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NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell falls on sword and resigns over bottle of wine


CANYOURECALLNOWBARRY

Significant memory fail? yeah right, a $3000 dollar bottle of wine is pretty forgettable. NOTE he went from empathetic statements of having not receiving it, saying he would remember  if he did (maybe drank it and wrote the thank-you note and can’t recall, who knows, but he came to power on the back of atrocious corruption with the Labor government, to today being caught out with a letter he wrote thanking Nick Di Girolamo for the booze. AT least he is doing the right thing by going.

What do you think of all this readers?

HE HAS BEEN RECALLED TO APPEAR BACK AT ICAC AT MIDDAY TODAY. STAY TUNED FOR MORE

11.34pm

ICAC has been told the $3,000 bottle of wine was left at Mr O’Farrell’s door:

Counsel Assisting Geoffrey Watson SC has provided details to ICAC of the delivery of the 1959 bottle of Grange to Barry O’Farrell’s house.

He’s produced documents from Direct Couriers showing that the delivery was made on 20 April 2011.

The wine arrived at Mr O’Farrell’s Roseville home at 4.31pm after leaving Australian Water Holdings at Bella Vista at 3.38pm.

The parcel was one bottle of wine addressed to Mr O’Farrell.

ICAC was told it was left at the door, as directed.

Mr Watson says ICAC investigators have spoken to the courier who made the delivery but he has no “independent recollection” of the event.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell to resign over ‘massive memory fail’ at ICAC

 Video: Barry O’Farrell will resign as Premier over ICAC evidence (ABC News)

Related Story: O’Farrell denies receiving $3,000 bottle of wine
A handwritten letter and envelope from NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to AWH executive Nick Di Girolamo expressing thanks for a bottle of wine.

A handwritten letter and envelope from NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell to AWH executive Nick Di Girolamo expressing thanks for a bottle of wine.

16-04-2014 4-07-50 PMNew South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell says he will resign owing to a “massive memory fail” when giving evidence to the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) yesterday.

Mr O’Farrell has been unable to explain to ICAC a call from his phone to an Australian Water Holdings (AWH) executive who allegedly gave him a $3,000 bottle of Grange wine.

ICAC alleges the company AWH lobbied Mr O’Farrell over an agreement with the state-owned Sydney Water to roll out water infrastructure.

AWH is accused of corruptly billing Sydney Water for expenses and using the money for political donations, executive salaries and various other expenses.

PENFOLDSAWH executive Nick Di Girolamo yesterday told the inquiry he sent the Premier a $3,000 bottle of wine in 2011 to congratulate him after the election.

The bottle of Grange dated May 24, 1959 – Mr O’Farrell’s birthday – does not appear on the Premier’s pecuniary interests declaration for the period.

However, at ICAC Mr O’Farrell denied receiving the wine at all, telling the inquiry: “I’m not a wine connoisseur”.

The Premier also said he had no recollection of the 28-second call made from his phone to Mr Di Girolamo in 2011 around the time he was allegedly sent the wine.

Mr Di Girolamo had earlier told ICAC that Mr O’Farrell phoned him to thank him for the gift.

At a press conference this morning, Mr O’Farrell said ICAC had been presented with a note signed by him to Mr Di Girolamo, thanking him for an expensive gift of wine.

He says that while the evidence he gave to ICAC was “truthful”, “I do accept there is a thankyou note signed by me” to Mr Di Girolamo.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell says he will resign

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell says he will resign

Profile: Barry O’Farrell

  • Elected Premier on 26 March 2011
  • Elected as NSW Liberal Leader in April 2007
  • Represents the electorate of Ku-ring-gai
  • Elected to NSW Parliament in 1995
  • Served as NSW state director of the Liberal Party in the mid 1990s
  • Worked as a public policy advisor at both state and federal levels in the late 1980s and early 1990s

 

“I’ve accepted that I’ve had a massive memory fail. I still can’t explain either the arrival of a gift that I have no recollection of or its absence, which I certainly still can’t fathom, but I accept the consequences in an orderly way,” he said.

“A new Liberal leader will be elected to take on the position of NSW.”

He said that he did not seek to “wilfully” mislead ICAC, and, “As someone who believes in accountability, in responsibility I accept the consequences of my action”.

He continued: “As soon as I can organise a meeting of the parliamentary Liberal Party for next week, I will be resigning the position and enabling a new Liberal leader to be elected – someone who will then become the Premier of NSW.”

Mr O’Farrell has been recalled to ICAC to give evidence at midday today.

Honour and integrity rarely seen: Tony Abbott

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Mr O’Farrell had demonstrated “integrity” by resigning over what he said was an innocent and inadvertent misleading of ICAC.

“We are seeing an act of integrity, an act of honour, the like of which we have rarely seen in Australian politics,” he said.

 

“I admire him tremendously for this, although I deeply regret the necessity for it.”

He described Mr O’Farrell as a “friend”, who had always strived to do the “right thing” by NSW.

“I have known Barry for two decades. He has been a friend of mine throughout that time,” he said.

“He has been a great servant of the Liberal Party, a great servant of the people of NSW and of Australia.

“He has constantly worked to do the right thing by the people of NSW and we were together as recently as last Friday in China winning trade and jobs for our country and our state.

“Obviously, as we now know, he innocently, inadvertently misled ICAC yesterday and he has taken the utterly honourable step of resigning as Premier.”

 

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Sophie Collombet murder: Benjamin Milward charged with rape and murder


UPDATED tonight 7.30pm 08/04/14

Benjamin James Milward arrives at the police Watch House in Brisbane, Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Benjamin James Milward arrives at the police Watch House in Brisbane, Tuesday, April 8, 2014

A 25-year-old man has been charged with the rape and murder of French student Sophie Collombet in Brisbane.

The naked and battered body of the 21-year-old business student was found in a rotunda at Kurilpa Park, near Brisbane’s William Jolly Bridge and CBD, on March 28.

Benjamin James Milward arrived in Brisbane tonight after an extradition order was approved in the Coffs Harbour Local Court on the NSW mid-north coast.

Shortly after arriving at the watch house, he was formally charged with murder, deprivation of liberty, rape and robbery.

  Milward was arrested in the NSW town yesterday afternoon and spent the morning being questioned by Queensland detectives.

He was named as a person of interest last week after police released security camera vision showing him in the area where Ms Collombet’s body was found around the time she was killed.

Milward will appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court tomorrow.

Queensland Police Commissioner Ian Stewart says he has been updating the Collombet family on the progress of the case.

Commissioner Stewart says he spoke to Ms Collombet’s father.

“I spent some time on the phone with him. He was very dignified and very grateful for the information, and obviously we’re keeping him up to date,” he said.

“We have a family liaison officer in the investigation team, and their job is to keep the family and friends aware of any progress in the investigation.”

Milward’s mother visits place where student’s body was found

The park where Ms Collombet’s body was found has become the focus of mourning in Brisbane.

Milward’s mother, Diane, today visited the park, and says she is standing by her son.

“Every day, however long it takes, whatever the outcome we’re going to be there,” she said.

Diane Milward (left), mother of Benjamin James Milward, visits a memorial to murdered Sophie Collombet in south Brisbane on April 8, 2014.

Diane Milward (left), mother of Benjamin James Milward, visits a memorial to murdered Sophie Collombet in south Brisbane on April 8, 2014.

 

“You just don’t think this could ever happen. It’s just, I’m still in denial I think; hoping for some glimmer of hope that it’s just a big mistake.”

Ms Milward also expressed sadness for the Collombet family.

“We’re all so sorry and sad and it shouldn’t happen to anybody. A beautiful girl like Sophie, she’s just gorgeous – it’s just wrong,” she said.

A makeshift vigil has sprung up at the park, with dozens of flowers and notes left in her memory.

“I did not know you Sophie,” reads one note. “But I had to be here just to show you how much I care.”

