Federal Election – 7th September, 2013


It would be nice to have Free Speech, Rupert Murdoch:

Wait a minute

As quoted on Youtube:

The TV networks appear to be allowing Rupert Murdoch to again manipulate how people think and vote as he allegedly has an agenda.

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New technology, the media and criminal trials – Let’s talk about it


Here is an interesting article folks that I found that comes at a time when the media and the internet are colliding with the long-held protocols of the old school legal system of the last century, who needs to catch up with who I wonder?

Where are we headed with blogs like this? the instant twitter commentary from courtrooms, the insatiable thirst for the information, good bad or ugly. You all know I am a believer of  Major Trials being telecast to those who want to and indeed need to watch them. Just like some have an interest in Question Time in Parliament and some do not. make it available, what is there to hide?

By Peter Gregory

July 06 2012

Are we now behind the times?

On an overseas crime website was the personal and criminal history of a man known to the Victorian public.

At the time, he was before the courts on a serious charge. The trial judge had warned jurors not to look up the internet, because they were to return a verdict only on the evidence they saw or heard in the courtroom.

Put simply, the judge’s warning was part of delivering a fair trial. If accused of crime, you are judged by a jury of your peers.

They base their decision on the material presented to them in the courtroom. Almost always, that means no reference to the previous convictions of the person on trial, or neighbourhood gossip about a case, or the wise pronouncements of media commentators.

The legal system’s assumption is that jurors, not being trained as lawyers, will find it harder to put aside prejudicial information. If you were a juror on a rape trial, and learned that the accused person had been convicted (separately) of rape six months earlier, what would you think about this case?

“Guilty,” said one student when this question was posed during a seminar some years ago. That is why jury members are told not to follow media reports, do their own research, or talk to their families about the case. They are also instructed to be wary of social media, like Twitter or Facebook.

“If your family is like mine, everyone will have an expert opinion,” one judge would say at the start of a Supreme Court trial.

“You can blame me. If they ask about the evidence, you can say the judge told you that you are not allowed to discuss it.”

Journalists would get very nervous about their court stories, fearing they might be fined or worse if they revealed information that the courts believed was likely to be prejudicial.

In one case, five media organisations were fined a collective $670,000 after reporting that a man arrested over three New South Wales murders in 1989 had confessed. The reports were likely to interfere with the administration of justice, it was found.

These were simpler times when a big worry for publishers was the potential to mix up the conservative court story written for local audiences with a more comprehensive account prepared for interstate editions.

If the Victorian jury was protected from prejudice, all was well. If a stuff-up occurred, media lawyers were sent to court to apologise.

More than 20 years later, safety and conservatism sound like foreign concepts.

The crime website which featured the Victorian suspect was not the worst by any means. True, its advertisements for criminal-related merchandise, including DVDs, calendars and magazines, was distracting, but his segment was a fairly sober summary of his court appearances, material from interviews and legal debate about his future.

Numerous other websites talk about criminals and killers. Some are moderate and feature court decisions. Others appear to follow the “hang ‘em high” school, practised with or without a trial.

Still wary of the legal process, mainstream media websites monitor or ban comments being made about court-related stories.

Inflammatory remarks can raise difficulties for many institutions which have embraced social media and the internet to engage with the public.

Bond University professor Mark Pearson recently analysed problems with the Queensland Police Facebook site, which was flooded with hard-nosed commentary following a high-profile arrest.
“I fear it will not be long before a savvy defence lawyer seizes the opportunity to use such prejudicial commentary as grounds for appeal, perhaps resulting in a trial being aborted at great public expense or even a verdict quashed,” he told The Australian newspaper.

So, what can the courts do?

Last month, the New South Wales Criminal Court of Appeal allowed a media challenge to court orders that would have forced news websites to remove thousands of archived stories about a conspiracy to murder trial. The Sydney Morning Herald said the court upheld the argument that the orders were futile because “vast swathes of information on the internet are essentially beyond the court’s control”.

“It is something of an irony that the (media organisations)…are, on one view, the only people against whom an order could properly have been made,” the court said in its published judgment.

While NSW law might let prosecuting authorities seek suppression orders over prejudicial material published online by local media, that permission could not validly apply to the world at large.

Suppression orders might cover material on internet sites beyond the control or awareness of local publishers.

Imagine the SMH finding all the international crime websites, and persuading them to take down some of their murder summaries because an Australian prosecutor was worried about them.

A Law Council of Australia committee, of which this writer is a member, outlined some other problems in a submission made to the Federal Government.

The media and communications committee said information could not be effectively censored or removed once it was available online. Material was often republished or cached on other sites. Monitoring archives for past publications would be costly and a significant exercise, and in many cases would have little practical effect, the committee argued.

Removing mainstream material might also bump the relevant information contained on less reputable websites up the search engine list for determined researchers.

“Suppression and non-publication orders that that operate to censor or remove historical reports by mainstream media organisations can lead to (the other) websites being elevated in lists of search results carried out, for instance, on the names of accused persons, and thus perversely increase the risk of prejudice to forthcoming trials,” the committee said.

If censoring the media does not work, the focus returns to juries. Jurors can be fined for looking up the internet during trials, if they decide to ignore judges’ warnings.

On its website, the Judicial College of Victoria has quoted court decisions describing jury members as “robust and responsible”, not “fragile and prone to prejudice”. But it warns that the availability of internet databases posed new problems for protecting jurors from prejudicial information.

Could that mean sequestering the jury – staying at hotels, not at home – for the whole trial, to keep it away from outside influences? Would that happen at all trials, or just the ones that attracted massive media attention?

One of the court decisions suggested keeping juries together during the proceedings would protect the open court principle and avoid prejudice. The accommodation costs in a long hearing, and the associated pressure to avoid mistrials, would be very likely to create their own problems.

