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Charlise Mutten's mother flees court in tears

<p>Charlise Mutten's mother has broken down and fled the courtroom in tears after being accused of murdering her nine-year-old daughter.</p> <p>Kallista Mutten was grilled by her ex-fiancé Justin Stein's lawyer on Tuesday about her excessive methamphetamine use, including while pregnant with his child.</p> <p>The grilling began when Carolyn Davenport SC accused her by saying, "You shot and killed your daughter", to which Ms Mutten replied, "Are you serious?"</p> <p>She then burst into tears, crying out "I didn't even know where she was shot" before Ms Davenport added that Mr Stein "had seen you deliver the second shot".</p> <p>After being excused from the witness box, Ms Mutten ran out of the courtroom in tears, while the jury were temporarily sent out.  </p> <p>The dramatic moment came after Ms Mutten admitted taking methamphetamine even when her daughter came to visit.</p> <p>Ms Mutten was being cross-examined on day 12 of Stein's trial, who has been charged with Charlise's murder in January 2022. </p> <p>The 40-year-old admitted to having psychotic episodes while on using ice and had continued to take the drug despite her Charlise's visit during the summer school holidays in 2022.</p> <p>She denied she and Charlise were not getting along in the days before her death, or that she had been told to leave the Stein's Mount Wilson property, and instead left of her own accord.</p> <p>"I chose to leave because I didn't want to be there any more. Yeah, I was very hormonal, I was pregnant. Yeah, I was using, yeah. My emotions were very strong at the time," she said.</p> <p>Stein, 33, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Charlise, but has admitted to disposing the schoolgirl's body.</p> <p><em>Image credits: Daily Mail / Facebook / Nine News</em></p>

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Former pilot accused of murder shares his version of events

<p>Former Jetstar pilot Greg Lynn has shared his version of events from the day Russell Hill and Carol Clay were allegedly murdered. </p> <p>Mr Lynn, who is on trial for the murders of the elderly campers, claimed Mr Hill, 74, knifed himself in a struggle after he accidentally shot his childhood sweetheart Ms Clay, 73, in the head.</p> <p>Police allege Mr Hill and Ms Clay were murdered while camping in the remote Wonnangatta Valley in Victoria's Alpine region more than four years ago, with Crown prosecutor Daniel Porceddu telling the jury at the opening of the trial exactly how and why Lynn allegedly killed the couple.</p> <p>"The precise circumstances of the killing are unknown, nor is the motivation," he said.  </p> <p>The jury heard it was most likely a dispute over the use Mr Hill's drone, as Mr Porceddu said, "There might have been an argument or confrontation between the men. It is not known how Mr Hill was killed."</p> <p>But in providing a brief defence, Lynn's barrister Dermot Dann KC, claimed Mr Hill and Ms Clay's death was the result of a tragic accident, telling the jury, "We say not a case of murder, this is a case of two accidental, tragic deaths."</p> <p>"Tragic accidental deaths in circumstances that were not of Mr Lynn's making and not of his choosing."</p> <p>Mr Dann told the jury that Mr Hill allegedly stole Lynn's shotgun after he became enraged about Lynn playing loud music on the night he was killed. </p> <p>The barrister then detailed how a fight over the gun ensued, which resulted in Mr Hill accidentally shooting Ms Clay in the head, as Mr Lynn tried to disarm him. </p> <p>Mr Dann said Lynn picked up the gun and fired its remaining ammunition into the air before being set upon by an enraged Mr Hill. </p> <p>"The next thing is Mr Hill's advancing towards him with a knife screaming at him 'she's dead'," Mr Dann said. </p> <p>"A struggle developed over the knife. Mr Lynn trying to defend himself - they're locked in this struggle - and as part of that struggle the two men fall to the ground  and the knife goes through the chest of Mr Hill."</p> <p>Upon his arrest, Mr Dann claimed Lynn co-operated with detectives, telling them where to find the bodies of the campers, and once again telling the jury that Mr Lynn is not guilty of murder or manslaughter.</p> <p class="mol-para-with-font" style="margin: 0px 0px 16px; padding: 0px; min-height: 0px;"><em>Image credits: 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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Sam Kerr's alleged racial comments revealed by UK paper

<p>The legal controversy surrounding <span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">Matildas star Sam Kerr </span><span style="font-family: -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, 'Segoe UI', Roboto, Oxygen, Ubuntu, Cantarell, 'Open Sans', 'Helvetica Neue', sans-serif;">following allegations of racially charged remarks directed towards a police officer in London continues to unfold, after a UK newspaper published those alleged remarks. </span></p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/26401266/sam-kerr-football-charge-crime-police-fifa/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Sun</a>, Kerr allegedly called a police officer a "stupid white bastard" during a dispute over a taxi fare. The details emerged as Kerr faced charges for using insulting, threatening or abusive words towards the officer, causing alarm or distress. The seriousness of the allegations is underscored by the potential consequences, with Kerr facing a maximum sentence of two years' imprisonment if convicted.</p> <p>The incident is said to have taken place in January 2023 shortly after Kerr's remarkable performance in a Chelsea FA Cup victory, and Kerr has maintained her innocence, pleading not guilty to the charges brought against her.</p> <p>The delayed prosecution in Kerr's case has sparked speculation, with reports suggesting that determining the appropriate charge was a complex process for the Crown Prosecution Service. However, as the trial approaches, the focus shifts towards the legal proceedings and the evidence that will be presented in court.</p> <p>Throughout her career, Kerr has been a prominent figure in the fight against racism in sport. Her past actions, including posing with an Aboriginal flag alongside her Matildas teammates, reflect a commitment to promoting inclusivity and unity. Kerr's accolades both on and off the field have solidified her iconic status, making the allegations against her all the more surprising.</p> <p>In response to the controversy, Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson and Football Australia CEO James Johnson expressed their lack of prior knowledge regarding the incident. </p> <p>Prime Minister Anthony Albanese declined to comment directly on the matter, but said that Kerr's actions during her tenure as the national flag bearer exemplified pride and dignity. </p> <p>“I don’t comment on legal matters before Australian courts, let alone other ones,” Albanese said. “I will say this about my contact with Sam Kerr, she was our flag bearer at the coronation. My contact with her was exemplary. She did Australia proud at that time and I think that my contact with her has been nothing but delightful.”</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Matildas captain Sam Kerr to face criminal trial