“Angel, I never knew you but I will never forget”, another note reads, while a bouquet of flowers was left with the message: “RIP beautiful girl. #SafestreetsforSophie.”

One note left at the rotunda, signed “from a Brisbane mother”, urges authorities to increase the amount of police on the streets.

On Thursday night a vigil is due to be held where Ms Collombet’s body was found.


Benjamin Milward arrested in Coffs Harbour

Benjamin Milward arrested in Coffs Harbour

A man wanted for questioning over the Brisbane murder of French student Sophie Collombet has been arrested in the New South Wales town of Coffs Harbour.

Police last week named Benjamin Milward as a person of interest in the 21-year-old’s murder.

Ms Collombet’s naked body was found in a rotunda at the Kurilpa Park, near the William Jolly Bridge and CBD, on March 28.

Mr Milward, 25, was spotted on security vision near Kurilpa Park about the time of the killing.

He was later caught on CCTV footage at the Bowen Hills train station a short time after the business student’s murder.

Police said he looked “a little bit disoriented, like he wasn’t real sure of the exits and his movements”.

Meanwhile, the park where Ms Collombet’s body was found has become the focus of mourning in Brisbane with floral tributes and messages laid at the scene.

French business student Sophie Collombet.

Ms Collombet’s naked body was found in a rotunda at the Kurilpa Park, near the William Jolly Bridge and CBD, on March 28.

Today, the place where her body was found is a makeshift vigil with dozens of flowers and notes left in her memory.

“I did not know you Sophie,” reads one note. “But I had to be here just to show you how much I care.”

“Angel, I never knew you but I will never forget”, another note reads, while a bouquet of flowers was left with the message: “RIP beautiful girl. #SafestreetsforSophie”.

One note left at the rotunda, signed “from a Brisbane mother”, urges authorities to increase the amount of police on the streets.

Sophie Collombet murder: Police issue nationwide alert in search for ‘person of interest’

Benjamin Milward

Brisbane police investigating the murder of Sophie Collombet have issued an Australia-wide alert as they search for person of interest Benjamin Milward.

The naked body of the French student was found in a rotunda at Kurilpa Park, near the William Jolly Bridge and CBD, on March 28.

The 21-year-old, who was studying business at Griffith University, was found with extensive head injuries believed to have been inflicted by a weapon.

Police have named Mr Milward as a person of interest after he was spotted on security vision near the riverside park about the time of Ms Collombet’s murder.

Other CCTV footage showed him getting off a train in the inner-city suburb of Bowen Hills later that evening.

“The last sighting of this person for our point of view or that we can establish is… about 11:35pm last Thursday,” Detective Inspector Rod Kemp said.

Benjamin Milward

Benjamin Milward has been captured on CCTV at Bowen Hills train station.

“It’s been a week since we’ve had any formal identification or contact with this person.”

The Ipswich family of Mr Milward say they have not heard from him and have joined police in urging the 25-year-old to make contact with authorities.

“We’re on the same page as police … we’re waiting for Ben to turn up,” relative Tere Douglas said.

The net has been cast further afield with police conceding that Mr Milward could be anywhere.

“Whether he’s taken flight or not, we don’t know,” Inspector Kemp said.

Police spent yesterday doorknocking businesses in Bowen Hills, hoping to gather more security vision which may capture Mr Milward’s movements after he left the train station.

“By his actions here, he does look a little bit disoriented, like he wasn’t real sure of the exits and his movements,” Inspector Kemp said.

Mr Milward is described as 180 centimetres tall with blond hair and a dragon tattoo on the left side of his chest.

 

Police say he should not be approached but are asking anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers.

Ms Collombet was the fourth international student killed in Brisbane since November.

Last month, 27-year-old Singaporean student Meenatchi Narayanan was found stabbed to death in a hotel room at the Travelodge at Upper Mount Gravatt.

Two South Korean students were killed in separate incidents late last year.

In November, the body of 22-year-old South Korean student Eunji Ban was discovered in parklands in Brisbane’s CBD.

Less than a month later, police found the body of Min Tae Kim, also from South Korea, in a shallow grave on a property at Algester in Brisbane’s south-west.

Sophie Collombet murder: Griffith University community ‘incredibly saddened’ by French student’s death

Updated Thu 3 Apr 2014, 7:36am AEDT

Griffith University says students and staff are deeply saddened by the murder of French business student Sophie Collombet in Brisbane.

The naked body of the 21-year-old was found by a passer-by in a rotunda at Kurilpa Park near the William Jolly Bridge last Friday morning.

Her body was formally identified yesterday, and police said she suffered extensive head injuries in what they described as a “brutal” attack.

Police Commissioner Ian Stewart says officers are following a number of leads, but still need more information.

“This is a tragic occurrence – a young lady is dead, and our job is to solve it to bring the perpetrators to justice,” he said.

“We can’t do that without the help of the public so we’re still asking if you were in that area, or if you knew that young lady, please – any small piece of information might be a key to the investigation.”

Mr Stewart says Brisbane is generally a safe place, but students must always be on alert and stay away from dark parks and unlit areas.

Police Minister Jack Dempsey says officers are making the case a priority.

“We are urgently making sure this matter is resolved – that all the police resources are going into that investigation,” he said.

“But I’d also like to stress Brisbane is a safe city, and Queensland is a safe state.”

Campus community ‘shocked’

Griffith University pro-vice chancellor Sarah Todd says the campus community is shocked at the loss of one of its own.

“Obviously we’re incredibly saddened – we only found out yesterday that it was one of our students,” she said.

“The loss of Sophie has affected staff, it’s affected students, it’s affected people who knew her closely, but also other students who identify just very strongly about a young woman, their age, doing the same thing as them.”

The loss of Sophie has affected staff, it’s affected students, it’s affected people who knew her closely, but also other students who identify just very strongly about a young woman, their age, doing the same thing as them.

Griffith University pro-vice chancellor Sarah Todd

Professor Todd says she addressed students this morning and the university will be offering counselling support.

“Any death is a tragedy – a student and a young person who’s got so much to give – it’s an incredible tragedy,” she said.

She says Ms Collombet was a Masters student, so her class was a “close-knit group” of about 30 students.

“We will be sending counselling staff and international student advisers to Sophie’s class that’s due to take place tomorrow evening,” she said.

Ms Collombet is the fourth foreign student killed in Brisbane since late last year.

Sophie Collombet is the fourth international student found killed in Brisbane since November. Read more about Min Tae Kim, Meenatchi Narayanan and Eunji Ban.

But Professor Todd says international students should still feel safe in Brisbane.

“Obviously this is of huge concern to all of us,” she said.

“The only positive thing is none of the deaths are related in any way at all, so they’re not students of particular race – there’s nothing to say that any of the deaths occurred because they were students.

“There’s no more reason for them to be concerned now than there would’ve been.

“All young people should always be careful of where they’re walking and what they’re doing and I think that’s a message we need to get out.

“They seem to be very much random deaths and we don’t have all of the details of Sophie’s death yet, but there’s nothing at this stage to suggest she was targeted … for not being Australian.”

Last month, Singaporean student Meenatchi Narayanan, 27, was found stabbed to death in a hotel room at the Travelodge at Upper Mount Gravatt on Brisbane’s south side.

Police have charged a 31-year-old man with her murder.

In November, the body of 22-year-old South Korean student Eunji Ban was discovered in parklands in Brisbane’s CBD.

Ms Ban had been in Australia on a youth exchange for just six weeks before her death.

She was walking to work as a hotel cleaner in the Brisbane CBD when she was attacked early on a Sunday morning.

19-year-old man was charged over her murder.

Less than a month later, police found the body of another South Korean student in a shallow grave on a property at Algester, in Brisbane’s south-west.

Min Tae Kim, 28, was in Australia on a working holiday, and was last seen in December last year at his home at Cannon Hill in Brisbane’s south-east.

