Aussie Peter Scully to face Philippines court on ‘depraved’ paedophilia charges; videos allegedly featured rape, torture

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By North Asia correspondent Matthew Carney

An Australian man will face a Philippines court tomorrow to enter a plea on paedophilia charges described by authorities there as “depraved”.

Peter Scully allegedly ran an international paedophile ring from Mindanao in the Southern Philippines that raped, tortured and murdered children.

One victim was only 18 months old.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details which may be disturbing for some readers.

Scully first moved to Cagayan de Oro on the island of Mindanao in 2011.

Exploiting the poverty and desperation right on his doorstep, Scully approached Arlene Loyola and offered to give her eight-year-old daughter education and food.

Ms Loyola accepted the offer, but after two weeks she began to worry.

“I prayed and God told me to get her away from Scully and I did,” Ms Loyola told 7.30.

When Ms Loyola got her daughter back she had been bashed and badly bruised. Scully had repeatedly drugged and raped the girl.

Ms Loyola blames herself.

“I feel so ashamed and asked forgiveness from my child because she suffered so much,” she said, sobbing.

“She just wanted to go to school.

“I can’t sleep; I just can’t stop thinking about what happened to her.”

Customers paid $10,000 to view torture videos

But this was just the tip of the iceberg of Scully’s depravity.

Officers of the Philippines Bureau of Investigation showed 7.30 a dark old house with high walls in another part of Cagayan de Oro.

It was here Scully made the videos called The Destruction of Daisy.

He was selling the videos to online customers around the world for up to $10,000 a view.

We are pretty much sure that we have a very solid case and that he will be away for good.

Prosecutor Eric Nuqui

The full details of what happened at this house are too shocking to reveal.

But Angelito Magno, one of the lead investigators, gave 7.30 an insight.

“In one of these videos was an 18-month-old baby girl who was hanged upside down,” he said.

“She was crying all the time she was being tortured.”

Demand was so great for these sickening videos that six other foreigners, mainly from Europe, started to fund Scully.

But one made-to-order video proved to be Scully’s undoing.

In it, two girls, one 12 years old and the other 13, were forced to dig their own graves while being raped.

Mr Magno said the girls eventually led them to Scully.

“The two girls were able to escape and seek police assistance while they were still wearing chains, chains to their necks,” he said.

Mr Magno was part of the international team that arrested 51-year-old Scully in February, charging him on multiple counts of sexual abuse, cyber sex, torture, rape, human trafficking and murder.

In Manila, an investigation team is gathering all the evidence before the trial formally starts later this year.

They now have seven victims under witness protection who will testify against Scully in court.

Prosecutors confident Scully will go ‘away for good’

Eric Nuqui works at the Philippines Investigation Bureau and will be one of the lawyers who will be leading the trial against Scully.

“With the overwhelming evidence we have and with the prosecutors handling the case, we are pretty much sure that we have a very solid case and that he will be away for good,” he told 7.30.

The team in Manila and the Australian Federal Police are now working to identify and prosecute Scully’s customers around the world.

They have evidence that an Australian man offered Scully about $2,500 to rape a 13-year-old girl.

While the capture of Scully has been a success for the Philippines Bureau of Investigation, the reality is, with limited manpower and resources, they are struggling to cope with the flood of paedophiles entering the Philippines.

The Australian Federal Police say 250 Australians convicted of child sex offences have travelled to the Philippines in the last four years.

But Philippines authorities say they know of only 10.

Mr Nuqui said there was a problem in coordination in the Philippines.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m yet to receive information,” he said.

“Maybe they’re providing information to other (Philippines) agencies and we are not able to access it.”


Philippines police arrest, prepare to deport Australian fugitive accused of child molestation

Posted 27 Mar 2015, 11:24am

An Australian fugitive wanted for molesting a young girl in Australia has been arrested in Manila and will be deported from the Philippines.

Philippines immigration officials stopped 39-year-old Roy Woodward upon his arrival in an airport in Manila from Sydney.

An alert posted by Australian Interpol said Mr Woodward had been accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl and was set for sentencing by a local Australian court.

Following the arrest, an immigration intelligence official said Manila should keep a closer watch out for paedophiles and fugitives.

Another Australian, Peter Gerard Scully, is facing charges for the murder of a 12-year-old girl and sexual abuse of 11 children in the southern Philippines.

The Melbourne man is the key suspect in one of the most horrifying paedophile rings uncovered by police in the Philippines.

Mr Scully allegedly spent years sexually abusing and torturing young children and streaming his alleged crimes online.

If he is found guilty he will face life in prison.

The National Bureau of Investigation has launched a manhunt for four foreigners believed to have been working with Mr Scully since 2011.

The Philippines is a major hub of the billion-dollar global child cybersex industry due to its widespread poverty and legal loopholes.

The Philippines Justice Department secretary Leila de Lima last year said online child abuse was the leading cyber-related crime in the Philippines and made up 46 per cent of more than 200 cases.


Australian Federal Police says 250 Australians with child sex convictions travelled to Philippines in last four years

Updated 13 Apr 2015, 5:02pm

About 250 Australians with child sex convictions have travelled to the Philippines in the last four years, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has revealed.

Filipino police are currently pursuing a case against Australian man Peter Gerard Scully for what they allege are some of the worst child sex offences in the nation’s history.

The AFP was involved in the investigation and arrest and says 250 known Australian child sex offenders travelled to the Philippines in the past four years.

A spokesman has told the ABC that Australia alerts Filipino authorities when a sex offender boards a flight, but it is up to them whether to refuse entry.

Scully, 51, who has no previous convictions for child sex abuse, was arrested and charged with sexually abusing 11 children aged between 18 months and 13 years.

He allegedly spent years sexually abusing and torturing young children and streaming his crimes online, where the AFP says he charged between $US100 and $US10,000 for the videos he filmed.

The Melbourne man has also been charged with the murder of one of his alleged victims, a 12-year-old girl, along with rape, torture, human trafficking and violating cyber laws.

On Saturday, authorities in the Philippines said Scully was working with foreign accomplices in his child pornography operation and launched a manhunt for four foreigners believed to be involved.

The Australian embassy held an emergency meeting late last week in relation to the case.

Editor’s note 13/4/2015: An earlier version of this story said 250 Australian sex offenders had travelled to the Philippines in the last year.

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


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

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

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


Shocking’ debt deepens Racing Qld crisis

DEAD greyhounds aren’t the only skeletons in Racing Queensland’s closet.

THE state government says the body is responsible for failing to stop the disappearances and killing of thousands of dogs and turning a blind eye to the practice of live baiting.

But Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has revealed Racing Queensland’s crisis is deeper – it’s also grappling with “shocking” amounts of debt.

KPMG administrator Ian Hall found the body’s losses will likely top $11 million this financial year and its draft budget shows it’s anticipating a loss of $21 million in 2015/16.
“This is shocking news and it has been uncovered within just a day of Mr Hall taking the reigns of this organisation,”
Ms Palaszczuk told parliament on Wednesday. The premier said the debt revelations justify the government’s decision to sack all four boards overseeing racing in the state, including the harness and thoroughbred racing boards.
“I stand by my government’s decision to provide the CEO of Racing Queensland (Darren Condon) with a show cause notice and giving him five days to respond,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“I stand by my government’s decision to abolish the boards of all racing codes in Queensland. “I am determined that this important industry will go forward with a clean slate.”
Ms Palaszczuk has also announced former Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judge John Muir had been appointed as chair of the new all codes board set up to oversee greyhound, harness and thoroughbred racing.
But Brisbane Turf Club Director Peter Bredhauer has warned the government to put politics aside during the restructuring process.
“If it doesn’t (appoint Labor associates) it’ll be the first time it hasn’t,” said Mr Bredhauer, who recognised the Liberal National Party was guilty of the same thing.
“I don’t know why it is but the political landscape in Queensland, every time we have a change of government, for some reason the racing industry has to suffer and they have to have a complete change of direction.”
The state government has insisted appointments made during the overhaul won’t be political.

Greyhound Hall of Fame trainer Ron Ball banned for life

 Trainer Ron Ball with greyhound Mr Metz.

Trainer Ron Ball: banned.

QUEENSLAND Greyhound Hall of Fame trainer Ron Ball has been banned from the industry for life.

The banning of Ball – who has not been charged by police – is one of the biggest scalps since investigations began into the greyhound industry.

A Racing Queensland statement confirmed Ball had also been removed from the hall of fame.