<p>Matildas superstar Sam Kerr has found herself at the centre of legal proceedings in London, as she pled not guilty to charges stemming from an alleged incident involving a police officer earlier this year.</p> <p>Kerr, aged 30, appeared before Kingston Crown Court via videolink to contest accusations of using insulting, threatening or abusive language towards a police officer in Twickenham on January 30.</p> <p>During the hearing, Kerr confirmed her identity and entered a "not guilty" plea to the charge, which was later confirmed by the Metropolitan Police. The specifics of the charge were outlined in a police charge sheet, citing Kerr for a racially aggravated offence under Section 4A of the Public Order Act 1986. The incident allegedly occurred during police intervention related to a complaint involving a taxi fare.</p> <p>The trial, slated to commence in February 2025, is expected to span four days, during which two police officers will provide evidence. Meanwhile, Football Australia (FA) has issued a statement acknowledging the legal proceedings involving Kerr, asserting their commitment to support all players both on and off the field. However, due to the ongoing legal nature of the situation, further comments were withheld.</p> <p>“Football Australia is aware of the legal proceedings involving Sam Kerr in the United Kingdom,” the statement read. “As this is an ongoing legal matter, we are unable to provide further comment at this time. Our focus remains on supporting all our players, both on and off the field. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide support as appropriate.”</p> <p>The announcement comes after Kerr's unfortunate sidelining from both club and international duties. Suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury during Chelsea's warm-weather training camp in Morocco, Kerr faces a prolonged period of rehabilitation, ruling her out of action for the foreseeable future. Her absence from the Matildas' lineup is particularly sorely felt, with preparations for the Paris Olympics underway.</p> <p>Despite the setback, Football Australia has not officially ruled Kerr out of contention for the Olympics. However, the typical recovery timeline for ACL injuries suggests a lengthy rehabilitation process, casting doubts on Kerr's participation in the upcoming tournament scheduled to begin on July 26.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty Images</em></p>

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“That’s insulting”: Brittany Higgins grilled over "fabricated" allegations

<p>Brittany Higgins has denied she lied when she accused Bruce Lehrmann of sexually assaulting her in Parliament House. </p> <p>Higgins was called to give evidence on Thursday, as part of Lehrmann's defamation suit against Lisa Wilkinson and Channel Ten, when she was grilled during cross-examination by Lehrmann’s barrister Steven Whybrow SC.</p> <p>“That is a fabrication that you were sexually assaulted,” Whybrow said.</p> <p>“I understand that is your assertion. It’s insulting but I understand it,” Higgins replied. </p> <p>Whybrow’s questioning revolved around how Higgins’ recollection of events changed between statements she gave to the police, in court, to journalists from Ten and a news website, and in the first draft of a book she sent to publisher Penguin Random House.</p> <p>One example was that the location of a box of chocolates eaten after the alleged rape had changed between versions.</p> <p>“I want to suggest to you that is an example of your evidence evolving as you find out new information,” Whybrow said.</p> <p>“No, I don’t accept that,” Higgins answered.</p> <p>She admitted giving incorrect statements to Wilkinson and Ten producer Angus Llewellyn during a five-hour interview conducted in January 2021, before she was filmed for bombshell <em>The Project</em> broadcast that first aired Brittany's story. </p> <p>These claims, which included what security did and what she was wearing after the alleged rape, were based on her beliefs at the time, the court was told.</p> <p>Lehrmann has also already given evidence in which he admitted to a number of lies and false statements he gave to police, Parliament House security, his employer and supervisor, and the media.</p> <p>Lehrmann is suing Lisa Wilkinson and Channel Ten for defamation, specifically citing a February 2021 report on <em>The Project</em> in which Higgins was interviewed and her sexual assault story made national headlines. </p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images </em></p>

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Bruce Lehrmann condemns damning inquiry and labels trial conduct as a "dark chapter"

<p>Bruce Lehrmann has expressed his strong disapproval of a damning inquiry into his rape trial, referring to it as "a dark chapter" in the justice system.</p> <p>In response to the inquiry's findings, Bruce Lehrmann has criticised the Director of Public Prosecutions, Shane Drumgold, for his conduct during the trial, stating that it was a troubling episode for the justice system.</p> <p>The former Liberal staffer, who intends to pursue a multimillion-dollar compensation claim over the trial's handling, commended his legal team, led by Steve Whybrow SC and Kamy Saeedi lawyers.</p> <p>Mr. Lehrmann stated to <a href="https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/bruce-lehrmann-slams-damning-inquiry-describes-trial-conduct-as-dark-chapter/news-story/b5b6ec06d5b435f8870a1e7d5b9ae4b8" target="_blank" rel="noopener">news.com.au</a>, "Much of what we are reading, my brilliant criminal defense team led by Steve Whybrow SC suspected all along. I owe everything to the lawyers who have surrounded me. This is overwhelming and alarming reading."</p> <p>He also acknowledged Mr. Sofronoff and his team for revealing the truth and shedding light on what he perceives as a dark chapter for the ACT Justice system. Mr. Lehrmann promised to share more details once the Chief Minister releases the full report to the public.</p> <p>The landmark inquiry found that the prosecution's legal initiation was appropriate, but it severely criticised Mr. Drumgold's actions during the trial.</p> <p>Walter Sofronoff KC, a former Supreme Court judge in Queensland, affirmed the lawfulness of the police's charges against Mr. Lehrmann and agreed that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions was justified in prosecuting based on the available evidence.</p> <p>It is essential to note that this finding does not reflect Mr. Lehrmann's guilt or innocence but focuses on the conduct of the police and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.</p> <p>Mr. Lehrmann remains innocent under the law since he was never convicted, as the trial collapsed following an allegation of juror misconduct.</p> <p>However, the inquiry revealed damning evidence against Mr. Drumgold, accusing him of "knowingly lying" to the ACT Supreme Court regarding his alleged warning to Lisa Wilkinson concerning her Logies speech.</p> <p>The report uncovered unethical conduct by Mr. Drumgold, including his use of a note related to a discussion he had with Ms. Wilkinson just days before her speech.</p> <p><em>The Australian</em> newspaper <a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/nation/sofronoff-report-reveals-shane-drumgold-lied-during-bruce-lehrmann-rape-case/news-story/07d25b9c79364a10473806e3df48dfa7" target="_blank" rel="noopener">obtained a complete copy</a> of the extensive 600-page Sofronoff report, which confirmed the seriousness of the findings against Mr. Drumgold. This led Mr. Sofronoff to contemplate whether the DPP was suitable to continue holding the office.</p> <p>The inquiry was initiated after Mr. Drumgold wrote a letter to ACT Chief Police Officer Neil Gaughan in November 2022, demanding an inquiry and making "scandalous allegations" about political interference. However, the inquiry revealed that these allegations were baseless and untrue.</p> <p>The report further criticised Mr. Drumgold for not disclosing crucial material to the defence, which is a significant violation of the principle of disclosure in criminal litigation.</p> <p>Chief Justice Lucy McCallum's stern criticism of Ms. Wilkinson's Logies speech led to a four-month delay in the trial and sparked a firestorm of adverse publicity.</p> <p>The report favoured Ms. Wilkinson's account over Mr. Drumgold's, suggesting that he had knowingly lied to Chief Justice McCallum about his warning to the broadcaster.</p> <p>Mr. Sofronoff stated that while Ms. Wilkinson should have exercised caution in making the speech given the trial's proximity, Mr. Drumgold had a responsibility to the court and failed to act appropriately.</p> <p>In conclusion, the Sofronoff inquiry found significant misconduct on the part of Mr. Drumgold and raised concerns about the fairness of the trial conduct in Bruce Lehrmann's case.</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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No apologies: Ben Roberts-Smith breaks silence