His flatmate told police Mr Kim had arranged to exchange $15,000 for Korean currency with someone he met online on the afternoon he disappeared.

Brisbane city is safe, says Newman

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman says he is “troubled” by the killing but insists the city is safe.

“I believe it’s safe not only for students but safe for Brisbane residents,” he said.

“I’m obviously very sad and troubled by this latest case and I hope the police can catch someone as soon as possible.”

I’m obviously very sad and troubled by this latest case and I hope the police can catch someone as soon as possible.

Premier Campbell Newman

 

Queensland Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey says she does not expect the murder will affect international visitor numbers to the state, despite the murders of the four foreign students.

Ms Stuckey says her heart goes out to the woman’s family.

“But I have to say that Brisbane and Queensland and my beloved Gold Coast are still some of the safest places to work and holiday,” she said.

“That is further enhanced by our strong focus on tough law and order measures that have been brought in by the Government.”

Queensland Tourism Industry Council (QTIC) spokesman Daniel Gschwind also says the murder is unlikely to deter overseas visitors from visiting Brisbane.

Mr Gschwind says Queensland is still considered a safe destination.

“I think there’s a difference between random acts of mindless violence like apparently this has been, and the other cases we’ve had,” he said.

“When we’re talking about random acts of violence, it’s not necessary to go out with messaging – we have to give our customers around the world a bit more credit.

“We all witness and hear of these incidences around the world and we put it in context and we understand whether there’s something systemic going on or not. There’s really nothing systemic going on here.

“But there is a human tragedy and we have to show compassion and react as a concerned community should.”

 

 

 

Luke Margaritis – World travelling teacher and convicted paedophile


When Luke Margaritis was 13, he had the excitement & joy of performing in the opening & closing ceremonies of the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane.
What made him want to take away excitement, joy & hope from other teens?

Read what this pig has been up to, BRISBANE folks may or may not know he USED to run a  cafe/coffee shop UNTIL HE WENT BACK TO PRISON. (Milk Espresso Bar & Tea House) Video a bit further down. If governments continue to do sweet F all we have to do it. 

Luke Margaritis - World traveling teacher & convicted paedophile

Luke Margaritis – World traveling teacher & convicted paedophile

 In 2002, he was a chaperone to Ducie High pupils as they practiced for Manchester 2002.

 In 1994, Margaritis took advantage of a 15-year-old student by giving him “a big cone” of marijuana before abusing him.

 In 1995, Margaritis plied a 13 year old boy with drugs & alcohol before abusing him.

 Both boys were students at St Edmund’s College.

 In 2010/2011, he moved to a little tiny town in Norseman Western Australia where he continued to teach disadvantaged students aged 12 – 16.

 In 2013, he opened a coffee shop in Brisbane called Milk Espresso Bar & Tea House.

This teacher has been all around Europe teaching, including Dulcie High.
If you or anyone you know have been abused by this man, Please contact your local police.

 

Michael Williamson jailed for at least five years over HSU fraud


Another greedy union official bites the dust, jailed for 5 years, that’s good, but not enough when one considers what he got up to. Filling his own and his families pockets with as much money as they could grab from the low paid workers this bastard was supposed to represent. Paying family owned companies hundreds of thousands of dollars for non existent or grossly over charging for work in the union.

I posted about his antics here several years ago along with Craig Thompson and the high living they felt was a free for all “Entitlement”

I will piece together my other posts and add them here shortly. Tip of the iceburg people…

Michael Williamson jailed for at least five years over HSU fraud

Updated 5 minutes ago

Former Health Services Union boss Michael Williamson has been sentenced to up to seven-and-a-half years in jail for fraud.

The New South Wales District Court was packed as sentencing Judge David Frearson described Williamson as “brazen and arrogant”.

The judge said Williamson was in a position of power when he defrauded the union of nearly $1 million.

The 60-year-old will be eligible for parole after serving five years in prison.

Williamson had been facing a possible 20 years in jail after pleading guilty to four charges including fraud and recruiting others to hinder a police investigation.

Prosecutors say Williamson, who was already on a salary of about $500,000, was motivated by greed.

The court has been told the former Australian Labor Party president submitted false invoices to the union from a company in his wife’s name.

Williamson’s lawyers say he has apologised and taken full responsibility for his actions, noting he has also suffered depression since his behaviour was exposed.

More to come.

Michael Williamson apologises for fraud as Health Services Union claims back funds

Updated Wed 16 Oct 2013

Disgraced former ALP president Michael Williamson has apologised to members of the Health Services Union (HSU) for his large-scale fraud, as the organisation moves to recoup millions of dollars.

Williamson appeared in Sydney’s Downing Centre District Court yesterday and admitted funnelling almost $1 million of union funds into companies he had an interest in as well as recruiting union members to help cover his tracks.

Williamson admitted claiming $340,000 for a business called Canme Services – which was registered in his wife Julieanne’s name – although no services were ever provided.

He also admitted to defrauding the union out of $600,000 through a consulting company called Access Focus.

The HSU says it has now finalised its civil claim against Williamson in the New South Wales Supreme Court.

He has been ordered to pay the union $5 million for breaches of his duty, overpayments of remuneration and negligence.

But it is unclear how much of the money will be recovered because Williamson has declared himself bankrupt.

Branch secretary Gerard Hayes says the union will still be able to claw back significant funds.

“We are able to withhold $1.1 million out of his superannuation and we are withholding $600,000 of unpaid entitlements,” he said.

“And very importantly as well a public apology will be issued to our members.”

Members of the HSU include some of the lowest-paid health workers such as cleaners and support staff.

In his letter of apology released by the union, Williamson urges members not to quit saying he accepts responsibility for what he did:

“I wish to place on record my sincere apology to all of you.

“You placed your trust in me when I was the general secretary and I abused that trust.

“I apologise unreservedly to all of you for my actions, which were not in keeping with the position I formerly held.

“I have agreed to assist the union in recovery actions against others, and will honour that agreement.

“The court will determine the penalty I am to receive, but it won’t remove the fact I have to live with this matter until the day I die.”

The HSU says the settlement was reached with the help of independent mediator, the former federal attorney-general Robert McClelland.

Mr Hayes says it is a line in the sand for the beleaguered union.

“This puts the last couple of years of turmoil to bed and it gets the union focused on what the union should be focused on,” he said.

Sentencing for Williamson begins in two weeks.

Former HSU boss Michael Williamson admits fraud offences

Updated Tue 15 Oct 2013

Former Australian Labor Party president Michael Williamson has pleaded guilty to funnelling almost $1 million from the Health Services Union (HSU) to businesses he had an interest in.

Williamson, who was arrested when detectives raided his Maroubra home in Sydney’s east last year, now faces jail for the offences.

The police investigation probed allegations of corruption during his time at the HSU aired by the union’s national secretary, Kathy Jackson.

He was accused of dozens of offences, including money laundering, dealing with the proceeds of crime and dishonestly dealing with hundreds of thousands of dollars of union funds.

Williamson appeared in Sydney’s Downing Centre Local Court this morning with his solicitor Vivian Evans.

The prosecutor told Chief Magistrate Graham Henson that several offences had been folded into four formal charges that Williamson would plead guilty to.

Williamson admitted funnelling nearly $340,000 into a business called Canme Services, which was registered in his wife Julieanne’s name.

Dozens of cheques were made out to Canme for services that were never provided to the union.

He also admitted to defrauding the union out of $600,000 through a consulting company called Access Focus.

It is believed Williamson received a massive windfall from the company due to inflated fees billed to the HSU.

The former unionist also pleaded guilty to fabricating invoices to cover his tracks in returns to the union in February last year.

Caught shredding evidence

The final guilty plea came in relation to recruiting of other union members to help destroy evidence and hinder a police investigation.

Last year, Williamson was caught trying to shred documents when he was confronted by the NSW Fraud Squad at the union offices in Sydney’s CBD.

