Marcus Rappel murdered Tara Costigan -Now the Rally is on to help her kids


Let’s not give this pathetic gutless murderer more than a second, but it is time to think about the family left behind after Marcu Rappel allegedly killed Tara Costigan with an axe in a domestic violence attack that left 3 kids motherless.

murder: GoFundMe campaign raises money for family

Tara Costigan

Tara Costigan’s family has received an outpouring of community support. Source: Supplied

JUST over a week ago the Costigan family was celebrating the arrival of a new baby girl as 28-year-old Tara Costigan gave birth to her third child, baby Ayla.

Now, the close-knit group of cousins and siblings is planning a funeral for the bubbly young mum.

Tara, a mum of three and career carer, was found dead at her ACT home on Saturday, the victim of a domestic violence attack of the worst kind, police allege.

Her body was discovered in the laundry of her Calwell apartment with the murder weapon, an axe, nearby.

Tara’s dog Honey was one of her great loves, along with her three kids and large, support

Tara’s dog Honey was one of her great loves, along with her three kids and large, supportive family. Source: Supplied

Speaking on behalf of the family, Tara’s cousin Nathan Costigan told news.com.au the family was struggling to comprehend the tragedy that ripped them apart on the weekend.

“You would never in your wildest dreams assume that this is something that could happen to your family,” he said.

“It’s an incredible shock. At the moment our number one priority is the three kids.”

Tara’s murder left her two boys, Rhily, 11, Drew, nine, and one-week-old baby Ayla without a mother. Her former partner, Marcus Ruppel, is accused of Tara’s murder and the family is working with authorities.

Although Nathan admits he doesn’t exactly know what’s going to happen with the kids, they have plenty of support.

Tara Costigan

Tara Costigan Source: Facebook

The fund has passed its initial goal of $40,000

The fund has passed its initial goal of $40,000 Source: Supplied

A GoFundMe campaign has raised over $40,000 for the young family attracting pledges from hundreds of supporters.

“The outpouring has just been incredible,” Nathan said.

“The kids will be all right, we’ll make sure they’re all right.”

The loving uncle said that right now it was “hard to know if they’re really okay”, and that he was pretty sure the eldest two children were still in shock, but the kids would be looked after as best the family could manage. He’s working with police and authorities to make sure the kids are getting everything they need.

“We’re trying to keep their minds distracted for now because they probably know too much for a nine and 11-year-old,” he said.

“The Costigan side of the family is very close, those three kids are everyone’s number one priority right now.”

Tara Costigan

Tara Costigan Source: Supplied

Tara Costigan

Tara Costigan Source: Supplied

Tara loved to serve and care for people, her cousin says. She’ll be remembered as “a beautiful soul who was always smiling and willing to help others whenever and however she could”.

“The odds were against her, but she never gave up,” Nathan said.

“All her family were proud of her unshakable commitment to doing the best she can do. She worked hard to be able to send both her boys to a private school and she recently purchased her first new car.”

Tara’s grandmother said: “Our whole family is just devastated”.

Cousin Nathan says being a single mother and a carer and heavily pregnant, she had a very busy life.

“She didn’t like to cause trouble … she was just a gorgeous girl.”

Tara’s distraught family members had to be physically restrained, yelling abuse at her accused killer when he appeared at a Canberra court yesterday.

Accused killer Marcus Rappel

Accused killer Marcus Rappel Source: Facebook

Rappel, 40, is accused of her murder, assault occasioning bodily harm and recklessly inflicting grievous bodily harm.

He is alleged to have forced his way into Ms Costigan’s villa, killing Ms Costigan with an axe and inflicting grievous bodily harm on a second woman and seriously assaulting a man, the Canberra Times reports.

He did not apply for bail and the matter has been adjourned until March 17.

Donate to the GoFundMe campaign supporting Tara’s three kids left without a mother here.

SA court jails piano teacher Anthony Theodore Vance for five years for abusing three girls


SA court jails piano teacher Anthony Theodore Vance for five years for abusing three girls

Anthony Theodore Vance has been jailed for his persistent sexual exploitation of three ch

Anthony Theodore Vance has been jailed for his persistent sexual exploitation of three children.

HIS deviant actions left little girls feeling like prisoners of their secret, but today predatory music teacher Anthony Theodore Vance became a prisoner himself.

Vance, 76, was today jailed for five years, and will spend at least three years behind bars, for his persistent sexual exploitation of girls as young as five.

In sentencing, District Court Judge Michael Boylan said Vance deserved “stern punishment” because he had shown no remorse and continued to insist his victims were liars.

“One of your victims very eloquently described one of the effects of sexual abuse … she said she was a prisoner of her secret,” Judge Boylan said.

“That’s a very eloquent way of describing how the victims of sexual abuse feel — prisoners, cut off from others, alone, unable to trust other people.

“The courts have often said these offences must be sternly punished, and you have three victims, no insight and committed a serious breach of trust.”

Vance, of Christies Beach, was found guilty at trial of three counts of the persistent exploitation of a child.

Between 2004 and 2007 he touched the upper thighs and genitalia of three girls — aged between five and 10 years old — while teaching them to play the piano or electric keyboard.

During their evidence, the girls said the inappropriate touching occurred “nearly every lesson”.

In sentencing today, Judge Boylan agreed Vance’s offending was “less serious” compared with many sexual abuse cases — but said that was no reason for clemency.

“You have still damaged these girls … they have suffered much, and will continue to suffer much, as a result of what you did to them,” he said.

“I can give you no discount (on your sentence) because you continue to assert that the three girls have told lies.”

He imposed a five-year jail term with a three-year non-parole period, saying there were no grounds upon which to suspend the sentence.

Disturbing claims of abuse heard at Royal Commission into Knox Grammar School

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Knox School cared about one thing, their reputation. 30 years later staff and ex staff still will not admit so, it beggars belief listening to some of the answers as to why they did not react to anything relating to abuse and scandal by going outside the school…keep it all in-house was the mantra

Pathetic and they should be ashamed hiding behind their credentials all these years later.

http://www.news.com.au/video/id-xhNHFwczrKxwqVr756pbVMvz4P4WQPPg/Headmaster%27s-astonishing-defence


UPDATED 03/03/15

The messiah takes the stand

The messiah and KING Former Knox Grammar headmaster Ian Paterson

The messiah and KING Former Knox Grammar headmaster Ian Paterson

Live feed to hearings here

http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/case-study/6202742a-5e8d-490b-bec4-84876bef3de0/case-study-23,-february-2015,-sydney


No bloody wonder he wanted to make his statement up front. It would of sounded ridiculous had he done it after his evidence and the commission is finished with him (back on the stand tomorrow)

Very cagey in his answers, instant recall to his achievements and foggy for all the abuse. Disgrace who needs his bestowed Honours removed asap!

Very cagey in his answers, instant recall to his achievements and foggy for all the abuse. Disgrace who needs his bestowed Honours removed asap!

Former Knox Grammar principal Ian Paterson fronts Royal Commission

Former Knox principal’s apology to sex abuse victims

Former Knox principal's apology to sex abuse victims

THE former headmaster accused of covering up child sexual abuse admitted he gave a glowing reference to a religious teacher who resigned after he was seen masturbating outside another school.

Ian Paterson, head of prestigious Sydney boys’ school Knox Grammar from 1969 to 1998, told today’s hearing the reference he gave Chris Fotis was “grossly inappropriate”.

Fotis, a Knox old boy, had been hired without any reference check and had prior child-sex convictions. He left the school in 1989, by which time Dr Paterson was aware of a string of complaints against him.

Dr Paterson giving evidence at the Royal Commission hearing in Sydney.

Dr Paterson giving evidence at the Royal Commission hearing in Sydney. Source: News Corp Australia

One was that he was suspected of donning a balaclava, hiding under a dormitory bed and groping a 14-year-old boy.

The school’s duty master Stuart Pearson told Dr Paterson that Fotis had been convicted of sexually assaulting two girls before he joined Knox and that he was verbally abusing boys.

Dr Paterson gave Fotis a reference describing him as “enthusiastic for his job” and “meticulous in the standards he requires from students”.

Police have issued a warrant for the arrest of Fotis, who failed to appear when he was called last week.

Dr Paterson revealed earlier today that he had not reported another teacher for molesting a boy because he was “not aware it was a crime”. He said it did not enter his head to report the balaclava incident.

“It never entered any one of our heads,” he said, referring to duty master Mr Pearson and Tim Hawkes, the housemaster in charge of the Mac Neil boarding house where the incident happened.

Dr Ian Paterson is giving evidence.

The head is accused of covering up decades of child-sex abuse. Source: News Corp Australia

Dr Paterson said he now agreed police should have been called. He denied ever telling the boys that the intruder was an Asian man who had been arrested.

When pressed by counsel advising the commission David Lloyd, Dr Paterson said: “I can assure you that controlling the reputation of the school never once entered my head.”

The head, who is accused of covering up child sexual abuse at Knox Grammar over three decades, earlier admitted to ignoring a student’s claim he had been abused by a teacher and described his as “a drama boy” who was known to “exaggerate stories”.

He confronted the claims today at the Royal Commission into Institution Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, amid new explosive accusations he engaged in abuse at the school himself.

Dr Paterson admitted a 15-year-old student had complained to him about a teacher, Damien Vance, touching him inappropriately in 1987, and the then headmaster told him to think about the allegations.

Purple ribbons tied to the gates of Knox Grammar following revelations of widespread paed

Purple ribbons tied to the gates of Knox Grammar following revelations of widespread paedophilia at the prestigious school. Picture: @concernedknox Source: Twitter

“The boy was a drama boy,” he told the Sydney hearing. “He was known as rather dramatical boy who could build up situations … I asked him to think about what I said.”

The former headmaster began his admissions to the Royal Commission expressing “deep regret” over years of abuse.

“I should have known, and I should have stopped the events that led to the abuse of those boys in my care and their families,” the former headmaster told the hearing in Sydney.

“My abject failure to secure for you a safe and secure place at Knox strikes at the very heart of a responsibility of a headmaster.”

In his opening address, Dr Paterson said he was “deeply and profoundly sorry”, and acknowledged that his decisions were wrong.

“This is a source of intense pain for myself and my family,” he said.

Dr Paterson’s appearance at the commission has been delayed since Friday as more witnesses came forward.

The Commission was rocked yesterday with a shock allegation from Lucy Perry, a high profile charity CEO who claims she was groped by Mr Paterson as a schoolgirl.

Lucy Perry was a surprise witness at the hearing yesterday.

Lucy Perry was a surprise witness at the hearing yesterday. Source: News Corp Australia

Ms Perry told the hearing into the elite Sydney boy’s school that Mr Paterson groped her in 1989 when she was part of a musical being produced by her school Roseville, and Knox Grammar.

Ms Perry who is chief executive of Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia (Australia), said the assault happened in full view of students at the Knox school hall, and the boys who saw it “roared with approval”.

She reported the assault to NSW police in 2009 when numerous allegations about widespread sexual abuse at the school were coming out.

Ms Perry said at one of the rehearsals she was backstage talking to some of the boys at a production of Guys and Dolls when Dr Paterson pointed to her and one of the boys and said “you and you out”.

Lucy Perry leaves the Child Sex Abuse Royal Commission.

Lucy Perry leaves the Child Sex Abuse Royal Commission. Source: News Corp Australia

Despite this she turned up at the next rehearsal and Dr Paterson, who was the producer, singled her out.

As she walked to the edge of the stage “he placed his hand on my backside. I would describe it as between a pat and a grope”. “He then slid his hand right down to cup my buttocks and (I) felt him touch my genitals outside of my clothing”.

She said he had a creepy look on his face.

When asked by Jim Harrowell, a solicitor representing Dr Paterson, if he was just positioning her on the stage she said: “I would suggest to you Mr Harrowell that positioning girls by their bottoms is not the best way to do that”.

She received a standing ovation from Knox victims and their supporters as she left the hearing.

Along with being pressed on the new allegations, Mr Paterson is expected to be asked what he told students about a balaclava-wearing intruder who molested a 14-year-old boy.

Much of the inquiry, which is now in its second week, has concerned an incident in late 1988 when an intruder wearing a Knox tracksuit and a balaclava hid under a boy’s bed and tried to molest him in the early hours of the morning.

Stuart Pearson, the former general duties master at the school and a former policeman said a few days after the incident Dr Paterson told the boys police had arrested an “Asian man” for the break-in.

Image show purple ribbons have been tied to the gates of Knox Grammar to show support for

Image show purple ribbons have been tied to the gates of Knox Grammar to show support for victims. Pic: Twitter / @concernedknox Source: Twitter

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse can find no record that police were ever contacted and on Monday a former student told the commission he recalled Dr Paterson saying the intruder was an “old boy” with mental problems.

Other witnesses have pointed the finger at Chris Fotis, a former teacher who is now being sought by police after the commission summoned him to appear.


 Royal commission into sex abuse: seven key Knox Grammar figures
March 3, 2015 – 1:53PM

THE PLAYERS

Five Knox teachers were convicted of multiple sex charges and one is wanted by police. These seven people are the key figures in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sex Abuse.

CONVICTED: Adrian John Nisbett (above)

Popular English teacher who worked at the school from 1971-2004. Arrested over sexual offences in 2009 and given a suspended sentence. Current principal John Weeks told the royal commission in February 2015 he believed former head master Ian Paterson was covering for Nisbett and wanted to sack him when he became headmaster. Nisbett was allowed to resign. Unable to be summonsed, he now lives in South Africa and is working for a cheetah conservation reserve in Namibia.

CONVICTED: Damian Vance (above)

English and French teacher who was asked to leave the school two years after indecently assaulting a student. Royal commission told Vance received a glowing reference from the school praising his teaching skills, despite having indecently assaulted one student and physically assaulted two others. Arrested in 2009, convicted and released on a good behaviour bond. Told the commission he had previously hit two boys at the school, in 1985 and 1986. Now a cleaner in Melbourne.

CONVICTED: Roger James

Science teacher between 1974-77. Resigned to take up a teaching position in New Zealand. Arrested for sex offences in 2009, convicted and given a suspended sentence. A 14-year-old victim told the royal commission in March 2015 he did not complain about the abuse at the time because of the culture of cover-up at the school. Boys who did speak up were “victimised and ostracised,” he said. “They were seen as weak and they became everybody’s bitch.”

CONVICTED: Craig Treloar (above)

Knox old boy. Resident master and teacher; taught at the school from 1982 until his arrest in 2009. Treloar was convicted on multiple charges of child sex abuse in 2010 and served two years in jail.  Denied to the royal commission in February 2015 he forced children to perform sex acts with him, saying that he allowed the boys to touch him. Said he was shocked when he wasn’t sacked after the pornography claims surfaced. Now unemployed.

CONVICTED: Barrie Stewart

Music teacher and “notorious groper”. Arrested in 2009, convicted of multiple counts of indecent assault and sexual assault relating to seven students. Given a suspended sentence. Former assistant headmaster John Rentoul told the commission in February 2015 his son David was molested by Stewart.

