Tiahleigh Palmer: Foster father Rick Thorburn charged with murder over schoolgirl’s death

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 BTW I have heaps of Video and court Docs just waiting to post  legally

Inside the idyllic rural property where 12-year-old Tiahleigh Palmer’s spent 10 months before her murder

au.news.yahoo.com

Child safety service not told Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster father was ‘person of interest’ for months

Yahoo7 News on September 28, 2016, 5:53 am

Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster father and accused killer Rick Thorburn was permitted to run a daycare business for five months after the schoolgirl’s death despite being a person of interest in the investigation, it has been revealed.

Queensland’s Department of Child Safety and Education were not notified that Thorburn was a person of interest in the case until April 2016, and the 56-year-old held a blue card until then, The Courier Mail reports.

Tiahleigh, 12, disappeared on October 30 when Thorburn claimed he dropped her off at school and she failed to come home.

Tiahleigh’s remains were found on a riverbank in November 2015.

Her body was discovered five days later, washed up on the bank of the Pimpama River.

Police told News Corp last week that Thorburn was a person of interest “from day one”, however the child safety authority was not notified until April, Minister for Child Safety Shannon Fentiman confirmed.

Rick Thorburn has been charged over Tiahleigh’s murder. Photo: Supplied.

The department was told the Logan man was also facing allegations relating to an 11-year-old girl and four-year-old girl, the Courier Mail reported.

“In April, police notified my department and the Department of Education and Training of alleged criminal activity. This was the first time that concerns were raised about the Thorburns,” Ms Fentiman said last week.

Thorburn was charged over Tiahleigh’s murder and taken into custody on September 20, six weeks before the one-year anniversary of her disappearance.

Trent Thorburn was reportedly bashed twice in prison since his arrest. Photo: Supplied.

His son and Tiahleigh’s foster brother Trent Thorburn is also in custody accused of having an incestual relationship with the girl in their Chambers Flat home.

The 19-year-old dancer has reportedly been bashed twice by fellow inmates since being held in the Arthur Gorrie Correctional Centre.

The Queensland Government ordered a review into the foster care system and blue card services the day after the arrests.


IT WAS a house of misery where Tiahleigh Palmer spent 10 months of her life before her murder.

The schoolgirl was placed with former truck driver and muscle-car enthusiast Rick Thorburn and his family in the house on an isolated stretch of road at Chambers Flat, a rural pocket of strawberry farms and horse paddocks in the Logan area south of Brisbane.

The seemingly idyllic 2ha property where Tiahleigh made her new home with the Thorburn family is modern, with two bathrooms, a swimming pool, rolling green lawns and horses in the yard.

But inside the four-bedroom brick house just eight minutes from where Tiahleigh was last seen attending her high school, the young girl was allegedly preyed on by her foster brother Trent Thorburn.

The house in Chambers Flat in a rural area where Tiahleigh Palmer spent her last months in 2015.

The house in Chambers Flat in a rural area where Tiahleigh Palmer spent her last months in 2015.Source: Supplied

An occasional truant, Tiahleigh was well-liked at school.

An occasional truant, Tiahleigh was well-liked at school.Source :News Corp Australia

Tiahleigh Palmer attended school minutes from the Thorburn’s property.

Tiahleigh Palmer attended school minutes from the Thorburn’s property.Source:News Corp Australia

Tiahleigh came to live with the Thorburns, Rick and Julene and their sons Trent and Josh in the isolated family farmhouse south of Brisbane before she was murdered.

Tiahleigh came to live with the Thorburns, Rick and Julene and their sons Trent and Josh in the isolated family farmhouse south of Brisbane before she was murdered.Source: Supplied

The 19-year-old, who lived with his brother Josh, 20, and mother Julene has been charged with incest while Rick Thorburn, 56, has been charged with Tiahleigh’s murder.

Not all was well with the Thorburn family. Following a serious back injury which forced him to give up his job as a truckie, Rick Thorburn had tried a number of jobs to feed his family.

A car enthusiast, he had sold vehicle and engine parts from the property.

He was also a devotee of American culture and came up with the idea to sell US food from a truck he drove to festivals and other events in the Logan area.

A month after Tiahleigh moved into the Thorburn’s home, Rick Thorburn took his food van — which he named Nothing Healthy Here — and travelled around with his sons Trent and Josh selling hot dogs, hot jam doughnuts, churros and pancakes from the van.

This is the house in Flesser Rd at Chambers Flat where Tiahleigh lived with her foster parents.

This is the house in Flesser Rd at Chambers Flat where Tiahleigh lived with her foster parents.Source:News Corp Australia

The swimming pool at the house rented by the Thorburns.

The swimming pool at the house rented by the Thorburns.Source: Supplied

Rick Thorburn, at his Chambers Flat home before his arrest. Picture: Liam Kidston

Rick Thorburn, at his Chambers Flat home before his arrest. Picture: Liam KidstonSource:News Corp Australia

“We saw the quality of food at other places and decided we could do it bigger and better. We try to keep it unique and we have food you can’t get anywhere else,” he told the Jimboomba Times.