He has pleaded guilty to recruiting Carron Gilleland to help him destroy evidence in the case.

‘Absolutely outrageous nepotism’

SMH investigative reporter Kate McClymont broke the story that led to the charges. She has told the ABC it is a case of “absolutely outrageous nepotism”.

“Especially when you think that the members of the HSU are hospital cleaners, orderlies, among the lowest paid unionists in the country,” she said.

McClymont is not surprised Williamson pleaded guilty, saying there were “certain pressures put on him” to do so.

“For instance, his son Christopher was one of those that was possibly facing criminal charges. So I think that there has been some argy bargy going on over the last couple of months that has led to his guilty plea today,” she said.

Listen to McClymont’s interview with the ABC.

Williamson stayed quiet through the proceedings today, with the prosecutor informing the court of the amended charge sheet.

He emerged from court speaking on a mobile phone and ignored the hive of media that had assembled.

Williamson resigned from the HSU late last year, less than two weeks after a leaked report into the union’s internal workings alleged he engaged in nepotism by funnelling union funds to himself and his family.

The report, by Ian Temby QC and Dennis Robertson, detailed allegations of multi-million-dollar instances of nepotism, maladministration and cronyism.

It said Williamson had a salary of almost $400,000 and alleged five members of his family were among the union’s best paid employees.

The magistrate committed Williamson to sentencing on October 28 in the District Court.

Police have previously said they expect to make more arrests in the case.

Closure for union members

The Australian Council of Trades Union (ACTU) says it hopes Williamson faces the full force of the law.

ACTU president Ged Kearney says he deserves whatever punishment he receives.

“Defrauding union members of their money is something that the union movement cannot abide and will not stand for,” she said.

“These offences are very serious and we’re very pleased that they will be dealt with properly by the criminal law.”

The New South Wales secretary of the HSU, Gerard Hayes, says today’s guilty pleas by Williamson will help bring closure for the union’s members.

“There are 30,000 victims in this matter,” he said.

“They needed closure and this certainly brings closure for them.”

Serial abuser Mervyn Burton bashed boy nearly to death while on bail for beating four women


A SERIAL abuser was able to bash a four-year-old boy almost to death because he was repeatedly set free on bail for separate charges of beating four women.
Tough guy NOT…I have pics of this gutless dog ready to post too.
Why once again does it take so long for the law to catch up with these mongrels? Joe Blow does not get 3 goes at going through a yellow light, or swearing in public, OR whack a weeks pay for a fine for talking to your boss who rang you to see if you can come in right now (Cant not back those casual hours these days, they wont ring back)

Mervyn Burton, 26, has been jailed for 16 years, prompting calls from victims and women’s groups to toughen bail laws and drawing comparisons to the Jill Meagher case .

Burton stood accused of assaulting four women and had a prior conviction for assaulting two more when he inflicted the sickening injuries upon the young boy.

The boy was admitted to hospital in February 2012 with 11 fractures, multiple areas of brain injury, a lacerated liver, 120 separate bruises including bruising to his back from at least 40 blunt impacts and a bite mark.

The child also had a laceration to the penis that Burton said was from a cat but the boy told nursing staff he was cut with scissors.

Burton pleaded guilty to six counts of aggravated causing harm with intent and one count of causing serious harm with intent against the boy.

Domestic violence expert Dr Sarah Wendt said the case highlighted the dangers of allowing such offenders to remain free on bail despite repeated offending.

“The Jill Meagher case and this one are examples of the system not following through,” Dr Wendt said.

“(These cases) give us an opportunity to look at where things have failed and what we can do better next time.”

Ms Meagher was murdered in Melbourne’s CBD in September 2012 by Adrian Ernest Bayley , who was free on parole despite a shocking history of sexual violence against women.

Dr Wendt said while some men adhered to restraining orders, many had no fear of breaching their conditions.

Adelaide District Court Judge Gordon Barrett.

Adelaide District Court Judge Gordon Barrett.

“Particularly men who perpetrate violence ignore the law. They don’t see it as a deterrent so how we respond as a society needs to be looked at,” she said. “If he continues to get away with it, he will continue to do it.”

Burton, who in 2006 was given a suspended five-month prison term for assaulting two former girlfriends, began his latest spate of offending in January, 2010.

District Court judge Gordon Barrett said Burton assaulted the woman he was dating and threatened to harm her and her family if she went to the police.

He dated the second woman between April and August 2010. He punched her and choked her. Burton was arrested for these offences and released on simple police bail.

While on bail for these offences, he committed the rest of the offences.

Burton was arrested again in 2011 for his assaults against a third woman and again released on simple police bail. During this brief relationship, Burton made the woman shut down her Facebook account and delete all her phone contacts except for work and family.

A fourth relationship involved an assault that lasted several hours as he choked, punched and dragged the woman around the house, holding a knife to her throat and threatening to kill her. He was arrested in June 2011 and released on simple police bail.

One month later, Burton went to the police and alleged two of his victims were threatening him. He later assaulted his father and brother and was again released on simple bail.

He went on to assault a fifth woman whom he persuaded to stop work so she did not come into contact with other males.

After the relationship ended, Burton was admitted to the magistrates court mental health diversion program.

While on bail and in the program he assaulted the four-year-old boy over several weeks.

Five days before the boy was admitted to hospital, the Senior Clinical Liaison Officer with the Magistrates Court Diversion Program reported Burton had demonstrated a willingness to participate meaningfully and that he should be commended for his participation.

Judge Barrett said Burton was also receiving psychiatric and psychological care while he was assaulting the boy.

“Whereas previously you had been violent to your partners, you now turned your violence on a defenceless four-year-old boy,” Judge Barrett said.

He said Burton’s counsel had instructions that Burton had “no clear recollection of the violence” he perpetrated.

“There are really no signs that I can see that suggest that the community is yet safe from your possible outbursts of violence,” Judge Barrett said.

He said were it not for Burton’s guilty pleas, he would have sentenced him to 20 years for the “unusually serious” offending.

“Your being able to conform to discipline in prison is not, in my view, a sign of your rehabilitation.

“You seriously and serially assaulted five women between January 2010 and August of 2011,” Judge Barrett said.

“During that time you also assaulted your father and brother. That violence continued despite your being arrested and released on bail numerous times.”

Judge Barrett said he would treat the offending as one course of conduct and set a non-parole term of 12 years.

He said Burton showed a complete lack of insight by telling a doctor his relationships with women ended because “they just want to use and abuse you”.

Women’s Domestic Violence Services of SA co-chair Vicki Lachlan said Burton’s other matters should have been taken into consideration when he was released on bail the second and third time.

“They’re not isolated matters, they’re patterns of behaviour,” Ms Lachlan said. She said Judge Barrett’s decision to set one sentence for all the offending was a win for the people Burton assaulted.

“I’m encouraged to hear that the judge this time eventually took into account his pattern of behaviour,” she said.

“But his history just highlights the fact that others didn’t … it’s just outrageous that he was able to do it again and again.

“I think we often in the courts value property more than people, especially if it’s a woman.”

Professor Rick Sarre from UniSA said he believed bail laws were “about right” although mistakes were sometimes made.

Prof. Sarre said the bail laws should not be changed for just one case.

Domestic Violence Helpline: 1800 800 098

George Pell-Royal Commission to inquire into the Catholic Church and Towards Healing


OMG I have been watching Cardinal Pell’s live evidence all day and seriously, he needs to get to confession. Lying his brain off and justifying everything in favour of the church.

I did want to stay out of these religion relation Royal Commission hearings but can not. AS a survivor of sexual abuse by the catholic church I dry reach listening to him.

LIVE LINK HERE http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/public-hearings/case-study-march-2014/

UPDATE 26/03/14 The Cardinal had a second day in the hot seat and was no better trying to defend the indefensible

George Pell tells sex abuse royal commission case against John Ellis was unfair ‘from a Christian point of view’

Updated 2 minutes ago

Cardinal George Pell says that from a “Christian point of view”, the Church did not deal fairly with former altar boy and sex abuse victim John Ellis.

