was found guilty and sentenced to 24 years in jail, but in 2018, Jaime was approached by police.</p> <p>Hodson was scheduled for parole and as he was never convicted of any sexual crimes, he would not have to register as a sex offender.</p> <p>“I was terrified. Not just for my own children. I wouldn’t want him living next to any family with kids” says Jaime, now a mother herself.</p> <p>“I thought, if he gets out of jail and is unknown as the sex offender and monster that he is, and the public have no idea of the disgusting crimes he committed against me and my sister, then that’s dangerous: it’s not right.</p> <p>“So I dug really deep, I found a place where I could share what had happened to me and I came forward and I guess you could say I bravely told my story of my childhood experiences: my horror, my hell.”</p> <p>After Jaime withstood a lengthy cross examination, Hodson pleaded guilty in 2019 and was sentenced to a further nine years in jail.</p> <p>However, her joy was short-lived as Hodson appealed the length of the sentence and it was dramatically slashed in March this year, with eligibility for parole in 2022.</p> <p>“I think that broke me, that was the day that broke me. I felt absolutely disgusted with the court system. I felt alone, let down.”</p> <p>After months of tirelessly campaigning with #LetHerSpeak and launching #LetUsSpeak, draft legislation was put forward with the intention to amend the gag on living sexual survivors.</p> <p>However, there was a new gag order on the names of deceased rape victims, including Eurydice Dixon and Jill Meagher. This meant that the proposed gag order would prevent Jaime from ever naming her beloved stepsister Carol as a victim.</p> <p>An emergency meeting was called between the #LetUsSpeak campaign partners and they decided to fight the proposed gag on deceased victims' names.</p> <p>Since the launch in October, more than 4,000 letters were sent to parliamentarians via the campaign condemning the Government's proposed gag order.</p> <p>Justice was finally given last week, with the Government's attempted ban on deceased victim's names stopped in its tracks and new laws being introduced that allow living sexual assault survivors to reclaim their voice and identities.</p> <p>“Nothing at all was easy in any of this,” says Jaime, “but I feel amazing the law is actually going to change. I am immensely proud. The law should never, ever, ever have been in place, but it turns out people do actually want to listen to survivors: they want to hear us.</p> <p>“And I know my sister would be so proud. I can now look up towards the sky and know that she’s at peace and justice has finally been served for my sister."</p> <p><em>Photo credits: </em><em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/real-life/news-life/letusspeak-daughter-finally-unmasks-paedophile-dad/news-story/a42a69ec06c81d56fd398cfa6e142573" target="_blank" class="editor-rtflink">news.com.au</a></em></p> </div> </div> </div>

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Bunnings motorbike parking job condemned

<p>A motorbike driver has been slammed on social media for parking on a yellow hatched area in a Bunnings carpark.</p> <p>In a post shared in the Australian Disability Parking Wall of Shame Facebook group, one man shared how he had busted a motorcyclist parking in a section between two disabled parking spots.</p> <p>The photograph showed that the bike had parked on a hatched area with yellow lines and a pole in the carpark of the Bunnings in the Geelong region, in Victoria.</p> <p>“He explained to me that motor bikes can park anywhere, even on foot paths. Besides there is no sign saying NO BIKE PARKING,” the man said.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7838828/bunnings-motorbike-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/d2d10d2fe92e4a2d8ac9be912ef08fda" /></p> <p>“I tried to explain to him how ignorant he was, but it fell on deaf ears.”</p> <p>A dozen of comments blasted the motorcyclist’s decision to park in the space that had been reserved for disabled people so they can enter and exit their car safely.</p> <p>“The motorbike can’t park wherever they want,” one person wrote.</p> <p>“They just think they own the roads and the rules and they don’t have common sense.”</p> <p>“Motorbike riders seem to think the laws don’t apply to them. I’ve seen this happen so many times at shopping centres, and security don’t seem to care either,” another added.</p> <p>Others hoped that the motorcyclist would be taught a lesson, saying: “I’m not one to advocate vandalism, but it’d be karma if the wind (!) blew it over.”</p> <p>Others however felt the treatment of the motorcyclist was unfair, pointing out that rules for where they can park are not always clear.</p> <p>“My daughter recently obtained her learners licence. In no part anywhere in the written test is any mention of the hatched area being linked with the (disabled carpark) beside it,” one person commented.</p> <p>“And if they took up a whole parking space for a bike people would still whine,” another said.</p> <p>Others argued however that it is still unethical to park somewhere even if they legally are allowed to.</p> <p>“I ride a motorcycle. I don’t give a flying f**k what the law says! I would never park on a cross hatched area impeding disability ingress and egress. It’s not just whether or not you CAN park there, it’s also about whether or not you SHOULD!!!!” one person said.</p> <p>Another joked: “No rule stating I can’t park my car on top of his bike, I mean there is no signage for it!”</p> <p><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/safety-and-road-rules/road-rules/a-to-z-of-road-rules/motorcycles#:~:text=In%20Victoria%2C%20you%20can%20park,transport%20users%20or%20parked%20cars." target="_blank">Vic Road’s </a>website states that motorcycles can be parked on footpaths, but cannot block access to parked cars or pedestrians.</p>

