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Ted Bundy cold case finally solved after 51 years

<p>In March 1973 the half-naked body of Ann Woodward was found brutally murdered on the floor inside the pub that she owned with her husband.</p> <p>The 46-year-old mother's body was discovered between two pool tables, with <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">her shirt unbuttoned and </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">pants used to strangle her.</span></p> <p>Her murder has haunted the small US desert town of Moab, Utah for over half a century. While police were never able to find her killer, they believed Ted Bundy was the likely culprit, as he had raped and killed multiple women in the area around the time of her death. </p> <p>While Bundy admitted to thirty murders, his real victim count is unknown. </p> <p>However, they had not been able to prove that he was the culprit due to a lack of evidence, so police assumed she was just another one of his unnamed victims. </p> <p>25 other men, including Douglas Keith Chudomelka, had also been of interest to police after the crime, as witnesses spotted Chudomelka's sedan parked near the victims car on the night of the murder. </p> <p>However, when Chudomelka was interviewed the next day, he denied being at the bar, and insisted that he was at a nearby tavern. </p> <p>His girlfriend at the time, a woman named Joyce, also backed his statement and said he was home at the time of the murder on March 2, 1973. </p> <p>A few months later, Chudomelka was arrested on a domestic violence charge, with an angry Joyce claiming he had been the one who killed Ann Woodward, but she soon retracted her statement. </p> <p>With no new leads, the case went cold, but forward-thinking Police Chief Melvin Dalton, decided to keep DNA evidence from both the victim and all potential suspects anyways, in hopes that one day the right technology would be used to identify the killer. </p> <p>In 2006, Dalton reopened the case, <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">but had no luck until September 2023, when Detective Jeremy Dexler decided to uncover the two boxes of evidence collected from the initial investigation and send it to the crime lab. </span></p> <p>The DNA evidence had sat at the Moab police department's storage units for over 50 years and was not easy to locate as it had been moved to another building. </p> <p>The evidence was crucial in solving the cold case. </p> <p>When results from the crime lab came back at the end of May 2024, they confirmed that a substantial amount of Chudomelka’s DNA was on the inside of Ann’s pants and on all of the buttons of her shirt.</p> <p>This was enough to confirm that Chudomelka was the one responsible for Ann Woodward's murder. He was 36 when he committed the crime.</p> <p>Chudomelka was not known to the victim, but Detective Drexler believes that he may have played a game of poker with Ann when he visited the pub, and may have been angry at her for beating him. </p> <p>He added that it could have also been a crime of opportunity rather than rage as he had a violent history. </p> <p>Detective Drexler praised Dalton's forward-thinking for being the reason why they solved the case. </p> <p>“This case hinged on the hair Dalton pulled in 1973,” Drexler said.</p> <p>“I have no idea how he knew that we would be able to do that today. Dalton made this case very easy for us in that aspect.”</p> <p>Chudomelka passed away in 2002 at the age of 67 without ever paying for his crime, but County Lawyer Stephen Stocks believes that if he was still alive, he would've been found guilty of murder. </p> <p>“I hope today brings some closure to the family,”  he said. </p> <p>“I truly believe had this been presented to a jury, Chudomelka would have been found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for the murder of Ann Woodward.”</p> <p><em>Images: Moab Police Department</em></p> <p> </p>

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New development in Samantha Murphy murder case

<p>In a significant turn of events, Patrick Stephenson, the man charged with the murder of Samantha Murphy, has secured high-profile legal representation. Samantha Murphy, a beloved mother of three, disappeared after going for a run on Sunday, February 4. Despite extensive searches near her home in Ballarat, her body has not been found.</p> <p>Patrick Orren Stephenson, 22, was charged with the 51-year-old’s murder in March. He has now enlisted the services of renowned solicitor Paul Galbally from Melbourne law firm Galbally O’Bryan.</p> <p>Galbally is recognised for his expertise in handling some of the country’s largest and most intricate criminal cases, with previous clients including the late Catholic Cardinal George Pell, who was initially convicted but later acquitted of historic child sex charges.</p> <p>In a major breakthrough in the investigation, <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/major-update-in-search-for-samantha-murphy-s-body" target="_blank" rel="noopener">police discovered Samantha Murphy’s missing phone</a> last Wednesday. The phone, found in a dam about 19km south of the Murphy family home, is in near-perfect condition despite being submerged in mud. Forensic testing on the phone is ongoing and could provide crucial information about her final movements.</p> <p>Samantha's husband, Mick, confirmed the phone belonged to his wife immediately upon being informed by the police. The recovery of the phone was a moment of subdued celebration for the officers, with footage from the ABC showing them hugging and shaking hands at the discovery site.</p> <p>Cybersecurity expert Nigel Phair called the phone’s recovery a “game changer” for the investigation. “The physical properties of the phone will obviously be damaged," he said. "But what’s behind it, those ones and zeros of data, will be retrievable.” </p> <p>Samantha Murphy was last seen leaving her Eureka Street home in Ballarat at around 7 am for a 14km run through the Woowookarung Regional Park. Police believe she reached the Mount Clear area, adjacent to the park, about an hour after leaving home. Subsequent searches by police and volunteers have yet to locate any trace of her.</p> <p>In February, a large group of volunteers gathered at Ballarat’s Eureka Stockade Memorial Park to search the surrounding bushland, using metal detectors and even a sniffer dog. Later, police conducted a targeted search of Buninyong Bushland Reserve, employing specialist units including mounted officers, the dog squad and motorcyclists. This search was driven by intelligence from multiple sources.</p> <p>Patrick Stephenson, who has not yet entered a plea, is scheduled to appear at Ballarat Magistrates’ Court on August 8, facing charges of Samantha Murphy’s murder. The case continues to unfold as investigators hope the data recovered from Samantha's phone will provide new leads and bring them closer to solving this tragic mystery.</p> <p><em>Images: Supplied / Facebook</em></p>

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Bombshell allegations in murder case of young school girl

<p>The man accused of murdering nine-year-old Charlise Mutten has claimed her mother was the one to pull the trigger. </p> <p>Justin Stein, 33, is facing trial for allegedly murdering Charlise in January 2022 at Mount Wilson, in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.</p> <p>Nine-year-old Charlise was shot once in the head and once in the back, with her body recovered from a barrel dumped near the Colo River, four days after she was reported missing by her mother.</p> <p>On Monday, Stein formally pleaded not guilty to the charges, and has now alleged it was actually Charlise's mother who killed her and helped stuff her body in a barrel before lying to police. </p> <p>The court heard that Stein was in a relationship with Charlise's mother Kallista Mutten, as the pair met while both serving jail sentences. </p> <p>Both parties struggled with substance abuse, as Kallista had been using ice since she was in her early 20s, while Justin had been undergoing treatment for heroin addiction. </p> <p>Before the alleged murder, Stein and Kallista broke into a neighbour’s home near the Mount Wilson property, taking two firearms, crown prosecutor Ken McKay SC told the jury.</p> <p>Stein initially told police the girl may have been taken by unknown persons, but later told a corrections officer Kallista had shot and killed her daughter and that he had helped dispose of the body.</p> <p>According to Stein’s lawyer, Carolyn Davenport SC, Stein had been inside a shed on the Blue Mountains property when he heard a gunshot, and had gone outside to see Kallista shooting her daughter a second time.</p> <p>At the time of her death, Charlise was living with her grandparents at Tweed Heads, and had flown to Sydney on December 21st with plans to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve with her mother and Stein.</p> <p><em>Image credits: ABC / NSW Police </em></p>

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Brutal cost of Bruce Lehrmann’s failed defamation case

<p>Bruce Lehrmann has been ordered to pay the majority of Network Ten's multi-million dollar legal fees after his failed defamation case. </p> <p>In April, Lehrmann faced a huge loss after the Federal Court found an allegation that he raped Brittany Higgins in a Parliament House office in March 2019 was most likely true, therefore is unable to be defamed for the allegations. </p> <p>The 28-year-old had sued Network Ten for defamation over a February 2021 report on <em>The Project</em>, in which journalist Lisa Wilkinson interviewed Higgins over the rape allegation.</p> <p>Since the defamation case drew to a close, the parties have been in dispute over the legal costs and who should foot what is expected to amount to a sizeable legal bill for the long-running and high-profile case.</p> <p>On Friday afternoon, Justice Michael Lee found in favour of Ten's application for indemnity costs for most of the trial, as Lehrmann is now ordered to pay for the network's and Wilkinson's costs on an ordinary and indemnity basis, but he will not have to pay costs for some affidavits.</p> <p>"In the end, it comes down to the order for costs that best does overall justice in the circumstances," Lee told the court.</p> <p>"On balance, the appropriate exercise of discretion is to make an award that Network Ten recover its costs against Mr Lehrmann on an indemnity basis, except for costs incurred in relation to the statutory qualified privilege defence."</p> <p>In explaining his decision, the judge said he found Lehrmann had defended the criminal charge "on a false basis, lied to police, and then allowed that lie to go uncorrected before the jury".</p> <p>"He wrongly instructed his senior counsel to cross-examine a complainant of sexual assault, in two legal proceedings, including, relevantly for present purposes, this case, on a knowingly false premise," he said.</p> <p>Earlier in the week, the court heard Lehrmann had no financial backers and that his lawyers had agreed they did not need to be paid if he lost the case.</p> <p>The total amount he will have to pay will be determined at a hearing later in May.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p style="box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 18px; line-height: 24px; color: #333333; caret-color: #333333; font-family: 'Proxima Nova', system-ui, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif, 'Apple Color Emoji', 'Segoe UI Emoji', 'Segoe UI Symbol';"> </p>

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"I killed them": Major twist in slain Aussie brothers case

