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


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

What do you think of all this readers?



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell says he will resign

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell says he will resign

Profile: Barry O’Farrell

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


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

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

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

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

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

Honour and integrity rarely seen: Tony Abbott

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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Michael Williamson jailed for at least five years over HSU fraud

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

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

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

Michael Williamson jailed for at least five years over HSU fraud

Updated 5 minutes ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More to come.

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

Updated Wed 16 Oct 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sentencing for Williamson begins in two weeks.

Former HSU boss Michael Williamson admits fraud offences

Updated Tue 15 Oct 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Caught shredding evidence

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

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

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

‘Absolutely outrageous nepotism’

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

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

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

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

Listen to McClymont’s interview with the ABC.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Closure for union members

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Updated 2 minutes ago

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cardinal Pell said victims should settle the matters outside court.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I understood insufficiently just how wounded he was.

I understood insufficiently just how wounded he was.

Cardinal George Pell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The hearing continues.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sceptical Vatican gave accused ‘benefit of the doubt’

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

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

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

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

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

Cardinal George Pell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Abuse survivors listen closely to Pell’s evidence

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The hearing continues.

Toowoomba teacher tells royal commission she couldn’t understand why molested children didn’t come forward

Here we go again, disgusting out of touch responses from officials where children were abused. Finger pointing, buck passing, protocol this, protocol that… WAKE THE HELL UP AUSTRALIA

This has to end, and we cannot continue to let this bullshit roll along until the perpetrators die or disappear (to abuse again)

I have much more to add in the morning but had to get this published tonight. It is disgusting beyond anything I have ever seen here.



update tonight 18/02/14 more poor excuses at the highest levels, a principal no less, had no guts to do something

Principal didn’t report paedophile teacher

February 18, 2014 7:38PM

A CATHOLIC principal didn’t trust or like a paedophile teacher, but never reported child sex abuse complaints against him to police because he did not want to compromise the bishop.

Terence Hayes, who currently works as a year seven teacher, was principal of a Queensland primary in 2007 and 2008 when serious child sex abuse complaints were made against teacher Gerard Byrnes.

But Mr Hayes says he never reported any allegations to police, as the school’s child protection manual and state laws required, because he was always told to go to his superiors first.

“In the Catholic system, principals are not autonomous. We are virtually middle managers. So as, per the advice that had been given to me, we were constantly told we can never do anything without going to the office and getting advice of our superiors,” he told a hearing of the Royal Commission into the Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Brisbane on Tuesday.

“Principals were of the understanding that CEO (Catholic Education Office) was the first port of call, and that the bishop must not be compromised.”

Counsel Assisting Andrew Naylor SC asked the former principal why the school’s child protection manual existed if it wasn’t being followed.

“That’s a question for my superiors, but we were told by our superiors to ‘come to us, we would help you, we are the first port of call, we work together’,” Mr Hayes replied.

Mr Hayes said after the first sex abuse complaints against Byrnes were made, he didn’t tell Byrnes that any action would be taken because he wanted to keep an eye on Byrnes secretly.

“I didn’t trust him. I didn’t like him. He was a very difficult person on staff. I didn’t enjoy the guy on staff,” Mr Hayes said.

But Byrnes wasn’t stood down as a student protection officer at the school up until he resigned in June 2008.

He was then rehired as a relief teacher one month later.

Mr Naylor asked if Mr Hayes had made his opinion about Byrnes known to superiors before he was rehired.

“I’m a very system-orientated person and it’s not for me to make a judgement on that information,” Mr Hayes said.

Mr Naylor then asked if he had felt comfortable about the CEO making a decision to let Byrnes come back to his school and teach children.

“If the system had said yes, I’m comfortable,” Mr Hayes replied.

Byrnes’ employment at the school only ceased when he was finally arrested by police in November 2008.

He pleaded guilty to 44 child sex abuse charges, including 10 of rape, and was sentenced to 10 years jail in 2010.

The hearing is set to continue on Wednesday.

Toowoomba teacher tells royal commission she couldn’t understand why molested children didn’t come forward

A former student protection officer at a Queensland primary school says she could not understand why students who had been sexually abused “didn’t have the courage to come forward”.

Gerard Vincent Byrnes molested 13 female students, all aged between nine and 10, in 2007 and 2008.

Gerard Vincent Byrnes molested 13 female students, all aged between nine and 10, in 2007 and 2008.

Catherine Long was a student protection officer at the Toowoomba primary school where teacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes molested 13 female students, all aged between nine and 10, in 2007 and 2008.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is looking at why Byrnes was allowed to go on offending for more than a year after allegations were first made against him to the school.

Byrnes, the school’s child protection contact, pleaded guilty in 2010 to child sex offences, including rape. He carried out all but two of his crimes in the classroom.

Ms Long, who still teaches at the school,was today questioned by the commission in Brisbane as to why she did not refer one student’s complaint to police or authorities.

She said some of the relevant school protocols were difficult to understand and she was reluctant to believe her colleague was a paedophile.

“And I don’t get that our children, with all of this student protection and everything else that we have, didn’t have the courage to come forward,” she said.

Ms Long also told the hearing she believed referring the matter to police was the principal’s responsibility.

“I was there as the note-taker – he was in charge, not me,” she said.

Principal told but no action taken

One of the parents reported that his daughter’s accusations of abuse to the principal at the time, Terrence Hayes, as well as another teacher, but neither related the accusations to the police.

“The teacher wasn’t suspended, he remained in the class for the last term, and then a whole new school year in 2008 where, sadly, he went on to abuse more of the young girls,” said Monique Scattini, who legally represented the families of five of the abused girls.

Mr Hayes was charged with failing to tell police about the abuse complaints, but was later acquitted. He is expected to give evidence later this week.

No action was taken against Byrnes, a veteran teacher and father of eight children, until a parent of an abused girl went directly to the police.

“There actually were systems and procedures in place and they had been accredited, but still there was something that prevented the strong application of those,” said Janette Dines, the chief executive of the commission.

“And in this case, the abuse not just continued but escalated after the first complaints were made.”

The parents of three of the victims fronted the commission today, with one mother saying the school’s refusal to act on allegations was “disgusting”.

Another mother of an abuse victim said she and other parents were ostracised by the school community after they complained about the abuse, and how the school had dealt with their concerns.

“The parents of the victims were made out to be the bad guys,” she said.

Francis Sullivan, the chief executive of the Church’s Truth Justice Healing Council, admits the case was mishandled.

“There’s no doubt that there would still be considerable anger at the Church over its handling [of this case],” he said.

“We’ve discussed the loss of trust about what’s occurring … [in a] close-knit community something like this really goes to the heart of relationships.”

The hearing is expected to last for five days.

Royal commission to probe handling of reports of abuse by Gerard Vincent Byrnes at Toowoomba School

By Emily Bourke

The child abuse royal commission will today turn its attention to how staff and Catholic Church officials at a Toowoomba primary school in south-east Queensland dealt with allegations of sexual offences against girls between 2007 and 2008.

In 2010, veteran teacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes pleaded guilty to child sex offences committed against 13 girls and was sentenced to 10 years’ jail.

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse is taking a closer look at how the school dealt with the complaints.

Monique Scattini represented the families of five victims who took legal action and says the abuse could have been prevented.

“One of the parents went to the principal, reported allegations that his daughter had made to him,” Ms Scattini said.

“There was subsequently a meeting with the principal and another teacher … who conducted an interview with the young girl and her father.

“At the end of that meeting neither the principal nor the teacher reported the matter to police.

“The teacher wasn’t suspended, he remained in the class for the last term, and then a whole new school year in 2008 where, sadly, he went on to abuse more of the young girls.

“And it was absolutely preventable if anyone in Catholic Education had have done their job.

“I know it could have been prevented because when the teacher was arrested, he admitted to the offences.”

Mandatory reporting laws were put to the test, but the principal was found not guilty of failing to refer the allegation to police.

Ms Scattini says the response from the broader school community was also upsetting for the victims’ families.

Audio: Listen to Emily Bourke’s report for AM (AM)

“Sadly the school didn’t rally at all around the parents or the young girls who were the victims,” she said.

“Instead all the support was thrown behind the principal.

“A number of staff and parents in the school community were wearing badges and ribbons in support for him as they would attend school grounds or in-court hearings for both the criminal prosecution of the paedophile and the principal.

“So they [the victims] felt incredibly ostracised.”

‘Procedures not followed to the letter’

Royal commission chief executive Janette Dines says this particular case is striking, given that procedures were in place to deal with reports of abuse.

“Given that we have just finished looking at what some people would call historical abuse with the Salvation Army, this is quite confronting for a lot of people who might have thought that abuse was in the past,” Ms Dines said.

“What is also quite striking about this case is the fact is that the abuse against these girls, who were all aged eight to 10 at the time, occurred predominantly in the classroom in front of other children.

“And I think the other striking thing is the fact that this isn’t a case where there weren’t systems and procedures in place.

“There actually were systems and procedures in place and they had been accredited, but still there was something that prevented the strong application of those.

“There actually were systems and procedures in place and they had been accredited, but still there was something that prevented the strong application of those.”

Ms Dines says it is likely other students at the school were aware of the abuse.

“There is a sense that the children as a group were aware of what was going on,” she said.

“And whilst one of the girls had the courage to come forward, the sense of fear and powerlessness when it was obvious that she wasn’t believed and nothing happened is a big feature of the impact that that’s had on this group of children.”

Francis Sullivan, from the Catholic Church’s Truth Justice and Healing Council, says the school community are still coming to terms with the events.

“What happened in this particular case is so alien to what a church is about, people carry that with them for a very long time,” Mr Sullivan said.

“When I visited Toowoomba recently and even went to the school and spoke to people in the staff room, it is quite clear that the experiences of 2007 and 2008 are still fresh.

“In the local community it’s extremely potent and fresh and so it should be.

“This was such a travesty, and such a tragedy and the trust that a community should put in a Catholic Church school and certainly in the Catholic Church was really eroded and the scars of that remain.”

Advocacy group initiates investigation of Family Court

Meanwhile, long-time advocate for child abuse victims, Hetty Johnston, is optimistic about the public hearing.

“They are getting to the crux of matters – they are taking no prisoners and the ramifications for this are not just going to affect Australia’s children and organisations, the threads of this lead right around the globe,” Ms Johnston said.

