White Ribbon Day Nov 25th 2014. What are you doing to stop the violence?

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NOV25

EVENTS CAN BE FOUND HERE http://www.whiteribbon.org.au/events

White Ribbon is Australia’s only national, male led Campaign to end men’s violence against women.

Vision
All women live in safety free from all forms of men’s violence.

Mission
Making women’s safety a man’s issue too.

The campaign works through primary prevention initiatives involving awareness raising and education, and programs with youth, schools, workplaces and across the broader community.

Globally, White Ribbon is the world’s largest male-led movement to end men’s violence against women. Originating in Canada in 1991, White Ribbon is now active in more than 60 countries.

White Ribbon began in Australia in 2003 as part of UNIFEM (now UN Women), formally becoming a Foundation in 2007.

White Ribbon Australia observes the International Day of the Elimination of Violence against Women, also known as White Ribbon Day, annually on November 25. White Ribbon Day signals the start of the 16 Days of Activism to Stop Violence against Women, which ends on Human Rights Day (December 10).


Thousands march in Melbourne against family violence amid calls for health officials to do more

Tue 25 Nov 2014, 8:31pm

Walk Against Family Violence

Thousands took to Melbourne’s streets to take part in the Walk Against Family Violence (ABC News)

Related Story: Defence force, military get behind White Ribbon Day

One woman is killed by a violent partner each week in Australia.

Two of the leading figures in the fight against family violence, Victorian Police Commissioner Ken Lay and Rosie Batty, led more than 1,000 people through the streets of Melbourne today in a march to stop violence against women.

On the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Mr Lay said Australia could not arrest its way out of the situation.

“I think that for far too long family violence and resolving family violence has been left in the hands of police,” he said.

“We cannot simply arrest our way out of this. We need to change attitudes, it’s in the schooling, it’s in families.

“Clearly, fathers and mothers have got a responsibility to teach their children about gender inequity, teach their children to treat each other decently.

“They are partly responsible for this, no doubt.”

There were also calls for doctors and health officials to do much more to stop family violence, with new research published in The Lancet.

Professor Kelsey Hegarty, who co-authored the Lancet paper, is a GP and the head of primary care at the University of Melbourne’s Department of General Practice.

She said the health system needed to be more focussed and streamlined when it came to addressing family violence.

“What we’re really looking for health professionals to do is provide a first line response that listens, validates, acknowledges what women and girls have been through in terms of violence against women and provides them with a pathway to safety and healing,” she said.

“To do that we need to strengthen the role of the health sector.”

Health sector ‘lacks awareness, training’ in family violence

In January 2013 Professor Hegarty called for GPs to be trained to recognise signs of domestic violence.

Since then, she said the health system had been slow to recognise the need for change.

“I think there’s been a large movement in the awareness in community campaigns with the development of Our Watch and other activities through White Ribbon,” she said.

“So I think people are becoming more aware that domestic violence or family violence is a problem in our community.

“What we haven’t found is the health sector responding.

We haven’t got very large awareness as a result of a lack of training among health care providers.

Professor Kelsey Hegarty

“We haven’t got regular training or supervisional mentorship in medical nursing or public health or other curricular on a regular basis.

“We haven’t got very large awareness as a result of a lack of training among health care providers.”

Professor Hegarty said substantial system and behavioural barriers existed in the health system.

“We haven’t got an enabling policy environment,” she said.

The Lancet paper examined five country case studies, including India and Spain, and how they responded and dealt with family violence.

Professor Hegarty said developing low-income countries such as India had made progress in addressing family violence in conjunction with their HIV-AIDs strategy.

“In fact, it’s been interesting to look at people who have done violence interventions attached to health interventions for HIV,” she said.

“That’s been showing some promise in a way we haven’t had those epidemics like that, and therefore I think health has been a little bit behind.”

She said Australia had a large focus on the national plan, which has been excellent to prevent violence against women and children.

“(But) it needs a whole spectrum across the ecological model from the community,” she added.

“(An) ecological model goes from a community to an individual, and often a health practitioner is seeing someone at an individual level. We need everybody to be activated.”


 

White Ribbon Day sparks more than 1,000 events across Australia in campaign against domestic violence

Tue 25 Nov 2014, 12:07pm

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has praised the involvement of Australia’s military in White Ribbon Day, saying it sends a signal that strong men protect others and do not condone domestic violence.

Speaking at a White Ribbon Day function in Canberra, Mr Abbott said shocking statistics associated with domestic violence crimes prompted the Government to allocate $100 million as part of an action plan to combat violence against women.

“It’s really good to see the participation of our armed forces in White Ribbon Day … because the presence of our armed forces, the presence of our police is a sign that tough, strong men protect others, they don’t persecute them. That the toughest and the strongest men are peacemakers, not brutes,” he said.

“Every week a woman dies somewhere in our country in a domestic context. One woman in three will experience violence at some stage of her life.

“One woman in five will experience sexual violence at some stage in her life. It’s just wrong. It must stop,” he said.

“Government has a role to play, that’s why this Government is investing some $100 million in our Second Action Plan to combat violence against women.”

Army chief Lieutenant-General David Morrison told a White Ribbon breakfast in Adelaide stories about the ANZAC spirit also needed a greater focus on the women who were involved.

He said many stories about World War I focused on stories about Anglo Saxon men.

“Unless they’re (women) included in the story, I think what we run the risk of is compounding this idea that Australia is a man’s country, a man’s world, where men get ahead,” he said.

“Men are promoted on their potential, women are only ever promoted on their proven performance. I don’t think we’re going to progress as a nation if that’s the case.”

Luke Batty death brought issue home for victims

White Ribbon ambassador John Caldwell told the ABC’s Breakfast program the tragic death of 11-year-old Luke Batty at the hands of his father earlier this year had brought the issue to the forefront of people’s minds.

“When I saw his (Luke’s) photo and I thought, ‘that could have been me,’ and never before have I really thought of myself as one of the lucky ones, but that made me feel like I was one of the lucky ones,” Mr Caldwell said.

Mr Caldwell was nominated as Australian of the Year for Victoria in 2014 and said the nomination of Luke’s mother Rosie Batty for Australian of the Year in 2015 helped to highlight why the issue of domestic violence should be taken seriously.

It is about men leading the action because most of this violence against women is perpetrated by men, and so men need to be speaking to their mates and using their influence to change those attitudes and behaviours.

White Ribbon chief executive Libby Davies.

“I grew up in Melbourne in a house that was plagued by domestic violence,” he said.

“I guess as a kid hiding under the bed I always felt so helpless and now as an adult, I don’t need to. I get to take back the power that I lost as a kid, but also to educate other children that you don’t have to stay silent yourself.

“Even for kids, there are people you can talk to. As a child, hiding under a bed hearing screams outside and not sure what you will find when you eventually walk out – I used to liken it to, as the eye of a cyclone. It would go quiet. Is it safe to go out? And then it erupts again.”

Mr Caldwell said nobody came to help despite people knowing what was happening and White Ribbon Day was about breaking that silence.

“It was known what was going on outside of the house and nobody would do anything, and that’s why White Ribbon Day is so important, because it is a male-led campaign,” he said.

White Ribbon chief executive Libby Davies said more than 1,000 events would be held across Australia to promote White Ribbon Day, including a walk through Melbourne’s CBD by members of both the Melbourne and Richmond Football Clubs as part of the Walk Against Family Violence.

“It is about men leading the action because most of this violence against women is perpetrated by men, and so men need to be speaking to their mates and using their influence to change those attitudes and behaviours,” she said.

NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Mark Murdoch said several hundred people, mostly men, had marched from Randwick to Coogee in Sydney’s east in an event co-hosted with Randwick Council this morning.

He said those present, including many police officers, pledged an oath to help reduce violence against women.

“The oath is all about never ever condoning or committing acts of violence against women in any form. It’s about having those conversations with men acting as role models for other men,” he said.

Assistant Commissioner Murdoch said domestic violence cases were the single biggest crime police attended.

Phone app hidden function to protect domestic violence victims

In a bid to help protect victims of domestic violence, a free Australian mobile phone app was been launched in time for White Ribbon Day.

Buzz News looks like a regular news app on a mobile phone, but has a hidden function that allows people to secretly contact friends and call for help.

Developed by the Lisa Harnum Foundation, the app was named after the woman who was murdered by her partner Simon Gittany in Sydney in 2011.

Foundation executive director Aileen Mountifield said the phone app could save lives.

“If a perpetrator is used to checking his partner’s phone all that will come up is news, entertainment news, sports news, local news, national news,” she said.

“So that’s a deterrent hopefully that he won’t go to the help button because under the help button she would have stored her safe contacts, so if in distress all she has to do is open the app and press send.”

Newborn baby dumped down drain in Quakers Hill , 30-year-old mother charged with attempted Murder

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What a sad but also appalling situation, for a mother (or father or both) to dump a baby physically down the drain, allegedly dropping the tot 2.4 metres. Thank god for a real hero and the babies guardian angel in cyclist family David Otte and his daughter Hayley who were riding past and heard the cries.

It is disgusting, but I understand the bleeding hearts who will rush to the mothers defence. This is bullshit.Take or leave the baby in hospital when it was born.


 update 25/11/2014

Dramatic moment miracle baby was pulled from storm drain after surviving five days

  • Newborn survived in five days before cyclists heard cries
  • Boy has bleeding on the brain but is in a stable condition
  • Mother, 30, made full confession, police tell court
  • She hid pregnancy from family and father

THE boy miraculously found alive in a storm drain after being allegedly dumped by his mother is bleeding from the brain but in a stable condition in hospital.

And as Sydney prays he recovers fully from his injuries this morning, a fresh image has emerged showing the dramatic moment rescuers pulled him to safety.

It shows a policeman holds aloft the boy, swaddled in a pink blanket, after going into the 2m drain after emergency services were tipped off by a couple of cyclists who heard the baby’s cries. The cyclists anxiously watch on.

The newborn’s 30-year-old mother was formally charged with the sickening incident in Blacktown Local Court yesterday.

DUMPED BABY HAD LUCK AND ELEMENTS ON HIS SIDE

Photo

Clip from The Today Show which captured the dramatic moment the drain baby was pulled alive from his home of five days. Picture: Jason Donnelly Source: Twitter

Despite the charge, the Samoan woman has been given the privilege of naming him – and has chosen a biblical name.

For legal reasons we cannot reveal it, but it is associated with one of the most infamous child death cases in Australian history.

Police told the court she had made a full admission, saying that she had put “the less than 24-hour-old baby down the drain knowing it may kill the baby”.

She allegedly went straight from Blacktown Hospital to the drain.

Also yesterday, it emerged the woman had hid her pregnancy from her family.

’Shame!’ Drama oustide drain baby court

Family and friends of the woman who dumped her newborn baby down a drain leave Blacktown Court. They cannot be identified for legal reasons. Picture: John Grainger. Source: Supplied

Her son lay for five days undiscovered inside the pit off a cycleway next to the M7 at Quakers Hill until bike riders heard him crying on Sunday morning and he was recovered, severely dehydrated.

Experts have said the combination of the lack of rain, insulation from the heat by concrete and babies’ natural ability to survive without food in early life all contributed to his survival.

Doctors confirmed his condition had improved in The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

Family and community services minister Gabrielle Upton declined to comment when asked last night if she knew the mother had been allowed to name her baby.

Police will allege his mother left Blacktown Hospital on Tuesday afternoon, November 18, after giving birth at 1am that morning.

A soft toy is left at the site beside the M7 in Quakers Hill where the newborn was found

A soft toy is left at the site beside the M7 in Quakers Hill where the newborn was found on Sunday. Picture: Melvyn Knipe Source: News Corp Australia

She allegedly caught a bus and train to the stormwater drain, where she dumped the newborn. He was about 17 hours old when he was forced inside a small opening with a 200kg concrete lid covering the drain.

The woman broke up with a boyfriend in the early stages of her pregnancy this year and hid it from him, as well as from her family. It is possible he never realised he was to become a father.

The site where the drain is located along the M7 cycleway.

The site where the drain is located along the M7 cycleway. Source: Supplied

“It’s shocking. We had no idea, she seemed fine. I just thought she had put on a bit of weight,” a close family member said.

The court heard the woman, who lives in Quakers Hill with her aunt, uncle and a cousin, had no community ties and was a flight risk

Her immediate family members live in Samoa, where her parents are heavily involved in church missions.

Grasping each other’s hands and holding back tears, her relatives sat in court yesterday as a mental health examination was ordered. Outside the court a bystander shouted: “Shame.”

She made no application for bail, which was formally refused. The woman is due to appear in Penrith Local Court on Friday. The baby will remain in the care of the state.

Inside the drain you get a clearer indication of the 2.4m drop the child enduredafter bei

Inside the drain you get a clearer indication of the 2.4m drop the child endured after being dumped beside the M7. Picture Cameron Richardson Source: News Corp Australia

Patrick Morgan, Mark McAllister and Darren McIntyre were the first police officers on the

Westlink M7 staff use a crane to put the cover back onto the drain after it was removed earlier to save the baby. Picture: Cameron Richardson Source: News Corp Australia

Patrick Morgan, Mark McAllister and Darren McIntyre were the first police officers on the

Patrick Morgan, Mark McAllister and Darren McIntyre were the first police officers on the scene. Picture: Cameron Richardson Source: News Corp Australia

Originally published as Moment miracle baby was plucked from drain


update 24/11/2014

Samoan Mother of baby boy abandoned in drain near Sydney’s M7 charged with attempted murder

Mon 24 Nov 2014, 7:01am

A 30-year-old woman has been charged with the attempted murder of her newborn baby boy, who was found in a drain in Sydney’s west.

Cyclists heard the baby crying from the bottom of a two-and-a-half-metre drain near the M7 motorway at Quakers Hill on Sunday morning.

Police conducted an extensive search to find the baby’s mother, including hospital record checks and doorknocks.

On Sunday afternoon a 30-year-old woman from Quakers Hill was arrested after attending Blacktown police station.

She has been charged with attempted murder and will face Blacktown local court today.

It is believed the baby was born on Monday and police will allege he was placed in the drain the following day.

The baby was taken to Westmead Children’s Hospital where he remains in a stable condition.

The woman has been refused bail and has been remanded in custody.

Baby sounded like a ‘kitten screaming’

David Otte and his daughter Hayley said they were riding along the M7’s cycleway when they thought they heard a kitten screaming.

“No-one in their right mind would ever come across something like this,” Mr Otte said.

They could hear the baby’s cries from a small opening in the drain but were unable to lift the lid.

“We couldn’t get it off. We couldn’t get it off, we had to wait to help the police,” he said.

“Luckily we were there, right place right time. There was someone looking over us and told us to stop and have a look.

“At the end of the day we need to find what the truth is behind it and really find out if we can help the little fella.”

Both he and his daughter were deeply shaken and thought at one point the baby had died.

“All I wanted was for this baby to be safe so I’m glad that we got there and saved him,” Hayley Otte said.

Newborn would not have survived hot day

As Sydney’s west sweltered in 40 degree plus heat on Sunday, the chances of the baby surviving if he was not found were slim, police said.

Inspector David Lagats said finding the baby inside a drain was horrific.

“It was already undernourished and dehydration would have taken effect,” he said.

“The baby was conscious and breathing.

“He was removed from the drain and placed in the care of police.

“Ambulance were called and he’s been taken to the Westmead Children’s Hospital.”

ASHLEE MULLANY AND AAP
The Daily Telegraph
November 23, 2014 4:25PM

Newborn found in drain beside Sydney's M7
 This newborn baby boy was found down a drain at Quakers Hill this morning. Picture: NSW Police

THE mother of a baby found in a drain at Quakers Hill this morning has now been identified by police.

There are fears the newborn baby boy may have suffered internal injuries after being dropped down a 2.4m-deep drain near the M7 Motorway.

The dad and daughter who found the baby visited the Children’s Hospital at Westmead this afternoon to deliver a package of baby clothes.

David Otte and his daughter Hayley, as well as her mum Michelle, dropped off three sets of baby clothes, a new baby blanket and a face washer and towel.

“We wanted to see him, but the hospital said we weren’t able to at the moment,” Mr Otte said outside of hospital.

“We’d all really love a chance to see him again. Today has been such an emotional experience for everyone.”

Mrs Otte said the family was moved to give the little boy the gifts because “he really doesn’t have anything”.

“We have family, we have each other. He didn’t have anything.”

As a result of hospital record checks and doorknocks, the mother has been identified as a 20-year-old Quakers Hill woman.

She is currently assisting police with inquiries at Blacktown Police Station.

Mr Otte was cycling along the path with his 18-year-old daughter this morning when he heard the baby screaming.

“We were going on a leisurely ride, my daughter and I, and came across a noise that we could hear,” Mr Otte said.

“We actually thought it was a kitten and when we went down there we could hear exactly what it was, you could definitely tell it was a baby screaming.”

Mr Otte said he cycles on the path once a month and was about to turn around and head home when he heard the baby’s cries.

“Luckily we were there, someone was looking over us and told us to stop and have a look,” he said.

Cyclist David Otte and daughter Hayley found a baby boy whilst riding along a bike track

Cyclist David Otte and daughter Hayley found a baby boy whilst riding along a bike track beside the M7. Picture: Cameron Richardson bloody heroes!

Inspector David Lagats, from Quakers Hill police, said the boy was malnourished and undergoing medical tests at Westmead Children’s Hospital.

“He’s said to be in a serious but stable condition. The hospital estimates the baby to be two to three days old,” Insp Lagats said.