<p>The girlfriend of the man who allegedly killed Perth brothers Callum and Jake Robinson has reportedly "flipped" on her partner, becoming the star witness in the case. </p> <p>Ari Gisel García Cota was arrested earlier this week, along with her partner Jesús Gerardo Garcia Cota and his brother Cristian Alejandro Garcia, after the bodies of the Robinson brothers and their friend were found on Saturday in a desolate section of Santo Tomas in the Baja California region.</p> <p>According to Mexico police, the three men were killed as a result of a failed robbery, after locals attempted to steal the tyres from their pick-up truck.</p> <p>The bodies of the three men were recovered from a 15-metre deep well, with each man having fatal gun shot wounds to the head. </p> <p>In a major twist to the case, prosecutors revealed to court on Wednesday that Ari Gisel García Cota had become a key witness in the case after turning on the "ringleader" of the crime. </p> <p>“She has flipped on the ringleader and the evidence she’s provided to the prosecution will lead this case going forward,” Nine News correspondent Alison Piotrowski, who was in the courtroom, told 2GB’s Ben Fordham on Thursday.</p> <p>“What’s alleged is that Jesús Gerardo was driving her car that night when he went out to that remote campsite. The prosecution is saying what we’ve been talking about for the last couple of days has potentially happened, that the two Aussies and their American friend were ambushed.”</p> <p>Prosecutors allege Jesús Gerardo “killed them, took their tyres, put the tyres on her car and drove back”.</p> <p>When he went back to their house, the court heard he allegedly told Ari Gisel, “I f**ked up three gringos (English-speaking foreigner).”</p> <p>“She said to him, ‘What do you mean by that?’ And he told her, ‘I killed them’, and then showed her the vehicle with Jake, Callum and Jack’s tyres on her car,” Piotrowski said.</p> <p>“Ari was arrested later that day, she had fled to her mother’s house to get away from him. When the officers arrested her they said, ‘You have the right to remain silent’, and she said, ‘I don’t want to be silent, I want to tell you what I know. I’m a victim of domestic violence, I want to protect my four-year-old so let me help you with this case.’ So she has spectacularly turned on him and will now be crucial in this case moving forward.”</p> <p>Piotrowski added that the stunning revelation explained why Mexican officials “have been able to put him behind bars so quickly and also how they found the bodies”.</p> <p>“This conversation that he had with his girlfriend is pretty damning,” she said.</p> <p>So far only Jesús Gerardo Garcia Cota has been charged in connection with the deaths of the three men, and only with forced kidnapping, while Ari Gisel García Cota and Cristian Alejandro Garcia have only been charged with drug possession.</p> <p>Piotrowski said the kidnapping charges may not be upgraded to murder until the next court hearing, although the judge has more questions about how the three men were killed. </p> <p>“The judge did say that he can’t understand how one sole person could have done this, essentially kidnap and kill three men and take their tyres, it seems like too much,” she said.</p> <p>“He suggested that the prosecution needed to look into more suspects, that they needed to broaden their investigation because it couldn’t have been done by one man alone.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: Instagram / State Commission of the Penitentiary System of Baja California</em></p>

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Huge reward to help solve cold case of missing mum

<p>Police are offering a $500,000 reward for information to help solve a cold case that suspect was a murder. </p> <p>Tammy Lisa Dyson, also known as Tamela Menzies, was 23 when went missing from the Currumbin area in 1995. </p> <p>The mother of two was picked up from a drug rehab clinic by a woman claiming to be her sister on July 20, 1995 and has not been seen since. </p> <p>Dyson was born and raised in Victoria before moving to Brisbane in 1988, where she worked in the adult entertainment industry under the nickname "Pebbles". </p> <p>Police believe she began mixing with criminals and using drugs while working in strip clubs on the Gold Coast.</p> <p>In early 1995 Dyson arranged for her young sons, Jyles and Rainey, to stay with their grandmother in Victoria temporarily.</p> <p>A few months later she made a distressed call to her sister Olivia, who said she had been assaulted. </p> <p>Olivia and her partner then dropped Dyson off to a drug rehabilitation centre at Currumbin on the Gold Coast, and on July 20, 1995 she was picked up by someone claiming to be her sister. </p> <p>The following day, Tammy completed a statutory declaration signed by a Justice of the Peace in Tweed Heads, giving custody of her children and her possessions to her mother.</p> <p>She also called her sister one last time, with Olivia recalling that Tammy "didn't sound like herself" and she had mentioned underworld figures. </p> <p>Police have received a number of reported sightings of Tammy since 1995 but all proof of life inquiries have  been proven negative.</p> <p>In 2012, the Queensland coroner said that they believed Tammy was deceased and indicated that she may have been a victim of violence, although a certain date, time and cause of death have not been determined. </p> <p>Police are now offering the huge reward for new information and immunity from prosecution for any accomplice who comes forward.</p> <p>"Tammy associated with criminals that were known to police and vanished without a trace after giving custody of her children and possessions to her mother; we believe the circumstances of her disappearance is suspicious," Detective Senior Sergeant Tara Kentwell said.</p> <p>On Wednesday, her sons, who were only three and one when their mother disappeared, made an emotional appeal for public help to find her. </p> <p>"Growing up without mum and not knowing what happened to her has been very hard," Jyles Lebler said through tears during a media conference. </p> <p>"Whoever has picked her up, I'm not saying they have done something but they must know something bad has happened."</p> <p>"We hope we find out what to mum to give grandma some closure before it's too late," Rainey added.</p> <p><em>Images: Queensland Police</em></p>

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Eye infections might seem like a minor complaint – but in some cases they can cause blindness and even death

<div class="theconversation-article-body"><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster University</a></em></p> <p>When you think of eye infections, what comes to mind? Puffy, swollen bruised feeling eyelids that get glued together with gunk overnight? That feeling of having grit in your eye that can’t be cleaned away? Eye infections may seem like a relatively minor – if unsightly and inconvenient – complaint, but they can also be far more serious.</p> <p>Take the deadly outbreak of <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5022785/">antibiotic resistant</a> bacteria <a href="https://www.cff.org/managing-cf/burkholderia-cepacia-complex-b-cepacia"><em>Burkholderia cepacia</em></a> in 2023-24, for example.</p> <p>Between January 2023 and February 2024, contaminated brands of lubricating eye gel were linked to the infection of at least 52 patients. <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/contaminated-eye-gel-outbreak-death-b2523446.html">One person died</a> and at least 25 others suffered serious infections.</p> <p>The outbreak has now subsided and products are <a href="https://www.gov.uk/drug-device-alerts/specific-brands-of-carbomer-eye-gel-recall-of-aacarb-eye-gel-aacomer-eye-gel-and-puroptics-eye-gel-potential-risk-of-infection-dsi-slash-2023-slash-11#update-2-april-2024">back on the shelves</a> but it isn’t the first time that <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8335909/">medicinal products</a> have led to outbreaks of <em>B cepacia</em>.</p> <p>The bacterium is an opportunistic pathogen known to pose a significant risk to people with cystic fibrosis, chronic lung conditions and weakened immune systems. The infection likely progresses from the mucous membranes of the eyelids to the lungs where it leads to pneumonia and septicaemia causing <a href="https://erj.ersjournals.com/content/17/2/295">death in days</a>.</p> <p>But it’s not just <em>B cepacia</em> that can threaten our health. Something as simple as rubbing our eyes can introduce pathogens leading to infection, blindness and, in the worst case, death.</p> <p>Bacteria account for up to <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16148850/">70% of eye infections</a> and globally <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9032492/">over 6 million people</a> have blindness or moderate visual impairment from ocular infection. Contact lens wearers are at <a href="https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/contact-lens-related-eye-infections">increased risk</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/pWsx8i1kaxs?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>The eye is a unique structure. It converts light energy to chemical and then electrical energy, which is transmitted to the brain and converted to a picture. The eye uses about <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK11556/">6 million cones and 120 million rods</a> which detect colour and light.</p> <p>Eye cells have <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8775779/">no ability to regenerate</a> so, once damaged or injured, cannot be repaired or replaced. The body tries its best to preserve the eyes by encasing them in a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK531490/">bony protective frame</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482428/">limiting exposure</a> having eyelids to defend against the environmental damage and ensure the eyes are kept lubricated.</p> <p>Despite our bodies’ best efforts to shield the eyes from harm, there are a number of common eye infections that can result from introducing potential pathogens into the eyes.</p> <h2>Conjunctivitis</h2> <p>The outer-most layer of the eye, the sclera, bears the brunt of exposure and to help protect it, it is lined by a thin moist membrane called the <a href="https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/24329-conjunctiva">conjunctiva</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RZ4danuJwd0?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>The conjunctiva is <a href="https://innovations.bmj.com/content/9/4/253">highly vascularised</a>, which means it has lots of blood vessels. When microbes enter the eye, it is this layer that mounts an immune response causing <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8328962/">blood vessels to dilate</a> in the conjunctiva. This results in <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/conjunctivitis/about/symptoms.html">“pink eye”</a>, a common form of conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis can be caused by bacteria, allergens or viruses and typically heals by itself.</p> <h2>Blepharitis</h2> <p>Blepharitis is an inflammation of the eyelid and usually affects both sides. It can cause itchy eyes and dandruff-like flakes. It’s most commonly caused by <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.3109/09273948.2013.870214"><em>Staphylococcus</em> bacteria</a>, or the <a href="https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/blepharitis/background-information/causes/">dysfunction of the glands</a> of the eyelids. It can be treated by <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/blepharitis/">cleaning the eyes</a> regularly.</p> <h2>Stye</h2> <p>A stye (also called <a href="https://www.college-optometrists.org/clinical-guidance/clinical-management-guidelines/hordeolum">hordeolum</a>) is a painful infection of the upper or lower eyelid. <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5370090/">Internal styes</a> are caused by infection of an oil-producing gland inside the eyelid, whereas <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28723014/">external styes</a> develop at the base of the eyelash because of an infection of the hair follicle. Both are caused by bacteria, typically <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaophthalmology/fullarticle/1874715">the <em>S aureus</em> form of the <em>Staphylococcus</em> species</a>.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/INKrGOdy824?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Styes can be treated by holding a clean flannel soaked in warm water against the affected eye for five to ten minutes, three or four times a day. Do not try to burst styes – this could spread the infection.</p> <h2>Keratitis</h2> <p>Keratitis is the inflammation of the cornea, the transparent part of the eye that light passes through. The cornea is part of the eye’s main barrier against dirt, germs, and disease. Severe keratitis can cause ulcers, damage to the eye and even blindness.</p> <p>The most common type is bacterial keratitis; however, it can also be caused by <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7998329/">amoeba</a>, which can migrate to other parts of the body – including the brain – and cause infection and <a href="https://theconversation.com/nasal-rinsing-why-flushing-the-nasal-passages-with-tap-water-to-tackle-hay-fever-could-be-fatal-225811">even death</a>.</p> <p>Noninfectious keratitis is most commonly caused by wearing contact lenses for too long, especially while sleeping. This can cause scratches, dryness and soreness of the cornea, which leads to inflammation.</p> <h2>Uveitis</h2> <p><a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/uveitis/">Uveitis</a> is inflammation of the middle layer of the eye. Although relatively rare, it is a serious condition and usually results from viral infections such as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8501150/">herpes simplex</a>, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29023181/">herpes zoster</a> or <a href="https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-09126-6_40">trauma</a>. Depending on where the inflammation is in the eye, the symptoms can be anything from redness, pain and floaters to blurred vision and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1772296/">partial blindness</a>.</p> <h2>Exogenous endophthalmitis</h2> <p>This is a rare but serious infection caused by eye surgery complications, penetrating ocular trauma (being stabbed in the eye with a sharp object) or foreign bodies in the eye. Foreign bodies can be anything from dirt and dust to small projectiles such as shards of metal from drilling, explosives or soil from farm machinery and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7286045/">many other sources</a>.</p> <h2>Dacryocystitis</h2> <p>Dacryocystitis is the inflammation of the nasolacrimal sac, which drains tears away from the eye into the nose. This condition can be <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8443113/">acute</a>, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/6700662">chronic</a> or <a href="https://www.jebmh.com/articles/a-study-of-congenital-dacryocystitis.pdf.pdf">acquired at birth</a>. Most cases are caused by <a href="https://bmcophthalmol.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12886-020-01792-4"><em>Streptococcus pneumoniae</em> and <em>Staphylococcus aureus</em></a> bacteria.</p> <p>The condition mainly affects newborns and those over 40. Seventy-five per cent of cases are women and it’s most commonly found in <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6039673/">white adults</a>. It can lead to the stagnation of tears, creating a breeding ground for microbes.</p> <h2>Careful with contacts</h2> <p>Proper eye hygiene reduces the risk of all these conditions – and this is even more important for contact lens wearers.</p> <figure><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/uENHAntJOIA?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" width="440" height="260" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe></figure> <p>Appropriate hygienic cleaning of lenses is paramount. <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30789440/">Non-sterile water</a>, <a href="https://www.aao.org/eye-health/glasses-contacts/contact-lens-care">spit</a> and other fluids can transfer <a href="https://www.science.org/content/article/bacteria-living-your-contact-lens-solution">potentially dangerous</a> <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3482476/">microbes</a> into the eye – a warm, moist environment that makes an ideal breeding ground for bacteria – leading to <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9542356/">localised infection</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3972779/">blindness</a> or progress to a more serious <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9835757/">systemic infection or death</a>.</p> <p>Any persistent and painful redness or swelling of eyes should be checked by a registered health professional.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. 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More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/adam-taylor-283950">Adam Taylor</a>, Professor and Director of the Clinical Anatomy Learning Centre, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/lancaster-university-1176">Lancaster University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/eye-infections-might-seem-like-a-minor-complaint-but-in-some-cases-they-can-cause-blindness-and-even-death-227252">original article</a>.</em></p> </div>