The royal commission’s terms of reference are limited to looking at institutions and how they have responded to child sexual abuse.

Ms Johnston says the inquiry should be expanded as it does not look into abuse that occurs in the family.

The founder of Bravehearts has told the ABC that the children’s advocacy group has received funding from a private benefactor to conduct its own investigation of the Family Court.

It’s now the legal process that causes so much damage to children and families who are already in a lot of trouble.

“It’s as though the shutters have come down, and they’ve said, ‘well, you can look in the churches, and you can go anywhere else but don’t you come looking in here’.

Bravehearts are determined to go looking there, and we are going to go looking there.

“We are going to do this investigation. We have some private funding to make that happen.”

Ms Johnston says the Family Court is an institution that cannot be ignored.

“We cannot let this opportunity go, where finally, as a nation, we are focusing on this most heinous of ways to offend against children, and not look at the modern-day issues that are facing our children,” she said.

“They are not the homes any more, or the institutions, the churches.

“It’s now the legal process that causes so much damage to children and families who are already in a lot of trouble.

“We need to get that right, and unless they do that, we’re going to be having this again in 15 years’ time.”


Principal barred for paedophile inaction

A QUEENSLAND Catholic primary school headmaster who failed to stop a pedophile teacher from repeatedly abusing his female students has been barred from serving as a principal.

Terence Michael Hayes admitted to a tribunal that he failed to protect students after receiving a complaint in 2007 that one of his teachers, Gerard Vincent Byrnes, had molested a member of his Year 4 class at the school in Toowoomba.

When Byrnes retired in mid-2008, Mr Hayes obtained approval from the Catholic Education Office to rehire the pedophile, then 58, as a casual teacher.

Byrnes was jailed in 2010 for committing 44 sexual offences against 13 girls – all aged nine and 10 – between January 2007 and November 2008.

Mr Hayes was the first person in Australia to be charged under laws requiring reporting to police of suspicions of child-sex abuse, but he was acquitted in 2009.

The Queensland College of Teachers has now taken action in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal, obtaining orders that Mr Hayes undertake 50 hours of community service and that he never again act as a principal, acting principal or as a child protection contact.

He was also handed a two-year suspension from teaching, wholly suspended on account of his sporadic work history since his dismissal in December 2009.

He resumed teaching fulltime last year.

The September 2007 complaint received by Mr Hayes indicated that Byrnes had kissed a girl on the cheek, put his hand through a girl’s shirt and placed his hand on the upper leg of a girl.

Byrnes admitted to Mr Hayes that he had placed girls on his lap in class, spoken to girls in the playground, given lollies to students and allowed students to visit his class.

Mr Hayes reported the allegation to the Catholic Education Office, but Byrnes was not monitored or removed from his role as a student protection contact.

In written reasons published this month, QCAT said: “The young students who were the victims of Mr Byrnes’ conduct have suffered … serious and long-lasting consequences.

“Principals must be deterred from similar failings.”

Byrnes was jailed for 10 years in 2010, and will be eligible for parole in 2016.


No appeal for pedophile teacher

Peter Hardwick | 12th March 2011

  • ·

ARGUABLY Toowoomba’s most despised individual, pedophile school teacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes, has escaped serving any more time in jail.

The Court of Appeal in Brisbane yesterday rejected an Attorney General’s appeal against the leniency of the sentence handed down in Toowoomba District Court to the 61-year-old who admitted 44 sexual offences against girl students aged just nine and 10.

Byrnes’ offences included the rape of six girls in his care and the ongoing grooming of one child.

Many of the offences had occurred in the classroom environment at a Toowoomba Catholic primary school and at times in front of other students.

Adding to the abhorrence of his crimes, Byrnes had at the time been the school’s designated Child Protection Officer.

He was sentenced to 10 years jail, a sentence then Attorney General Cameron Dick appealed claiming the penalty was inadequate for such serious offending in Brynes’ position as the victims’ class teacher.

Tony Moynihan SC, for the Attorney General’s appeal, argued the sentence was inadequate for a “gross breach of trust and abuse of power”.

The appeal sought to increase the jail term up to 15 years.

However, in a unanimous judgement brought down yesterday and published on the Courts Queensland website, Chief Justice Paul de Jersey, Justice John Muir and Justice Margaret White dismissed the appeal, finding the sentence handed down by Judge Sarah Bradley was “supported by the comparable sentences” handed down in the past for like cases.

The Court of Appeal said due leniency had to be applied when sentencing offenders who admitted their guilt.

The ruling quoted passages from a previous judgement, which stated:

“An offender who pleads guilty saves the community the cost of a trial.

“In some kinds of case, particularly offences involving young persons, the offender’s pleas of guilty avoids the serious harm that may be done by requiring the victim to describe yet again, and thus relive, their part in the conduct that is to be punished.”

Byrnes was declared at sentence a serious violent offender, meaning he has to serve at least 80% of his 10-year term.

However, having served almost two years pre-sentence custody by the time he was sentenced, he will be eligible for release from prison in 2016.


10-year sentence sticks for teacher who molested schoolgirls

A TOOWOOMBA teacher who molested 13 schoolgirls escaped a higher sentence when the Court of Appeal today refused an application by the Attorney General to increase his 10 years jail time.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Tony Moynihan, SC, who appeared for the then Attorney General Cameron Dick, had asked Gerard Vincent Byrnes sentence be set aside and one of up to 15 years imposed.

Mr Moynihan said the 10-year sentence failed to reflect the gravity of the offence, it failed to act as a sufficient deterrent, and the sentencing judge gave too much weight to mitigating factors.

He said it was an abuse of power and the 10-year jail sentence did not adequately denounce the behaviour or mark deterrence.

However, Michael Byrne, QC, for Byrnes, said the 10-year sentence was adequate because there were substantial mitigating factors in his clients favour including his early plea and genuine remorse in writing an apology to his victims.

Mr Byrne said his client had led a blemish free life and been a productive member of the community.

In an unanimous judgment the Court of Appeal dismissed the Attorney General’s appeal.

Justice John Muir said the mitigating circumstances, in particular Byrnes’ early guilty plea and his admissions to police, when combined with comparable cases relied on by the Attorney General, an increase in sentence was not warranted.

He said comparable sentences used by Mr Byrne had supported a 10-year sentence.

The Chief Justice Paul de Jersey and Justice Margaret White agreed the appeal should be dismissed.

In the District Court in Toowoomba last year, Byrnes, 61, pleaded guilty to 44 child-sex offences including maintaining a sexual relationship with a child, rape, and indecent dealing between 2007 and 2008.

Byrnes was classed as an automatic serious violent offender and he must serve eight years before he is eligible for parole.

He has already served nearly two years in pre-sentence custody and will be eligible for parole in 2016.

Byrnes, who had worked in Catholic schools in NSW and Queensland since 1970 as both teacher and principal, admitted abusing 13 girls aged between eight and ten, sometimes in front of his grade 4 class.

The court heard Byrnes had stopped abusing one girl as he mistakenly thought she had reported him but the girl who had actually reported him continued to be molested.


Supreme Court of Queensland – Court of Appeal

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R v. Byrnes; ex parte A-G (Qld) [2011] QCA 40 (11 March 2011)

Last Updated: 14 March 2011


CITATION: R v Byrnes; ex parte A-G (Qld) [2011] QCA 40

BYRNES, Gerard Vincent




FILE NO/S: CA No 246 of 2010DC No 894 of 2009
DIVISION: Court of Appeal
PROCEEDING: Sentence Appeal by A-G (Qld)
ORIGINATING COURT: District Court at Toowoomba
DELIVERED ON: 11 March 2011
HEARING DATE: 17 February 2011
JUDGES: Chief Justice and Muir and White JJASeparate reasons for judgment of each member of the Court, each concurring as to the order made
ORDER: Appeal dismissed
CATCHWORDS: CRIMINAL LAW – APPEAL AND NEW TRIAL – APPEAL AGAINST SENTENCE – GROUNDS FOR INTERFERENCE – SENTENCE MANIFESTLY EXCESSIVE OR INADEQUATE – where respondent pleaded guilty to serious violent offences of a sexual nature against complainants under 12 years of age – where respondent sentenced to 10 years imprisonment – where appellant submitted that sentence failed to give weight to the seriousness of offending, number of complainants and position of authority of the respondent – whether sentence manifestly inadequateCriminal Code 1899 (Qld), s 669A

Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld), s 161A, s 161B

AB v The Queen (1999) 198 CLR 111; [1999] HCA 46, cited

R v D [2003] QCA 88, distinguished

R v D’Arcy (2001) 122 A Crim R 268; [2001] QCA 325, considered

R v Ellis (1986) 6 NSWLR 603, cited

R v HAV [2009] QCA 259, followed

R v MBG & MBH [2009] QCA 252, distinguished

R v TS [2009] 2 Qd R 276; [2008] QCA 370, followed

R v ZA; ex parte A-G (Qld) [2009] QCA 249, distinguished

COUNSEL: A W Moynihan SC, with A D Anderson, for the appellantM J Byrne QC for the respondent
SOLICITORS: Director of Public Prosecutions (Queensland) for the appellantPeter Shields Lawyers for the respondent

[1] CHIEF JUSTICE: I have had the advantage of reading the reasons for judgment of Muir JA. I agree that the appeal should be dismissed, for those reasons.

[2] MUIR JA: Introduction The respondent pleaded guilty to one count of maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship, 10 counts of rape and 33 counts of indecent treatment of a child under 16 with the circumstance of aggravation that the complainant was under 12 years of age. He was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for each of the maintaining and rape offences and to seven years imprisonment for each of the indecent treatment offences. Each term of imprisonment was ordered to be served concurrently. By operation of ss 161A and 161B of the Penalties and Sentences Act 1992 (Qld), the respondent was convicted of serious violent offences with the consequence that he was required to serve 80 per cent of the head sentence of 10 years before becoming eligible for parole.

[3] The appellant Attorney-General appealed on the grounds that the sentences imposed were inadequate.

The circumstances of the offending

[4] The subject offences were committed over a 23 month period by the 58/59 year old respondent on 13 female students in his grade 4 class at a Toowoomba school. As well as being his victims’ teacher, the respondent was one of the school’s two child protection officers. As such, he was held out as a person whose assistance students could seek with safety in the event of inappropriate conduct. All of the offences were committed at the school and all but two were committed during the conduct of a class.