“He was already malnourished and dehydration would have taken effect so I would have had grave fears for the child’s welfare had it been exposed to this weather for the rest of the day.

“The umbilical cord had been cut and had been clamped. It appears to have had some medical intervention since its birth.”

Of concern is the height that the baby may have fallen from, Quakers Hill duty officer Inspector David Lagats said.

There was a gap between the ground and the concrete slab, big enough to put the child through, and police believe he dropped 2.4m.

Inside the drain you get a clearer indication of the 2.4m drop the child enduredafter bei

Inside the drain you get a clearer indication of the 2.4m drop the child endured after being dumped beside the M7. Picture Cameron Richardson

Patrick Morgan, Mark McAllister and Darren McIntyre were the first police officers on the

Westlink M7 staff use a crane to put the cover back onto the drain after it was removed earlier to save the baby. Picture: Cameron Richardson

The child is thought to be of Indian or Middle Eastern appearance.

Some of the cyclists who found him saw an Indian male in an orange shirt walking on the cycle track moments after they heard the baby’s cries.

Senior-Constable Mark McAlister was among the first on the scene and climbed into the drain with another detective to pull the distressed baby out.

“When I arrived there were several bike riders, cyclists and pedestrians standing around the drain. Myself and several other police have come up, we heard something coming from the drain,” Sen-Constable McAlister said.

Patrick Morgan, Mark McAllister and Darren McIntyre were the first police officers on the

Patrick Morgan, Mark McAllister and Darren McIntyre were the first police officers on the scene. Picture: Cameron Richardson

BUBS THAT WENT BEFORE…

August 2012: Six-week-old baby dumped on Joseph St, Lidcombe. Parents found arguing at Lidcombe station and child removed from family.

March 2013: Baby Ahn, abandoned hours after being born at Canterbury Hospital. 30-year-old Korean mother left him at the hospital.

April 2014: Baby “Mai”, 18-month-old left on the doorstep of a Western Sydney home. Mother was taken to immigration detention but released on a bridging visa.

“At least six of us have then lifted up the concrete drain lid, when we’ve opened it we’ve sighted the small baby wrapped up in a hospital blanket. He appeared very young.

“How could someone do it? I, myself, have kids and we’re expecting a baby in a few more months so it’s not good that someone’s going through this and has done this to a little one.

“It was a bit surreal really. It’s great that someone actually stopped and heard it and had the initiative to give us a call.”

A photo of the baby boy in Sen-Constable McAlister’s arms has been widely circulated on social media this morning as police attempt to find the baby’s parents.

Lisa Charet, district director from the Department of Families and Community Services, said it was likely the child would be released from hospital into the care of the state.

“At this stage we are really worried about his welfare and mum’s. We can give her the help and support that she needs. She must be feeling enormously distressed,” Ms Charet said.

The child’s cry was heard coming from beneath the concrete slab to the right. Picture: Ca

The child’s cry was heard coming from beneath the concrete slab to the right. Picture: Cameron Richardson

“When this sort of thing happens, people are in a place of desperation.”

With temperatures tipped to peak above 40C in Western Sydney today there were concerns the child would have died if he had been found later in the day.

ICAC: Former NSW minister Ian Macdonald to be prosecuted over Doyles Creek mine licence

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Wipe that bloody smile off your face McDonald, there will be no happy meals in jail when they finish with you (well apart from the I’m dying, have 34 cancers, amnesia and dementia and so on, which will be a disgraceful defence to those that suffer from those diseases

Long time waiting for this, with more crooks to come, including the outrageously corrupt and greedy Obeid Tribe

Update Thu 20 Nov 2014, 4:57pm

ICAC: Former NSW ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald to be prosecuted after corruption findings

Former New South Wales Labor ministers Eddie Obeid and Ian Macdonald have been ordered to appear in court after prosecutors decided to act on the findings of the state’s corruption watchdog.

Mr Obeid is being prosecuted for alleged misconduct in public office relating to restaurant leases at Circular Quay in Sydney.

Mr Macdonald is being prosecuted for two alleged offences of misconduct in public office over the awarding of a mining licence.

In June, Mr Obeid was found to have acted corruptly by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), which said he “misused his position as an MP” to lobby ministers and a senior public servant over the retail leases.

The commission heard Mr Obeid had a secret stake in cafes and restaurants in the area through his brother-in-law, and he failed to disclose the stake when he lobbied other Labor ministers not to put the leases to a competitive tender when they expired in 2005.

“A court attendance notice was served on Mr Obeid this afternoon, following advice received from the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions,” ICAC said in a statement.

The court notice alleged Mr Obeid induced Stephen Dunn, a senior manager with the Maritime Authority of NSW, to “deal favourably” with Circular Quay Restaurants’ tenancies.

Mr Obeid fronted the media assembled outside his Hunters Hill home and said he would plead not guilty to the charges laid against him. Fraud from day 1, and the were ALL scared of him if you did not go past EO you got nothing back in the day in NSW parliment. Barely made a speech ever it at all, but was a POWER BROKER…WTF with the gutless party tribe (robbo)

“Those inquiries are nothing but sham inquiries that wanted to make ICAC look good,” he said.

He maintained his innocence and said he welcomed the prosecution.

“I have no concern whatsoever that in a court of law we’ll be able to fight the evidence, and I’m very confident,” Eddie Obeid said.

“I’m looking forward to telling the evidence we have. I’m innocent in every instance.”

ICAC’s Operation Acacia investigated Mr Macdonald’s decision to award the Doyles Creek mining licence in 2008, when he was resources minister.

The commission heard the then-Labor minister “gifted” the licence, in the Hunter Valley, to then-chairman of Doyles Creek Mining John Maitland without a competitive tender and against departmental advice.

The corruption watchdog recommended both Mr Macdonald and Mr Maitland be charged.

ICAC said a court attendance notice had been served on Mr Macdonald earlier today, after the DPP provided advice that Mr Macdonald should be prosecuted for two offences of misconduct in public office.

Mr Maitland was being prosecuted for being an accessory to misconduct in public office, ICAC said.

The action follows widespread criticism of a lack of prosecutions resulting from the commission’s corruption findings.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said it was “about time” Mr Macdonald was prosecuted.

“Ultimately, what you need to see is prosecutions,” he said.

“Those prosecutions coming forward is going to give great confidence to the community.

“That is exactly what they want to see – if someone does the wrong thing and if they abuse public office, if they act in their own interest, if they undertake corrupt activity, well, there are consequences and they need to face them.”

The notice alleged Mr Macdonald “did in the course of and connected to his public office wilfully misconduct himself by granting Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd consent to apply for an exploration licence under the Mining Act 1992, without reasonable cause or justification”.

He was also involved in misconduct “by granting to Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd Exploration Licence No. 7270 under the Mining Act 1992, without reasonable justification”, the court notice alleged.

A court attendance notice was also served on Mr Maitland for two counts of being an accessory before the fact to misconduct in public office “in relation to aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring the commission of the two offences by Mr Macdonald”.

Mr Macdonald has previously described the ICAC findings as “false” and “based on guess work and conjecture”.

Mr Maitland has also rejected the findings.

The matters are listed for mention at the Downing Centre Local Court on December 18.


 

Thu 20 Nov 2014, 12:34pm

Former New South Wales government minister Ian Macdonald has been ordered to appear in court after prosecutors decided to act on a corruption inquiry’s findings.

Mr Macdonald is being prosecuted for two alleged offences of misconduct in public office, after an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) inquiry relating to the awarding of a mining licence.

ICAC’s Operation Acacia investigated Mr Macdonald’s decision to award the Doyles Creek mining licence in 2008, when he was resources minister.

The commission heard the then-Labor minister “gifted” the licence, in the Hunter Valley, to then-chairman of Doyles Creek Mining John Maitland without a competitive tender and against departmental advice.

The corruption watchdog recommended both Mr Macdonald and Mr Maitland be charged.

ICAC said a court attendance notice had been served on Mr Macdonald earlier today, after the DPP provided advice that Mr Macdonald should be prosecuted for two offences of misconduct in public office.

Mr Maitland was being prosecuted for being an accessory to misconduct in public office, ICAC said.

NSW Premier Mike Baird said it was “about time” Mr Macdonald was prosecuted.

“Ultimately, what you need to see is prosecutions,” he said.

“Those prosecutions coming forward is going to give great confidence to the community.

“That is exactly what they want to see – if someone does the wrong thing and if they abuse public office, if they act in their own interest, if they undertake corrupt activity, well, there are consequences and they need to face them.”

The notice alleged Mr Macdonald “did in the course of and connected to his public office wilfully misconduct himself by granting Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd consent to apply for an exploration licence under the Mining Act 1992, without reasonable cause or justification”.

He was also involved in misconduct “by granting to Doyles Creek Mining Pty Ltd Exploration Licence No. 7270 under the Mining Act 1992, without reasonable justification”, the court notice alleged.

A court attendance notice was also served on Mr Maitland for two counts of being an accessory before the fact to misconduct in public office “in relation to aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring the commission of the two offences by Mr Macdonald”.

Mr Maitland is also being prosecuted for giving false evidence at ICAC.

The matters are listed for mention at the Downing Centre Local Court on December 18.

More on this story:

ICAC recommends cancellation of coal licences

ICAC finds Macdonald corrupt over Doyles Creek mine

Official advised against coal licence: ICAC

Coal licence a ‘goldmine’ for union boss: ICAC

 


  • Former Labor minister Ian Macdonald facing prosecution over Doyles Creek mine deal

    Date
    November 20, 2014 – 11:30AM

    Sydney Morning Herald State Political Editor

     Ian Macdonald facing prosecution over mining deal

    http://media.smh.com.au/news/nsw-news/ian-macdonald-facing-prosecution-over-mining-deal-6007934.html

    Former NSW Labor minister Ian Macdonald is the first person to be prosecuted after an ICAC inquiry into the Doyles Creek mine deal

    Former Labor minister Ian Macdonald is being prosecuted for misconduct in public office following a corruption inquiry into the issuing of lucrative mining licences at Doyles Creek in the Hunter Valley.

    In a statement, the Independent Commission Against Corruption announced a court attendance notice was served on Mr Macdonald on Thursday on the advice of the NSW director of public prosecutions.

    Last year the ICAC found Mr Macdonald acted corruptly as a minister in 2008 by granting a licence at Doyles Creek to a company then headed by former union official John Maitland.

    Former Labor Minister Ian Macdonald exits the ICAC hearing in February 2013.Former Labor Minister Ian Macdonald exits the ICAC hearing in February 2013. Photo: Nic Walker

    The company, Doyles Creek Mining, was later taken over by NuCoal Resources. Mr Maitland made millions of dollars from the deal.

    The ICAC found Mr Macdonald awarded the exploration licence – without tender and against departmental advice – to his “mate” Mr Maitland, a former national secretary of the Construction, Mining, Forestry and Energy Union.

    The court notice says that Mr Macdonald “did in the course of, and connected to his public office, wilfully misconduct himself” by granting Doyles Creek Mining consent to apply for exploration licences “without reasonable cause or justification”.

    The ICAC has also announced Mr Maitland is being prosecuted “for two counts of being an accessory before the fact to misconduct in public office, in relation to aiding, abetting, counselling and procuring the commission of the two offences by Mr Macdonald”.

    He is also being prosecuted for giving false and misleading evidence to the ICAC.

    The announcement represents the first time prosecutions have been launched against key players in a series of major corruption inquiries into the handling of coal licences held by the ICAC involving Mr Macdonald and former Labor minister Eddie Obeid.

    The ICAC has also indicated more prosecutions could flow from its inquiry into Doyles Creek, codenamed Operation Acacia.

    The businessmen who bankrolled Doyles Creek Mining, Craig Ransley and Andrew Poole, were also found to have acted corruptly by the ICAC last year.

    The ICAC found Mr Ransley, Mr Maitland and Mr Poole deliberately set out to ensure they did not face a public tender for the licence and made false statements to the government to obtain the exploration approval.

    “The Commission is awaiting advice from the DPP in relation to further briefs it has provided with respect to Operation Acacia,” the statement said on Thursday.

    The Doyles Creek licence has been “torn up” by the NSW government on the advice of the ICAC, prompting legal action by NuCoal which has flagged it is seeking compensation of “at least” $500 million.

Brothers 4 Life- Four gang members charged with Mahmoud Hamzy’s murder

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Brothers 4 life: Four gang members to be charged with Mahmoud Hamzy’s shooting murder

Mon 27 Oct 2014, 11:03am

Three men and a woman from the Brothers 4 Life gang will be charged with murder, New South Wales police say.

Fellow gang member Mahmoud Hamzy was shot dead at a Revesby Heights home about 12:30am on October 29 last year.

Mahmoud Hamzy (left), a member of the Brothers 4 Life gang, was shot dead in 2013.

Mahmoud Hamzy (left), a member of the Brothers 4 Life gang, was shot dead in 2013.

A 32-year-old woman was arrested at her Dulwich Hill home in Sydney’s inner west early this morning.

She is in the process of being charged with murder and other offences relating to Hamzy’s shooting and another man who survived.

Three men, aged 22, 29 and 32, will also be charged with Hamzy’s murder when they each appear in Burwood Local Court today.

New South Wales Police Homicide Commander Mick Willing said all four are known gang members.

“The woman and those others that are charged comprise a core group of Brothers for Life associates and members,” he said.

Two to be charged over Joe Antoun shooting

The 32-year-old and 29-year-old men will also be charged with the shooting murder of convicted standover man Joe Antoun at his Strathfield home last December.

To date, Commander Willing said, four people had been charged in relation to the killing of Hamzy and four had been charged in relation to the killing of Antoun.

“Rest assured, more charges will be laid in the future as we intend to hunt down and bring to justice anyone who was involved in these ruthless crimes,” he said.


Four charged with murders of Mahmoud Hamzy and Joe Antoun

Police visit the Sydney address where they arrested the woman, 32, this morning. Picture:

Police visit the Sydney address where they arrested the woman, 32, this morning. Picture: Police Media

A WOMAN and three men associated with the Brothers for Life gang will today be charged with the 2013 shooting murders of Mahmoud Hamzy and Joe Antoun.

The woman — a 32-year-old from Dulwich Hill — was arrested at her home around 6am.

Detectives escort the woman into the police station after her arrest. Picture: Police Med

Detectives escort the woman into the police station after her arrest. Picture: Police Media

She is in the process of being charged with murder and other offences relating to the shooting death of Hamzy at Bardo Circuit, Revesby Heights, on October 29 last year.

She will be refused bail and is expected to appear in Burwood Local Court today.

Bardo Circuit, Revesby Heights: The scene of Mahmoud Hamzy’s execution. Picture: Bill Hea

Bardo Circuit, Revesby Heights: The scene of Mahmoud Hamzy’s execution. Picture: Bill Hearne

Three other men — a 32-year-old, a 29-year-old and a 22-year-old — will also be charged with murder and other offences relating to the Revesby Heights shooting when they appear in Burwood Local Court on other matters later today.

Jersey Rd, Strathfield: The scene of Joe Antoun’s execution.

Jersey Rd, Strathfield: The scene of Joe Antoun’s execution.

The 32-year-old man and the 29-year-old man will also be charged with an additional count of murder for the roles they allegedly played in the fatal shooting of Joe Antoun at his home on Jersey Road, Strathfield, on December 16.

Botched gangland execution: Hamzy’s downfall

The arrests follow police ramping up their investigation into Hamzy’s death earlier this year.

In February, CCTV of three gunmen was released. They were filmed walking up to a suburban garage as they are about to execute Brothers for Life associate Hamzy.

A gun-flash can be seen as the three, each armed, unleashed a volley of bullets into Hamzy, who was inside the Revesby Heights home on October 29 last year.

Three people move up Bardo Circuit to the house they are targeting. Picture: NSW Police M

Three people move up Bardo Circuit to the house they are targeting. Picture: NSW Police Media

The actual target of the attack was Mahmoud’s cousin Mohammed, the leader of the Bankstown chapter of Brothers for Life. Mohammed fled the garage after the attack, leaving his cousin dying.

Police used the CCTV footage gathered from nearby residencies and information from the public to piece together a time line leading up to and after the murder.

The Nissan Tida police believe to be the getaway vehicle. Picture: NSW Police Media

The Nissan Tida police believe to be the getaway vehicle. Picture: NSW Police Media

One of the gunmen is believed to have been dropped off at Hurstville railway station not long after the murder.

“We believe the man at the railway station is one of the three seen getting out of a vehicle and walking to the residence where the victim was shot,’’ said Detective Superintendent Mick Willing.

“We are confident the person in this CCTV footage is also seen at the murder about 30 minutes before.’’

Police scour the scene in Bardo Circuit for evidence in the Hamzy execution.

Police scour the scene in Bardo Circuit for evidence in the Hamzy execution.

Just after the shooting a white Nissan Tida is seen to pull up in Bardo Circuit before the killers get in and leave the scene.

Police believe a burnt out Nissan Tida found in Jamison Park at Penrith two hours later was used to transport the shooters to the Revesby Heights shooting.

Who got Joe? Killers line up…

Police were forced to launch another investigation several weeks later when construction industry identity Antoun was gunned down at his front door as one of his six-year-old twin daughters clung to his leg.

Sydney career criminal Joe Antoun, aged 50, pictured here with his partner Teagan Mullens

Sydney career criminal Joe Antoun, aged 50, pictured here with his partner Teagan Mullens before his death. Picture: Supplied

Antoun, 50, was executed when he opened the door about 9.45pm and was shot four or five times in the head and chest.