<p>Former SAS soldier Ben Roberts-Smith has returned to Australia for the first time since losing his defamation case against Nine newspapers.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith touched down in Perth on June 14 and said he was shattered by the outcome of his defamation case against The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Canberra Times.</p> <p>This is the first time he has spoken out publicly since the landmark ruling.</p> <p>"It was a terrible result and obviously the incorrect result. We will look at it and consider whether or not we need to file an appeal," Roberts-Smith said after landing in Perth.</p> <p>"There is not much more I can say about it ... we just have to work through it and I'll take the advice as it comes.”</p> <p>He was spotted checking into business class with his girlfriend in Queenstown, New Zealand prior to touching down in Perth.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith rules out apologising to families of the victims impacted by his actions in Afghanistan.</p> <p>"We haven't done anything wrong, so we won't be making any apologies," he said.</p> <p>As he was collecting his luggage at Perth airport, he was approached by a man who voiced his support for the former soldier.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith's return comes on the same day as reports that an Australian Federal Police investigation into his alleged war crimes had collapsed.</p> <p>The decision by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions not to prosecute Roberts-Smith based on evidence collected by the AFP has led to a new joint task force being assembled to investigate alleged executions.</p> <p>The task force is comprised of detectives from the specialist war crimes agency, the Office of the Special Investigator and a new team of federal police investigators not related to the abandoned AFP probe.</p> <p>Roberts-Smith did not appear in the Federal Court when a judge found allegations he murdered or was complicit in the killing of four unarmed Afghans while deployed overseas were "substantially true” in a bombshell defamation ruling.</p> <p>The former soldier insists there was never any foul play.</p> <p><em>Image credit: A Current Affair</em></p>

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Father of murdered Aussie soldier voices support for Ben Roberts-Smith

<p> The father of an Australian soldier murdered in Afghanistan has spoken out in defence of former SAS member Ben Roberts-Smith.</p> <p>Hugh Poate’s son, Robert, was playing cards with two other Australians when they were tragically shot by a rogue Afghan soldier named Hekmatullah in 2012.</p> <p>According to Poate, Roberts-Smith was simply following orders in a bid to apprehend Hekmatullah, who had brutally taken the lives of their son.</p> <p>Acting on intelligence, they were taken to the village of Darwan, where Roberts-Smith had allegedly kicked a farmer named Ali Jan off a cliff and ordered his execution.</p> <p>“These citizens in the village could well have been a civilian one day and pulling the trigger the next, that‘s the way the Taliban operated. This perspective should have been included to provide some balance and context,” Poate told the<em> Daily Telegraph</em>.</p> <p>The federal court <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/finance/legal/a-win-for-the-press-a-big-loss-for-ben-roberts-smith-what-does-this-judgment-tell-us-about-defamation-law" target="_blank" rel="noopener">dismissed</a> Roberts-Smith’s defamation trial against the <em>Sydney Morning Herald</em>, <em>The Age</em>, and the <em>Canberra Times</em>, with Justice Besanko concluding the various titles had substantially proven the former soldier unlawfully killed four unarmed Afghan prisoners during his service in the SAS between 2009 and 2012.</p> <p>The judgement also acknowledged instances of Roberts-Smith’s alleged bullying of fellow soldiers. However, the court dismissed two other murder allegations and an accusation that he had assaulted his mistress.</p> <p>In his thorough 736-page judgement, the judge determined that Roberts-Smith and four key witnesses called to testify were both dishonest and unreliable in their evidence.</p> <p>Following the release of the completed judgement, Roberts-Smith’s legal team is now closely inspecting the document to identify potential grounds for an appeal.</p> <p>Poate emphasised the fact that Hekmatullah was captured and convicted of war crimes and subsequently released. In comparison, Roberts-Smith <a href="https://www.oversixty.com.au/news/news/australian-war-memorial-urged-to-remove-ben-roberts-smith-s-uniform-from-display" target="_blank" rel="noopener">has not been convicted</a> of any war crimes. Potae perceives the treatment of Roberts-Smith as a case of double standards.</p> <p>Additionally, Poate asserted that the responsibility for any wrongdoing committed by the SAS in Afghanistan lies with others in the Australian Defence Force (ADF). By acknowledging the collective accountability within the organisation, Poate has suggested a wider perspective on the matter.</p> <p><em>Image credit: Getty</em></p>

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Decision reached over Ed Sheeran's copyright trial

<p>Ed Sheeran has emerged victorious from a lengthy legal battle that claimed he "ripped off" another popular song. </p> <p>Sheeran, 32, was being sued over his 2014 single <em>Thinking Out Loud</em> by Structured Asset Sales, who claim that Sheeran's hit took elements directly from Marvin Gaye's <em>Let's Get It On</em>.</p> <p>On Thursday, the court ruled that the British singer-songwriter did not plagiarise the song, with the jury of three men and four women only taking three hours to reach a decision.</p> <p>Sheeran stood up and hugged his team after jurors ruled that he “independently” created his song, as he stopped outside the courtroom to thank those who supported him through the legal battle. </p> <p>The pop star added he was “unbelievably frustrated that baseless claims like this” even make it to court.</p> <p>“I’m just a guy with a guitar who loves writing music for people to enjoy. I am not and will never allow myself to be a piggy bank for anyone to shake,” he said outside the court.</p> <p>Sheeran revealed he missed his grandmother’s funeral in Ireland as he sat through the “bogus” and “dangerous” lawsuit that claimed he stole key elements for his hit song.</p> <p>“These cords are common building blocks which were used to create music long before <em>Let’s Get it On</em> was written. Will be used to make music long after we are all gone,” Sheeran said.</p> <p>“They are a songwriter’s alphabet. Our toolkit. And should be there for all of us to use. No one owns them. Or the way they are played. In the same way nobody owns the colour blue.”</p> <p>Ed's victory comes after he declared that if he had lost the case, he would've <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/entertainment/music/i-m-done-why-ed-sheeran-is-threatening-to-quit-music" target="_blank" rel="noopener">quit</a> the music industry all together. </p> <p>Outside the court room on Monday when the court proceedings were still in progress, he expressed his exasperation over the case, and made a bold statement about the future of his career. </p> <p>"If that happens, I'm done, I'm stopping," Sheeran said, according to reports from <a title="People" href="https://people.com/music/ed-sheeran-done-if-he-loses-lets-get-it-on-copyright-lawsuit/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow noopener">People</a>.</p> <p>"I find it to be really insulting," Sheeran added. "I work really hard to be where I'm at."</p> <p><em>Image credits: Getty Images</em></p>