Mr Ellis was abused by a priest in the 1970s, but lost a legal battle in 2007 when the Court of Appeal ruled the Catholic Church was not an entity that could be sued.

Cardinal Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic cleric, is giving evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney.

He said although lawyers never acted improperly, he had “moral doubts” and believed the case was mishandled from a spiritual perspective.”Any reservations I might have about particular stands of our lawyers, I would not want to suggest that they did anything improper,” he told the hearing.

“But from my point of view, from a Christian point of view, leaving aside the legal dimension, I don’t think we did deal fairly.”

Cardinal Pell said that he endorsed the aggressive strategies of the church’s lawyers, who were instructed to “resist” Mr Ellis’s claim, despite the fact that he believed Mr Ellis.

“Part of that wording, ‘vigorously’ or ‘strenuously’, was, at least in my mind, an attempt to encourage people not to go into litigation,” Cardinal Pell told the hearing.

Counsel assisting the commission Gail Furness questioned the Cardinal’s stance.

“So by having a vigorous defence, that would show potential plaintiffs that they should think twice before litigating against the church?” she asked.

“That they should think clearly,” Cardinal Pell responded.

Cardinal Pell said victims should settle the matters outside court.

In a statement to the commission, Cardinal Pell apologised to Mr Ellis for the abuse committed by Father Aidan Duggan.

Cardinal Pell admitted endorsing a decision not to enter mediation at the time the legal action began, but now concedes that was a mistake.

“I could have. I regret that I didn’t. As a general rule, though, I handed over the carriage of the case to our legal advisers and I should have been more vigilant,” he said.

Before the case Mr Ellis asked for $100,000 but was offered $30,000.

The court costs far exceeded Mr Ellis’s original request for compensation.

The Cardinal said at the time the legal action commenced in 2004, he was mistaken about Mr Ellis.

“He presented so well. He’s such a senior lawyer; he was represented by two very high-profile lawyers,” Cardinal Pell said.

“I understood insufficiently just how wounded he was.

I understood insufficiently just how wounded he was.

Cardinal George Pell

“We would never have run this case against many of the victims who came forward because they’re manifestly so wounded.

“That was not apparent to me at this stage.”

During the litigation, Cardinal Pell expressed concern to his colleagues about exacerbating the victim’s psychiatric condition.

He was today asked whether he was actually attempting to avoid bad publicity as a result of the case.

“That was always one of my concerns, yes, but it was not my first concern,” he said.

Cardinal Pell has denied being involved in the day-to-day running of the legal battle with Mr Ellis.

A second man came forward with a complaint about the priest during the litigation

Cardinal Pell admits that would have strengthened Mr Ellis’s case, but said he did not discuss it with the lawyers.

The hearing continues.

Cardinal George Pell says he was not involved in discussions on compensation payments

George Pell says Vatican treated abuse accusers as ‘enemies of the church

George Pell says Vatican treated abuse accusers as ‘enemies of the church

Cardinal George Pell has told a royal commission into child sexual abuse he was not involved in discussions about compensation for a victim who sued the Catholic Church and lost.

The former archbishop of Sydney, Australia’s highest-ranking Catholic, is giving evidence in front of a packed public gallery at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Sydney.

Today he was questioned about his part in the Church’s legal battle with John Ellis, who was abused by Sydney priest Father Aidan Duggan in the 1970s.

The former altar boy lost his case in 2007, when the New South Wales Court of Appeal ruled the Church was not a legal entity that could be sued – the so-called Ellis defence.

Catholic officials have said Cardinal Pell knew about Mr Ellis’s compensation request, but say he instructed the Church’s lawyers to defend the case vigorously.

Last week Cardinal Pell’s private secretary, Dr Michael Casey, told the commission Cardinal Pell had directed the legal team to be aggressive in its cross-examination.

Today Cardinal Pell said the legal battle had been “hard fought, perhaps too well fought by our legal representatives”.

“I would now say, looking back, that these legal measures, although effective, were disproportionate to the objective and to the psychological state of Mr Ellis as I now better understand it,” he said in a statement tendered to the royal commission.

“I realise I should have exercised more regular and stringent oversight.”

But Cardinal Pell denied claims from the former chancellor of the Sydney Archdiocese that he was involved in discussions about compensation payments, particularly when Mr Ellis lost his job.

“[Claims that] I would agree to offer him $5,000 extra by way of compensation, I regard as grotesque,” he said.

There was a round of applause in the packed hearing room when Cardinal Pell was challenged to back up his statement that quite a number of abuse cases are never validated.

“You’ve said that in quite a number of cases, for example, in schools, the incidents are found not to be validated,” Counsel Assisting the Commission Gail Furness said.

“I call for the data that supports that evidence.”

Sceptical Vatican gave accused ‘benefit of the doubt’

Before turning to the Ellis case, the commission had questioned Cardinal Pell about the culture of the Church in the 1990s.

Cardinal Pell agreed that before the Towards Healing pastoral and redress scheme was established in the mid-1990s, some priests were moved between dioceses in the event of an abuse complaint.

“Unfortunately that was the case,” he said. “If that happened, it would be very much by way of exception.”

He told the hearing the Vatican took a “sceptical” approach to complaints of abuse and accused priests were given “the benefit of the doubt”.

I think there was more of an inclination to give the benefit of the doubt to the defendant, rather than listen seriously to the complaints.

Cardinal George Pell

“The attitude of some people at the Vatican was that if accusations were being made against priests, they were made exclusively or at least predominantly by enemies of the Church to make trouble and therefore they should be dealt with sceptically,” he said.

“I think there was more of an inclination to give the benefit of the doubt to the defendant rather than listen seriously to the complaints.”

Cardinal Pell also told the commission that sentiments similar to those in the Vatican were present among some in the Australian arm of the Church in the early 1990s.

“Not to anything like the same degree, I don’t think, but it is a little bit difficult to know what people think on these issues unless they are discussed directly or they are challenged on them,” Cardinal Pell said.

“I never heard – I think in many ways, the English-speaking world made a significant contribution to the universal church in this area.

“In dealing adequately with this, whatever the deficiencies, I think we were ahead of some countries.”

He said when he became Archbishop of Melbourne he “moved very vigorously no improve what was a chaotic situation” surrounding the handling of abuse claims.

Abuse survivors listen closely to Pell’s evidence

The walls outside the royal commission have been covered in placards from victim support groups, calling on Cardinal Pell to be accountable for his actions and detail his role in the Ellis legal proceedings.

Child abuse survivors said they would watch Cardinal Pell’s appearance with great interest.

Dr Cathy Kezelman, the president of the group Adults Surviving Child Abuse, said there needed to be some clarity around the issue.

“We’re all waiting to see what the archbishop’s role was in this case and there’s been conflicting evidence to date. What we know is that John Ellis suffered enormously through this,” she said.

“We had an internal church process that acknowledged he’d been abused and yet when he sought a civil claim that was brought into question.”

Care Leavers Australia Network chief executive Leonie Sheedy said her organisation was eagerly anticipating the Cardinal’s evidence.

“It’s so long overdue,” she said. “I feel so sad about what happened to John Ellis and all those other people who have tried to get justice for the crimes that were committed against them.

“They call it the Ellis defence, but it should be called the Pell defence.

“He’s going to go down in history as the person who denied people justice.”

After his testimony, Cardinal Pell is expected to leave Australia for Rome to take on a new senior role at the Vatican, which includes responsibility for preparing the Vatican’s annual budget, as well as financial planning and enhanced internal controls.

The hearing continues.