His partner Teagan Mullens tried desperately to revive him before police and paramedics arrived

The father-of-two had been in and out of jail over the past three decades.

Joe Antoun’s twin daughters Lilly and Layla were at home when he was shot dead at his front door.

In 2001 he and his brother Antoine were charged with attempting to extort a Darling Harbour cafe owner before the conviction was quashed in 2006.

At the time police and crooks said a lot of people had reason to kill the known standover man.

Joe Antoun, pictured here with his family, was shot at least four times in the head and c

Joe Antoun, pictured here with his family, was shot at least four times in the head and chest.

Navid Khalili, 25, and Kasim Ali Khan, 24 — allegedly members of the street gang Brothers For Life — have already been charged over the Antoun hit.

The latest charges bring the people involved now to four.

Homicide Squad Commander Michael Willing has commended the police involved in the two mur

Homicide Squad Commander Michael Willing has commended the police involved in the two murder investigations.

Det-Supt Willing said today’s charges stemmed from outstanding police work.

“Their investigative nous and unyielding commitment has resulted in numerous people being charged with murder and other major criminal offences,” he said.

“To date, four people have been charged in relation to the murder of Mahmoud Hamzy and four have been charged in relation to the murder of Joe Antoun.

“Rest assured, more charges will be laid in the future as we intend to hunt down and bring to justice anyone who was involved in these ruthless crimes.”


‘Top Brothers 4 Life member’ Amanda Crowe stays under virtual house arrest over alleged hit bid

October 9, 2014

Court Reporter

Brothers 4 Life founder: Bassam Hamzy.
Brothers 4 Life founder: Bassam Hamzy. Photo: Supplied

A Sydney woman, charged with masterminding and orchestrating the attempted murder of three men during the Brothers 4 Life internal war last year, will remain under virtual house arrest after failing to have her bail conditions relaxed.

Amanda Crowe, 32, has been described by police in court documents as an unlikely right-hand woman to the violent gang‘s Blacktown chapter leader, Farhad Qaumi.

Qaumi, who was appointed “general” by gang founder and Supermax inmate Bassam Hamzy in 2012, is in custody on a string of firearms, drugs and gang-related charges.

Ms Crowe is accused of ordering Mobin Mirzaei, Mohammed Kalal and a third man who cannot be named for legal reasons to shoot Abdul Abu-Mahmoud on November 7 last year.

Mr Abu-Mahmoud was apparently targeted because his perceived links to a real estate agency meant he could find out where Qaumi lived.

On Thursday, Ms Crowe’s barrister Greg James, QC, said his client was caring for her elderly, infirm mother and needed some respite from being with her in their house around the clock.

He asked Supreme Court Justice Michael Adams to vary her bail conditions to allow her to leave the property during daylight hours as she was “under virtual house arrest”.

Justice Adams refused, saying Ms Crowe was accused of being either a leader of, or affiliated with, a “frightening criminal gang” .

Mr James said the case against Ms Crowe turned on a rollover witness who was in protective custody and “she is on the periphery” of the gang’s alleged activities.

Justice Adams said he was not in a position to assess the strength of the Crown case because a number of people had become Crown witnesses and would give evidence at trial about the gang and how it operated.

However, telephone intercepts showed Ms Crowe had “at the very least a sense of loyalty and submission to one or more members of the group”, Justice Adams said.

“The extent to which she is a leader is uncertain but, as a woman, it’s probably not great.”

He said that, given the seriousness of the charges – including three counts of causing wounding to a person with intent to murder, and the “character” of her co-accused gang members – the risk to the community was too great should her bail conditions be relaxed.

During an earlier court hearing, police alleged that, just after midnight on November 7, Mirzaei, Kalal and a third man stormed Mr Abu-Mahmoud’s car outside the Chokolatta Cafe in Bankstown with machine guns, firing through its windows so ferociously they destroyed a headrest.

Miraculously, the three men inside – Mr Abu-Mahmoud, Khalil Khalil and Hassan Soueid – survived.

Ms Crowe will appear in Burwood Local Court later this month.


Police unravel underworld shooting spree

Date

October 24, 2014

Drug cook Roy Yaghi, right, and his friend Jamie Grover.Drug cook Roy Yaghi, right, and his friend Jamie Grover. Photo: ABC Images

It began with a spray of bullets fired into a ute parked outside a home in the city’s south-west one night in August 2012, and what followed was three bloody months in Sydney.

There were five men dead by December and others lucky to be alive following a series of brazen shootings that were carried out at any time of day in car parks, outside family homes and even one as guests left a wedding.

But two years on, and following one of the largest police investigations carried out in recent years, homicide detectives are one by one closing in on those responsible.

Bachir Arja.Bachir Arja. Photo: ABC Images

Detectives involved in the major operation, known as Strike Force Earp, believe all five murders and a series of other shootings were carried out by the one criminal group based in the city’s west.

A key member of that group, a 28-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested and charged with murder when homicide detectives visited him at Silverwater jail on Friday.

It followed the dramatic arrest of another member, a 27-year-old, as he walked out of a Sydney courtroom on unrelated drugs charges on Tuesday.

Shooting victim Ali Eid.Shooting victim Ali Eid. Photo: ABC Images

Both men have been charged with the murder of father-of-four Ali Eid, who was shot dead in a brazen daylight execution at Punchbowl in November 2012. Mr Eid was doing tiling work on the half-finished property he was building for his young family in Lumeah Avenue.

The men have also been charged with attempted murder relating to an electrician who also was working on the home. Mohammed Hanouf was shot but survived the attack.

Head of the homicide squad Detective Superintendent Mick Willing said the investigation, which has involved thousands of hours of reviewing security footage and interviewing unco-operative witnesses, was “far from over”.

Victim: Commanchero bikie member Faalau Pisu.Victim: Commanchero bikie member Faalau Pisu.

“We believe the same criminal group is responsible for all five shooting incidents and we plan to make more arrests and lay more charges in the near future,” Mr Willing said.

Those other incidents include

  • the fatal shooting of known drug cook Roy Yaghi, 32, and Jamie Grover, 26, as they sat in a ute at Wentworthville on August 30, 2012;
  • the fatal shooting of Commanchero bikie member Faalau Pisu 23, and the wounding of two others as they left the wedding of another gang member at the Serbian National Defence Council at Canley Vale on November 5, 2012; and
  • the fatal shooting of Mr Eid’s relative, Bachir Ajra, 28, outside his family home in Punchbowl on December 18, 2012.

The members of this crime group have spent the best part of their adult lives in and out of jail, convicted of offences such as manslaughter, large-scale drug deals and armed robberies. Senior police have described them as more deadly and daring than the infamous Sydney crime group Brothers 4 Life.

While police believe the same group is behind all five murders, they do not believe the incidents are directly linked. The court was told on Tuesday that Mr Eid was killed over a drug debt.

It is understood that Mr Pisu was randomly hit when a gunman opened fire on a party leaving the wedding after someone was bad-mouthed during the celebrations.

Mr Yaghi, who had links to bikie gangs, was allegedly shot over a long-running dispute but his associate sitting in the car with him that night, Mr Grover, was collateral damage.

“This is a complex and challenging investigation but the detectives working on Strike Force Earp are some of the most tenacious police officers you will find,” Mr Willing said.

“I have every confidence in the work they are doing and know that they will bring more people to justice in the months ahead.”

The 28-year-old arrested on Friday will appear in Burwood Local Court on Monday.

His co-accused returns to court next month


 Related articles

So called COMANCHERO Bikie president Vince Focarelli’s son Giovanni shot dead in 4th assassination attempt

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Comanchero member Giovanni Focarelli shot dead as club president father Vince survives fourth attempt to kill him…These guys play with fire they are going to get burnt, but this story is mostly yet to be told and the facts from fiction get sorted out…Shame for Giovanni to die in such circumstances though.

Giovanni Focarelli, right, with father Vince outside the Adelaide Magistrates Court on January 12 this year.

COMANCHERO bikie Vince Focarelli has refused to tell police who shot and killed his son Giovanni in a ”targeted attack” in Adelaide’s north last night. (Son or stepson, does it matter?)

Update 24th November 2014

Do you have information about the shooting of Giovanni Focarelli?

CCTV footage showing the moment a man was shot dead in Adelaide in 2012 has been released by SA Police today in a bid to elicit additional information from the community to assist investigators.

Giovanni Focarelli was killed as he sat in the front passenger’s seat of a car stopped on Flame Ave, Dry Creek on Sunday January 29, 2012.

Also seriously injured in the attack was Mr Focarelli’s father, Vincenzo.

Police release CCTV of Giovanni Focarelli’s Dry Creek murder

Related Story: Top bikie’s son dead after double shooting
Police have released CCTV vision of the place where a man was shot dead in Adelaide nearly three years ago, hoping someone will come forward who can identify the attacker.

Giovanni Focarelli, 22, was sitting in the front seat of a car at Dry Creek in early 2012 when he was murdered.

His father Vince, who had bikie links, was seriously injured in the attack.

Vince Focarelli later flagged down a police car at suburban Prospect, with his son in the back seat of the car.

Police said an Adelaide bikie gang member was the key suspect and they hoped they were close to an arrest.

Detective Inspector Greg Hutchins of the major crime investigation branch said officers had been building their case.

“This footage is among the evidence seized by police. A small piece of information may be all it now takes to complete this criminal jigsaw puzzle and put the offender and any co-conspirators before the courts,” he said.

He said police would keep pursuing the case vigorously.

“I would like to take this opportunity to remind both the offenders and the wider community that we do not file murder cases until they are solved and we will continue to pursue those responsible for this,” he said.

Detective Inspector Hutchins reminded people they could make an anonymous approach to police.

Bikie gang members are notorious for not assisting police in investigations and even going so far as to hide evidence, hinder police investigations and intimidate witnesses,” he said.

“Police will not be deterred and we remain extremely positive that the offender will be arrested.”

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9AM UPDATE

BIKIE lawyer Craig Caldicott told ABC Radio this morning that Mr Focarelli has managed to alienate large sections of the bikie community

“I’ve only obtained information from the media and from other people who indicate the father had a falling out with a member of the Hell’s Angels on a personal level. They had been friends and suddenly there was a falling out.’

“Out of the genesis from that Focarelli appeared to try to protect himself and from the New Boys then tried to brand himself a Comanchero and has managed to alienate large sections of the bikies fraternity.

Mr Caldicott said it appears that Focarelli has also made enemies with the Comancheros – and claimed Focarelli was not a member of the club despite claiming its presidency.

“No he isn’t,” Mr Caldicott said when asked if Mr Focarelli is a member.

“(His presidency) is a self-appointed title as far as I’m aware.”

Police at the scene confirmed that Giovanni’s body was in the back seat of a car on Prospect Rd, just outside Prospect Village Shopping Centre in Adelaide.

An SA ambulance spokeswoman said that a man with multiple gunshot wounds had been taken to Royal Adelaide Hospital.

She said he was in stable condition and walking when ambulance crews arrived at the scene.

Police confirmed the man was Vince Focarelli who has been the target of previous three assassination attempts.

Ten police vehicles sealed off Prospect Rd within minutes of the first reports about 9pm.

Police search the vehicle in which Giovanni Focarelli’s body was found in.

A blue sedan with West Australian registration plates was parked on Prospect Rd outside the shopping centre and Giovanni’s body was inside. The cars headlights and hazard lights were on.

TWO young women have narrowly avoided injury after being repeatedly fired at by a pistol-wielding gunman in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

A group of people who arrived at the scene at 9.35pm had to be restrained by police from entering the crime scene. One woman had to be tackled by three officers.

Minutes earlier, paramedics had gathered around the rear of the vehicle and they were believed to be checking a body for signs of life.

There were reports that an ambulance had earlier rushed a person to hospital.

Last month Giovanni was by his father’s side as Vince fronted court to face charges relating to a brawl at a Plympton hotel.

Giovanni was stabbed in the stomach and chest outside his father’s Hindley Street tattoo parlour Ink Central on May 22, 2010.

Vince, who survived a gunman’s ambush on December 15 at Munno Para and whose alleged associates engaged in a gunfight at a North Adelaide cafe, broke his silence to counter rumours that the Comanchero Motorcycle Club is plagued by infighting.

In a statement signed by him and released by him earlier this month, he called for privacy.

“Mr Focarelli denies there is any disharmony or in-house fighting within the Comancheros Motorcycle Club,” the statement said.

Mr Caldicott said it appears that Focarelli has also made enemies with the Comancheros, a club he is not a member of despite claiming its presidency.

“No he isn’t,” Mr Caldicott said when asked if Mr Focarelli is a member.

“(His presidency) is a self appointed title as far as I’m aware.”

Despite the rift between rival bikie gangs Mr Caldicott speculated that the shooting may have been over a drug deal going sour.

“The fact that it was at an oval at Dry Creek would tend to suggest it being a drug deal going wrong,” Mr Caldicott said.

“It may not have been necessarily anything to do with bikies, rather other people that Mr Focarelli’s managed to alienate over the years.”

EARLIER

COMANCHERO bikie Vince Focarelli has refused to tell police who shot and killed his son Giovanni in a ”targeted attack” in Adelaide’s north last night.

Police at the scene confirmed that Giovanni’s body was in the back seat of a car on Prospect Rd, just outside Prospect Village Shopping Centre.

Police believe Focarelli – the self-proclaimed leader of the Comancheros SA chapter – and his son had been shot in a ”planned” attack at Flame Ave, Dry Creek.

Police have cordoned off the street and are doorknocking residents.

THE SCENE AT DRY CREEK

Bleeding from up to four bullet wounds, Focarelli bundled his son, 22, into his Ford sedan and drove down Prospect Rd where he flagged down a police patrol for help.

Detective Superintendent Grant Moyle said police have spoken to Focarelli at the Royal Adelaide Hospital but ”he has declined to provide us with any information that might assist us in identifying the offender”.

”I would suggest it was a very planned and targeted attack,” he said.

”We have a scene at Dry Creek where we believe the shooting did take place.

”We believe Mr Focarelli was driving from there down Prospect Rd where he has come across a patrol and has stopped in front of that and sought assistance.”

Det Supt Moyle could not say whether Giovanni died at the scene of the shooting or if he was alive when his father sought police help.

THE SCENE ON PROSPECT RD

Vince Focarelli had boasted only weeks ago that he was “The only man on the planet with nine lives”.

Ten police vehicles sealed off Prospect Rd within minutes of the first call for an ambulance around 9pm.

A witness said an ambulance officer had told them that whoever was responsible for the shooting was still on the loose.

A blue sedan with West Australian registration plates was parked on Prospect Rd with its headlights and hazard lights on.

A group of people who arrived at the scene at 9.35pm had to be restrained by police from entering the crime scene. One woman had to be tackled by three officers.

Minutes earlier, paramedics had gathered around the rear of the vehicle and were believed to be checking a body for signs of life.

A nearby Prospect Rd resident said: “I heard a loud noise.

“It was a strange sound. I came down and there were police already here.

“As I got here, they rushed someone from the car to the ambulance.”

Police were searching the immediate area around the car for evidence.

Focarelli shooting

Det Supt Moyle stopped short of calling the latest shooting a bikie war but said police are concerned that the situation could escalate.

After a court appearance earlier this month, Vince bragged on Facebook that he “feels like a rock star” from all the media attention generated by his narrow escapes.

It was posted on December 16, the day after surviving his third assassination attempt after being shot in the leg at Munno Para West.

Vince and Giovanni Focarelli

Giovanni, in his early 20s, was stabbed in the stomach and chest outside his father’s Hindley Street tattoo parlour Ink Central on May 22, 2010.

Vince, whose alleged associates engaged in a gunfight at a North Adelaide cafe, broke his silence to counter rumours that the Comanchero Motorcycle Club is plagued by infighting.

In a statement signed by him and released by him earlier this month, he called for privacy.

“Mr Focarelli denies there is any disharmony or in-house fighting within the Comancheros Motorcycle Club,” the statement said.

Family and friends of Vince and Giovanni Focarelli arrive at the Prospect Rd scene last night

Four men arrested over shooting attack at Sydney Rebels clubhouse


Tue 25 Nov 2014, 6:45pm

Man arrested at Bringelly

A 39-year-old man was arrested at Bringelly, in Sydney’s west. (Supplied: NSW Police)

 What a fine specimen, but who cares, it is what they get up to that matters. One by one let them be put away!
Related Story: Rebels clubhouse raided over Minchinbury shooting

Four members of the Rebels bikie gang have been arrested over the shooting and assault of a fellow gang member in Sydney earlier this year, police say.

Detectives allege the men were involved in shooting a man three times in the leg outside a Rebels clubhouse in Minchinbury, in Sydney’s west, in July.

The 33-year-old victim was then allegedly attacked after he tried to run away.

This morning, a 39-year-old man was arrested at his Bringelly home and charged with discharging a firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and participating in a criminal group.

Police said they also seized Rebels paraphernalia, cash and a vehicle from the man’s home.

Later, two men, aged 24 and 25, were arrested at Silverwater and charged with the same offences.

They were refused bail to appear at Parramatta Local Court tomorrow.

Another man, 37, was arrested during a car stop at Penrith and taken to Penrith police station, where he remains in custody.

The arrests follow the formation of Strike Force Rooftop within the State Crime Command to investigate the attack.

“All those arrested are members of the Rebels,” NSW Police said in a statement.