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Judge finds Bruce Lehrmann raped Brittany Higgins and dismisses Network 10 defamation case. How did it play out?

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-clift-715691">Brendan Clift</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p>Bruce Lehrmann has lost his defamation suit against Channel Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson after the media defendants proved, on the balance of probabilities, that Lehrmann raped his colleague Brittany Higgins in Parliament House in 2019.</p> <p>After a trial lasting around a month, Federal Court Justice Michael Lee – an experienced defamation judge – concluded that both Lehrmann and Higgins had credibility issues, but ultimately <a href="https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2024/2024fca0369">he was persuaded</a> that Lehrmann raped Higgins, as she’d alleged and he’d denied.</p> <h2>Criminal trials by proxy</h2> <p>Ordinarily, charges like rape would be resolved through the criminal courts, but Lehrmann’s criminal trial was <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-27/jury-discharged-in-trial-of-bruce-lehrmann-brittany-higgins/101583486">aborted</a> in October 2022 after juror misconduct. The charges against him were soon <a href="https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/bruce-lehrmann-sexual-assault-charge-dropped-dpp-confirms/news-story/3f82dd388d2cfa38680f7d4f4ceb1c5e">dropped</a>, nominally over concerns for Higgins’ mental health.</p> <p>Higgins, however, foresaw civil proceedings and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/dec/05/brittany-higgins-volunteered-to-be-defamation-trial-witness-as-she-would-not-let-rapist-become-a-millionaire-ntwnfb">offered to testify</a> should they arise. That they did, as Lehrmann, free from the burden of any proven crime, sued several media outlets for defamation over their reporting into the allegations (<a href="https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/services/access-to-files-and-transcripts/online-files/lehrmann">the ABC</a> and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/dec/06/abc-agrees-to-pay-bruce-lehrmann-150000-to-settle-defamation-claim-court-documents-reveal">News Corp</a> both settled out of court).</p> <p><iframe class="flourish-embed-iframe" style="width: 100%; height: 550px;" title="Interactive or visual content" src="https://flo.uri.sh/visualisation/17195035/embed" width="100%" height="400" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" sandbox="allow-same-origin allow-forms allow-scripts allow-downloads allow-popups allow-popups-to-escape-sandbox allow-top-navigation-by-user-activation"></iframe></p> <div style="width: 100%!; margin-top: 4px!important; text-align: right!important;"><a class="flourish-credit" href="https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/17195035/?utm_source=embed&amp;utm_campaign=visualisation/17195035" target="_top"><img src="https://public.flourish.studio/resources/made_with_flourish.svg" alt="Made with Flourish" /></a></div> <p>Like Ben Roberts-Smith’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/dismissed-legal-experts-explain-the-judgment-in-the-ben-roberts-smith-defamation-case-191503">recent defamation suit</a> against the former Fairfax papers, this became another case of civil proceedings testing grave allegations in the absence of a criminal law outcome.</p> <p>The form of proceedings made for some key differences with the aborted criminal trial. In criminal cases, prosecutors are ethically bound to act with moderation in pursuing a conviction, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt, while defendants have the right to silence. By contrast, this trial featured detailed accounts from both sides as each sought to convince, in essence, that their contentions were likely to be correct.</p> <p>Also like the Roberts-Smith case, live streaming of the trial generated very high levels of public engagement. Today’s stream reached audiences of more than 45,000 people. It gave us the chance to assess who and what we believe, and to scrutinise the parties’ claims and the media’s reporting. The Federal Court doesn’t have juries, but we, the public, acted as a de facto panel of peers.</p> <p>We saw accusations and denials, revealing <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-12-23/bruce-lehrmann-defamation-trial-network-ten-lisa-wilkinson-ends/103260752">cross-examination</a> of the protagonists, witness testimony from colleagues, CCTV footage from nightclubs to Parliament House complete with lip-reading, expert testimony on alcohol consumption and consent, and lawyers constructing timelines which supported or poked holes in competing versions of events.</p> <p>The complexity of high-stakes legal proceedings was on display, with Justice Lee issuing many interim decisions on questions of procedure and evidence. Whenever transparency was at stake, it won.</p> <p>The preference for full disclosure led to the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/law/2024/apr/02/bruce-lehrmann-defamation-trial-network-10-fresh-evidence-bid-lisa-wilkinson-brittany-higgins-delay-ntwnfb">case being re-opened</a> at the eleventh hour to call former Channel 7 producer Taylor Auerbach as a witness, providing a denouement that the judge called “sordid”, but which had little relevance to the final result.</p> <h2>An argument over the truth</h2> <p>Lehrmann had the burden of proving that the defendants published matter harmful to his reputation. That matter was Wilkinson’s interview with Higgins on Channel Ten’s The Project in which the allegations were made.</p> <p>A statement is only defamatory if it’s untrue, but in Australian law, the publisher bears the burden of proving truth, should they opt for that defence. And more serious allegations usually require more compelling proof, as the law views them as inherently more unlikely.</p> <p>This can be onerous for a defamation defendant, but it also involves risk for the plaintiff, should the defendant embark on an odyssey of truth-telling yet more damaging to the plaintiff’s image. That happened to <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-65717684">Ben Roberts-Smith</a> and it happened to Lehrmann here.</p> <p>On the other hand, if the media hasn’t done their homework, as in <a href="https://www.judgments.fedcourt.gov.au/judgments/Judgments/fca/single/2023/2023fca1223">Heston Russell’s case</a> against the ABC (also presided over by Justice Lee), the complainant can be vindicated.</p> <p>This case was a manifestation of Lehrmann’s professed desire to “<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2023/oct/26/how-bruce-lehrmanns-media-interviews-cost-him-his-anonymity-in-toowoomba-case">light some fires</a>”. Few players in this extended saga have emerged without scars, and here he burned his own fingers, badly.</p> <p>As Justice Lee put it, Lehrmann, “having escaped the lion’s den [of criminal prosecution], made the mistake of coming back to get his hat”.</p> <h2>How was the case decided?</h2> <p>Lehrmann denied having sex with Higgins, whereas Higgins alleged there had been non-consensual sex. The defamatory nature of the publication centred on the claim of rape, so that was what the media defendants sought to prove.</p> <p>This left open the curious possibility that consensual sex might have taken place: if so, Lehrmann would have brought his case on a false premise (there had been no sex), but the media would have failed to defend it (by not proving a lack of consent), resulting in a Lehrmann win.</p> <p>That awkward scenario did not arise. The court found sex did in fact take place, Higgins in her heavily-inebriated and barely-conscious state did not give consent, and Lehrmann was so intent on his gratification that he ignored the requirement of consent.</p> <p>Justice Lee found Lehrmann to be a persistent, self-interested liar, whereas Higgin’s credibility issues were of lesser degree, some symptomatic of a person piecing together a part-remembered trauma. The judge drew strongly on the evidence of certain neutral parties who could testify to incidents or words spoken in close proximity to the events.</p> <h2>Defamation laws favour the aggrieved</h2> <p>Australian defamation law has historically favoured plaintiffs and, despite recent <a href="https://www.ruleoflaw.org.au/civil/defamation/2021-law-reform/">rebalancing attempts</a>, it remains a favoured legal weapon for those with the resources to use it.</p> <p>This includes our political class, who sue their critics for defamation with unhealthy frequency for a democracy. In the United States, public figures don’t have it so easy: to win they must prove their critics were lying.</p> <p>In Australia, the media sometimes succeeds in proving truth, but contesting defamation proceedings comes at great financial cost and takes an emotional toll on the journalists involved.</p> <p>Nor can a true claim always be proven to a court’s satisfaction, given the rules of evidence and the fact that sources may be reluctant to testify or protected by a reporter’s guarantee of confidentiality.</p> <p>But this case demonstrates that publishers with an appetite for the legal fight can come out on top.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/225891/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/brendan-clift-715691"><em>Brendan Clift</em></a><em>, Lecturer of law, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-melbourne-722">The University of Melbourne</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/judge-finds-bruce-lehrmann-raped-brittany-higgins-and-dismisses-network-10-defamation-case-how-did-it-play-out-225891">original article</a>.</em></p>