Rolf Harris-legend or not who cares-he must be accountable


There is a lot going on with this case. I was almost laughing seeing him helped out of a limo looking all crippled and old taking one step every 3 seconds to walk into court. For Christ sake, he was running a round a stage a few months ago happy as Larry despite his age. This is setting up on his side to get no jail time. I drafted some posts about identifying it was him who was the old Australian entertainer being investigated because the Aussie media was too gutless to say out loud what everyone knew. Harris like so many in the 70′s and 80′s thought they were SO famous they were untouchable. Sadly the girls in their vicinity were NOT.Rich well known people get prosecuted differently to the rest of the crowd and it is BULLSHIT, we all realise that yes?

To be successful in these cases is to have independent corroborating evidence, and I reckon Rolf Harris knows he is gone (oh yeah I did have an affair with that girl but ONLY after she was 18 etc) Bad news for him is the girls he molested back then are now mums themselves and taking a stance. The suppression of evidence needs to end, it is 2014 not 1814.

Daniel Morcombe murder trial jury -guilty all charges


GUILTY ALL CHARGES-WHAT A RELIEF AND WHAT A BASTARD-CAN NOW BE REVEALED HE IS WAS A SERIAL SEX OFFENDER

Brett Peter Cowan found GUILTY murdering schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003

Brett Peter Cowan found GUILTY murdering schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003

At a 2011 coronial inquest into Daniel’s disappearance, Cowan admitted he had been abusing children since he was a child of nine or 10 years old himself.

By the time he was 18, he had preyed on up to 30 children.

Many of them were targeted at a local swimming pool in fleeting encounters in order to avoid detection.

His first conviction for child sexual offences was for an attack on a seven-year-old boy in Queensland in 1987.

While performing community service at a playground, he took the boy into the public toilets and molested him.

After two years on the run, he was arrested and sentenced in 1989 to two years in jail for indecent dealing.

Four years later, while living at a caravan park in Darwin, Cowan attacked again.

A six-year-old boy was looking for his sister, but when he approached Cowan, Cowan took him into bushland and molested him so violently the victim suffered a punctured lung from choking.

Cowan left the boy to die in an old car, before the child staggered into a service station naked, dazed and bleeding.

Cowan initially denied any involvement, at one stage telling detectives: “I hope you catch the bastard.”

He confessed only after police told him they had found DNA evidence.

In late September 1993, Cowan pleaded guilty to gross indecency, grievous bodily harm and deprivation of liberty, and was sentenced to seven years in jail.

When he was released on parole in 1998, Cowan moved to the Sunshine Coast to live with relatives and became involved in the Christian Outreach Church, through which he met his former wife.

The pair married in 1999, and by December 2003 they were living in Beerwah with their baby son, but Cowan had cut ties with the church and the marriage was strained.

On December 7, 2003, Cowan spotted his next victim on the side of the Nambour Connection Road waiting for a bus.

He was a fresh faced boy called Daniel and he was wearing a red shirt.

Cowan once looked into the eyes of Daniel’s parents, Bruce and Denise, and said: “I had nothing to do with Daniel’s disappearance, nothing at all.”

He told the brazen lie while giving evidence at a coronial inquest into the teenager’s disappearance in March 2011.

The guilty verdicts bring to an end the biggest police investigation in Queensland’s history and Australia’s biggest missing person’s case.

The jury in the murder trial of the man accused of killing Queensland teenager Daniel Morcombe has retired to consider its verdicts.

Daniel Morcombe Discussion Page here

Daniel Morcombe in the T shirt he was wearing when went missing.

Daniel Morcombe in the T shirt he was wearing when went missing.

Daniel was abducted and murdered on the Sunshine Coast in 2003 and his remains were found in nearby bushland in 2011. previous posts and daily coverage of trial here

Brett Peter Cowan, also known as Shaddo N-Unyah Hunter, has pleaded not guilty to murder, indecent treatment of a child, and interfering with a corpse.

Brett Peter Cowan is accused of murdering schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003.

Brett Peter Cowan is accused of murdering schoolboy Daniel Morcombe in 2003.

Update 13/03/14

JURORS deciding the fate of Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe’s accused killer are deliberating for a second day.

The six men and six women on the Supreme Court jury retired at lunchtime on Wednesday to consider their verdict in the trial of Brett Peter Cowan.

They left the Brisbane courtroom after Justice Roslyn Atkinson told them they may consider a manslaughter verdict.

They deliberated for three and a quarter hours on Wednesday before the court was adjourned for the day.

Justice Roslyn Atkinson began proceedings this morning delving into the undercover police operation.

She told jurors they cannot use against Cowan his right to remain silent when he was arrested.

Justice Atkinson told the jury it had been a long trial with a lot of evidence.

She said jurors could check any facts of the case while considering their verdicts.

Justice Atkinson has provided jurors with a question trail to help them reach verdicts.

Earlier this week, prosecution and defence lawyers gave their final submissions.

In the past four weeks, more than 100 witnesses have given evidence at the trial.

The court heard police found the schoolboy’s remains at an old macadamia farm at Beerwah in 2011.

Seventeen bone fragments were found after one of the largest searches undertaken by police and State Emergency Service volunteers.

Defence lawyer Angus Edwards said there was no proof Cowan killed Daniel and the alleged confessions recorded by undercover police were made up.

Mr Edwards said it was more likely convicted child rapist Douglas Jackway killed the schoolboy.

“For a fellow like him to be driving down that stretch of road past Daniel Morcombe would have been like a snake going past a wounded mouse,” Mr Edwards said.

“He stalked, abducted and killed Daniel Morcombe, and if you accept that, all the other evidence in this trial will fall into place.”

He said Jackway’s sexual assault of a boy in 1995 had striking similarities to Daniel’s case.

He owned a blue car, and a blue car was seen by witnesses circling and stalking the teenager as he waited for a bus, Mr Edwards said.

The car “wasn’t always in the same position. It was stalking Daniel Morcombe”, he said.

The inevitable conclusion, Mr Edwards said, was that Jackway was involved in Daniel’s abduction.

He said although there was no direct evidence of the convicted paedophile’s involvement, the jury should draw inferences.

But prosecutors said that scenario was a red herring and Cowan’s confessions were truthful because of their detailed nature and gravity.

Crown prosecutor Michael Byrne said Cowan alone led police to Daniel’s remains and his confessions were not forced.

Mr Byrne said despite Jackway’s horrendous crimes, he was a “cheap target” and there was no evidence he was on the Sunshine Coast that day.

Justice Atkinson told the jury yesterday to put out of their minds anything they have seen, heard or read about the trial outside of the courtroom.

“The evidence is what you’ve heard in this court and not recollections of what you might have read in the newspaper or seen on television or heard on the radio at some time during the past or even during the trial,” she said.

“You should dismiss all feelings of sympathy or prejudice against the defendant or anyone else.

“Nor should you allow public opinion to sway you, you must approach your duty dispassionately.”

A Look back at the key developments in the murder case of Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe.

December 7, 2003:

Daniel Morcombe, 13, vanishes while waiting for a bus under the Kiel Mountain Road overpass on Nambour Connection Road at Woombye on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. He was on his way to go Christmas shopping when he disappeared.

December 7, 2004:

About 1,000 people attend a memorial service to mark the first anniversary of Daniel Morcombe’s disappearance. A special plaque is also unveiled at the site.

October 4, 2004:

A $250,000 reward is posted by the Queensland Government for information leading to an arrest or conviction.

February, 2005:

Parents Bruce and Denise Morcombe launch the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to continue their message on child safety.

December 1, 2008:

A record $1 million private reward is offered for new information about the disappearance.

April, 2010:

The State Coroner receives an extensive investigation report, containing thousands of pages, from police regarding the suspected death.

October 13, 2010:

A coronial inquest led by State Coroner Michael Barnes begins. The inquest is held in Maroochydore and Brisbane. It adjourns on April 6, 2011.