[5] The respondent’s modus operandi was to call the intended victim to the front of the class room and, when marking her work or asking questions of her, cause her to sit on his lap or stand in front of him. He would then engage in the offending activity. Three of the indecent dealing counts involved the rubbing of girls’ chests under their blouses. Another three involved the placement of the respondent’s hand up the girls’ skirts and rubbing their legs below their underwear. Two such counts involved licking the vaginal regions of two girls. One girl was kissed on the lips. Three of the offences involved the feeling of girls’ buttocks under their underwear. Another three involved rubbing of girls’ genitalia outside their underwear and 15 of the counts involved the rubbing of buttocks outside of the girls’ underwear. The licking incidents occurred when the girls, having been asked to remain behind during morning tea, were alone in the classroom with the respondent.

[6] The digital penetrations are the subject of counts 7, 8, 9 and 12 on the indictment. Counts 10 and 11 relate to the indecent treatment of this complainant and count six is the maintaining count. It was constituted by the conduct the subject of the four rape counts, the indecent treatment counts and other uncharged acts. The six remaining counts of rape occurred when the respondent digitally penetrated the vaginas of five other children on separate occasions.

[7] One girl complained to the school principal on 6 September 2007 that the respondent had put his hand inside her shirt and up her skirt and that she had seen him kiss another girl on the cheek. The principal wrote to the respondent informing him of these allegations and inviting him to respond. The respondent did so on 20 September 2007 acknowledging that he kissed a child on the cheek and that girls in his class often sat on his knee. He denied the other allegations. The respondent erroneously assumed that a particular girl was the informant, and ceased offending against her. He continued to offend against the other girls including the girl who had actually complained. He also interfered with two girls who had not previously been subjected to his indecent acts.

[8] In November 2008, the complainant with whom the respondent had been maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship complained to her mother and the police were informed. The respondent participated in interviews with police in relation to the offences. He initially denied allegations made by some children but admitted offending conduct which had not been the subject of allegations by a complainant. Six of the 10 counts of rape were based solely on the respondent’s admissions.

The Sentencing Remarks

[9] In her sentencing remarks the sentencing judge referred to the position of trust held by the respondent, the distress experienced by some of the girls and to the continuation of the offending conduct after the initial complaint. The sentencing judge accepted that the remorse expressed by the respondent was genuine and noted that the respondent’s convictions on a number of the charges, including some of the more serious ones, were based on his admissions. It was accepted that the respondent’s imprisonment would be served in protective custody and that this would make incarceration more onerous than would otherwise be the case. Her honour took into account the age of the respondent and his previous good character.

[10] In determining the respondent’s sentence the primary judge derived assistance from R v D’Arcy [2001] QCA 325 in which the head sentence, imposed after a trial of offences against four complainants, which included three counts of penile rape, was reduced on appeal to 10 years imprisonment. The primary judge concluded that the starting point for determining the sentence should be 12 to 14 years imprisonment. She then took into account the plea of guilty, the respondent’s co-operation with the police and the respondent’s admissions and the other matters previously mentioned and arrived at sentences of 10 years for the maintaining and rape offences.

The Appellant’s Contentions

[11] Counsel for the appellant submitted that the head sentence of 10 years imprisonment failed to give sufficient weight to the serious nature of the offending, general deterrence, denunciation and protection of the community. It was submitted that the starting point adopted by the primary judge would have been appropriate for an offence of maintaining a sexual relationship with one child or a small group of children but not for offending on the subject scale by a teacher over a long period in respect of his own students.

[12] Reliance was placed on R v D,[1] R v MBG & MBH,[2] R v ZA; ex parte A-G (Qld)[3] and R v D’Arcy.[4]

[13] R v D was quite a different type of case to the present. The 40 year old offender who had a lengthy criminal history, not including convictions for sexual offences, succeeded in having a 12 year term of imprisonment for the rape of a five year old complainant set aside as being manifestly excessive. A sentence of 10 years imprisonment was substituted. The court did not interfere with a three year term of imprisonment imposed for deprivation of liberty. The complainant’s mother noticed that the complainant was missing and that the offender was no longer sitting in his back yard where she had previously seen him. She ran to the offender’s house, entered it and found the complainant naked on a bed with the applicant leaning over her, touching her vaginal area while holding down her legs. The complainant told her mother that she had not responded to her mother’s calls because of threats made by the offender that he would punish her.

[14] On medical inspection, the complainant’s hymen was found to be bruised and haemorrhaging was evident. The injuries were thought to be more consistent with digital than penile penetration. There was evidence that the complainant’s behaviour had changed since the offence and she slept with her mother most nights. Her sleep was interrupted and she was wary and distrustful of strangers.

[15] In R v MBG & MBH a sentence of 10 and a half years imprisonment imposed on a mother and father who pleaded guilty to maintaining a sexual relationship with their seven to eight year old daughter was not disturbed. The offenders also pleaded guilty to two counts of raping their daughter, one count of attempting to do so; 10 counts of indecently treating her; the rape of her nine year old friend; three counts of indecently treating that friend and indecent treatment of that friend’s sister.

[16] The offending conduct in respect of the complainant daughter occurred on about 100 occasions and included: an attempt by the male applicant to insert his penis into the complainant’s vagina; the performance of oral sex on the complainant by her parents and vice versa; the watching of pornographic films together; the applicants having sexual intercourse in front of the complainant; the complainants rubbing an object in her mother’s vaginal area; the placing of the male applicant’s semi erect penis inside the leg opening of the complainant’s underwear; and the application of a vibrator to the complainant’s genitalia.

[17] It was submitted that this decision demonstrated that the subject sentences were too low as there were only four female complainants. That case, however, involves not only more serious sexual acts but the protracted abuse and corruption of a young child by her natural parents. The moral culpability of the offenders in MBG & MBH, to my mind, was substantially greater than that of the respondent, appalling though his behaviour was in both its quality and extent. The sentencing judge justly observed that the respondent’s conduct involved a protracted and gross beach of trust.

[18] In R v ZA; ex parte A-G the nine and a half year sentence imposed on the 48 year old offender with a history of sexual offending against children was increased on appeal to 10 years, thereby attracting a serious violent offence declaration. The respondent committed 34 offences over a 15 month period against six boys aged between 10 and 15 years. The offences included: two counts of maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship with a child; two counts of sodomy with a circumstance of aggravation; 21 counts of indecent treatment of a child with a circumstance of aggravation; seven counts of indecent treatment of a child and two counts of attempting to procure a young person for carnal knowledge. As well as sodomy, the respondent’s conduct included the insertion of a vibrator into a complainant’s anus; fellatio on and by complainants and the showing of pornographic material including films involving bestiality. Again, the offending conduct was more extreme and corrupting than in the present case and it was perpetrated by an offender with a prior history of sexual offending.

[19] The remaining case relied on by the appellant was R v D’Arcy, in which the appellant offended against four young complainants, three girls and one a boy who were the appellant’s pupils when he was the principal of a one teacher school. The offences came to light many years after the event by which time the applicant was in his sixties and had significant health problems. His sentence was reduced from 14 years imprisonment to 10 years. The offending conduct was singularly grave. The appellant digitally penetrated one female complainant and rubbed his exposed penis up and down her body from her navel to her genitalia. Another female complainant was subjected to painful penile rape culminating in ejaculation on three occasions.


[20] Counsel for the respondent submitted that in D’Arcy the offending conduct was markedly more serious than the subject offending conduct and that there was a lack of a primary basis for mitigation. It was found in D’Arcy that the applicant exercised control over the children through fear and violence. There was a trial, no co-operation at the trial and an absence of remorse. The complainants were obliged to give evidence thus reliving their experiences. D’Arcy therefore does not support the appellant’s argument, even when regard is had to the far greater number of victims in the present case. In that regard it is relevant that the more serious offences were committed against relatively few complainants in the present case, making the circumstances more comparable with those in D’Arcy than mere reference to numbers would suggest.

[21] Counsel for the respondent submitted that the primary judge’s sentence was also supported by R v TS[5] and R v HAV.[6]

[22] In R v HAV the offender was sentenced after a trial to concurrent terms of imprisonment of 14 years for maintaining a sexual relationship with a child under 16 and rape. Concurrent terms of imprisonment of five years were imposed for six offences of indecent treatment of a child under 16. The primary judge found that the complainant was “to all intents and purposes” the offender’s step daughter and that the offender had sexually abused the complainant from when she was about seven until she was sixteen.

[23] The offending conduct was persistent and involved the offender’s masturbating in the presence of the complainant, masturbation of the offender by the complainant, cunnilingus, the dressing of the complainant in her mother’s underwear as an aid to the offender’s sexual gratification, penetration of the complainant’s anus with a finger and penile penetration of the complainant’s vagina. The abuse “had a significant impact” on the complainant and resulted in the breaking of the bond between mother and daughter.

[24] In R v TS the applicant, after guilty pleas, was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment for counts of maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship, sodomy and rape of child who was his lineal descendant. Other sentences were imposed for offences of attempted rape and indecent treatment. On appeal, 12 year terms were substituted for the 20 year terms. The offences were committed over a six year period commencing when the victim was three years of age. The offences were “committed against the complainant at every available opportunity during the maintaining period” and continued until the complainant grew older and was able to resist the applicant’s advances. The conduct included vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse causing great pain and distress and forced fellatio. The period of maintaining in count 1 began when the complainant was under 10 and continued for six years.

[25] Both R v TS and R v HAV tend to support the subject sentence, as do R v MBG & MBH, R v ZA; ex parte A-G and R v D’Arcy. The submissions made on behalf of the appellant insufficiently acknowledged the combined effect of the respondent’s guilty pleas and his early admissions, without which some of the rape convictions would not have been secured.

[26] Of particular relevance for present purposes is the following passage from the reasons of Street CJ in R v Ellis,[7] quoted with approval by Hayne J in AB v The Queen:[8]

“This Court has said on a number of occasions that a plea of guilty will entitle a convicted person to an element of leniency in the sentence. The degree of leniency may vary according to the degree of inevitability of conviction as it may appear to the sentencing judge, but it is always a factor to which a greater or lesser degree of weight must be given.