“The Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board (QACRIB) has today taken the decision to warn-off greyhound licensee Mr Ron Ball in relation to its investigations into live-baiting in the greyhound industry,” the statement says.

“Mr Ball had previously been issued with a show-cause notice as to why he should be deemed a desirable person to be present on a Queensland racecourse.

“After considering Mr Ball’s submission, QACRIB determined he was not a desirable individual to be present at a racecourse and took the decision to warn him off.

“As a result of the QACRIB findings, Mr Ball has been removed from the Queensland Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame.

“He becomes the 22nd greyhound trainer to be warned-off in Queensland.”


UPDATE 01/05/15

Greyhound live baiting: Seven Victorian trainers charged by Greyhound Racing Victoria

Seven trainers have been charged by Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) over alleged live baiting at the trial track in Tooradin, in Victoria’s south-east.

A Four Corners report aired earlier this year revealed disturbing footage of racing dogs chasing piglets, rabbits and possums and mauling them to death.

A number of investigations across the country, including in Victoria, were initiated.

The investigations looked at whether live baiting was common practice in the industry and resulted in a number of trainers being suspended.

The board of GRV resigned in February following the revelations, and a new one was appointed.

Today GRV said seven of 15 people involved in alleged live baiting at Tooradin had been charged with 33 offences for conduct contrary to both local and Australasian rules.

It called the offences “serious”.

The trainers charged were Christopher Connolly, Dennis Dean, Brett Mackie, Darren McDonald, Anthony Mills, Jon Roberts and Eric Sykes.

The independent Greyhound Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board will hear and determine the charges.


 UPDATE 02/04/15

Spent ammunition found at site where 55 greyhound carcasses were dumped in bushland near Bundaberg

Updated 52 minutes ago

Spent .22 calibre ammunition shells have been found scattered around a southern Queensland wildflower reserve where the bodies of 55 greyhounds were discovered, in what Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller has described as a “mass murder” by “oxygen thieves”.

Police and the RSPCA’s joint taskforce into the disgraced industry discovered the mass dumping site south of Bundaberg on Wednesday after being tipped off.

Detective Superintendent Mark Ainsworth said the greyhounds were in varying states of decomposition, which indicates that they were dumped over varying periods of time.

There was no attempt to bury the carcasses and they were left out, some with a single gunshot wound, to be fed on by wild animals, Detective Ainsworth said.

Wildfires have ripped through the area in recent months, which destroyed some of the carcasses, and police are investigating if the fires were deliberately lit.

“It appears that maybe a common knowledge dumping ground,” Detective Ainsworth said.

“It could be that someone within the industry knows the remoteness of that area and knows that it’s a safe place to dispose of greyhounds that are no longer performing. It is quite disturbing.

“You know who you are, you know what you’ve been involved in, and now is the time to stand up and be counted and come forward before we start knocking on your door.”

Only one road in and out of killing field

The Vera Scarth-Johnson Wildflower Reserve is off Coonarr Road, near the Kinkuna National Park.

Detective Ainsworth said there was only one road in and out and locals must know regular users of the reserve.

“The beach area near the locations is utilised by local greyhounds racers to train their dogs,” he said.

“We want anyone with good local knowledge of the area to come forward.”

Brenden Trickey lives near the site where the dogs were found and said he was shocked so many were dumped in such a small area.

“This area here is very quiet and friendly, everyone seems to know everyone,” he said.

“It’s the last thing you’d expect in this area.

“Everyone’s got a pet. Everyone out here owns a dog and I could not imagine anyone out here doing such a disgusting act.”

Mr Trickey said the road where the dogs were found is quite remote.

“It’s just the main road to the beach really, there’s a couple of houses there but mainly beach houses for rentals,” he said.

“But other than that it’s very quiet in general up that road.”

Bundaberg Greyhound Club president Stephen Bland took to social media on Wednesday night to express shock at the discovery.

“We are appalled by the news and are doing all we can to find whomever is responsible for this disgraceful act,” he said.

Queensland Police Minister labels killers ‘oxygen thieves’

Ms Miller said Racing Queensland and police have identified a number of trainers and owners in the area and that would form part of the investigation.

“The people who have perpetrated this crime to me are oxygen thieves, they are cowards and they are pathetic,” she said.

Detective Ainsworth said many of the deaths appear to have occurred before the ABC’s Four Corners exposed in February live-baiting and cruelty in the industry.

The program showed footage of live piglets, possums and rabbits being fixed to mechanical lures and catapulted around tracks while being chased, and eventually killed, by dogs.

The program led to numerous animal cruelty charges, life bans from the industry and the creation of the taskforce which found the dogs on Wednesday night.

In Queensland, a total of 36 trainers have been suspended over the scandal, with six now issued with life bans from dog racing.

The Queensland Government has also ordered an independent review of the state’s greyhound industry to investigate how the practice went undetected.

UPDATE 03/03/15

Greyhound Racing Victoria board resigns after report into live baiting at Tooradin

The board of Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) has resigned after an interim report found no evidence board members knew about the practice of live baiting at the Tooradin trial track.

Racing Minister Martin Pakula said the industry needed a fresh start and a new board of three would provide the cultural change needed at GRV.

Ray Gunston, the former chief financial officer for Tatts Group, was appointed the new chair, along with former Victoria Police commissioner Ken Lay and Melbourne barrister Judith Bornstein.

The chairman of Greyhound Racing Victoria, Peter Caillard, resigned over the controversy last month.

The resignations came after Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna released a report which found there was no “direct” evidence of live baiting at any track other than Tooradin.

However the report said it would be “naive” to accept that the practice was not and had not been going on elsewhere.

On the balance of probabilities, Mr Perna said, GRV could not have been expected to know about the practice considering their lack of powers to inspect properties.

Mr Perna said there were currently only two compliance inspectors for the whole state, but noted that GRV had advertised to employ four more.

“The people that perform the compliance and welfare checks are restricted in their powers to attend at what they call a reasonable hour,” he said.

“That means there’s a degree of predictability.”

‘Small group’ responsible for unlawful activity

The report was ordered in response to revelations by Four Corners which found live animals were being used to blood greyhounds used for racing.

Mr Perna’s report also found there was no current evidence to substantiate the allegations of a cover-up at GRV in regards to live baiting at Tooradin or elsewhere.

This is beyond greyhound welfare. This is animal welfare. Cruelty is just not on.

Sal Perna, Victorian Racing Integrity Commissioner

He recommended increasing the powers of animal welfare compliance, education and integrity staff at GRV.

“This is a small group of people that are conducting unlawful activity,” he said. “I don’t think it’s representative of the industry.”

Mr Perna also called on GRV to make formal agreements with animal welfare groups such as the RSPCA to ensure the immediate reporting of allegations of cruelty.

“This is beyond greyhound welfare,” he said. “This is animal welfare. Cruelty is just not on.”

Mr Pakula asked the Department of Justice to examine what legislative changes were needed to increase animal welfare compliance powers.

He also asked the new GRV to get straight to work implementing the five interim recommendations from Mr Perna’s report.

They included increasing the powers of animal compliance officers, introducing new regulations for trainers, and new strict compliance rules for trainers and owners regarding the ownership and transfer of ownership of greyhounds.

Animal welfare ‘comes last’ in racing industry: RSPCA

The RSPCA said the greyhound industry’s efforts to regulate itself had been an “abject failure” and an independent body was needed to oversee the sport.

Its Victorian chief executive, Liz Walker, said the interim report lacked clear outcomes, and greyhound welfare seemed to come last.

“The evidence shows that under self-regulation, it’s been an abject failure,” she said.

“If the public are going to have confidence that greyhound welfare is going to be the utmost concern, then the only way forward is to have this independent body.”

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy welcomed the resignation of the board.

“As far as I’m concerned it is good that the board’s gone,” Mr Guy said.

“It sends a message, it sends a clear message to everyone in the greyhound industry that those who have been complicit or take part in live baiting should and will be brought to justice.”

He also said he supported a review into whether greyhound racing needed a greater level of oversight to protect animals.

“I think the time’s come for a discussion around animal welfare, which may be outside of the scope of what we’ve seen previously,” he said.

Mr Pakula was asked why the board members resigned if they had been cleared of wrongdoing.

“They’ve taken the view, which I share, that for the code to move forward and public confidence to be restored that a new start is required with a new board,” he said.

“We don’t for a moment believe the appointment of a new board itself will restore confidence.

“It will be about the way that the industry carries itself and the way it deals with those people who insist on doing the wrong thing.”