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Lisa Wilkinson launches dispute into Logies speech advice

<p>TV presenter Lisa Wilkinson has lodged a new submission to an inquiry into how the rape trial against Bruce Lehrmann was handled, with a focus on the circumstances surrounding her controversial Logies speech. </p> <p>The probe was announced in 2022 by the ACT government and was to be fronted by Walter Sofronoff KC. At the time of the announcement, it was also stressed that the probe would was about not recontesting Brittany Higgins’ rape allegation, but instead about the conduct of the criminal justice agencies. </p> <p>And in April 2023, <em>news.com.au</em> confirmed that Lisa Wilkinson had made a submission, which had not yet been made public, that outlined her experience with Director of Public Prosecutions Shane Drumgold prior to her speech at the Logie Awards - the same speech that ultimately saw the trial be delayed. </p> <p>As the publication noted, Channel 10 and their lawyers have disputed allegations that the DPP “expressly warned” Wilkinson against her address at the awards ceremony. </p> <p>This was reportedly seen in a letter leaked after the trial - one sent to the ACT Supreme Court - that saw Channel 10’s Executive Vice President Beverly McGarvey declare “neither Ms Wilkinson nor the Network Ten Senior Legal Counsel present at the conference with the DPP on June 15 2022 understood that they had been cautioned that Ms Wilkinson giving an acceptance speech at the Logie Awards could result in an application being made to the court to vacate the trial date.</p> <p>“Had they understood that a specific warning had been given, Ms Wilkinson would not have given that speech.”</p> <p>Wilkinson had been accepting an award for ‘Outstanding News Coverage or Public Affairs Report’ for her coverage of Brittany Higgins’ sexual assault allegations, and in the wake of the former <em>The Project </em>host’s words, the trial was delayed from June until October. </p> <p>Lucy McCallum, ACT Chief Justice, moved the dates “with gritted teeth” after Lehrmann’s defence team made a request following the speech and the intense media coverage that followed. </p> <p>“Unfortunately, however, the recent publicity [of the speech] does, in my view, change the landscape,’’ McCallum said. </p> <p>“Because of its immediacy, its intensity and its capacity to obliterate the important distinction between an allegation that remains untested at law.</p> <p>“For those reasons, regrettably and with gritted teeth, I have concluded that the trial date of 27 June towards which the parties have been carefully steering must be vacated.”</p> <p>Wilkinson had reportedly sought advice from DPP Shane Drumgold in 2021 to go over the evidence that she would present at trial, with a note from the meeting stating that Wilkinson had been given an opportunity to ask any questions she might have had. </p> <p>It was then that Wilkinson brought up her Logie nomination, though she reportedly noted that she didn’t believe she was in with a real chance of winning, as the show was being held by a ‘rival’ television network. </p> <p>As <em>news.com.au </em>reported, the DPP stopped Wilkinson from presenting her speech then and there, as he could neither approve nor offer her any advice regarding it, telling Wilkinson that “we are not speech editors.”</p> <p>“Notwithstanding that clear and appropriate warning, upon receiving the award, Ms Wilkinson gave a speech in which she openly referred to and praised the complainant in the present trial,” Justice McCallum said of the situation.</p> <p>“Unsurprisingly, the award, and the content of the speech have been the subject of further commentary.”</p> <p><em>Images: Getty</em></p>

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Big jump in e-scooter injuries following Melbourne trial

<p>With many Australian states reviewing the laws around electric scooters, new data from Victoria suggests more can be done to prevent serious injuries.</p> <p>Data from Monash University’s Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit shows a doubling in the number of scooter injuries in the state this year.</p> <p>Some 427 people attended emergency departments with injuries from e-scooters in 2021/22, a 234% increase on the previous year.</p> <p>The data comes from 38 Victorian public hospitals with 24-hour emergency departments. Around a third of the emergency department presentations were admitted to hospital. </p> <p>Reflecting trends seen in Queensland, the majority of Victorian e-scooter injuries involved males (68% in 2021/22), with head and neck injuries common. </p> <p>Younger people aged 10 to 39 consistently made up more than 70% of emergency department presentations in 2020/21 and 2021/22.</p> <p>But urban transport specialists say e-scooters should still be taken seriously as a method of transport which offers environmental and health benefits.</p> <p>Professor Hussein Dia from Swinburne University, an expert in future urban mobility, argues it’s important to consider the broader benefits offered by micromobility transport options, particularly as an alternative to private car use for shorter commutes, and for connecting people to nearby public transport.</p> <p>“I think we need to take them seriously because they can make a big difference in terms of reducing congestion, improving livability in our cities, because they can be accessed very easily, and also they can be a force for a good change in reducing emissions.”</p> <p>“Transport contributes around 18% of [greenhouse gas emissions], particularly road transport and specifically private vehicles. So, the more we move people out of private vehicles towards public transport, e-bikes and e-scooters, the better for everyone. And then also, let’s not forget about the health benefits. But we need to prioritise safety,” he says.</p> <p>Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit data shows there were more than 11,400 emergency department presentations related to cycling injuries, more than 5,500 for motorbikes, and more than 7,600 related to cars in 2021/22. While e-scooter injury numbers are relatively small in comparison to these other transport modes, it’s difficult to compare statistics directly given the lack of information on the proportion of trips made by e-scooter.</p> <p>Transport accidents are the third highest cause of serious injuries and fourth highest cause of deaths, 2019-20 data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare shows. Car occupants and motorcyclists experienced the highest rates of serious injuries and deaths. </p> <p>Dia says while each city is different in terms of its infrastructure and transport policies, a UK study found e-scooters were five times safer than bicycles and nine times safer than motorbikes. </p> <p>Professor Mark Stevenson, an expert in transport and public health at the University of Melbourne, says when e-scooters and e-bikes replace car trips this reduces air pollution in the form of particulate matter from car tyres and combustion.</p> <p>Stevenson says injury data typically doesn’t distinguish between regulated use of e-scooters as part of the trial in Melbourne, and illegal or unregulated use. This is an important distinction because vehicles in the trial have safety measures in place such as speed limitations and helmet requirements.</p> <p>“If we embrace them and also ensure that we can deliver a safe transport infrastructure for them, we could see enormous utility out of these vehicles, one that will deliver in spades,” he says.</p> <p>The year-long trial of 1,500 rent-and-ride e-scooters operates in the inner city councils of Melbourne, Yarra and Port Phillip. To date, Melburnians have taken more than a million trips on e-scooters according to the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria.</p> <p>Private e-scooters remain illegal to use in public spaces, including roads and footpaths in Victoria. It’s estimated 100,000 e-scooters are privately owned in Victoria, according to reports in The Age.</p> <p>A spokesperson for Neuron, one of the companies participating in the Melbourne trial, says its vehicles include safety technology that controls where e-scooters are ridden and parked, and how fast they can travel.</p> <p>“Safety is our top priority, we have a robust rider education program focused on ensuring riders know the rules and how to ride and park responsibly. We run regular safety campaigns and ScootSafe events and deploy ‘Safety Ambassadors’ to city streets to engage one-to-one with riders and the general public,” the spokesperson says.</p> <p>According to the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit, the most common injuries were fractures (35%), dislocations or sprains (11%) or open wounds (11%) in 2021-22.</p> <p>Most injuries occurred as a result of people falling from e-scooters (81%), 7% collided with a car or van, 1% collided with a bicycle, and 1% with a pedestrian.</p> <p>Queensland recently introduced new rules and penalties for e-scooters in an effort to improve safety, and South Australia looks set to reform e-scooter laws in 2023.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://cosmosmagazine.com/cosmos-briefing/victoria-e-scooter-injuries/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">cosmosmagazine.com</a> and was written by Petra Stock.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Can juries still deliver justice in high-profile cases in the age of social media?