What are your thoughts readers?

New technology, the media and criminal trials – Let's talk about it


Here is an interesting article folks that I found that comes at a time when the media and the internet are colliding with the long-held protocols of the old school legal system of the last century, who needs to catch up with who I wonder?

Where are we headed with blogs like this? the instant twitter commentary from courtrooms, the insatiable thirst for the information, good bad or ugly. You all know I am a believer of  Major Trials being telecast to those who want to and indeed need to watch them. Just like some have an interest in Question Time in Parliament and some do not. make it available, what is there to hide?

By Peter Gregory

July 06 2012

Are we now behind the times?

On an overseas crime website was the personal and criminal history of a man known to the Victorian public.

At the time, he was before the courts on a serious charge. The trial judge had warned jurors not to look up the internet, because they were to return a verdict only on the evidence they saw or heard in the courtroom.

Put simply, the judge’s warning was part of delivering a fair trial. If accused of crime, you are judged by a jury of your peers.

They base their decision on the material presented to them in the courtroom. Almost always, that means no reference to the previous convictions of the person on trial, or neighbourhood gossip about a case, or the wise pronouncements of media commentators.

The legal system’s assumption is that jurors, not being trained as lawyers, will find it harder to put aside prejudicial information. If you were a juror on a rape trial, and learned that the accused person had been convicted (separately) of rape six months earlier, what would you think about this case?

“Guilty,” said one student when this question was posed during a seminar some years ago. That is why jury members are told not to follow media reports, do their own research, or talk to their families about the case. They are also instructed to be wary of social media, like Twitter or Facebook.

“If your family is like mine, everyone will have an expert opinion,” one judge would say at the start of a Supreme Court trial.

“You can blame me. If they ask about the evidence, you can say the judge told you that you are not allowed to discuss it.”

Journalists would get very nervous about their court stories, fearing they might be fined or worse if they revealed information that the courts believed was likely to be prejudicial.

In one case, five media organisations were fined a collective $670,000 after reporting that a man arrested over three New South Wales murders in 1989 had confessed. The reports were likely to interfere with the administration of justice, it was found.

These were simpler times when a big worry for publishers was the potential to mix up the conservative court story written for local audiences with a more comprehensive account prepared for interstate editions.

If the Victorian jury was protected from prejudice, all was well. If a stuff-up occurred, media lawyers were sent to court to apologise.

More than 20 years later, safety and conservatism sound like foreign concepts.

The crime website which featured the Victorian suspect was not the worst by any means. True, its advertisements for criminal-related merchandise, including DVDs, calendars and magazines, was distracting, but his segment was a fairly sober summary of his court appearances, material from interviews and legal debate about his future.

Numerous other websites talk about criminals and killers. Some are moderate and feature court decisions. Others appear to follow the “hang ‘em high” school, practised with or without a trial.

Still wary of the legal process, mainstream media websites monitor or ban comments being made about court-related stories.

Inflammatory remarks can raise difficulties for many institutions which have embraced social media and the internet to engage with the public.

Bond University professor Mark Pearson recently analysed problems with the Queensland Police Facebook site, which was flooded with hard-nosed commentary following a high-profile arrest.
“I fear it will not be long before a savvy defence lawyer seizes the opportunity to use such prejudicial commentary as grounds for appeal, perhaps resulting in a trial being aborted at great public expense or even a verdict quashed,” he told The Australian newspaper.

So, what can the courts do?

Last month, the New South Wales Criminal Court of Appeal allowed a media challenge to court orders that would have forced news websites to remove thousands of archived stories about a conspiracy to murder trial. The Sydney Morning Herald said the court upheld the argument that the orders were futile because “vast swathes of information on the internet are essentially beyond the court’s control”.

“It is something of an irony that the (media organisations)…are, on one view, the only people against whom an order could properly have been made,” the court said in its published judgment.

While NSW law might let prosecuting authorities seek suppression orders over prejudicial material published online by local media, that permission could not validly apply to the world at large.

Suppression orders might cover material on internet sites beyond the control or awareness of local publishers.

Imagine the SMH finding all the international crime websites, and persuading them to take down some of their murder summaries because an Australian prosecutor was worried about them.

A Law Council of Australia committee, of which this writer is a member, outlined some other problems in a submission made to the Federal Government.

The media and communications committee said information could not be effectively censored or removed once it was available online. Material was often republished or cached on other sites. Monitoring archives for past publications would be costly and a significant exercise, and in many cases would have little practical effect, the committee argued.

Removing mainstream material might also bump the relevant information contained on less reputable websites up the search engine list for determined researchers.

“Suppression and non-publication orders that that operate to censor or remove historical reports by mainstream media organisations can lead to (the other) websites being elevated in lists of search results carried out, for instance, on the names of accused persons, and thus perversely increase the risk of prejudice to forthcoming trials,” the committee said.

If censoring the media does not work, the focus returns to juries. Jurors can be fined for looking up the internet during trials, if they decide to ignore judges’ warnings.

On its website, the Judicial College of Victoria has quoted court decisions describing jury members as “robust and responsible”, not “fragile and prone to prejudice”. But it warns that the availability of internet databases posed new problems for protecting jurors from prejudicial information.

Could that mean sequestering the jury – staying at hotels, not at home – for the whole trial, to keep it away from outside influences? Would that happen at all trials, or just the ones that attracted massive media attention?

One of the court decisions suggested keeping juries together during the proceedings would protect the open court principle and avoid prejudice. The accommodation costs in a long hearing, and the associated pressure to avoid mistrials, would be very likely to create their own problems.

What are your thoughts readers?