“Strike Force Rooftop investigations are continuing and further arrests are anticipated.”


Rebels member charged over shooting of another member – Gangs Squad

Tuesday, 25 November 2014 12:36:46 PM

Gangs Squad detectives have now charged a member of Rebels with the shooting and assault of another member in Minchinbury earlier this year.

Police will allege that shortly after 8pm on Monday 7 July 2014, a 33-year-old member of the Rebels was shot as he walked into an industrial unit on Grex Avenue, Minchinbury – the clubhouse of the Rebels Mt Druitt chapter.

After being shot three times in the leg, the man attempted to flee the location but was chased down by three men and attacked as he lay on the roadway on Grex Avenue, Minchinbury.

Police and emergency services were called to the location and the 33-year-old was taken to hospital where he was treated for his injuries. He has since been released.

Detectives from State Crime Command’s Gangs Squad formed Strike Force Rooftop to investigate the incident and this morning (Tuesday 25 November 2014) arrested a 39-year-old man at a home at Bringelly.

During a search warrant, officers seized cash, Rebels paraphernalia and a vehicle for further examination.

The senior member of the Mt Druitt chapter of the Rebels was taken to Green Valley Police Station and charged with discharge firearm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and participate in a criminal group.

He was refused bail to appear at Liverpool Local Court today.

Strike Force Rooftop investigations are continuing and further arrests are anticipated.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/ Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Rebels clubhouse raided over Minchinbury shooting

9:20amTue 8 Jul 2014, 9:20am

A man with links to the Rebels bikie gang has been shot in an attack at Minchinbury in Sydney’s west.

The 33-year-old was found with several bullet wounds to his thigh, outside the Rebels clubhouse in Grex Avenue about 8:30pm (AEST) on Monday.

Police said he was shot after entering the clubhouse then bashed by a group of men.

He has been taken to Westmead Hospital where he is in a serious condition.

As a result of the shooting, heavily armed police from the Tactical Operations Unit raided the clubhouse just after 11pm but no arrests were made.

Police said anyone with information about the shooting, or anyone who witnessed the attack, should contact them.

This morning, an ABC News crew that turned up to film the crime scene was threatened by gang members.

Police reporter Lucy Carter said they were told to stop filming.

“Several men are guarding the entrance to the Rebels clubhouse, telling me and my ABC camera crew to f*** off and switch off our equipment or else,” she said.

She said two police cars, including the dog squad had now arrived.

Two arrested as robbery strike force inquiries continue – Strike Force Tuft


Two arrested as inquiries continue into spate of armed robberies across Sydney

The Blue Gum Hotel at Waitara was held up on October 20.

The Blue Gum Hotel at Waitara was held up on October 20.

TWO men arrested yesterday are helping police with their inquiries into a spate of armed robberies across Sydney, including one at the Blue Gum Hotel at Waitara.

Detectives from Strike Force Tuft arrested the two men, aged 33 and 30, after a car was stopped at the intersection of Kurrajong Rd and Glossip St at St Marys.

The men are assisting the detectives with inquiries into armed robberies at a hotel in Rooty Hill on Saturday and a licensed premises in St Marys on Sunday.

Inquiries are also continuing into a series of armed robberies at newsagencies, service stations, liquor stores and hotels across Sydney between August 24 and October 21.

During some of the incidents, two men entered the premises armed with a pistol and demanded cash from employees before fleeing the scene.

The Blue Gum Hotel was held up on Monday, October 20 when two men entered the establishment about 3pm and approached a woman in the poker machine room. The men showed her a handgun and demanded cash.

The pair left with a small amount of money and fled via the bottleshop area in Unwin Rd and were last seen turning left into Clarke Rd.

Detectives have renewed their appeals for anyone with information to come forward.

Call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/


 

Monday, 24 November 2014 08:41:41 PM

Two men are assisting with inquiries into a number of armed robberies across Sydney.

Between Sunday 24 August and Tuesday 21 October 2014, a series of armed robberies was committed upon newsagents, service stations, liquor stores and hotels across Sydney.

During some of the incidents, two men entered the premises armed with a pistol and demanded cash from employees before fleeing the scene.

Officers attached to the Metropolitan Robbery Unit established Strike Force Tuft to investigate the 15 armed robberies and believe they may be linked.

As a result of inquiries by strike force detectives two men, aged 33 and 30, were arrested after a car was stopped at the intersection of Kurrajong Road and Glossop Street a St Marys today (Monday 24 November 2014).

The pair are currently assisting with strike force detectives with inquiries into armed robberies at a hotel in Rooty Hill on 22 November and a licensed premise in St Marys the next day.

Meanwhile, inquiries by strike force detectives into the robberies are continuing.

Further details of the armed robberies include:

a service station at Bankstown on Sunday 24 August 2014,

• a service station at Kellyville on Sunday 24 August 2014,

• a bottle shop at Padstow on Sunday 24 August 2014,

• a newsagency at Smithfield on Thursday 28 August 2014,

• a hotel at Rosehill on Thursday 28 August 2014,

• a club at Eastwood on Saturday 30 August 2014,

• a hotel at Fairfield on Monday 1 September 2014,

• The attempted robbery of a hotel at Allawah on Sunday 7 September 2014,

• a hotel at Ashfield on Sunday 7 September 2014,

• a hotel at Villawood on Thursday 9 September 2014,

• a hotel at Warwick Farm on Monday 13 October 2014,

• a hotel at Merrylands on Wednesday 15 October 2014,

• a hotel at Summer Hill on Saturday 18 October 2014,

• a hotel at Greenfield Park on Monday 20 October 2014,

• a hotel at Waitara on Monday 20 October 2014, and;

• a hotel at Smithfield on Wednesday 22 October, 2014

Detectives are continuing their inquiries and have renewed their appeals for anyone with further information to come forward.

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/ Information you provide will be treated in the strictest of confidence. We remind people they should not report crime information via our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Rhodes superannuation administrator charged over missing $3.9m super money – 8yr transfer trail linked to gambling habit


More to come on this greedy bastard after next court hearing

Steve Stickney

Charges relate to money being transferred from members’ accounts.

Charges relate to money being transferred from members’ accounts.

A 52-year-old Rhodes superannuation administrator was charged today with fraud offences relating to the disappearance of $3.9 million.

Late this afternoon Fraud and Cybercrime Squad detectives arrested and charged the man, alleging the senior administrator at a business providing services to a superannuation company altered documents and transferred money from members’ accounts.

They also alleged the money was then withdrawn over a period of eight years, with the funds used for gambling.

Detectives arrested the man at his workplace and took him to Burwood Police Station where he was charged with 16 counts of obtain money by deception and three counts of fraud.

He was granted conditional bail to appear at Burwood Local Court on Thursday January 8, 2015. Are we ever going to see him again seeing he stole so much money?

Police are urging anyone with information in relation to this incident to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au/

Oscar Pistorius


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By Shain Germaner – Iol.co.za

October 21, 2014

PretoriaOscar Pistorius has been sentenced to five years in prison for killing his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, after his defence team’s arguments in mitigation were shattered by Judge Thokozile Masipa.

He was also sentenced to three years, suspended for five years, for firing a pistol under a table at Tasha’s restaurant in Johannesburg in January 2013.

The sentences would run concurrently.

Masipa began her sentencing at the High Court in Pretoria on Tuesday morning summarising a week’s worth of mitigation and aggravating arguments.

Pistorius was found guilty of last month of culpable homicide for causing the death of Reeva Steenkamp, as well as a charge of negligently handling a firearm in a separate incident.

Judge Masipa said while throughout the trial she had two assessors to assist her, but the sentencing decision was hers alone.

She said finding an appropriate sentence is a difficulty faced by criminal courts on a daily basis as there were sometimes more than a single correct sentence.

Masipa said that in mitigation of sentence, the defence called four witnesses while the State called just two for their arguments in aggravation.

She described the testimony of Pistorius’s psychologist, Dr Löre Hartzenberg for the defence, who said she had been treating Pistorius since shortly after the shooting in February last year.

Hartzenberg said the court needed to take into account Pistorius’s life having been left in tatters, with few friends, no career and a life now full of mental anguish.

Masipa said the next witness, Joel Maringa, a social worker, had recommended Pistorius should be kept under correctional supervision (house arrest) for three years and serve 16 hours of community service per month.

Pistorius’s manager, Peet van Zyl, was the third witness, who highlighted the athlete’s worldwide charity work during his illustrious career.

Van Zyl’s evidence was that prior to the shooting, Pistorius was commonly perceived as a global sporting icon, who had given his time and money to various worthy causes.

According to Van Zyl, the opportunity to do this had been taken from Pistorius since Steenkamp’s death.

The fourth witness was another social worker, Annette Vergeer, who spent much of her time on the stand decrying the poor status of local prisons.

She told the court that the prisons could not cater for Pistorius’s special needs.

The State’s first witness was Steenkamp’s cousin, Kim Martin, who gave an in depth summary of the model’s working and personal life.

Martin told the court of how close Steenkamp was to her parents, Barry and June, and helped them financially. Masipa noted how Martin had only met Pistorius once, a month before Steenkamp’s death. Martin recalled the chaotic aftermath for her extended family when they were informed of the death.

Barry’s health suffered from the stress of the death, according to Martin.

Lastly, the State brought the acting National Director at the Department of Correctional Services, Zac Modise, who insisted that the prison system could humanely detain the athlete.

Masipa then moved onto Pistorius’s personal circumstances as a double amputee and world renowned paralympian.

She said he no longer had any assets, and had no previous convictions.

Masipa said she was not impressed by Vergeer as a witness, as her evidence was poor and used outdated information, especially concerning the prison system. She said this had a negative impact on Vergeer’s credibility, and said the State was right in describing her evidence as “sketchy” and biased for someone with 28 years of experience.

Modise impressed the Judge, however, as a witness who genuinely wanted to inform the court that while local prisons weren’t perfect, they could cater for special needs. She said she was satisfied that disabled prisoners would be correctly looked after.

She added that if Pistorius has any issues with his accommodation if sent to prison, he had every right to approach the courts.

Judge Masipa recalled how the defence had argued Pistorius would also need mental rehabilitation for his numerous anxieties, but she believed Modise had established that such care would be available, and the athlete could bring in his own doctors.

She said that pregnant women, one of the most vulnerable groups in society, have been incarcerated in the past, with the department able to care for them.

She said it would be a major concern if there was a perception of one law for the poor, and another for the rich and famous.

Masipa also believed that the defence had placed too much emphasis on his vulnerability, when he had been living his life as a confident athlete who competed with the able-bodied.

She said her judgment was designed to bring forth the real picture of who Pistorius was.

Masipa said Pistorius had helped changed the public’s perceptions of the disabled, and inspired other young people. She said this can’t be ignored but had to be put in perspective, as his manager told the court it would have been a poor career move not to get involved with charities.

Masipa did believe, however, that Pistorius was remorseful for his crimes, as evidenced by his attempts to privately apologise to the Steenkamp family.

She said the defence had argued Pistorius’s poor mental state had been exacerbated by the media reports surrounding him. Masipa said she had taken note that the sheer number and availability of these reports could indeed be a factor in mitigation.

The judge said that while the interests of society are a necessary concern in providing a sentence, the court should not be part of a societal popularity contest, and rather pursue justice to its fullest extent.

“Retribution… is not the same as vengeance,” she said.

She said, however, that while the population could consider a lenient sentence as a failure of the court, the threat of mob justice should not deter from a righteous sentence.

Masipa said she hoped that her ruling would provide closure for all concerned, “so they could move on with their lives”.

In a comparison with another case similar to that of Pistorius’s, Masipa said the athlete had not been trying to scare off an intruder, but rather trying to shoot him.

In her conclusion, Masipa said the sentence of correctional supervision as recommended by the defence witnesses was “not appropriate” for this matter because of the severe negligent behaviour of the athlete.

She said a non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to society, but that a long sentence was not appropriate either.

In respect of the second shooting incident at a Tasha’s restaurant, she said a sentence of direct imprisonment was not appropriate as no one was hurt.

After telling the athlete to rise, Masipa sentenced Pistorius to five years in prison for cupable homicide and three years imprisonment for the second charge, but wholly suspended. The two sentences were set to run concurrently.

Pistorius managed to hold hands with some of his family members before he was led down towards the cells.

After giving out her verdict, the judge thanked the counsel on both sides for their help during the trial and the public gallery for their behaviour. Masipa said: “I want to thank the gallery. It was not an easy matter.”

After the sentence was handed down, National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Nathi Mncube said the organisation was originally disappointed with the culpable homicide conviction, but had taken solace in the fact that Pistorius would see some time behind bars.

He said a non-custodial sentence would have been inappropriate, and that the NPA will consider whether they may appeal the sentencing.

Mncube said it would be a difficult decision as the case was far from “straightforward”.

Meanwhile, he said he believed Pistorius would be taken straight to prison from the courthouse.


The trial of Oscar Pistorius for the murder of Reeva Steenkamp and several gun-related charges (The State vs Oscar Pistorius) in the High Court of South Africa in Pretoria opened on 3 March 2014. On 11–12 September 2014, Judge Thokozile Masipa delivered a verdict that Pistorius was not guilty of murder, but guilty of the culpable homicide of Steenkamp and reckless endangerment with a firearm at a restaurant. The trial was adjourned until 13 October for sentencing.

Pistorius is a leading South African runner, who won attention as an athlete with a disability competing at a high level, including at multiple Paralympic Games and the 2012 Summer Olympics. Steenkamp, a model, was his girlfriend. In the early morning of Thursday, 14 February 2013, Steenkamp was shot and killed by Pistorius at his Pretoria home. Pistorius acknowledged that he shot Steenkamp, but said that he mistook her for an intruder. Pistorius was taken into police custody and was formally charged with murder in a Pretoria court on 15 February 2013.

On 25 February 2014, Judge President Dunstan Mlambo ruled in the High Court in Pretoria that the entire trial could be broadcast live via audio and that parts of the trial could be broadcast live via television, namely the opening and closing arguments, the testimony of consenting state witnesses, the judgment, and the sentencing if applicable.

Bail hearing

The bail hearing commenced on 19 February 2013 under Chief Magistrate of Pretoria Desmond Nair. During the hearing, both prosecution and defence said that Pistorius had fired four shots through a locked toilet door, hitting Steenkamp, who was inside, three times. Prosecutor Gerrie Nel claimed that Pistorius had put on his prosthetic legs, walked across his bedroom to the bathroom, and intentionally shot Steenkamp through the door. Nel argued that the time required for this process was sufficient to establish the alleged murder as premeditated. Pistorius said that he had thought Steenkamp was in the bed, and that the person in the toilet was an intruder.

Chief investigating officer Hilton Botha said at the bail hearing that a witness had heard gunshots coming from Pistorius’ home and then a female screaming followed by more gunshots; he initially said the witness was 600 metres (2,000 ft) away, but later said the distance was 300 metres (980 ft). Botha also said the trajectory of the gunshots indicated that they had been fired downward and directly toward the toilet, seemingly conflicting with Pistorius’ statement that he was not wearing his prosthetics at the time. He acknowledged that procedural mistakes had been made during the crime scene investigation and that police had found no evidence inconsistent with the version of events presented by Pistorius, adding later that equally nothing contradicted the police version, either.

On 22 February 2013, Botha was removed from the case following revelations that he was facing attempted murder charges stemming from a 2009 incident. Botha was replaced by Vineshkumar Moonoo, described as “the most senior detective” in the South African Police Service.

On the first day of the bail hearing, Magistrate Nair ruled that for the purposes of the bail hearing Pistorius was charged with a Schedule 6 criminal offence, which relates to serious crimes including premeditated murder and requires exceptional circumstances for release on bail.

On 22 February 2013, at the conclusion of the four-day bail hearing, Magistrate Nair said that the state had not convinced him that Pistorius posed a flight risk and fixed bail at R1 million (US$113,000). On 4 June 2013 the court case was postponed to allow time for further investigation until a hearing at Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on 19 August 2013, when Pistorius was formally indicted on charges of murder and the illegal possession of ammunition. The indictment noted that even if Pistorius was mistaken in the identity of the person he shot, the intention was to kill.

In late June 2013, Pistorius returned to training, reportedly looking much thinner and wearing a beard. His agent said that it was a very emotional experience for Pistorius and that returning had been a “bittersweet” moment for him.

Trial

Dates for a trial to be held at the Gauteng Division of the High Court were initially set from 3 to 20 March 2014, and later extended until 16 May 2014. The court was set to adjourn after proceedings on 17 April 2014, returning on 5 May 2014, to accommodate scheduling conflicts of the prosecution.

The murder trial commenced on 3 March 2014 in the High Court in Pretoria. Pistorius was also facing a charge of illegal possession of ammunition and two charges of firing a gun in a public space. The trial was assigned to Judge Thokozile Masipa, who appointed two assessors, Janette Henzen du Toit and Themba Mazibuko, to help her evaluate the case and reach a verdict. There was no jury, the jury system in South Africa being abolished during apartheid.

Section 35 of the South African Bill of Rights provides that “Every accused person has a right to a fair trial, which includes the right… to be tried in a language that the accused person understands or, if that is not practicable, to have the proceedings interpreted in that language”. At the start of the trial, Judge Masipa told the court that the proceedings would be held in English with the assistance of interpreters, and confirmed that Pistorius spoke English. Difficulties related to court interpreters have led to court delays, mistranslations and witnesses opting to testify in English rather than their first language.