<p>The recent <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-was-the-lehrmann-trial-aborted-and-what-happens-next-193382" target="_blank" rel="noopener">sudden end</a> to the Bruce Lehrmann trial last month raises again whether the jury is fit for purpose in a 21st century hyper-connected world.</p> <p>That jury’s service in the Lehrmann case ended peremptorily after it was revealed to the judge that material downloaded from the internet (which was highly relevant to the case and not introduced as evidence) had been found in the jury room. A retrial has been <a href="https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/courts-law/bruce-lehrmann-retrial-confirmed-for-2023-says-act-director-of-public-prosecutions-shane-drumgold/news-story/6012323f3d863985ce5a001f10a3a7eb" target="_blank" rel="noopener">set for late February</a>. Lehrmann had been accused of raping former Liberal Party staffer Brittany Higgins, to which he pleaded not guilty.</p> <p>The costs so far (to both parties and the court) could well exceed a million dollars.</p> <p>With easy access to the internet available to any juror who owns a mobile phone, is it conceivable that all jurors will abide by the strict instructions of a judge admonishing them to pay attention only to the evidence adduced in the trial?</p> <p>Are instructions to jurors to avoid media sources meaningless given the accessibility of the internet?</p> <p>These aren’t new questions. In 2005, <a href="https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/researchpapers/Documents/trial-by-jury-recent-developments/jury%20and%20index.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a report</a> prepared for the NSW Parliamentary Library Research Service observed:</p> <blockquote> <p>Prominent cases in recent years […] have illustrated the legal problems that can occur when jurors, despite judicial instructions to confine their deliberations to the evidence before them, undertake their own research, discuss the case with non-jurors, or visit a place connected with the offence. The increasing amount of legal information available on the internet is a cause for particular concern. The Jury Amendment Act 2004 […] prohibits jurors from making inquiries about the accused or issues in the trial, except in the proper exercise of juror functions.</p> </blockquote> <p>But for all the warnings and threats of consequences, a juror may still stray down <a href="http://www.lawfoundation.net.au/ljf/site/templates/grants/$file/UNSW_Jury_Study_Hunter_2013.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">the path of private sleuth</a>. It’s easy to do and Australians have a voracious appetite for social media. In 2018 <a href="https://www.yellow.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Yellow-Social-Media-Report-2018-Consumer.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a survey reported</a> 62% of Australian adults use social media sites every day, and 34% use them more than five times a day.</p> <p>This becomes particularly problematic when the eyes of the world are fixed on cases such as these.</p> <p>The sudden and unexpected end to the Lehrmann trial prompts a more fundamental question: should we continue to persist with juries at all?</p> <h2>Two sides</h2> <p>There are two sides to the argument regarding retention of the jury.</p> <p>On the one hand, juries have stood the test of time. The idea of being tried by one’s peers was entrenched by the <a href="https://www.bl.uk/magna-carta/articles/magna-carta-and-jury-trial" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Magna Carta of 1215</a>. Even though the jury as we know it didn’t crystallise until about 350 years ago and has been through a number of permutations since then, there would be few people who could argue against its symbolic legitimacy given its staying power.</p> <p>Over that time, juries have been given sustained examination in Australia by the <a href="https://www.lawreform.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/Publications/Reports/Report-48.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">New South Wales Law Reform Commission</a>, the Queensland <a href="https://www.ccc.qld.gov.au/sites/default/files/Docs/Publications/CJC/The-jury-system-in-criminal-trials-in-qld-Issues-paper-1991.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Criminal Justice Commission</a>, the <a href="https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/images/stories/committees/lawrefrom/jury_service/report_volume_1.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Victorian Law Reform Committee</a>, and most recently by academics at <a href="https://cdn.csu.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/3452182/Jury-Reasoning-v2-NEW-BRANDING.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Charles Sturt University</a>, to name a few. Juries have survived largely intact throughout this exercise.</p> <p>On the other hand, there are doubts about their efficiency. Juries took a hit after the High Court decision <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-jury-may-be-out-on-the-jury-system-after-george-pells-successful-appeal-135814" target="_blank" rel="noopener">in the George Pell appeal</a> where the judges, in allowing the appeal, ruled that no jury, properly instructed, could have reached a guilty verdict in his trial.</p> <p>What’s more, it’s overstated to say that trial by jury is a fundamental bulwark of fairness in the criminal justice system. Indeed, 92% of criminal matters in Australia are dealt with in the <a href="https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/crime-and-justice/criminal-courts-australia/latest-release" target="_blank" rel="noopener">magistrates courts</a>, where there are no juries. Of the remaining 8% referred to the “superior” criminal courts (Supreme, District and County), more and more defendants are choosing “judge alone” trials (in jurisdictions where that option is available). For example, in NSW, <a href="https://theconversation.com/jury-is-out-why-shifting-to-judge-alone-trials-is-a-flawed-approach-to-criminal-justice-137397" target="_blank" rel="noopener">up to a quarter of accused persons</a> are now electing to be tried without a jury.</p> <p>Other studies have highlighted how jurors <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0194659507000470" target="_blank" rel="noopener">overrate DNA evidence</a> despite judicial directions, which may lead to <a href="https://researchdirect.westernsydney.edu.au/islandora/object/uws:10533" target="_blank" rel="noopener">far more jury convictions</a> than are warranted, and how jurors’ perceptions of guilt and innocence can be affected by the <a href="https://researchdirect.westernsydney.edu.au/islandora/object/uws:44141" target="_blank" rel="noopener">positioning of defendants</a> in the courtroom. <a href="https://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:331175" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Another study</a> found that although jurors report they understand directions, they often don’t appear to use those directions in arriving at a decision.</p> <p>And finally, as the Lehrmann trial has illustrated, it’s not unusual for jurors to ignore or misunderstand the instructions that have been given to them.</p> <p>But, what about the ability of juries to apply some of their own “commonsense” justice? True, there are examples of juries wielding their own commonsense stick. For example, a verdict that <a href="https://www.coursehero.com/file/p7dtm6g/R-v-R-1981-28-SASR-321-South-Australian-Supreme-Court-King-CJ-Jacobs-Zelling-JJ/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">occurred in 1981</a> when a South Australian jury returned a verdict of not guilty for a woman who had been charged with the murder of her husband. The jury decided that the defence of provocation (only available to reduce murder to manslaughter) exonerated her, figuring that, in the time before the victim’s death, his severe and persistent abuse of his family had pushed his wife to breaking point.</p> <p>There is, however, a contrary argument. Research has revealed that “commonsense” <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/lapo.12181" target="_blank" rel="noopener">comes with coded biases</a>, such that telling jurors to use their commonsense is futile, given it’s difficult (if not impossible) to erode such biases.</p> <h2>Are there other options?</h2> <p>One alternative to the jury is mixed judiciaries used in some European countries, where one may find a panel of judges or <a href="https://academic.oup.com/book/32863/chapter/275978049?login=true" target="_blank" rel="noopener">a combination of judges and lay people</a>. But the common law world has never looked like following that lead.</p> <p>Another alternative in use in Australia is a judge alone trial, although <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/RP9697/97rp11" target="_blank" rel="noopener">that option</a> isn’t always available, and by virtue of <a href="https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/RP9697/97rp11" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Section 80 of the Constitution</a> isn’t available in a trial of a serious federal offence. Indeed, there’s no guarantee that judges themselves are immune from social media influences. While there’s a widespread belief that judges are more capable than juries of putting <a href="https://chelmsfordlegal.com.au/trial-by-judge-alone-is-it-possible-and-if-so-is-it-preferable/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">to one side their own prejudices</a>, the rules regarding sub judice contempt (discussing publicly a matter that is before a court in a manner that may influence the outcome) applies equally to judge alone and jury trials.</p> <p>Adding to the policy confusion, there’s some evidence trials by judge alone do make a difference to the outcome. The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics <a href="https://stacklaw.com.au/news/criminal-law/trial-by-jury-vs-trial-by-judge-alone-whats-the-difference/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">examined NSW trials between 1993 and 2011</a> and found defendants were acquitted 55.4% of the time in a judge alone trial, compared to 29% in a jury trial.</p> <p>Another reform idea is to allow jurors to <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?view_op=view_citation&amp;hl=en&amp;user=dMsPrLwAAAAJ&amp;citation_for_view=dMsPrLwAAAAJ:7PzlFSSx8tAC" target="_blank" rel="noopener">raise questions with the judge</a> during breaks in the trial, including asking about things they may have “accidentally” come across on social media. A judge could send the jury out while the lawyers present to the judge how they think the questions should be handled and answered. However, this idea has yet to excite policymakers.</p> <p>In the end, we must accept there are flaws in jury process. But finding acceptable alternatives has proved difficult, hence the reluctance of governments to abandon the status quo. Judges will continue to warn against private sleuthing, but one suspects that it will, from time to time, continue regardless.</p> <p>One can only hope the disaster that befell the Lehrmann trial sends a salutary lesson to prospective jurors henceforth: listen to what the judge tells you, and during the course of the trial leave your favourite search engine alone.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/can-juries-still-deliver-justice-in-high-profile-cases-in-the-age-of-social-media-193843" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: ABC</em></p>