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CCTV shows Sam Burgess drinking beers before alleged altercation with father-in-law

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>New CCTV footage shows former NRL star Sam Burgess cheerfully posing with fans and knocking back four beers before an alleged highly-charged confrontation with his former father-in-law.</p> <p>Mitchell Hooke called Burgess "wild" and "crazy" and has accused him of threatening to hit him during a confrontation at his home last year.</p> <p>Burgess appeared in Moss Vale Local Court having pleaded not guilty to one count of intimidation and another charge of common assault relating to an alleged verbal spat on October 19th, 2019.</p> <p>Burgess also has an apprehended violence order against him from the family.</p> <p>He has since denied the allegations and made counter-claims against his former father-in-law with Burgess' lawyers arguing that Hooke had threatened to ruin Burgess' career and reputation.</p> <p>CCTV played to the court showed Mr Burgess drinking with patrons at the Royal Hotel at Bowral on the afternoon of the alleged incident.</p> <p>The alleged argument took place when Burgess was meant to have a two-hour visit at the home.</p> <p>Hooke's daughter Phoebe Burgess, who had recently split from Burgess, said she was not present during his visit and was meant to arrive after he left at 4 pm.</p> <p>However, a distressing phone call from her father prompted her to return to the property early, where Hooke explained that Burgess had unleashed a tirade of abuse during which he threatened to punch him.</p> <p>Phoebe then called the Moss Vale Police Station before making a triple-0 call.</p> <p>“Look I’m just a bit shaken up, I’m just going through, uh, my husband and I are going through a bit of a separation at the moment… He has threatened and abused my father,” she was heard saying in the phone call during which she became tearful on several occasions.</p> <p>She added: “It’s Sam Burgess, so it can’t be made public but I just need to report it cause he’s still in the area and he’s really angry.”</p> <p>She told the operator that no one had been harmed, saying: “I promise we’re all fine, I just know that, I’ve got lawyers for that exact reason.”</p> <p>She went on to claim that Mr Burgess had previously abused her in a similar fashion.</p> <p>“He’s done this to me too, he’s done this to me,” she said.</p> <p>Phoebe and her father made unrelated domestic violence and drug allegations in statements which were handed to police earlier in the year, which were denied by Burgess himself.</p> <p>The allegations were published in <em>The Australian</em> last month, and when asked why Phoebe went public, she said she didn't want to be a part of a "cover up'".</p> <p>“The Australian publication approached me about certain matters, rumours that had been circulating,” Ms Burgess told the court.</p> <p>“Instead of covering up, which is so typical of the system that I was part of, which I believe is toxic in the NRL, I decided to hand over the documents that I had prepared for my lawyers, prepared over time... I gave it to what I felt like was a trustworthy publication and not covering up and contributing to a system that I believe failed myself ... and failed Sam Burgess.”</p> <p>Mr Hooke told the court that Burgess had unleashed a verbal tirade against him, telling him: “F*** you, you’re a piece of s***, you’re just like your daughter, you’re a piece of s***” and “I’m going to hit you.”</p> <p>Mr Hooke said he was “terrified”, he “went cold” and never felt so scared in his life as Mr Burgess “towered” over him.</p> <p>“I was resigned to getting hit, I had absolutely no doubt,” Mr Hooke told the court.</p> <p>“His eyes were wild, they were crazy eyes, his face was red. I have never been threatened like that in my life.”</p> <p>The hearing will conclude in January.</p> </div> </div> </div>

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$5 ice-cream turns into $500 fine