The opening statement of prosecutor Gerrie Nel noted that the murder case against Pistorius was based largely on circumstantial evidence, as there were no eyewitnesses to the incident. Contrary to statements made in the bail hearing, the prosecution’s case in the trial was that Pistorius was not wearing his prosthetic legs at the time of the shooting, or when he broke the toilet door down afterwards.

Prosecution expert witness Christian Mangena, a police ballistics analyst, testified “the shooter was most likely not wearing prosthetic legs”. Prosecution expert witness Johannes Vermeulen, a police forensic analyst, testified Pistorius was not wearing his prosthetic legs when he broke the toilet door down with a cricket bat after the shooting. Pistorius pleaded not guilty to all the charges against him, including murder and three gun-related charges.

In his opening statement read out by Pistorius family lawyer Kenny Oldwage, Pistorius said he believed Steenkamp was in bed when he shot at what he thought was an intruder behind the toilet door, and that he had spoken to her in bed shortly beforehand. He admitted to killing Steenkamp, but denied the charge of murder.

The lead defence advocate in the case was Barry Roux. In South African criminal law, murder is defined as the intentional unlawful killing of another human being. The defence of Pistorius was that, in shooting at what he believed to be an intruder, he mistakenly believed he was acting in self-defence, and as self-defence excludes the unlawfulness requirement of criminal liability, an act in valid self-defence is lawful. Technically his defence amounted to a claim that he did not intend to act unlawfully. If he could raise a reasonable doubt in his favour that he was mistaken, as he claimed, he is entitled, under South African law, to an acquittal on the charge of murder. The court then considered whether this mistake was reasonable – one that a reasonable person, in his circumstances, may have made. If the court concluded that this was an unreasonable mistake, it would convict him of Culpable homicide (all other requirements assumed). Culpable homicide in South African criminal law is defined as the negligent unlawful killing of another human being – roughly the equivalent of the English and US manslaughter.

Progress of the trial

On the first and second day of the trial, a witness testified to hearing sounds of arguing that lasted about an hour. Five witnesses testified to what were described as a woman’s screams and gunshots on the night Steenkamp died.

On the morning of day three, the defence resumed the cross examination of witnesses claiming to have heard a woman’s screams and gunshots. The defence sought to establish that this was in fact Pistorius screaming for help and that the “explosive sounds” heard was the door to the toilet being battered down. In the afternoon the prosecution continued with testimony relating to an incident when a shot was fired in a restaurant the year previously.

On the fourth day, Pistorius’ neighbour, Johan Stipp, a radiologist, testified that he found Pistorius praying over Steenkamp’s body when he went over to help after being woken by what he described as the sound of gunshots and a woman screaming. Stipp testified that the first thing he remembered Pistorius saying when he saw him was “I shot her. I thought she was a burglar. I shot her.” Stipp also testified that the light was on in the bathroom and he saw a figure moving as a woman screamed.

On day five the court heard testimony from a former girlfriend of Pistorius and from a security guard at the estate where Pistorius lived, on duty the night of the events. The court adjourned until the following Monday 10 March 2014. The trial entered its sixth day on 10 March. Pistorius vomited multiple times in court as the state pathologist delivered graphic testimony about the nature of Steenkamp’s injuries.

On 24 March, the court heard testimony about messages sent on iPhones between Pistorius and Steenkamp using WhatsApp. Ninety percent of them were described as loving and normal, but there were several from Steenkamp accusing Pistorius of jealousy and possessiveness. In one of them, sent less than three weeks before her killing, Steenkamp told Pistorius “I’m scared of you sometimes, of how you snap at me”, and described his behaviour as “nasty”. The state rested their case on Tuesday 25 March, having called 20 witnesses from an original list of 107.

On 28 March, the trial was postponed until 7 April as one of the assessors fell ill. On 7 April, Pistorius began testifying in his own defence at the trial. The cross examination of Pistorius lasted for five days, and ended on 15 April. Re-examination by defence lasted less than ten minutes, in the course of which defence asked Pistorius to read from a Valentine card which Steenkamp had given the athlete. Steenkamp had written: “I think today is a good day to tell you that, I love you”. Pistorius previously testified that he opened the card on Steenkamp’s birthday in August 2013.

Following further defence testimony the trial was adjourned until 5 May.

On 5 May, Johan Stander, manager of the estate where Pistorius lived, testified that Pistorius called at 3.18 am saying “Please, please come to my house. I shot Reeva, I thought she was an intruder. Please, please come quick.” He went with his daughter and found Pistorius coming down the stairs with Steenkamp in his arms. “He was broken, he was screaming, he was crying, he was praying, I saw the truth that morning”, he said.

On 6 May, a married couple who lived next to Pistorius’ house testified that they both heard a man crying loudly in a high-pitched voice and calling three times for help. Another immediate neighbour testified that she heard a man crying, describing the sounds as a “cry of pain”. There was no hearing Wednesday 7 May, due to the South African general election. Defence lawyer Barry Roux indicated that he would be finished with witness testimony by Tuesday 13 May.

On 8 May, professor Christina Lundgren, an anaesthesiologist, testified that estimates of the time Steenkamp last ate were not reliable. The defence also called Yvette van Schalkwyk, a social worker and probation officer assigned to Pistorius, who had contacted the defence after reading newspaper reports suggesting Pistorius was acting and that his emotional responses were insincere. She said that in February 2013 she sat with him in the cells during his bail appearance, where he vomited twice, cried eighty percent of the time, and was in mourning and suffering emotionally, and that Pistorius told her that he missed Steenkamp a great deal. “He loved her. .. He couldn’t think what her parents must be going through” she said. Under cross-examination, Lundgren conceded that Pistorius had not told her he was sorry he killed Reeva. The defence ballistics expert and former police officer Tom Wolmarans began his testimony.

On 9 May, Wolmarans countered a suggestion from a prosecution ballistics expert that Steenkamp cowered with her hand over her head. “The left hand cannot have been against her head because there were no wounds and no brain tissue on the inside of her hand” he said.

On 12 May, forensic psychiatrist Dr Merryl Vorster testified that Pistorius has a generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) and is a “distrusting and guarded” person hyper-vigilant about security, and also that in a fight or flight situation he is more likely to stand up to threatening situations than to flee, due to his disability. The prosecution said they would bring an application for Pistorius’ mental condition to be independently assessed under article 78 of the South African Criminal Procedure Act.

On 13 May, the court heard concluding testimony from Vorster. Judge Masipa said she would rule the following day on the prosecution application to have Pistorius’ mental condition evaluated. On 14 May, Judge Masipa granted the prosecution’s application for Pistorius to be referred for mental evaluation.

On 20 May, Judge Masipa ordered evaluation to take place as an out-patient at Weskoppies Psychiatric Hospital in Pretoria weekdays between 9 am and 4 pm, starting 26 May and lasting up to thirty days. The evaluation found that Pistorius was not mentally incapacitated to the extent where he could not tell right from wrong, though it did say that he currently suffers from anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, and would need continuing psychiatric care or he could become suicidal.

On 30 June, surgeon Gerald Versfeld, who amputated Pistorius’ lower legs when he was 11 months old, testified about the effects of Pistorius walking or standing on his stumps. Acoustic engineer Ivan Lin testified that tests suggested that if Steenkamp was screaming in Pistorius’ toilet, it was “very unlikely” that the screams would be audible or intelligible from 177 metres (581 ft) away, and that “although we can typically distinguish male and female screams, you cannot do so reliably, without exception”. Masipa also issued an order that police officers depose affidavits about a missing electrical extension cord.

On 1 July, Lin conceded it was possible that state witnesses heard screams from the Pistorius house from up to 177 metres (581 ft) away. Peet van Zyl, Pistorius’s agent, testified that Pistorius was in a “loving and caring relationship” with Reeva Steenkamp. Van Zyl described the sprinter as “hypervigilant”, and said he rarely lost his temper.

On 2 July, defence lawyer Roux read excerpts from a psychologist’s report, which stated “Mr Pistorius has been severely traumatised by the events that took place on 14 February 2013, He currently suffers from a post-traumatic stress disorder, and a major depressive disorder … The degree of anxiety and depression that is present is significant. He is also mourning the loss of Ms Steenkamp. Mr Pistorius is being treated and should continue to receive clinical care by a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist for his current condition. Should he not receive proper clinical care, his condition is likely to worsen and increase the risk for suicide.” The report did not confirm a diagnosis of “Generalised Anxiety Disorder” by a witness called by the defence, “”No evidence could be found to indicate that Mr Pistorius suffered from anxiety to the extent that it impaired his functioning prior to the incident in February 2013.”.

The report found some jealousy but no evidence of abuse by Pistorius: “There is evidence to indicate that Mr Pistorius was genuine with his feelings towards Miss Steenkamp and that they had a normal loving relationship. He did become insecure and jealous at times but this was normal for the specific situation. He would express his displeasure and irritation but would try and sort it out later by talking with Miss Steenkamp. Although the relationship was still young, there were no signs of abusive coercion like those often found in these kinds of relationships.” Wayne Derman, professor of sport and exercise medicine at the University of Cape Town, testified that Pistorius was “hyper-vigilant” and restless.

On 3 July, under cross-examination, Derman testified “You’ve got a paradox of an individual who is supremely able, and you’ve got an individual who is significantly disabled”. Derman, who had treated Pistorius over six years while working with South African Olympic and Paralympic teams, said Pistorius’ anxieties included concern about flying. “He has a specific fear of being trapped somewhere without being able to move very rapidly.” and that on the night he killed Steenkamp,”fleeing was not an option” as Pistorius was not wearing his artificial legs. Prosecutor Nel suggested Derman could not give evidence against his patient. “The truth would come before my patient,” Derman responded.

On 8 July, the defence closed its case. Defence lawyer Barry Roux protested “We were unable to call a number of witnesses because they refused, and didn’t want their voices heard all over the world.”

Closing arguments were heard on 7 and 8 August, with prosecutor Nel stating that Pistorius concocted a “snowball of lies”, demanding that Pistorius face consequences for his actions and in response defence lawyer Barry Roux stated that the timeline proves that Pistorius’ story is true, compared Pistorius’ reaction to danger as being like that of an an abused woman, and that Pistorius should only ever have faced culpable homicide charges, not murder.

Judge Masipa adjourned the trial until 11 September for the delivery of the verdict.

Verdict

The court’s verdict, which was arrived at unanimously by the judge and her two assessors, was delivered by Judge Masipa over two days, with the formal verdict delivered on 12 September 2014.

On 11 September Judge Masipa dismissed much of the state’s circumstantial evidence, while also describing Pistorius as a “very poor witness”. Judge Masipa said the state had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Pistorius was guilty of premeditated murder and also ruled out dolus eventualis, i.e. common murder, accepting that “he did not subjectively foresee this as a possibility, that he would kill the person behind the door, let alone the deceased as he thought she was in the bedroom”. However, Judge Masipa said culpable homicide was a competent verdict, i.e. a lesser offence that is a possible alternative verdict. She said a reasonable person in the same circumstances would have “foreseen the possibility that if he fired four shots whoever was behind the toilet [door] might be struck and die as a result”. She said Pistorius “failed to take any steps to avoid the death”, “acted too hastily and used excessive force” and his actions were clearly negligent.

On 12 September Judge Masipa found Pistorius not guilty of murder but guilty of the culpable homicide of Steenkamp and guilty of reckless endangerment with a firearm at a restaurant in a separate incident. He was found not guilty of the charges relating to discharging a firearm through the sunroof of a car and illegal possession of ammunition.

Pistorius was convicted of the following specific criminal offences:

  • 1.Culpable homicide, defined as “the unlawful negligent killing of a human being”
  • 2.Contravention of section 120(3)(b) of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (reckless endangerment), namely to “discharge or otherwise handle a firearm, an antique firearm or an airgun in a manner likely to injure or endanger the safety or property of any person or with reckless disregard for the safety or property of any person”

Judge Masipa adjourned the trial until 13 October for sentencing and granted Pistorius a bail extension.

Reactions

According to media monitoring company ROi Africa, the majority of social media comments during the delivery of the verdict were critical of Judge Masipa after it became evident that Pistorius would not be found guilty of murder. Judge Masipa, who was given police protection from the beginning of the trial, was subjected to threats and personal attacks by people who disagreed with the verdict.

Sentencing

The sentencing hearing began on 13 October 2014. Witnesses for the defence recommended a 3 year community sentence with 16 hours of community service per month. State witness Zach Modise, acting national commissioner of Correctional Services, testified that being disabled Pistorius would be held in Pretoria Central Prison’s hospital wing if he receives a prison sentence.

In a statement released on 15 October, Steenkamp’s parents said they would not testify in the sentencing hearing and that they had decided not to proceed with a separate civil lawsuit. Steenkamp’s cousin Kim Martin testified for the state about the impact on the family and asked the court to impose a prison sentence. Closing arguments were heard on 17 October, when the defence argued against a prison sentence and the state requested a minimum prison sentence of 10 years.

On 21 October 2014, Pistorius received a prison sentence of a maximum of five years for culpable homicide and a concurrent three year suspended prison sentence for the separate reckless endangerment conviction.

Notable media coverage

Print media

  • Time published a cover story titled “Pistorius and South Africa’s culture of violence” in the 11 March 2013 issue of the magazine. The magazine cover contains text superimposed on an image of a barechested Pistorius with his running blades on, portraying his progression from man to superman to gunman. Journalism professor at City University London Roy Greenslade described the cover image as “one of those striking cover images that bears all the hallmarks of being one that will live on for years to come”. The Sowetan listed the cover appearance date as one of the “key dates in his journey from internationally renowned athlete to a man on trial for murder”.

  • Vanity Fair published a feature story about the incident titled “The Shooting Star and The Model” in the Crime section of their June 2013 issue.

  • Pieces of the Puzzle: Oscar Pistorius and Reeva Steenkamp Part One: The Killing by Laurianne Claase was published in 2013, initially as an e-book and subsequently in print. Claase plans to publish a book sequel after the trial has ended.

  • On 4 March 2014, The Guardian published an article by South African crime novelist Margie Orford, “Oscar Pistorius trial: the imaginary black stranger at heart of the defence”, describing how the case “taps into a painful narrative in which race, sex, power and violence converge”.

  • In his Business Day column published on 13 March 2014, Caxton Professor of Journalism at Wits University Anton Harber states that the trial represents a turning point for local newspapers unable to compete with “the speed and conversational nature of electronic media”. He also notes that the fact that the presiding judge has “her finger on the off button for live broadcast” is restraining the behaviour of the media.

  • Several cartoons about the case by award-winning South African cartoonist Zapiro have been published. A cartoon titled “St. Valentine’s Day Shocker” published in the Mail & Guardian on 14 February 2013 depicts two scenarios, one portraying the culpable homicide version of events based on mistaken identity and the other portraying Pistorius as an Oscar winning actor. A cartoon titled “Reeva Steenkamp as Lady Justice in Oscar Pistorius Trial” published in the The Times on 4 March 2014 depicts Steenkamp as Lady Justice running after Pistorius. A cartoon titled “Legal Reasoning Behind Oscar Pistorius Verdict” published in the The Times on 16 September 2014 depicts the ensuing public debate about the legal technicalities of the verdict.

  • A controversial Paddy Power advertisement captioned “money back if he walks” was published in British tabloid The Sun on 2 March 2014 as a publicity stunt. The UK Advertising Standards Authority found that Paddy Power breached the CAP Code and brought the advertising industry into disrepute after receiving a record number of 5,525 complaints that the advertisement made light of a murder trial, the death of a woman, domestic violence and disability.

  • On 12 September 2014 The New York Times compared the South African public’s interest in the trial to that of Americans in the O. J. Simpson murder trial, reflecting “South Africa’s complicated obsession with race, crime and celebrity”.

Radio, television, and film

  • On 11 March 2013, BBC Three aired an hour long documentary about the incident titled Oscar Pistorius: What Really Happened? Discovery Networks International acquired the broadcasting rights to the programme, which will be titled Blade Runner: The Untold Story in the United States.

  • On 3 June 2013, Channel 5 aired two consecutive hour-long documentaries titled Why Did Oscar Pistorius Kill Our Daughter? and Pistorius Trial: The Key Questions.

  • In February 2014 eNCA aired a half-hour documentary special about Steenkamp’s life titled Reeva: The Model You Thought You Knew.

  • An hour long documentary titled Oscar Pistorius: Burden of Truth was aired during M-Net’s Carte Blanche programme on 16 February 2014 and subsequently on the Crime & Investigation Network.

  • On 29 January 2014, it was announced that South African satellite pay-channel DStv would launch a dedicated 24-hour channel providing in-depth coverage of the Oscar Pistorius trial on 2 March 2014. It was DStv’s first pop-up channel covering a major news story.

  • ESPN, a TV channel focussing on sports-related programming, is covering the trial on their ESPN3 network.

  • On 16 June 2014, 48 Hours aired an hour-long documentary titled Oscar Pistorius: Shots in the Dark.

  • On 6 July 2014, Australia’s Seven Network dedicated an hour-long episode of Sunday Night to a story titled Running Scared which was their own investigation into the likelihood of Pistorius’ guilt. The story included Pistorius’ own re-enactments as well as audio recordings and animations of the scene, and gave much heavier weight to claims of his innocence. The following day, many in South Africa, including Pistorius’ family and legal team, slammed the broadcast, saying the re-enactment footage had been illegally obtained. They claimed the footage was created solely for trial preparation and that the US company engaged to create it had breached contract by selling it to Seven Network. Seven Network refused to apologise, stating that they stood by their decision to air the story and denying any involvement in illegal procurement of the footage. They reminded the public that Steenkamp’s family participated in the creation of the story, citing their interviews that went to air.