Mr Thorburn said he looked forward to being able to provide guests with a good old-fashioned feed.

“We do sell one healthy thing – water,” he joked in September last year.

Mr Thorburn made the comments almost eight weeks before Tiahleigh Palmer vanished.

While she lived with the Thorburns, Tiahleigh had been attending Marsden State High School, where Chaplain Ian Pratt said she was a free spirit who passionately threw herself into a range of creative pursuits.

The seventh grader was also described as “not always perfect” and an occasional truant from classes, but there was no suggestion of the alleged abuse that was unfolding at her new foster home.

Tiahleigh, 12, lived on the property which is among farms and horse paddocks south of Brisbane.

Tiahleigh, 12, lived on the property which is among farms and horse paddocks south of Brisbane.Source: Supplied

Rick Thorburn had lost his trucking job after a back injury and was selling American fare from a food truck. Picture: Liam Kidston

Rick Thorburn had lost his trucking job after a back injury and was selling American fare from a food truck. Picture: Liam KidstonSource:News Corp Australia

Tiahleigh Palmer allegedly kept a terrible secret while living at the Thorburn home and attending the local school.

Tiahleigh Palmer allegedly kept a terrible secret while living at the Thorburn home and attending the local school.Source: Supplied

The Thorburns property looked idyllic, but police allege Tiahleigh was being abused while she lived there.

The Thorburns property looked idyllic, but police allege Tiahleigh was being abused while she lived there.Source: Supplied

Tiahleigh had been placed with the Thorburns after spending a happy three years with a foster mother in Gympie, just over 200km north of the Chambers Flat house where she spent her final months.

The schoolgirl lived with Julie Pemberton in the Logan area for years until December 2014, when Ms Pemberton decided to stop acting as a foster carer.

Tiahleigh had been removed from the care of her biological mother, Cyndi Palmer, who was

in and out of police custody with drug problems between 2011 and 2013.

During that time Tiahleigh had experienced some of the lows of the Queensland foster care system, in which she sometimes stayed with carers for as little as 24 hours before being moved to another home.

Despite living in foster care, Tiahleigh remained close to her mother.

The 12-year-old lived with the Thorburns at this house between January and October last year before she was murdered and her body dumped.

The 12-year-old lived with the Thorburns at this house between January and October last year before she was murdered and her body dumped.Source :Supplied

Police divers found Tiahleigh’s shoe but not her uniform after fishermen discovered her body floating in the Pimpama River. Picture: QPS

Police divers found Tiahleigh’s shoe but not her uniform after fishermen discovered her body floating in the Pimpama River. Picture: QPSSource: Supplied

Rick Thorburn, above before his arrest, at the gate of the property his family shared with Tiahleigh Palmer. Picture: Channel 9

Rick Thorburn, above before his arrest, at the gate of the property his family shared with Tiahleigh Palmer. Picture: Channel 9Source: Supplied

At the time Ms Pemberton gave up her role as a foster carer and Tiahleigh was placed with the Thorburns, Cyndi Palmer had been trying to regain custody of her daughter.

Following Tiahleigh’s murder, Ms Pemberton said that Cyndi Palmer had “got it together” and that she “might have made a few mistakes but she is lovely and absolutely adores her daughter”.

Cyndi Palmer has posted on Facebook that she had endured an “evil” 2011, but had turned her life around but had “learned from it and … well prepared and educated for making 2012 the start of everything I want it to be for my family and I”.

But Tiahleigh’s return to her mother’s care never happened.

After almost a year with the Thorburns and allegedly involved in an incestuous relationship with her foster brother, Tiahleigh was dropped off at Marsden High School at 8.10am on October 30 by Rick Thorburn.

Witnesses say she entered the school briefly, but then left.

Six days later, fishermen found Tiahleigh’s badly decomposed body floating in the Pimpama River, 30km south of where she was last seen.

Police divers found one of Tiahleigh’s shoes, but her school uniform and pink backpack were missing.

Queensland Police have also charged Tiahleigh’s foster mother Julene Thorburn and her son Josh with perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Rick Thorburn is in hospital in an induced coma after an alleged attempt at self harm following his arrest.


Tiahleigh Palmer’s 19-year-old foster-brother told a cousin he’d had sex with the 12-year-old and was worried she was pregnant, a court has heard.

In successfully keeping Trent Jordan Thorburn behind bars, prosecutors argued he had deliberately misled and lied to police throughout the 11-month investigation into the alleged murder of the Logan schoolgirl.

Foster brother admitted sex

The foster-brother of Tiahleigh Palmer is refused bail, charged with incest and lying to police. 7 News Queensland

Police prosecutor Sergeant Ellen French alleged a Facebook Messenger conversation between Mr Thorburn and his cousin two days before Tia went missing showed him disclosing that he’d had sex with her.