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Astonishing drug and prostitute claims surface as Lehrmann case reopened

<p>The ongoing defamation case involving Bruce Lehrmann, a central figure in the Brittany Higgins saga, has been thrust back into the spotlight with shocking new allegations.</p> <p>The reopening of the case stems from claims made by former Seven Network producer Taylor Auerbach, which seek to shed light on a series of dealings surrounding Lehrmann's interactions with various media outlets.</p> <p>The allegations put forth by Auerbach paint an astonishing picture of Lehrmann's recruitment by Seven Network for an exclusive tell-all interview. It's alleged that Lehrmann, in a bid to secure his cooperation, was lavishly reimbursed for expenses that included not only extravagant meals and travel but also expenditures on illicit drugs and prostitutes.</p> <p>The details emerged through affidavits filed by Auerbach with the Federal Court, just days before a judgment was expected in Lehrmann's defamation case against Network Ten and journalist Lisa Wilkinson. The case originated from a February 2021 report on <em>The Project</em>, where Brittany Higgins accused Lehrmann of rape within a Parliament House office in 2019.</p> <p>According to Auerbach's affidavits, Lehrmann breached a so-called Harman undertaking by leaking private and confidential texts from Higgins to Seven Network, violating an agreement that restricted the use of evidence from an abandoned criminal case against him. These texts allegedly facilitated Lehrmann's negotiations with Seven Network and formed a crucial part of his interview on the <em>Spotlight</em> program.</p> <p>The allegations take a darker turn with claims of financial reimbursement for illicit activities. Auerbach asserts that Seven Network reimbursed Lehrmann for expenses related to drug purchases and visits to brothels, implicating the network in what can only be described as deeply troubling conduct.</p> <p>"I recall that monies paid by (Lehrmann) for illicit drugs and prostitutes that evening at the Meriton and the following evening at a brothel in Surry Hills were reimbursed to (Lehrmann) by Seven," Auerbach states in his affidavit, according to <a href="https://au.news.yahoo.com/lehrmann-defamation-case-reopened-evidence-163000287.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Yahoo News</a>.</p> <p>The reopening of Lehrmann's defamation case underscores the gravity of these allegations and their potential implications. Justice Michael Lee's decision to admit fresh evidence indicates the seriousness with which the court regards these claims and the need for a thorough examination of the facts.</p> <p>In response to these allegations, both Lehrmann and Seven Network have vehemently denied any wrongdoing. Lehrmann maintains his innocence, asserting that he did not leak texts to Seven Network and denying any involvement in the misconduct alleged by Auerbach. Seven Network, for its part, denies authorising or condoning the alleged payments to Lehrmann and says that any unauthorised expenses were promptly rectified.</p> <p><em>Image: Getty</em></p>

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Major development in Madeleine McCann case

<p>In the ongoing investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, German police have descended upon a property in Braunschweig, Germany, in search of a key associate of Christian Brueckner, the prime suspect in the case.</p> <p>The urgency of the search stems from the belief that this individual may possess crucial information regarding the fate of the missing girl.</p> <p>The focus of this operation was a residence linked to a 56-year-old man identified only as Ralph H. According to reports from <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/26665050/hunt-madeleine-mccann-christian-b-pal/" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>The Sun</em></a>, Ralph H. is a long-time friend of Brueckner, suspected of being involved in criminal activities alongside him, including home robberies.</p> <p>The property, located just outside Braunschweig, was surrounded by armed officers – however, the operation hit a roadblock as police were unable to enter the premises due to the absence of a search warrant. </p> <p>The urgency surrounding Ralph H. is palpable, with authorities stressing the need to speak with him promptly. “We must find him to ask him about missing Madeleine McCann,” said a<span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;"> detective from Germany’s federal investigative agency, the Bundeskriminalamt (BKA). </span>“He’s not at home, he doesn’t answer the phone, he’s apparently disappeared.”</p> <p>Neighbours of Ralph H. corroborated reports of his absence: “They surrounded his home and shouted out his name but with no luck,” one said. “The officers later asked me if I had any idea where Ralph could be. It was about midday and I thought he was out working. But it turns out he hasn’t been seen for nearly a week now.” </p> <p>Meanwhile, Christian Brueckner, the main suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance, is embroiled in a separate legal battle. Currently facing trial for unrelated sexual offences, Brueckner's defence has maintained his silence, refusing to respond to the charges against him. Despite his denial of involvement in Madeleine's case, suspicions loom large, given his proximity to the scene of her disappearance and his criminal history.</p> <p>As the investigation unfolds, the spotlight remains on individuals like Ralph H. and Brueckner, whose connections and actions may hold the key to unraveling the mystery that has gripped the world for nearly two decades.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Experts shed new light on Samantha Murphy case

<p>A panel of experts have shed new light on the case of missing mum Samantha Murphy. </p> <p>The mother-of-three went missing on February 4 after going for her usual morning run in a local park in Ballarat. </p> <p>Despite major search efforts from the missing persons squad, specialists and the local Ballarat community, she has still not been found, and now a panel of experts have gathered to discuss the possibilities of what could've happened to Murphy. </p> <p>Former Victorian detective Damian Marrett, criminal psychologist Dr Peter Ashkar, missing persons specialist Valentine Smith and cyber expert Nigel Phair discussed a number of different scenarios in Channel Nine's show <em>Under Investigation </em>on Wednesday night. </p> <p>“The idea that Samantha has actually wilfully left the family is just unfathomable and just implausible to me,” Dr Ashkar said. </p> <p>Presenter Liz Hayes, who spoke to mine shaft explorer Raymond Shaw said that there's a possibility Murphy's body has been buried in one of the abandoned mine shafts around Ballarat. </p> <p>“I think there could be anywhere between 4000 and 5000 gold mines just underneath the town," Shaw told Hayes. </p> <p>The panel agreed that the most likely scenario was that Murphy’s body had been dumped in a mineshaft after meeting with foul play, as they believe that there was "no way" Murphy fell down a mineshaft by accident, as the locals all know how to navigate the terrain. </p> <p>“They could be a great place to conceal a body or a crime after the fact … and you’d probably never find it,” Marrett said. </p> <p>Dr Ashkar added that the absence of any trace of Murphy could point to her having been attacked by a “psychopathic predator … who would know that area, like the back of their hand”.</p> <p>The panel also considered a potential new clue, the possible sighting of a damaged vehicle, which was alluded to in a <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/health/caring/major-development-in-search-for-samantha-murphy" target="_blank" rel="noopener">police statement </a>requesting for new information about the case. </p> <p>The experts said that if there was a damaged car in the area, it could mean that Murphy was kidnapped at the 7km point of her run and could still be alive. </p> <p>“I would still like to believe the very real possibility that it’s a kidnapping and she’s still alive,” Dr Ashkar said. </p> <p>“That’s my hope. But I absolutely feel that whoever has taken her and abducted, they are very systematic and organised and knew very well what they were doing.”</p> <p>Marrett added that the police’s interest in the damaged car was significant.</p> <p>“They didn’t just say a car, they said a damaged car, it’s so specific,” he said.</p> <p>“So was that damage caused with this incident or was that damage because someone saw a damaged car leave?”</p> <p><em>Image: Nine / Facebook</em></p>

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The secret witness who could be the key to the Madeleine McCann case