  • On 15 September 2014, BBC Three broadcast Oscar Pistorius: The Truth, a documentary produced by NBC News subsidiary Peacock Productions, including extensive interviews with Barry and June Steenkamp.

Social media

  • On 22 February 2013, technology news site, Memeburn analyzed Pistorius’s bail hearing as it transpired on social media.

  • The Pistorius trial saw many South African journalists gain social media prominence as they reported from the courtroom. Writing for Memeburn, Lauren Granger explored the rise of Barry Bateman as the go to source for all things Pistorius and the Twitter explosion.

  • On 14 February 2014, South African comedian Trevor Noah posted on Twitter: “And the Oscar goes to – Jail”. Noah received criticism from his followers and other South Africans. People who responded to this post include Top Billing presenter Janez Vermeiren, who responded: “@Trevornoah c’mon you are more than talented and have enough followers, you don’t need to seek attention like this!”

  • On 23 February 2014, Pistorius’s PR team launched a Twitter account called Factual Updates which operates under the Twitter handle @OscarHardTruth in order to provide new information regarding the case as the trial unfolds. On 17 March 2014, Pistorius’s media manager Anneliese Burgess released a statement saying the account would only be used to alert followers of media statements and articles and would be used as a stand-alone communication trial once the trial had concluded.

  • Writing in her Daily Maverick column published on 4 March 2014, Sisonke Msimang finds vibrancy and emerging self-confidence reflected in the local social media coverage of the trial. While the trial inevitably represents a fall from grace prompting international media accounts of a country ‘at war with itself’, South Africans are learning that such accounts are better told by themselves.

  • On 14 April 2014, former Sunday Times columnist, Jani Allan published an open letter to Pistorius on her blog. The piece was republished by the Daily Maverick the following day. Allan described Pistorius as a “faux hero” and compared him to Eugene Terre’Blanche. She also suggested that he had taken acting lessons in preparation for his court appearance. A spokesperson for the Pistorius family has denied this; “We deny in the strongest terms the contents of her letter in as far it relates to our client and further deny that our client has undergone any acting lessons or any form of emotional coaching.”

Wikipedia.org


In full: Pistorius’ affidavit to court

CNN.com

February 21, 2013

Pretoria (CNN) — Oscar Pistorius’ attorney read out the track star’s affidavit to the judge in the Pretoria courtroom during the bail hearing Tuesday. The athlete was too distraught to read out the statement himself.

The affidavit reads as follows:

I, the undersigned, Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius, do hereby make oath and state:

I am an adult male and a South African citizen with identity number [identity number redacted].

I am the Applicant in this application in which I seek relief from this Honourable Court to be released on bail. I respectfully submit, as I will demonstrate herein, that the interests of justice permit my release on bail. In any event, the dictates of fairness and justice in view of the peculiar facts herein warrant that I should not be deprived of my liberty and that I should be released on bail.

I make this affidavit of my own free will and have not in any way been unduly influenced to depose thereto.

The facts herein contained, save where expressly indicated to the contrary, are within my personal knowledge and belief, and are both true and correct.

The purpose of this affidavit is to provide the above Honourable Court with my personal circumstances and to address the allegations levelled against me (in so far as they are known to me), as well as to address the factors to be considered by the above Honourable Court as contained in Sections 60(4) to 60(9) of the Act.

I have been advised and I understand that I bear the burden to show that the interests of justice permit my release and that I am obliged to initiate this application. I fail to understand how I could be charged with murder, let alone premeditated murder, as I had no intention to kill my girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp (“Reeva”). However, I will put factors before the Honourable Court to show that it is in the interests of justice to permit my release on bail.

I state that the State will not be able to present any objective facts that I committed a planned or premeditated murder. For this reason I will hereunder deal with the events which occurred that evening. The objective facts will not refute my version as it is the truth.

I am a professional athlete and reside at [address redacted].

I was born on 22 November 1986, at Johannesburg. I have resided in the Republic of South Africa (“the RSA”) all my life, and although I frequently travel abroad to participate in international sporting events, I regard South Africa as my permanent place of abode. I have no intention to relocate to any other country as I love my country.

I own immovable assets in South Africa, which consist of the following:

The immovable property in which I currently reside, at [address redacted] (“the residential premises”). This property is valued at approximately R5 million and is encumbered by a mortgage bond in the amount of approximately R2 million.

Two further immovable properties located within Weeping Willow Estates, Pretoria East, which properties have a combined value of approximately R1,6 million. Both properties are bonded to an aggregate value of approximately R1 million.

A vacant stand in Langebaan, Western Cape, which has a value of approximately R1,7 million. This property is not bonded.

I own movable assets comprised of household furniture and effects, motor vehicles and jewellery, which are valued in excess of R500 000,00.

My friends and family reside in the RSA, although I also have friends abroad.

My professional occupation currently provides me with an income of approximately R5,6 million per annum.

I have cash investments in excess of R1 million at various banks within the RSA.

I have never been convicted of any criminal offences either in the RSA or elsewhere. There are no outstanding cases, other than the present, being investigated against me by the South African Police Services (“SAPS”).

My legal representatives have explained the provisions of Section 60(11) of the Act to me. I respectfully make the following submissions in this regard:

I have been informed that I am accused of having committed the offence of murder. I deny the aforesaid allegation in the strongest terms.

I am advised that I do not have to deal with the merits of the case for purposes of the bail application. However, I believe that it is appropriate to deal with the merits in this application, particularly in view of the State’s contention that I planned to murder Reeva. Nothing can be further from the truth and I have no doubt that it is not possible for the State to present objective facts to substantiate such an allegation, as there is no substance in the allegation. I do not know on what different facts the allegation of a premeditated murder could be premised and I respectfully request the State to furnish me with such alleged facts in order to allow me to refute such allegations.

On the 13th of February 2013 Reeva would have gone out with her friends and I with my friends. Reeva then called me and asked that we rather spend the evening at home. I agreed and we were content to have a quiet dinner together at home. By about 22h00 on 13 February 2013 we were in our bedroom. She was doing her yoga exercises and I was in bed watching television. My prosthetic legs were off. We were deeply in love and I could not be happier. I know she felt the same way. She had given me a present for Valentine’s Day but asked me only to open it the next day.

After Reeva finished her yoga exercises she got into bed and we both fell asleep.

I am acutely aware of violent crime being committed by intruders entering homes with a view to commit crime, including violent crime. I have received death threats before. I have also been a victim of violence and of burglaries before. For that reason I kept my firearm, a 9 mm Parabellum, underneath my bed when I went to bed at night.

During the early morning hours of 14 February 2013, I woke up, went onto the balcony to bring the fan in and closed the sliding doors, the blinds and the curtains. I heard a noise in the bathroom and realised that someone was in the bathroom.

I felt a sense of terror rushing over me. There are no burglar bars across the bathroom window and I knew that contractors who worked at my house had left the ladders outside. Although I did not have my prosthetic legs on I have mobility on my stumps.

I believed that someone had entered my house. I was too scared to switch a light on.

I grabbed my 9mm pistol from underneath my bed. On my way to the bathroom I screamed words to the effect for him/them to get out of my house and for Reeva to phone the police. It was pitch dark in the bedroom and I thought Reeva was in bed.

I noticed that the bathroom window was open. I realised that the intruder/s was/were in the toilet because the toilet door was closed and I did not see anyone in the bathroom. I heard movement inside the toilet. The toilet is inside the bathroom and has a separate door.

It filled me with horror and fear of an intruder or intruders being inside the toilet. I thought he or they must have entered through the unprotected window. As I did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable, I knew I had to protect Reeva and myself. I believed that when the intruder/s came out of the toilet we would be in grave danger. I felt trapped as my bedroom door was locked and I have limited mobility on my stumps.

I fired shots at the toilet door and shouted to Reeva to phone the police. She did not respond and I moved backwards out of the bathroom, keeping my eyes on the bathroom entrance. Everything was pitch dark in the bedroom and I was still too scared to switch on a light. Reeva was not responding.

When I reached the bed, I realised that Reeva was not in bed. That is when it dawned on me that it could have been Reeva who was in the toilet. I returned to the bathroom calling her name. I tried to open the toilet door but it was locked. I rushed back into the bedroom and opened the sliding door exiting onto the balcony and screamed for help.

I put on my prosthetic legs, ran back to the bathroom and tried to kick the toilet door open. I think I must then have turned on the lights. I went back into the bedroom and grabbed my cricket bat to bash open the toilet door. A panel or panels broke off and I found the key on the floor and unlocked and opened the door. Reeva was slumped over but alive.

I battled to get her out of the toilet and pulled her into the bathroom. I phoned Johan Stander (“Stander”) who was involved in the administration of the estate and asked him to phone the ambulance. I phoned Netcare and asked for help. I went downstairs to open the front door.

I returned to the bathroom and picked Reeva up as I had been told not to wait for the paramedics, but to take her to hospital. I carried her downstairs in order to take her to the hospital. On my way down Stander arrived. A doctor who lives in the complex also arrived. Downstairs, I tried to render the assistance to Reeva that I could, but she died in my arms.

I am absolutely mortified by the events and the devastating loss of my beloved Reeva. With the benefit of hindsight I believe that Reeva went to the toilet when I went out on the balcony to bring the fan in. I cannot bear to think of the suffering I have caused her and her family, knowing how much she was loved. I also know that the events of that tragic night were as I have described them and that in due course I have no doubt the police and expert investigators will bear this out.

I will stand my trial should it proceed against me. I am a well-known international athlete and there is no possibility that I will even think of not standing my trial should there be one. I trust the South African legal system and that the facts will show that I did not murder Reeva.

In order to persuade the above Honourable Court that I should be released on bail, I provide the following additional facts and information in terms of Section 60 of the Act.

I do not know the identity of any witness upon whom the State will rely in order to attempt to prove a case against me. In any event, I have no intention to interfere with any witnesses as I have no cause to do so and I undertake not to do so.

I maintain good relationships with people and I bear no grudges against anyone.

As previously stated, I have no previous convictions and I have not been released on bail pending any charges.

I am not disposed to violence.

I respectfully submit that the facts set out above support my contention that I do not constitute a flight risk.

I have two South African passports, the one is full. I need my passport to compete overseas but I am willing to surrender the passports to the investigating officer should it be a condition of bail. I am not in possession of any other travel documents and undertake not to apply for such documentation pending the finalisation of these proceedings.

After the shooting I did not attempt to flee. Rather, I accepted Stander would contact the police, and I remained at the scene.

I will be able to raise an appropriate amount to post as bail.

I have no knowledge of any evidentiary material which may exist with regard to the allegations levelled against me. In any event, I believe that whatever such evidence may be, it is in the possession of the police; it is safely secured and I do not have access thereto. I undertake not to interfere with any further investigations.

I am not sure which witnesses the State will rely upon in order to attempt to prove its case against me. Nonetheless, I undertake not to communicate with any witness, whoever he or she may be, and any other persons whose names may appear on a list of “State witnesses”, to be provided by the State.

My continued incarceration can only prejudice me and creates no benefit to the State.

I respectfully submit that should I be released on bail, my release shall not disturb the public order or undermine the proper functioning of the criminal justice system.

I will comply with such conditions as the above Honourable Court may wish to impose.

I accordingly submit that the interests of justice, considerations of prejudice and the balancing of respective interests favour my release on bail.


Why wasn’t Oscar Pistorius convicted of murder?

After a six-month trial, Oscar Pistorius is cleared of murder but convicted of culpable homicide

Theweek.co.uk

September 12, 2014

Oscar Pistorius was today convicted of culpable homicide by Judge Thokozile Masipa after being cleared of murdering Reeva Steenkamp.

The prosecution accused Pistorius of premeditated murder, claiming he had deliberately shot his girlfriend Steenkamp after an argument on Valentine’s Day last year.

However, Judge Masipa told the court that the state had failed to prove “beyond reasonable doubt” that Pistorius is guilty of premeditated murder. “There are just not enough facts to support such a finding,” she said.

Masipa said the evidence the state offered on the charge was “purely circumstantial”.

Based on the objective facts, such as phone records, she accepted the defence’s timeline of events that the shots were fired at around 3.12am. This meant that some of the state witnesses who claimed they heard a woman screaming after the time Steenkamp was shot must have been “genuinely mistaken”, she said.

The judge also said that the WhatsApp messages between Pistorius and Steenkamp did not “prove anything” and the evidence suggesting Steenkamp had eaten two hours before she died was “inconclusive”.

Masipa then turned to the lesser charge of murder. She said there was “no doubt” that when Pistorius fired shots at the door he “acted unlawfully”.

However, she said that the evidence does not support the state’s case that this was “murder dolus eventualis”, a legal term for when the perpetrator foresees the possibility of his action causing death and persists regardless.

Masipa accepted that Pistorius believed Steenkamp was in the bedroom, noting that this part of his account had remained consistent since the moments after the shooting. It is “highly improbable the accused would have made this up so quickly”, she said.

She described Pistorius as a “very poor” and “evasive” witness, but said it did not mean he was necessarily guilty. “Clearly he did not subjectively foresee this as a possibility that he would kill the person behind the door – let alone the deceased – as he thought she was in the bedroom,” she said.

Yesterday, some legal experts suggested that the state might be able to appeal the murder ruling. Masipa explained why Pistorius did not foresee that he would kill Steenkamp, but did not “explain convincingly” why she believed he did not foresee that he would have killed the perceived intruder, says Pierre De Vos, who teaches constitutional law at the University of Cape Town.

Writing in South Africa’s Daily Maverick, De Vos says: “Given all the evidence presented in court about Pistorius’s knowledge of guns and what the bullets he used would do to a person, it is unlikely in the extreme that Pistorius did not foresee that the person behind the door (who he might have thought was an intruder) would be killed.”

Today, Masipa offered a legal explanation as to why she could only convict Pistorius on culpable homicide rather than murder. A “reasonable” person with Pistorius’s disabilities would have foreseen that shooting into the door may have killed the person inside, she said. However, South African law warns against automatically assuming that because a perpetrator “should have” foreseen the consequences of his actions that he actually did.

She pointed to JM Burchell’s General Principles of Criminal Law, which states that “the courts have warned against any tendency to draw the inference of objective foresight too easily”. Following previous cases, the courts have been told to “guard against proceeding too readily from ‘ought to have foreseen’ to ‘must have foreseen'”.

The onus was on the state to prove beyond reasonable doubt that Pistorius foresaw the fatal consequences of his actions when he shot at the door. Masipa said the prosecution failed to do so.


Oscar Leonard Carl Pistorius (born 22 November 1986) is a South African sprint runner. Although both of Pistorius’ legs were amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old, he competes in events for single below-knee amputees and for able-bodied athletes.

After becoming a Paralympics champion, Pistorius attempted to enter able-bodied international competition, over persistent objections of the IAAF and charges that his artificial limbs gave an unfair advantage. Pistorius eventually prevailed in this legal dispute. At the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, Pistorius became the first amputee to win an able-bodied world track medal. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Pistorius became the first double leg amputee to participate in the Olympics when he entered the men’s 400 metres and 4 × 400 metres relay races. At the 2012 Summer Paralympics, Pistorius won gold medals in the men’s 400-metre race and in the 4 × 100 metres relay, setting world records in both events. He also took silver in the 200-metre race, having set a world record in the semifinal.

In February 2013, Pistorius fatally shot his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp in his Pretoria home. He claimed he’d mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder, but he was arrested and charged with murder. At his trial in 2014 he was found not guilty of murder, but guilty of culpable homicide. In October 2014, Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide (and a concurrent three year suspended prison sentence for a separate reckless endangerment conviction).

Early life

Oscar Pistorius was born to Henke and Sheila Pistorius on 22 November 1986 in Sandton, Johannesburg, in what was then Transvaal Province (now Gauteng Province) of South Africa. He grew up in a Christian home, and has an elder brother, Carl, and a younger sister, Aimée. Pistorius credits his mother, who died at the age of 43 when Pistorius was 15 years old, as a major influence in his life. He is a white South African with Italian ancestry from his mother’s grandfather, an Italian emigrant to Kenya. He is English-speaking.

Pistorius was born with fibular hemimelia (congenital absence of the fibula) in both legs. When he was 11 months old, his legs were amputated halfway between his knees and ankles. He attended Constantia Kloof Primary School and Pretoria Boys High School, where he played rugby union in the school’s third XV team. He played water polo and tennis at provincial level between the ages of 11 and 13. In addition, Pistorius took part in club Olympic wrestling, and trained at Jannie Brooks’s garage gym in Pretoria, South Africa.

After a serious rugby knee injury in June 2003, he was introduced to running in January 2004 while undergoing rehabilitation at the University of Pretoria’s High Performance Centre with coach Ampie Louw, and “never looked back”. His first racing blades were fitted by South African prosthetist Francois van der Watt. Because he was unable to find suitable running blades in Pretoria, van der Watt ordered some to be made by a local engineer. However, as these quickly broke, van der Watt referred Pistorius to American prosthetist and Paralympic sprinter Brian Frasure to be fitted for blades by Icelandic company Össur.

Pistorius began studying for a Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com.) in business management with sports science at the University of Pretoria in 2006. In a June 2008 interview for his University’s website, he joked: “I won’t graduate soon. With all the training I have had to cut down on my subjects. Hopefully I’ll finish by the time I’m 30!” Asked by a journalist for his “sporting motto”, he said: “You’re not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have.”