Time for a REMINDER about behaviour on this site…


BEFORE YOU CONTINUE, I ASK YOU VISIT THIS POST (PRESS ANYWHERE HERE) AND READ IT, AND ACKNOWLEDGE YOU HAVE DONE SO BY MAKING A COMMENT ON THAT POST

Hi folks, It has sadly come to my attention once again that the behavior of some people on this site have shown disregard for the guidelines I have tried to set, and or casually choose to ignore them, in particular, during my many absences of late, as I attended to my young baby son who has been in hospital after being born premature last month. he came home yesterday and we have been getting settled.

I have to say, I started this blog so I could highlight and discuss things that interested me, and of course others. It became successful as many many others popped in and shared the same ideas as I did.

Now having said that, I have to say, unfortunately I do not care whether you have been here for months and made 2 thousand comments, or one day and made 5. I will NOT tolerate the bad language, the bully tactics of some who like to dominate the discussion, and those who are quite  impolite in disagreeing with another contributors point of view.

How often have I politely said, it is how you say something that is important, not so much WHAT you have to say. As far as I am concerned it is not too much to ask on a community blog where we gather with common interests.

Because I want this to be read tonight, I am going to post it now, but shall be adding to it.

Those people I speak of in the above sentences, expect to hear from me over the next 24 hours, because you will find yourself banished from the place and I will block every comment you make to go directly to moderation, where it will sit, until I personally read it. Like a child would be treated who does not know how to behave.

I have put thousands and thousands of hours into this site over 2 years or so, and WILL NOT have anybody, no matter who they are, or what they have done here, to ruin it for everyone else, OR for the people who will come in the future.

This blog is not for “A self selected few” to take some sort of control over what can be discussed and which opinions are to reign supreme. You can always go start your own blogs…

To be frank I am quite upset at the moment because some who have been around for a while should know better. Forcing me to get rid of you is something I will SADLY do if I have to.

Finally, and most regrettably, I also have to add, just because someone has very kindly made a donation to my site, (for which I honestly am very grateful).

It does not give he or she any extra rights or privileges here. We are all equal and any assumed extra power or status or “Weight” on any opinion or topic would be incorrect and unfair  (for want of a better word, I’m not in a good head space ATM). I hope I have conveyed that clearly enough.

PS. I WILL SIT HERE ALL NIGHT IF I HAVE TO AND GO THROUGH ALL THE COMMENTS OF RECENT DAYS

You have all be warned

Sincerely

Owner and operator of Aussiecriminals

Robbo

 

Have criminals got it TOO good in jail?


Every now and then I get a news item or a report on the telly that really spikes my attention. Whenever a story about prisoners either whining about conditions (like a paying renter does to a landlord, who actually have legitimate complaints and pay for the right) or an expose’ on what they get and don’t get in jail comes up, I get really frustrated. 

A  list was revealed from the ACACIA UNIT at Barwon prison, a haunt for the major crims in Victoria down the road from me. The other day we had a story about Fat Tony Mokbel, cooking his own food, as he did not LIKE the prison food…I could swear my head off, but I ask others not to so I wont….grrrrr

What happened to porridge for breakfast, some sandwiches for lunch and some meat and 3 veg for dinner. Dessert a few times a week?

I will tell you why, because surely it cannot just be me who thinks “No wonder they go back for more”. For starters, yes it is a sentence and their freedom is taken away, but bloody hell, not much else is. Just consider the savings on rent, electricity, food, clothes, dental, medical, entertainment, EDUCATION and all the books, materials and computers and stuff. Sports, recreation, pool tables, gym (think of the savings on gym membership!) all the legal aid they need. Transport…I could go on.

If one were unfortunate enough to be on the streets, but NOT commit crimes, maybe they should reconsider their career. I am not joking, think about all the benefits versus the negatives. What are they, let me think, ok you are behind 4 walls, and get locked in your room at night. The cost to the taxpayer is massive, and the jail population is growing. I bet my last dollar they grow by returning crooks who just throw the towel in and say it is too tough on the outside I am going back in…I’m better off inside…Some with money, may even think…Gee maybe even rent out my place for 400 a week while im here…leave jail and not pay back one bloody cent, have a nice kitty when I get out. pay the victim nothing either…I’m a mere poor prisoner…

Driven to court and back, unlimited free calls and correspondence to lawyers etc It makes my blood boil actually. I want the view of all you guys, I’m sure (well I hope) we also get the view from the other side, those who have been in, or have partners on the inside.

I will tell you know, it will take a lot of convincing to tell me that beyond all of the above, these poor people are suffering the lack of freedom etc. Well that IS the point of it all, the committed crimes, and suffer the consequences, my point is most Aussies would have no ides how generous these consequences are! Cheers Robbo

Barwon Prison in Victoria, which contains Victoria’s worst criminals

THE state’s most dangerous criminals are enjoying cut-price junk food and luxury items in our most secure prison.

While working families are struggling to meet grocery bills, our most heinous inmates jailed at Barwon Prison, including serial killers Peter Dupas and Paul Denyer, are living on discount smoked oysters, ice cream, popcorn and cheese.

The Herald Sun has matched prices at an inner-city supermarket chain with the Barwon Prison canteen, finding prisoners are saving up to 22 per cent compared with average consumers.

Overall, 16 items of a basket of 22 were cheaper at the Barwon Prison one-stop shop. The items were taken from 267 listed products available to prisoners.

The biggest win for the crooks was for John West Temptations, a mega-saving of a dollar from a supermarket price of $2.36.

Prisoners were also able to buy Mint Slices for $2.23, well under the supermarket price of $3.10, while Tim Tams were 10c cheaper than the going rate.

Other cut-price items at Barwon canteen included a 25-cent saving on Coon cheese, a 50c cut on a Gillette Mach 3 razor and a pack of Salada crackers down 35c.

But it wasn’t all red-spot specials for the bad guys.