UPDATE 03/03/15

Queensland greyhound trainers Reg Kay, Tom Noble, Debra Arnold, James Harding and Tony McCabe have all been banned for life for their part in archaic live baiting practices. The five will never participate in the sport of greyhound racing again after being warned off racetracks and banned from training or owning greyhounds, as well as being banned from placing any wagers on greyhound racing.Racing Queensland Chairman explained the reasons behind the decision.”As a board we determined the actions of these individuals proved they should not be considered fit and proper persons to continue to be involved in the greyhound industry,” Mr Dixon said after a Racing Queensland board meeting at Deagon.

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

latest 19/02/15

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

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

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

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


NOTICE FROM OWNER AND ADMINISTRATOR OF THIS SITE

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

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

ROGUE TRAINERS GALLERY (added to daily)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

QLD

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

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

Tom Noble I am ashamed

Tom Noble I am ashamed

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

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

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

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

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

TONY MCCABE, TRAINER,

JAMES HARDING, TRAINER

MICHAEL CHAPMAN, TRAINER

GREG STELLA , TRAINER

STEPHEN SHERWELL, TRAINER

GERRI CRISCI, TRAINER

ANTHONY HESS, TRAINER

STEVEN ARNOLD, TRAINER

MICK EMERY, TRAINER

SAMANTHA ROBERTS, TRAINER
NSW

Liar, trainer and live baiter John Thompson

Liar, trainer and live baiter John Thompson

JOHN THOMPSON, TRAINER, Shannon Brook, NSW

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

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

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

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

trainer Harry Sarkis

trainer Harry Sarkis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DENNIS DEAN, TRAINER,

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

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

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

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

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

It makes a joke of this page they boast

http://www.greyhoundracingthefacts.com/


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

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

GRV MOVES TO SUSPEND GREYHOUNDS

17/02/2015

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

update 17/02/15

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Other injured animals were stuffed into small boxes.

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

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

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

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

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


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

ABC live-baiting investigation draws blood

Written By 9 hours ago

Queensland wrap-up:

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

Victoria wrap-up:

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

New South Wales wrap-up:

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

Aftermath:

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

Post program:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mon 16 Feb 2015, 9:47am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greyhound Racing Victoria CEO Adam Wallish

This behaviour constitutes cheating under the laws of greyhound racing.

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

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

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

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

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

‘This story will be explosive’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tooradin track closed after claims greyhound trainers used live bait

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Live animals allegedly used as bait in greyhound racing

February 15, 2015

Natalie O’Brien

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 RESPONSES TO FOUR CORNERS

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

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

Greyhound Racing NSW’s response to Four Corners

MORE INFORMATION

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

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

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 | Victorian Government

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

Own motion investigation into Greyhound Racing Victoria | Victorian Ombudsman

Legislative Council Select Committee on Greyhound Racing in New South Wales

Animal Welfare Guidelines | Greyhound Racing Victoria | 2014

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

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

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

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

Queensland Animal Care and Protection Act 2001

Victorian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986

Greyhound Racing Information | Animals Australia

MEDIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allegations of doping in greyhound racing industry | 9 November 2012

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

Indonesia gives approval for Aussies, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran’s transfer from prison to be executed


Updated about an hour agoFri 13 Feb 2015, 10:38am

Indonesian authorities have approved the transfer of two convicted Australian drug smugglers from their Bali prison, in preparation for execution.

The head of the Bali prosecutor’s office, Momock Bambang Samirso, confirmed he received permission from the Justice and Human Rights Ministry on Wednesday night to transfer Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran out of Kerobokan prison, so they can be taken away for execution.

There will be a meeting today to discuss the final logistics and then coordinate with other prisons to have the men relocated.

Mr Momock said the execution would be done as soon as possible.

“The permit to transfer the prisoners has been received. We are going to transfer [them] and conduct execution as soon as possible,” Mr Momock said.

“We’re not delaying execution … the attorney-general’s office asked to do it as soon as possible.”

He has said the families of the two men would be notified before the transfer goes ahead, giving them the opportunity to visit for the last time.

“We will inform the families and inmates a few days before the transfer,” Mr Momock said.

The ABC understands officials have already been speaking to airport authorities and the national carrier Garuda Indonesia, which has apparently agreed to be involved in flying the two men to where the executions will take place.

The pair is likely to be flown to Yogyakarta and then driven about five hours to Cilacap in Central Java province near Nusakambangan Island, home to a high-security prison.

Indonesian attorney-general Muhammad Prasetyo will make the official announcement that the executions are to go ahead three days beforehand.

The two men, the ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine group of heroin smugglers, have been denied presidential pardons and are due to face a firing squad this month.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo, who has a policy of denying clemency for all drug offenders, said he had rejected 64 bids for clemency and was not forgiving any drug criminal.

But lawyers for Chan and Sukumaran are still attempting to appeal the president’s decision to refuse them clemency without considering their cases.

An appeal was filed in the State Administrative Court in East Jakarta on Wednesday in the hope of forcing Mr Widodo to reconsider the cases individually.

Julie Bishop and Tanya Plibersek call for stay of execution

In a show of unity, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop moved a motion in Parliament, seconded by Opposition counterpart Tanya Plibersek, calling for a stay of execution for the two men.

Ms Bishop said the Government would continue to make representations in an effort to save the pair’s lives.

“Over 55 personal representations at Ministerial and Prime Ministerial level have been made,” she said.

“High-profile Australian officials and members of the business community have made discreet overtures to their influential Indonesian contacts.

“Our officials in Jakarta have made – and are continuing to make – respectful, tireless and targeted diplomatic representations at the highest levels.”

However, Indonesia’s foreign minister Retno Marsudi said she had explained the Indonesian government’s stance on executing drug smugglers to Ms Bishop.

“I told Julie that this is not against a country, this is not against a national of a certain country but this is against crime, it’s against an extraordinary crime,” she said.

Last month Indonesia executed six people, including five foreigners, for drug offences.

Melissa Parke renews her plea for pair to be spared

Federal Labor MP Melissa Parke has also renewed her plea for Chan and Sukumaran to be spared from execution.

“These young men are rehabilitated and reformed, they’re helping others every day, they could be a vital part of Indonesia’s campaign to educate young people about the dangers of drugs,” she said.

“We honour the wonderful human beings that they have become and we’re very hopeful about the things that they can still do in their lives and we send them our love, our hope and our courage.”

The former United Nations lawyer said the pair’s good behaviour should provide a legal basis for a stay of execution.

“Indonesia’s own constitutional court has not only concluded – based on a huge amount of evidence – that the death penalty is not a deterrent, but it has also recommended that the death penalty should be able to be amended where a prisoner demonstrates good behaviour for 10 years,” she said.

Ms Parke also criticised the Australian Federal Police for alerting Indonesian officials to the Bali Nine in the first place.

“That was a terrible mistake, AFP guidelines have been amended now and I think that we would all hope that that would never happen again,” she said.

Ms Parke has written a letter signed by 111 federal MPs to the Indonesian Government asking for men’s death sentences to be lifted.

Chief Government whip Philip Ruddock, Chief Opposition whip Chris Hayes, and Greens leader Senator Christine Milne were among the co-signatories.

Artist and wife of embassy official Jane Hardy, Vytas Kapociunas allegedly molested child


After months and months of diplomatic bullshit at our expense, this sick pervert is going down.A sleazy “Artist” again, happened to be married to an Aussie diplomat. So what happens, Harm minimisation of course to the image…Fuck that…read on

Husband of Australian diplomat to stand trial on child sex offences

January 15, 2015 – 11:30AM

Courts reporter for The Canberra Times.

Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy.Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy. Photo: Facebook

The husband of a top Australian diplomat accused of molesting a child while overseas has been committed to stand trial.

Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 71, maintained pleas of not guilty to three charges of sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia when he appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday.

The offences are alleged to have occurred overseas, but are before the ACT courts as the charges fall under Commonwealth law.

Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker on Thursday committed him to stand trial in the ACT Supreme Court.

Kapociunas was arrested at Canberra Airport in September last year.

Court documents said the allegation surfaced after the girl told her mother that the artist kept kissing her.

When questioned further, the girl allegedly said he “kisses me on the lips, and here,” pointing at her groin.

The mother reported the conversation to the Australian Federal Police.

Kapociunas, in a police interview, allegedly acknowledged he had had physical contact with the girl that included kissing in greeting and farewelling, piggy-back rides, and blowing raspberries on her belly button.

But he denied abusing the girl.

He was originally charged with one count of child sex and first appeared in court in October.

Two additional charges were laid in December.