<p>A secret witness to a disturbing comment made by the main suspect in the Madeleine McCann case could be the key to seeing him charged. </p> <p>Madeleine McCann was three years old when she went missing on a family trip to Portugal in 2007, and has not been seen since. </p> <p>Christian Brueckner, a convicted rapist and paedophile, has long been named the prime suspect in Maddie's abduction, and is set to stand trial on Friday for a series of charges, none of while relate to the McCann case. </p> <p>Now, almost seventeen years since her disappearance, a secret witness has come forward about a disturbing comment Brueckner a year after Maddie's abduction. </p> <p>Helge Busching, a former friend of Brueckner, has revealed a chilling conversation he had with his former friend after they ran into each other at a music festival. </p> <p>Busching, who is currently in police protection, claims Brueckner told him Madeleine was taken without anyone noticing because she didn't make a sound. </p> <p>"He said she didn't scream. 'She didn't scream', that is what Brueckner said and then I looked at Mr Brueckner and thought 'what are you telling me now?'" said Busching on <a href="https://9now.nine.com.au/60-minutes/the-secret-witness-who-could-break-open-the-madeleine-mccann-case/3a383ca7-758a-4b46-a288-8f911ee942e5" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><em>60 Minutes</em></a>. </p> <blockquote class="instagram-media" 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);" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3NDFgEPudr/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="14"> <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> <div style="padding: 12.5% 0;"> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; margin-bottom: 14px; align-items: center;"> <div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(0px) translateY(7px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; height: 12.5px; transform: rotate(-45deg) translateX(3px) translateY(1px); width: 12.5px; flex-grow: 0; margin-right: 14px; margin-left: 2px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; height: 12.5px; width: 12.5px; transform: translateX(9px) translateY(-18px);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: 8px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 20px; width: 20px;"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 2px solid transparent; border-left: 6px solid #f4f4f4; border-bottom: 2px solid transparent; transform: translateX(16px) translateY(-4px) rotate(30deg);"> </div> </div> <div style="margin-left: auto;"> <div style="width: 0px; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-right: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(16px);"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; flex-grow: 0; height: 12px; width: 16px; transform: translateY(-4px);"> </div> <div style="width: 0; height: 0; border-top: 8px solid #F4F4F4; border-left: 8px solid transparent; transform: translateY(-4px) translateX(8px);"> </div> </div> </div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center; margin-bottom: 24px;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 224px;"> </div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 144px;"> </div> </div> <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 style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" href="https://www.instagram.com/reel/C3NDFgEPudr/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank" rel="noopener">A post shared by 60 Minutes Australia (@60minutes9)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>In the wake of Busching's comments, the police prosecutor in Brueckner's case remains adamant he is behind the high-profile disappearance of Maddie. </p> <p>"We have evidence and we come to the conclusion that Madeleine McCann is dead and Christian B murdered her," says Hans Christian Wolters.  </p> <p>With the 46-year-old currently in jail and facing convictions for several counts of rape and sexual assault, Wolters has the luxury of time to pursue all leads, no matter how small, to build a watertight case against the suspect. </p> <p>He said, "We have only one chance and we want to go to court with the best result we could get. So we decided to investigate as much as we can and if it takes much more time than normal investigations, it's the price for the best result."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images / 60 Minutes</em></p>

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It’s 4 years since the first COVID case in Australia. Here’s how our pandemic experiences have changed over time

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/deborah-lupton-9359">Deborah Lupton</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p>It might be hard to believe, but four years have now passed since the <a href="https://www.health.gov.au/topics/covid-19/about">first COVID case</a> was confirmed in Australia on January 25 2020. Five days later, the <a href="https://www.who.int/publications/m/item/covid-19-public-health-emergency-of-international-concern-(pheic)-global-research-and-innovation-forum">World Health Organization</a> (WHO) declared a “public health emergency of international concern”, as the novel coronavirus (later named SARS-CoV-2) began to spread worldwide.</p> <p>On March 11 the WHO would declare COVID a pandemic, while around the same time Australian federal and state governments hastily <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp2021/Chronologies/COVID-19StateTerritoryGovernmentAnnouncements">introduced measures</a> to “stop the spread” of the virus. These included shutting Australia’s international borders, closing non-essential businesses, schools and universities, and limiting people’s movements outside their homes.</p> <p>I began my project, <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2023.1092322/full">Australians’ Experiences of COVID-19</a>, in May 2020. This research has continued each year to date, allowing me to track how Australians’ attitudes around COVID have changed over the course of the pandemic.</p> <h2>Evolving pandemic experiences</h2> <p>We recruited participants from across Australia, including people living in regional cities and towns. Participants range in age from early adulthood to people in their 80s.</p> <p>The first three stages of the project each involved 40 interviews with separate groups of participants (so 120 people in total). These interviews were done in May to July 2020 (stage 1), September to October 2021 (stage 2), and September 2022 (stage 3). Stage 4 was an online survey with 1,000 respondents, conducted in September 2023.</p> <p>Limitations of this project include the small sample sizes for the first three stages (as is common with qualitative interview-based research). This means the findings from those phases are not generalisable, but they do provide rich insights into the experiences of the interviewees. The quantitative stage 4 survey, however, is representative of the Australian population.</p> <p>The findings show that as the conditions of the pandemic and government management have changed across these years, so have Australians’ experiences.</p> <p>In the <a href="https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-021-10743-7">early months of the pandemic</a>, some people reported becoming confused, distressed and overwhelmed by the plethora of information sources and the fast-changing news environment. On the other hand, seeking out information provided reassurance and comfort in response to their anxiety and uncertainty about this new disease.</p> <p>Australians <a href="https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781003280644-28/covid-19-crisis-communication-deborah-lupton">continued to rely heavily</a> on news reports and government announcements in the first two years of the pandemic. Regular briefings from premiers and <a href="https://theconversation.com/chief-health-officers-are-in-the-spotlight-like-never-before-heres-what-goes-on-behind-the-scenes-166828?utm_source=twitter&amp;utm_medium=bylinetwitterbutton">chief health officers in particular</a> were highly important for how they learned what was happening, as were updates in the media on case numbers, hospitalisations, deaths and progress towards vaccination targets.</p> <h2>Trust has eroded</h2> <p>Australians appear to have lost a lot of trust in COVID information sources such as news media reports, health agencies and government leaders. Early strong support of federal, state and territory governments’ pandemic management in <a href="https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-021-10743-7">2020</a> and <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14649365.2023.2240290">2021</a> has given way to much lower support more recently.</p> <p>My <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4626720">2023 survey</a> (this is published as a report, not peer-reviewed) found doctors were considered the most trustworthy sources of COVID information, but even they were trusted by only 60% of respondents.</p> <p>After doctors, participants trusted other experts in the field (53%), Australian government health agencies (52%), global health agencies (49%), scientists (45%) and community health organisations (35%). Australian government leaders were towards the lower end of the spectrum (31%).</p> <p>In <a href="https://academic.oup.com/heapro/article/38/1/daac192/7026242?login=false">2021</a>, Australians responded positively to the vaccine targets and “<a href="https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/victorias-roadmap-delivering-national-plan">road maps</a>” set by governments. These clear guidelines, and especially the promise that the initial doses would remove the need for lockdowns and border closures, were strong incentives to get vaccinated in 2021.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the prospect that vaccines would control COVID was shown to be largely unfounded. While COVID vaccines were and continue to be very effective at protecting against severe disease and death, they’re less effective at <a href="https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/vaccines/vaccines-faq">stopping people becoming infected</a>.</p> <p>Once very high numbers of eligible Australians became vaccinated against the delta variant, <a href="https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/37068078/">omicron reached Australia</a>, resulting in Australia’s first big wave of infection. This led to disillusionment about vaccines’ value for many participants.</p> <p>In the <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4626720">2023 survey</a>, respondents reported a high uptake of the first three COVID shots. But when asked whether they planned to get another vaccine in the next 12 months, almost two-thirds said they did not, or they were unsure.</p> <h2>Enter complacency</h2> <p>Complacency now seems to have set in for many Australians. This can be linked to the progressive withdrawal of strong public health measures such as quarantine, mandatory isolation when infected, and testing and tracing regimens.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the media, government leaders and health agencies have played less of an active public role in conveying COVID information. This has led to uncertainty about the extent to which COVID is still a risk and lack of incentive to take protective actions such as mask wearing.</p> <p>In <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4626720">2023</a>, after mandates had ended, only 9% of respondents said they always wore a mask in indoor public places. Only a narrow majority of respondents even supported compulsory masking for workers in health-care facilities.</p> <p>The <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4626720">2023 survey</a> confirmed many Australians no longer feel at risk from COVID. Some 17% of respondents said COVID was definitely still posing a risk to Australians, while a further 42% saw COVID as somewhat of a risk. This left 28% who did not view COVID as much of a continuing risk, and 13% who thought it was not a risk at all.</p> <h2>COVID is still a risk</h2> <p>Whether or not people feel at continuing risk from COVID, the pandemic is still significantly affecting Australians. The <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4626720">2023 survey</a> found more than two-thirds of respondents (68%) reported having had at least one COVID infection to their knowledge, including 13% who had experienced three or more. Of those who’d had COVID, 40% said they experienced ongoing symptoms, or long COVID.</p> <p>If the pandemic loses visibility in public forums, people have no way of knowing the risk of infection continues, and are therefore unlikely to take steps to protect themselves and others.</p> <p>Updated case, hospitalisation, death and vaccination numbers should be communicated regularly, as <a href="https://theconversation.com/covid-is-surging-in-australia-and-only-1-in-5-older-adults-are-up-to-date-with-their-boosters-220839">used to be the case</a>. To combat confusion, complacency and misinformation, all health advice should be based on the latest robust science.</p> <p>Australians are operating in a vacuum of information from trusted sources. They need much better and more frequent public health campaigns and risk communication from their leaders.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/220336/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/deborah-lupton-9359"><em>Deborah Lupton</em></a><em>, SHARP Professor, Vitalities Lab, Centre for Social Research in Health and Social Policy Centre, and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/unsw-sydney-1414">UNSW Sydney</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty </em><em>Images </em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/its-4-years-since-the-first-covid-case-in-australia-heres-how-our-pandemic-experiences-have-changed-over-time-220336">original article</a>.</em></p>

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"Very poor journalism": Lisa Wilkinson called out in defamation case