Delicious Chocolate Royals were 20c up on the supermarket, Lipton tea (50s) 12c higher, baked beans 26c dearer while Palmolive shampoo was a rip off at the canteen, with a marked price of $5.41, 42c higher.

A Corrections Victoria spokesman said prison shops were run by each prison and no profit was made.

He said products were purchased directly by the prison, usually at wholesale prices.

“They are allowed to a purchase a basic range of items such as telephone credit, toiletries or food products in limited quantities from the prison shop,” the spokesman said.

“Prisoners pay for these themselves at no cost to the taxpayer.”

RMIT criminal justice advocate Peter Norden said people should be questioning the cost of building and staffing more prisons for more inmates – which is estimated at $500,000 a cell – rather than the price of food.

“They can get cheaper food in the prisons because it’s an expanding population,” he said, tongue in cheek.

“They can buy in bulk.”

Pam Greenbury, the mother of murder victim Tracey, said prisoners should not be getting sweets or any other luxury item, let alone at a discount.

“I wouldn’t like our daughter’s murderer to get any luxuries,” Mrs Greenbury said.

“Luxuries at a discounted price? I’d say no.”

In My Own Words- Victim Impact Statements


In My Own Words- Victim Impact Statements

Well we have asked the question for several months now, and I have read every single comment. The decision being that the Victim DESERVES the right to be heard, Inside the Court and or either outside the court.

In some small way we can give those victims and their families a place to be heard and NOT silenced by some obscure law, out of touch judge or lawyer or a publicity seeking media with ulterior motives.

Therefore I have decided this will be a platform for victims only with NO AUTOMATIC COMMENTS. I may have an option for them to vet comments ONLY after I deem them appropriate.

This is not an opportunity for convicted criminals and or their families to have they say. Let me be clear on that!

So here is the deal, fill out the form below and make contact with me and I will give you the opportunity to have you say. TROLLS and other TROUBLEMAKERS will no be tolerated nor will be pretenders. I research all cases, and have generous support from certain supporters within the IT community that are much more TECH savvy than I, who want to see VICTIMS be heard.

Jerome Souza, above holding paper, brother of Rachel Entwistle, supported by family and friends, reads an impact statement this morning during the sentencing hearing.

DISGRACED Pedophile former MP Terry Martin walks again


These suspended sentences are a joke and a mockery for those seeking justice. This filthy dirty old man, who just happens to be a EX Tasmanian MP has been convicted twice and walked free from court without any jail time for his putrid crimes against a child, as well as possessing child porn on his computer…This makes me wonder about protected species within certain circles. His disgusting behaviour was because of the medications he was on! Oh really, Has the drug been banned from sale in Australia then?….NO…Of course not, and miraculously he is all better now, and has no interest in child porn any-more or sexual interest in children…He has NO interest in getting caught again is about all he can hope for, rotten bastard deserved a good jail term.

Judge Alan Blow said while possession of child pornography would normally dictate a prison term, he accepted that Martin’s offence was related to the side-effects of his medication. So all your kiddie fiddlers out there get hold of the right medication and they will only slap your wrist!

No wonder the girls relatives wanted to stick the boot in. If it were my daughter he raped, and I was watching him walk free I would have give him a going over too.

My original article in November 2011 on this snakebelly is linked below this story or click here

DISGRACED former MP Terry Martin, convicted of sex acts with a 12-year-old girl, was yesterday attacked by female relatives of the child as he walked free from court after being convicted of possessing child pornography.

The aunt of an abused girl attacks convicted sex offender Terry Martin outside the Supreme Court in Hobart yesterday

The former long-standing Tasmanian upper house MP and mayor was attacked outside the Supreme Court in Hobart by two women, understood to be the aunt and grandmother of his victim.

Clearly distressed, the girl’s aunt struck Martin with her bag as he walked from the court grounds into a lane-way. She then appeared to strike his groin, as court officers rushed to defend the former Labor and independent MP.

The grandmother, who is frail and elderly, had moments earlier appeared to strike Martin with her walking stick. “I’ll never, ever forgive you. The devil take you for what you’ve done,” she yelled.

The family members, as well as anti-abuse campaigners, are outraged that Martin, 54, has twice walked free from the Supreme Court after being found guilty of serious offences.

Last November, Martin was given a 10-month suspended sentence after being found guilty of unlawful sexual intercourse with the 12-year-old in 2009, and of taking photographs of her naked.

Yesterday, separate proceedings concluded with Martin receiving a one-month suspended sentence for possessing hundreds of images of child porn featuring children as young as eight.

On both occasions, the judges suspended jail terms on condition of good behaviour after accepting Martin’s defence that his crimes were the result of hyper-sexuality caused by medication taken for Parkinson’s disease.

This defence argument, supported by medical reports, has not satisfied anti-abuse campaigners and the family of the girl, who was prostituted by her mother and a family acquaintance.

Judge Alan Blow said while possession of child pornography would normally dictate a prison term, he accepted that Martin’s offence was related to the side-effects of his medication. So all your kiddy fiddlers out there get hold of the right medication and they will only slap your wrist!

The judge said since dropping the medication, Martin had no interest in child pornography and had “no sexual interest in children”.

His sentence of one month’s jail was suspended for 21 months.

Martin is understood to have been taken to hospital with a minor head injury after yesterday’s attack.

Contributors Wanted-Long hours, no pay…Passion for the truth a must


Contributors Wanted-Long hours, no pay…Well I’m kidding about long hours that will be up to you, but yes NO PAY! It’s a tough world this blogging business, and I’m falling behind because I cannot keep up on everything happening nor keep up with cases and events WORTHY of coverage and exposure here! I also encourage people to also have an opinion as an author when they put their name to a story. The debates on here are one of the best things we have

So here is what I am asking for folks and then you can decide if it is something you are interested in doing for our little community here and the wider “Net” for people to discover without fear or favour.