“He says he had sex with the victim on the prior Monday and he had only done so because she had threatened to kill his dog,” Sergeant French said, of a conversation that was allegedly handed over to police.

“The defendant said he was concerned about her being pregnant…” she told the court.

“The defendant further outlines the victim had spoken to his mother about it.”

Mr Thorburn’s defence lawyer John Ide argued he should have been granted bail on charges including incest considering his age, lack of criminal history and potential time behind bars awaiting trial.

“He’s a young man with no criminal history whatsoever,” he said.

Trent Thorburn.
Trent Thorburn.  

“In my submission it couldn’t be said he’s an unacceptable risk of any of the things that’s asserted by the prosecution.”

Sergeant French told the court Mr Thorburn had denied any involvement or sexual conduct with Tia on five separate occasions and colluded with his family to mislead police.

Tiahleigh Palmer's mother Cindy waits with supporters outside court.
Tiahleigh Palmer’s mother Cindy waits with supporters outside court. Photo: Glenn Hunt

“Eventually the defendant has admitted to the authorities that he had lied on multiple occasions in order to conceal the  sexual intercourse between himself and Tiahleigh,” she said.

A friend of Tia’s told police the young girl had approached her about a month before her alleged murder, saying “Trent tried to touch me”, Sergeant Ellen alleged.

Former foster carers Cameron and Wayne Pemberton speak to media outside court.
Former foster carers Cameron and Wayne Pemberton speak to media outside court. Photo: Glenn Hunt

“She further said that the victim claimed to have disclosed this to her foster-mother,” she said.

Mr Thorburn has been charged with incest, perverting the course of justice and two counts of perjury relating to Crime and Corruption Commission hearings in July and September this year.

Cindy Palmer arrives at the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning.
Cindy Palmer arrives at the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning. Photo: Jorge Branco

Prosecutors argued he was “highly likely” to interfere with witnesses and “would attempt in every way shape and form to evade and avoid every risk” of imprisonment.

Magistrate Pamela Dowse kept Mr Thorburn behind bars, saying he was “not a candidate for bail at this point in time” but another application could be made in the future.

Tiahleigh Palmer.
Tiahleigh Palmer.  Photo: Supplied

Outside court, Mr Ide said he would consider applying to the Supreme Court for bail.

Police allege Mr Thorburn’s father, Richard Thorburn, killed Tia in an attempt to cover up his son’s alleged crime.

Richard Thorburn has been charged with the murder of his foster child.
Richard Thorburn has been charged with the murder of his foster child. Photo: Jorge Branco

The alleged killer was remanded in custody after his matter was heard on Wednesday morning as he remained in an induced coma in hospital after collapsing in the watchhouse on Tuesday.

EARLIER

A member of Tiahleigh Palmer's foster family arrives at Logan police station on Tuesday.
A member of Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster family arrives at Logan police station on Tuesday.  Photo: Glenn Hunt

The man accused of murdering Queensland schoolgirl Tiahleigh Palmer and dumping her body in a Gold Coast river is in an induced coma and won’t appear in court before a crowd of her mother’s supporters.

Foster father Richard Neville Thorburn, 56, was due in the Beenleigh Magistrates Court on Wednesday morning, ahead of an application for bail by his son on related charges.

But the father remained in the intensive care unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital on Wednesday, after collapsing in the watchhouse on Tuesday afternoon.

Defence solicitor Kelly Thompson, from Robertson O’Gorman solicitors, told the court she’d spoken with doctors at the hospital.

“He’s currently in an induced coma and there’s no indication as to when he might be brought out of that at this stage,” she said.

A crowd of people expecting the appearance packed Beenleigh courtroom, leaving standing room only for a host of people due to appear on other matters, with supporters flanking Tia’s biological mum, Cindy Palmer.

Among them were Tia’s former foster father Wayne Pemberton and his son Cameron, who paid tribute to the “good girl”.

Wayne said the “feisty” 12-year-old lived with them for two and a half years and described his “total shock” at hearing the man who cared for Tia after him had been accused of her murder.

“You don’t expect that from a carer,” he said.

“That’s not what you’re here to do.

“To hear that and for everyone in the family to (allegedly) be involved it’s just unthinkable.”

Ms Palmer declined to comment as she made her way into the courthouse in suburban Beenleigh, just off the highway roughly halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Wayne, who remembered Tia’s love of waterskiing and other watersports, said it couldn’t be said Ms Palmer was happy but she was glad of an outcome.

Trent Jordan Thorburn, 19, has been charged with incest, perjury, and attempting to pervert the course of justice. He’s due to appear in court on Wednesday.

He was set to apply for bail after midday in a hearing his lawyer indicated would take about 45 minutes.

Richard Thorburn’s hearing went ahead without him and was adjourned for a committal mention on December 21.

He won’t be required to appear, meaning Ms Palmer again won’t have a chance to come face to face with her daughter’s alleged killer.

Mr Thorburn told police he dropped his foster daughter off at school about 8.10am that morning but police will allege that was a lie.