<p>A Melbourne mum has claimed a police officer who fined her for using her mobile phone while driving mistook an ice-cream she was eating for a smartphone.</p> <p>Michelle Course said she wasn’t on her phone on November 2, 2020 the day she was fined.</p> <p>The beauty therapist claims she was eating her favourite ice-cream; a Magnum Double Caramel Ego.</p> <p>But Ms Course said when she attempted to explain this to the policemen, he refused to listen.</p> <p>Ms Course was fined $496 and lost four driver demerit points.</p> <p>"Sometimes you can get it wrong," Ms Course told A Current Affair.</p> <p>"That day I was eating an ice-cream, I wasn't on my phone. I shouldn't have to pay it. I wasn't doing anything wrong.</p> <p>"There's no way I could be on the phone and eating my Magnum Ego while driving."</p> <p>Ms Course has said she can prove her case with the receipt for her ice-cream.</p> <p>The receipt shows that Ms Course purchased the Magnum at 4:34 pm that day.</p> <p>The fine was written at 4:40pm.</p> <p>Ms Course also pointed out she doesn't need to use her phone while driving because her car has a hands-free system.</p> <p>"I have no need to be holding my mobile phone while driving, and I can respond to message with voice," Ms Course said.</p> <p>Lawyer Adam Cockayne has looked at Ms Course's case and he thinks she should fight the fine.</p> <p>"I think Michelle should definitely fight the fine, if she's innocent then the fine should be withdrawn," Mr Cockayne said.</p> <p>Mr Cockayne - also known as the “Fine Defender” - helps fight wrongful penalties and has a message for those behind the wheel.</p> <p>"80 per cent of those fines are being thrown out by the Magistrates," Mr Cockayne said.</p> <p>"The review system isn't working, because it should never have got that far."</p> <p>Victoria Police full statement:</p> <p>Police can confirm they did intercept a woman in North Warrandyte on 2 November in relation to using her mobile phone while driving.  The woman was issued a $496 dollar fine with also incurs four demerit points.  As in any case where a person receives an infringement notice they have the opportunity to have the matter determined by a court, where they will have an opportunity to present their circumstances to a Magistrate.</p>

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"Callous and heartless": Plea for return of stolen scooter

<p><span>Police are searching for the person who stole a pensioner’s mobility scooter.</span><br /><br /><span>The 82-year-old man parked the red scooter outside of his home on Macarthur Street in Ultimo, in Sydney's inner-city at approximately 2.30 pm on Sunday.</span><br /><br /><span>The senior realised it was missing around 4:30 pm.</span><br /><br /><span>The elderly man is now unable to leave his home.</span><br /><br /><span>Security footage has showed the scooter being driven away around 3.50 pm by someone wearing a motorbike helmet.</span><br /><br /><span>Police say they believe they will be able to identify the man responsible for the theft.</span><br /><br /><span>"It's a man between 30 and 50 years of age, white and blue jacket, the motorcross helmet is distinctive and it does have an open face," Acting Inspector Anderson Lessing said.</span></p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7838739/senior-scooter-3.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/1b468bba04b94d1b8907a5ee635b8c4d" /><br /><br /><span>"Hand yourself into a local police station, otherwise we will be knocking on your door once we identify you."</span><br /><br /><span>Mr Lessing said police are urging for the scooter to be returned to the man.</span><br /><br /><span>"This was a pensioner, he's 82 years of age, this suspect has deprived him of his ability to go up the shops, to get a coffee, go buy a newspaper, essentially he's deprived him of his independence," he said.</span><br /><br /><span>"It's a callous and heartless attack and we want to identify him who he is so we can put him before the courts."</span></p>

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Violent killer’s mother slams Victorian sexual assault "gag order"