When the conviction follows upon a plea of guilty, that itself is the result of a voluntary disclosure of guilt by the person concerned, a further element of leniency enters into the sentencing decision. Where it was unlikely that guilt would be discovered and established were it not for the disclosure by the person coming forward for sentence, then a considerable element of leniency should properly be extended by the sentencing judge. It is part of the policy of the criminal law to encourage a guilty person to come forward and disclose both the fact of an offence having been committed and confession of guilt of that offence.

The leniency that follows a confession of guilt in the form of a plea of guilty is a well recognised part of the body of principles that cover sentencing. Although less well recognised, because less frequently encountered, the disclosure of an otherwise unknown guilt of an offence merits a significant added element of leniency, the degree of which will vary according to the degree of likelihood of that guilt being discovered by the law enforcement authorities, as well as guilt being established against the person concerned.”

[27] Prior to quoting the above passage Hayne J made the following observations which are also of immediate relevance:

“Leniency is extended to both offenders for various reasons. By confessing, an offender may exhibit remorse or contrition. An offender who pleads guilty saves the community the cost of a trial. In some kinds of case, particularly offences involving young persons, the offender’s pleas of guilty avoids the serious harm that may be done by requiring the victim to describe yet again, and thus relive, their part in the conduct that is to be punished.”


[28] When regard is had to the mitigating factors taken into account by the primary judge and, in particular, the early guilty pleas and admissions, the comparable sentences relied on by counsel for the appellant do not support the imposition of higher sentences. On the other hand, the subject sentences are supported by the comparable sentences referred to by the respondent’s counsel. The appellant has failed to demonstrate any proper basis for the exercise by this Court of its discretion under s 669A(1) of the Criminal Code and I would order that the appeal be dismissed.

[29] WHITE JA: I have read the reasons for judgment of Muir JA and agree with his Honour for those reasons that the Attorney-General’s appeal should be dismissed.

[1] [2003] QCA 88.

[2] [2009] QCA 252.

[3] [2009] QCA 249.

[4] [2001] QCA 325; (2001) 122 A Crim R 268.

[5] [2008] QCA 370; [2009] 2 Qd R 276.

[6] [2009] QCA 259.

[7] (1986) 6 NSWLR 603 at 604.

[8] [1999] HCA 46; (1999) 198 CLR 111 at 155, 156.


Former Catholic teacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes gets 10 years for abuse of young schoolgirls

A 10-year jail sentence for a Catholic teacher and child protection officer did not reflect the enormity of the grand scale of his sexual misconduct with 13 young schoolgirls, a court heard today.

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Tony Moynihan, SC, was making submissions to the Court of Appeal in an effort to have Gerard Vincent Byrnes sentence set aside and one of up to 15 years imposed.

Mr Moynihan was appearing for the Attroney General, Cameron Dick, who had appealed the 10-year sentence on the grounds it failed to reflect the gravity of the offence, it failed to act as a sufficient deterrent, and the sentencing judge gave too much weight to mitigating factors.

In the District Court in Toowoomba last year, Byrnes, 61, pleaded guilty to 44 child-sex offences including maintaining a sexual relationship with a child, rape and indecent dealing between 2007 and 2008.

Byrnes was classed as an automatic serious violent offender and will have to serve eight years before he is eligible for parole.

He has already served nearly two years in pre-sentence custody and will be eligible for parole in 2016.

Byrnes, who had worked in Catholic schools in NSW and Queensland since 1970 as both teacher and principal, admitted abusing 13 girls aged between eight and 10, sometimes in front of his grade 4 class.

The court heard Byrnes had stopped abusing one girl as he mistakenly thought she had reported him but the girl who had actually reported him continued to be molested.

In the Court of Appeal today, Mr Moynihan said Byrnes’ offences, which had devastated both the victims and their families, should have brought a sentence at the higher end of the 10 to 15 year range.

“The sentence does not reflect the enormity of his offending of sexual misdconduct on a grand scale involving 13 girls,” Mr Moynihan said.

He said Byrnes maintained a sexual relationsip with one girl, raped five others and indecently dealt with seven others.

Mr Moynihan said the offences extended over two years during which Byrnes was the school’s child protection officer.

He said it was an abuse of power and the 10-year jail sentence did not adequately denounce the behaviour or mark deterrence.

However, Michael Byrne, QC, for Byrnes, said the 10-year sentence was adequate because there were substantial mitigating factors in his client’s favour including his early plea and genuine remorse in writing an apology to his victims.

Mr Byrne said his client had led a blemish-free life and been a productive member of the community.

The Court of Appeal reserved its judgment.  http://www.thechronicle.com.au/story/2011/02/17/court-hear-byrnes-appeal-toowoomba/

Court to hear rape sentence too lenient

17th February 2011

QUEENSLAND’S Court of Appeal will today hear legal argument that the sentence handed down to pedophile Toowoomba school teacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes was too lenient.

Byrnes, 61, pleaded guilty before Toowoomba District Court last year to 10 counts of rape, 33 counts of indecent treatment of a child, and one count of maintaining a sexual relationship with a child.

All 13 of his victims were girls aged nine or 10 and members of his Year 4 class at a Catholic primary school in Toowoomba.

The offences occurred in the class room environment in 2007 and 2008 at a time when Byrnes was the school’s designated Child Protection Officer.

He was sentenced on October 4 last year to 10 years jail of which he was ordered to serve eight years.

However, because he had already served 23 months in pre-sentence custody, Byrnes could be released from prison within six years of his sentence date.

Attorney General Cameron Dick, after taking legal advice, appealed the sentence on the grounds it was manifestly inadequate.


Queensland Attorney-General to appeal child rapist Gerard Vincent Byrnes’ eight-year term

  • From:AAP
  • October 22, 2010 2:11PM

THE Queensland government will appeal a 10-year sentence given to a staff member found guilty of the rape and sexual abuse of students in his care at a Toowoomba school.

Gerard Vincent Byrnes, 61, pleaded guilty in April to 44 charges – 33 of indecent treatment of a child under 16, 10 counts of rape and one of maintaining an unlawful relationship with a child.

The incidents occurred while Byrnes was the child protection officer at a Toowoomba school from January 2007 to November 2008.

Byrnes was sentenced to serve eight years behind bars before being eligible for parole.

Having served nearly two years in pre-sentence custody, he could have been released in 2016.

Attorney-General Cameron Dick announced today he would appeal the sentence.

“Today I have lodged an appeal in the Court of Appeal in Brisbane against the sentence imposed on Gerard Vincent Byrnes for the offences of rape, maintaining an unlawful sexual relationship, and indecent treatment of a child under the age of 16,” Mr Dick said in a statement.

He said the grounds of the appeal are that the sentence fails to reflect the gravity of the offence, that it fails to act as a sufficient deterrent, and that the sentencing judge gave too much weight to factors of mitigation.

“I will not be making any further comment as the matter is now before the courts,” Mr Dick said.

The court will set the date for the appeal.


Teacher sentenced to jail for rape of students

By Sam Burgess

Updated 5 hours 28 minutes ago

A southern Queensland primary school teacher who raped and molested 13 of his students has been sentenced to at least eight years in jail.

Gerard Vincent Byrnes, 61, pleaded guilty to 33 counts of indecent treatment of a child under 12, 10 counts of rape and one of maintaining a sexual relationship with a student.

The incidents occurred while he was the child protection officer at a Toowoomba school from January 2007 to November 2008.

In the Toowoomba District Court today, Judge Sarah Bradley sentenced him to 10 years in jail.

He must serve at least 80 per cent of that time.

Appeal demanded

Queensland Opposition Deputy Leader Lawrence Springborg has called on Attorney-General Cameron Dick to appeal against the sentence.

He says the sentence is manifestly inadequate and clearly out of step with community expectations.

Mr Springborg says Byrnes will serve less than a year for each victim and the Attorney-General must appeal.


Teacher’s rape sentence ‘manifestly inadequate’

By Chris O’Brien and Sam Burgess

Updated 1 hour 18 minutes ago

The Queensland Opposition has called on the Attorney-General to appeal the sentence for a Toowoomba teacher who raped and molested 13 students.

Gerard Vincent Byrnes, 61, has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for 44 sex offences.

Byrnes must serve at least eight years, but with time already served he could be eligible for parole in just over six.

Opposition Justice spokesman Lawrence Springborg says the sentence is manifestly inadequate and Byrnes will serve less than a year for each victim.

“This sentence is clearly out of step with community expectations and the Attorney-General must appeal,” he said.

“I think we had the prosecutor arguing that there should be a starting point of about 18 years and no less than 14 years.

“Certainly if you look at this sentence a lot of Queenslanders would justifiably be shaking their head.

“What we need is some real serious reform of sentencing laws.”

The court heard Byrnes, who was also the school’s child protection officer, committed the offences after asking the female victims to come to the front of the class to sit on his lap.

He also molested the girls during lunch breaks.

The court heard Byrnes was quizzed by the school’s principal about inappropriate contact with pupils but denied the allegations and continued to commit acts, including digital rape, against the girls.

Toowoomba Catholic Bishop William Morris says he hopes the sentence will start to provide some closure for the victims and their families.

“Until the sentencing has happened, even though he pleaded guilty, and then they had to wait, and it’s been deferred and so on, I think this is one step in the process of hopefully getting normality back into people’s lives,” he said.

“[It's] a step along the way of the healing of the victims and their families.”


Bishop to meet with families

Jim Campbell | 13th August 2010

THE families of two young victims of the horrific sexual abuse scandal at a Toowoomba Catholic primary school have supported the family of another victim who say they have been forced out of town.

The Chronicle ran a front page story in yesterday’s edition telling the family’s heart-breaking story.

The father of the young girl who was repeatedly raped by her teacher, Gerard Vincent Byrnes, explained the anguish his family had been put through and the lack of support they had been shown by the school.

A parent of another victim contacted The Chronicle yesterday to show support for the devastated family. “We understand your devastation and hope that you gain some strength from knowing there are people who are willing to stand side by side with you through the most challenging of times,” they wrote.

“The families involved have shown incredible courage and resilience in spite of ignorance and ‘blind faith’ being exhibited in a very public way by certain sections of the community.

“As a parent of one of the victims, we have also chosen to relocate to try and protect our family from unwanted exposure.”

Finally, they wrote: “The pain this one man has caused is unimaginable and will remain with us for the rest of our lives.”