They’ll allege he instead murdered the 12-year-old at the family home in the Logan suburb of Chambers Flat on the night of October 29, before dumping her body in the river that night or the next.

The killing was sparked by a discovery made that night, which led Mr Thorburn to kill the girl in an attempt to cover up a crime Trent had committed against Tia, police will allege.

The younger brother was charged with incest, among other alleged crimes.

A missing person alert for Tia wasn’t put out until November 5, hours before her badly decomposed body was found on the banks of the Pimpama River.

The delay drew criticism, sparked wide-ranging changes to authorities’ responses to missing children in care and further condemnation from Wayne Pemberton on Wednesday as “very frustrating”.

“It’s not a good thing to have to wait around for someone to put an alert out but it finally got done,” Cameron said.

“It should have got done quicker. It shouldn’t have taken so long.”

Another supporter, who didn’t know the family, said she was “disillusioned” with the government’s handling of children in care.

Being charged with murder, Mr Thorburn must apply for bail to a higher court if he wants to be released.


The younger son, Trent, 19, described himself as a dancer, metal fabrication apprentice, and classic car builder.

Police believe the teenager sexually abused Tiahleigh. He was denied bail on charges for incest, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice in court this afternoon.

In court, the prosecutor argued he “took advantage of (Tiahleigh) as her big brother and as a result her young life has been taken”.

The foster brother was concerned he had impregnated the child, the court heard. Police are expected to allege the boy’s father killed Tia to cover for his son.

THE foster family at the centre of allegations into the death of Tiahleigh Palmer buried the Brisbane schoolgirl in a heartfelt ceremony attended by more than 600 people last November.

Back then, Rick Thorburn, 56, Tia’s foster father and accused killer, appeared to hold back tears as he solemnly carried her child-sized coffin, acting as a pallbearer.

He blended in to the crowd of purple, Tia’s favourite colour, which mourners had chosen to wear to pay tribute to the young girl. The colour also became a symbol of commitment to the desperate search for answers over what had happened to her.

His shirt read “in love memory of Tiahleigh R.I.P.” At the service, he comforted her grieving mother.

The truck driver turned food van proprietor and his wife had taken in Tia as a foster child while her biological mother, Cyndi Palmer, worked to get her life on track after struggling as a teen mum and spending time in the prison system.

Tiahleigh Palmer.Source:AAP

Tiahleigh Palmer.Source:Supplied

She lived with the couple and their two adult sons in their Chambers Flat home where Thorburn’s wife Julene, 54, also ran a home daycare service.

The eldest of the two boys, Josh, 20, was qualified to work as an assistant in the home business and had been unemployed in recent years while recovering from injury.

The younger son, Trent, 19, described himself as a dancer, metal fabrication apprentice, and classic car builder.

Police believe the teenager sexually abused Tiahleigh. He was denied bail on charges for incest, perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice in court this afternoon.

In court, the prosecutor argued he “took advantage of (Tiahleigh) as her big brother and as a result her young life has been taken”.

The foster brother was concerned he had impregnated the child, the court heard. Police are expected to allege the boy’s father killed Tia to cover for his son.

A facebook photograph of Rick Thorburn and family Josh, Julene and Trent. Rick and Trent have been charged in relation to the murder of Tiahleigh Palmer.Source:Facebook

A Crime Stoppers tip led police to swoop on the family on Tuesday, arresting Rick, Julene, Josh, and Trent at various addresses in the Logan area.

Following police interviews Rick was yesterday formally charged with Tia’s murder. Trent, the youngest of Tia’s foster brothers, has been charged with incest.

Julene and Josh have been charged with one count each of perjury and perverting the course of justice.

All four family members are awaiting court, Trent’s today and Julene’s and Josh’s next month, though father Rick’s has now been delayed. The murder-accused was expected to face a bedside hearing at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital, but is in an induced coma following a suspected self-harm attempt while in custody.

When his case returns to court, now scheduled for December, police are expected to allege the foster father murdered the girl in his car to protect his teenage son according to the Courier-Mail. Police will allege Trent sexually abused Tia.

Trent Thorburn was Tiahleigh’s foster brother.Source:No Source

Trent Thorburn, 19, has been charged with incest, perverting the course of justice and perjury in relation to the death of Tiahleigh Palmer.Source:No Source

Tia’s foster father and relatives have long been persons of interest throughout the 11-month investigation of the schoolgirl’s disappearance and murder, senior police sources told the Brisbane paper.

Less than a month after Tia’s death, the foster father published a post on Facebook saying the family had accommodation for one or two people in their “happy home environment on acreage”.

He described the residence as a clean and safe home.

The case has prompted the Queensland government to review the approval process for foster carers and working with children checks.

Acting Premier Curtis Pitt says both will be examined by extending a review already under way, with a report expected back early next year. “We will be very, very careful to ensure that the young people who are in our foster system as well as, of course, the broader child protection system are given all the protections,” he said.