<p>The mother of Jill Meagher's killer has slammed a "ludicrous" "gag order" proposed by the Victorian government that would prevent the families of deceased sexual assault victims from speaking openly and publicly about their loved one's ordeal in Victoria.</p> <p>Adrian Ernest Bayley's mother Susan fought hard to bite back her tears while she argued against proposed changes to legislation that was being debated in parliament.</p> <p>The “gag order” would make families of victims seek for an approved court order to speak about their loved one.</p> <p>"Why on god's earth would they (the government) prevent these poor innocent girls' names from being used? Why?" Ms Bayley told Neil Mitchell on 3AW.</p> <p>Adrian Bayley was sentenced to life with a 35-year minimum in 2013 for the murder and rape of Jill Meagher. </p> <p>The 29-year-old Meagher was attacked as she walked home from a pub in Melbourne in 2012.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7838742/jill-meagher-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/29e5494b7a0c4b178e1c73400d4ee235" /></p> <p>Ms Bayley said the changes were "wrong on so many levels" and pleaded for the voices of victims and their families not to be silenced.</p> <p>"We need to listen to the victim's voices. Just because they're not with us anymore doesn't mean they're less important and their voices shouldn't be heard," Ms Bayley said.</p> <p>"The families of the victims, their voices need to be heard."</p> <p>Courtney Herron was brutally beaten to death at a Melbourne park in 2019 and her father has told 9News that nothing will make him relent from sharing his daughter’s name and story.</p> <p>"I don't want the memory of my daughter Courtney to fade away," John Herron said.</p> <p>"In the future going through this, I would speak out regardless, I wouldn't have any fear of doing so.</p> <p>"The reason for that is, if you've lost your child, you really don't have anything further to lose in life. So I'd speak out and take any particular punishment without hesitation," he said.</p> <p>The 25-year-old woman was found dead by dog walkers in Royal Park at Parkville on May 25, with injuries described by police as "horrendous".</p> <p>Mr Herron said it was important for the stories of victims to be told.</p> <p>"The ability to speak out publicly and the support that the public has shown, and the support that the media has shown, has been absolutely critical in getting Courtney's story out there."</p> <p>Attorney General Jill Hennessy said the legislation would establish a process for families with opposing or different views about the details of victims being published.</p> <p>"We know it's not perfect and we know it's got to be improved but we've got to take the important first step so there is some process for families of deceased victims," Ms Hennessy said on 3AW.</p> <p>The Attorney General told Neil Mitchell that victim survivors had been involved in the changes.</p> <p>The controversial “gag laws” have received an intense response on social media.</p>

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Nurse arrested for third time after death of 17 babies

<p>A UK nurse previously arrested twice during investigations into the deaths of infants at a neonatal unit has been arrested again - this time on suspicion of the murder of eight babies and the attempted murder of another nine.</p> <p>Countess of Chester Hospital nurse Lucy Letby was originally arrested in 2018 and 2019 on suspicion of murder in relation to the deaths of eight babies and the attempted murder of six others.</p> <p>The 30-year-old has been questioned in the past by detectives for two days while her Chester home in northwest England was searched, but was released without charge.</p> <p>Police have revealed that Letby, who was once the face of a £3 million fundraising campaign, had been arrested again after new information came to light.</p> <p>Detectives described the investigation as “extremely challenging”.</p> <p>“It has been more than three years since we first launched an investigation into a number of baby deaths and non-fatal collapses at the neonatal unit at The Countess of Chester Hospital,” Detective Chief Inspector Paul Hughes said.</p> <p>“In that time a dedicated team of detectives have been working extremely hard on this highly complex and very sensitive case, doing everything they can as quickly as they can to identify what has led to these baby deaths and collapses.</p> <p>“Today, as part of our ongoing enquiries, the healthcare professional has been rearrested on suspicion of murder in relation to the deaths of eight babies and the attempted murder of nine babies.</p> <p>“The woman is currently in custody helping officers with their enquiries.”</p> <p>Cheshire Police has been investigating the deaths of infants and non-fatal collapses at the UK hospital for a long time now, after the hospital reported 17 infant deaths and 16 non-fatal collapses between March 2015 and July 2016.</p> <p>“Parents of all the babies have been kept fully updated on this latest development and they are continuing to be supported throughout the process by specially trained officers,” Hughes said.</p> <p>“This is an extremely difficult time for all the families and it is important to remember that, at the heart of this, there are a number of bereaved families seeking answers as to what happened to their children.”</p> <p>A friend of Letby has described the nurse as being dedicated to her “dream job” and insisted that she ”wouldn’t hurt a fly”.</p> <p>“We’re still reeling from it to be honest,” she told the Daily Mail.</p> <p>“Even after sleeping on it I think everybody around here is still in a state of shock and disbelief.</p> <p>“Lucy was doing the job she dreamed of doing and appeared nothing but dedicated and professional. You can’t imagine her hurting a fly let alone defenceless babies.”</p> <p>A resident who lives on the same street as Letby told the Daily Mail said she was shocked when she heard of her arrest.</p> <p>“I can’t add much more to what’s been already said about her,” she said.</p> <p>“I knew her when she was a little girl and she was as sweet as anything. I’ve seen her grow up and she seemed a lovely woman.</p> <p>“So this is news is deeply and utterly shocking. I can’t fathom it.”</p> <p>A spokesman for the Countess of Chester Hospital said it was “co-operating fully” with the investigation.</p>