The painter and sculptor is married to top Australian diplomat, Jane Hardy, who, in November, ceased her role as Australia’s ambassador to Spain and returned home almost two years into a three-year appointment.

Ms Hardy’s identity and diplomatic position were previously subject to a court suppression order, but that has now been lifted.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have emphasised that “no allegations of inappropriate or illegal behaviour” have been made against Ms Hardy.

Lithuanian-born Kapociunas studied art in South Australian and lived Spain, France and Britain before he wed Ms Hardy in 1982.

He has since accompanied her on diplomatic postings to Malaysia, South Korean, the United States, and Spain .

He work has been exhibited at the Australian embassy in Washington.

On Thursday, Ms Walker continued the defendants bail, but added the condition that he notify the court if he changes address.

The case will appear in the Supreme Court for directions next month.


 

Australian diplomat returned from posting after husband charged over child-sex allegations

January 14, 2015 – 4:31PM

Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy.Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy. Photo: Facebook

One of Australia’s top diplomats has returned early from an overseas posting after her spouse was arrested and charged with child sex offences. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed that Jane Hardy ceased duty as Australia’s ambassador to Spain on November 3, 2014, less than two years into what would normally be a three-year appointment.

A DFAT spokesperson declined to answer Fairfax Media questions about the precise circumstances leading to the ambassador’s return to Australia, only saying Ms Hardy “returned by mutual agreement with the department.”

Charged: Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 71, is accused of child sex offences.

Charged: Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 71, is accused of child sex offences.

However it is a matter of public record that the Australian Federal Police arrested Ms Hardy’s husband, artist Vytas Kapociunas, on September 20, 2014, in relation to an allegation of sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia. 

Mr Kapociunas, now aged 71, appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court in Canberra on October 3 in relation to one charge of sexual intercourse with a child outside of Australia. Two additional charges of sexual intercourse with a child outside of Australia were laid against Mr Kapociunas in December. He has pleaded not guilty to all three charges. 

The sculptor and painter first came to police attention after the girl told her mother that she had a secret to tell her.

“I need to tell you a secret,” the child said, according to court documents. “I think Vytas really likes me, because he keeps kissing me.”

The AFP say the mother questioned her daughter further, and the girl allegedly said: “He kisses me on the lips, and here,” pointing to her groin.

The mother contacted the AFP who opened an investigation and interviewed the girl.

Mr Kapociunas was informed of the allegations on September 17 and was met by AFP officers at Canberra Airport three days later.  He agreed to an interview in which, according to police, he acknowledged he had met the girl three times and had physical contact with her including kissing.  However he denied he had committed any child sex offences, saying he was “unsure” why the girl would say such things. He was then arrested. 

Born in Lithuania in 1943, Mr Kapociunas studied at the South Australian School of Art and spent his early post-graduate years in Spain, France and Britain . He married Ms Hardy in 1982 and accompanied her on diplomatic postings to Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Washington DC and most recently Madrid.  In 2008 his sculpture Passage through Fire was exhibited at the Australian embassy in Washington.

Ms Hardy’s identity and position were subject to a temporary court suppression order, now no longer in force. not anymore

DFAT has emphasised that “no allegations of inappropriate or illegal behaviour” have been made against Ms Hardy who assumed duty as ambassador to Spain in January 2013.

“Ms Hardy performed creditably in her role in Spain and, following her return, has taken up a suitably senior position in Canberra,” a departmental spokesperson said.

DFAT’s organisation chart shows Ms Hardy is now in charge of the department’s arms control and counter-proliferation branch.

Her executive assistant told Fairfax Media she is not currently in Canberra and cannot be contacted.

A new ambassador to Spain has not yet been appointed.

Mr Kapociunas’s solicitor, Chloe Preston, declined to comment. His case is listed for a further procedural hearing in the Magistrates Court on January 15.


 

Artist pleads not guilty to child sex offences allegedly linked to overseas Australian embassy

Date
December 4, 2014

Reporter for The Canberra Times.

An Australian artist has been accused of two more sexual offences against a child connected to an overseas Australian embassy.

Sculptor and painter Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 70, is facing the ACT Magistrates Court, accused of molesting a child overseas.

He was charged on Thursday with two additional offences of sexual intercourse with a minor outside of Australia, meaning he is now charged with three offences.

Kapociunas, represented by lawyer Chloe Preston, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

He first came to police attention when his alleged victim told her mother she had a secret.

“I need to tell you a secret,” the girl allegedly said.

“I think Vytas really likes me, because he keeps kissing me.”

She also allegedly told her mother:

“He kisses me on the lips and here”, pointing to her groin.

Police went to meet Kapociunas at Canberra Airport earlier this year and he agreed to an interview, court documents suggest.

He told police he had no idea why the girl had been saying such things. Kapociunas denied her allegations.

He was arrested and initially charged with a single count of having sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia, which is a Commonwealth offence.

The artist allegedly told police he piggy-backed the girl, blew raspberries on her belly button, and that she kissed him on the lips when saying hello and goodbye.

The case was adjourned by Magistrate Robert Cook until January.


 

Artist Vytas Kapociunas allegedly molested child linked to overseas embassy

October 17, 2014

Christopher Knaus

An Australian artist has been accused of molesting a child connected to an overseas embassy.

Well-known sculptor and painter Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 70, was arrested earlier this year after a young girl at an Australian embassy alleged he sexually assaulted her.

Kapociunas, who is fighting the allegation, first came to police attention after the girl told her mother that she had a secret to tell her.

“I need to tell you a secret,” the girl said, according to court documents. “I think Vytas really likes me, because he keeps kissing me.”

Police say the mother questioned her daughter further, and the girl said:

“He kisses me on the lips, and here”, pointing to her groin.

The offence is alleged to have occurred overseas, but is now being prosecuted in the ACT under Commonwealth law.

The mother called the Australian Federal Police, who began investigating, and went to meet Kapociunas at Canberra Airport last month.

He agreed to an interview and denied the allegations, claiming he had no idea why the girl would say such things.

Police arrested the artist, and he is currently before the ACT Magistrates Court on one charge of sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia, an offence under the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

He appeared before Magistrate Peter Morrison on Friday morning, and pleas of not guilty were entered on his behalf.

The artist told police during an interview that he had piggy-backed the victim and blown raspberries on her belly button, and that she kissed him on the lips when saying hello and goodbye.

But he denied to police that he had committed any child sex offences.

The court heard on Friday the brief of evidence against him was mostly prepared, and the case was adjourned until December. 

Kapociunas is an artist who has worked across Australia and the world, and studied and taught in South Australia.

He has also studied at the University of Canberra, according to his earlier news reports, and has written children’s books.


 

Gunman Amedy Coulibaly killed in Paris grocery store siege


Charlie Hebdo attack: gunmen killed after police storm hide-out January 10, 2015 3:47PM

  • Kouachi brothers shot dead in overnight siege
  • Gunman Amedy Coulibaly killed in Paris grocery store siege
  • Four Paris grocery store hostages declared dead
  • Third siege at a jewellery store in south of France underway, police say not related to Charlie Hebdo massacre
  • Female terror suspect still at large

SEVEN people have been killed in two sieges across France overnight, including the two brothers accused of slaying 12 people at a Paris newspaper, another gunman and four innocent captives.

The two groups of terrorists had seized hostages at separate locations around the French capital on Friday, facing off against thousands of French security forces as the city shut down a famed Jewish neighbourhood and scrambled to protect residents and tourists from further attacks.

HOSTAGE: ‘I was spared for being a woman’

CHARB’S GIRLFRIEND: ‘I knew he would be assassinated’

The moment police move in

Moving in … The moment police storm into the Kosher supermarket. Picture: France 2 Source: Supplied

Risky operation ... Police rush to get the rescued hostages to safety. Picture: Snapper M

Risky operation … Police rush to get the rescued hostages to safety. Picture: Snapper Media Source: Snapper Media

A female terror suspect, 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene, remains at large as authorities scramble to end the three days of terror that have gripped France.

Boumeddiene, the girlfriend of slain gunman Coulibaly, is believed to have fled during the supermarket siege which saw four hostages killed.

A third siege, which saw two people held hostage at a jewellery store in Montpellier, south of France has now ended after the man holding them surrended to police.

RT News reports that the two hostages have not been harmed and that Montpellier prosecutor, Christophe Barret, said there was no attempted robbery and stressed that the situation in Montpellier was not connected to the earlier events in Paris and in Northern France.