Announcing details of the review, Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman confirmed the foster parents continued to run a child care business from their home after Tia’s death.

Tiahleigh’s mother, Cyndi Palmer at Beenleigh court on Wednesday where Rick Thorburn was due to appear. Picture: Liam KidstonSource:News Corp Australia

Tia went missing at the end of October last year. Her foster father was reportedly the last person to see her alive, dropping her off near Marsden State High school just after 8am on October 20.

Despite calls for action from her biological family, Tia wasn’t reported missing for six days. The delay was explained away at the time as taking care with concerns around identifying a child in care.

The same morning an alert was distributed by police appealing for help finding the girl, a trio of fishermen discovered her semi-naked decaying body on the banks of the Gold Coast’s Pimpama River.

The water and dirt had washed away any signs of what had happened to Tia, and police had few clues to work with while going about investigating how she had died.

Investigators were worried they may never solve the case.

Tia’s biological mother and grandmother were outspoken in appealing for witnesses and calls to Crime Stoppers from members of the public who may have seen or heard anything that could assist with finding out what happened to their little girl.

But her foster family was silent.

Foster father Rick Thorburn has been charged with murder. He is in an induced coma in a Brisbane hospital. Picture: Jack TranSource:News Corp Australia

Again speaking out, Tia’s grandmother Sue Palmer last night revealed her shock and anguish over the Thorburn family’s charges.

She said the news had “knocked the wind right out of my sails”.

“When it happens to your own it just is like a twisted knife in your heart,” she told A Current Affair on Tuesday.

“I’m just absolutely addled with thoughts of how she died, and that’s something that I really want to know.”

Ms Palmer criticised the Thorburn family’s behaviour following Tia’s death, which was made all the more alarming following yesterday’s allegations.

“They took pride of place at the funeral which I didn’t think they deserved and people treated them as though they were parents of long standing which they weren’t,” she said.

“It’s really really scary. It’s awful trying to raise little girls and boys nowadays. You can’t fix kids once you’ve wrecked them. You can’t fix Tiahleigh.”

Ms Palmer said she gained no relief from the arrests and charges, bringing her and the rest of Tia’s family closer to finding answers.

“To be really truthful it’s not a relief at all, it’s not even closure, it’s pain on pain,” she said.

Rick Thorburn remains in an induced coma and is due to face court on charges of murder and interfering with a corpse in December. His son Trent will face Beenleigh Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday charged with incest, perjury and perverting the course of justice. He is expected to apply for bail.

Thorburn’s wife Julene and other son Josh have both been charged with perjury and perverting the course of justice, and have been bailed to return to court on October 10.

20/09/2016 Update
2016-09-20_16-13-36
a charge of incest has also been laid against one of the young males arrested.
tiahleigh-palmers-foster-father-has-been-arrested-over-the-schoolgirls-murder-9news

Tiahleigh Palmer’s foster father Rick Thorburn has been charged with murder over the 12-year-old’s death, hours after he and his wife were arrested by homicide detectives south of Brisbane, police say.

Thorburn arrived at Logan police station in handcuffs just before 11:30am.

His wife Julene Thorburn arrived at the police station separately a short time later.

Less than two hours later, Detective Inspector Damien Hansen emerged from the police station to tell the media Thorburn would be charged with murder at the Beenleigh Police Station watch house.

“He will be appearing in court tomorrow,” Inspector Hansen said.

Earlier today, homicide detectives arrested four people in connection with the murder investigation.

“A woman aged 54, as well as three men aged 19, 20 and 56 were taken into custody by officers attached to Operation North Mizzen — a joint Homicide and Logan District investigation,” a police statement said.

“All four are known to each other and were located at various addresses in Logan.”

The ABC understands the two younger men also arrested are related to the Thorburns.

The arrests came shortly after police confirmed Tiahleigh’s foster father was the former owner of a car seized by police last week.

The 12-year-old’s body was found on the banks of the Pimpama River last November, almost a week after she vanished.

A week ago, detectives seized a 2009 blue-coloured Ford XR6 sedan they believed was linked to Tiahleigh’s murder.

Police said last week the car’s current owner was not considered a suspect.

Today, Detective Inspector Damien Hansen confirmed Thorburn was the car’s former owner.

His link to the investigation had been revealed in the media, which Inspector Hansen said could have hindered the progress of detectives.

“It didn’t help us,” he said.

Inspector Hansen admitted the investigation had moved quickly in the past 24 hours.

“Due to certain factors we’ve moved quicker than than we possibly would have wanted to,” he said.

Car still under forensic examination

He said police had received no further information in relation to the car since it was seized.

“We’ve looked at every person who had involvement with Tiah in this investigation,” Inspector Hansen said.

He declined to say what police, if anything, had found in the car.

“It’s still being examined,” he said.

He said detectives had also updated Tiahleigh’s biological mother on the investigation.

“She’s comfortable with our response at this stage,” Inspector Hansen said.