  • Contributors from each State, to allow better coverage on cases in their state as they happen
  • Researchers that can help look beyond the headlines (the sleuths that use more than google to find stuff!) Maybe suitable for anyone who likes to dig around, but not be the face of the article
  • Moderators now I pretty much allow anyone to have their say in the comments, but we do get people who trawl and make extreme comments purely for their own entertainment and stir up trouble. Over use of certain explicit language. So someone to help keep these types in line or off-line all together by deleting irrelevant vulgar comments etc

These are all ideas and please, I do this for you all, assuming you are the same as me and hate seeing the criminals, and scum-bags that float around our cities and streets getting away with stuff unscathed, hidden behind friends in high places or ancient suppression orders handed out like ice creams…

So please, suggestions here are encouraged, make a comment below…because without you guys, this site is nothing… Thanks

The details in the following form are kept private and will never be made public here on the Blog. It is for my eyes only guys…Regards Robbo

Public Trustee takes Hajnal Black to court for $2m-UPDATES


Who the hell is this woman, some model? A councillor? Or an attention seeking money hungry wannabe politician taking advantage of an old man and his money? Who knows, but I want to find out…check this out

04/05/12 UPDATES A PLENTY…HOW THIS WOMEN EVEN GETS A LOOK IN FOR ANY PUBLIC OFFICE POSITION IS BEYOND ME!

Hajnal Black arrives at the Brisbane Courts

Hajnal Black loses Greenbank property

Thu Apr 19 2012

Controversial Logan City Councillor Hajnal Black has lost claim to a Greenbank property she says was gifted to her by an elderly friend.

Supreme Court Justice David Boddice ruled in Brisbane on Thursday that Black, 34, was not entitled to the property.

The judgement comes after Ms Black announced on Wednesday night that she would not be contesting the April 28 local government election.

In his judgement, Justice Boddice says the man, a 67-year-old former barrister with dementia, did intend to give Ms Black a joint interest in the Greenbank property.

However, he did not take all the necessary steps to do so and Ms Black was unable to get further instructions from him to complete the transfer, Justice Boddice said.

“The vesting of legal title was therefore not within the control of (Ms Black),” he said.

The matter was one of several high-profile court cases concerning Ms Black’s dealings with the man.

She was fined $3500 and ordered to pay $5000 for costs of court after she was found guilty of failing to declare pecuniary interests to the Logan City Council.

Criminal convictions related to $1.37 million of the man’s money she had transferred into her own bank account instead of putting it in a trust.

The convictions would have made Ms Black ineligible for holding public office if they were upheld after an appeal.

Black day for Logan City councillor Hajnal Black’s court appeal

by: Mark Oberhardt

From: The Courier-Mail

April 13, 2012

Hajnal Black speaks to the media outside Beenleigh Magistrates Court.

BLACK Friday hit home for troubled Logan councillor Hajnal Black when the Court of Appeal found her own incompetence had cost her a chance at winning an appeal in a dispute about her handling of a dementia patient’s money.

In what veteran court journalists described as the most unusual performance in decades, Ms Black was before the Court of Appeal wanting orders and stay proceedings which had everyone confused, not the least, at times, the judges.

The Court of Appeal’s President Margaret McMurdo repeatedly became frustrated with the self-represented Ms Black, who was appearing under her maiden name of Ban.

At various stages Justice McMurdo said such things as: “This is ridiculous”; “You are getting off the track, yet again”; and “I am trying to get some sense out of you.”

Justice Debbie Mullins said Ms Black seemed to have been spending all her time preparing the “wrong things”.

Try to focus, appeal judges tell Hajnal

Hajnal pays a heavy toll

Hajnal case adjourned to next month

Legal lifeline for Hajnal Black

‘It was raining’, Hajnal says of no-show
Later, Justice Mullins asked Ms Black if she had tried to get proper legal advice?

“No, I withdraw that question. You should get proper legal advice,” a equally frustrated Justice Mullins said.

Ms Black has three separate cases which basically evolve out of the Public Trustee taking her to court to get a ruling she mishandled $1.37 million in trust for an elderly man with dementia.

Not only were there Supreme Court and Court of Appeal actions Ms Black was fined $5000 in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court, after being arrested on a warrant, for not declaring pecuniary interest while she was working in public office.

Last year, the Public Trustee sought a summary judgment that Ms Black had mishandled the money of the dementia patient in regard to the sale of properties at Park Ridge and Greenbank, in Brisbane’s south.

The Public Trustee got a summary judgment involving the Park Ridge property but the judge sent the Greenbank issue to trial which was heard last month.

Judgment is pending in the Greenbank case but in the meantime Ms Black appealed the Park Ridge decision to the Court of Appeal.

She was to file her appeal documents by February 1 but was given several extensions which she failed to meet.

On February 17, when she was before the Court of Appeal Justice John Muir who gave her another 10 days to file the documents.

Then on March 8, the Public Trustee brought an action to have the Park Ridge property appeal struck out because Ms Black had still not filed the documents.

Three judges in the Court of Appeal on March 8 gave her until March 16 to file the documents but if she didn’t the appeal would be automatically dismissed.

Ms Black again did not file the documents and the appeal was automatically dismissed.

She was back in the Court of Appeal today wanting to get orders involving the Park Ridge judgment, and wanting to dispute Justice Muir’s order of February 17.

Ms Black also wanted further orders involving the Park Ridge property judgment, declaring Justice Muir should not have sat on the March 8 hearing and various other orders against Beenleigh Magistrate Trevor Morgan.

She argued because she had so many court cases going at the one time and being self-represented she did not get enough time to prepare.

The Court of Appeal dismissed all three sets of claims by Ms Black.