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Truckie on trial "gloated" over death of 6-year-old boy

<p>A truck driver who has been charged with causing a horrific crash that killed a 6-year-old boy reportedly "gloated" about the accident over his CB radio after he failed to stop, a court has heard.</p> <p>Allan Michael Dyson, 59, appeared via videolink in Sydney Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday to apply for bail after being charged with dangerous driving occasioning death, dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm, and three counts of causing bodily harm by misconduct.</p> <p>Police allege Mr Dyson was behind the wheel of a truck on November 6th 2004, when it collided with a station wagon in the New South Wales Southern Highlands. </p> <p>Rian Strathdee was reportedly sitting in the back of the car when the crash forced the vehicle to roll 40 meters down the ridge of the road. </p> <p>Rain died at the scene, and two other family members who were also in the car at the time of the impact were rushed to hospital for their injuries. </p> <p>Police claim Mr Dyson, then 42 years old, did not stop to offer help after the collision, and instead drove away. </p> <p>“Rather than stopping and rendering assistance, the applicant sees it fit to get on the CB radio and gloat,” police prosecutor Kerry-Ann McKinnon told the court. </p> <p>The truck driver allegedly made “callous remarks” about the deadly crash which were heard by two witnesses.</p> <p>The sergeant told the court the police would be relying on a number of lawfully intercepted telephone calls to prove their case.</p> <p>“Not only do we say that he puts himself in the driver’s seat that day (during the tapped calls) but we say he makes admissions to the offences,” she said.</p> <p>During an intercepted phone call, police allege Mr Dyson made damning statements about the police case against him.</p> <p>“Yeah they’ve got their facts pretty much right …. I’d say they’ll lock me up pretty much straight away,” he allegedly said in a phone call to a friend. </p> <p>“Someone obviously stirred them up, yeah someone dobbed me in.”</p> <p>Sergeant McKinnon said there could be “no denying” that Mr Dyson was the driver of the truck that killed six-year-old Rian and injured his family members. </p> <p>“Anyhow, like I said, I did it,” the truck driver allegedly said in a phone call heard by police, the court was told.</p> <p>“I could have stopped really, I could have.”</p> <p>The truck driver will remain behind bars on remand until December 15th when his matter returns to court. </p> <p>He has not entered any pleas to the five charges.</p> <p><em>Image credits: ABC News / Strathdee family</em></p>

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Drone delivery is a thing now. But how feasible is having it everywhere, and would we even want it?