Sporting career

Pistorius competes in T44 (single below-knee amputees) events though he is actually classified in T43 (double below knee amputee). Sometimes referred to as the “Blade Runner” and “the fastest man on no legs”, Pistorius took part in the 2004 Summer Paralympics in Athens and came third overall in the T44 (one leg amputated below the knee) 100-metre event. Despite falling in the preliminary round for the 200 metres, he qualified for the final. He went on to win the final in a world record time of 21.97 seconds, besting a pair of American runners both possessing a single amputation, Marlon Shirley and Brian Frasure.

In 2005, Pistorius finished sixth in the able-bodied South African Championships over 400 metres with a world-record time of 47.34 seconds, and at the Paralympic World Cup in the same year, he won gold in the 100 metres and 200 metres, beating his previous 200-metre world record.

At the 2006 Paralympic Athletics World Championships, Pistorius won gold in the 100-, 200- and 400-metre events, breaking the world record over 200 metres. On 17 March 2007, he set a disability sports world record for the 400 metres (46.56 seconds) at the South African Senior Athletics Championships in Durban; and at the Nedbank Championships for the Physically Disabled held in Johannesburg in April 2007, he became the world record holder of the 100- and 200-metre events with times of 10.91 and 21.58 seconds respectively.

Pistorius was invited by the IAAF to take part in what would have been his first international able-bodied event, the 400-metre race at the IAAF Grand Prix in Helsinki, Finland, in July 2005. He was unable to attend, however, because of school commitments.

On 13 July 2007, Pistorius ran in the 400-metre race at Rome’s Golden Gala and finished second in run B with a time of 46.90 seconds, behind Stefano Braciola who ran 46.72 seconds. This was a warm-up for his appearance at the 400 metres at the Norwich Union British Grand Prix at the Don Valley Stadium in Sheffield on 15 July 2007. As American Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner stumbled at the start of the race and stopped running, Pistorius took seventh place in a field of eight in wet conditions with a time of 47.65 seconds. However, he was later disqualified for running outside his lane. The race was won by American Angelo Taylor with a time of 45.25 seconds. Pistorius had ambitions of competing in other able-bodied events. In particular, he had set his sights on competing at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, but was ultimately not selected by the South African Olympic Committee.

Dispute over prosthetics

Pistorius has been the subject of criticism because of claims that his artificial limbs give him an advantage over runners with natural ankles and feet. He runs with J-shaped carbon-fibre prosthetics called the “Flex-Foot Cheetah” developed by biomedical engineer Van Phillips and manufactured by Össur.

On 26 March 2007, the IAAF amended its competition rules to include a ban on the use of “any technical device that incorporates springs, wheels or any other element that provides a user with an advantage over another athlete not using such a device”. It claimed that the amendment was not specifically aimed at Pistorius. To decide whether he was running with an unfair advantage, the IAAF monitored his track performances using high-definition cameras to film his race against Italian club runners in Rome on 13 July, and his 400 metres in Sheffield on 15 July 2007, at which he placed last.

In November 2007, Pistorius was invited to take part in a series of scientific tests at the Cologne Sports University under the guidance of Professor of Biomechanics Dr. Peter Brüggemann in conjunction with Mr. Elio Locatelli, who was responsible with the IAAF of all technical issues. After two days of tests, Brüggemann reported on his findings on behalf of the IAAF. The report claimed that Pistorius’s limbs used 25% less energy than runners with complete natural legs to run at the same speed, and that they led to less vertical motion combined with 30% less mechanical work for lifting the body.

In December, Brüggemann told Die Welt newspaper that Pistorius “has considerable advantages over athletes without prosthetic limbs who were tested by us. It was more than just a few percentage points. I did not expect it to be so clear.”

Based on these findings, on 14 January 2008, the IAAF ruled Pistorius’s prostheses ineligible for use in competitions conducted under the IAAF rules, including the 2008 Summer Olympics. Pistorius called the decision “premature and highly subjective” and pledged to continue fighting for his dream. His manager Peet van Zyl said his appeal would be based on advice from United States experts who had said that the report “did not take enough variables into consideration”.

Pistorius subsequently appealed against the adverse decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, and appeared before the tribunal at the end of April 2008.[52] After a two-day hearing, on 16 May 2008, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld Pistorius’s appeal and the IAAF council decision was revoked with immediate effect.

The CAS panel unanimously determined that Dr. Brüggemann tested Pistorius’s biomechanics only at full-speed when he was running in a straight line (unlike a real 400-metre race); that the report did not consider the disadvantages that Pistorius suffers at the start and acceleration phases of the race; and that overall there was no evidence that he had any net advantage over able-bodied athletes.

In response to the announcement, Pistorius said: “My focus throughout this appeal has been to ensure that disabled athletes be given the chance to compete and compete fairly with able-bodied athletes. I look forward to continuing my quest to qualify for the Olympics.”

Attempts to qualify for 2008 Summer Olympics

To have a chance of representing South Africa at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing in the individual 400-metre race, Pistorius had to attain the Olympic “A” standard time of 45.55 seconds; the “B” qualifying time of 45.95 seconds if no other athlete from his country achieved the faster time did not apply. Each national athletics federation is permitted to enter three athletes in an event if the “A” standard is met, and only one athlete if the “B” standard is met. However, he was eligible for selection as a member of the relay squad without qualifying. His best chance was to try for a time of close to 46 seconds to make the 4 × 400-metre relay team. However, he said: “If I make the team I don’t want to be the reserve for the relay, I want to be in the top four. I want to bring something to the race and make the relay stronger.” To give him a chance of making the South African Olympic team, selectors delayed naming the team until 17 July.

On 2 July 2008, Pistorius competed in the 400 metres in the B race of the Notturna International in Milan but was “disappointed” when he failed to achieve the minimum Olympic qualification time, completing the race in fourth place in 47.78 seconds.

His performance on 11 July 2008 at the Rome Golden Gala was an improvement of more than a second, though his sixth-place time of 46.62 seconds in the B race was still short of the Olympic qualification time. Nonetheless, he was pleased with his performance, commenting that he felt he could improve on it.

On 15 July 2008, IAAF general secretary Pierre Weiss commented that the world athletics body preferred that the South African Olympic Committee not select Pistorius for its 4 × 400 metres relay team “for reasons of safety”, saying that Pistorius could cause “serious damage” and risk the physical safety of himself and other athletes if he ran in the main pack of the relay.

Pistorius branded this as the IAAF’s “last desperate attempt” to get him not to qualify, and threatened legal action if the Federation did not confirm that it had no objections to his participation in the relay. The IAAF responded by issuing a statement saying that Pistorius was welcome to seek qualification for the Olympics and future competitions under IAAF rules: “The IAAF fully respects the recent CAS decision regarding the eligibility of Oscar Pistorius to compete in IAAF competitions, and certainly has no wish to influence the South African Olympic Committee, who has full authority to select a men’s 4x400m relay team for the Beijing Olympics.”

Coming third with a personal best time of 46.25 seconds at the Spitzen Leichtathletik meeting in Lucerne on 16 July 2008, Pistorius failed to qualify for the 400 metres at the 2008 Summer Olympics by 0.70 seconds. Athletics South Africa later announced that he would also not be selected for the 4 × 400 metres relay team as four other runners had better times. Had Pistorius been selected, he would have been one of the first competitors with a leg amputation to participate in the Olympic Games. Pistorius’s compatriot Natalie du Toit, a swimmer whose left leg was amputated above the knee after a traffic accident, duly became the first athlete with an amputation to qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Asked about the possibility of the IAAF offering him a wild card to take part in the Olympics, Pistorius responded: “I do not believe that I would accept. If I have to take part in the Beijing Games I should do it because I qualified.” He expressed a preference for focusing on qualification for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, stating that it was a more realistic target as “[s]printers usually reach their peak between 26 and 29. I will be 25 in London and I’ll also have two, three years’ preparation.”

2008 Summer Paralympics

Pistorius participated in the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing in the 100, 200 and 400 metres (T44). On 9 September, in the heats of the 100 metres, he set a Paralympic record with his time of 11.16 seconds. Later, following a slow start, he rallied to snatch gold from the United States’ Jerome Singleton in the 100 metres in a time of 11.17 seconds, 0.03 seconds ahead of the silver medallist.

Four days later, on 13 September, the defending Paralympic champion in the 200-metre sprint won his second gold in the event in a time of 21.67 seconds, setting another Paralympic record. He completed a hat-trick by winning gold in the 400 metres in a world-record time of 47.49 seconds on 16 September, calling it “a memory that will stay with me for the rest of my life”.

2011 and qualification for 2012 Summer Olympics

In January 2011, a slimmer, trimmer Pistorius won three IPC Athletics World titles in New Zealand but was beaten for the first time in seven years in the 100 metres by American Jerome Singleton. He subsequently won the T44 400 metres in 47.28 seconds and the 100 metres in 11.04 seconds at the BT Paralympic World Cup in May to reassert himself as the world’s leading Paralympic sprinter.

Pistorius competed across a number of able-bodied races in the summer of 2011 and posted three times under 46 seconds, but it was at the 19th Internazionale di Atletica Sports Solidarity Meeting in Lignano, Italy, on 19 July that he set a personal best of 45.07 seconds in the 400 metres, attaining the World Championships and Olympic Games “A” standard qualification mark. Pistorius won the 400&-metres event with a posted time that ranked him as 15th fastest in the world.

On 8 August 2011 it was announced that he had been included in the South African team for the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, and had been selected for the 400-metre and the 4 × 400 metre relay squad. In the heats of the 400 metres, Pistorius ran in 45.39 seconds and qualified for the semifinal. However, in the semifinal, he ran 46.19 seconds and was eliminated.

In the heats of the 4 × 400 metres relay, Pistorius ran the opening leg as South Africa advanced to the finals with a national record time of 2 minutes 59.21 seconds. However, he was not selected to run in the finals based on having the slowest split time of 46.20. This caused a controversy, as the first leg is normally Pistorius’s slowest since it requires a start from blocks, and he was restricted to the first leg by Athletics South Africa “on safety grounds”. He initially tweeted “Haven’t been included in final. Pretty gutted.”, but later added “Well done to the SA 4×400m team. Was really hard watching, knowing I deserved to be part of it.” Pistorius still won the silver medal because he ran in the heats, becoming the first amputee to win an able-bodied world track medal.

Reflecting on his World Championship debut, Pistorius said: “I really enjoyed the whole experience. I ran my second fastest time ever in the heats and was really pleased to have reached the semifinals. In the relay I was unbelievably chuffed to have broken the South African record, and hopefully my name will stay on that for a long time to come.”

On 4 July 2012, the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) announced that Pistorius had been included in the Olympic team for the 400-metre and the 4 × 400 metres relay races.

2012 Summer Olympics

At the 2012 Summer Olympics on 4 August 2012, Pistorius became the first amputee runner to compete at an Olympic Games. In the 400 metres race, he took second place in the first heat of five runners, finishing with a time of 45.44 seconds (his best time of the season so far) to advance to the semifinals on 5 August. He ran in the second semifinal, where he finished eighth and last with a time of 46.54 seconds.

In the first semifinal of the 4 × 400 metres relay race on 9 August, the second runner of the South African team, Ofentse Mogawane, fell and was injured before reaching Pistorius, who was to have run the third leg. South Africa was passed into the final on appeal to the IAAF, due to interference by Vincent Kiilu, the Kenyan athlete who downed Mogawane. The South African relay team eventually finished eighth out of the field of nine in the final on 10 August. However, it established a season’s best time for the team of 3 minutes 3.46 seconds, with Pistorius running the final leg in 45.9 seconds. Pistorius was chosen to carry the South African flag for the closing ceremony.

2012 Summer Paralympics

Pistorius also carried the flag at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Paralympics on 29 August. He entered the T44 classification men’s 100 metres, 200 metres and 400 metres races, and the T42–T46 4 × 100 metres relay.

In the 200-metre competition, Pistorius established a new T43 world record of 21.30 seconds in his heat on 1 September, but he was defeated in the final the next day by Alan Oliveira of Brazil. Pistorius took silver, and then created a controversy by complaining about the length of Oliveira’s blades. He later apologised for the timing of his remarks, but not the content of his complaint.

The IPC confirmed the length of Oliveira’s blades were proportional to his body, with all the finalists measured before the race. The IPC also confirmed that Pistorius had raised the issue of blade length with it six weeks prior to the race. SASCOC issued a statement welcoming Pistorius’s apology for his outburst and declared their full support for him and promised to assist him in discussions with the IPC about the issue of lengthened prosthetics after the conclusion of the Games. The IPC expressed willingness to engage with Pistorius about the issue. Australian runner Jack Swift, USA runner Jerome Singleton, and other athletes also expressed support for Pistorius’s position.

Pistorius won a gold medal on 5 September running the anchor leg as part of the South African 4 × 100 metres relay team. The team set a world record time of 41.78 seconds. He was unsuccessful in defending his Beijing Olympics 100-metre title when he came fourth with a season’s best time of 11.17 seconds, and the race was won by Great Britain’s Jonnie Peacock. On 8 September, the last full day of competition, Pistorius won gold in the T44 400 metres with a time of 46.68 seconds, breaking the Paralympic record.

Other awards and accolades

In 2006, Pistorius was conferred the Order of Ikhamanga in Bronze (OIB) by the President of South Africa for outstanding achievement in sports. On 9 December 2007, Pistorius was awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award, which is conferred for outstanding courage and achievement in the face of adversity.

In May 2008, Pistorius made the “Time 100″ – Time magazine’s annual list of the world’s most influential people – appearing third in the “Heroes & Pioneers” section. Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to climb Mount Everest, wrote in an essay that Pistorius was “on the cusp of a paradigm shift in which disability becomes ability, disadvantage becomes advantage. Yet we mustn’t lose sight of what makes an athlete great. It’s too easy to credit Pistorius’ success to technology. Through birth or circumstance, some are given certain gifts, but it’s what one does with those gifts, the hours devoted to training, the desire to be the best, that is at the true heart of a champion.” In 2012 he made the list again.

In February 2012, Pistorius was awarded the Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability for 2012. On 22 August 2012, he was honoured with the unveiling of a large mural depicting his achievements in the town of Gemona, Italy.

On 9 September 2012, Pistorius was shortlisted by the IPC for the Whang Youn Dai Achievement Award as a competitor “who is fair, honest and is uncompromising in his or her values and prioritises the promotion of the Paralympic Movement above personal recognition”. According to director Craig Spence, he was nominated by an unnamed external organisation from South Korea. The award went to two other athletes.

After the 2012 Summer Paralympics, the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow announced they would confer on Pistorius, among others, an honorary doctorate. Sir Jim McDonald, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “Each of our honorary graduands has excelled in their chosen field, and each has touched the lives of many others around the world. As a leading international technological university committed to excellence, it is fitting that we recognise their inspiring achievements and we look forward to welcoming them to the university in November.”

Sponsorship and charitable activities

Pistorius has sponsorship deals worth US$2 million a year with Össur, BT, Nike, Oakley and Thierry Mugler. In 2011, Pistorius participated as a model in an advertising campaign for a Thierry Mugler fragrance called A*Men.

In 2008, Pistorius collaborated in the release of a music CD called Olympic Dream. Produced in Italy, it consists of disco remixes of music pieces that Pistorius finds inspirational, and two tracks written for him, “Olympic Dream” and “Run Boy Run”, for which he provided voiceovers. Part of the CD’s proceeds of sale went to charity.[126] Pistorius also actively supports the Mineseeker Foundation, a charity that works to raise awareness for landmine victims and has a support programme to provide prosthetics for victims.

On 21 February 2013, after previously suspending adverts that featured Pistorius and the line “I am the bullet in the chamber” in the wake of his shooting of Reeva Steenkamp, sportswear manufacturer Nike suspended its contract with Pistorius. It stated: “We believe Oscar Pistorius should be afforded due process and we will continue to monitor the situation closely.”

Personal life

Pistorius has two visible tattoos. The dates of his mother’s birth and death (“LVIII V VIII – II III VI” – 8 May 1958 – 6 March 2002) are tattooed on the inside of his right arm. The other tattoo, which is on his back, is the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 9:26–27 which begins, “I do not run like a man running aimlessly.” He used to own a house in South Africa which was sold in June 2014, and used to train for the European season in Gemona del Friuli, Italy. Aside from running, his interests include architecture, motorbiking, and breeding race horses.

Pistorius’s autobiography, Dream Runner, was published in Italian in 2008 with Gianni Merlo, a journalist with La Gazzetta dello Sport. An English version entitled Blade Runner was released in 2009. In 2010, Pistorius appeared on L’isola dei famosi, an Italian version of Celebrity Survivor.

On 7 January 2012, he appeared as a special guest on the Italian version of Dancing with the Stars called Ballando con le Stelle at Auditorium Rai in Rome, where he danced a tango with Annalisa Longo to ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All”. On 9 October 2012, Pistorius appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He was also scheduled to appear on Piers Morgan Tonight and the Larry King Now show at later dates.

In February 2009, Pistorius was seriously injured when he was thrown from a boat in an accident on the Vaal River near Johannesburg. He was airlifted to Milpark Hospital where he underwent surgery to repair broken facial bones including his nose and jaw. There were initial concerns about his fitness, but he recovered fully. However, the accident affected his training and running schedule for that year.