HEADMASTER: Dr Ian Paterson (above)

Principal of Knox Grammar from 1969 until 1998. Students referred to him as “the snake”.  Allegations to the royal commission that Dr Paterson had knowledge of abuse and even allegedly signed a reference letter for one of the teachers he knew was involved. Accused in March 2015 by Roseville Ladies College student Lucy Perry of sexual abuse backstage at a school performance in 1989 when she was 16. Paterson told the royal commission on March 3 he didn’t know it was illegal to sexually proposition a student and that he was an ‘abject failure’. The commission has heard there is no evidence he referred any sex abuse matters to the police. 

ARREST WARRANT: Christopher Fotis (above)

Religious education instructor, pictured above, suspected of being the so-called “balaclava man” who assaulted a year 8 boy in his bed at a school boarding house in 1988 that was under the supervision of Dr Timothy Hawkes (below), now head of the Kings School. Fotis was arrested in 1989 for masturbating in his car while parked outside a school in North Ryde. Dr Paterson provided Fotis with a reference letter in which he described him as an “enthusiast”. Warrant issued for his arrest in February 2015 for failure to appear at the royal commission. Whereabouts unknown since mid-February 2015.

TIMELINE

1924: Knox Grammar School first established as a Presbyterian Church School.

1969: Dr Ian Paterson becomes headmaster.

1970s: Allegation of “inappropriate behaviour” first surface, involving teachers Barrie Stewart, Roger James and Adrian Nisbett. Former assistant headmaster John Rentoul weeps  as he tells the royal commission about the discovery his son, David, was molested by Knox music teacher Barrie Stewart in the late 1970s.

1980s: Rumours of sexual abuse circulate more widely.

1986Christopher Fotis employed as religious education instructor despite having convictions for assaulting a female and offensive behaviour.

1987: Craig Treloar disciplined for watching hardcore pornography, including paedophilia and bestiality, with boys but allowed to keep his job.  Damian Vance indecently assaults a boy in a room under the chapel. Stuart Pearson reports Treloar to Dr Paterson after a boy alleged the teacher had propositioned him for sex. Pearson told the royal commission in February 2015 he was “gobsmacked” Treloar and Nisbett were working at the school years after he reported them to Paterson.

1988: A masked man, believed to be Fotis, sexually assaults a boy in his bed in a boarding house at the school.

1989: Vance asked to leave. Fotis asked to leave later that year after being caught masturbating outside a school in North Ryde. Headmaster Ian Paterson alleged to have sexually abused 16-year-old Roseville Ladies College student Lucy Perry backstage.

1990s: Sixteen-year-old student ATQ forms a sexual relationship with his resident housemaster. Warns another housemaster that Knox is a “paedophile ring” but nothing done in response.

1999: New principal Peter Crawley initiates investigation into Adrian Nisbett.

2009: Nisbett, Treloar, Stewart, James and Vance arrested and later convicted of multiple sex charges.

Emails tendered in evidence to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse reveal an unnamed solicitor had recommended the destruction of documents in 2009, following the arrests of the five teachers who abused children.

More info here, exhibits, transcripts and witness lists http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/case-study/6202742a-5e8d-490b-bec4-84876bef3de0/case-study-23,-february-2015,-sydney

February 26, 2015 1:16PM

Child abuse cover-up?

Child abuse cover-up?

A FORMER teacher at Sydney’s prestigious Knox Grammar school has failed to appear at a royal commission into child abuse.

The commission has issued a warrant for the arrest of Christopher Fotis, who was due to give evidence on Tuesday.

A public hearing this week has heard disturbing claims of abuse at Knox, which happened in the 1970s and 80s. Boys at one of Australia’s most exclusive schools were allegedly shown pornography, given alcohol and groomed for sex by a number of teachers at the school.

On Thursday David Lloyd, counsel advising the commission, said police were searching for Fotis and if he was found he would be brought to the commission.

Fotis was never charged with offences at Knox but was jailed in Melbourne for sexual abuse offences at a school there after his time at Knox, in Wahroonga on Sydney’s north shore.

The inquiry into the NSW private boys’ school is focusing on an incident in 1988 at one of the boarding houses, MacNeil House, when a person wearing a Knox tracksuit and balaclava hid under a child’s bed and sexually assaulted him.

Mr Lloyd said although the person’s face was concealed by the balaclava a number of the boys in the dormitory believed the offender was Fotis.

Former students have also alleged abuse by other teachers happened in dimly-lit music rehearsals. One of the teachers was still working at the school when he was arrested in 2009.

The expensive private school, whose old boys include judges, politicians such as the late Gough Whitlam and actors Hugh Jackman and Hugo Weaving, faced adverse publicity in 2009 when four teachers pleaded guilty to abusing students.

One “notorious molester” had memorial gates erected in his honour with the inscription “He touched us all”, the inquiry was told.

Prestigious: Hugh Jackman was a former student at the prestigious Knox Grammar. There is

Prestigious: Hugh Jackman was a former student at the prestigious Knox Grammar. There is no suggestion he was abused. Source: Supplied

In his opening statement on Monday, Mr Lloyd said five teachers at Knox in Wahroonga on Sydney’s north shore were convicted of sex offences against students. There would be allegations of abuse by a further three teachers who were never charged, he said.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse will examine the response of the Uniting Church and Knox between 1970 and 2012 to concerns raised about inappropriate conduct by a number of teachers towards students at the school.

Evidence has been given that paedophiles were allowed to continue working at Knox even after a string of complaints and some witnesses claimed there was a paedophile ring at the school.

Geoffrey Watson SC, representing Knox Grammar School, said the school humbly and sincerely apologised for its failings.

“It apologises to all of those students who were damaged by these events. It apologises to the parents of those students and the other members of their families,” he said.

DISTURBING DETAILS

One former student Scott Ashton, 44 told the commission he was nine when he went to the prestigious school. From the start he was abused “openly and brazenly” by teacher Barrie Stewart.

Mr Ashton gave evidence on Tuesday and said he remembers bleeding from his rectum when Stewart used his finger to molest him.

Some of the abuse happened at dimly-lit music rehearsals where Stewart also abused other boys.

In 2009 Stewart was convicted of five counts of indecent assault and two counts of sexual assault. He was given a suspended sentence.

Lives ruined: Former student Scott Ashton with friend Gretel Pinniger (left) and lawyer L

Lives ruined: Former student Scott Ashton with friend Gretel Pinniger (left) and lawyer Leigh Johnson (right). Source: News Corp Australia

Mr Ashton also told of depression, confusion and substance abuse since leaving Knox. He ended up working in the sex industry.

He said he was already fragile when he arrived at Knox as his two-year-old brother had been killed after they were both hit by a car at a pedestrian crossing. The other students beat him up and tried to get him to say he was responsible for his brother’s death

Mr Ashton was too distraught to read his own statement to the commission. It was read instead by his friend, Gretel Pinniger, also known as the high profile Sydney dominatrix Madame Lash.

Mr Ashton was also deeply confused by the attitude at the school where all were expected to pay tribute to an art teacher Bruce Barrett who had died young.

Mr Ashton said Barrett was a “notorious molester” but the school put up memorial gates at the back entrance to the Wahroonga school in his honour and bearing the inscription: “He touched us all”.

Another witness, Coryn Tambling, said he was abused by Craig Treloar in 1984 when he was at Knox. He said the teacher showed him and other boys pornographic videos one of which was a “homosexual gang bang involving teenage boys”.

Shocking allegations of abuse at prestigious boys school Knox Grammar.

Shocking allegations of abuse at prestigious boys school Knox Grammar. Source: Supplied

The teacher would reassure the boys and tell them it was OK to be homosexual, he said.

“Treloar also told me he was part of a group in Kings Cross that made these movies and he would secure me a part in a movie if I wanted.” He said he showed the boys business receipts from the Kings Cross company.

Treloar was sentenced to four and a half years in jail, with two years non-parole in 2009 and is now out. He will give evidence at this royal commission hearing.

MAN IN A BALACLAVA

Counsel for the commission David Lloyd, said witnesses would give evidence that a number of boys in one of the boarding houses were abused by a man in a Knox tracksuit and a balaclava.

One witness will say he awoke one morning when he was in year 8 to find the “balaclava man” sexually assaulting him.

Mr Lloyd said that although the person’s face was concealed by a balaclava, a number of the boys in the dormitory believed it was Christopher Fotis.

The school investigated and the boys were later told the “balaclava man” was a young Asian man who had been arrested by police.

Mr Lloyd said there was no evidence to suggest the NSW Police were ever notified of the incident, either as a break-and-enter or as an assault.

He also said “despite the paucity of contemporaneous documents it is anticipated that there will be evidence that senior people at Knox knew about the allegations of abuse” at the time.

Man wearing a balaclava and Knox tracksuit allegedly abused boys at Knox. Picture: Troy S

Man wearing a balaclava and Knox tracksuit allegedly abused boys at Knox. Picture: Troy Snook Source: News Corp Australia

LIVES RUINED

A former teacher at Knox Grammar broke down as he laid the blame for his son’s ill health and early death squarely on the school he once respected.

John Rentoul, whose son David died aged 44 after a series of illnesses, said he only found out in 2009 that his son had been abused by teacher Barrie Stewart.

Dr Rentoul only found out about the abuse when David, who was at the school in the late 1970s, was giving evidence against Stewart.

“I was shocked and outraged when David told us of the abuse,” said Dr Rentoul, who taught at the school from 1969 to 1980. He became emotional as he told how his son revealed he felt terribly ashamed and guilty because Stewart was a family friend and this led him to hide the abuse for 30 years.

Former Knox teacher Barrie Stewart at the Hornsby local court.

Former Knox teacher Barrie Stewart at the Hornsby local court. Source: News Limited

“I absolutely believe that the extreme stress, guilt and shame David suffered as a result of the abuse directly lead to his health issues and also resulted in his marital problems.” He said his son’s immune system was compromised by prolonged and sustained periods of post traumatic stress and he could not fight a lung infection which led to organ failure.

Dr Rentoul said the family had welcomed Stewart as an excellent teacher and arranged for him to give David piano lessons.

He said they believed the commission should ensure that “institutions such as Knox be held accountable for failing to protect its students against sexual predators”.

Dr Rentoul also said “private schools are more susceptible to instances of sexual abuse because of more opportunities for the development of close relationships between teachers and students during extra-curricular activities, and because of the prevalence of boarding establishments”.

Another mother also told of the impacts of the abuse on her son, who has been given the pseudonym ATS. Her son started at the school in 2002 when he was 10 years old.

She said her son was very happy for the first term but then changed — he became quiet and withdrawn. He refused to talk to his parents, became angry and hostile and self-harmed before being hospitalised after a serious suicide attempt.

When he was 14, her son told a psychiatrist that he had been abused by former teacher Craig Treloar, who used to invite boys to his room and offer them ginger beer. Her son would later say things to her like “’Treloar tried it on lots and lots of times, but only got it once’”.

Counsel Assist David Lloyd at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child

Counsel Assist David Lloyd at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse public hearing into Knox Grammar School. Photo Jeremy Piper/ Oculi Source: News Corp Australia

She said she took this to mean that Treloar was constantly sexually harassing her son.

When ATS was 16 he was offered a professional rugby contract with Gordon Rugby Club, but he could not go through with it.

ATS, now 22, lives in Canada — he cannot bear to live in Sydney, she said.

“Words can’t express the enormity of the daily pain experienced by ATS or myself and his family,” she said. The strain led to her marriage breakdown.

She said the experience had been horrific, terrifying and heart-wrenching.

“As a mother I have hopes and dreams for my children. My dreams for ATS were stripped down to mere survival.”

Another witness who used the pseudonym ARY said students could not talk about the abuse because if they did they were seen as weak and considered as everyone’s “bitch”.

He said that during his time at the school he observed systemic bullying by teachers and by students of other students.

He blamed the culture at the school on the headmaster for 30 years Ian Paterson.

“Paterson and his rule dragged the school through a dark age that it should never had had, particularly as a Christian institution,” he said.

HEADMASTER NICKNAMED ‘SNAKE’

The inquiry heard that the autocratic style of a headmaster nicknamed “Snake” at Knox made it possible for teachers to take advantage of and prey on students.

A man using the pseudonym ARY said the governance style of Ian Paterson, headmaster at Knox for 30 years, made students fearful of reporting sex abuse by teachers.

ARY boarded at the school from Year 7 in 1974 and was there for four years. He was indecently assaulted by science teacher Roger James when he was 14. James was convicted and given a suspended sentence.

ARY and other former students told the sex abuse royal commission on Monday there was a culture of cover-up at the prestigious Wahroonga school.

Witnesses also accused the school of engendering a culture of homophobia with one saying he felt the school tried to force him out because he was gay.

ARY said James was a popular teacher, who was considered eccentric, smoked cigars in his office and the playground and was known to have alcohol in his office. He befriended ARY and stayed with his family, assaulting him during one stay.

ARY said he could not tell his parents who were paying for his expensive education. He also feared a backlash at school.

“In the boarding school if you were accused of a homosexual act you would never live it down,” he said.

 Knox Grammar School students leaving the school at Wahroonga in Sydney.

Knox Grammar School students at Wahroonga in Sydney. Source: News Corp Australia

ARY said because of the Knox experience he was severely and incurably homophobic, even though he knew it was illogical.

He said Dr Paterson’s “autocratic style of governance” contributed to the “Knox culture which conditioned students to be fearful of reporting inappropriate conduct, and to be accepting of such behaviour by teachers.” It also allowed “teachers to take advantage of, and prey upon, students,” he said.

It was widely known by students that James, music teacher Barrie Stewart and Adrian Nesbitt — three of five teachers who pleaded guilty to indecent acts — were “overly hands-on with boys,” he said.

“I cannot believe that Paterson and other long term staff had no idea that sexual abuse was happening at Knox.” But the culture stopped teachers from speaking up.

“Everyone was expected to keep up the reputation of Knox,” he said.

Former assistant headmaster John Rentoul became upset as he told how his son David revealed he was molested by Stewart in the late 1970s.

“I believe the school was more interested in protecting the reputation of Knox than ensuring the safety and welfare of its students,” Dr Rentoul said.

A former student using the pseudonym ATQ said when he told another teacher that Knox was a “paedophile ring” he was told, “you can’t say that”. ATQ was 16 when he was groomed and abused by a housemaster.

Justice Coate and Commissioner Atkinson at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Respon

Justice Coate and Commissioner Atkinson at the Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Picture: Jeremy Piper/ Oculi Source: News Corp Australia

Matthew O’Neal, who was abused by music teacher Barrie Stewart, said he was surprised to discover the teacher was still employed there 15 years later.

In a statement read to a royal commission hearing, Mr O’Neal, said when his brother started at the school in 1990, Stewart was still there.

“A gay paedophile in a boys school is like a kid in a candy shop. He should never have been working there,” Mr O’Neal said.