<p>In recent years, cafes, supermarkets and online shops have started to trial drone delivery in a handful of locations around the world. More than a <a href="https://builtin.com/drones/drone-delivery-companies" target="_blank" rel="noopener">dozen drone delivery companies</a> are now running such trials.</p> <p>Wing (owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet) announced a partnership with Australian supermarket giant Coles to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-26/qld-supermarket-drone-delivery-available-gold-coast-/101573808" target="_blank" rel="noopener">deliver small items via drone to customers close to a Gold Coast supermarket</a>. Wing is already operating in parts of Canberra and Logan, Queensland.</p> <p>Given the technical success of various trials so far, it is worth exploring whether drone delivery might become mainstream and can actually be scaled up geographically.</p> <p>As you would expect, the answer is “it depends”. There are many issues when considering drones around people, such as safety and infrastructure. For example, a recent <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-09-30/food-delivery-drone-lands-on-power-lines-qld-browns-plains/101489670" target="_blank" rel="noopener">crash of a delivery drone on electricity lines</a> in a suburb of Logan left thousands without power.</p> <p>There is also potential <a href="https://theconversation.com/drones-to-deliver-incessant-buzzing-noise-and-packages-116257" target="_blank" rel="noopener">unwanted noise</a> and visual pollution, and a perceived issue around privacy.</p> <h2>Safety first</h2> <p>Adding potentially dozens of small aircraft to the sky above our homes, workplaces and roads each day is a serious business. As you would hope, currently the operation of commercial drones is a highly regulated undertaking in most countries.</p> <p>In Australia, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority <a href="https://www.casa.gov.au/drones/industry-initiatives/drone-delivery-services" target="_blank" rel="noopener">has strict regulations</a> that aim to make the operation of drones as safe as possible. They also prohibit drone use if the craft can’t be used safely in a given situation.</p> <p>In fact, Australia was one of the first countries to have drone regulations. For example, you cannot fly a drone close to an airport, or directly over people.</p> <p>Commercial operators of drones are acutely aware of this and gain a licence to operate – it is not in anyone’s interest to operate unsafely, and it would be bad for business.</p> <h2>A limited geographic market – for now</h2> <p>To satisfy the requirement of operating drones safely, delivery operators focus on flying drones over unpopulated land, generally very low-density areas, and in particular the urban fringe. These are newer suburbs where drone flight paths can be planned to eliminate or minimise safety issues, such as an unexpected crash.</p> <p>It is no coincidence Wing has been running drone delivery trials in low-density areas of Southeast Queensland, and outer <a href="https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/6009932/wings-delivery-drone-service-gets-the-green-light/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Canberra suburbs</a>. These places are ideal for drone delivery and a great place to continue to develop this business, even if the <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-12-11/wing-resumes-drone-deliveries-after-raven-attacks/100689690" target="_blank" rel="noopener">odd bird attack can disrupt things</a>.</p> <p>But drone delivery in dense parts of major cities? This is very unlikely in the medium term, due to extreme difficulty in safely operating drones in dense suburbs.</p> <p>If you live in an apartment building, where would the delivery take place? On the roof? Maybe, if your building was set up for it. This is where scaling up faces the largest difficulties, and the logistics of running potentially hundreds of drones from a distribution centre become truly challenging.</p> <p>However, if there was a high demand for it, and the right investments were made, it is feasible that drone delivery to dense city areas could be achieved.</p> <p>But just because it might be technically possible, doesn’t mean it will happen. The long-term business case would need to make sense, of course. But there is a more critical issue in the near term – the <a href="https://ethics.org.au/ethics-explainer-social-license-to-operate/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">social licence to operate</a>.</p> <h2>A social licence</h2> <p>A social licence is not an official thing, a government body does not issue one. It is more about whether the general public accepts and supports the new thing.</p> <p>At the end of the day, this social acceptance is what often determines the success or failure of widespread uptake of new technology, such as delivery drones.</p> <p>Take nuclear power, for example. Many countries have nuclear power and the public there seem happy with that. Other countries had a social licence for nuclear power and lost it, such as Japan. In Australia we do not have a social licence for nuclear power, but that does not mean we won’t gain it in the future.</p> <p>A social licence is an ever-evolving construct based on the pros and cons of a technology, all of which is influenced by its perceived value. Most people are now seemingly comfortable to be tracked 24 hours a day by their smartphones, as they believe the benefits outweigh the potential negative impacts.</p> <p>It is likely we already have a solid social licence to use drones to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/d41591-022-00053-9" target="_blank" rel="noopener">deliver emergency life-saving medicine</a> to people in need. In a potential life-or-death situation like that, it is easy to see that normally the benefits outweigh any risks or inconvenience to others.</p> <p>But delivering a coffee or a tube of toothpaste by drone? I think the social licence for that is up for grabs. At this point in time, it could go either way.</p> <p><strong>This article originally appeared on <a href="https://theconversation.com/drone-delivery-is-a-thing-now-but-how-feasible-is-having-it-everywhere-and-would-we-even-want-it-193301" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Conversation</a>.</strong></p> <p><em>Image: Shutterstock</em></p>

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Outrage after Brittany Higgins listed on Hot 100 in popular men’s magazine

<p dir="ltr">A popular men’s magazine is under fire for including rape victim Brittany Higgins in its annual Hot 100 women list. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Maxim Australia</em> released a list of its Hot 100 women for its 11th annual edition on Wednesday - day five of deliberations in the trial of Ms Higgins’ accused rapist, Bruce Lehrmann. </p> <p dir="ltr">The case however was <a href="https://oversixty.com.au/news/news/stunning-developments-in-rape-trial-of-bruce-lehrmann" target="_blank" rel="noopener">thrown out of court</a> the following day after a juror accessed information that was not presented in court.</p> <p dir="ltr">At the same time, <em>Maxim</em> was being rolled out for sale on newsagency shelves across the country.  </p> <p dir="ltr">On the list included some of Australia’s favourite personalities including, winner Margot Robbie, followed by Sam Kerr, Ash Barty, Emma McKeon, Grace Tame, Sarah Snook, Ariarne Titmus, Duckie Thot, Delta Goodrem and Abbie Chatfield. </p> <p dir="ltr">Ms Higgins was placed 12th on the list and despite all the attention on the trial, Maxim defended its decision including her. </p> <p dir="ltr">They said Ms Higgins was a worthy candidate and the rape trial which gained national traction made her influential. </p> <p dir="ltr">Gender equality advocate Professor Catharine Lumby, chair of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney said having Ms Higgins’ name on the list was offensive.</p> <p dir="ltr">“To me, [Ms Higgins inclusion] is offensive because that list is to be read as a list of who is hot and attractive,” she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">“If it was a list of 100 people who have influenced Australia, I would have no issue with it. </p> <p dir="ltr">“A magazine such as Maxim has to be far more cautious about who they are including in that sort of list.”</p> <p dir="ltr">The rape trial was thrown out on October 27 after a juror accessed an academic paper about false rape accusations. </p> <p dir="ltr">Chief Justice Lucy McCallum notified the court as soon as she found out that a juror had accessed evidence that was not presented in court.</p> <p dir="ltr">All 12 jurors were called into the ACT Supreme Court and questioned after an academic paper that reported on how often false rape accusations were made was found.</p> <p dir="ltr">"During routine tidying of the jury room by three sheriff's officers after the conclusion of proceedings yesterday, one of the officers accidentally bumped one of the juror's document holders onto the floor," she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">She said she had no other choice but to dismiss the jurors despite warning them “at least 17 times” to only discuss the points said in court.</p> <p dir="ltr">"You must not try to undertake your own research," she said she told them.</p> <p dir="ltr">"It's going to lead to more crime": Controversial new law passes</p> <p dir="ltr">"You must rely exclusively on the evidence you hear in this courtroom.</p> <p dir="ltr">"If you are learning something about this trial, and I'm not there, then you should not be doing it."</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Lehmann maintains his innocence and is currently on bail. He will face a retrial on February 20, 2023.</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Instagram/Nine</em></p>