Toowoomba Catholic Diocese leader Bishop William Morris also issued a statement in response to the family’s claims, saying the diocese had “maintained a constant flow of communication with the school community and has offered counselling and other pastoral support” over the past two years.

“Parents and the diocese place a great deal of trust in teachers to care for children under their supervision and the actions of Gerard Byrnes were a shocking betrayal of that trust,” Bishop Morris said.

“I can only begin to imagine the suffering which has been experienced by the victims and their families, including the one referred to in the Toowoomba Chronicle (yesterday).

“Although I of course would have preferred to have directly communicated with the victims and their families sooner, the diocese was unable to do so until April this year, due to not wanting to interfere in any way with the police investigation and subsequent criminal court proceedings.

“Gerard Byrnes’ guilty plea in the Toowoomba District Court in April meant the diocese was for the first time able to directly communicate with the victim’s parents, which I did so via a letter to each parent.

“I believed a letter to the victims offering a face-to-face meeting was a more respectful way of making contact, rather than an unannounced phone call.

“. . . I offered a face-to-face meeting and I indicated I would very much like this to occur so that I could apologise personally.”

Bishop Morris said that invitation remained open and he would particularly encourage the family who spoke out in The Chronicle to contact him.

He said he wrote to the families who had not yet pursued legal claims, inviting them to participate in the mediation process that will follow Bishop Morris’ admission of liability in July.

He also said the diocese had comprehensive procedures for dealing with allegations of sexual abuse and that at the beginning of 2010, it appointed a full-time Diocesan Student Protection Officer, who is working with Toowoomba Catholic Education personnel to “heighten their vigilance for child protection surveillance”.


Family forced to leave city

Jim Campbell | 12th August 2010

THE family of a young girl who was repeatedly raped by her teacher at a Toowoomba primary school say they have been ostracised and forced out of the city they once loved.

The girl’s distraught father told The Chronicle his family had been so devastated by the horrific crimes against his daughter they were leaving Toowoomba to try to piece their lives back together.

Legal action is about to be launched on behalf of the family against the Catholic Church which has admitted liability for the numerous acts of sexual assault against children at the school.

Gerard Vincent Byrnes, 61, has pleaded guilty to 33 counts of sexually molesting children, 10 counts of raping children and one count of maintaining a sexual relationship with a girl under 12.

The offences were committed against 13 different girls in classes taught by the former Catholic primary school teacher between January, 2007, and September, 2008.

The father of the young girl who will now take his daughter to a new life remembers clearly the day he first learned of the horror she went through at just eight-years-old.

It was November, 2008, and it was his wife’s birthday.

The man received a phone call from a police officer and was asked to take his daughter to Toowoomba station for questioning.

“She was fully shocked by the police interview — after that she cried a lot,” the father remembered.

He said the ongoing trauma had put terrible strain on his family, his work and his relationship with his wife.

But despite what had happened, the man said he hadn’t received a single phone call from his daughter’s school, just one generalised letter offering counselling and a series of letters from the Catholic Church as legal proceedings progressed.

“To be honest, I expected a phone call from the school,” he said.

“I am angry and upset with the school and the Catholic Education (office) because they are responsible.

“That creature was the child protection officer and he did those things to all those kids.”

The family’s lawyer, Roger Singh, a partner at Shine Lawyers, said they deserved to be compensated for the horror they had been put through.

“The aim is to bring the church to account and that we will do,” he said.

Law firm Slater and Gordon is also pursuing legal action on behalf of five families of children who were assaulted.

The principal of the school at the time and two of his superiors were sacked in December last year as a result of the sex abuse scandal.

Byrnes is due to be sentenced on October 4.


Pedophile Byrnes faces sentencing

Peter Hardwick | 24th July 2010

PEDOPHILE schoolteacher Gerard Vincent Byrnes will be sentenced in Toowoomba District Court on October 4.

Byrnes, 61, pleaded guilty on April 14 to 10 counts of raping girls under 12, 33 counts of molesting girls under 12 and one of maintaining a sexual relationship with a girl under 12.

The offences were committed against 13 different girls, all students of his at a Toowoomba Catholic primary school, between January, 2007, and September, 2008.

However, Judge Debra Richards adjourned sentence when a medical report surfaced claiming Byrnes might have the onset of dementia which could affect the penalty imposed.

Judge Richards ordered that a neurologist’s report be compiled and put before the court.

The delay caused even more angst for the families of the victims, many of whom had attended court that day in the hope that Byrnes’ final sentencing might give them some closure and the healing process commenced.

During a mention of the matter before Toowoomba District Court yesterday, Byrnes’ solicitor Nathan Bouchier told Judge Richards that all reports had been received and the matter could now be set down for sentence.

However, Mr Bouchier said counsel briefed in the matter, Mr Brad Farr, was unavailable until the October sittings of the District Court in Toowoomba and asked that sentence be adjourned to those sittings.

Crown prosecutor Shontelle Kenny asked that the sentence date be set as early as possible out of respect for the victims’ families.

Accepting that Mr Farr should be present to represent Byrnes, Judge Richards adjourned sentence to Monday, October 4.

 Delays frustrate victims’ families:Sentencing of paedophile adjourned again

Peter Hardwick.  The Chronicle.  Toowoomba, Qld.:Jun 5, 2010.  p. 5

THERE was further frustration for the families of the child victims of Gerard Vincent Byrnes yesterday with the pedophile school teacher’s sentence adjourned again in Toowoomba District Court. Byrnes, 61, has pleaded guilty to 33 counts of sexually molesting girls under

12 years of age, 10 counts of raping girls under 12, and one count of maintaining a sexual relationship with a girl under 12.

The offences were committed against 13 different girls in classes taught by the former Catholic primary school teacher between January, 2007, and September,2008.

Byrnes was the school’s designated child-protection officer at the time.

He was due to be sentenced in April, but that hearing was adjourned after his legal team produced a psychiatric report suggesting Byrnes might have the onset of dementia.

Judge Debra Richards adjourned sentence until June 18 so a neurologist could examine all the medical material and report back to the court.

However, during a call-over of matters before Toowoomba District Court yesterday, Judge Richards was told the neurologist’s report might not be available by June 18.Judge Richards therefore delisted the sentence and adjourned proceedings for mention back in the same court on June 25 when a new date for sentence was expected to be set.Byrnes was remanded in custody.


Teacher Gerard Byrnes admits 44 counts of child sex abuse

  • From: The Australian
  • April 15, 2010 3:22AM
  • Teacher admits 44 sex abuse charges
  • More victims expected to come forward
  • Parents demand church hold inquiry

POLICE have warned the Catholic Church to expect more cases of child sex abuse to emerge from six schools that employed a veteran teacher who yesterday pleaded guilty to abusing 13 schoolgirls.

Former Christian brother Gerard Vincent Byrnes, 61, admitted to 44 sex abuse charges concerning students at a Toowoomba primary school, where he also served as the child protection officer.

Among them were 10 counts of raping a child under 12.

In court documents, Queensland police said they expected more victims to come forward now that Byrnes, who taught at six other Catholic schools in Sydney and Queensland, had been publicly identified.

“It is unknown how many other complainant children there are in the community as the defendant has had a long, 39-year teaching career,” police investigators said in an affidavit.

“Police expect that once this matter is before the court and the defendant is later recognised through the media, that further, more historical complainants will present with allegations of abuse of a similar nature as those of the current complainant children.”

Parents of some of the Toowoomba victims – all girls – yesterday demanded an open inquiry by the church into the past behaviour of the father of eight.

“It is what we have wanted all along, for the church to be open and honest about this person and his history as a teacher and principal,” one mother told The Australian.

“There are a lot of questions about his past. The church already failed to act when the first victim came to them, and more children were abused.”

Toowoomba bishop William Morris, who last year sacked the primary school’s principal and two senior Catholic Education officials for failing to act on a complaint by one of the first victims, said he would now inform his counterparts in the three other dioceses where Byrnes had taught, “to ensure they are fully informed in relation to this matter”.

Byrnes taught at Sydney’s St Pius X secondary school between 1970 and 1976, before moving to the Gold Coast, where he taught at Aquinas Secondary School.

He was then made deputy principal at Our Lady College, Longreach, before becoming headmaster in 1992 at St Joseph’s Primary School, Tara, and in 1994 being appointed headmaster at St Mary’s Primary School in Charleville.

In 1997, he went back to teaching at Our Lady of Lourdes School in Toowoomba before moving in 2001 to the school, which cannot be named, where he committed the offences.

A psychiatric assessment, conducted soon after Byrnes’s arrest in November 2008, described the once-popular teacher as having no “reaction of distress or of personal concern” about the allegations against him.

Byrnes’s sentencing for the sex offences was yesterday adjourned for a neurological assessment amid conflicting psychologists’ reports. One claimed he showed onset of dementia.

Last year, the principal of the Toowoomba school became the first person in Australia, and among only a handful worldwide, to be charged under laws mandating the reporting to police of any suspicions of sexual abuse involving a child.

Police launched the investigation into the school’s handling of the case after a series of reports by The Australian revealed the principal had failed to act on complaints in September 2007 from parents of a nine-year-old child about her abuse.

At the time there were other complaints from staff about the teacher’s behaviour, including his growing notoriety for enticing children to sit on his lap with the offer of lollies.

The principal later admitted it was then that he “reasonably suspected” the teacher had sexually abused at least one child and that he failed to tell police.

Read more on Gerard Byrne’s crimes at The Australian.


Former Katungul health service CEO Damien Matcham fined over embezzlement

Former Katungul CEO cops $1.2m penalty

Feb. 5, 2014,

IN A ground-breaking decision, the Federal Court in Sydney on Wednesday ordered Damien Matcham, the former CEO of the Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Community and Medical Services, to pay over $1.2million in fines and compensation.

Former Katungul CEO Damien Matcham

Former Katungul CEO Damien Matcham

Mr Matcham was also banned from being involved in the management of any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation for 15 years.

The proceedings in the Federal Court were brought by the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Anthony Beven.

Justice Jacobson ordered Mr Matcham:

• pay compensation of $705,905.07 to Katungul;

• pay a pecuniary penalty of $500,000 to the Commonwealth;

• be disqualified from managing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporation for a period of 15 years; and

• pay the Registrar’s legal costs in the matter.