He said he went to the school when his younger brother was starting and he recalled a comment Stewart made to his mother. “I recall Stewart saying ‘Matthew is better looking than (his brother)’,” he said.

Mr O’Neal said he was relieved because it made him think at least he would not be interested in abusing his brother. He said Knox had done absolutely nothing to help him.

“They have not offered counselling, support, compensation, nothing”.

The commission heard that despite several internal inquiries there was no evidence Dr Paterson contacted the police.

Dr Paterson, headmaster at Knox from 1969 to 1998 will give evidence, probably next week.

Geoffrey Watson SC, representing Knox Grammar School, said the school humbly and sincerely apologised for its failings.

“It apologises to all of those students who were damaged by these events. It apologises to the parents of those students and the other members of their families,” he said.

CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS

Counsel for the commission David Lloyd said Knox, which was established in 1924 by the Presbyterian Church, had five boarding houses supervised by resident masters in the 1980s.

During that time there didn’t appear to be any formal process for employing someone who wanted to be a resident master.

“The evidence will disclose that at least one of the resident masters employed in around 1986, a Mr Chris Fotis, had criminal convictions for more than one offence at the time he was employed,” he said. The nature of the offence has no yet been disclosed. Mr Fotis was due to give evidence later in the hearing.

Former teacher, Craig Treloar, who admitted showing pornography to students in the 1980s continued teaching there until he was arrested for sex abuse more than 20 years later.

Mr Treloar thought he’d be sacked but was instead allowed to pick the timing of his six-month suspension. After returning from his suspension at the start of 1989, Treloar remained at the school until his arrest for child abuse in 2009.

He was sentenced to a minimum two years jail in 2010 for abusing boys at the school, but has also denied forcing his victims into sexual acts.

On Wednesday, he told the royal commission that, after admitting to showing porn to students in 1987, he was suspended from teaching for six months.

Treloar asked headmaster Ian Paterson if his suspension could be delayed — a request Treloar said was brought to the school council, which allowed him to start at the beginning of 1988 and to take off the last six months of the year.

The commission has heard Treloar admitted showing boys heterosexual porn, but evidence he also showed them videos depicting bestiality and paedophilia went undiscovered because the school held no investigation.

Five teachers pleaded guilty to indecent acts. Picture: Troy Snook

Five teachers pleaded guilty to indecent acts. Picture: Troy Snook Source: News Corp Australia

During his appearance at the commission, Treloar described his criminal charges of indecent assault as “letting boys touch me”.

“Do you have any self-awareness of how offensive it is to say that the boys wanted to touch you and you let them?” asked Peter Skinner, counsel representing three victims of sexual abuse. “You forced them to touch you. That’s the truth, isn’t it?” he continued.

“No, I didn’t force them to touch me,” Treloar replied.

Treloar, a Knox old boy who left in 1977 before returning to teach in 1982, told the commission he wasn’t asked for references when he applied to work as a resident master at a boarding home for year seven boys.

The former head of the Knox Preparatory School, Michael Jenkinson, told the commission Treloar’s status as an old boy was valued when he was interviewed for the boarding house job.

After he became aware of the porn, he and Dr Paterson concluded Treloar was immature.

“The only explanation we could give is that he’s just being a show off, of the level of his immaturity,” Mr Jenkinson said. After returning from his six-month suspension, Treloar was removed from the boarding house.

FILES DISAPPEARED

The inquiry heard that the files of students who made complaints of sexual abuse against teachers had disappeared.

David Lloyd, counsel assisting the commission, told the hearing Ian Paterson, who was headmaster between 1969 and 1998, will give evidence he kept documents recording the allegations — and the school’s response — in a black folder in his office.

But when the folder was inspected by Mr Paterson’s successor it became apparent a “number of files of students who made complaints of abuse have gone missing, without apparent explanation”.

Mr Lloyd said the commission will consider whether the documents were “deliberately destroyed in order to eliminate evidence which might adversely affect the school”.

The inquiry would also hear detailed reports were prepared after serious allegations were made against staffer Adrian Nisbett. Nisbett pleaded guilty to assaulting three boys in 1976 and 1986 and received a suspended sentence in 2010.

A duty manager at the school, Stuart Pearson, conducted an extensive investigation and found Nisbett had targeted “post-pubescent boys between 13 and 15 who excelled athletically as opposed to academically”. He recommended Nisbett be removed but there was no record of a response to his report.

Mr Nisbett was given a position as assistant to the headmaster, which he held until 1999, during which time he had access to student files.

He was then appointed to the role of Director of Students and aspects of the role included him providing pastoral care to pupils. There were further complaints and in 2003 Knox appointed an investigator, who carried out inquiries under the supervision of the Ombudsman.

The school accepted the investigator’s findings and informed the Commissioner for Children and Young People.

No mention was made of the NSW Police and the Ombudsman’s office did not pursue Knox, Mr Lloyd told the hearing.

Damien Vance, another teacher, was later given a glowing reference.

Vance was asked to leave Knox in 1989 because the parents of a boy he abused were coming to the school. When he left, Dr Paterson gave Vance a letter of service which he used to get a job in a school in Victoria. He continued to teach until a court ordered him to stay away from all schools two decades later.

Damian Vance, former Knox Grammar teacher who was convicted of inciting an act of indecen

Damian Vance, former Knox Grammar teacher who was convicted of inciting an act of indecency. Picture: Bradley Hunter Source: News Corp Australia

When the hearing was announced current headmaster John Weeks wrote to old boys saying the sex abuse incidents had been widely publicised in 2009 and Knox had “always accepted its responsibility in this matter”.

Mr Weeks also said Knox has a most comprehensive child protection policy covering staff selection and training, student awareness and support structures.


26/02/15

Knox Grammar teacher suspected of hiding under boy’s bed with balaclava, sexually assaulting him

A former teacher at the prestigious Knox Grammar School in Sydney was suspected of wearing a balaclava as he hid under a boy’s bed and inappropriately touched him, the royal commission into child sexual abuse has heard.

The commission heard details of the alleged assault, which was said to have occurred in the late 1980s, from Dr Timothy Hawkes, who was a former Knox Grammar boarding house master and is now the current headmaster at Kings School at Parramatta.

Dr Hawkes said he was alerted to what became known as the “balaclava man” incident when he responded to what was believed to be an intruder about 5:00am.

“This was just a bizarre, extraordinary and extremely worrying and even frightening event,” Dr Hawkes told the hearing.

The teenager, known as ARN, had allegedly been assaulted as he slept.

“[ARN] told me that a man in a balaclava had run his hand on the inside of his leg and up towards his genitals,” Dr Hawkes said.

“He had woken with a start, a shout, and that the man had run off.”

Dr Hawkes said he believed the boy when he was told about the incident and immediately alerted the headmaster, Doctor Ian Paterson.

“We needed action to be taken because we had somebody running around the school with or without a balaclava, sexually interfering with boys,” Dr Hawkes said.

Dr Hawkes told the hearing he did not report the matter to the police because the school hierarchy meant that it would have become the responsibility of the headmaster or his assistant, who was a recently retired police officer.

“I didn’t believe it was my place to do that,” Dr Hawkes said.

“I had every confidence that the matter would be dealt with by a very experienced headmaster.

“There was absolutely no question in my mind that I fully expected the police to be notified because it was a serious offence. And I was desperate to make sure that this person was caught because I did not want that happening again to any of my boys.”

Dr Hawkes reacted angrily to a question from counsel assisting that suggested his priority was to protect the school’s reputation.

“I would totally reject that comment and find it offensive,” Dr Hawkes said.

“I had particularly no motivation to have, to in a sense, protect the school. That would never cross my mind and to suggest so I find utterly offensive.”

In the months after the assault, Dr Hawkes said some students suspected two of his colleagues.

“There was increased speculation that the intruder may well have been somebody inside,” Dr Hawkes said.

“There were two that were talked about in equal degrees of likelihood and those were Mr Fotis and Mr Vance.”

A warrant was issued for the arrest of former Knox Grammar teacher Christopher Fotis, who failed to appear at the hearing on Tuesday.

In his opening statement, Counsel Assisting David Lloyd revealed Damien Vance was later convicted of one count of category four sexual assault and released on a good behaviour bond.

Mr Lloyd said on Monday that “although the person’s face was concealed by a balaclava, a number of the boys in the dormitory believed that the offender was Christopher Fotis, one of the resident masters in MacNeil House at the time”.

“The basis of that belief was that the offender had the same build as Mr Fotis and Mr Fotis had, before lights out on the evening before the assault, said to ARN that he had a surprise in store for him that night,” Mr Lloyd said.

Mr Fotis later resigned from the school “after being arrested for masturbating in his car while parked outside a school”, Mr Lloyd said on Monday.

The hearing before Justice Jennifer Coate and Commissioner Bob Atkinson continues.

The inquiry in Sydney continues.

If you reckon this is not happening with Aussie MP’s slap yourself hard.


MPs’ salary of £67,000 is not enough for the standard of living I’m ENTITLED to, says Tory Sir Malcolm Rifkind as he defends his second jobs after ‘cash for access’ sting

  • Jack Straw and Sir Malcolm Rifkind were filmed by undercover journalists
  • The pair are both claimed to have been willing to represent a private firm
  • Sir Malcolm said he charged between £5,000 and £8,000 for a half-day 
  • Tory said he had ‘useful access’ to every British ambassador in the world 
  • He claims it is ‘unrealistic’ for backbenchers to accept £60,000 MP’s salary
  • Conservatives have suspended Sir Malcolm and launch investigation  
  • Labour MP Straw told undercover reporters he would expect £5,000 per day
  • Party has suspended him following the ‘disturbing’ allegations 
  • They have referred themselves to MPs’ standards watchdog over claims

A fresh row erupted over MPs’ pay today as a senior Tory caught in a ‘cash for access’ scandal said he sought extra business deals on top of his £67,000 salary to secure the standard of living he is ‘entitled’ to enjoy.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who chairs the Intelligence and Security Select Committee, has been suspended from the Conservative party after bragging that he could see any foreign ambassador in London and has ‘useful access’ to every British ambassador in the world.

But in a series of disastrous media interviews, he claimed today that it was ‘quite unrealistic’ to expect backbench MPs with professional backgrounds to ‘simply accept a salary of £60,000′.

Sir Malcolm and former Labour foreign secretary Jack Straw were secretly filmed discussing how they could use their contacts to benefit a private company and both boasted about charging at least £5,000-a-day. Mr Straw has also been suspended by the Labour party over the ‘disturbing’ allegations.

Tory MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind claimed today that it was 'quite unrealistic' to expect backbench MPs with professional backgrounds to 'simply accept a salary of £60,000'

In the conversation with the undercover reporters Sir Malcolm was filmed discussing that his usual fee was ‘somewhere in the region of £5,000 to £8,000′ for half a day’s work. Last night, he referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

But today he has used TV and radio appearances to defend his outside business interests, likening them to David Cameron acting as both an MP and Prime Minister.

MPs earn £67,060-a-year, but Sir Malcolm claimed this was not enough for someone of his professional background. pounds people so double it here in Oz

I do also want to have the standard of living that my professional background would normally entitle me to have
Sir Malcolm Rifkind

Challenged about why he does not do voluntary work to provide experience of the world outside politics, Sir Malcolm told BBC Two’s Daily Politics: ‘I have two objectives, I have to have that broader hinterland as you so nicely describe it, but I do also want to have the standard of living that my professional background would normally entitle me to have.’

He said that £60,000 ‘sounds a lot of money to anyone earning less than that but the reality is that anyone from a professional or business background earns considerably more than that’.

He said banning MPs from having second jobs would exclude ‘very large numbers of very able people who have a lot to contribute to Parliament’.

He added: ‘You could do not, and their families would not allow them, to accept such a substantial reduction their standing of living.’

Defending his position this morning, Sir Malcolm said there were ‘about 200′ MPs who had business interests and insisted many members of the public did not want ‘full-time politicians’.

He said that ‘many ex-ministers, former chancellors, home secretaries, prime ministers, as well as other people, have served on advisory boards’ and insisted it was ‘entirely proper’.

‘This is something which Parliament has said is acceptable,’ he added.

He told BBC Radio 4: ‘If you are trying to attract people of a business or a professional background to serve in the House of Commons, and if they are not ministers, it is quite unrealistic to believe they will go through their parliamentary career being able to simply accept a salary of £60,000.’

Filmed: Former Conservative Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, pictured, told undercover reporters that he had a usual fee of between £5,000 to £8,000 for a half-day's work for representing private companies

Filmed: Former Conservative Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, pictured, told undercover reporters that he had a usual fee of between £5,000 to £8,000 for a half-day’s work for representing private companies

Sir Malcolm Rifkind describes himself as ‘self-employed’

SIR MALCOLM RIFKIND: FORMER FOREIGN SECRETARY WHO IS NOW CHAIR OF SECURITY COMMITTEE

Sir Malcolm Rifkind was Foreign Secretary from 1995-97

Sir Malcolm Rifkind was Foreign Secretary from 1995-97

Sir Malcolm Rifkind earns £67,000 a year as the Conservative MP for Kensington and is Chair of the highly influential Intelligence and Security Select Committee.

The 67-year-old Scottish QC has held four cabinet positions under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, including Defence Secretary and Foreign Secretary.

Sir Malcolm declares five jobs outside parliament, which have earned him over £800,000 in the last five years.

He was first elected as an MP for Edinburgh Pentlands in 1974 and represented the constituency until 1997, when he lost the seat.

During the Thatcher and Major Governments, he served in a succession of ministerial posts.

Sir Malcolm was a junior minister in the Foreign Office from 1983 to 86, then the Scotish Office from 1986 to 1990.

From 1990 to 1992, he was Transport Secretary, then Defence Secretary between 1992 and 1995, and Foreign Secretary from 1995 to 1997.

Sir Malcolm was made Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on his return to Parliament in 2005, when he was elected MP for Kensington and Chelsea.

Since the 2010 election, he has been a member of the National Security Strategy and Intelligence and Security committees, chairing the latter.

He was also a chairman of the Commons Standards and Privileges committee in 2009-10.

Mr Straw, one of Labour’s most senior figures, claimed he was ‘mortified’ after footage emerged of him inviting two undercover reporters to a meeting in his Parliamentary office where he claimed to work ‘under the radar’ for private companies.

The Blackburn MP told how he had used his influence to change EU rules on behalf of a private company he already works for and declares an interest in.

He also claimed to have used ‘charm and menace’ to persuade the Ukrainian prime minister to change laws on behalf of the commodity firm, which pays him £60,000 a year.

Mr Straw, 68, said he would not take on the role while he remained an MP, but could be more helpful if he were to become a peer in the House of Lords after the election.

He was suspended from the Labour Party last night over what the party described as ‘disturbing allegations’ after he referred himself to the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

Mr Straw told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘I’m mortified by the fact that I fell into this trap set by a very skilful journalist from Channel 4 and it was a very skilful trap but I fell into it.

‘And, inevitably, if you have what you think is a private conversation where you trust the person, or people, you are talking to, you use language not that’s necessarily wrong but could be taken out of context.’