<p>Lisa Wilkinson has been forced to defend the journalistic decisions of <em>The Project</em>, as she took to the stand as part of Bruce Lehrmann's defamation case against Wilkinson and Channel Ten. </p> <p>During court proceedings on Friday, Wilkinson admitted that during her bombshell report on Brittany Higgins' rape allegations, the program left out key information. </p> <p><em>The Project</em> allegedly edited out important details about what happened in Parliament House the morning after Brittany Higgins was allegedly raped.</p> <div data-body-element-id="zjCMXjhzxa"> <p>In an uncut version of the episode which aired in February 2021, Wilkinson asked Ms Higgins if any security guards had asked if she was "okay" after the alleged incident.</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="R0B2D1Ni6K"> <p>Ms Higgins replied, "No, no. I mean, besides one who called into the office in the morning, and said ‘Is everyone okay?’ and that was it."</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="2D5V5jCZaQ"> <p>In the final cut, the words "...besides the one who called into the office in the morning" were not included.</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="9FH5ZgE5Ew"> <p>Bruce Lehrmann's barrister Matthew Richardson SC quizzed Wilkinson about the edit, saying, "That's very poor journalism, isn't it?"</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="q0X6OvsQtG"> <p>Wilkinson replied, "I'm disappointed to see that. It is a detail which escaped my attention."</p> <p>Elsewhere during the court proceedings, Wilkinson bit back at Lehrmann's lawyer for challenging her journalistic abilities.</p> <p>On Thursday, Wilkinson was asked why she didn't ask to see the metadata on a photo of a bruise on Brittany Higgins' thigh, which she claimed was from the alleged rape. </p> <p>Wilkinson told the Federal Court that she was not "tech-savvy" and did not know what metadata was, saying, "I didn't know photos had metadata."</p> <div data-body-element-id="A9GzCf-Iqm"> <p>Lehrmann's lawyer Mr Richardson was quick to ask in response: "You describe yourself as a serious investigative journalist?"</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="3eDMnH9cY0"> <p>She bit back, stating she only refers to herself as a "journalist".</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="tMBlnKPjTn"> <p>Mr Richardson said, "You were emphatic yesterday when you said you were not a tabloid journalist.'</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="9WzAcuceor"> <p>She repeated: "I describe myself as a journalist, Mr Richardson."</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="bUfGxqx44_"> <p>He said given she had been a journalist for 40 years, "it was most improbable that you did not know what metadata was."</p> </div> <div data-body-element-id="QIHT-BVE1b"> <p>She replied, "I disagree."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> </div> </div>

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"Embarrassing" travel pillow frequent flyers swear by

<p>When it comes to travelling in economy, looking glamorous usually takes a back seat, with many people prioritising comfort over anything else. </p> <p>Travelling in cattle class presents its own issues with getting comfy on a plane, especially when sitting in the middle seat. </p> <p>However, a committed frequent flyer has discovered the "travel hack of the year" with an unusual looking travel pillow that means you can get comfy anywhere. </p> <p>“When you got the middle seat for a 13-hour plane ride,” wrote adventurer Annie Wright, 23, in the captions of a viral TikTok testimonial dedicated to the strange-looking, yet in-demand inflatable travel pillow.</p> <p>In the video, which has racked in a whopping 26.6 million views, Ms Wright, a law student in the US, shared footage of herself puffing into the plushy prop that’s offered by <a href="https://www.kmart.com.au/product/inflatable-front-travel-pillow-43238989/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Amazon</a>.</p> <p>For Aussies, you can snag the innovative travel pillow from <a href="https://www.kmart.com.au/product/inflatable-front-travel-pillow-43238989/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Kmart</a> for a breezy $18.</p> <p>“I wasn’t sure if I’d like it and omg SO worth it!” cheered Ms Wright in the clip’s caption. “Total upgrade.”</p> <p>This new pillow puts the round-the-neck pillows to shame, as the expandable cushion, designed with an ergonomic 45-degree angle, offers support to the head and neck and inflates in just seconds. </p> <p>Once inflated, users are meant to position the pillow — created with a face cutout at its apex and two arm holes on its sides — on their passenger tray tables and lean forward into a relaxed position.</p> <p>The hot commodity’s details also noted that it can “help you stay away from injury and insomnia, make you rest more comfortable during the journey, easier to fall asleep, and sleep longer,” according to Amazon. </p> <p>According to the online Kmart reviews of the product, one traveller said it was “awkward looking” but “really comfortable” and perfect for long-haul flights.</p> <p>Folks under the #InflatableTravelPillow TikTok hashtag have hailed the headrest the “travel hack of the year.”</p> <p>However, haters of the portable bedding have deemed it an “embarrassment.” </p> <p>“My back just hurts watching this,” said one commenter beneath Ms Wright’s post. </p> <p>“Yeah I have social anxiety I would be too embarrassed to use it,” penned another.</p> <p>But in response to the criticisms, Ms Wright wrote, “People keep saying this [pillow] is embarrassing, but what’s more embarrassing is being caught with your mouth open just knocked out.”</p> <p><em>Image credits: TikTok</em></p>

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Try these 12 clever pillowcase hacks you’ll wish you knew sooner

<p><strong>Use a pillowcase as a laundry bag while travelling </strong></p> <p>When you travel, you always want to keep your dirty laundry separate from your clean clothes. Stick a pillowcase in your suitcase and toss in the dirty laundry as it accumulates. When you get home, just empty the pillowcase into the washer and throw in the pillowcase as well.</p> <p><strong>Use a pillowcase to dust ceiling fan blades</strong></p> <p>Have you ever seen dust bunnies careening off your ceiling fan when you turn it on for the first time in weeks? Grab an old pillowcase and place it over one of the ceiling fan blades. Slowly pull off the pillowcase. The blades get dusted and the dust bunnies stay in the pillowcase, instead of parachuting to the floor.</p> <p><strong>Turn a pillowcase into napkins </strong></p> <p>Who needs formal linen napkins that need to be pressed every time you use them? Pillowcases are available in a wide array of colours and designs. Pick a colour or design you like, and start cutting. Prevent fraying by sewing a hem on each side, or simply finish with iron-on hemming tape. You’ll have a new set of colourful napkins for a fraction of the cost of regular cloth napkins.</p> <p><strong>Use a pillowcase to keep matching bedding together </strong></p> <p>Your recently arrived overnight guests want to go to bed, but it’s not made. You run to the linen closet, but you can’t find a matched set of sheets. Next time, file away your linens. Place newly laundered and folded sheets in their matching pillowcase before putting them in the closet.</p> <p><strong>Prepare travel pillows</strong></p> <p>Family road trips can be a lot of fun, but they can also get a little grimy too. Your youngsters may want to bring their own pillows along for the ride, but after several days in the car, they’re likely to get dirty with candy, food and markers. Take their favourite pillows and layer several pillowcases on each. When the outside one gets dirty, remove it for a fresh start!</p> <p><strong>Use a pillowcase to wrap a present </strong></p> <p>Trying to wrap a basketball or an odd-shaped piece of art? Is your wrapping paper not doing the trick? Place the gift in a pillowcase and tie closed with a ribbon.</p> <p><strong>Use a pillowcase to store your jumpers</strong></p> <p>Stored in plastic, winter jumpers can get musty. But stored in a wardrobe, they’re prey to moths. The solution can be found among your linens. Put the sweaters in a pillowcase for seasonal storage. They will stay free from dust but the pillowcase fabric will allow them to breathe.</p> <p><strong>Use old pillowcases as garment bags </strong></p> <p>You’ve just laundered a favourite dress shirt or skirt and you know you won’t be wearing it again for a while. To protect the garment, cut a hole in the top of an old pillowcase and slip it over the hanger and clothing. Psst – you can also use this trick when you’re packing for a holiday.</p> <p><strong>Use pillowcases as dust bags </strong></p> <p>You reach up to pull a leather purse or suede shoes down from a shelf. Of course, the item is dusty and now you have to clean it. Save yourself the time and hassle next time by storing infrequently used items in a pillowcase. They’ll be clean and ready to use when the occasion arises.</p> <p><strong>Wash your delicates in a pillowcase </strong></p> <p>Jumpers and pantyhose can get pulled out of shape when they twist around in the washer. To protect these garments during washing, toss them into a pillowcase and close with string or rubber band. Set the machine on the delicate setting, add the soap, and worry not about knots.</p> <p><strong>Machine-wash stuffed animals in pillowcases</strong></p> <p>Your child’s favourite stuffed animal is cute, but mighty dusty. Time for a bath! Place it in a pillowcase and put it in the washer. The pillowcase will ensure it gets a gentle but thorough wash. If any parts fall off the stuffed animal, it’ll be caught in the pillowcase so you can reattach them after the washing machine bath.</p> <p><strong>Use a pillowcase to clear out cobwebs </strong></p> <p>There’s a cobweb way up high in the corner of your dining room. Before you take a broom to it, cover the broom with an old pillowcase. Now you can wipe away the cobweb without scratching the wall paint. It’s also easier to remove the cobweb from the pillow than to pull it out of the broom bristles.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/home-tips/12-clever-uses-for-pillowcases-youll-wish-you-knew-sooner?pages=1" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Reader's Digest</a>. </em></p>

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Australian researchers confirm world’s first case of dementia linked to repetitive brain trauma in a female athlete