Free ... French police special forces evacuate the hostages after launching the assault a

Free … French police special forces evacuate the hostages after launching the assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris. Picture: Snapper Media Source: Snapper Media

Enferno ... Members of the French police special forces launch an assault at a kosher gro

Enferno … Members of the French police special forces launch an assault at a kosher grocery store in Porte de Vincennes, eastern Paris. Picture: Snapper Media Source: Snapper Media

al-Qaeda Yemen claims responsibility for Paris magazine attack

Meanwhile, a member of the al-Qaeda Yemen branch- speaking on the condition of anonymity — has claimed responsibility for the Charlie Hebdo attack.

He told The Associated Press that the massacre was carried out as “revenge for the honour” of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.

TIMELINE OF TERROR: France rocked by three days of terrorism

The terrorist organisation has also released a chilling new warning for France, threatening the nation with fresh attacks.

“It is better for you to stop your aggression against the Muslims, so perhaps you will live safely. If you refuse but to wage war, then wait for the glad tiding,” sharia official leader Harith al-Nadharisaid in an audio clip released by AQAP.

The three gunmen have also been deemed “heroes” by Islamic State group radio.

First siege: Printworks office in Dammartin-en-Goële

At the first stand-off, explosions and gunshots rang out and white smoke rose outside a printing plant in Dammartin-en-Goele, northeast of Paris, where brothers Cherif Kouachi, 32, and Said Kouachi, 34, had holed up with a hostage.

The brothers were shot dead by special forces as they reportedly burst out of their hide-out.

Security forces had surrounded the building for most of the day.

Their hostage, identified as Michel Catalano, is believed to have been rescued alive.

Suspect's Wanted In Connection With Attack At The Satirical Weekly Charlie Hebdo

Killed … Charlie Hebdo massacre suspects Said Kouachi, 34 (left) and Cherif Kouachi, 32, have been killed. Picture: Direction centrals de la Police judiciaire via Getty Images Source: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Scene ... smoke rises as a special forces soldiers storm a printing warehouse on an indus

Scene … smoke rises as a special forces soldiers storm a printing warehouse on an industrial estate where the Charlie Hebdo massacre terrorists sought refuge. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Second siege: Kosher grocery store in Vincennes

Moments after police surrounded the Kouachi brothers outside Paris, explosions were heard at a second siege, where another Islamic militant gunman was threatening to kill his hostages if the brothers were injured.

Gunman Amedy Coulibay spoke to French TV station BFM during the siege, saying he had taken 16 people hostage at a kosher grocery store, selected specifically “because it was Jewish”.

Free ... Hostages are rescued after being held hostage in the grocery store. Picture: Sna

Free … Hostages are rescued after being held hostage in the grocery store. Picture: Snapper Media Source: Snapper Media

He said four of his captives were dead.

He told the station he had “co-ordinated” with the suspected Charlie Hebdo attackers and belonged to the Islamic State group.

BFM released the recording of the conversation, which was translated from French by The Guardian.

In the clip, the anchor explains that a BFM reporter called the print works office the Kouachi brothers had taken over, and managed to secure a conversation with the younger brother, Cerif Kouachi. This is what he said:

Tense standoff ... Police had to move quickly after Gunman Amedy Coulibay said he would s

Tense standoff … Police had to move quickly after Gunman Amedy Coulibay said he would shoot all the hostages if the brothers were killed. Picture: Snapper Media Source: Snapper Media

“We just want to say that we are the defenders of the prophet, and that I, Cherif Kouachi, was sent by al-Qaeda in Yemen. And that I went there and that it was Sheikh Anwar al-Awlaki who financed me”, adding that the visit took place before Awlaki was killed.

Later that day, BFM got a call from Amedy Coulibaly, who wanted to be in contact with the police. Their conversation is below.

BFM: Are you in touch with the two brothers who conducted the operation at Charlie Hebdo?

Coulibaly: Yes. We synchronised our operations.

BFM: Are you still in touch with them? Have you recently spoken with them by phone?

Coulibaly: No.

BFM: How were you synchronised with the Kouachis? Are there further attacks planned?

Coulibaly: No, we only synchronised to kickstart things: so when they started Charlie Hebdo, I started on the police officers.

On the run ... Hayat Boumeddiene, the girlfriend of dead gunman, Gunman Amedy Coulibay, m

On the run … Hayat Boumeddiene, the girlfriend of dead gunman, Gunman Amedy Coulibay, managed to escape. Picture: Supplied Source: Supplied

He also tells the TV channel that he has killed four of his 16 hostages, a fact later confirmed by French interior minister Bernard Cazenueve with the following tweet by French news source infos140: “B. Cazeneuve confirms the results from 5 deaths (including A. Coulibaly) and 4 wounded, Porte de Vincennes (France 2)”.

Coulibay, who was suspected of killing a police officer yesterday, was shot dead by police.

An official said the two sets of hostage-takers knew each other.

Hayat Boumeddiene, 26. Picture: Direction centrale de la Police judiciaire via Getty Imag

Hayat Boumeddiene, 26. Picture: Direction centrals de la Police judiciaire via Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Amedy Coulibaly, 32. Picture: Direction centrale de la Police judiciaire via Getty Images

Amedy Coulibaly, 32. Picture: Direction centrals de la Police judiciaire via Getty Images Source: Getty Images

France on high-alert

The French ambassador to the US, Gerard Araud, has sent a series of Tweets confirming reports that two of the terror suspects were killed, according to “his information”.

France has been on high alert since the country’s worst terror attack in decades — the massacre on Wednesday in Paris at Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead.

At the kosher grocery near the Porte de Vincennes neighbourhood in Paris, the gunman, Amedy Coulibay, burst in shooting just a few hours before the Jewish Sabbath began, declaring “You know who I am,” the official recounted.

The official said Coulibay is also believed responsible for the roadside killing of a Paris policewoman on Thursday.

Paris police released a photo of Coulibaly and a second suspect, a woman named Hayet Boumddiene, who the official said was his accomplice and girlfriend.

Several people wounded when the gunman opened fire in the kosher grocery were able to flee and get medical care, the official said.

Police said 100 students were under lockdown in schools nearby and the highway ringing Paris was closed.

Evacuation ... French police special forces evacuated businesses and other properties in

Evacuation … French police special forces evacuated businesses and other properties in Porte de Vincennes when a gunman opened fire at a kosher grocery store. Picture: AFP/Martin Bureau Source: AFP

Hours before and 40 kilometres away, a convoy of police trucks, helicopters and ambulances streamed toward Dammartin-en-Goele, a small industrial town near Charles de Gaulle Airport, to seize the Charlie Hebdo suspects, who had hijacked a car in a nearby town after more than two days on the run.

“They said they want to die as martyrs,” Yves Albarello, a local lawmaker who said he was inside the command post, told French television station i-Tele.

Siege ... a helicopter of the French Special Police Forces waits in fields surrounding an

Siege … a helicopter of the French Special Police Forces waits in fields surrounding an industrial estate where the Charlie Hebdo attack suspects were hiding out. Picture: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Leaders respond to tragedy

French President Francois Hollande has confirmed that four people were killed in the siege in the Vincennes supermarket in a live televised address on Friday.

“I want to congratulate the courage, the bravery of the police officers of all those that participated in these operations,” he said. “I want to say to them we are proud of them.”

He also described the attack on the kosher supermarket as “anti-Semitic”.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama rallied to the support of France on Friday after the bloody end to hostage sieges in Paris, vowing to offer all assistance to combat the threat of militant Islamists.

“I want the people of France to know that the United States stands with you today, stands with you tomorrow,” Obama said at a speaking engagement in Tennessee, describing France as America’s “oldest ally”.

Network Writers and AP

Clive Palmer media adviser Andrew Crook charged over alleged kidnap of National Australia Bank executive


By the National Reporting Team’s Mark Solomons and Mark Willacy – exclusive

Fri 19 Dec 2014, 4:59pm

Clive Palmer‘s media adviser and confidant Andrew Crook has been granted bail after facing court charged over the alleged kidnapping of a National Australia Bank executive on an Indonesian island.

Crook was arrested this morning during police raids on properties in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.

As part of the same operation, police from the state’s anti-bikie taskforce arrested Mick Featherstone, a Gold Coast private investigator and former senior detective at the centre of a year-long probe by Queensland‘s Crime and Corruption Commission into money laundering and police corruption.

Police also issued a warrant for the arrest of multi-millionaire property developer and former Sydney Swans , who lives in Bali.