Mr Straw insisted he had been ‘absolutely scrupulous’ in observing all the rules, including on outside interests but admitted he should have put the conversation off until after he had left the Commons.

‘It would have saved a fantastic amount of time and trouble,’ he told Radio 4. His plan for a ‘valedictory’ final few weeks as an MP would now be mired by the allegations.

The revelations are especially embarrassing because in 2010 Mr Straw condemned former Labour Cabinet ministers Geoff Hoon, Patricia Hewitt and Stephen Byers after they were caught in a similar sting.

He claimed the trio had brought the Labour party and Parliament into disrepute ‘because it appears that former Cabinet ministers are more interested in making money than in properly representing their constituents’.

He added: ‘That’s why there is such anger in the parliamentary party as well I may say incredulity about their stupidity in allowing themselves to be suckered in a sting like this.’

Today Mr Straw said he had used ‘rather too strident terms’ to criticise his colleagues.

Mr Straw said he had had ‘five or six approaches’ over the last 18 months about what he would like to do when he has finished.

‘Yes, I’m interested in earning money but above all what I’m interested in is doing things which would engage my brain and use whatever skills and knowledge that I’ve got.’ He said all but one had ‘gone nowhere’.

Sir Malcolm is the chairman of the highly-influential Intelligence and Security Select Committee

Jack Straw is one of Labour's most influential MPs

Senior: Sir Malcolm is the chairman of the highly-influential Intelligence and Security Select Committee while Jack Straw, both pictured today, remains one of Labour’s most influential MPs

JACK STRAW: LABOUR LYNCHPIN WAS ONE OF UK’S LONGEST SERVING FOREIGN SECRETARIES

Former foreign secretary Jack Straw served in the Labour Cabinet from 1997 to 2010 under the governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

The 68-year-old Labour MP for Blackburn was brought up on an Essex council estate by his single mother and later went on to read law at the University of Leeds.

Straw is one of only three people to have served continuously in Cabinet under the Labour government from 1997 to 2010.

He served as Home Secretary from 1997 to 2001 and Foreign Secretary from 2001 to 2006 under Tony Blair.

Under Brown’s premiership, he served as Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice between 2007 and 2010.

Following the party’s loss of power in May 2010, he served as Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and Shadow Justice Secretary,

Mr Straw – a qualified barrister – is to stand down as an MP but has been tipped to go to the Lords later this year.

He declares two advisory roles, one of which earns him £60,000 a year working for a British global commodities trader.

Mr Straw is standing down as an MP in May, but has been tipped to get a place in the Lords.

He told the undercover reporters: ‘I could end up in the House of Lords, so you’re aware – you may have seen that…speculation in the paper at the moment – no one has said anything to me officially.

‘But the rules there are different and plenty of people have commercial interests there.’

He also told the reporters he had helped the commodity firm when EU sugar regulations were hampering its ability to do business. He said: ‘I got in to see the relevant director general and his officials in Brussels and we got the sugar regulations changed.’

After watching the footage, Sir Alistair told Dispatches/the Telegraph: ‘It is worrying that he is using public facilities to try and negotiate contracts for when he’s left Parliament.’

Former prime minister Tony Blair came to the defence of Mr Straw, who served as home secretary, foreign secretary and leader of the Commons in his administrations.

Mr Blair said: ‘I have known Jack for over 30 years. He is a byword for being a hard-working constituency MP and parliamentarian.

‘I can think of no-one who has more dedicated himself to public service.

‘I am really sorry he has been caught up in a sting operation about a job offer after he retires from Parliament.

‘It is typical of Jack that as soon as he was alerted of the sting against him he immediately contacted the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards and asked her to investigate the case. I hope that the Commissioner will clear his name as soon as possible.’

Speaking at an event in south London, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the cash-for-access claims felt like ‘Groundhog Day – this keeps coming round’.

He said that ‘whether there is individual wrongdoing or not, the cumulative effect is to deepen public scepticism about how politics operates and that’s a great shame for anyone who believes in the quality of our democracy.

‘My own view is all political parties would be well advised to immediately after the next general election get together and have a look on a cross-party basis whether the rules need to be changed.’

Kensington MP Sir Malcolm had also claimed he could write to a minister on behalf of the company without saying exactly whom he was representing.

Despite being paid £67,000-a-year for his work as an MP, he described himself as ‘self-employed’ and claimed ‘nobody pays me a salary’.

The joint investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches and The Daily Telegraph comes five years after a similar sting by the TV programme, which led to former defence secretary Geoff Hoon being banned from Parliament for five years and former transport minister Stephen Byers banned for two years.

The undercover reporters contacted 12 MPs who already had significant outside interests to invite them to apply for work with a communications agency based in Hong Kong backed by a fictitious Chinese businessman.

Sting: Labour MP Jack Straw, pictured,  was filmed by undercover reporters in his House of Commons office where he believed he was meeting a Chinese business, and said he charged £5,000-a-day for his work

Sting: Labour MP Jack Straw, pictured,  was filmed by undercover reporters in his House of Commons office where he believed he was meeting a Chinese business, and said he charged £5,000-a-day for his work

Jack Straw secretly filmed in cash for access scandal

Former prime minister Tony Blair came to the defence of Mr Straw, who served as home secretary, foreign secretary and leader of the Commons in his administrations 

They were told the firm had plenty of money and wanted to hire influential British politicians to join its advisory board and get a foothold in the UK and Europe. Six of the MPs responded, including Sir Malcolm and Mr Straw.

Sir Malcolm, 68, who also declares five other jobs outside Parliament that have earned him more than £800,000 in the last five years, talked to the undercover reporters about his ability to obtain information from ministers about Government policy.

He said: ‘If it’s a matter of Government policy then there’s two aspects to Government policy. That which they have announced and which is public knowledge and is something you can find it in various ways of…’

I’m mortified by the fact that I fell into this trap set by a very skilful journalist
Jack Straw

The undercover reporter said: ‘Of Google? Yeah.’ Sir Malcolm replied: ‘Or in my own case I could write to a minister… I wouldn’t name who was asking.’

After seeing the footage, Sir Alistair Graham, a former chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, told the investigation if Sir Malcolm did write to a minister in the way he described it ‘would be a clear breach of the code of conduct’.

He added that it was ‘an example of an experienced Member of Parliament using their privileged position as a public servant in trying to get access to information which would benefit individuals and this company in a way that I think the public would find totally unacceptable’.

Last night Sir Malcolm told the programme makers: ‘I have never undertaken nor would undertake any lobbying as an MP on behalf of any private organisation for which I was receiving remuneration.

‘You suggest I showed myself as ‘willing to act as an MP for hire’. That is untrue…There was no suggestion I was being approached as an MP…Their approach to me was because of my previous experience as a minister.’

Mr Straw said: ‘I made clear from the outset I was not available for any work until after I stood down as an MP. Due to my other parliamentary commitments and to save time for further such work I met the individuals in my parliamentary office.

‘We had a general discussion about work I have done on a consultancy basis for another company. I am confident that I behaved, as I have always done, with integrity and that I did not breach any parliamentary rules in substance or in spirit.’

The investigation comes two decades after the first ‘cash for access’ scandal in 1994 when a lobbyist was accused of paying Tory MPs Neil Hamilton and Tim Smith to ask questions in Parliament on behalf of Mohamed Al Fayed.

It will be screened tonight at 8pm on Channel 4.

Rifkind: “I offered Channel 4 opportunity to answer allegations”

BLASTED FOR BEING ‘STUPID': JACK STRAW CRITICISED MPS CAUGHT UP IN PREVIOUS ‘CASH FOR ACCESS’ SCANDAL FIVE YEARS AGO

Today’s ‘cash for access’ scandal is the latest in a long line of rows about secondary income for MPs.

In 2010 three former Labour ministers were caught touting themselves to lobbying firms.

Former transport secretary Stephen Byers, right, described himself as a ‘taxi for hire’, requesting £5,000 a day and boasting how he had secured secret deals with ministers over a rail franchise contract and food labelling for private firms.

Ex-defence secretary Geoff Hoon was told to apologise after saying he wanted to turn his government contacts into ‘something that, bluntly, makes money’

Ex-sports minister Richard Caborn was ordered to say sorry after he spoke of a rate of £2,500 plus expenses.

All three were banned from parliament for between six months and five years.

The Standards and Privileges Committee cleared ex-health secretary Patricia Hewitt of breaking the code but said she was ‘unwise’ to agree to meet people she thought were lobbyists.

None were prosecuted because no laws were broken.

At the time Jack Straw, caught up in a similar scandal today, accused them of being ‘stupid’.

He said at the time that ‘prima facie (it) does indeed bring the Parliamentary Labour Party, as well as Parliament, into disrepute, because it appears that former cabinet ministers are more interested in making money than in properly representing their constituents.

‘And that’s why there is such anger in the parliamentary party, as well as – I may say – incredulity about their stupidity in allowing themselves to be suckered in a sting like this.’


 

The Job Seeker Con- Everyone is having a dip -114 attendees in a room for 15, free Government Dollars


Plenty to come with this huge scam, no wonder private training “Colleges” and the like are popping up like flies to a pile of shit.

Money for nothing, scrounge as much money as you can from the hopeless jobseekers and the desperate with pathetic unneeded useless courses unsuitable for their needs, and signing them to huge debt,  all for the gov kickbacks.

Falsifying applications, interviews, outcomes for more gov bonuses. What is yet to come, is the people behind some of these companies are retired or ex Federal and State MP’s who were smart (silly) enough to jump on the band wagon! These payments amount to billions over the time, and most in need get nothing out of it, nor have their circumstances improved.

The bloody rich get richer and the poor stay poor. Some involved with ICAC are yet to be exposed on gov contracts to house these gov job seeker services. Wrapping up long over paid leases.

23rd February 2015

Unemployment in Australia is at its highest in 12 years. The Government’s solution is an innovative billion-dollar scheme called Jobs Services Australia. But the initiative is failing.

Now, a Four Corners investigation shows how the scheme is being manipulated and, at times, systematically exploited. Reporter Linton Besser reveals the corruption at the heart of the program aimed at helping some of this country’s most vulnerable people.

He travels to suburbs where unemployment is a way of life. He meets Kym, struggling to find work and pull her daughter out of a cycle of poverty.

There to help are private and not-for-profit job agencies, paid by the Government to help find work for Kym and others like her. These agencies have blossomed thanks to the privatisation of the Commonwealth Employment Service in 1998, and are thriving on contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Unemployment is now big business in Australia. Each year the Government spends about $1.3 billion on its welfare to work scheme.

But what happens when there are simply not enough jobs to go around?

What Four Corners discovers is a system open to abuse where the unemployed have become a commodity. Some agencies bend the rules, others break them.

“I would say about 80 percent of claims that come through have some sort of manipulation on them.” – Agency whistleblower

Four Corners goes inside the industry, finding shocking evidence of fraud, manipulation, falsified paperwork, and the recycling of the unemployed through temporary jobs.

Hours are bumped up, wages are inflated, and in many cases, vital evidence to support claims from the taxpayer appears to have been falsified. One former jobseeker tells Four Corners her paperwork appears to have been completely forged.

In recent years Government checks have forced some companies to pay back millions of dollars, but few are sanctioned. Former job agency employees say crucial internal records are adjusted in preparation for government audits.

“That, I guess, caused alarm bells for me… Claims that have been claimed, signatures that weren’t on them, and we were sort of told, you know, if the signature’s not on it, get it any way that you can.” – Former job agency employee

As the nation grapples with rising unemployment, Four Corners raises uncomfortable questions about the charities and profit-takers making a buck from Australia’s jobless.

“THE JOBS GAME”, reported by Linton Besser and presented by Kerry O’Brien, goes to air on Monday 23rd February at 8.30pm on ABC. The program is replayed on Tuesday 24th February at 10.00am and Wednesday at midnight. It can also be seen on ABC News 24 on Saturday at 8.00pm, ABC iview


Government recovers over $41 million worth of false claims after ‘rorting’ of Job Services Australia scheme

23/02/15

The Federal Government has clawed back more than $41 million worth of false claims by private employment agencies in just the past three years.

The agencies are contracted by the Government under a privatised welfare-to-work program called Job Services Australia, a sprawling $1.3 billion-a-year scheme designed to get the unemployed into work.

A Four Corners investigation has found rorting of the scheme is rampant. Forgery, manipulation of records and the lodgement of inflated claims for fees are widespread.

One former agency employee said he had seen “thousands” of jobseeker records doctored by his agency to support suspect claims against the taxpayer.

Hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, have been recouped at times by the department.

Rupert Taylor-Price

The managing director of a private employment agency told Four Corners: “There are incentives to be involved in sharp practices from a financial and performance perspective.”

“We had to do the same thing [because] everyone was doing it,” the source said.

“The Government does not want to expose the whole industry.”

Three years ago a top-level inquiry into just one type of fee found spectacular rates of failure, forcing cancellation of that particular fee and prompting industry-wide ructions.

Ominously, the inquiry noted that just 40 per cent of the claims it examined could be confirmed by documentary evidence, or by the testimony of jobseekers and their employers.

The Abbott administration has made some changes to the scheme that take effect mid-way through this year.

But critics say these changes will do little, if anything, to stop widespread gaming of the contract.

Only one in 10 enjoy ‘a better chance of gaining employment’

The ABC has learned that fraud investigators attached to the Department of Employment have launched probes into many of the major agencies contracted to the program since its inception in 1998.

For-profit companies, including the market leader, Max Employment, have been investigated for particular allegations, as well as well-loved Australian charities including the Salvation Army.

There are a variety of means by which the contract is exploited.

The ABC is not suggesting that any particular agency is engaged in the full range of rorts, or other means by which the contract can be optimised.

But despite a long parade of whistleblowers detailing allegations of the misappropriation of taxpayer funds by some agencies, and highly questionable practices by others, the government has declined to detail instances where it has ever sanctioned any single agency operating under the scheme.

But what the department does is only reclaim those from the failures it finds. So even if you are going to put in claims that have a failure rate, you’re still going to have a lot of them not found and keep the money … there’s still an incentive to make the claim.

Rupert Taylor-Price

In one case to be examined on Four Corners, investigators were forced to shelve their inquiries when they discovered a departmental official had explicitly told the agency that it could still collect fees for services the Government knew had never been delivered.

Rupert Taylor-Price, whose software company analyses government data generated by the program, says the scheme is being routinely “optimised” to the detriment of jobseekers.

“Hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions of dollars, have been recouped at times by the department,” Mr Taylor-Price said.

“But what the department does is only reclaim those from the failures it finds.

“So even if you are going to put in claims that have a failure rate, you’re still going to have a lot of them not found and keep the money … there’s still an incentive to make the claim.”

He says he believes only one in 10 participants in the program enjoy “a better chance of gaining employment”.

The program was created 17 years ago, when the Howard government effectively privatised the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES).

The new policy created a pseudo-marketplace of jobseekers who were forced under Centrelink’s rules to attend private agencies, which would be paid to find them work.