In an earlier judgment, on September 11, 2013, Justice Jacobson found Mr Matcham had not exercised due care and diligence, had not acted in good faith in the best interests of Katungul, and had improperly used his position as the CEO of Katungul.

In handing down his decision on Wednesday, Justice Jacobson said, “The seriousness of Mr Matcham’s behaviour, the abuse of trust which it involved and the absence of any real contrition or appreciation of his wrongdoing, all point toward a lengthy period of disqualification.”

“Katungul’s funds were deliberately misused by Mr Matcham to confer benefits on himself to the detriment of Katungul’s charitable objectives,” Justice Jacobson said.

Mr Matcham was found to have paid unauthorised bonus and time in lieu payments to himself of more than $515,000 from 2008 to 2011.

He also received unauthorised payments for excess superannuation, recreation leave and other non-salary payments.

Mr Matcham incurred personal expenses on Katungul’s credit card and signed a mortgage over a Katungul property to secure a $200,000 bank overdraft for the corporation.

Katungul is a not-for-profit corporation that provides essential primary and secondary health services to Aboriginal people in the Far South Coast.

“This is a significant decision and the scale of the orders is unprecedented in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporate sector,” Mr Beven said.

“This should send a very clear message that there are serious consequences for corporation officers that fail to meet the standards expected of them.”

Former Katungul health service CEO Damien Matcham fined over embezzlement

ABC news

5th Feb 2014

The former chief executive of an Aboriginal healthcare service has been ordered to pay $1.2 million for embezzling from the organisation.

Damien Matcham awarded himself unauthorised bonuses while working at the Katungul Aboriginal Community Corporation, which provides health care to Indigenous people in New South Wales.

At one point he claimed pay for working more than 24 hours a day.

The Federal Court ordered Matcham pay $705,905 in compensation to the organisation, pay the Commonwealth $500,000, and also pay legal costs.

Matcham has also been disqualified from managing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations for 15 years.

“It is plain that Mr Matcham abused his position of trust by obtaining payments of large amounts to which he was not entitled and which were obtained for his personal use,” the written judgment said.

“His breaches of trust were committed over a period of four years in circumstances which demonstrate that he should have been aware that he was not entitled to the payments.”

The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Anthony Bevan, says it is the worst case of individual embezzlement from an Aboriginal corporation he has seen.

“Katungul was in a situation where it had $2,400 to its name and it had gone from multi-million-dollar organisation to having $2,400 to its name, and it was on the verge of insolvency,” he said.

“In our submissions to the court that was largely due to the actions of Mr Matcham.”

Katungul future resolved

By Vesna Andric

Sept. 18, 2013

FORMER chief executive officer of the Katungul Aboriginal Health Service, Damien Matcham, has admitted misappropriating more than $700,000 from the service between June 2007 and February 2012.

On Wednesday, September 11 at the Sydney Federal Court Justice Jacobson made 25 declarations of contraventions against Mr Matcham, which included unauthorised payments for bonuses, time in lieu, superannuation, recreation leave and life insurance, in excess of $700,000.

Justice Jacobson declared that Mr Matcham had not acted in good faith and in the best interests of the corporation and had improperly used his position as CEO to gain a personal advantage and cause detriment to Katungul.

Mr Matcham admitted his guilt last week after initially defending his position.

The penalties for Mr Matcham’s actions will be considered during court proceedings in November.

The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Mr Anthony Beven, is seeking orders to see Mr Matcham fined and forced to pay compensation to Katungul, as well as being banned from managing companies and Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander corporations.

“He agreed to a statement of facts in which he admitted that his conduct breached the CATSI Act,” Mr Beven said.

“He should repay all of the money back to Katungul with interest. Even if he repays one dollar, that’s one dollar that will go back to those who need it for medical treatment,” Mr Beven said.

Maximum fines for each contravention are $200,000, with 25 declarations made Mr Matcham stands to face a considerable fine.

Whether the funds will be recouped is yet to be seen.

“He’s defended the proceedings all the way up until last week, so it has been a very expensive process for him and for us,” Mr Beven said.

Mr Matcham did not respond to requests for comment from the Narooma News.

Mr Beven said the court action sent a clear message. “There are serious consequences if CEOs misuse their position,” he said.

Staff that discovered the financial losses, including former and current directors of Katungul, were praised and thanked for their work in restoring Katungul’s integrity.

“When they became aware that money that was to be used to improve the health of their community was being diverted to one person they notified my office. They also provided invaluable support during the Federal Court proceedings,” Mr Beven said.

“This is a good outcome and it is pleasing to see that truth and justice have prevailed for Katungul and its members and clients,” he said.

Katungul is a multimillion dollar not-for-profit corporation that provides essential primary and secondary health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living on the far south coast of NSW from Batemans Bay to the Victorian border.

Since the losses were exposed Katungul has restored its services and is now in a strong financial position. It has expanded its range and types of health services.

Now operating with new CEO Jon Rogers, who was appointed in August 2012, Katungul is restoring trust and rebuilding itself as a holistic service providing numerous support services.

“It’s about trust and the real story here is about the healing that’s happening,” Mr Rogers said.

Among some of the changes is a significant increase in services.

“We have doubled the number of GP clinics,” Mr Rogers said.

Time line of events

September 2011 – Katungul CEO Damien Matcham takes leave.

September 2011 – Government agencies instigate audit after receiving complaints from employees, elders and board members.

October 2011 – The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Mr Anthony Beven starts examination of the corporation.

December 2011 – Katungul placed under special administration following discovery of misappropriation of funds.

January 2012 – Mr Beven starts Federal Court proceedings against Mr Matcham obtaining orders freezing bank accounts and property.

February 2012 – Mr Matcham’s contract as CEO of Katungul is terminated.

August 2012 – New CEO Jon Rogers appointed

October 2012 – Community control is returned to Katungul.

September 2013 – Mr Matcham faces Sydney Federal Court and admits misappropriation of funds totalling $700,000

Katungul CEO faces civil proceedings

The Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Mr Anthony Beven, today announced that he has commenced further proceedings in the Federal Court in Sydney against Mr Damien Matcham, the former CEO of Katungul Aboriginal Corporation Community and Medical Services (Katungul). The proceedings relate to alleged contraventions of civil penalty provisions in the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 (CATSI Act).

Katungul is based in Narooma, NSW and operates medical centres in Narooma and Bega for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on the far south coast.

The proceedings against Mr Matcham follow an investigation by the Registrar into several ‘bonus’ and other payments made to Mr Matcham totalling more than $500 000. Mr Matcham also signed a mortgage on behalf of the corporation to secure a $200 000 bank overdraft.

The Registrar has asked the Federal Court for a number of orders against Mr Matcham.

The Registrar is seeking declarations from the court that Mr Matcham had contravened his duties as an officer of Katungul. The Registrar is also seeking a pecuniary penalty of up to $200 000, compensation orders and an order disqualifying Mr Matcham from managing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations.

‘Katungul is a not-for-profit community-controlled health service. The moneys that Mr Matcham received should have been used to provide health services to the Aboriginal people on the far south coast,’ Mr Beven said. ‘The priority for officers of corporations must always be the interests of their members and clients. I will take action, such as the current proceedings, where this does not occur.’

The proceedings have been listed for directions on Friday, 3 August 2012. Freezing orders against the property of Mr Matcham have been extended to that date.


The corporation was placed under special administration on 12 December 2011 after an examination revealed poor corporate governance and weak financial management.

For more information please see the Registrar’s media releases of 25 January 2012 (ORIC MR1112-19), 3 February 2012 (ORIC MR1112-21) and 8 June 2012 (ORICMR1112-39).

Media contact
Christa de Jager
(02) 6146 4737
29 June 2012
Ref: ORIC MR1112-44

Katungal may be forced to close


April 6, 2011, 4:15 a.m.

FACING CLOSURE: Drug and alcohol worker Graham White, mental health nurse Jim Pearson, medical receptionist Jeanie Parsons, senior Aboriginal health worker Aunty Norma Parsons and registered nurse Nicole Peiti fear the days of the Katungal clinic at Moruya are numbered.

Katungal Aboriginal Corporation and Community and Medical Services will hold a community meeting at Moruya Showground tomorrow in a desperate bid to prevent its closure.

Katungal CEO Damien Matcham is blaming a broken promise made by the Department of Health and Ageing Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health for the economic woes which may see them close the Moruya clinic and transfer staff to their Narooma clinic.

“Katungal was promised recurrent funding for staffing and operational costs for the Moruya clinic, but it is now 2011 and it hasn’t been provided,” he said.

“We only ever ended up receiving one-off funding for lease costs for 12 months and four computers. Someone is getting rich with the money provided by the department, but it is not us.

“All the talk about closing the gap is just spin and talk,” he said of the Federal Government’s program aimed at reducing the gap between the life expectancies of indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

There are Katungal Clinics in Moruya, Narooma and Bega, and Mr Matcham says he has had to take funding from the Narooma clinic to keep the Moruya clinic going.

He is now turning to the community for help.

“We are asking the community for their support to keep the Moruya clinic open,” Mr Matcham said.

“If we don’t get support and the required funding, we will have no choice but to close the clinic.”

The community meeting and barbecue will be held at Moruya Showground from 12.30pm to 2.30pm tomorrow.


Bribery, dirty deals rife in building industry-CFMEU in spotlight

Hells Angels boss Zeljko Mitrovic infiltrated Qld building industry, raking in $11 million

Josh Robertson
The Courier-Mail
February 17, 2014

Unions are defending their decision to help bankroll a legal challenge to the anti-bikie laws.

Hells Angels boss won a workplace agreement with a major union after muscling in on Queensland’s construction industry.

Zeljiko Mitrovic with wife Sue.

Zeljiko Mitrovic with wife Sue.

Murdered bikie leader Zeljko Mitrovic’s steel fixing company raked in $11 million in nine months while associated with companies working on Queensland hospitals and high-rises.

The revelation has provided concrete evidence of organised crime infiltrating the building industry.

Mitrovic, who was shot dead in an internal gang dispute last year, infiltrated the industry after “standing over” the boss of one of the countries biggest steel-fixing businesses, Dennis Delic, former business associates claim.

Mr Delic, who died last month, signed a workplace agreement on behalf of Mitrovic’s company SFC Steelfixing QLD with the Queensland branch of the CFMEU on Christmas Eve 2010.