Justice Margaret McMurdo said it appeared harsh that Ms Black had not got a chance to argue the appeal against the Park Ridge decision in the Supreme Court.

“It was most unfortunate that through her (Black’s) incompetence she has been unable to argue the case on its merits. She should seek proper legal advise on the best course to take,” Justice McMurdo said.

She said there was no basis for Ms Black’s other claims.

Justice McMurdo said she was not convinced Ms Black was deliberately bleeding the man’s estate through court costs but had been mismanaging her time.

Hajnal Black fined $5000 after being found guilty of four charges relating to pecuniary interests

by: Brooke Baskin

From: The Courier-Mail

March 27, 2012

LOGAN City councillor Hajnal Black has been found guilty of not declaring a pecuniary interest while she was working in public office.

She was found guilty for failing to declare a joint bank account with a man she held power of attorney over to the CEO of Logan City Council.

She is appealing a Supreme Court ruling she mismanaged $1.37 million of the man’s funds.

Ms Black was found guilty of four of five charges:

They are: failing to declare a joint bank account with the man; failing to declare his relationship to her; failing to declare her business Dahlia International; failing to declare interest from an unsecured personal loan and for failing to declare a property at Mt Warren Park between August 12 2009 and October 28, 2011.

A charge of  failing to disclose a personal loan was dismissed.

Hajnal on hold, but hubby is running

Ms Black was ordered to pay $5000 and had a conviction recorded.

It’s understood she won’t be able to stand for council again for at least four years.

She has accused Counsel for Local Govt and Planning of deliberately stalling so she can’t nominate for council elections.

The Queensland Electoral Commission said if Hajnal Black had not yet re-nominated, there was not a thing she could do to try to run for council again regardless of today’s guilty verdict.

The deadline for nominations closed at midday today and Ms Black was still in Beenleigh Magistrates Court.

Hajnal Black is first person in public office in Queensland prosecuted under register of interest legislation.

Cr Black recently spent a week on the run from police after a warrant was issued for her arrest by Beenleigh Magistrate Trevor Morgan.

She was arrested by police at a riverside property at Bellbowrie, west of Brisbane, around 2pm on Friday afternoon and was released on bail after appearing in custody at Brisbane Magistrates Court.

This morning she appeared well-dressed and flanked by her parents and brother for support.

Her husband, Sean Black, also a councillor at Logan City, was absent from court.

Ms Black again called for Mr Morgan to stand down from hearing the matter.

She said she had applied for the decision to be stayed until her separate appeal of the Supreme Court decision was heard.

“I spent a horrifying afternoon being hunted down like some sort of mad woman on the loose,” Ms Black said.

She disputed the magistrate’s version of the events and called for the matter to be stayed so she could see a transcript.

But Mr Morgan refused both applications.

“You have your rights of appeal and I trust you will exercise them,” he told her.

Her mother Irene is also expected to stand along with husband Sean Black, who announced his re-nomination on Sunday.

Ms Black arrived at Beenleigh Court again this morning and said she would challenge Magistrate Trevor Morgan on a few points.

“This is turning into something bigger than the OJ Simpson trial,” Ms Black told reporters when she arrived.

In contrast to previous appearances, Cr Black arrived at Beenleigh Magistrates Court this morning on time.

Even Legally Blonde had a better story than this…

Marissa Calligeros

March 27, 2012

Logan councillor Hajnal Black’s bid to retain her ward in next month’s election is in doubt, after she was found guilty and convicted of failing to declare her financial interests while in public office.

In a ruling that may see Cr Black expelled from council and prohibited from running for local government for the next four years, Magistrate Trevor Morgan found her guilty of four of five charges laid against her.

After seven days on the run from police last week, Cr Black was today found guilty of failing to declare a joint savings account held with the man; failing to declare his relationship to her; failing to declare her own business Dahlia International Pty Ltd; and failing to declare a property at Mt Warren Park. A charge of failing to declare interest from an unsecured personal loan was dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

The hearing in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court saw Mr Morgan interrupted by repeated outbursts from Cr Black, a former barrister, who represented herself in court and accused the magistrate of bias, urging him to dismiss the case.

The case is the first of its kind since new public disclosure laws, designed to prevent government corruption, were introduced in 2010.

“It wouldn’t get past my six-year-old step-son,” Cr Black said.

Cr Black said Mr Morgan would be made a “laughing stock” once she made her appeal in the High Court.

“It is a mockery to our legal system that the Crown has spent thousands of dollars of taxpayers’ money [on this]. It’s a joke,” she said.

Cr Black removed her shoes and leaned back in her chair as she continued to berate the magistrate.

“Even Legally Blonde had a better storyline than this. I should be working on my High Court appeal instead of going through amateur hour again.

“When I go to the High Court, yes I’ll be claiming my $300 million worth of damages.

“This has been a travelling circus for the past few weeks.”

Cr Black was fined $3500 in total, and told to pay $5000 in costs.

In sentencing Cr Black, Mr Morgan said her “belligerent and arrogant” behaviour and disregard for the court had prompted him to impose a greater penalty than he otherwise would have.

“Your conduct in these proceedings has exposed you to a higher penalty,” he said.

“You made extensive, largely unintelligent submissions … which occupied an inordinate about of court time.

“You seem to me to have displayed little insight or deliberate blindness to the situation you are in.  One could describe your approach … as wilful blindness.”

Mr Morgan, who placed his head in his hands several times during the hearing, said Cr Black had shown no remorse for her actions or the accusations of conspiracy she levelled at himself and Crown prosecutor Ben McMillan, but rather displayed “self-righteous indignation”.

“You arrogantly treated this [court process] as a mere annoyance,” he said.

Since December, Cr Black has been trying to appeal a decision made by the Supreme Court, which found she misused the funds of a 66-year-old man with dementia, for whom she previously had power of attorney.