<p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-townsend-501829">Stephen Townsend</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alan-pearce-734804">Alan Pearce</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebecca-olive-944640">Rebecca Olive</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p>Researchers at the <a href="https://www.brainbank.org.au/">Australian Sports Brain Bank</a> have today reported the world’s first diagnosis of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in a <a href="https://rdcu.be/dfQiz">female athlete</a>.</p> <p>With the consent of her family, the diagnosis was made on the brain of Heather Anderson, a 28-year-old AFLW athlete <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-11-14/adelaide-aflw-premiership-player-heather-anderson-dies-aged-28/101653188">who died</a> last November. Heather’s family donated her brain to the Australian Sports Brain Bank hoping to better understand why she died.</p> <p>The findings, which Professor Alan Pearce co-authored with the Australian Sports Brain Bank, raise questions about how a lifetime of contact sport may have contributed to her death. They come as Australia’s <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Community_Affairs/Headtraumainsport">Senate inquiry</a> works on its report into concussions and repeated head trauma in contact sport, due in August.</p> <p>Given how hard women have fought to participate in football codes and contact sports in recent years, this diagnosis has major implications for women’s sport in Australia. It also highlights the significant lack of research about women athletes in sport science and medicine.</p> <h2>What is chronic traumatic encephalopathy?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chronic-traumatic-encephalopathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20370921">CTE</a> is a devastating form of dementia which causes a decline in brain functioning and increased risk of mental illness. It is increasingly associated with athletes who play contact sports, such as football, boxing and martial arts.</p> <p>It is incurable and can only be <a href="https://www.brainbank.org.au/cte-diagnosis/">diagnosed post-mortem</a>. Recently, a number of high-profile former Australian footballers were found to have been suffering from CTE when they died, including former AFL stars <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-04-26/danny-frawley-family-urges-afl-to-act-on-cte-concussion/102269648">Danny Frawley</a> and <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-25/brain-disease-killed-shane-tuck-not-mental-health-says-sister/101362740">Shane Tuck</a>, and former NRL player and coach <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-22/qld-paul-green-brain-scans-reveal-brain-disease-cte-diagnosis/101566032">Paul Green</a>.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Adelaide AFLW premiership player Heather Anderson dies aged 28 <a href="https://t.co/ihy2i9UcRl">https://t.co/ihy2i9UcRl</a></p> <p>— ABC News (@abcnews) <a href="https://twitter.com/abcnews/status/1592079585201381377?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">November 14, 2022</a></p></blockquote> <p>Concussions in contact sports have long been associated with long-term neurodegeneration in <a href="https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fspor.2021.676463/full">Australia</a> and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3987576/">internationally</a>. While the public and researchers are rightly concerned about serious concussions, a study published last month in <a href="https://urldefense.com/v3/__https:/www.nature.com/articles/s41467-023-39183-0__;!!PDiH4ENfjr2_Jw!FvAmUDcX-ESwwl8nG_BNNkRyB2J4TBq1oXkBTE1bBcdRGEQTl4u7qmgGsLguHpGNlFpWkz-SjKg3HGwdNYxIfEWW9U6ifytx%24">Nature Communications</a> confirmed that repetitive brain trauma over time – even seemingly mild head knocks or whiplash – is the strongest predictor for an athlete developing CTE. Athletes with long careers in contact sport are at particular risk, especially if they play from an early age.</p> <h2>A sporting life</h2> <p>Heather Anderson began playing rugby league at age five before transferring to Australian rules football in her early teens. She played representative football in the Australian Capital Territory and Northern Territory before being drafted into the inaugural season of the AFLW in 2017.</p> <p>Anderson played a single season with the <a href="https://crowshistory.afc.com.au/aflw-players/heather-anderson#:%7E:text=Biography&amp;text=An%20army%20medic%2C%20Heather%20Anderson,year%20and%20starred%20for%20Waratah.">Adelaide Crows</a>, during which she won a premiership and suffered a career-ending shoulder injury. She then returned to her role as a medic with the Australian Army, a physical career which also carries a <a href="https://www.defence.gov.au/adf-members-families/health-well-being/programs-initiatives/military-health-outcomes-program">heightened risk of brain injury</a>.</p> <p>Anderson’s family donated her brain in the hope of knowing whether a lifetime of exposure to repetitive head trauma contributed to her death.</p> <h2>Was this diagnosis expected?</h2> <p>Concussion researcher Anne McKee predicted earlier this year it was a <a href="https://www.1news.co.nz/2023/02/20/its-coming-experts-worried-about-female-athlete-brain-injuries/">matter of time</a> before CTE was found in the brain of a woman athlete.</p> <p>The Australian Sports Brain Bank team believe Anderson is a “<a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK564388/">sentinel case</a>” we can learn from. She is the first female athlete diagnosed with CTE, but she will not be the last.</p> <p>Although Australian women have historically been excluded from the sports most associated with repeated head injuries, this is changing. In 2022, there were almost one million women and girls playing some form of <a href="https://www.clearinghouseforsport.gov.au/kb/women-in-sport">contact sport</a> in Australia. As women’s participation in contact sport continues to grow, so too does their risk of repetitive brain trauma.</p> <h2>Are women more prone to CTE than men?</h2> <p>There is emerging evidence that women are at significantly higher risk of mild traumatic brain injury (concussion) and may suffer more severe symptoms.</p> <p>Concussion alone does not cause CTE, but an athlete’s number of concussions is a reliable indicator of their cumulative exposure to brain trauma, which is the biggest predictor of CTE.</p> <p>While knowledge on the topic is still developing, researchers <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02089-2">propose a mix of physiological and social explanations</a> for women’s increased concussion risk. These include "[…] differences in the microstructure of the brain to the influence of hormones, coaching regimes, players’ level of experience and the management of injuries."</p> <p>More research is needed to understand sporting brain injuries specifically in women and girls. Given their growth in participation and the enhanced risks they face in sport, it is concerning that women and girls are <a href="https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/56/17/981">underrepresented</a> in concussion research.</p> <p>This is representative of a <a href="https://journals-humankinetics-com.ap1.proxy.openathens.net/view/journals/wspaj/29/2/article-p146.xml">broader trend</a> in sport and exercise science research to exclude women from studies because their bodies are perceived as <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-021-01435-8">more complex</a> than men’s and thus more difficult to accommodate in testing.</p> <h2>A disease that does not discriminate</h2> <p>This world-first report of CTE in a female athlete is proof the disease does not discriminate and lends urgency to calls for <a href="https://theconversation.com/sports-concussions-affect-men-and-women-differently-female-athletes-need-more-attention-in-brain-research-160097">greater representation</a> of women in brain injury studies.</p> <p>Efforts to reduce concussion in women’s sport must first address resource inequalities between men’s and women’s sport. This includes giving women access to quality training and coaching support, as well as <a href="https://theconversation.com/new-study-much-of-what-were-told-about-gym-exercises-and-resistance-training-is-from-studies-of-males-by-men-205753">greater attention</a> from sport science and medical research.</p> <p>The health of <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14443058.2019.1575262">women athletes and women’s sport</a> will only progress if researchers, policymakers and sport governance bodies ensure the attention and resources required to address concussion and brain disease are not focused solely on men.</p> <hr /> <p><em>If this article has raised issues for you, or if you’re concerned about someone you know, call <a href="https://www.lifeline.org.au/">Lifeline</a> on 13 11 14.<!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/208929/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></em></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/stephen-townsend-501829">Stephen Townsend</a>, Lecturer, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/the-university-of-queensland-805">The University of Queensland</a>; <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/alan-pearce-734804">Alan Pearce</a>, Professor, College of Science, Health, Engineering, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/la-trobe-university-842">La Trobe University</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/rebecca-olive-944640">Rebecca Olive</a>, Vice Chancellor's Senior Research Fellow, <a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/rmit-university-1063">RMIT University</a></em></p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/australian-researchers-confirm-worlds-first-case-of-dementia-linked-to-repetitive-brain-trauma-in-a-female-athlete-208929">original article</a>.</em></p>

Caring

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What should the Australian War Memorial do with its heroic portraits of Ben Roberts-Smith?