Do you know more about this story? Email investigations@abc.net.au

Crook and Featherstone were held during morning raids at addresses in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm and Upper Coomera on the Gold Coast.

Crook was then taken to his Brisbane CBD office where police carried out further searches.

Officers also raided another Brisbane premises and seized documents.

On Friday afternoon Crook and Featherstone faced court charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, retaliation against a witness and attempted fraud against NAB.

Crook was bailed on conditions including that he surrender his passport and does not go within 100 metres of the NAB’s Southport branch.

The ABC understands Queensland Police will allege Crook and Mr Smith were involved in a January 2013 attempt to coerce a witness in a $70 million civil case involving Mr Smith to recant his evidence, using subterfuge and threats of violence.

Queensland Police say the charges stem from an elaborate scheme which police will allege was planned partly in Queensland. Section 12 of the Queensland Criminal Code allows for prosecutions for offences overseas where they would be considered crimes in Australia.

Police have been investigating claims Crook and Mr Smith lured the witness, an employee of the National Australia Bank, to Singapore and on to Batam Island in Indonesia using the pretence of a possible job offer from Clive Palmer.

It will be alleged that once on Batam Island, the witness was strip-searched, threatened and forced to make a statement recanting his evidence.

Clive Palmer calls raids a ‘black day for Australia’

Mr Palmer is not thought to have had any involvement in, or knowledge of the plot.

The federal MP arrived at Crook’s office during the raid and said he knew nothing of the allegations.

But he suggested the police actions could be politically motivated.

“I don’t know very much other than to say that Crook Media and Andrew Crook are responsible for all our media in Australia, was responsible for the Palmer United Party winning the last federal election,” he said.

“And of course, the LNP, the Liberal Government – Campbell Newman and Tony Abbott – don’t like the opposition we’ve been giving them in the Senate, they don’t like that sort of thing.

“I think this is a black day for Australia if any of this, which I don’t know anything about at the moment, has anything to do with political freedom in this country.

“I think it’s very important that there’s freedom of speech in Australia, that there’s diversity of opinion. I’m personally very concerned because Mr Crook is our media adviser and if they wanted to attack me or our party they can do that.”

Brisbane-based Crook has been Mr Palmer’s media adviser and spokesman since before the tycoon entered politics.

Since becoming a federal MP, Mr Palmer has retained the services of Crook and his PR firm, Crook Media, to handle his political media relations.

Clive Palmer chats with Andrew Crook Photo: Mr Crook has been Mr Palmer’s media adviser and spokesman since before the tycoon entered politics. (AAP: Dave Hunt)

Mr Smith made his fortune in the tourism industry after his AFL career.

Since 2009 he has been embroiled in legal action against the National Australia Bank, claiming the bank caused him to lose $70 million at the height of the global financial crisis.

He began building the biggest mansion on the Gold Coast, on Hedges Avenue at Mermaid Beach, but was later forced to sell it unfinished and at a loss.

Mr Smith then shifted his businesses to Bali, where he has developed luxury holiday accommodation. He also has interests in New Zealand and has re-invested in Gold Coast real estate in the past couple of years.

It is understood detectives from the Queensland police anti-bikie taskforce Maxima stumbled on evidence of the alleged January 2013 plot earlier this year while investigating Featherstone and his links to bikies, to former and serving police officers and his involvement with online betting syndicates on the Gold Coast.

The ABC revealed in September that Featherstone was the focus of a joint Maxima and Crime and Corruption Commission probe described as a “priority” investigation by CCC chairman Ken Levy.

In a parallel, four-month investigation, the ABC uncovered evidence Featherstone had for almost 10 years been involved in setting up and operating online betting syndicates alleged to have defrauded thousands of people across Australia of millions of dollars.

Queensland’s Office of Fair Trading (QOFT) this week renewed Featherstone’s private investigator’s licence, which had expired in October. It also renewed the licence held by his PI firm, Phoenix Global.

The office of Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, which oversees the QOFT, told the ABC it had conducted the required criminal history checks and could find no reason to deny Featherstone or his firm a licence.

Oscar Pistorius


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By Shain Germaner – Iol.co.za

October 21, 2014

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

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

The sentences would run concurrently.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Bail hearing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Progress of the trial

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verdict

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

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

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

Pistorius was convicted of the following specific criminal offences:

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

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

Reactions

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

Sentencing

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

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

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

Notable media coverage

Print media

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Radio, television, and film

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Social media

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wikipedia.org


In full: Pistorius’ affidavit to court

CNN.com

February 21, 2013

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

The affidavit reads as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am not disposed to violence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Why wasn’t Oscar Pistorius convicted of murder?

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

Theweek.co.uk

September 12, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Early life

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

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

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

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

Sporting career

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

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

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

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

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

Dispute over prosthetics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Attempts to qualify for 2008 Summer Olympics

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2008 Summer Paralympics

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

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

2011 and qualification for 2012 Summer Olympics

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

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

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

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

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

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

2012 Summer Olympics

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

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

2012 Summer Paralympics

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

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

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

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

Other awards and accolades

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

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

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

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

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

Sponsorship and charitable activities

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

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

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

Personal life

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

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

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

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

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

Killing of Reeva Steenkamp

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

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

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

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

Rebels torture own member mirroring Bikie TV show


This is how to deal with problems is it? Well stuff that, throw these ass-holes in jail long-term one after the other, and along with new the anti Bikie laws and we may actually get somewhere.

The justice handed out by these bottom dwellers  is not how we want our society to be judged by. Make sure you read further down, this is not a one-off, it is a way of dealing with life in bikie clubs and unless we do something nothing will change and folks will be maimed, tortured, killed in the presence of family (or whoever)  on a weekly basis…

Scroll to bottom of page to see descriptions of the major (and minor) Bikie Gangs in Australia


Rebels torture own member Sons of Anarchy style

November 16, 2014

rebels

 It was said to be a Sons of Anarchyinspired torture in which nipples were sliced, skin was seared and bones were broken.

But the eight Rebels bikie members who allegedly tortured a former president of their group never dreamed he would talk to police.   

The leader of a local chapter was allegedly hog-tied with cable leads and tortured until he lost consciousness during a 36-hour kidnapping by fellow members.

Police allege the torture is part of a violent ritual for members who leave the outlawed bikie club on bad terms.

The arrest of the eight senior members was a huge blow to the gang, at a time when their national president, Alex Vella, remained stranded in Malta after his visa was revoked.

Details of the alleged torture session emerged during a Supreme Court bail application for lifelong member Andrew Lloyd Hughes on Friday.

Other members charged with the kidnapping included sergeant-at-arms of the Liverpool chapter Khaldoun Al Majid, Matthew Rymer, Jamie Saliba, Ram Lafta and Darrell Pologa.

The court heard  the 45-year-old victim was first confronted by up to 10 masked men in the driveway of his Castlereagh home on May 8.

He was knocked unconscious and woke up in his kitchen where he was allegedly bashed and burned for the next two days.

The group allegedly seared his palms and the top of his feet repeatedly with a knife that had been heated up by a blowtorch.

His right arm was smashed with such force that surgery was required to replace a metal plate that was broken.

He was beaten unconscious several times after being punched repeatedly in the face and body.

Police allege some members of the group held him down while others sliced open both his nipples.

The group, who are attached to the Liverpool and Penrith chapters,  then left him unconscious and took off with three of his cars, a quad bike and a yellow ski boat.

When the victim regained consciousness two days after he was first taken captive, there was no one left in his house.

He managed to free himself with a knife and ran to a neighbouring house before a friend drove him to Nepean hospital.

The NSW Supreme court heard on Friday that many of the accused were captured on footage obtained from an intercom system at the front of the house.

Police allege Hughes was present after finding a fingerprint of his on a banister inside the house.

But barrister John Korn said his client was in no way involved in the kidnapping and had left a fingerprint at the house on a previous occasion.

“All the Crown has is a fingerprint,” he said.

Justice Robert Hulme refused Hughes bail, citing concerns he would engage in similar activities if released from custody.

Outside court, solicitor Warwick Korn said his client Hughes  had nothing to do with the violent kidnapping.

“We call the Crown case abysmally weak,” Mr Korn said.

All eight members are before the courts charged with special aggravated kidnapping and participating in a criminal group.

The arrests were made after gang squad detectives set up strikeforce Salsola.


Bikie gangs increasingly seeing Victoria as safe haven, police association says

Mon 17 Nov 2014, 11:42am

Tough anti-bikie laws being implemented in many Australian states have led outlaw motorcycle gangs to see Victoria as a haven, the Victorian Police Association says.