Since then, more than $18 billion has been spent on the welfare to work program – first labelled Job Network, and now known as Job Services Australia.

It has been a cheaper scheme than the CES, but critics say it has also been far less helpful at assisting long-term unemployed people back into work.

‘You can’t make people search for jobs that aren’t there’

Academics and experts have repeatedly pointed out the glaring paradox at the heart of the program: how can these agencies have any impact on the unemployed when the number of jobless far outstrip the number of job vacancies?

“[The welfare to work program] patently hasn’t worked,” said Professor Bill Mitchell, director of Newcastle University’s Centre of Full Employment and Equity.

“It’s an impossible task … there’s not enough jobs to go around. You can’t make people search for jobs that aren’t there, and that’s the dilemma of the whole system.

“We’ve had a demand-side constraint – not enough jobs – and all this vigorous energy and money being poured into a supply-side initiative as if that’s the problem.”

Periodically, the jobs program has been mired in scandal. A major Productivity Commission inquiry in 2002 made adverse findings about the program, including that the long-term unemployed were being “parked”.

It’s absolutely vulnerable to exploitation.

Former senior departmental investigator

Just three years after Job Network was launched, one prominent job agency was accused of shovelling thousands of people into phoney jobs.

In what has become a pattern, a subsequent inquiry cleared the agency of fraud but demanded the repayment of thousands of dollars.

Insiders have told Four Corners that department managers have been reluctant to tighten up the program’s governing contract to prevent blatant rip-offs.

“It’s absolutely vulnerable to exploitation,” said a former senior departmental investigator.

He said he had significant doubts about the will of successive governments to root out the fraud perpetrated against the contract.

“The department was more interested in getting its money back [than sanctioning agencies] … it’s very politically-driven,” the former investigator said.

The Department of Employment provided figures to Four Corners which showed that millions of dollars are routinely recouped from agencies, as a result of audits, self-identification by agencies and other “program assurance activities”.

In 2011–2012, $8.34 million was recovered.

The figure spiked to $23.81 million the following year after the inquiry into one particular type of fee.

And last year, another $9.12 million was reclaimed.

A department spokesman said typical repayments by agencies amounted to “less than 1 per cent of the amount paid each year”, and said it had “robust systems” to detect inappropriate claims for fees.

He would not answer a series of specific questions about past or current investigations conducted by the department.

“In cases of suspected fraud, matters are referred to agencies such as the Australian Federal Police and Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions,” the spokesman said.

“Since 2006 the Department has made 38 referrals to the appropriate authorities.”

Background Information

RESPONSES TO FOUR CORNERS

Statement by Catholic Care in response to Four Corners

Statement in response – Four Corners Interview Request | 30 January, 2015

Statement by Salvation Army in response to Four Corners | 5 February, 2015

Statement by the Department of Employment in response to Four Corners

Statement from the Assistant Minister for Employment, the Hon Luke Hartsuyker MP in response to Four Corners

RESEARCH

Letter of concern regarding the Job Network | November 1999

Job Services Australia review and evaluation | Department of Employment | 2014

Labour Force Figures, January 2015 | Australian Bureau of Statistics

Management of Services Delivered by Job Services Australia | Australian National Audit Office | 2013/14

ACOSS submission to APESAA | 2012

Rethinking Australia’s Employment Services | Whitlam Institute | UWS | 2011

A review of developments in the Job Network | Research Paper | Paliamentary Library | 24 December, 2007

Centerlink Quarterly Breach Data | Participation and activity test requirements and penalties for workforce age payments | 20 September 2003

Wage Subsidies | Job Access

Parliamentry Debate | Job Network question to Tony Abbott then Minister for Employment Services | 7 December, 1998

MEDIA

Unemployment | Topic Page | ABC News | Regularly Updated

Young Australians are not giving up on work, despite high unemployment | The Guardian | 17 February 2015

REMINDER: Why employment and unemployment are both rising in Australia | Business Insider | 16 February 2015

Social Service Agency Reacts to Welfare Contractor’s Controversy | Voice of OC | 17 June, 2014

Australia Unemployment Rate 1978-2015 | Trading Economics | 12 February, 2015

Job seeker funding still open to fraud, despite fee reforms | Sydney Morning Herald | 22 April, 2013

Federal Agency Finds Workfare Contractor Violated Wage Law | New York Times | 1 September, 2000

RELEVANT LINKS

Job Services Australia | The Australian Government employment services system that supports job seekers and employers.

Jobs Australia | The national peak body for nonprofit organisations that assist unemployed people to get and keep jobs

Max Solutions Training

Gold Coast Titans’ Greg Bird, Dave Taylor, Kalifa Faifai Loa stood down, facing court over allegedly arranging to supply cocaine


I’m sick to death of sport and drugs. How greedy are the players (all 3 codes will be caught up in this for sure) Patting young starry eyes kids on the head, signing autographs whilst on their mobiles trying to score coke and it seems whilst they have cocaine habits.

It is disgusting and ruining sports, who can our kids look up to these days. they are falling like ten pins for gross acts, greedy acts, illegal acts the list goes on. treating women like shit, taking drugs, gambling, getting so drunk they perform all kinds of things…God help sport in Oz.

23/02/15

Representative stars Greg Bird and Dave Taylor are among five Gold Coast Titans players to have been stood down after being implicated in the drugs scandal currently engulfing the club.

Bird, Taylor and winger Kalifa Faifai Loa were stood down on Sunday after they and former Titan Joe Vickery were issued with notices to appear in court for allegedly arranging the supply of cocaine.

It comes two days after it was revealed on Friday that hooker Beau Falloon, Jamie Dowling and the Queensland Reds’ Karmichael Hunt would also face court as part of the same Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) investigation into drug trafficking.

The CCC released a statement confirming four men had been served with notices to appear in court on counts of supplying drugs, one of whom faces seven counts.

Titans chief executive Graham Annesley told reporters on Sunday the players would be forced to front the board and “explain why action should not be taken against them for reputational damage the club has incurred”.

“We expect that that will take a little bit of time because at the moment we have very little information to make that assessment,” Annesley said.

I apologise to everyone associated with the game [and] everyone that’s trying to take this game forward for these setbacks that are holding the game back.

Graham Annesley

“But over the coming days we hope we will have more information and the players will be able to appear before the board.”

Taylor, Bird and Faifai Loa will face court on March 9.

“I’ve run out of words to explain it,” Annesley said.

“Let’s not forget these players haven’t been found guilty of anything … [but] to be constantly dragged through these types of scandals is incredibly damaging to the club.”

The scandal comes two months after Bird was removed as co-captain after a public urination incident in Byron Bay.

Despite a number of controversies hitting the cash-strapped club in recent times, Annesley stressed he would not be abandoning the team.

“This is another bad day for the club, and it’s a bad day for the game,” he added.

“I apologise to everyone associated with the game [and] everyone that’s trying to take this game forward for these setbacks that are holding the game back.”

A CCC statement on Friday said Hunt, Falloon and Dowling, as well as an unidentified 22-year-old woman, would appear in Southport Magistrates Court on March 5.

The NRL’s Integrity Unit will help the Titans decide the fate of any players found guilty.

Titans coach, Neil Henry, says Falloon and Dowling will face further sanctions if they are found guilty in court.

“The Integrity Unit are across this as well. They have a big say in what happens in these situations and that’s fine,” Henry said after the Titans lost a trial game against the Cowboys in Cairns on Saturday night.

“We’ll have to be guided by what they recommend as well and that’s how it has been for every team.”

Still without a major sponsor for the 2015 season, the Titans no longer have a training base after leaving The Southport School as a result of the allegations against Falloon and Dowling.


Gold Coast Titans crisis: Five burning questions surrounding the club as the drug saga unfolds

NRL boss Dave Smith disappointed for the fans

NRL boss Dave Smith disappointed for the fans

CAN the Titans survive the cocaine crisis? Will the five players charged ever play again?

There are a series of key issues Graham Annesley will have to tackle as the drug saga involving five of the Gold Coast’s current players unfolds.

We look at five burning questions hovering over the Titans.

1. What are the futures for the five Titans players charged?

Even with the presumption of innocence in the courts, Titans CEO Graham Annesley has made it clear the five current players facing drug charges are in line for the sack.

Addressing the media on Sunday, Annesley said the club would be conducting “a separate contractual process” and would ask Greg Bird, Dave Taylor, Beau Falloon, Kalifa Faifai Loa and Jamie Dowling to meet with the board and “explain why action should not be taken against them for the reputational damage the club has incurred as a result of the players putting themselves in a position where they have been charged.”

Is Dave Taylor’s NRL career over?

Is Dave Taylor’s NRL career over? Source: News Corp Australia

Annesley made it clear that the Titans are still largely in the dark when it comes to the details of the investigation and how the five players charged fit within it, and as those details become clearer the club’s decision will become easier.

But if the players are indefinitely stood down or sacked they’ll have to rely on an acquittal in court to ever play in the NRL again.

TITANS FACE FOUR-YEAR DRUG BANS

BIRD, TAYLOR CHARGES ‘JUST TIP OF ICEBERG’

ANNESLEY WANTS TITANS TO REVEAL TRUTH

2. Do the Titans have a future?

Unequivocally, yes. If the NRL ever had an excuse to drop the Titans like a hot pie, this is it.

Commercially, the club’s never been a bigger basket case. Sponsors are thin on the ground, and in Bird one of the faces of the Titans has been caught up in an alleged cocaine ring.

Roll that in with below par on-field results and declining crowds over the past three seasons and you’ve got all the hallmarks of a club sliding into oblivion.

The good thing for the fans is the NRL is having none of it.

Dave Smith has used the opportunity over the past few days to give the NRL’s full backing to the Titans and ruled out relocation.

Dave Smith has been resolute in his support for the Titans.

Dave Smith has been resolute in his support for the Titans. Source: News Corp Australia

“The fans deserve a team on the Gold Coast and they will have a team on the Gold Coast,” Smith told Fox Sports News on Monday.

Titans co-owner Darryl Kelly has also reaffirmed his commitment to the club and while his millions are invested, he’s not going to allow the club to fall over.

3. Does the NRL have a drug problem?

Gary Belcher on Gold Coast Titans scandal

Yes and no. The Courier-Mail’s chief sports writer Robert Craddock used the drug charges levelled at the five Titans players to launch into a fascinating opinion piece on why NRL players and other elite sportspeople choose party drugs over booze.

CRADDOCK: WHY PLAYERS CHOOSE DRUGS OVER BOOZE

In it, he quoted a senior Brisbane football coach who Craddock had spoken to years before: “If you were a player why wouldn’t you take them? Unlike beer, you don’t put on weight and fail a pinch test. They are not that expensive.

“They get out of your system quickly. You don’t get a hangover. You don’t get photographed at a venue with a beer in your hand.

“You don’t get drug-tested very often and when you do you get three strikes before you are in big trouble. Whoever gets three strikes?’’

Five current Gold Coast Titans charged

Five current Gold Coast Titans charged

The three strikes policy the unnamed coach was referring to is only applied in the AFL, but as Craddock also points out, NRL Immortal Andrew Johns has admitted to being a serial ecstasy user for 12 years yet he never failed any of his 17 NRL drug tests.

So, in short, yes, the NRL and other codes in Australia most likely do have a drug problem but as NRL boss Dave Smith has pointed out, it’s also a societal problem.

“I don’t think this is specifically to do with sport, I don’t think this is specifically to do with rugby league, I think it’s a cultural, society-wide thing and frankly it turns my stomach.”

 

4. Is the DCE deal dead in the water?

Daly Cherry-Evans seems less likely to go to the Titans after recent events.

Daly Cherry-Evans seems less likely to go to the Titans after recent events. Source: News Corp Australia

It’s probably too early to call it dead but at best this deal is on life support.

One of the strongest components of the Titans’ pitch to Daly Cherry-Evans was the club’s culture and how the star halfback could contribute to it as a leader.

While the Titans have had a good track record for dealing with players who had lost their way in life or been sacked by other clubs, this scandal clearly erodes a lot if not all of that good work.

Cherry-Evans will now be looking at the Titans as a club with a battered reputation and with some massive question marks over the playing roster, with two of their top five players unlikely to play again, at least in the foreseeable future.

A premiership tilt frankly looks five years away, if you want to be a giddy optimist.

On the flip side, Annesley has an opportunity to convince DCE of the benefits of a wide-scale clean-out and the potential to build a team around the star halfback.

But to get the in-demand playmaker over the line, Annesley is now in a position where he will likely have to add some numbers to an already massive deal.

5. Has anyone enhanced their reputation?

It’s been a trying few days for Graham Annesley but he’s conducted himself with distincti

It’s been a trying few days for Graham Annesley but he’s conducted himself with distinction. Source: CourierMail

It’s pretty easy to point out whose reputation has been battered by this whole messy saga, but it also needs to be pointed out that at least two people who have had theirs enhanced.

The first is Annesley. Already a highly rated administrator, Annesley’s honest, forthright and sometimes emotional approach to this situation must be commended.

While many others would be ducking the media, he’s been at the coalface taking the heat and providing everyone with the proper assurances that the fans and the club would come first and the issues that needed to be dealt with would be done so in a professional manner.

Neil Henry, while not quite as visible, has been a tower of strength for his staff and his players and has enhanced his reputation as a leader of men who is prepared to do whatever it takes to get the best out of a bad situation.

Graham Annesley: Hard for the Titans to recover

Graham Annesley: Hard for the Titans to recover

Karmichael Hunt stood down for Queensland Reds’s next game over allegedly arranging supply of cocaine

Updated Fri at 6:48pm

Karmichael Hunt arrives at his home yesterday after the cocaine claims exploded.

Karmichael Hunt arrives at his home yesterday after the cocaine claims exploded.

Queensland Reds star recruit Karmichael Hunt has been stood down after being identified allegedly arranging the supply of cocaine.

The Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) released a statement on Friday morning saying on Thursday a 28-year-old man from Hendra was served with a Notice to Appear in Court to face four counts of supplying a dangerous drug.

Hunt made his Super Rugby debut against the Brumbies in Canberra last Friday and was named to start at full-back for the Reds against the Western Force at Lang Park on Saturday evening.

But according to a Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) statement: “It has been determined by the QRU, ARU (Australian Rugby Union) and the Rugby Union Players’ Association and after discussion with Karmichael that it would be best for his welfare that he is not available for selection this weekend.”

The statement also said the period in question was between September 1 and October 3 last year and that Hunt had not been arrested or charged.

The CCC will allege Hunt is among three men and one woman who arranged for the supply of cocaine for personal use or to on-supply to friends and colleagues.

A 24-year-old man from Burleigh Waters, a 27-year-old man from Mermaid Waters and a 22-year-old woman from Mermaid Waters were identified along with Hunt contacting the syndicate and allegedly arranging for the supply of cocaine.

NRL club the Gold Coast Titans later on Friday stood down Beau Falloon, 27, and Jamie Dowling, 24, pending court appearances for drug offences, set for the Southport Magistrates Court on March 5.