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Australian police bust massive online child abuse ring

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>Police have busted an online child exploitation ring, charging 14 men in Australia with filming and sharing the abuse of 46 babies and children.</p> <p>Men from NSW, Queensland and Western Australia are accused of preying on children and uploading child abuse material to an online network.</p> <p>The accused offenders range in age from 20 to 48 years old and include a childcare worker and a volunteer football coach.</p> <p>Police have alleged that the former childcare worker had used his job and "other deceptive means" in his personal life to gain access to 30 children, who he then shared with his partner who allegedly participated in the abuse.</p> <p>The 27-year-old man has been charged with more than 300 offences, including having sexual intercourse with a child under 10, indecent assault of a child under 16 and intentionally sexually touching a child under 10.</p> <p>Police began arresting the men in February, with the latest arrest on Friday.<br />Investigators have laid more than 800 charges and have not ruled out further arrests, with eight NSW men have been charged with 577 offences against 39 children.</p> <p>Bestiality charges relating to four animals were also laid against men in NSW.</p> <p>Australian federal police's acting commander of child protection operations, Christopher Woods, said that the scale of offending was unprecedented.</p> <p>“These men allegedly produced child abuse material for the depraved pleasure of their peers with absolutely no thought to the lasting effects their actions would have on these children,” he said on Wednesday.</p> <p>“Police will allege Operation Arkstone revealed a network of abuse, where the alleged offenders in the forums encouraged and emboldened each other to engage in acts of depravity and abuse of children.”</p> <p>More than 140 referrals to international police were made during the investigation, including 18 to the US which has led to three arrests.</p> </div> </div> </div>

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Craig McLachlan’s lawyer accuses co-stars of showing “slutty” behaviour

<p>Aussie actor Craig McLachlan’s lawyer has claimed in court that the four women who have accused the performer of indecent assault displayed “slutty” behaviour.</p> <p>The <em>Gold Logie</em> winner is being faced with 13 charges against four women during a run of the <em>Rocky Horror Show.</em></p> <p>These charges include seven counts of indecent assault and six counts of common law assault.</p> <p>While a decision on these charges will be handed down to the 55-year-old next month, his lawyers have refused to rest their defence.</p> <p>It has been more than a year since he first appeared in court to fight the allegations.</p> <p>As part of the 160-page written defence submission, there were pictures of the alleged victims in “slutty” positions and a “lesbian pose”.</p> <p>Defence barrister Stuart Littlemore QC explained his use of the word “slutty” in the documents.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7838713/craig-mclachlan-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/d3e2075f869b492a80ed2f5c6b8cc72a" /></p> <p><em>Craig McLachlan</em> <em>in The Rocky Horror Show.</em></p> <p>“I’m going to call a spade a spade,” the lawyer said.</p> <p>“The photos do depict people in slutty poses and deliberately so. It’s not to be sanitised, it’s not be diluted, this is part of the culture of permissiveness.”</p> <p>The former soap star has been accused of touching a woman’s genitalia over her costume on stage, sticking his tongue into one woman’s mouth and feeling up a woman’s thigh. He also allegedly thrust his groin at a woman while partially aroused.</p> <p>The former Neighbours and <em>Home and Away</em> star has categorically denied all the charges against him.</p> <p>Prosecutor Matt Fisher has slammed the “slut” remarks as inflammatory and inappropriate.</p> <p>He also said using the photos as an “excuse” for McLachlan’s alleged behaviour towards the women was “impermissible” in this day and age.</p> <p>Magistrate Belinda Wallington said the term was unfortunate.</p> <p>“Some of the terms used … are most unfortunate. Phrases like sluts, slutty poses are most unfortunate,” she said.</p> <p>The magistrate went on to say that the court “doesn’t necessarily approve” of some of the language in the submissions on Monday.</p> <p>Mr Littlemore wrote one of the co-stars adopted a “lesbian pose”.</p> <p><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7838712/craig-mclachlan-2.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/a14633996d9d4b04a3164fb481bd2b4f" /></p> <p><em>Craig McLachlan with his TV sister Kylie Minogue during his stint on Neighbours in 1988.</em></p> <p>The lawyer also went on to describe an alleged victim’s appearance as “artfully dishevelled” when she was giving evidence at an earlier hearing.</p> <p>He said her testimony was a “skilful application of the craft of acting”.</p> <p>“That’s an old school submission … with no basis, it belongs in the dark ages,” the prosecutor responded.</p> <p>The magistrate told the lawyers that she would be ignoring any submission in relation to the complaints about clothing.</p> <p>The prosecution argued that McLachlan used his celebrity status and position of power to take advantage and assault the women.</p> <p>He also went on to claim that the “power imbalance” made them feel they were unable to speak up until the show’s run was over.</p> <p>In explaining why the women came forward, he said: “They were concerned what the accused had done to them and concerned about what he might do to others.”</p> <p>Mr Fisher also went on to tell the court about allegations McLachlan allegedly said.</p> <p>He is accused of telling co-stars he would “end them” and that they “don’t know who you’re dealing with”.</p> <p>They were also worried about their employment prospects if they spoke up, he said.</p> <p>The actor was questioned about the allegations over three days of evidence and denied the claims.</p> <p>He even went on to burst into song to show how it was “impossible” for him to have stuck his tongue into a co-star’s mouth on stage.</p> <p>“If I am late in that … because I fancy a snog, I miss the next lighting cue,” Mr McLachlan told the court after he finished a few lines from the song.</p> <p>Mr McLachlan also labelled one of his accuser’s as the “most vulgar woman” he knew or ever encountered during his questioning.</p> <p>However when videos were aired of the award-winning performer sitting on the toilet and pulling faces, he denied that his behaviour was equally vulgar.</p> <p>Another video aired in court showed Mr McLachlan pretending to pleasure himself.</p> <p>McLachlan said the videos were meant in a “comedic” sense.</p> <p>Ms Wallington will hand down her decision in mid-December.</p> <p> </p>