The company collapsed weeks later with a $1 million tax debt, no assets and no employees.

Local CFMEU boss David Hanna said Lend Lease, which was responsible for vetting subcontractors, notified the union that SFC was to work on the $1.9 billion Gold Coast University Hospital.

Mr Hanna said the union would not have known of Mitrovic or his crime links when it signed the agreement.

A Lend Lease spokeswoman rejected the union claims, saying the company had no record of direct deals with Mitrovic’s company.

But she confirmed Delic’s ISD Group worked on the hospital.

“As is standard practice in the construction industry, our subcontractors may, in turn, have commercial arrangements with other entities with whom we do not have direct dealings,” she said.

She said the company carried out “detailed checks on each entity” it directly dealt with before striking deals.

Mitrovic went on to found new Gold Coast and Brisbane City Hells Angels chapters, the latter as president, while still based in Sydney.

Mitrovic was a former Bandido whose brother-in-law was gunned down in an infamous triple murder in a Sydney pub by a Nomads rival in 1997.

Mitrovic himself was jailed over a double murder just a year later.

Just a little update folks, talk about stand over tactics. http://aussiecriminals.com.au/2014/01/28/bribery-dirty-deals-rife-in-building-industry-cfmeu-in-spotlight/comment-page-1/#comment-121771. What he does not get is that inspires me to find out why? Here is why…

6-02-2014 2-18-11 PM

THE extraordinary police record of John Setka

John Setka A man to be reckoned with...So he says

John Setka A man to be reckoned with…So he says

one of the nation’s most powerful unionists, finally has been laid bare, with 60 charges leading to dozens of convictions and fines including for theft, assault by kicking, criminal damage and assaulting police.

By the end of the year, Mr Setka is expected to be placed in charge of the construction division of the Victorian branch of the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union.

The Australian can reveal that Mr Setka, 48 next month, was charged 60 times with serious offences between 1982 and 1991 in a violent battle with the law during unprecedented turmoil in the construction industry.

He was convicted or fined in relation to 40 of those offences (one of which was dropped after an appeal). That still makes it an extraordinary rap sheet for one of the nation’s most influential members of the construction industry.

Mr Setka said yesterday the majority of the charges came from heated exchanges on picket lines and in the name of defending union members.

Critics hit out at the behaviour of Mr Setka, a former Builders Labourers Federation official, warning union delegates should be made aware of his past when voting in ballots.

The criminal history, which includes his fingerprint classification and a jail number, shows that Mr Setka was found guilty multiple times for indecent language, assault by kicking, assaulting police and wilful trespass.

Sitting with Melbourne identity Mick Gatto at a wine bar opposite Parliament House in Melbourne yesterday, Mr Setka said he was under legal instruction not to talk to The Australian but added that many of the offences were committed in the name of protecting workers.

“A lot of the charging was dismissed on appeal,” he said. “You go to a picket line and you just get loaded up with a whole lot of charges.”

Mr Gatto said Mr Setka worked hard for his members and deserved respect.

Mr Setka, who is suing Tony Abbott for allegedly implying he is a union thug, was accused in court yesterday of deliberately driving his car at a building site manager following a violent protest. He denies the claim.

Mr Setka also allegedly hurled abuse at Grocon employees during a protest in Melbourne at which construction workers trampled on police officers.

The allegations were made as Grocon asked the Victorian Supreme Court to extend injunction orders against the CFMEU after hearing evidence about the violent clash outside Grocon’s $1.2 billion Myer Emporium building site on Lonsdale Street.

The company’s Victorian operations manager, Brian McAdam, told judge Anthony Cavanough he had recognised Mr Setka at the CBD protest and saw him directly confront a group of about 90 Grocon employees who were trying to enter their worksite. “Mr Setka has then verbally abused our people,” Mr McAdam told the court. “It’s not language I like to use but he yelled out ‘f . . king dog’.”

Mr McAdam said Mr Setka had also called the workers “scabs”, to which some of them replied, “we just want to work”.

A police spokeswoman said: “There were no arrests during today’s protest. Police will investigate any possible offences relating to today’s protest after viewing available vision.”

While it has been known Mr Setka has had brushes with the law, the full extent of his dealings with Victoria Police in the turbulent 1980s and 90s have been closely guarded.

Mr Setka’s lawyers yesterday did not respond to a series of questions put to him in writing by The Australian. Mr Setka did not contest the accuracy of his criminal history.

Between 1982 and 1991, he faced 60 criminal charges and two traffic offences. Of the 60 charges, 20 were dropped or no further action was taken, with 40 leading to penalties. Of several attempts to appeal matters, only one was successful.

Mr Setka is suing the Opposition Leader, claiming he has been “gravely injured” by his public portrayal as a construction site thug. Mr Abbott, who made the claim at a Master Builders Association conference in February, has contended he had been true in his criticism of Mr Setka.

Of the charges successfully pursued by police 20 years ago, Mr Setka was found guilty five times of assaulting police, five times of assault by kicking, seven times for wilful trespass, five times for resisting arrest, once for theft and once for attempted theft by deception.

The Australian reported in May that Mr Setka had been jailed twice after being found in contempt of court. This is separate to the criminal record seen by The Australian and published today.

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu said yesterday he would not comment directly on Mr Setka but he was sick of industrial thuggery in the construction industry.

Former Australian Building and Construction Commissioner John Lloyd said that in any union or employer association senior appointments needed to be carefully considered.

On Mr Setka’s past, Mr Lloyd said: “The members probably know about it. But it wouldn’t be unreasonable that members were aware of all the facts about a person’s past.”

Lawrie Cross, industrial relations and health and safety manager at the Master Builders Association of Victoria, said he was concerned the ABCC had been abolished.

“Such is the pervasive power of the CFMEU over construction companies, the situation is going to repeat itself,” he said. “Yes, we are concerned that there remains an element of thuggery.”

Well it would be fair to say there always has been at least a small degree all down the line when it comes to the building industry when there are so many stakeholders and money involved. Greasing the palms of those who make decisions is a time-honoured tradition. It does NOT make it right though. This government better get fair dinkum about it and let those fall by the wayside not matter how high they have climbed. (the harder the fall the better) It is beyond turning a blind eye, normal Aussies have had enough of the unions and bloody self-interest being put above members. greedy officials need to weeded out and prosecuted. The federal secretary said this morning if this official Danny Berardi hadn’t resigned he would have been sacked? What so that is the end of it? resigns will all his cushy entitlements in place? and all the nice free work done on his properties…This will become HUGE

On Monday, Victorian CFMEU organiser Danny Berardi resigned after Fairfax revealed at least two building companies helped renovate his properties for free in an apparent breach of secret-commission laws, which carry jail penalties of up to 10 years. Mr Berardi helped these companies to get work on Melbourne construction sites.

January 28, 2014

Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker, Ben Schneiders

Exclusive – Inside the Building Rackets

An exclusive investigation reveals the corrupt and dangerous underworld growing beneath the nation’s construction industry.

how it works

Officials from Australia’s powerful building unions are being bribed by corrupt companies that need their support to win multimillion-dollar contracts.

The construction industry rackets involve labour hire, traffic management, scaffolding, crane and building companies, several of which are connected to bikies and organised crime figures.

An investigation by Fairfax Media and the ABC’s 7.30 program has identified several influential Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union officials, organisers and shop stewards in NSW and Victoria who have been given bribes and other inducements by the companies.

The union figures in return use their influence to ensure the companies get the CFMEU’s backing, including specific enterprise bargaining agreements, to win contracts on parts of big private and government projects, among them Victoria’s desalination plant and Sydney’s Barangaroo development.

The corruption has flourished because policing agencies have failed to take action. Both the CFMEU and the federal government’s building watchdog have called for far greater law enforcement against corruption and other crime in the construction industry.

Union endorsement is all but essential for labour hire, traffic management, scaffolding and crane companies to be engaged on large projects by major building companies and developers.

In one case, a labour hire company run by Sydney and Melbourne crime figures has won CFMEU endorsement in Victoria and NSW, despite it owing union members more than $1 million in unpaid wages and entitlements.

Evidence includes leaked covertly recorded conversations, bank records, police files and witnesses’ testimony. At least six people from the Victorian CFMEU branch, including senior officials and shop stewards, have received kickbacks.

On Monday, Victorian CFMEU organiser Danny Berardi resigned after Fairfax revealed at least two building companies helped renovate his properties for free in an apparent breach of secret-commission laws, which carry jail penalties of up to 10 years. Mr Berardi helped these companies to get work on Melbourne construction sites.

Victorian branch secretary John Setka said: ”Last week I received specific information about an organiser, and after an immediate investigation he is no longer employed by the union.”Every branch of the union had adopted strict rules for conflicts of interest and declaring outside income last year, he said. ”There is no place for officials who engage in criminal or corrupt behaviour in this union or any other.”

Several covert recordings reveal a Melbourne building industry figure telling colleagues about how his company paid kickbacks or a “cash bribe” to several figures “in the hierarchy of the union”.

Union figures have also been given premium tickets to sporting events worth several thousand dollars and money to gamble at casinos by the owners of companies seeking their support. Relatives of criminals and associates of CFMEU figures have also been employed by labour hire and traffic management companies in return for union support to win contracts.

The CFMEU’s national executive has launched an internal investigation into allegations surrounding labour-hire companies run by Sydney businessman George Alex.

The probe was sparked after a CFMEU whistleblower, believed to be a senior NSW official, wrote to national secretary Michael O’Connor to describe how some influential NSW union officials gave “unwarranted favourable treatment” to Mr Alex.

Mr Alex, who has links to drug dealers and bikies, has made deals with union figures in NSW and Victoria to win enterprise bargaining agreements for his labour hire firms, Active Labour and United. His union support comes despite his labour hire companies having ripped off union members who work for them.

Late last year, Mr Alex’s companies owed more than $1 million in workers’ benefits and unpaid taxes in NSW and Victoria. The NSW CFMEU recently recovered $250,000 from him.

One of Mr Alex’s companies has won a lucrative contract related to Sydney’s Barangaroo site after being promoted by an influential NSW CFMEU figure. Another senior NSW union figure asked Mr Alex to employ his son after he was released from jail having served a long sentence for murder.