“But I will take the opportunity to say that also with the family that there are certain times we can’t pass on information, when the information is at a critical stage.

“It’s possibly been one of the most difficult investigations I’ve been involved in.”

Brissy cop charged with murder over baby son’s death in 2014-Still not named


Update 1/02/16

Brisbane policeman Colin Randall appears in court over alleged murder of baby son

A senior police constable from the Brisbane region has been remanded in custody after facing court charged with the murder of his two-month-old son more than 18 months ago.

Colin David Randall, 38, faced the Brisbane Magistrates Court for a brief hearing this morning.

Police and the Crime and Corruption Commission have spent more than a year investigating the baby boy’s death, but it was not reported to the public until the weekend.

Randall was remanded in custody and the matter is due to return to court next month.

Cop’s murder charge a ‘tragic event’

POLICE are expected to allege an officer charged with murdering his baby son was having an extramarital affair with a woman in the Queensland Police Service.

A senior constable from Brisbane Region has been charged with murder.
Why the hell has is taking so long to name one of their own? Queensland Police Service pays its senior constables between $68,894 and $82,638 a year. I GUARANTEE Jo Blow doesn’t get these pathetic privileges for something no where near the crimes relating to a death of a child
By Matt Eaton

Sat 30 Jan 2016, 5:15pm

A 38-year-old Queensland Police senior constable has been charged with murder over the death of his baby son.

Police charged the man after a joint investigation by the child trauma task force within the child safety and sexual crime group, state crime command and the ethical standards command.

The investigation related to the death of a two-month-old boy at a property in Victoria Point on Brisbane’s bay-side on June 28, 2014.

The officer from the Brisbane region, who had already been suspended from duty with the Queensland Police Service, is due to appear in the Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.

At a media conference on Saturday afternoon, Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said he could not release too many details about the case other but confirmed “there were fairly significant injuries to the baby”.

He said the officer involved was suspended about a month after the child’s death and defended the decision by investigators not to speak publicly on the officer’s alleged involvement before today.

In terms of any sort of infant homicide, they aren’t necessarily made known to the media.

Detective Superintendent Cheryl Scanlon

“Our community needs to have confidence, in fact great confidence, that no matter who is responsible for these types of crimes, that its police service will be relentless and committed in ensuring that the investigations are brought to conclusion and that the offenders are brought to justice,” he said.

“Now this is a very tragic event, with the loss of a young, innocent life and the devastation of a family.

“I’m a father — these sorts of crimes, irrespective of who commits them, are tragic and terrible.

“I can only say that we are committed, as we have been in this instance, to making sure the offender is brought to justice.

“Particularly in this one, we’ve [been] very careful, hence our involvement with the Crime and Corruption Commission to make sure everything has been done properly.”

Detective Superintendent Cheryl Scanlon said they would have kept the investigation away from public attention regardless of who was involved.

“In terms of any sort of infant homicide, they aren’t necessarily made known to the media,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter whether there’s a police officer charged or a member of the community.

“They are extremely difficult, complex and protracted investigations where you have expert evidence involved and they take many, many months to resolve.”

Deputy Commissioner Gollschewski said the officer was suspended on full pay but now that he had been charged this would be reviewed.


Police officer still paid after baby’s death

Updated: 6:27 pm, Saturday, 30 January 2016

A Queensland police officer accused of murdering his baby son has spent the last year-and-a-half suspended from duty on full pay.

The 38-year-old senior constable was charged with murder on Saturday morning after his two-month-old son succumbed to ‘fairly significant injuries’ at Victoria Point in Brisbane’s east in June 2014.

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said the baby’s death was immediately considered suspicious and the officer was suspended ‘about a month after the incident’.

‘The usual procedure we have is when under investigation, before any charges are laid, the officers are suspended on pay,’ Mr Gollschewski told reporters on Saturday.

‘Now that he has been charged that will be reviewed and consideration will be given to suspension without pay.

‘That’s a technical legal matter that has to be considered properly.’

Queensland Police Service pays its senior constables between $68,894 and $82,638 a year.

But Mr Gollschewski defended the amount of time the investigation took, saying infant homicides were difficult to investigate because they relied upon medical expert evidence that could take months to obtain and verify.

‘This is a very tragic event with the loss of a young innocent life and the devastation of a family,’ he said.

‘These types of investigations are very difficult, challenging and, in this instance, quite protracted.’

He also defended the decision not to release any information about the incident before now, including the fact an officer was suspended on suspicion of a child’s murder, because detectives needed to maintain ‘the integrity of the investigation’.

The deputy commissioner said the lengthy investigation was aided by the Crime and Corruption Commission and various experts.

‘Our community needs to have confidence, in fact great confidence, that no matter who is responsible for these types of crimes, the police service will be relentless and committed to ensuring the investigations are brought to a conclusion,’ he said.

‘And that the offenders are brought to justice.’

Mr Gollschewski refused to provide any details about the incident itself, saying the matter was now before the courts.

The officer is due to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday.