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Brittany Higgins’ comments reported to police after trial thrown out

<p dir="ltr">The comments Brittany Higgins made outside of court after the case was thrown out have been referred to the police by Bruce Lehmann’s lawyers. </p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Lehmann has pleaded not guilty of raping former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins in Parliament House after a night out drinking in March 2019. </p> <p dir="ltr">On October 27, the case was thrown out of court after it was found that a juror accessed evidence that was not presented in court. </p> <p dir="ltr">An emotional Ms Higgins spoke to the media for three minutes after Chief Justice Lucy McCallum’s decision</p> <p dir="ltr">“I told the truth, no matter how uncomfortable or unflattering to the court,” she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">"I was required to tell the truth under oath for over a week in the witness stand, I was cross-examined at length.”</p> <p dir="ltr">This was enough for Mr Lehmann’s lawyers to report Ms Higgins’ comments to the police stating "the complainant proceeded to give what appears to have been a pre-prepared speech to the media outside the court".</p> <p dir="ltr">"We have brought these comments to the attention of the Court and the Australian Federal Police, and it is not appropriate for Mr Lehrmann or his lawyers to make any comments as to whether the complainant's statements might amount to a contempt or offences against the ACT Criminal Code," a statement from lawyer Steven Whybrow read.</p> <p dir="ltr">Chief Justice Lucy McCallum notified the court as soon as she found out that a juror had accessed evidence that was not presented in court.</p> <p dir="ltr">All 12 jurors were called into the ACT Supreme Court and questioned after an academic paper that reported on how often false rape accusations were made was found.</p> <p dir="ltr">"During routine tidying of the jury room by three sheriff's officers after the conclusion of proceedings yesterday, one of the officers accidentally bumped one of the juror's document holders onto the floor," she said. </p> <p dir="ltr">She said she had no other choice but to dismiss the jurors despite warning them “at least 17 times” to only discuss the points said in court.</p> <p dir="ltr">"You must not try to undertake your own research," she said she told them.</p> <p dir="ltr">"You must rely exclusively on the evidence you hear in this courtroom.</p> <p dir="ltr">"If you are learning something about this trial, and I'm not there, then you should not be doing it."</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite dismissing the jurors, Justice McCallum thanked them and told them that their time was not wasted.</p> <p dir="ltr">"This may come as a frustration to you after the hard work you all put in, and I want to convey my extreme gratitude," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">The juror who accessed the academic papers will not face repercussions for their misconduct.</p> <p dir="ltr">A retrial will be held on February 20, 2023 with Mr Lehmann released on bail. </p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: Nine News</em></p>

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Stunning developments in rape trial of Bruce Lehrmann

<p dir="ltr">The jury in the rape trial of Bruce Lehrmann has been dismissed with no verdict after a juror accessed material that was not admitted in court.</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Lehrmann has pleaded not guilty of raping former Liberal staffer Brittany Higgins in Parliament House after a night out drinking in March 2019.</p> <p dir="ltr">The trial ran for 12 days with 29 witnesses taking the stand before the jury was asked to deliberate on the evidence.</p> <p dir="ltr">A few days after the trial ended, the jurors could not reach a verdict but were urged by the judge to go back and come to a conclusion.</p> <p dir="ltr">Chief Justice Lucy McCallum then notified the court on October 27 that a juror had accessed evidence that was not presented in court.</p> <p dir="ltr">All 12 jurors were called into the ACT Supreme Court and questioned after an academic paper that reported on how often false rape accusations were made was found.</p> <p dir="ltr">"During routine tidying of the jury room by three sheriff's officers after the conclusion of proceedings yesterday, one of the officers accidentally bumped one of the juror's document holders onto the floor," she said, ABC reported.</p> <p dir="ltr">She said she had no other choice but to dismiss the jurors despite warning them “at least 17 times” to only discuss the points said in court.</p> <p dir="ltr">"You must not try to undertake your own research," she said she told them.</p> <p dir="ltr">"You must rely exclusively on the evidence you hear in this courtroom.</p> <p dir="ltr">"If you are learning something about this trial, and I'm not there, then you should not be doing it."</p> <p dir="ltr">Despite dismissing the jurors, Justice McCallum thanked them and told them that their time was not wasted.</p> <p dir="ltr">"This may come as a frustration to you after the hard work you all put in, and I want to convey my extreme gratitude," she said.</p> <p dir="ltr">"I don't want you to leave court thinking this has been a waste of time."</p> <p dir="ltr">Mr Lehrmann was granted bail until the new trial which is scheduled for February 20, 2023.</p> <p dir="ltr">Outside the court, an emotional Ms Higgins then delivered a tearful speech in which she said she “chose to speak up” to help others who were in a similar situation.</p> <p dir="ltr">As a result, Mr Lehrmann’s lawyers are now seeking urgent legal advice from police over whether Brittany Higgins' speech outside the ACT Supreme Court could constitute contempt of court.</p> <p>Mr Lehrmann’s defence barrister Steve Whybrow later confirmed In a statement that he had referred the matter to police.</p> <p>“When we left Court this morning, I indicated to the gathered media that given this matter was ongoing and a date of 20 February 2023 had been fixed for any retrial, it would be both inappropriate and irresponsible to make any further comment at this stage,” the statement read.</p> <p>“I understand the complainant and other members of her support team were all seated in Court this morning when the Chief Justice discharged the jury and made strong comments about people making statements or comments that could prejudice a fair trial.</p> <p>“Notwithstanding Her Honour’s admonition, the complainant proceeded to give what appears to have been a pre-prepared speech to the media outside the Court.”</p> <p>“We have brought these comments to the attention of the Court and the Australian Federal Police, and it is not appropriate for Mr Lehrmann or his lawyers to make any comment as to whether the complainant’s statements might amount to a contempt of court offences against the ACT Criminal Code.</p> <p>“I urge all media to show restraint in reporting this matter and in particular in republishing the statements made by the complainant.</p> <p>“Neither Mr Lehrmann nor his lawyers will be making any further comment on this matter at this stage.”</p> <p dir="ltr"><em>Images: ABC</em></p>

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