August 13, 2011:

Brett Peter Cowan, 41, is arrested and charged. Police and State Emergency Service volunteers search bushland in the Sunshine Coast hinterland as part of the investigation. Over the next two months, a pair of shoes and human bones are discovered. DNA results confirm they belong to Daniel Morcombe.

November 26, 2012:

Cowan’s committal hearing begins in the Brisbane Magistrates Court.

December 7, 2012:

A funeral is held for Daniel Morcombe at St Catherine of Siena Church at Sippy Downs on the Sunshine Coast, nine years to the day since he disappeared. He was laid to rest at Woombye Cemetery.

February 7, 2013:

Cowan ordered to stand trial in the Supreme Court of Queensland. He is charged with murder, indecent treatment of a child and interfering with a corpse.

February 10, 2014:

Cowan’s trial begins. It is expected to take six weeks. A pool of about 100 potential witnesses may be called to give evidence.

Brett Cowan, portrait of a monster

March 13, 2014 – 2:31PM

The little boy was looking for his sister. He was six and dressed only in a pair of underpants as he wandered alone through the BP Palms Caravan Park on the Stuart Highway on the outskirts of Darwin.

The little boy lived in the caravan park with his family. Brett Peter Cowan lived in a neighbouring van.

Around dusk on a Thursday night in September 1993, Brett Cowan, then aged 24, approached the boy and asked him if he wanted to go for a walk to see an old car wreck abandoned in the bush not so far away.

The pair left the trailer park, climbed through a hole in a wire fence and walked along a scrubby bush track. When the little boy asked Cowan how far it was to the wreck, the young man swung him up on to his shoulders for the final 200 metres.

Cowan then lay the boy on the upturned rust bucket, pulled the boy’s underpants down and dropped his own shorts.

About an hour later, the boy, naked and filthy now, stumbled through the dark back into the BP Palms service area. Northern Territory Supreme Court documents reveal he was dazed and distressed.

In intensive care at Royal Darwin Hospital the extent of his injuries became apparent. A collapsed and punctured left lung, haemorrhaged eyes, a bloodied nose, abrasions across his face, a deep cut in his scrotum area.

A doctor said the boy’s “combination of injuries was consistent with his having sustained a complex series of injuries involving an asphyxial element, blunt force injury, sharp force injury and anal penetration”. The boy’s wounds were heavily contaminated with carbon-containing material, “consistent with contact with a heavily ashed bushfire area”.

After initially denying any involvement, Brett Peter Cowan made a full confession. He told police that he needed help.

But just how much help did he get? It’s a question that many will be asking about the 44-year-old, who on Thursday was found guilty in Brisbane’s Supreme Court of murdering 13-year-old Daniel Morcombe on the Sunshine Coast on December 7, 2003.

In Queensland’s highest-profile criminal case ever, Cowan, the father of three young boys, now awaits Justice Roslyn Atkinson’s sentencing decision.

It might be little consolation to Daniel’s heartbroken and weary parents, Bruce and Denise Morcombe, that Cowan denies molesting their son. “I never got to molest him or anything like that; he panicked and I panicked and grabbed him around the throat and just before I knew it, he was dead,” Cowan confessed to an undercover police officer in Perth in August 2011.

“I was starting to pull his pants down … and he said, ‘oh no’, and he started to struggle..” Cowan told the officer. In a later conversation, he said, “… if I didn’t panic I could’ve been there for an hour doing stuff.”

Whatever jail term Justice Atkinson settles on, it will be Cowan’s third for crimes against boys. He was sentenced to two years’ jail in 1989 after indecently dealing with a seven-year-old boy. Cowan was 18 when he took the boy into a public toilet in Brisbane and molested him.

In June 1994, he was sentenced to seven years’ jail for his crimes against the little boy in Darwin. But by 1998, only four years later, Cowan was out of jail and living in the Sunshine Coast community of Bli Bli with his aunt and uncle who were pastors at the Suncoast Christian Church (formerly the Christian Outreach Centre).

It was to be a new start for the convicted paedophile and small-time drug dealer, a 190cm-tall man with a goatee, two silver earrings, a tattoo of a clown on his shoulder and two upper-arm tattoos –  one of a skull holding a smoking gun with skeletal fingers, the other of a skull in a top hat.

At one point Cowan was going to church three times a weekend. He met a girl through church and, in September 1999, after a church wedding ceremony, they celebrated at a reception at the Big Pineapple, a remnant of gaudy 1970s tourism on the Nambour Connection Road.

The couple started their life together in Beerwah, an old sugarcane town spliced by Steve Irwin Way and with a view of the jagged Glasshouse Mountains. Cowan smoked pot and did a bit of this, a bit of that — odd jobs, tow-truck driving, industrial spray-painting — until someone hooked him up with local businessman Trevor Davis. “I thought quite a lot of Brett,” says Mr Davis, who owns a sandblasting business.

By all accounts, Cowan had a disciplined upbringing. “He was an army brat,” says Mr Davis of his former employee, who was born in Bunbury, Western Australia, in September 1969. He and his three brothers spent much of their childhood in Brisbane’s Everton Park. Cowan’s father, Peter, retired from the Army having achieved the rank of major.

Mr Davis says Brett Cowan was intelligent and hard-working, “an open and friendly chap” who got on with customers and “never forgot anything I taught him”.

Mr Davis was so impressed by his employee that he bought a second sandblasting business with the intention that Cowan could run it independently. “I figured that I could front him into it,” says Mr Davis.

Tracey Lee Moncrieff gave birth to the couple’s first child, a little boy, in mid 2003, about six months before Bruce and Denise Morcombe’s little boy vanished from a bus stop under an overpass at Woombye on the Nambour Connection Road.

Police quickly identified Cowan as a person of interest in their investigation. Cowan was interviewed and, just before Christmas, his white Pajero was carted off to Nambour police station where it was scoured it for evidence. Nothing was found.

Cowan denied having anything to do with the case. He would later officially change his name in a vain attempt to avoid further scrutiny. His new name was “Shaddo N-unyah Hunter” — “Shaddo” because it was his dog’s name and his dog followed him around like a shadow. When undercover police asked what “N-unyah” was all about, he replied “Nunyah business”.

In 2004, Moncrieff gave birth to his second son but the marriage was soon over. At some point Cowan’s spiritual observance had come to an end too.  “Something was preached over the pulpit that I didn’t agree with and (I) went and spoke with the pastor about it and he wouldn’t change his mind so…” he would later tell police.

“He just didn’t appear at a job site one day and that was the last I saw of him,” says Trevor Davis. “He just did a bunk.”

The Darwin judge who sentenced Cowan after his sex attack on the six-year-old boy described Cowan as a “pathological liar and a person who is prepared to steal even from his own parents”. He had lived a “parasitic existence, relying on social security and his parents”, the judge said, listing offences including stealing, break and enter and unlawful use of motor vehicles.

After he left Moncrieff, Cowan seems to have resumed that behaviour, drifting through a drug-hazed underclass, from what he described as “Nam-boring”, to Moranbah in north Queensland and then, by the time of the Nerang interview in 2005, to Uki in the Tweed Valley.

In 2008 he was living with 18-year-old Leticha Anne Harvey in Durack, Ipswich. By December 2009 she’d given birth to their son and they were living in a caravan park on Bribie Island in Moreton Bay off Brisbane. Cowan would later tell undercover police that he’d lost access to his two oldest children and that his brother and his wife had custody of his youngest son.

By March 2011 when Cowan was called to give evidence at the inquest into Daniel Morcombe’s disappearance, he was living in yet another caravan park — this time in Perth with another woman, also called “Tracey”, a woman he described as “a friend with benefits”, and his pet “birdie”, a “twenty-eight” or Australian ring-neck parrot.

At the inquest in the Brisbane Coroners Court, Cowan was Dubbed “P7”, “Person of Interest 7”. He had been bullied at school, Cowan told the court, and came to struggle with his bisexuality.

He admitted to smoking “cones” of marijuana in his hotel room each morning he was required to give evidence.