 

Brisbane cop to appear in court charged with baby son’s death

January 30, 2016 – 5:12PM

Queensland Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski addresses the media with State Crime Command Detective Superintendent Cheryl Scanlon, after a 38-year-old senior constable was charged with the murder of his baby son.Queensland Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski addresses the media with State Crime Command Detective Superintendent Cheryl Scanlon, after a 38-year-old senior constable was charged with the murder of his baby son. Photo: Kim Stephens

A Queensland police officer will face court on Monday charged with the murder of his baby son in 2014.

This is a very tragic event with the loss of a young, innocent life and the devastation of a family

Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski

The senior constable’s two-month-old boy died after suffering “significant” injuries at his home at bayside Victoria Point, south-east of Brisbane, on June 28, 2014, Deputy Commissioner Steve Gollschewski said on Saturday.

The 38-year-old was stood down on full pay one month after the child’s death, when an investigation was launched.

He was not on duty at the time the boy died.

The Brisbane region senior constable was arrested and charged on Saturday after a protracted probe involving multiple investigatory agencies, including the police Ethical Standards Command and the independent Crime and Corruption Commission.

As the matter is before the courts, Mr Gollschewski declined to elaborate on how the baby boy is alleged to have died but said the injuries that caused his death were severe.

“It’s a complicated one, other than to say there were fairly significant injuries to the baby,” he said.

“This is a very tragic event with the loss of a young, innocent life and the devastation of a family.

“These types of investigations are very difficult and challenging and in this instance quite protracted.”

Mr Gollschewski defended Queensland Police Service not revealing one of their officers had been stood down subject to a murder investigation until he had been charged.

“As with any of these types of investigations, they are very difficult, it’s very important they are conducted in a way that the evidence is preserved and that we are able to present that to a court so a proper determination can be made,” he said.

“Our community needs to have confidence, great confidence, that no matter who is responsible for these types of crime, the police service will be relentless and committed to ensuring investigations are brought to their conclusion and the offenders are brought to justice.”

State Crime Command Detective Superintendent Cheryl Scanlon said all infant murder investigations were lengthy and detailed ones.

“In terms of any infant homicide they are not necessarily made known to members of the media, it doesn’t matter if there is a police officer charged or a member of the community, they are extremely difficult, complex and protracted investigations,” she said.

“Where you have experts involved and they take many, many months to resolve, this particular case is no different to other cases involving infant homicides.”

Mr Gollschewski said the alleged crime was a particularly tragic one.”I’m a father, these sort of crimes, irrespective of who commits them, are tragic and terrible,” he said.

“I can only say that we are committed, as we have been in this instance, to making sure the offender was brought to justice.”

The baby’s father has been remanded in custody to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on Monday, February 1.


 

 

 

The mafia, metadata and me: the day Stan called me into an ecstasy sting


The mafia, metadata and me: the day Stan called me into an ecstasy sting

Nick McKenzie

Mafia in Australia – Drugs, Murder and Politics

The mafia continues to flourish in Australia despite major police operations, as this joint Four Corners/Fairfax Media investigation reveals.

When the phone vibrated in my pocket in September 2007, I had no idea the incoming call would plunge me into the middle of Australia’s biggest Mafia investigation in decades.

I was also unaware that the caller, who identified himself as “Stan”, was, in fact, a driven and entrepreneurial drug trafficker from Griffith, NSW, called Pat Barbaro.

Federal Police and Customs agents with some of the Ecstasy and Cocaine after the drug bust.Federal Police and Customs agents with some of the Ecstasy and Cocaine after the drug bust. Photo: John Woudstra

Barbaro had organised the world’s biggest ecstasy shipment into Melbourne in June 2007. But by the time he rang me, three months later, he was unable to locate the shipping container packed with his $500 million load.

Calling me, and then sending a series of texts from several mobile phones registered in fake names, was part of a desperate plan by Barbaro to either locate his shipment or confirm his suspicions that the police had seized his drugs.

He was hoping I would reach out to police or waterfront sources to do this, and then report my findings. To say his plan failed spectacularly would be an understatement.

Unbeknownst to either me or “Stan,” police were intercepting the text messages, which included detailed descriptions of the size and likely location of the drug shipment. These text messages, and analysis of the corresponding metadata, were used to prove Barbaro had organised the drug shipment.

But that was not the only implication. Over the past six months, federal police have used the scenario as a case study to convince the Federal Government of the need to pass laws ensuring telcos store the metadata generated when a person uses a phone or computer.

As the hulking Barbaro walked around Melbourne’s CBD, meeting bikies, South Asian money launderers and other Mafia bosses, he carried up to a dozen phones. One was his personal mobile, with a subscription under his own name.

The other phones were “burners”, which were registered in false names and regularly replaced with new phones. The problem for Barbaro is that these burners were hitting the same mobile phone towers as his regular phone.

Barbaro’s personal phone and the burners were pinging off the same towers so often that police were able to prove the burners belonged to Barbaro.