<p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kit-messham-muir-129956">Kit Messham-Muir</a>, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p>On Friday, the <a href="https://theconversation.com/dismissed-legal-experts-explain-the-judgment-in-the-ben-roberts-smith-defamation-case-191503">Federal Court dismissed</a> Ben Roberts-Smith’s defamation case against The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times.</p> <p>Justice Anthony Besanko ruled the newspapers had established, by the “balance of probabilities” (the standard of evidence in a civil lawsuit), that Roberts-Smith had committed war crimes.</p> <p>Following the ruling, much public debate has focused on what the Australian War Memorial should do with Robert-Smith’s uniform, helmet and other artefacts of his on display.</p> <p>Greens senator David Shoebridge <a href="https://twitter.com/DavidShoebridge/status/1664140665666826240">called for</a> the removal of these objects from public display to correct the official record and “to begin telling the entire truth of Australia’s involvement in that brutal war.”</p> <p>The topic of what to do with Roberts-Smith’s uniform and helmet was debated on <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sH1oVNVJP1k">ABC’s Insiders yesterday</a>: should the display be removed, effectively cancelled, or changed to tell the full story?</p> <h2>The case of the oil paintings</h2> <p>It is not just these artefacts on display. The memorial also has two heroic oil painting portraits of Roberts-Smith by one of Australia’s leading artists, <a href="http://www.michaelzavros.com/">Michael Zavros</a>.</p> <p>These paintings were commissioned by the memorial in 2014.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=448&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=448&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=448&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=563&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=563&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529980/original/file-20230605-16883-qhpzvv.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=563&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Michael Zavros, Pistol grip (Ben Roberts-Smith VC), 2014, oil on canvas, 162 cm x 222 cm.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092390">© Australian War Memorial</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/">CC BY-NC</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p><a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092390">Pistol Grip (Ben Roberts-Smith VC)</a> is a larger-than-life-sized depiction of Roberts-Smith, camouflage arms outstretched, mimicking the action of holding a pistol.</p> <p>The smaller <a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092391">Ben Roberts-Smith VC</a> depicts him in ceremonial military uniform.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=442&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=442&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=442&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=555&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=555&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529982/original/file-20230605-23-pgn7xe.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=555&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">Michael Zavros, Ben Roberts-Smith VC, 2014, oil on canvas, 30 x 42 cm.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2092391">© Australian War Memorial</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/">CC BY-NC</a></span></figcaption></figure> <p>In an <a href="https://memoreview.net/reviews/the-anti-art-of-war-by-rex-butler-and-paris-lettau">article in arts criticism website Memo</a> yesterday, respected Monash University art historian Rex Butler and arts journalist Paris Lettau weighed into the debate.</p> <p>Butler and Lettau say Pistol Grip is:</p> <blockquote> <p>threatening, over-bearing, macho, hyper-masculine, celebratory, and enormous, like the man himself – some 220 centimetres wide and 160 centimetres high.</p> </blockquote> <p>When Zavros created his large portrait it was a depiction of a soldier doing what he was trained – and venerated – for doing.</p> <p>It is an aggressive pose that, given current developments, can be read in a much more sinister way. It touches on a far bigger question of how national institutions for the public memory of war address difficult and morally ambiguous moments in a national story.</p> <h2>Moral and ethical ambiguity</h2> <p>When the Canadian War Museum opened at its new site in Ottawa in 2005, its new displays included two paintings in their collection by Canadian artist <a href="https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-in-her-powerful-portraiture-military-artist-gertrude-kearns-pays/">Gertrude Kearns</a>.</p> <p>The paintings, Somalia without Conscience, 1996, and The Dilemma of Kyle Brown: Paradox in the Beyond, 1995, dealt with one of the most shameful episodes in Canada’s military history, known as the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somalia_affair">Somalia Affair</a>.</p> <p>In 1992, the Canadian Airborne Regiment was deployed as peacekeepers to Somalia. In 1993, 16-year-old Shidane Arone was found hiding in the Canadian base, believed to have been stealing supplies. He was tortured, and soldiers photographed themselves with the semi-conscious boy. Master Corporal Clayton Matchee and his subordinate Private Kyle Brown <a href="https://www.vice.com/en/article/7x75xg/remembering-the-somalia-affair-canadas-forgotten-abu-ghraib-moment">were charged</a> with his murder and torture.</p> <p>Somalia without Conscience depicts Matchee posing with the beaten Arone, while The Dilemma of Kyle Brown depicts Brown symbolically holding two potential fates in his hands: a lightly coloured cube in his right hand, and a darkened cube in his left. It addresses an ethical grey area many soldiers face during active service when the hierarchy of command comes into direct conflict with conscience.</p> <p>Following the opening of the new Canadian War Museum, the presence of Kearns’s paintings sparked <a href="https://books.google.com.au/books?id=nltxDwAAQBAJ&pg=PT519&lpg=PT519&dq=%E2%80%9Cwas+not+only+telling+the+stories+of+heroism+and+courage+that+most+of+them+expected+to+be+told+but+also+stories+about+failures,+disappointments,+and+human+frailty%E2%80%9D&source=bl&ots=sfQZw_2qXL&sig=ACfU3U18i4X0ERdbg0wfOKXbnOIe1-5-pA&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjXw6Sdk6v_AhXGVmwGHbRwDh0Q6AF6BAgJEAM#v=onepage&q=%E2%80%9Cwas%20not%20only%20telling%20the%20stories%20of%20heroism%20and%20courage%20that%20most%20of%20them%20expected%20to%20be%20told%20but%20also%20stories%20about%20failures%2C%20disappointments%2C%20and%20human%20frailty%E2%80%9D&f=false">intense debate</a>. Curator Laura Brandon received abusive emails from members of the public.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"><a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=1000&fit=clip"><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&fit=clip" sizes="(min-width: 1466px) 754px, (max-width: 599px) 100vw, (min-width: 600px) 600px, 237px" srcset="https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=600&h=399&fit=crop&dpr=1 600w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=600&h=399&fit=crop&dpr=2 1200w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=600&h=399&fit=crop&dpr=3 1800w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=45&auto=format&w=754&h=501&fit=crop&dpr=1 754w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=30&auto=format&w=754&h=501&fit=crop&dpr=2 1508w, https://images.theconversation.com/files/529986/original/file-20230605-23-vgma1q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&q=15&auto=format&w=754&h=501&fit=crop&dpr=3 2262w" alt="" /></a><figcaption><span class="caption">The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure> <p>The museum copped criticism from figures such as the head of the National Council of Veterans Associations, who <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/war-museum-s-paintings-anger-veterans-group-1.546113">called</a> the paintings a “trashy, insulting tribute” and urged a boycott of the opening of the new museum.</p> <p>Discussing this controversy in 2007, <a href="https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1354856507072860?journalCode=cona">Brandon said</a> what upset veteran communities was that “their” museum:</p> <blockquote> <p>was not only telling the stories of heroism and courage that most of them expected to be told but also stories about failures, disappointments, and human frailty.</p> </blockquote> <p>Brandon remained steadfast the museum needed to address the messy ambiguities of war and, despite pressure, kept Kearns’s paintings on display for the duration of the exhibition.</p> <h2>The complexity of contemporary art</h2> <p>Brandon’s curatorial decision to display Kearns’s Somalia paintings strike at the heart of what is special and important about contemporary war art in a national museum.</p> <p>Contemporary art presents ethical and moral complexity, grey zones and a range of perspectives. This is vital in a healthy liberal democracy.</p> <p>While Brandon’s choice to show Kearns’s Somalia paintings attracted criticism, the museum remained committed to telling a story that is difficult, ethically and morally complex, and uncomfortable for Canadians.</p> <p>To remove Zavros’ portraits from display would remove the now-untenable hero narrative that once surrounded Roberts-Smith. But doing so would also rewrite public memory by effectively erasing an important part of why and how Roberts-Smith was revered.</p> <p>These portraits now represent a morally complex story that needs to be addressed by our national war museum.</p> <p>To remove the portraits would miss a valuable opportunity to debate important questions about how we construct hero stories.</p> <p>So, how could these portraits still be shown in future?</p> <p>Zavros’ portraits were already complex works.</p> <p>Following Friday’s announcement, it is more important they are seen in all their additional multi-layered and problematic complexity.</p> <p>The portraits show us how we create the nation through the stories we tell ourselves, and how dynamic that narrative can be. The portraits present a valuable opportunity to show narratives of war – like the stories of our own lives – are never simple, consistent and coherent.</p> <p>The portraits should be displayed in ways that address this complexity, capturing the evolving story of Roberts-Smith in explanatory wall text. There is an opportunity here to not simply “correct” the official record, as Shoebridge suggests, but to have a deeper conversation about the role of hero narratives in diverting attention away from more important public debates about Australia’s involvements in conflicts.</p> <p>Maybe this could be addressed in the art the memorial commissions in future.</p> <p>The most compelling contemporary art works – and the most valuable museum displays in our national institutions – are those that consider our complex stories, raise important and self-reflective questions, and challenge simplistic narratives. <!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/206934/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: https://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p> <p><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kit-messham-muir-129956">Kit Messham-Muir</a>, Professor in Art, <em><a href="https://theconversation.com/institutions/curtin-university-873">Curtin University</a></em></p> <p>This article is republished from <a href="https://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-should-the-australian-war-memorial-do-with-its-heroic-portraits-of-ben-roberts-smith-206934">original article</a>.</p>

Legal

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Australian War Memorial urged to remove Ben Roberts-Smith’s uniform from display

<p>The Australian War Memorial is being urged to remove Ben Roberts-Smith’s uniform from its display after the federal court dismissed the defamation case initiated by Australia’s most decorated living soldier.</p> <p>However, the Australian Special Air Association has argued it was “a very disappointing day” for veterans who had served in Afghanistan, noting the majority who had done the right thing were being “re-traumatised after having gone through a difficult war”.</p> <p>In the defamation case ruling on June 1, Justice Anthony Besanko found that, on the balance of probabilities, Roberts-smith kicked a handcuffed prisoner off a cliff in Darwin in 2012 before ordering a subordinate Australian soldier to shoot the injured man dead.</p> <p>Besanko also found that in 2009, Roberts-Smith had ordered the execution of an elderly man found hiding in a tunnel in a bombed-out compound codenamed “Whiskey 108”, including murdering a disabled man with a prosthetic leg during that same mission, with a machine gun.</p> <p>The majority of politicians in Canberra were hesitant to weigh in on the implications of the ruling, but the Greens described the judgement as “an important win for fearless journalism in the public interest”.</p> <p>David Shoebridge, the Greens’ defence and justice spokesperson said, “If this judgment stands, the first step in correcting the official record is for the Australian War Memorial to immediately remove Ben Roberts-Smith’s uniform from public display and to begin telling the entire truth of Australia’s involvement in that brutal war.</p> <p>“This is not justice for the families who lost loved ones or for the communities that have been brutalised by war crimes, but it takes us a step closer.”</p> <p>Shoebridge is also calling on the Albanese government to “urgently progress compensation for families of victims of alleged Afghanistan war crimes, one of the key outstanding recommendations of the Brereton report”.</p> <p>He has urged the attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, to “step in and end the unjust prosecution of Afghanistan war crimes whistleblower David McBride”.</p> <p>A spokesperson for the defence minister, Richard Marles, said, “This is a civil defamation matter to which the commonwealth is not a party and it would be inappropriate to provide comment.”</p> <p>Speaking to ABC TV, the national chairman of the Australian Special Air Service Association, Martin Hamilton-Smith downplayed the broader significance of the ruling, saying it was not a criminal proceeding.</p> <p>When speaking generally about investigations overseen by the Office of Special Investigator (OSI), he said one person had been charged to date over allegations of war crimes in Afghanistan — and raised concerns that “justice delayed is justice denied”.</p> <p>Hamilton-Smith called on OSI to “get these matters into a criminal court where they can be dealt with properly and the truth can be established”.</p> <p>In 2020, the Brereton report found “credible” information to implicate 25 current or former special forces personnel in the alleged unlawful killing of 39 individuals and the cruel treatment of two others.</p> <p>When asked whether Roberts-Smith should hand over his Victoria Cross, Hamilton-Smith said, “I think the only way you will get the real truth of this is to get it into the criminal court where both sides of the story can be told and beyond reasonable doubt the facts established.”</p> <p>A spokesperson for OSI said defamation proceedings were a “a civil matter between the parties”, adding, “It would not be appropriate to comment on specific allegations or whether they are the subject of investigation.”</p> <p>The Coalition’s foreign affairs spokesperson, Simon Birmingham, described the defamation ruling as “certainly significant”, and stated it was a legal process “that deserves to be respected”.</p> <p>However, he said it would be “a difficult day for many” of Australia’s current and former defence force personnel.</p> <p>“Australia is a country that applies a standard, in terms of expectations of our serving personnel and the transparency and accountability, that few other nations in the world apply,” Birmingham told ABC TV.</p> <p>“We should be proud of those standards but we should also be proud overwhelmingly of our personnel, of all who have served.”</p> <p>Birmingham was reluctant to make broader comments about the judgement’s implication for press freedom, adding the outcome would “obviously weigh heavily in terms of what proceedings may be initiated by others in future”.</p> <p>The shadow defence minister and former SAS captain Andrew Hastie was subpoenaed by the newspapers to give evidence during the defamation case but declined to comment.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

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