He admitted something else as he tried to convince the inquest he wasn’t involved in Daniel’s disappearance. “I wasn’t interested in teenage boys. I was interested in six, seven and eight-year-old boys.”

On April 1, excused from the inquest, Cowan caught a flight back to Perth. On the plane, he sat next to a bloke who introduced himself as Joe Emery. They got chatting and swapped numbers. “Joe Emery” was the false name of an undercover police officer. One of the most extraordinary undercover police investigations in Australia’s history had begun.

Six Australians on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370


The Malaysia Airlines flight was on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The Malaysia Airlines flight was on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

I am very very concerned, and at the moment it is all speculation, we are only talking about a few scenarios here for it to disappear into thin air with NO contact and NO operational problems having being reported. One is a catastrophic mechanical failure, the other being an instantaneous explosion, read what you will into that. It is a very safe aircraft with an excellent record. Planes do not drop from the sky from 32,000 feet WITHOUT A WHIMPER these days.

OBVIOUSLY MUCH MORE TO COME, WITH A LOT OF TENSE EVENTS HAPPENING AROUND THE WORLD IN RECENT MONTHS LETS HOPE THIS IS NOT WORST CASE SCENARIO

Flight MH370 lost contact with air traffic controllers at 2:40am local time, just over two hours into the flight.

The plane, a Boeing 777-200, left Kuala Lumpur at 12:41am on Saturday, and had been due to arrive in Beijing at 6:30am local time.

The company says the plane was carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members.

AS OF 6.27PM MELB TIME

A quick summary of the situation:

  • Flight MH370 lost contact with air traffic control just over two hours into the flight
  • There were 239 people on board
  • Six Australians were among the passengers
  • Authorities lost contact with the plane over the South China Sea
  • The Vietnamese navy and Chinese navy have deployed ships to the region
  • The Malaysian transport minister says reports the plane had crashed off south Vietnam’s coast are unconfirmed - Malaysian military is now trying to get in touch with the Vietnam navy about the reports.

Concerned family members and friends should contact Malaysia Airlines on +603 7884 1234 (international call) for further information.

 
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s 24 hour Consular Emergency Centre is contactable on 1300 555 135, or +61 2 6261 3305 (if calling from overseas).
MY UNDERSTANDING IS THIS EXACT AIRCRAFT was involved in a incident in 2012
ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 147571

ASN Wikibase Occurrence # 147571

Liam Humbles who shot dead Lewis McPherson jailed for at least 24 years


This is the gutless little punk who has finally been sentenced for the cold-blooded murder of Lewis McPherson. AS in most South Australian crimes, the system protects the perp not the victim. Watch his arrest video, but DO NOT feel any sympathy for this drug and booze infested gutter rat. He has shown NO remorse or in fact anything towards his victim since it happened. he bragged he was going to kill the other 2 mates Lewis was with, James and Liam walking along a street to a party the night of the murder. I commend those buddies for fronting up to the trial and eyeing this little mongrel in the eye.

Video of his arrest

THE drunk, drugged and gun-wielding teen who took the life of Lewis McPherson on New Year’s Eve 2012 will spend at least 24 years behind bars and can today be named for the first time.

The SA Supreme Court has released police footage of the youth who shot dead Lewis McPherson on New Years Eve in 2012.

The SA Supreme Court has released police footage of the youth who shot dead Lewis McPherson on New Years Eve in 2012.

A Supreme Court gallery packed with Mr McPherson’s friends and family today gasped with relief and embraced as Liam Patrick Humbles was sentenced for his crime.

Humbles’ mother, meanwhile, erupted into howls of grief and had to be comforted by her husband as her son was led into the cell to begin his penalty.

In sentencing, Justice Michael David said there was nothing that could validly explain Humbles’ decision to carry a loaded .22 calibre handgun on his person the night he killed Mr McPherson and shot at his two friends.

“It was put to me … that your reason for possessing a firearm was that you had it for protection against bullying — such a reason does not bear close scrutiny,” Justice David said.

“The concept that a young person might think they have to carry a weapon with them for self-protection is appalling, frightening, and has no place in our society.”

He said a psychological report showed Humbles had demonstrated little remorse and only slight insight into the impact of his offending on his family, Mr McPherson’s family and the community.

He jailed Humbles for life with a non-parole period of 24 years and two months, including the 14 months he has already spent in custody.

Justice David said Humbles had shown no contrition for the senseless murder and was still struggling to fully accept responsibility or recognise the catastrophic consequences of the shooting.

Humbles was grossly affected by alcohol and drugs and told his lawyers he had no memory of the shooting.

Justice David said that after shooting at Mr McPherson and his friends, Humbles also fired a shot at a passing car.

“This was an appalling, wanton crime. Disastrous as it was, it could have been even worse and three, perhaps four people could have been killed that evening,” he said.

“I found in my reasons for judgement that you intended to kill them all.”

Justice David ordered that Humbles, now aged 19, be transferred at his own request to an adult prison as soon as possible to complete his hefty sentence.

He further ordered the long-standing, statutory suppression order on Humbles’ identity be lifted, allowing MEDIA to name the killer and show the police video of his arrest.

Humbles will be eligible for parole in March, 2037, when he will be 42 years old.

He was found guilty of murdering Mr McPherson and attempting to murder his best friends, James Lamont and Liam Trewartha .

He shot at the trio with a .22 calibre pistol on New Year’s Eve, 2012, in the suburb of Warradale as they were walking to a party.

Humbles — a drug-using, binge-drinking, cannabis-selling couch-surfer — had himself attended a different party that night, and was upset about an argument that had occurred there .

In harrowing testimony during the trial, Mr Lamont and Mr Trewatha recalled trying to keep their “best friend until the end” alive after the shooting .

They had to flee when the teen returned and stood over Mr McPherson, saying “if you don’t stop being dead, I’ll make you really dead”.

Mr Lamont later gave a passionate victim impact statement, telling the killer Mr McPherson had “never judged” him and believed he would “some day be good to this earth” .

Last week, The Advertiser exclusively revealed the man who allegedly provided Humbles with the murder weapon is facing firearms and drugs charges .

Outside court, Mr McPherson’s father Mark repeated his calls for mandatory jail terms for firearms offences.

“There is no place for guns in our society, and those who have them aren’t going to do any good with them,” he said.

“There should be mandatory sentencing — if you have a gun, you’re going to jail.”

He said he felt justice “had been done” even though no sentence “is ever enough” to compensate for the loss of a son.

“It’s certainly more than we expected,” he said.

“I feel for her (the killer’s mother) but not for him … I will never forgive him.

“His lack of contrition is disturbing and hurtful … I just don’t know what goes on in his head.”

Mark McPherson said he was concerned that Humbles would emerge from the adult prison system as a more dangerous person.

“But what else do you do with him?” he asked.

“I hope that he does get the sort of programs and education he needs to come out as a productive member of society.”

He acknowledged Mr McPherson would likely wish the killer the best for his rehabilitation, but said he could not share that feeling.

“Lewis only hoped for good for everybody, that’s just the sort of person he was,” he said.

“He would probably be the first to say ‘I hope it works out for him (the killer)’.”

Mr McPherson’s mother, Kim, declined to comment outside court.

Murderer Liam Humbles in a photo from his Facebook page.

Murderer Liam Humbles in a photo from his Facebook page.

SA murder victim Lewis McPherson, centre, with best friends James Lamong (left) and Liam Trewartha (right).

SA murder victim Lewis McPherson, centre, with best friends James Lamong (left) and Liam Trewartha (right).

The .22 calibre handgun used to murder Lewis McPherson

The .22 calibre handgun used to murder Lewis McPherson

The SA Supreme Court has released police footage of the youth who shot dead Lewis McPherson on New Years Eve in 2012.

The SA Supreme Court has released police footage of the youth who shot dead Lewis McPherson on New Years Eve in 2012.