The CCC said it was unable to comment further due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.

The CCC’s investigation focused on a cocaine trafficking syndicate operating in south-east Queensland, which resulted in charges being laid against former Queensland rugby league player Jason Smith.

Smith and Toowoomba restaurateur Jason Wood have been accused of trafficking 280 grams of cocaine, also between June and December last year.

Another former NRL player, Matt Seers, also faces 15 counts of supplying a dangerous drug and one count of trafficking a dangerous drug after being arrested in January as part of a joint investigation between Queensland police, New South Wales police and the CCC.

The Reds cancelled a scheduled media conference involving captain James Slipper this morning but released a joint statement with the ARU outlining they are both making inquiries into the reports about Hunt.

Hunt part of Reds’ leadership group

Hunt was named among the Reds leadership group in January, having been appointed vice-captain only months after joining the squad.

“I’ve considered myself a leader from a young age,” Hunt said last month.

“I have been around great leaders since I was a 17-year-old at the Broncos with (Shane) Webcke, (Gorden) Tallis, (Darren) Lockyer.

“I’ve been a part of the Origin and Test sides, I’ve played alongside some great leaders and obviously my own leadership skills have developed over the years.

“So there’s plenty of experiences I’ve been through and I’ve seen that can help the group and help the younger brigade coming through.”

Hunt made his debut in the NRL with the Brisbane Broncos as a 17-year-old in 2004 and represented Queensland at State of Origin level on 10 occasions before announcing a shock switch to the AFL and the Gold Coast Suns in 2009.

With the Suns entering the national competition in 2011, Hunt played a short stint with French Top 14 rugby union club Biarritz, for whom he appeared in the 2009/10 Heineken Cup Final.

The Suns released a statement on Friday morning.

“The Gold Coast Suns have been made aware of charges laid against Karmichael Hunt through the media reports this morning,” the AFL club said.

“As this matter is now before the court, it would be inappropriate to make any comment.”

After three years in the AFL, Hunt returned to rugby union for what was supposed to be a more long-term commitment prior to the 2015 season.

Paul Wilkinson and his lover, Kylie Labouchardiere exchanged more than 23,000 SMS messages, then he killed her


March 11, 2012

Paul Wilkinson and his lover exchanged more than 23,000 SMS messages in the four months of their affair. He used the last ones to lure her to a meeting where he killed her to save his marriage. Michael Duffy explores one of our strangest murderers.

Kylie Labouchardiere.Kylie Labouchardiere.

THE affair between Paul Wilkinson and Kylie Labouchardiere began in late 2003, not long after he was a patient at Sutherland Hospital, where she was a nurse’s aide.

He was 27 years old, four years older than her, and both were cheating on their spouses.

Wilkinson lured Kylie by pretending to be doing important undercover work in the police force – in fact, he was an Aboriginal community liaison officer.

He had a rich fantasy life and often lied to attract people who were gullible, like Kylie. Owing to a troubled childhood, she had grown up to be someone who, in the words of her sister Leanne, ”just couldn’t hear the alarm bells ringing”.

She had failed to become pregnant with her husband of one year, navy sailor Sean Labouchardiere, and was looking for excitement.

Kylie was able to spend time with Wilkinson because her husband was at sea. Wilkinson got away from his wife, Julie Thurecht, by fabricating death threats to his family and insisting Julie and their infant son stay with her parents, for their own safety.

Paul Wilkinson and Julie Thurecht.
Paul Wilkinson and Julie Thurecht.

Before long he and Kylie were exchanging 184 calls and text messages a day and in early 2004 she was head over heels in love and demanding he leave his wife to be with her. He refused on the grounds that he was devoted to his son.

But on April 13 Kylie learnt she was pregnant and she increased the pressure.

Kylie disappeared on April 28, 2004. When police checked her phone records they discovered 28,836 texts and calls between the pair in the previous four months. They also saw – by looking at the locations of the mobile phone towers she had been near when she sent texts – that on the day she disappeared, she had travelled from her home at Erina to Sutherland railway station, near Wilkinson’s home. His phone records showed he had left home not long after 8.15pm and driven to Sutherland, in time to meet her train.

After that, there was no more phone communication between them and Kylie’s phone was not used again.

It was clear from this text pattern that Wilkinson had almost certainly killed Kylie but police had no other evidence. A crime scene and her body have never been found. Police began to tap Wilkinson’s phone and recorded a series of bizarre texts. These increased after he went into the Police Integrity Commission and announced he had been forced to help Geoff Lowe, a police sergeant, kill Kylie in the Royal National Park. Wilkinson hated Lowe, who had nothing to do with Kylie’s death.

In the end, Wilkinson sent police to five different places in search of Kylie’s body, at a cost of more than $200,000. At times he seemed to be aware police would be monitoring his text messages to friends, taunting them with pieces of false information such as: ”The following [grave location] is HALK co-ordinates 2 a location 26E 29N in the event of death & only death a cousin will ring u with the otha half.”

In 2006, police still didn’t have enough to convict Wilkinson, so an undercover officer tried to befriend him by pretending he was making a film about police corruption and offered to pay for information about where, according to Wilkinson, Lowe had buried Kylie. This produced no results, although Wilkinson did text the officer one day: ”If I may ask a favour, may receive $2000 2day 2 escape on my return … Body location and full story u keep the agreed $15,000. Ill expose all … Im desperate chap 2 get away.”

By this time Julie had divorced Wilkinson but still kept in touch. One day she asked why he wouldn’t tell police where Kylie was buried.

He replied with his most notorious text: ”Everybody has reasons 4 hiding a crime. Mine is the family can live not knowing where and why 4 What they hav don. Call me cruel, call me nasty and YES Id agree, howeva my knowledge ISNT goin 2 b theres. … her family can live their lives in misery 4 all I care F— THEM.”

Finally, Glenn Smith and Rebekkah Craig, the detectives chasing Wilkinson, thought they had enough to charge him. They had evidence that Kylie had believed, when she went to meet Wilkinson in 2004, that they were going away to live in Dubbo.

But the first lawyer who looked at the case at the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said the police case was too weak. One problem was that there was no evidence Wilkinson had really planned to go away with Kylie.

The police were shattered. The decision was due to be reviewed by a more senior lawyer and, on the Sunday before that meeting, Smith went into his office in one last desperate search for evidence. To his surprise, in the evidence locker he found a second mobile phone that had once belonged to Kylie. It had been discovered before he joined the investigation and he had never heard of it. Once he gained access to the phone, he discovered some texts she had received from Wilkinson. A week after Kylie had told him she was pregnant, he had sent her this message: ”2day and Wednesday then it’s DB [Dubbo] u and I are 2getha 4eva.”

It was the text equivalent of a smoking gun. At the meeting, the senior lawyer said to Smith, ”So why haven’t you charged him yet?”

In 2009, Paul Wilkinson was sentenced to a minimum of 24 years in jail for the murder of Kylie Labouchardiere, the sentence longer than it would have been otherwise because he had not said where she was buried.

Those familiar with the case suggest three possible reasons for the silence. One is that Wilkinson wants to feel important; another is that her body would reveal such a terrible death that his sentence would have been even longer. The third theory is that he had an accomplice and the grave might in some way identify that person – or that the accomplice moved the body after Wilkinson was arrested, so now he really doesn’t know where Kylie is. Whatever the reason, Kylie’s family continues to suffer terribly from not knowing.

Call Me Cruel, by Michael Duffy, is published by Allen & Unwin, $29.99.

Court Judgements here

R v Wilkinson (No. 5) [2009] NSWSC 432 (22 May 2009)

R v Wilkinson (No. 4) [2009] NSWSC 323 (21 April 2009)

R v Wilkinson (No. 3) [2009] NSWSC 293 (1 April 2009)

R v Wilkinson (No. 2) [2008] NSWSC 1432 (19 December 2008)

v Wilkinson [2008] NSWSC 1237 (13 October 2008)

 

Live baiting on Four Corners-greyhound racing -Life bans and prosecutions to follow


Many more about to be exposed, it makes me ask this question…

IF they had any honour and respect for their loved ones (people ,not dogs or animals they have proven that) who are about to be shamed, they would step up and say I fucked up! I got caught up whatever. The earlier participants speak up the better they will be received.

Otherwise, this is how it will be, little kids who loved their daddy, uncle, grandpa in photos with winners will grow to be disgusted. The public and punters etc are outraged but these tossers have their very own families and grand kids to answer to. WHY grandpa???????  is being asked all over Australia


 

UPDATE 03/03/15

Queensland greyhound trainers Reg Kay, Tom Noble, Debra Arnold, James Harding and Tony McCabe have all been banned for life for their part in archaic live baiting practices.

The five will never participate in the sport of greyhound racing again after being warned off racetracks and banned from training or owning greyhounds, as well as being banned from placing any wagers on greyhound racing.

Racing Queensland Chairman explained the reasons behind the decision.

“As a board we determined the actions of these individuals proved they should not be considered fit and proper persons to continue to be involved in the greyhound industry,” Mr Dixon said after a Racing Queensland board meeting at Deagon.

“The conduct we saw from these people in the evidence provided to us is not only against the rules of greyhound racing, it is deplorable by its very nature.

“There is no place for anyone who engages in this type of conduct in the industry.”

This conduct came to light after an investigation by the ABC’s Four Corners program, which exposed horrific cruelty in the widespread use of live animals such as piglets, possums and rabbits on mechanical lures as a means of ‘blooding’ greyhounds.

Racing Queensland’s probe into the cases of involving trainers Greg Stella and Michael Chapman is yet to be resolved.


update 20/02/15 Well done WA but is this retrospective?otherwise you will catch nobody going forward. There are thousands of rabbits free that were doomed to die alive a few days ago

WA imposes life ban, $50k fine for greyhound industry live bait offenders

Anyone found to be involved in the practice of live baiting in the greyhound industry will be banned from the sport for life, under tough new rules announced by Racing and Wagering WA.

The industry has been embroiled in a live baiting scandal in the eastern states but there is no clear evidence of the practice in WA.

Racing and Wagering WA said offenders involved in live baiting will face a minimum 10-year disqualification and $50,000 fine, in addition to a life ban from the sport.

Previously the penalty was a 12-month disqualification from the industry.

General manager Denis Borovica said offenders would not be able to participate in greyhound racing in any registered capacity for life.

“We felt that it would more appropriately reflect the zero tolerance we have for offenders by having a penalty provision that prescribes a period of not less than 10 years disqualification and a fine of $50,000 for any person found guilty of an offence involving live game,” he said.

“So effectively what the penalty means is that for 10 years you’re unable to set foot on the racecourse and after that you become a member of the public again, but you’ll only be a member of the public you will not be a participant of the racing industry again.”

The State Government said WA now has the harshest penalties for animal cruelty in the country.

latest 19/02/15

The entire board of Greyhound Racing NSW has been dismissed following revelations of widespread live baiting within the industry, the New South Wales Government says.

The board’s powers have been referred to interim chief executive officer and head of the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, Paul Newson.

NSW Racing Minister Troy Grant said he dismissed the board because his government wanted to restore the integrity of the industry.

“They have agreed with me that the community has lost confidence in the industry, and we now need the clear air in order to reform and reshape the industry,” he said.


NOTICE FROM ROBBO, OWNER AND ADMINISTRATOR OF THIS SITE

To those highlighted (and those pending, you can’t delete every pic online)  in the gallery. Stop trying to threaten me via email etc or any other way you like because NOTHING will be removed. It does not work that way anymore…

The PIG/RABBIT/POSSUM is out of the bag and talking And I keep every instance of contact via communication, email, mobile, social media etc for safe keeping.

ROGUE TRAINERS GALLERY (added to daily)

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QLD

THIS IS trainer deborah arnold
DEBORAH ARNOLD -PRESIDENT of the United Queensland Greyhounds Association and a prominent trainer and breeder, owns kennels at 14 Wotan road, Churchable, Qld

“Um… If they do I don’t know about it and I don’t really want to know about it. Um, but yeah, so this is the…It’s cruel. Yeah. You know, it’s not…No, it’s not the done thing.”

Tom Noble I am ashamed

Tom Noble I am ashamed

TOM NOBLE, TRAINER, owner/operator of a popular break-in centre on Wotan Road, owner/operator of a popular break-in centre on Wotan Road, Churchable

“Yeah, one with no muzzle: that was $100. That was $50 there to kill the pig. They’re $50 each, them c**ts.”

(Footage of RSPCA inspectors at Tom Noble’s training track)

INSPECTOR: So have you ever used pigs? Have you ever been on this property and used pigs in the past?
TOM NOBLE: No, I haven’t.
INSPECTOR: Never?

REG KAY: 3 Greyhound of the Year titles and the “2008 Australian trainer of the year”

TONY MCCABE, TRAINER,

JAMES HARDING, TRAINER

MICHAEL CHAPMAN, TRAINER

GREG STELLA , TRAINER

STEPHEN SHERWELL, TRAINER

GERRI CRISCI, TRAINER

ANTHONY HESS, TRAINER

STEVEN ARNOLD, TRAINER

MICK EMERY, TRAINER

SAMANTHA ROBERTS, TRAINER
NSW

Liar, trainer and live baiter John Thompson

Liar, trainer and live baiter John Thompson

JOHN THOMPSON, TRAINER, Shannon Brook, NSW

“What people have got to realise: it’s like anything you do. You’ve got to come out of the old days into the new days. With the welfare of greyhounds now, your biggest factor is, is that it, it doesn’t happen that easy any more”

 

ZEKE KADIR, TRAINER break-in Centre, Wilshire Park, Londonderry, NSW

ZEKE KADIR, TRAINER break-in Centre, Wilshire Park, Londonderry, NSW

ZEKE KADIR, TRAINER break-in Centre, Wilshire Park, Londonderry, NSW
(The rabbits are tied to a hand-pushed lure controlled by Zeke Kadir, dragged along the ground at speed, pursued by dogs in so-called training.)

trainer Harry Sarkis

trainer Harry Sarkis

HARRY SARKIS, TRAINER, so many questions, read all about the luxury kennels built by TAFE and more read here

http://www.australianracinggreyhound.com/australian-greyhound-racing/new-south-wales-greyhound-racing/harry-sarkis-called-to-icac-over-tafe-fraud-inquiry/21203

(In a further blow to the industry, champion Londonderry trainer Harry Sarkis has been suspended pending an inquiry into vials of banned substances found at his kennels during an inspection.

Sarkis has trained champion dogs for more than 20 years, including Tenthill Doll and Kristy’s Charity, and reportedly paid $800,000 for Brett Lee at the end of its career.)

IAN MORGAN, TRAINER, The trainer was caught removing the possum’s fur and flesh from its mouth. He’s blooding one of his up-and-coming dogs, Cee Cee Quoted.Four days later, we caught Ian Morgan leaving his western Sydney home with Cee Cee Quoted, bound for an afternoon race meet in Newcastle.