Following that ruling, the Department of Local Government pressed today’s charges against Cr Black.

Outside court, she said she still intended to contest the next council election on April 28 having lodged her nomination yesterday.

She said she believed she would still be able to contest her Logan ward because the implications of her conviction would not come into effect until the appeal process was exhausted.

When asked why Logan residents should vote for her, Cr Black replied, “I’ll be the only councillor who will take their rights to the High Court.

“It’s not just about me and my family… This will set a precedent and I want to make sure that no one has to go through what me and my family have gone through.”

Arriving at the Beenleigh Magistrates Court this morning, Cr Black likened her ongoing legal battle to the O.J. Simpson trial.

“I don’t really know what today’s about so we’re going to go in and it’s going to be a bit like a lucky dip,” she said outside court on her arrival today.

“You know, we’ll see what the judge feels like today.

“It’s kind of like turning into [something] bigger than the O.J. Simpson trial down at Beenleigh.

“You know, like, this is really dragging on.

“It’s a bit of a joke, like I look at the charges and I look at the evidence and I’m just, like … this is a bad mock trial, that’s how bad it is.”

Cr Black was supported by her brother and parents in court today.

She described her brother as her “drill sergeant”, who ensured she arrived at court on time today.

Last week, Cr Black turned up six hours late for a court hearing, and then stormed out of another, leading to a warrant being issued for her arrest.

She then remained in hiding at a friend’s house in Bellbowrie, in Brisbane’s west, where she was arrested seven days later.

Her husband, fellow councillor Sean Black was not at court this morning.

Hajnal Black granted bail

Marissa Calligeros and Dan Nancarrow

March 23, 2012
Besieged Logan councillor Hajnal Black has been granted bail in a Brisbane court after she was arrested earlier today.

Mrs Black appeared in Brisbane Magistrate’s Court this afternoon, where she applied for bail, which was granted on the condition that she reside in her New Beith address and report to the Jimboomba police station every weekday from Monday.

The police prosecutor Ben McMillan had asked for Ms Black to put forward a sum of money as surety but after she indicated she did not have enough money the Magistrate did not impose the condition.

Ms Black, wearing snakeskin pants and looking tired, told the court she had exhausted all her funds on court matters.

Police said the 34-year-old, who had been in hiding for six days, was arrested without incident at a Bellbowrie address today.

It is believed police received a tip-off from a member of the public, as to the councillor’s whereabouts.

Police had been searching for the councillor since a warrant for her arrest was issued last Friday, when she walked out of a courtroom midway through a hearing over her alleged failure to declare financial interests she shared with a man decades her senior while in public office.

Police visited the New Beith home Mrs Black shares with her husband, fellow Logan councillor Sean Black, several times this week, but failed to find her.

Since December, Mrs Black has been trying to appeal a decision made by the Supreme Court, which found she misused the funds of a 66-year-old man with dementia, for whom she previously had power of attorney.

She said she had been following the man’s wishes when she transferred $1.37 million from the sale of his property into her own account, arguing that she had been friends with him for decades and that he was like a father to her.

Following the Supreme Court decision, the Department of Local Government pressed five criminal charges against Mrs Black for failing to declare pecuniary interests before Logan City Council.

Speaking outside the Brisbane Watchouse after being granted bail this evening, Mrs Black said she had not handed herself into police because she had been working on her appeal at a friend’s home in Bellbowrie.

She said she would also appeal the decision for a warrant be put out for her arrest.

The warrant – the second issued in as many days last week – was issued after she stormed out of court midway through a hearing into the matter on Friday, in which the magistrate was to decide whether she had breached local government disclosure laws.

“There are a number of issues there which I will be appealing,” she said.

“The Magistrate is not above the law and putting aside all the excitement and all the sensationalism, which comes with reporting this, there are some real issues here and that’s what I have been trying to bring to your attention.”

Mrs Black also claimed she had evidence of political interference by Labor in lodging her appeal against the warrant placed on her.

“What I’m going through, if someone would have told me, I would have thought this would be like a B-grade horror movie. That’s what it is like, but it’s actually reality,” she said.

Mrs Black said she would be taking her Supreme Court matter to the High Court.

“Someone once said to me ‘if you want justice in this state you’ve got to go to the Court of Appeal or you have to go to the High Court’ and I will take it to the High Court because I can tell you that I have an unblemished record, I have always done the right thing with the accordance of the law, so the fact that this has happened right before an election should be saying something,” she said.

“And I would just urge you to put aside all the sensationalism and really start seeing what is really going on behind all this.”

Mrs Black is due to appear in Beenleigh Magistrates court on Tuesday and in the Supreme Court to hear her earlier matter.

Despite her days in hiding, Mrs Black said she would attend both.

She is charged with failing to declare a joint savings account held with the man; failing to declare his relationship to her; failing to declare her own business Dahlia International Pty Ltd; failing to declare interest from an unsecured personal loan; and failing to declare a property at Mt Warren Park.

Mrs Black is well connected in conservative political circles, winning LNP preselection for the federal seat of Wright in 2010 before it was revoked because she failed to disclose the investigation into her behaviour as power of attorney.

Federal Senator Barnaby Joyce was MC at the Blacks’ wedding in 2010, which was also attended by mining magnate and LNP donor Clive Palmer, opposition state MP Fiona Simpson and Senator Ron Boswell.

Councillor Hajnal Black defends $2 million ‘cash transfer’ from sale of sick friend’s house

by: Alison Sandy

From: The Courier-Mail

January 07, 2011

A QUEENSLAND councillor, who is famous for going to Russia to have surgery to lengthen her legs, denies she misappropriated money belonging to an old sick friend because it was his “much held desire” that she be well provided for, documents lodged in the Supreme Court state.