Queensland, New South Wales and South Australia introduced anti-consorting and control laws, but Victorian legislation has not gone as far.

Police Association secretary Ron Iddles said the Mongols‘ growing presence in Victoria added to concerns that bikie groups now saw Victoria as “a safe haven”.

“I think what we saw on the weekend with the Mongols coming to Victoria was around that fact,” Mr Iddles told the ABC, referring to a reported gathering of members in Melbourne.

“They were a Queensland-based group and now they want to base themselves here in Victoria.”

He said the gangs were very well structured groups and knew “exactly what they were doing”.

“Recently, the Rebels were going to have a function at Wagga (in NSW), but they decided to come into Victoria because they considered it was less obtrusive to operate here in Victoria,” he said.

“I think if you look at a lot of the statistics and intelligence that is around, there is no doubt that organised motorcycle groups are behind a lot of the major drug trafficking, including ice.

Mr Iddles said the current Victorian legislation was clunky and hard to operate.

“It needs to be totally overhauled and we need to look at something like Queensland, otherwise we’ll have every major group working out of Melbourne,” he said.

Victoria to consider tougher laws after ruling: Clark

Attorney-General Robert Clark said Victoria would look at Queensland’s anti-association laws after the High Court rejected a challenged to them last week.

The United Motorcycle Council (UMC) had launched the challenge on behalf of 17 clubs against the state’s Vicious Lawless Association Disestablishment (VLAD) laws.

It argued the laws, designed to disrupt the activities of 26 outlaw motorcycle clubs, were an attack on the judiciary, freedom of speech, and the right to associate.

The UMC said the laws enlisted the courts to carry out Parliament’s intention to destroy their organisations, which was at odds with the Constitution.

But the High Court found the laws did not require the courts to do any more than exercise their judicial power in the usual way.

“It’s not really practical to legislate when you don’t know what the High Court is going to rule so now we can look at opportunities to strengthen Victoria’s consorting laws,” Mr Clark said.

“We brought in a further round of strengthening those laws that came into operation from 1 October.

“Wherever we’ve had the opportunity we’ve been willing to act and now that we’ve had these two High Court rulings, we’ll look at what further opportunities that opens up.”

 Bikies jailed after ‘night of terror’ where ex-clubmate was tortured

January 31, 2014

Steve Butcher

Taniora Tangaloa (left), Jack Vaotangi and Jasmin Destanovic.

Taniora Tangaloa (left), Jack Vaotangi and Jasmin Destanovic.

Three bikies who subjected a former clubmate to a “night of terror” and torture have been jailed by a Melbourne judge who warned such conduct would not be tolerated.

Stephen Jones, 47, had a handgun shoved in his mouth and the trigger pulled, his ear was sliced with a knife, and he was stabbed, cut and bashed before being kicked in the face.

One of the Harley Davidson motorcycles that were stolen.One of the Harley Davidson motorcycles that were stolen.

A guitar was also smashed over his head before the men stole his two Harley-Davidson motorcycles, his car, a laptop, telescope and other items valued at more than $100,000.

Mr Jones sustained injuries that included a broken left cheek and eye socket, stab wounds and cuts to his face, nose and forehead that left permanent scarring and a cracked tooth. His ear was sewn back on.

A Melbourne County Court jury last year found Taniora Tangaloa, 38, Jack Vaotangi, 35, and Jasmin Destanovic, 36, guilty of armed robbery, aggravated burglary and intentionally causing serious injury.

They could not reach a verdict on a fourth man whose prosecution was later discontinued by the Crown.

The men claimed they had not been in Mr Jones’ Epping house on January 15, 2009, when he was attacked about 7.30pm.

Judge Bill Stuart on Friday described the mens’ conduct as “brazen” and which “cannot be tolerated”.

In his sentencing remarks, Judge Stuart said that “everyone in our community is entitled to feel safe and secure in their own homes”.

Mr Jones had been a member of the Rebels and later the Bandidos outlaw motorcycle clubs but had wanted a change of lifestyle.

He told the jury he met Tangaloa at the Rebels in 2001, with Vaotangi and Destanovic, and later he was invited to the Bandidos where they resumed a friendship.

In November 2008, he phoned Tangaloa, who was upset to hear of his plans to quit the group.

The emotional trauma from that “night of terror”, he wrote in a victim impact statement, caused extreme anxiety, recurring nightmares and “living in fear for the rest of my life”.

Prosecutor Alex Albert had submitted that the viciousness and “mental torture” seemed unnecessary, and that all three – despite Tangaloa wielding the gun, articulating threats and smashing the guitar and Vaotangi slitting the ear – supported, assisted and encouraged the other with little distinction in their culpability.

Mr Jones told Michael Sharpley, for Tangaloa, that his client would “put the fear of God into me, saying he was gunna kill me if we spoke to the police”.

Mr Jones rejected the suggestion from Destanovic’s barrister Wayne Toohey he was a “cunning liar” and that his client was not present.

Tangaloa, a “pallet technician” and father of 11 from three relationships, who has no prior convictions, was described by supporters as a generous family man, charitable, and one who “gives of himself to his friends”.

Destanovic, a father of five and a painter and decorator who has criminal convictions that include assault, seemed, said Mr Toohey, “like a normal, run of the mill fellow”.

Barrister James McQuillan said Vaotangi, a married father of three, had convictions for violence, but was “essentially a family man” from a good Christian family who at the time of the incident was “out of control” on ice when associating with the “wrong crowd”.

Judge Stuart found the purpose of beating Mr Jones was “principally to terrify him” and so ensure he did not identify his attackers.

While the three had initially succeeded in that endeavour, two weeks after the attack Mr Jones identified each man.

“You underestimated him,” Judge Stuart told the men.

Judge Stuart said the five year delay from offence to sentence was a “powerful mitigating circumstance” and he also regarded that each man had good prospects for rehabilitation.

Tangaloa and Destanovic were jailed for eight years with a minimum of five years, less 307 days each for pre-sentence detention.

Vaotangi was jailed for seven-and-a-half years with a minimum of four-and-a-half years, less 258 days pre sentence detention.


Bikie beating fells ex-Bandidos member

Date
December 29, 2013

This Bandidos member never thought leaving would unleash the hell it did.

Stephen Jones simply didn’t want to be an outlaw motorcycle gang member any more.

He’d been with the Rebels and later the Bandidos but got ”fed up” with the lifestyle and wanted to go straight.

Mr Jones, 47, aimed to spend time with his young daughter, run a family business and be ”happy to have a few friends who had Harleys and go for a ride”.

Although adamant there was no ”bad blood” on quitting the Bandidos, he knew the bond was over. But he never imagined that the parting would unleash hell.

January 15, 2009, had been hot, and as evening simmered towards sunset, life in Earlybird Way, Epping, appeared normal and neighbourly.

Mr Jones had woken from a nap and was on the phone to a friend about 6.30pm to arrange a ride when the doorbell rang.

He peered out and saw former clubmates Jack Vaotangi and Jasmin Destanovic at the front door, which had been bashed in.

Mr Jones, wearing only underpants, cowered in his en suite and dialled 000, but before he could push the ”send” button they, now with Taniora Tangaloa, had him.

A handgun was shoved in his mouth and the trigger pulled, his ear was sliced with a knife, and he was stabbed, cut and bashed before being viciously kicked in the face. A guitar was smashed over his head.

And in a final indignity, especially for a biker, the men rode off on his prized possessions – two Harley-Davidson motorcycles. They also stole his car, a laptop, telescope and other items, the plunder valued at more than $100,000.

A Melbourne County Court jury found Tangaloa, 38, Vaotangi, 35, and Destanovic, 36, guilty of armed robbery, aggravated burglary and intentionally causing serious injury, but could not reach a verdict on a fourth man whose prosecution was later discontinued by the Crown.

After numerous delayed trials, the jury, by their verdicts, didn’t accept the men’s defence that they simply weren’t at the house.

Mr Jones listed injuries in his victim impact statement that included a broken left cheek and eye socket, stab wounds and cuts to his face, nose and forehead that left permanent scarring and a cracked tooth. His ear was sewn back on.

The emotional trauma from that ”night of terror”, he wrote, caused extreme anxiety, recurring nightmares and ” living in fear for the rest of my life”.

Why was he subjected to such vicious treatment?

Rather than retribution for leaving the club, Judge Bill Stuart regarded the men’s motivation as an apparent ”desire … to steal whatever they could”.

Judge Stuart also said the ”extreme beating” was to ”terrify him such that he will not report the thefts from his home”.