JOHN CAUCHI, TRAINER, Box Hill
(footage of Cauchi swinging a live rabbit before a greyhound as it attacks it)

BRUCE CARR,  TRAINER,  has been suspended after GRNSW removed four live rabbits from his property.

JOHN O’BRIENTRAINER has admitted keeping eight live European rabbits in cages on his Congewai property, but denied any involvement in live baiting after  explosive evidence of systemic  cheating uncovered by ABC’s Four Corners program.

Mr O’Brien, a licensed trainer based west of Cessnock, was immediately stood down on Thursday after officers from Greyhound Racing NSW raided his property and found eight live European rabbits.

His property was raided the same week as five registered trainers and operators in western Sydney who were targeted by RSPCA NSW officers over live baiting.

Mr O’Brien stressed he had no intention of live baiting the rabbits,   saying he kept them to use for ‘‘finish-on-lure’’ trials, where a humanely killed rabbit is attached to the arm of the lure as incentive for the greyhound to chase.

‘‘How I do it is I get bush rabbits, wild rabbits, and I break their neck and remove their head and everything else, the intestines and stomach and the dead rabbits go on the lure,’’ he said.

‘‘My only problem was I kept the bunnies alive, a bunny out of the freezer can come out quite wet and cold and if you put it in the microwave then it can fall apart.

‘‘I was silly, but fresh is best, once you put a frozen rabbit on the lure,  the dogs are not that interested, they show more interest if they [rabbits] have just been gutted or have a bit of blood on them.

‘‘They only need it once, the dog at least has to know there is something on the lure.  It is a 100% difference in how they run, something cold on the lure coming out of the fridge is nothing to them.’’

VIC

BOB SMITH, Greyhound Racing Victoria’s (GRV) former integrity and racing operations manager 

the state’s former second in charge of greyhound racing, can be seen in the footage taken at the Tooradin trial track south-east of Melbourne.

Smith has been serving on a GRV steering committee and his involvement casts serious doubt over the regulator’s claims of integrity.

ANDREW MILLS, TRAINER the former deputy chief steward for Greyhound Racing Victoria, now the regulator’s chief racing grader for the entire state

STUART MILLS A SUCCESSFUL TRAINER AND OWNER-OPERATOR OF TOORADIN no more (Large)

STUART MILLS A SUCCESSFUL TRAINER AND OWNER-OPERATOR OF TOORADIN no more (Large)

STUART MILLS, A SUCCESSFUL TRAINER AND OWNER/OPERATOR OF TOORADIN, a GRV-approved and licensed trial track.

“Yeah, look, I think the, the live baiting and, and that has certainly been clamped down on in the last five years, um, and it’s cleaned right up.”
Early the next morning, we paid Stuart Mills a visit.

(To Stuart Mills) Caro Meldrum-Hanna from Four Corners. How are you?
STUART MILLS: Yeah, not bad.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA (to Stuart Mills): We’re just here to ask you a couple of questions.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: A clearly shaken Stuart Mills maintained his denials.
(To Stuart Mills) Have you been live baiting here, Stuart?
STUART MILLS: No.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Why do you think they were here yesterday?
STUART MILLS: You ask them that.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Did you?
STUART MILLS: Yeah.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: And what did they say?

Mills gets told to shut up by someone off screen and walks away

PAUL ANDERTON, TRAINER, and former steward for Greyhound Racing Victoria.

NEVILLE KING, TRAINER, and the president of Cranbourne Racing Club

DENNIS DEAN, TRAINER,

DARREN MCDONALD, PREMIER TRAINER, a Two-time Australian Greyhound Trainer of the Year; more than $4 million in prize money.

(It’s the 18th of November, 2014. Darren McDonald, dressed in a white t-shirt, attends Tooradin, carrying a hessian sack. A tiny, pink piglet is lifted out, tied down, its little legs kicking.As the mechanical lure starts up, McDonald and handler Chris Connelly appear, two greyhounds straining on leads. As they near the camera, muzzles can be made out on each dog.After two laps, the muzzles are removed. The piglet can be heard squealing as it’s mauled to death off-camera. Seventy-two hours later, Darren McDonald and his star dogs are at the annual Greyhound Melbourne Cup, the richest night on the racing calendar.)

Trainer of the Year – Darren McDonald...What he should be saying

Trainer of the Year – Darren McDonald…What he should be saying

Live possums, rabbits, piglets  and other small animals are being used as live lures in training and secret trials. Some of the biggest names in greyhound racing will be shamed tonight on Four Corners. What the governing bodies could not do within their multi billion dollar industry, an animal welfare group could. On a shoestring budget they were able to discover in a few weeks. The dirty secret the hold industry knows about and ignores.Pathetic, sad, and will disgust most Aussies.

It makes a joke of this page they boast

http://www.greyhoundracingthefacts.com/


NSW and Victorian industry awards nights set down for Friday have been postponed, as has an awards night in Queensland.

GRV has resolved to suspend any greyhound trained and/or owned by the 10 persons suspended by the board, on Friday, February 13, in relation to live baiting. The dogs will reportedly not be able to race until investigations into the allegations are completed.

GRV MOVES TO SUSPEND GREYHOUNDS

17/02/2015

On the advice of the Racing Integrity Commissioner, the board of Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) has resolved to suspend any greyhound trained and/or owned by the ten persons suspended by the board, on Friday 13 February, in relation to live baiting. This suspension will continue until the Racing Integrity Commissioner and GRV have concluded their investigations into these serious allegations.

update 17/02/15

Live baiting claims a shock: racing chief Really, 5 years in the job and your shocked, you should be bloody sacked. It is common knowledge if the industry and EVERYONE turned a blind eye for decades

VICTORIA’S racing integrity commissioner believes the illegal practice of live baiting is isolated in the greyhound industry.

SAL Perna says the allegations of live baiting aired in an ABC report were a shock and he was only aware of one instance, which was disproved, in his five years in the job.

MrPerna says the extent of the practice isn’t known. “My guess is that it is isolated but I really don’t know yet,” he told reporters on Tuesday. He says he will investigate the extent of the problem.


The State Government has promised to crack down on the industry, with Racing Minister Martin Pakula labelling the live baiting practice “barbaric, abhorrent and illegal”.

RSPCA chief Dr Liz Walker said she was “stunned” Greyhound Racing Victoria’s stewards did not discover the practice, which was instead exposed by a small team of Animals Australia activists.

More than 70 greyhound trainers have been implicated in the scandal, with at least 20 people suspended from the industry across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

The ABC’s Four Corners program last night aired videos showing small animals squealing as they were flung around training tracks as bait.

The footage showed dogs released to chase a possum as it was flung around a racing track 26 times at high speed until it was left hanging by its spinal cord.

One well-known interstate trainer was recorded excitedly telling others to smash a baby possum’s head in.

Other injured animals were stuffed into small boxes.

Among those implicated has been two-time Australian Greyhound Trainer of the Year Darren McDonald, who was allegedly caught on camera carrying a piglet inside a sack into the Tooradin property where dogs then mauled the animal.

Also shamed was successful Victorian trainer Stuart Mills, the brother of Andrew Mills, who was a former deputy chief steward for Greyhound Racing Victoria and now the regulator’s chief racing grader.

Another former Greyhound Racing Victoria steward, Paul Aderton, who policed the industry in his former role, has also allegedly been caught training his dogs with live bait.

Mr Pakula promised to stamp out the cruel and illegal ­training technique.

On Monday night he announced he would be cancelling Greyhound Racing Victoria’s Industry Award Night, which was due to take place this Friday.


This is from a jurno at http://www.australianracinggreyhound.com overnight

ABC live-baiting investigation draws blood

Written By 9 hours ago

Queensland wrap-up:

  • Prominent greyhound breeder and trainer and president of the United Queensland Greyhound Association Deborah Arnold allowed her 70 greyhound puppies and racing dogs at her property ‘Dessa Downes’ in Churchable to be filmed by Four Corners. “The kennels have to be RSPCA QLD-approved,” said Arnold. “It definitely meets the requirements.” When questioned on the practice of live-baiting, Arnold denied any knowledge of it: “If they do I don’t know about it, and I don’t really want to know about it.”
  • Undercover footage from Animal Liberation Queensland and Animals Australia earlier filmed a training track in Churchable, Queensland, across the road from Arnold’s property. On film, it captures Arnold and her dog Dorak Des chasing a live pig on the lure while Arnold asks “what’s the quickest been today” before being informed her dog is.Arnold is later asked by Four Corners what mantra is at the forefront of greyhound racing in 2015, to which she states, “animal welfare.”
  • Professor of animal behaviour and animal welfare science Paul McGreavy offered his comments on the matter of live-baiting coming from a decade of research into the breed, insisting there are breeds far more dangerous and that greyhounds are simply “chasing to catch, not to kill”. He emphasises the dogs “love racing, they love moving around that speed – they’ll be getting off on this,” and that they “are so sedentary when they’re not exposed to this stimuli.”
  • Animal Liberation Queensland investigator Hailey Cotton reveals the first tip-off regarding live-baiting in Churchable was passed to her: “Their words to me were ‘something really bad is going on there,’ and they said ‘it smells like death’”.
  • Undercover cameras were placed in the property of prominent Queensland trainer Tom Noble, a celebrated, award-winning greyhound trainer with almost 50 years in the game. His break-in centre is the epicenter of greyhound training in Queensland, and the live baiting footage of Deborah Arnold’s dog occurred on his track.
  • More than 40 owners, trainers and handlers are recorded on camera while live baiting occurs on Tom Noble’s property. “These people are leading trainers, they’re training their dogs with these methods,” said Cotton. “They’re then going on to win races using these methods, so the whole integrity of greyhound racing is really brought into question here.”
  • Footage confirms four times a week, piglets and later possums are flung around Noble’s track 26 times at high speed. The piglet is shown squealing with a man on the camera swearing at it, and one or two dogs are let loose to chase, grab and maul the possum while it’s still alive. Some 56 minutes later, the lure stops and the possum is snapped in half, the corpse still attached by its spinal cord, with the men in the footage making light of the situation.
  • Discussion of dumping dead dogs is captured on film, leading the investigation to ask NSW greyhound trainer John Thompson about the issue. Animal Liberation Australia links him as the man in the footage telling others to smash a baby possum’s head in so the live baiting of its mother can begin. “They ripped the baby from the mother, they tied the mother on the lure, and they then stick the baby’s head in the sand to kill it while its mother is watching on, all the time laughing and joking on how amusing it is,” said Hailey Cotton.

Victoria wrap-up:

  • In mid-November 2014, Lyn White of Animals Australia simultaneously led an investigation at the Tooradin Trial Track in Victoria after a tip-off. Considered to be in the heart of greyhound racing territory in the state, the track is run by owner operator Stuart Mills, whose brother is Andrew Mills, former deputy chief steward for Greyhound Racing Victoria and now the regulator’s chief racing grader for the entire state.
  • Lyn White reveals 17 people were captured live baiting the first time undercover footage was recorded. The first trainer identified is former steward of Greyhound Racing Victoria Paul Anderton, who arrives as Stuart Mills attaches a lure on a wooden plank with leather straps, before returning with a live rabbit and stretching it out tightly as he buckles it down flat. The rabbit is shown returning five minutes later, mauled but still alive and twitching in agony. “It tells me this is a practice that has been going for an acceptable level to trainers for years and years,” White said.
  • Anderton’s dogs went on to win three races days after being captured on the footage in Tooradin. President of Cranbourne Racing Club Neville King is also filmed on camera live baiting two days before Christmas at Tooradin.
  • Trainer Dennis Dean and a young girl watch as live rabbits are leashed and thrown to the dogs to kill. CEO of Greyhound Australasia Scott Parker was questioned on his thoughts of live-baiting behaviour during the revelations of the footage and the discovery of children being brought to watch while it occurs: “I think that’s ridiculous and abhorrent. I don’t support that at all. I’m not aware of it, and never heard of it, live baiting is illegal as well as being wrong and against the rules of greyhound racing.”
  • Footage of dogs on the Tooradin track is shown, encouraged to savagely kill several rabbits, which are skinned or tied as they maul them.
  • Former steward at Greyhound Racing Victoria Amanda Hill says there was a problem inside GRV regarding regulators failing to pick up and follow on rumours of live-baiting in the state: “Lack of resources, lack of funds, lack of knowledge, or plainly, they don’t want to accept that it’s a possibility.” She believes some trainers are “doing it to try and get an edge. It’s probably harder to get caught live baiting than what it is to using performance-enhancing drugs.”
  • Hill left GRV in 2004 and became the Chair of Stewards in Greyhound Racing Tasmania, where she was able to do better in stopping live baiting. In 2008, Hill caught a female trainer red-handed live baiting a possum. Possum carcasses were found all over the track, and it remains one of two cases in the past decade where a steward has followed through and successfully convicted a live baiter.
  • Hill identifies two-time Australian greyhound trainer of the year Darren McDonald as one of the figures caught on film three days before the 2014 Melbourne Cup, engaging in live baiting at Tooradin alongside handler Chris Connelly. He is shown on camera carrying a sack with a tiny pink piglet before placing it on the lure. The two men remove the muzzles on their dogs after two laps and the dogs maul the piglet, heard squealing as it dies off-camera. McDonald has since transferred all of his greyhounds to his wife’s name.

New South Wales wrap-up:

  • McDonald’s top sprinter Keybow is revealed by Four Corners to have been broken in across the border in NSW at Londonderry by Zeke Kadir.
  • Four Corners received a tip-off within the industry that Kadir was rumoured to be the best live baiter within the state, and that it occurred at his property as part of his training purposes. “He mentioned that he broke (in) Keybow, and he talked about how he gets live rabbits from a person he knows, and he gets about 30 a week,” a private investigator for Four Corners confirms.
  • Footage shows Zeke Kadir using the rabbits tied to a hand-pushed lure, controlled by Kadir. They’re dragged along the ground at speed pursued by dogs in training. On January 12, 2015, the footage captures Ian Morgan arriving at the venue for a private session, where a native possum is strung to the lure struggling to escape as two muzzled greyhounds attempt to bite the possum. Four minutes later, the muzzles come off and the cry is captured off-screen of the possum’s demise. “I am fearful at how widespread this is, and the consequences for literally thousands of animals each year,” said Lyn White.
  • Morgan is later seen removing the dead possum from his greyhound, Cee Cee Quoted. Four days later, Four Corners catches him leaving his Western Sydney home bound for an afternoon race meet in Newcastle, where Cee Cee Quoted places third. John Cauchi, of Box Hill, was also caught practising live baiting by hand.