Pistorius was scheduled as an amateur golfer in the 2012 Alfred Dunhill Links Championship held at St Andrews, Carnoustie and Kingsbarns in Scotland. Pistorius has a 21 handicap in South Africa, but played off an 18 handicap for the Championship. In 2010 he played in the Laureus World Sports Awards Golf Challenge at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates and the Help-net Fund Celebrity Charity Golf Day.

Killing of Reeva Steenkamp

In the early morning of Thursday, 14 February 2013, Pistorius shot and killed South African model Reeva Steenkamp, his girlfriend of three months, at his home in Pretoria. Pistorius acknowledges that he shot Steenkamp, causing her death, but says that he mistook her for a possible intruder.

Pistorius’ trial for murder began on 3 March 2014 in Pretoria. On 20 May 2014, the trial proceedings were adjourned until 30 June to enable Pistorius to undergo psychiatric evaluation to establish whether he was criminally responsible for shooting Steenkamp. Judge Thokozile Masipa agreed to a request for the evaluation by prosecutor Gerrie Nel after forensic psychiatrist Merryll Vorster testified for the defence that she had diagnosed Pistorius with generalized anxiety disorder.

On 30 June 2014, the trial resumed after the evaluation reports which said Pistorius could be held criminally responsible. The state prosecutor was quoted as saying, “Mr Pistorius did not suffer from a mental illness or defect that would have rendered him criminally not responsible for the offence charged”. The defence closed its case on 8 July and closing arguments were heard on 7 and 8 August.

On 12 September, Pistorius was found not guilty of murder, but was found guilty of culpable homicide and one firearm-related charge, of reckless endangerment related to discharging a firearm in a restaurant. Pistorius was found not guilty of two firearm-related charges relating to illegal possession of ammunition and firing a firearm through the sunroof of a car. On 21 October 2014, Pistorius received a prison sentence of a maximum of five years for culpable homicide and a concurrent three year suspended prison sentence for the separate reckless endangerment conviction.

Bryson Anderson murder: Family and colleagues confront killers Mitchell and Fiona Barbieri in court


Mongel dog cop killers get eye-balled by colleagues, family and friends of slain police officer Bryson Anderson and ball their eyes out.

By court reporter Karl Hoerr

Mon 24 Nov 2014

Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson, who was killed at a rural property in Oakville.

Photo: Family and colleagues described their grief over the murder of Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson. (Facebook: NSW Police.)

Family and colleagues of a Sydney police officer murdered nearly two years ago have described their continuing grief over his stabbing death during a sentencing hearing for his killers.

One by one, those closest to Bryson Anderson rose to speak at the sentencing hearing for Mitchell and Fiona Barbieri.

The 45-year-old Detective Inspector was fatally stabbed during a siege of a home at Oakville in Sydney’s north-west.

His 13-year-old son told the court he has been denied the rite of passage of having his father teach him to shave.

“I had to learn this skill alone, without him by my side,” he said.

He spoke about his difficulties enjoying cricket, something he used to share with his father.

You should save the tears that you have shed from the dock. You will not be forgiven

Bryson Anderson’s brother, Warwick Anderson

Mitchell Barbieri, who attacked Detective Anderson with a knife and has pleaded guilty to murder, cried in the dock as the victim impact statements were read out.

His mother, Fiona Barbieri, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of mental illness and showed little emotion.

The officer’s brother, Warwick Anderson, addressed Mitchell Barbieri directly.

“You should save the tears that you have shed from the dock. You will not be forgiven,” Mr Anderson said.

Widow Donna Anderson said she had lost her best friend.

“I never contemplated how it would feel to be on the other side of a police investigation,” she said.

Colleagues who witnessed the attack spoke of their guilt and extreme difficulty returning to work.

Sergeant Adam Fitzgibbon said: “At times, I question myself. How did I let this happen to Bryson?”

Senior Constable Neil Constable said Detective Anderson had praised his work just hours before he was murdered.

“He told me to keep it up and keep locking up the crooks,” he said.

Justice Robert Allan Hulme appeared visibly moved by the statements.

“It’s simply astounding that such a senseless act can have so many victims,” he said.

The sentencing hearing continues.


Mother and son to stand trial for stabbing murder of Sydney police officer Bryson Anderson

Wed 11 Dec 2013, 6:39pm

A mother and son have been committed to stand trial for the stabbing murder of Sydney police officer Bryson Anderson.

Fiona Barbieri, 46, and her 20-year-old son Mitchell Barbieri are accused of killing Detective Inspector Anderson when he was called to a neighbourhood dispute at Oakville in Sydney’s north-west in 2012.

They are charged with murder and wounding with intent to resist arrest.

In Central Local Court magistrate Chris O’Brien has ordered them to stand trial in February 2014.

Police say they went to the property in December 2012 after an urgent call from a neighbour.

The officer was one of a large contingent of police called to the Oakfield home to attend a heated dispute between neighbours.

They say the Barbieri’s fired arrows at them from the house.

Officers say when the Detective Inspector tried to negotiate with them he was stabbed in the neck by Mitchell Barbieri and his mother Fiona Barbieri hit the officer with a hammer.

Magistrate O’Brien said after hearing the evidence there is a “reasonable prospect” a jury would “convict the accused”.

The mother and son have not yet entered a plea to the charges but will be required to in February.

Outside court members of his family told reporters they are pleased the Barbieri’s will stand trial.

Police officer in tears

During the committal hearing today police officer Constable Hannah Watson broke down in tears while giving evidence.

She told the hearing she thought her duty officer had been punched, because she could not see a weapon in Mitchell Barbieri’s hand.

When the officer began sobbing the court was adjourned to allow her to compose herself.

One officer described Fiona Barbieri screaming at police to leave, using foul language.

In court two new charges of resisting arrest were laid against the mother and son.


‘He deserves to f****** die': Court hears how police-killing mother and son shouted as their victim died… before emailing Russian president Vladimir Putin demanding asylum

  • Fiona Barbieri, and her son Mitchell, pleaded guilty to killing Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson in 2012 
  • Following her arrest, Fiona defended their actions as self-defence during a police interview 
  • The Barbieris had also sent emails to Tony Abbott and Mr Putin, saying: ‘We have every right to defend ourselves, our family and our property’
  • Inspector Anderson died after he was stabbed by then 19-year-old Mitchell Barbieri following a siege at their rural Oakville property
  • As he lay dying, the court heard that Fiona was heard yelling, ‘it’s his own f****** fault… he deserves to f****** die’
  • His family remember him as a larrikin with a great sense of humour
  • He also volunteered as a firefighter and in the Special Olympics  

A Sydney mother, who pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of a police officer in 2012, sent emails to the Prime Minister and the Russian President in which she defended herself and demanded asylum.

Fiona Barbieri, 47, and her 21-year-old son Mitchell, attended their sentencing hearing in Sydney’s Supreme Court on Wednesday, where the full details surrounding the death of Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson were revealed.

Inspector Anderson died after he was fatally stabbed by then 19-year-old Mitchell Barbieri following a siege at a rural Oakville property in Sydney’s north-west on December 6, 2012.

The police interview of Fiona Barbieri after her arrest in 2012, following the death of a policeman at her  property in Sydney's north-west, was shown to Sydney's Supreme Court on Wednesday

The police interview of Fiona Barbieri after her arrest in 2012, following the death of a policeman at her  property in Sydney’s north-west, was shown to Sydney’s Supreme Court on Wednesday

The 41-year-old and her 21-year-old son Mitchell (pictured) pleaded guilty to killing Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson

The 41-year-old and her 21-year-old son Mitchell (pictured) pleaded guilty to killing Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson

During a police interview following the Barbieri’s arrests in 2012, the 47-year-old mother who is believed to have been suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, told officers that Inspector Anderson had been killed in self-defence before demanding asylum in Russia.

In the footage of the police interview attained by Channel Nine, Fiona is heard saying: ‘what happened at our house today, where we were ambushed by an army of police officers, was self-defence.’

She is then handed a telephone by the officers who allow her to call the consulate, to whom she says: ‘It is the Barbieris, president Putin, SOS Australia.’

According to Channel Nine, Fiona was advised by the consulate to forward her request via email, after which she refused to answer further questions from the policemen.

DECORATED police officer Bryson Anderson was "struck" by "two quick jabbing moves around a doorway" by a teenager with a "deliberate intention", a court has heard today.</p>
<p>The accounts of Detective Inspector Anderson’s colleagues, who witnessed his death at a home in Oakville on December 6 last year, have been revealed during a pre committal hearing.</p>
<p>Mitchell Barbieri, 19, and his mother Fiona Barbieri, 45, have been charged with Inspector Anderson’s murder after the seasoned officer was called to the property over a neighbourhood dispute and then fatally stabbed.” width=”634″ height=”594″ /></p></div>
</div>
<p class=Inspector Anderson (pictured) died after he was fatally stabbed by then 19-year-old Mitchell following a siege at his rural Oakville home on December 6, 2012

In the police interview, Fiona is handed a telephone after demanding asylum in Russia. Police allowed her to call the consulate, to whom she says: 'It is the Barbieris, president Putin, SOS Australia'

In the police interview, Fiona is handed a telephone after demanding asylum in Russia. Police allowed her to call the consulate, to whom she says: ‘It is the Barbieris, president Putin, SOS Australia’

Fiona Barbieri arrives at the Supreme Court in Sydney for her sentencing  hearing on Wednesday

‘We are living here in convict Australia, corrupt convict Australia, and we have been doing our best to get out,’ she told officers.

‘The New South Wales police force is corrupt – that is what we have been standing up against and that is why we are in here today.’ 

Crown prosecutor Mark Tedeschi QC told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that Fiona and her son had been embroiled in a long-running dispute with their neighbour, which had been fuelled by Ms Barbieri’s paranoia.

On December 6, the tension spiralled out of control when the Barbieris spotted that Mr Waters was installing flood lights on his property.

Fiona – swinging a baseball bat – and Mitchell – armed with a crossbow – confronted the electricians working for Mr Waters.

The wife and brother of slain police officer  Anderson, Donna (left) and Warwick (right), leave the Supreme Court after the hearing

The parents of Mr Anderson, Red and Shirley Anderson, were also seen leaving the Supreme Court on Wednesday

Earlier in the month, the Barbieris cried and hugged in the dock as they prepared to plea to their roles in the death of Detective Inspector Anderson

Mitchell fired two arrows, narrowly missing them both, before he and his mother retreated into their home.

As the first police arrived, the court heard the Barbieris sent an email to a number of politicians, including then opposition leader Tony Abbott and Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying: ‘We have every right to defend ourselves, our family and our property.’

Just over an hour later, it had become a ‘siege situation’ with Fiona and Mitchell screaming at police to ‘f*** off’.

Det Insp Anderson ordered the door to be kicked in and was stabbed twice by Mitchell – once in the cheek and fatally to the chest, Mr Tedeschi said.

As he lay dying, the court heard that Fiona was heard screaming, ‘it’s his own f****** fault.. he fucking deserved it… let the dog c*** die… he deserves to f****** die’.

The policemand wife Donna, said her husband absolutely adored their three children

The policemans wife Donna, said her husband absolutely adored their three children

Murdered police officer Bryson Anderson honoured by family

Bryson Anderson with his wife Donna and children from left to right - Darcy, Cain and Olivia

Bryson Anderson with his wife Donna and children from left to right – Darcy, Cain and Olivia

On the morning they were due to stand trial last week, Mitchell pleaded guilty to the officer’s murder, while his mother – who suffers from paranoid schizophrenia – pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of substantial impairment.

Under legislation passed before parliament, a person convicted of the murder of a police officer while on duty faces a mandatory life sentence.

But Mr Tedeschi said this was not a situation where life imprisonment should apply as Mitchell was influenced by his mother’s delusions.

‘He (Mitchell) had been under the influence of his mother … and her delusions had to some degree been transferred to him,’ Mr Tedeschi said.

Olivia, Cain and Darcy could not speak highly enough of their deceased father

Olivia, Cain and Darcy could not speak highly enough of their deceased father

At officer Anderson's 2012 funeral, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the decorated officer was greatly admired by his fellow officers

Instead, he said the crown would be seeking a ‘very lengthy’ sentence.

Earlier in the month, Inspector Anderson’s family honoured the man who was a much-loved husband and father of three.

Bryson’s widow Donna Anderson and their three children Olivia, Darcy and Cain could not wipe the smiles off their faces when they told fond stories of how Bryson was always the larrikin of the family.

‘There was the policeman side to him which was incredibly serious – he took his job very seriously -but there was the family side of him where he was just the clown in every family gathering,’ Donna told Channel Nine’s ACA.

‘He just absolutely adored his kids,’ she said. He was a typical dad – he loved dad jokes and if he could embarrass the kids in front of their friends that was even better.’

Police officers and family attend the funeral of the slain officer at St. Patrick's Cathedral in Parramatta in 2012 

Police officers and family attend the funeral of the slain officer at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta in 2012 

The family privately continue to struggle with their loss, and it will be some time before they finally come to terms with the tragedy

The family privately continue to struggle with their loss, and it will be some time before they finally come to terms with the tragedy

His three children could not speak highly enough of their father.

‘He would totally just love life – it was awesome,’ his only daughter Olivia said. ‘Yes, he liked to embarrass us.’

His eldest son, Darcy said he was a great dad who was always a joker.

‘He photo bombed a lot – my first cricket game in my photo – he was in the background,’ he said.

‘Cricket is my life – me and dad built the pitch out the front in 2003 I think.’

‘We got tonnes of dirt and just rolled it and got it all padded down and I just keep mowing it in.’

Bryson's only daughter Olivia said her father had a great love for life

Bryson’s only daughter Olivia said her father had a great love for life

Darcy loves cricket so much that his father helped build him a cricket pitch in their front yard

Darcy loves cricket so much that his father helped build him a cricket pitch in their front yard

Youngest son Cain said his father was always a joker who 'photo-bombed a lot'

Youngest son Cain said his father was always a joker who ‘photo-bombed a lot’

‘He would totally just love life – it was awesome,’ his only daughter Olivia (left) said. ‘Yes, he liked to embarrass us’ 

Bryson's family described him as a joker who had a great sense of humour

Bryson’s family described him as a joker who had a great sense of humour

‘He was always a joker – he photo-bombed a lot,’ his youngest son Cain said. 

While being dedicated to his family and career, he also managed to squeeze in volunteering with the Special Olympics, travelling to Vanuatu to give gifts to children and also volunteering as a firefighter.

‘He would come home from the police sometimes he would only be there for an hours or so and then the bells would go off and he would go out to a fire call and he did that for nine years,’ Donna said.

During the committal hearing last year, a number of police officers broke down as they recalled the murder.

At Detective Inspector Anderson’s 2012 funeral, NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said the decorated officer was admired by his fellow officers for his tenacity and determination, as well as his empathy and compassion.

‘He showed initiative and leadership; intelligence and perseverance; dedication and humility; and, memorably, a ready smile and an engaging way.

‘Bryson drew people to him, without guile and without effort.’

The matter will return to court later this month.

Mother and son Fiona and Mitchell Barbieri plead not guilty to Sydney policeman Bryson Anderson’s murder

Fri 7 Feb 2014, 1:41pm

 A mother and son accused of murdering a Sydney police officer have pleaded not guilty.

Fiona and Mitchell Barbieri formally entered their pleas in the NSW Supreme Court this morning ahead of their trial later this year.

The 46-year-old and her 20-year-old son were charged after the death of Detective Inspector Bryson Anderson at Oakville on Sydney’s north-western outskirts in December 2012.

Inspector Anderson was part of a large contingent of police called to attend a heated neighbourhood dispute.

Police say the Barbieri’s fired arrows at them from their house.

Inspector Anderson then tried to negotiate with the pair for several minutes, when he was allegedly stabbed in the neck by Mitchell Barbieri and hit with a hammer by Fiona Barbieri.

The 45-year-old officer was rushed by paramedics to Windsor Hospital but died soon afterwards.

The Barbieris have also pleaded not guilty to additional charges laid late last year of wounding with intent to resist arrest.

In an earlier hearing a fellow officer who witnessed Inspector Anderson’s death broke down in court as she recalled the events.

Constable Hannah Watson told the court she initially thought her duty officer had been punched, because she could not see a weapon in Mitchell Barbieri’s hand.


Mother, son admit to killing police officer Bryson Anderson

Updated 5 Nov 2014, 3:19pmWed 5 Nov 2014, 3:19pm

A mother and son have pleaded guilty to killing a New South Wales police officer called to their home in Sydney’s north-west.

According to police, Mitchell Barbieri, 21, and his 47-year-old mother, Fiona, barricaded themselves inside their Oakville home when New South Wales police officer Bryson Anderson responded to an urgent call from neighbours in December 2012.

They say the pair fired arrows at the officer and attacked the 45-year-old with a knife and a hammer.

Mitchell Barbieri pleaded guilty to murdering Anderson, while Fiona Barbieri pleaded not guilty to murder but guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Prosecutors accepted her guilty plea to the lesser charge because she had “a substantial impairment brought about by an abnormality of mind” at the time.

The pair made their pleas in the Supreme Court the day their six-week trial was due to start.

They will return to court next week for a sentencing hearing.

Anderson, who held the rank of Detective Inspector, was one of several officers who attended the Barbieris’ home after reports of a feud between neighbours.

Colleagues say that when he tried to negotiate with the family, he was stabbed in the neck by Mitchel Barbieri and hit with a hammer by his mother.

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