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Awful truth behind explosive Princess Diana interview

<div class="post_body_wrapper"> <div class="post_body"> <div class="body_text redactor-styles redactor-in"> <p>The BBC is investigating the tactics used to obtain an interview with the late Princess Diana where she uttered the tragic statement about her marriage to Prince Charles: "There were three of us in this marriage".</p> <p>The interview between journalist Martin Bashir and Diana aired in 1995 but 25 years on, new evidence suggests that the reporter may have used forged bank statements and other unethical methods to convince Diana to agree to the interview.</p> <p>The incident is now being properly investigated, but it's complicated as Bashir, 57, is now gravely ill with COVID-19.</p> <p>Over the weekend, the BBC apologised to Princess Diana's brother Charles Spencer after he brought forward the evidence.</p> <p>The network admitted that Bashir showed Spencer bank statements doctored by a staff graphic designer. Spencer had alleged that Bashir told his sister “fantastical stories to win her trust” and showed him fake bank records that reportedly helped land Bashir the interview.</p> <p>Charles said he found a letter sent to him by Bashir that brought up rumours of an affair between Charles and the family nanny.</p> <p>At the time, Diana was allegedly deeply worried she was being spied on and Bashir's "evidence" made her confident to do the interview.</p> <p>“There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded,” Diana said in the interview, referring to Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles.</p> <p>Weeks after Diana uttered that sentence, the royals began divorce proceedings.</p> <p>“Suggesting that mocked-up documents were genuine was wrong then and it’s wrong now; the BBC of today is happy to apologise for this. The BBC’s editorial processes are now even tougher and this would not happen today,” said a statement from a BBC spokesperson sent to the <em>New York Post</em>. “The BBC’s records say that the Princess of Wales said she hadn’t seen the mocked-up documents and they had played no part in her decision to take part in the interview.”</p> <p>The BBC is now investigating the interview.</p> <p>“The BBC has apologised. We are happy to repeat that apology. And while this was a quarter of a century ago, we absolutely will investigate – robustly and fairly – substantive new information,” a spokeswoman told Deadline. “We have asked Earl Spencer to share further information with the BBC.</p> <p>“Unfortunately, we are hampered at the moment by the simple fact that we are unable to discuss any of this with Martin Bashir, as he is seriously unwell. When he is well, we will of course hold an investigation into these new issues.”</p> </div> </div> </div>

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