Aftermath:

  • Four Corners notes requests for interviews with the regulators in all three states caught live-baiting were declined, deferring comment to CEO of Greyhounds Australasia Scott Parker. “I don’t suspect this is a systemic problem at all,” Parker said. “It’s illegal, abhorrent, and totally rejected by the industry.”
  • When asked about how three tracks have been confirmed to have had live baiting occurring on site that have not been detected by regulators, Parker surmises “our controlling bodies do a great job, but it’s a big industry and a lot of these facilities are a long, long way away from Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane – and that’s why compliance officers are employed to get out there.”
  • In Queensland, RSPCA caught the live-baiters at Tom Noble’s establishment during their follow-up raids and saved a live piglet tied in a sack moments away from being bound and baited. Tom Noble was on-site, as well as his staff James Draws and Tony McCabe. They denied any wrong-doing despite being caught on film. RSPCA eventually found a second piglet hidden inside a shed on the property, wounded from a previous live-baiting session.
  • At Tooradin, Stuart Mills was watched closely, but no animals were caught on-site. Four Corners visited him the next day of the raids, and he’s clearly shaken as he maintains his denials about live-baiting.
  • Zeke Kadir’s property was visited, but he refused to answer Four Corners’ reporters on live baiting.
  • Four Corners’ investigations are now a criminal matter, with state charges imminent.

Post program:

  • In Victoria, GRV chair Peter Caillard has welcomed a $6 million government investment for investigative resources for GRV to help detect and prevent practises such as live-baiting from occurring in the future. In addition, GRV have also announced that dead animals will no longer be allowed to assist in the training of greyhounds. “The use of live animals is already outlawed. GRV will also outlaw the use of dead animals in greyhound training whether on private premises or registered training premises,” Mr Caillard said in a press release. Caillard has also agreed to cancel the Greyhound Industry Awards night, which was to be held this Friday night, after instruction from MP Martin Pakula. The Darren McDonald-trained Sweet It Is was the frontrunner to take out the highest honour, 2014 Victorian Greyhound of the Year.
  • In New South Wales, GRNSW have announced that a taskforce has been established to investigate the extent of the live-baiting practices in the state. The taskforce will be led by former High Court justice and eminent legal practitioner, the Hon. Michael McHugh AC, QC. The taskforce will look into the training methods used in NSW and will arrange for trial tracks and training facilities to be monitored. It is also set to examine whether GRNSW and relevant agencies such as the RSPCA NSW have the necessary powers to correctly investigate animal cruelty allegations. “We need to stamp out live baiting once and for all. Not only is it illegal but it is sickening and we are disgusted with what we have witnessed on air,” GRNSW CEO Brent Hogan said in a press release. “GRNSW welcomes Michael McHugh’s acceptance to head this taskforce and is committed to working closely with him and the taskforce as quickly as we can. The taskforce will help ensure that live baiting and other acts of animal cruelty identified in NSW are eradicated as quickly as possible.”

 

This sort of thing is what the sport keeps hidden away, But it gets worse

This sort of thing is what the sport keeps hidden away, But it gets worse

A must watch tonight on the ABC on Four Corners 8.30pm

Greyhound racing: Live baiting revelations on Four Corners to be ‘extremely damaging’ to greyhound racing industry

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-16/evidence-of-live-baiting-in-greyhound-racing/6121688

Mon 16 Feb 2015, 9:47am

Australia’s greyhound racing industry is in turmoil ahead of an explosive Four Corners report, set to air tonight, that reveals conclusive evidence of live baiting.

Live baiting is the practice of using small live animals in secret greyhound training sessions.

It has been banned and criminalised for decades, but trainers and owners across the country have been using the illegal training method in the belief that it will improve a dog’s performance.

Live baiting carries substantial financial penalties and sentences of up to five years’ imprisonment. The evidence that will be broadcast tonight on the ABC could have a massive impact on the industry.

The RSPCA, in conjunction with police in NSW, Victoria and Queensland raided five properties on Wednesday last week after the Four Corners program, in conjunction with Animals Australia and Animal Liberation Queensland, confidentially handed over the results of its investigation into the sport to the state-based RSPCAs more than a fortnight ago.

Tonight in its exclusive report, Four Corners will reveal how trainers and owners across the country, working in concert with licensed trial track operators, are training their dogs using banned methods and engaging in illegal activity.

Make no mistake. This story will be explosive, emotive and extremely damaging to the future of this sport in Australia.

Greyhound Racing Victoria CEO Adam Wallish

This behaviour constitutes cheating under the laws of greyhound racing.

Tracking dogs and their trainers from private training facilities and on to official race meets and using undercover investigators to infiltrate the industry, the program has discovered the integrity of potentially thousands of races and millions of dollars in prize money is now in question.

Aware that the Four Corners program was set to air, Greyhound Racing NSW, Greyhound Racing Victoria, and Racing Queensland, the sport’s statutory regulators, moved to suspend more than 20 trainers, owners and trial track operators late last week.

In another attempt to pre-empt the program, on Sunday, Racing Queensland announced a $1 million taskforce to combat live baiting and other allegations of cruelty.

But the regulators’ attempts to act raise further serious questions about their ability to fulfil obligations and adequately police the sport in addition to carrying out their dual role as the sport’s promoter. Australians are now wagering a staggering $4 billion on the sport annually.

It is also revealed the illegal activities have remained undetected by the regulators, and makes it clear self-regulation has been a failure. At the same time, the evidence could prompt governments to reconsider their support and endorsement of the sport.

‘This story will be explosive’

In an internal memo written by Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) and obtained by Four Corners over the weekend, GRV’s chief executive officer Adam Wallish encouraged trainers and owners to start strategising and preparing to react publicly after the Four Corners program airs tonight.

“Make no mistake. This story will be explosive, emotive and extremely damaging to the future of this sport in Australia,” Mr Wallish wrote.

“As a group of people that love the greyhound breed we should all be shocked and outraged by the allegations in the story and prepared to fight the small minority that continue to partake in such practices jeopardising the future of the sport and indeed the future of the breed itself.”

Mr Wallish also urged the greyhound racing community to focus their anger on the wrongdoers in their sport, rather than the messenger.

“You will be emotional, you might be angry. Don’t be angry at those that attack us, regardless of their position. Be angry at those within the sport that are doing the wrong thing and undermining the values for which we stand,” he wrote.

“This time is a testing one for all of us in the industry and we need to stay resolute in our desire to exceed social standards and public expectations.

“The future of the sport and the wonderful greyhound breed necessitates it.”

Greyhound Racing Victoria has also set up a counselling telephone hotline to support those affected emotionally by the allegations. The hotline is contactable on (03) 8329 1100 and will be available from 7:30am on Tuesday morning.

The program, Making a Killing, will broadcast tonight on ABC1 at 8:30pm. Anyone with further information can contact Four Corners


Tooradin track closed after claims greyhound trainers used live bait

GREYHOUND Racing Victoria has suspended 10 people and closed the Tooradin Trial Track for alleged live baiting.

The news comes in the wake of revelations a Geelong-trained greyhound tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine (known as ice) after a race in Warragul on January 17.

GRV has confirmed the RSPCA is investigating the Tooradin track and Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna is involved.

GRV chief executive Adam Wallish said live baiting, where a dog is given a live animal to hunt down in the lead up to a race, was a criminal and abhorrent practice.

“The use of live bait in the training of greyhounds is disgusting and has no place in our sport.

Any person engaged in live baiting can expect to be disqualified and prosecuted. We have zero tolerance for these individuals,” Mr Wallish said.

“In accordance with GRV’s Animal Welfare Penalty Guidelines those responsible face a 10 year ban from the sport.”

Live baiting was a criminal offence punishable under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and attracted a jail term of up to two years and a fine of more than $30,000, he said.

“GRV takes matters of animal cruelty extremely seriously. Allegations of live-baiting are extremely disappointing and GRV supports the RSPCA and Victoria Police’s efforts to investigate any wrong-doing within the sport of greyhound racing,” Mr Wallish said.

A spokesperson for RSPCA Victoria confirmed it had executed warrants and conducted an inspection at a greyhound training facility in south-east Victoria.

The inspection had resulted in the launch of an investigation into greyhound training practices, she said.

Lara trainer Jenny Hunt said she was “gutted” and “bewildered” her dog Jubilea Bale tested positive to drugs, and planned to travel to Warragul to have “a look around”.

“I’ve asked all my employees and they all said they have nothing to do with it (ice),” Hunt said.

Greyhound Racing New South Wales also suspended five people and closed Sydney’s Box Hill Trial Track this week for alleged live baiting.

The RSPCA said anyone who had information about cruel or illegal practices in the greyhound industry should report it immediately by calling 9224 2222.

 


Live animals allegedly used as bait in greyhound racing

February 15, 2015

Natalie O’Brien

Greyhound racing is in the spotlight amid allegations of live baiting.Greyhound racing is in the spotlight amid allegations of live baiting. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

More than 20 greyhound racing dog owners and trainers across NSW, Victoria and Queensland have been suspended after a series of raids which allegedly discovered the illegal use of live animals being used to bait and lure dogs.

The shock revelations come just a year after the industry regulator NSW Greyhound Racing told a parliamentary inquiry it had no evidence that such alleged crimes were occurring in the $144 million a year industry.

The inquiry’s deputy chairman and Greens MP John Kaye at the time claimed Greyhound Racing NSW had “dodged a bullet” and issues like animal welfare and the allegations of live bait had been put in the “too-hard basket”.

Late on Thursday, Greyhound Racing NSW announced it had stood down five industry participants and one licensed trainer for alleged live baiting offences and closed down the Box Hill trial track. Victorian greyhound racing authorities also announced it had suspended 10 people for allegedly using live baits at a track in Tooradin, south-west of Melbourne.

In Queensland seven trainers have been suspended after they were allegedly about to use live pigs as bait for their dog training. Racing Queensland’s General Manager of Stewarding and Integrity Operations Wade Birch said the trainers had been stood down and their greyhounds scratched from all competition pending an investigation.

“This decision was based on further information received by Racing Queensland, the substance of which required immediate action by stewards,” said Mr Birch.

The RSPCA has been involved in raids but officials refused requests for any information. A statement released by a media spokeswoman said they “had received a number of complaints regarding animal cruelty and greyhounds, these are currently under investigation”.

Fairfax Media reported in 2013 that the illegal practice of allowing animals to be killed by greyhounds as part of their racing training was still occurring in NSW.

Problems have beset the industry over decades. As far back as 1972, newspaper reports revealed that a leading greyhound trainer and industry figure were fined and narrowly escaped jail for using a possum and a rabbit for live baiting at a track in Kellyville. The magistrate at the time said their previous good behaviour had saved them from a custodial sentence.

In 2013 there were shocking revelations at the parliamentary inquiry about the barbaric act of live baiting including details about the use of guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, kittens and possums which have had their claws and teeth removed so they can’t hurt the dogs being mauled to death in training sessions.

“I have been told ‘anything that squeals will do’,” an industry stakeholder, whose identity has been suppressed, said in a written submission to the parliamentary inquiry.

TV vet Dr Robert Zammit had also backed up the claims in his evidence to the inquiry and RSPCA NSW chief inspector David O’Shannessy said they had also received anonymous complaints but so far they had been unable to substantiate the claims. He encouraged people to come forward with information.

Dr Kaye said on Saturday that slowly public pressure is forcing Greyhound Racing NSW to admit what most people have known for decades.

“It’s clear that live baiting still occurs and that the dogs are brutalised, and rabbits, cats and possums are being ripped apart while they are still live,” said Dr Kaye.

“Greyhound Racing NSW dismissed allegations before a NSW Upper House Committee of live baiting, claiming they lacked evidence. Suddenly, they act against five participants suspected of live baiting and one trainer with live European rabbits on his premises.

“The regulatory body had been told of possums that had their teeth and claws ripped out and that then died in terror and agony, yet they failed to act until they faced the threat of media exposure,” he said.

ABC’s Four Corners program will screen a program on Monday night about greyhound racing.

Dr Kaye said the failure to crack down on live baiting by the regulatory authority for the past six years, is another reason for stripping the industry body of its animal welfare and regulatory functions.


 RESPONSES TO FOUR CORNERS

Racing Queensland’s response to Four Corners | 13 February 2015

Greyhound Racing Victoria’s response to Four Corners | 12 February 2015

Greyhound Racing NSW’s response to Four Corners

MORE INFORMATION

Participants Stood Down With Immediate Effect | Greyhound Racing, NSW | 12 February, 2015

Letter from Adam Wallish to Clarify Issues on the Animal Welfare – Penalty Guidelines | Greyhound Racing Victoria

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 | Victorian Government

Is the use of live baits and lures in greyhound racing and other dog racing illegal? | RSPCA

Own motion investigation into Greyhound Racing Victoria | Victorian Ombudsman

Legislative Council Select Committee on Greyhound Racing in New South Wales

Animal Welfare Guidelines | Greyhound Racing Victoria | 2014

Investigation into the ACT racing industry | Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission | 2011

Report on Own Motion Inquiry into Betting Activities of Racing Officials Employed by the Victorian Racing Industry | Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner | June 2012

Implementing the recommendations arising from the Review of Integrity Assurance in the Victorian Racing Industry

Animal welfare act review report and recommendations | Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries | 2013

Queensland Animal Care and Protection Act 2001

Victorian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986

Greyhound Racing Information | Animals Australia

MEDIA

Fallout spreads as industry braces for Four Corners probe | Australian Racing Greyhound | 16 February, 2015

Stewards query Kay; some finish-on-lure trials put on hold | Australian Racing Greyhound | 16 February, 2015

Greyhound racing: Live baiting revelations on Four Corners to be ‘extremely damaging’ to industry | ABC News | 16 February, 2015

Live animals allegedly used as bait in greyhound racing | Sydney Morning Herald | 15 February, 2015

Queensland sets up taskforce as greyhound racing hit with cruelty claims | Courier Mail | 15 February, 2015

Tooradin track closed after claims greyhound trainers used live bait | Geelong Advertiser | 15 February, 2015

Victorian greyhound racing authorities suspend 10 people for allegedly using live rabbits as lures | ABC News | 14 February, 2015

Queensland legend Reg Kay denies involvement in live-baiting raid | Australian Racing Greyhound | 14 February, 2015

Greyhound owners, trainers suspended | Sydney Morning Herald | 14 February, 2015

Greyhound racing industry hounded by claims of abuse | Illawarra Mercury | 1 August, 2014

Greyhound racing industry ‘dodged a bullet’ | Sydney Morning Herald | 30 March, 2014

Greyhound inquiry by NSW Parliament: committee member and Greens MP John Kaye critical of welfare inaction | ABC News | 28 March, 2014

Logan to get new greyhound racing track, at expense of Gold Coast | Brisbane Times | 16 March, 2014

NSW greyhounds boss rejects claims of cronyism, bullying | Sydney Morning Herald | 9 February, 2014

Vets claim live animals used as bait to train greyhounds | Sydney Morning Herald | 24 November, 2013

Greyhound racing industry denies claims of widespread animal doping | ABC News | 16 October, 2013

Greyhound racing industry hit with doping, cruelty, collusion allegations | 7.30 | 16 October, 2013

The unbearable lightness of being a greyhound | The Conversation | 2 December, 2012

The quick and the dead | Background Briefing | 11 November, 2012

Allegations of doping in greyhound racing industry | 9 November 2012

Hounded to death | Sydney Morning Herald | 25 October, 2004

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