Prosecutor Alex Albert agreed, submitting that the viciousness and ”mental torture” seemed unnecessary, and that all three – despite Tangaloa wielding the gun, articulating threats and smashing the guitar and Vaotangi slitting the ear – supported, assisted and encouraged the other with little distinction in their culpability.

Mr Jones told the jury he met Tangaloa at the Rebels in 2001, with Vaotangi and Destanovic, and later he was invited to the Bandidos where they resumed a friendship, but there was ”bad blood” when some left that club.

In November 2008, he phoned Tangaloa, who was upset to hear him say ”I don’t want to be part of your group any more” because ”they like to keep the hard-core group together”.

”These blokes used to hug me and kiss me and say, ‘We love, brother,”’ he said.

The last words Tangaloa offered, Mr Jones recalled, were ”just keep in touch, take it easy”.

The next ones he heard from Tangaloa were on January 15 while he was on his knees – with Vaotangi and Destanovic holding his shoulders – after he had put a gun to his mouth: ”I want all the keys to your Harley-Davidsons, all the money you’ve got in the house, and today you’re gunna die.”

After the beating, Mr Jones remembered saying to himself, ”You’re still alive, you’re still alive” then the sound of his Harleys ”start up and go”.

He agreed with Michael Sharpley, for Tangaloa, that he first refused to identify his attackers, but later did.

”I had enough, I was fed up,” he said. ”I was in a bike club, I had nothing to do with bike clubs any more.

”Being in the bike clubs they grind into you that you’re not allowed to talk to police, you’re not allowed to identify anyone if you ever spoke to police. Joe [Tangaloa] would put the fear of God into me, saying he was gunna kill me if we spoke to the police.”

Mr Jones rejected the suggestion from Destanovic’s barrister Wayne Toohey he was a ”cunning liar” and that his client was not present.

He also denied he feared outside his door the husband of a Tony Mokbel associate whose wife he’d earlier had an affair with, or that Bandidos were responsible.

In pleas for mitigation that ended this week, Tangaloa, a ”pallet technician” and father of 11 from three relationships, who has no prior convictions, was described by supporters as a generous family man, charitable, and one who ”gives of himself to his friends”.

Destanovic, a father of five and a painter and decorator who has criminal convictions that include assault, seemed, said Mr Toohey, ”like a normal, run of the mill fellow” who had ”no great problem with the world”.

Barrister James McQuillan said Vaotangi, a married father of three, had convictions for violence, but was ”essentially a family man” from a good Christian family who at the time of the incident was ”out of control” on ice when associating with the ”wrong crowd”.

Now drug free, employed and back with his family, Vaotangi, said Mr McQuillan, ”wants to rectify his past”.

Judge Stuart, who will sentence the men next month, has acknowledged that the delay in finalising the charges was a significant factor.

By their colours: Outlaw motorcycle gang identification guide

According to the Australian Crime Commission, outlaw motorcycle gangs (OMCGs) are among the most identifiable components of Australia’s criminal landscape.

The ACC says OCMGs are active in all states and territories and lists 44 as being of interest, with a total of 179 chapters and 4,483 members.

The Rebels gang boasts by far the biggest membership, at 25 per cent of the total, while the Bandidos have 7 per cent, the Outlaws and Hells Angels 6 per cent, Lone Wolf 5 per cent and Comancheros 5 per cent.

There has been a 48 per cent increase of OMCG chapters since 2007, according to the ACC.

The joint National Attero Task Force was set up in 2012 to target the Rebels, considered one of Australia’s highest risk criminal threats, and claimed success by recovering $1.7 million owed to the Australian Taxation Office.

The authorities also laid 1,200 charges for such offences ranging from serious assault and kidnapping, to firearms, weapons, drugs, property and traffic offences.

Along with firearms, they recovered Tasers, machetes, knuckle dusters, throwing stars and illegal knives and batons.

Among the OMCGs of interest to Australian authorities, many have links with notorious overseas gangs.

Rebels

The Rebels are the only major home-grown gang and were formed in Brisbane several decades ago. They boast the country’s biggest membership and have been tied to various execution-style killings over the past decade, including the murder of three members of rival club the Bandidos.

The ongoing war has seen the clubhouse of the Rebels’ “mother” chapter in the inner-Brisbane suburb of Albion torched and shot at.

The Rebels have added suspected counterfeiting activities, tax evasion and trafficking stolen goods to their known involvement in drug manufacture and supply.

Bandidos

The Australian offshoot of the group formed in San Leon, Texas, claims to have formed in August 1983 when ex-members of the Comanchero club met and were “greatly impressed” by members of the American gang.

They were so impressed they split with Comanchero, causing an ongoing rift that culminated in the 1984 “Milperra Massacre” south-west of Sydney that left seven dead and 28 injured.

The Bandidos have been targeted by US law enforcement as one of the “big four” gangs involved in the drug trade, as well as arms dealing, money laundering, murder and extortion.

The US justice department regards them as a “growing criminal threat” to the country.

Hells Angels

The Hells Angels originated in California in the US and are easily the most notorious of the “1 per cent” bikie clubs – the ones that give 99 per cent of motorcyclists a bad name.

The gang operates in as many as 27 countries and poses a criminal threat on six continents, according to the US Department of Justice.

The club’s criminal activities are known to include drug production, transportation and distribution, as well as extortion, murder, money laundering and motorcycle theft.

Membership in the US is limited to white males who cannot be into child molestation, and the club’s website boasts that each of its members rides, on average, 20,000 miles a year.

In Australia, the club says it has 10 active chapters in all states except WA and Tasmania and also in the Northern Territory. Recent reports suggest that the Angels are trying to widen their footholds in the drug trade, bringing them in direct conflict with rivals such as the Comancheros.

Mongols

Formed in California in the 1970s, the Mongols Motorcycle Club is inspired (in name) by the empire of Genghis Khan and is believed to have about 70 chapters nationwide.

Many US members are former members of Los Angeles-area street gangs, leading the powerful US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to consider it the “most violent and dangerous” bikie gang operating there.

The Mongols, sworn enemies of the Hells Angels, boast of having chapters in the US, Mexico, Germany, Norway, France, Spain, Italy, Israel, Thailand and now Australia. Recent reports in the Fairfax media indicate the club has been scoping out territory for the club in Sydney and on Queensland’s Gold Coast.

A patched member from the Mongols’ France-based chapter had moved to the Gold Coast and aligned himself with the Finks, Fairfax reported last week, in an expansion bid.

Finks

The Finks arguably made their name in Australia after the “Ballroom Blitz”, a gang fight with Hells Angels members at a Gold Coast kickboxing tournament in 2006 featuring guns, knives, knuckledusters and chairs.

According to recent reports, the Finks are planning to patch over their whole group to the international powerhouse Mongols in a bid to become the most-feared outlaw club in Australia and circumvent moves by authorities to have the club declared a criminal organisation under controversial anti-association laws.

The news comes in the wake of three public bikie brawls on the Gold Coast.

It is believed to also have prompted the Federal Government to send a new federal anti-gang squad to Queensland’s Gold Coast to help the State Government in its crackdown on bikie gangs.

The patchover would involve the Finks swapping club support gear with Mongols “colours” and removing Finks club tattoos.

Comancheros

Thought to have instigated the Milperra massacre, the Comancheros are seen as encouraging a growing trend among bikie gangs to allow non-bikies to join.

The Daily Telegraph reported in August that the self-proclaimed national leader of the gang, Mark Buddle, had neither a motorcycle licence nor a bike.

“Show a modern Comanchero a motorbike and he wouldn’t know how to ride it,” former detective Duncan McNab told the paper.

“They are criminal gangs who sometimes get on a bike.” The phenomenon has even spawned the phrase “Nike bikie”, the paper wrote, as other bikie gangs look to recruit members to beef up their criminal activities.

The Victorian police earlier this month charged five members of the Comancheros over a recent spate of shootings in Melbourne’s south-east.

All but one of the Comancheros were accused of running a debt-collecting syndicate which allegedly uses violent standover tactics to get money from victims.

Other prominent OMCGs

  • Gypsy Jokers
  • Black Uhlans
  • Nomads
  • Rock Machine
  • Odin’s Warriors
  • Tramps (Wangaratta)
  • Satan’s Soldiers
  • Diablos (Bandidos)
  • Notorious
  • Vikings
  • Red Devils
  • Coffin Cheaters
  • Satan’s Riders
  • Devil’s Henchmen
  • Outlaws
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