In Victoria, Mr Alex’s agreement with the CFMEU involved him paying Melbourne underworld figure Mick Gatto tens of thousands of dollars to help broker the deal and run Mr Alex’s operations. Gatto has also been engaged by other construction-industry companies seeking the CFMEU’s support.

A condition of Mr Alex’s Victorian CFMEU deal involved his company, United, hiring union firebrand Craig Johnston, who in 2004 served a nine-month jail term after being convicted of affray, assault and damaging property over an infamous ”run-through” at two Melbourne companies.

Mr Alex, whose Victorian operation was overseen by Comanchero bikie Amin Fakhri, paid Mr Johnston an inflated wage of at least $2000 a week. Union shop steward Andrew Roussis also helped Mr Alex’s United win work on Multiplex’s Upper West Side site in Melbourne’s CBD.

Leaked records and covertly recorded conversations reveal Mr Roussis and two of his more senior union associates have taken kickbacks from building firms in return for getting them work. It is also understood Mr Roussis recently told one subcontractor: “I will look after you if you look after me.”

In statements on Monday, CFMEU construction division national secretary Dave Noonan, NSW secretary Brian Parker and Victorian secretary Mr Setka said they took corruption claims seriously and called on police and corporate regulators to investigate companies and individuals involved in criminal conduct.

”We have consistently called on them [police and corporate regulator ASIC] to do their job,” Mr Noonan said.

The director of the Fairwork Building and Construction agency, Nigel Hadgkiss, has told Fairfax Media that law enforcement agencies have recently obtained evidence about “the payment of bribes to senior union officials” in Victoria.

Mr Hadgkiss called on police to get serious about investigating crime in the construction sector.He said years of police unwillingness to act on evidence and intelligence had allowed a ”hell of a lot” of criminal activity to occur in the industry.

The Fairfax/7.30 investigation uncovered a 2010 intelligence report prepared by Victoria Police and the Australian Crime Commission that alleged Mick Gatto and his crane company business partner, Matt Tomas, were involved in “criminal activity in the building industry and narcotics” and had connections to “the Hells Angels, the CFMEU and drug importers”.

Around the time of the report, Mr Gatto’s company Elite Cranes and a Hells Angels East County chapter crane company both won contracts on Victoria’s desalination plant through corrupt dealings.Victoria’s biggest labour hire firm, MC Labour, is also embroiled in the construction industry rackets. MC Labour, which has sponsored AFL clubs Carlton and Collingwood, gave kickbacks to CFMEU organiser Danny Berardi, including free labour to help renovate his house in Melbourne’s north-east.

MC Labour also employed Mr Berardi’s wife. At least one other building company gave him kickbacks. In return, companies paying the kickbacks expected Mr Berardi to use his union influence on building sites to help get them contracts.

Another labour hire and traffic management firm, KPI, which is run by a convicted criminal and former union shop steward, has regularly hired relatives and associates of union officials as a means of winning work and paid kickbacks to several union officials.

A KPI staff list sent to a major contractor at the Victorian government-funded Springvale Road level crossing project reveals it is employing relatives of CFMEU officials, two outlaw bikie figures and several of Gatto’s relatives.

Under the law, a person who “corruptly receives or solicits any valuable consideration” to favour someone’s business can be jailed. Industry, union and policing sources all say policing and regulatory agencies have an abysmal record in probing and prosecuting building companies who pay bribes, form illegal cartels and run ”phoenix” companies to avoid paying debts.

Union will take action, says CFMEU boss


January 28, 2014 – 8:06AM

The construction sector union says it will take immediate action if it’s made aware of any illegal or corrupt activity by its officials.

A joint ABC-Fairfax Media investigation has found union officials are making corrupt deals to help companies linked to organised crime secure construction contracts.

Victoria’s desalination plant and the Barangaroo development in Sydney are among a number of projects that companies connected to major crime figures are reportedly involved in.

The report implicate a number of Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) members in NSW and Victoria in dodgy deals, including bribery and extortion.

CFMEU National Secretary Dave Noonan says the union acts in the interests of workers at all times.

“The vast majority of our officials are hardworking people who are dedicated to improving the lives of construction workers,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.

“If the leadership of the CFMEU is made aware of improper, illegal, corrupt or criminal activity by any official of the union, we act immediately.”

The union has terminated the employment of officials who have engaged in such activity in the past, he said.

“We would not hesitate to do so in the future, if warranted.”

The CFMEU has adopted new governance rules for our officials which have been ratified recently, he said.

Mr Noonan says he wants to see a full police investigation of any allegations.


Betting Scandal at Australian Open tennis

Margaret Court Arena

Betting Scandal at Australian Open tennis…More to come 15/01/2014

Betting Scandal at Australian Open tennis, just confirming facts.Involves placing bets, caught red handing on video…Someone is always watching dickhead…stay tuned more more

this is direct from the official Australian Open 2014 website.

Illegal gambling and match fixing

Tennis Australia has a zero tolerance policy on illegal gambling, match-fixing and the communication of sensitive information that may affect the outcome of a match, and will investigate all reported instances

Update 3pm 15/01/14

Man charged with Australian Open betting offences

Police are about to hold a media conference in Melbourne over alleged court side betting at the Australian Open.

A 22 year old man from the United Kingdom has been arrested and charged with one count of engaging in conduct that would corrupt a betting outcome.

He has been bailed and is due to face a Melbourne Court tomorrow.

Detectives from Victoria Police’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit and Melbourne Crime Investigation Unit will continue to monitor the event and are warning would-be punters to think twice about their conduct. This has me thinking could be hanger on or some wag in the crowd yelling out to a player ” Blah Blah to double fault every serve this game…

Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said people needed to be aware that this sort of activity was illegal in Victoria.

“Victoria now has specific legislation that covers offences related to cheating at gambling,” DC Ashton said.

“Offences include engaging in conduct that corrupts a betting outcome, facilitating conduct that could corrupt a betting outcome and use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes.

“These offences carry hefty penalties of up to 10 years in prison.

“We will be monitoring matches for the remainder of the tournament, so if you’re thinking of engaging in this kind of behaviour, think again.”


Baden-Clay due to face trial in June for the murder of his wife, Allison


Courier Mail

 A SUPREME Court judge has described a counsellor’s attempts to avoid testifying at the murder trial of Gerard Baden-Clay as “bizarre”.

Justice James Douglas was commenting on submissions from the counsellor’s barrister that her sessions with Baden-Clay and his wife, Allison, were confidential.

“I regard the proceedings of the criminal courts of Australia as very significant proceedings,” Justice Douglas told a pre-trial hearing.

“I would have thought it would require very strong words to prevent evidence being called.

“To construe an act like this, to say evidence isn’t admissible when somebody’s on trial for murder, is quite frankly, in my mind, bizarre.

“A person on trial for the most serious crime really should be able to call evidence or have evidence called that is relevant.

“To construe the act this way, to try to say it’s actually in the public interest not to, I find very odd.”

Baden-Clay, who is due to face trial in June for the murder of his wife, sat silently in the dock for yesterday’s hearing. Clean-shaven and dressed in a dark suit, he was flanked by security guards and did not have his usual family support.

He reported his wife missing from their Brookfield home last April and her body was discovered under a bridge 10 days later.

Justice Douglas has been asked to rule on whether evidence from Relationships Australia counsellor Carmel Ritchie was admissible in the trial.

Barrister George Kalimnios, for Relationships Australia, argued the counsellor could legally keep her sessions with the Baden-Clays confidential.

But the prosecution and defence yesterday both told the court they wanted the evidence to be included and argued it was admissible.

Prosecutor Glen Cash, for the Director of Public Prosecutions, told the court police executed a search warrant on Relationships Australia Queensland on May 11 last year.

Baden-Clay had a session with Ms Ritchie on April 16 last year, just four days before he reported his wife missing from the Brookfield home. His wife had a separate session with Ms Ritchie immediately after his, and had a previous session on March 27.

Mr Cash told the court any public interest in confidentiality was overwhelmed by the need for access to the full evidence for the murder trial.

Concerns about discouraging openness in counselling sessions had to be put behind the interests of allowing the trial, he said.

Concerns about effects on future counselling sessions could be “overstated” as counsellors could only be called to give evidence in a very small number of cases, he said.

Michael Byrne QC, for Baden-Clay, said a murder trial had far greater public interest than confidentially for counselling sessions.

Justice Douglas said he would make his decision known at a future date.

Outside court, Baden-Clay’s solicitor Peter Shields said: “There won’t be any comment at all until the end of the trial.”

Source:  http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/gerard-badenclay-appears-in-court-for-pretrial-hearing-to-decide-whether-counsellor-should-testify/story-e6freon6-1226730693253

UPDATE (Thanks to JJE).

Developments on the BC case in court this morning.  Mr Business-As-Usual was in court today, represented by the very capable Mr Shields.  The counsellor has been ordered to appear as a witness.  Although not mentioned in the relevant CM or BT articles, it has been said previously that BC’s legal team were not opposing the counsellor giving evidence…  I wonder if that is the case now… (keep in mind his legal team has changed).  A glance at the ruling and reporting indicates this is still the case. And previously the counsellor – through her barrister – has argued that the sessions were ‘confidential’…  Thankfully this judge has sensibly ruled otherwise

Reveal all, I say…  Reveal all and let everyone see for themselves…


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.

A Former Officer’s Experiences at H.M. Prison, Pentridge.

Pentridge prison 1

Main entrance of former H.M.Prison Pentridge i...

Main entrance of former H.M.Prison Pentridge in Melbourne. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




Experiences and history of a former officer’s experience at H.M. Prison Pentridge.

HM Prison Pentridge was an Australian prison built in 1850 in Coburg, Victoria. The first prisoners arrived in 1851. The prison officially closed on 1 May 1997.

Pentridge was often known by the nickname “The Bluestone College”, “Coburg College” or the “College of Knowledge”. The grounds were originally landscaped by renowned landscape gardener Hugh Linaker.  Since decommissioning, the prison has been partly demolished to make way for a housing development. Large buildings have been built and a 16 floor modern apartment block is being planned.

The site is split in two with the northern prison being developed by Valad Property Group and the other areas by Pentridge Village. The National Trust has expressed strong concerns about the nature of the Heritage Victoria-approved Master Plans which involve peppering the walls with holes and building high-density high-rise between the historic divisions.

Pentridge prison 2

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