Hajnal Black (nee Ban) and her husband Sean are being sued by the Queensland Public Trustee, who alleges that after she was appointed power-of-attorney for the 66-year-old man, she proceeded to arrange the sale of his property for $2.25 million.

The court documents state Mrs Black and the elderly man also established a joint bank account at the time, where the money was eventually placed.

It’s alleged she then transferred most of it into her own account.

In the defence filed by Mrs Black, she said the decisions were made with the consent of the man, who now has dementia and cannot be named.

“(It) was entirely consistent with the wishes of (the man) that she be well provided for because providing well for her as a daughter-figure was his highest aim and much held desire because of his strong affection for her and his gratitude for her unconditional love and unyielding support,” the court documents said.

Partners in politics now for life

Two councillors in $2million hot water

The Blacks, who both represent Logan City Council south of Brisbane, lodged a joint defence, which also stated the man did not want his own children to share in “his bounty”.

“(The man’s) care and protection was ensured by the first defendant (Mrs Black) having control of the money and not allowing the money to be placed under the control of a person who would not have the knowledge of (the man’s) wants and needs as the first defendant would, and exposing his bounty to possible claim by persons, such as his children, who he specifically and vehemently did not wish to be benefited from that bounty,” the defence states.

In his claim to the court, Queensland Public Trustee Peter Carne said it was a “breach of trust” and she (Mrs Black) “knew or willfully (sic) shut her eyes to the fact that she had no entitlement” to his money.

Mr Carne said the man was of “impaired capacity”, rendering him unable to fully comprehend the nature and effect of the transactions.

The court documents state Mrs Black had already arranged for more than $900,000 to be transferred to the Public Trustee who took over the role of financial power-of-attorney for the man from her last July.

Two councillors in $2million hot water

by: Alison Sandy

From: The Courier-Mail

December 08, 2010

NEWLY-WED councillor Hajnal Black is being sued by the Public Trustee of Queensland in the Supreme Court over her handling of an elderly man’s finances.

The matter, which has already been before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, involves more than $2 million from the sale of the man’s property being lodged in a joint account of his and Ms Black’s (formerly Ban), who at that time held his financial power of attorney.

The Public Trustee claimed in QCAT documents that at least $770,000 was used for the Logan councillor’s personal benefit or could not be accounted for and $100,000 was put into her now husband’s account.

Ms Black, who was disendorsed by the LNP in the seat of Wright in this year’s federal election, has argued in an affidavit she was entitled to spend the $2.25 million in the joint account, and the $100,000 she gave to Cr Black was for the “offset of his business account and the purposes of our wedding which took place on 30 May, 2010″.

She has continuously maintained that the 65-year-old man was like a father to her and their finances had always been entwined.

Logan Mayor Pam Parker was unwilling to comment on the court proceedings, but said Cr Sean Black’s role in the council would be affected.

“Because of his association with this matter, I will be requiring him to stand down from the budget steering committee whilst these legal issues are pending,” she said.

Queensland Speaker John Mickel said that in light of this latest legal development, the Blacks’ positions within the council should be reviewed pending the outcome of this litigation.

“These are serious matters that can’t be brushed lightly aside,” he said.

Neither Sean nor Hajnal Black would comment last night, but friend David Goodridge said it was an attempt to bring them down.

“They’re (the Blacks) unable to defend themselves due to the nature of the process. It’s despicable,” he said.

LNP state president Bruce McIver wouldn’t say whether this would affect Ms Black’s chances of being endorsed in the state election.

The Public Trustee was last night unavailable for comment.

QUEENSLAND’S ethical watchdog has accused Hajnal Ban of taking almost $2 million from a joint bank account she shared with a sick and elderly pensioner while acting as his financial power of attorney, including $100,000 she allegedly gave to her now husband, Sean Black, court documents claim. (I notice here husband, in the pic on the left was a dweeby new fellow councillor back a few years ago and is now her husband. Has he got his hands on the money too? What’s going on there?

LEGAL action: Councillors Sean and Hajnal Black

Concerns over how some of the money was spent are contained in a letter from lawyers representing the Public Trustee of Queensland lodged with the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, which is investigating allegations of financial mismanagement.

However, in documents also lodged with the tribunal, Logan City Cr Ban has argued in an affidavit she was entitled to spend the $2.25 million in the account, and the $100,000 she gave to Cr Black was for the “offset of his business account and the purposes of our wedding which took place on 30 May, 2010″.

She also explained in court documents that a withdrawal she made after she was suspended as financial power of attorney by the Office of the Adult Guardian in April was an oversight.

“At that time, I did not realise that transfer might be seen as subject to the direction of the tribunal as to require me to notify the Public Trustee.”

In documents lodged with the tribunal, Public Trustee lawyer Mark Crofton claimed the 32-year-old Logan City councillor had “not complied with the orders of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal”.

“From a cursory review of your client’s affidavit, it would seem that this affidavit deals with withdrawals amounting to $1,975,030,” he said in the letter to Cr Ban’s lawyer.

QCAT documents reveal the expenditure included $605,030 for her charge’s nursing home bond and $500,000 was invested, but Mr Crofton claimed $435,000 was spent for her own benefit and another $335,000 was unaccounted for.

“That which is not said is who was the recipient of those funds,” he said.

In the tribunal documents, Mr Crofton also questioned various payments of “reimbursement”, requesting details on:

• $40,000 to $50,000 for a fence

• $105,000 for a unit at Mt Warren Park

• $18,752 for an insurance payout

• $1733.33 for a “pilot accountant”

• $170,000 for anticipated legal fees; and

• Various payments to a mystery recipient only known as “Bob”.

On Tuesday, Cr Ban’s lawyers said their client had “at all times acted in her own right and not pursuant to her Power of Attorney” on behalf of the man.