According to the Director of Public Prosecution’s Andrea Pavleka, the texts sent from the “Stan” burners “showed that Barbaro had critical knowledge of the contents of that container”.

“That was a terrific link for the prosecution to have in this particular matter.”

Back in 2007, I knew none of this.

In fact, had I known my communications were being intercepted, I would have been furious.

Many of my sources are banned by their employer from speaking to me, or any other reporter, so the prospect of any innocent whistleblower being outed would have concerned me greatly.

I only learned this many months later of the interception. From all the checks I have since conducted – and there have been many – no source of mine was compromised and the AFP agents involved acted professionally and with regard to the sensitivities of my trade.

That said, ever since 2007, I have implemented a range of measures to protect sources’ communications — steps not unlike those suggested by Malcolm Turnbull during the recent debate about metadata.

Ever since the phone buzzed that day in my pocket, and “Stan” briefly entered my life, I’ve been especially conscious about how a person’s communications leave a trail, no matter how careful they are. It is a lesson the now jailed Barbaro has, no doubt, also learned well.

Watch part two of a joint Fairfax and ABC Four Corners mafia investigation on ABC1 8.30 PM Monday.

Gerard Baden-Clay Appeal 7th August 2015-UPDATED 31ST AUGUST 2016


Mountains of stuff on here about the tragic death of Allison by her husband Gerard Baden Clay. To catch up here is a link to posts tagged with Allison below

https://aussiecriminals.com.au/?s=alison+baden+clay&submit=Search

ALSO feel free to use the menu up top to get the full picture.

UPDATE 31/08/2016

Gerard Baden-Clay murder conviction reinstated by High Court

Updated 6 minutes ag

Gerard Baden-Clay’s conviction for murdering his wife, Allison, in 2012 will stand, the High Court has ruled.

A Queensland jury convicted Baden-Clay of murder in 2014, but the state’s Court of Appeal last December downgraded it to manslaughter after his lawyers argued it was possible he could have unintentionally killed his wife during an argument.

Allison’s body was found on a creek bank in Brisbane’s west 10 days after she was reported missing on April 20, 2012.

Allison’s long-time friend and spokeswoman for the family, Kerry-Anne Walker, said the “decision comes with both relief and elation”.

“The law has acknowledged what we, who were closest to her, knew from that very morning Allison went missing — that is — that she was murdered,” she said outside the court.

“Gerard Baden-Clay murdered his amazing wife, Allison.”

She said the evidence in the original trial had displayed Gerard’s intent as well as his character.

“Today’s decision brings an end to Gerard’s attempts to smear Allison’s name,” she said.

“If some were in doubt as to his true nature, his behaviour after Allison disappeared and during the trial must have removed that doubt.”

Ms Walker said Allison loved being a wife and a mother, and had worked incredibly hard to do both to the best of her ability.

“Her legacy will be her beautiful three girls who, surrounded now by their memories of Allison and the love and support of Allison’s devoted family, are thriving in their busy lives,” she said.

“All who know them are confident they will go on to achieve great things.

“I am in awe every day of how well Allison’s parents Geoff and Priscilla and her sister Vanessa deal with their day-to-day busy lives.

“The girls are certainly a tribute to them.”

Judgment cites ‘unintentional’ killing hypothesis

In its judgment, the High Court said the Court of Appeal had “erred in concluding that the jury’s verdict of guilty of murder was unreasonable on the basis that the prosecution had failed to exclude the hypothesis that Gerard Baden-Clay unintentionally killed his wife”.

“By grant of special leave, the Crown appealed to the High Court,” the judgment said.

“It was common ground on the appeal that the respondent killed his wife.

“The High Court held that the hypothesis on which the Court of Appeal acted was not available on the evidence.

“In particular, the Court [of Appeal] accepted the respondent’s submission, made for the first time on appeal, that the prosecution had not excluded the hypothesis that there was a physical confrontation between the appellant and his wife in which he delivered a blow which killed her [for example, by the effects of a fall hitting her head against a hard surface] without intending to cause grievous bodily harm.”

Ms Walker also praised the authorities who helped with the case.

“I would like to thank and acknowledge again the Department of Public Prosecutions, the Queensland Police Service and all those that helped with the case,” she said.

“Your tireless work and passion for the truth will never be forgotten and you should be also very pleased with today’s decision.”

 

UPDATE 26/07/16

Gerard Baden-Clay, pictured with wife Allison, is fighting to have his murder charge downgraded to manslaughter.

GERARD Baden-Clay’s “cold-blooded” and “calculated” disposal of his wife Allison’s body, combined with his ongoing lies to police, point to a man more than capable of murder, a court has heard.

The Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions is fighting for the reinstatement of the former Brisbane real estate agent’s murder conviction in the High Court of Australia, after it was controversially downgraded to manslaughter on appeal last year.

The Court of Appeal ruled there was insufficient evidence to support the verdict of murder a Queensland Supreme Court jury reached in 2014, instead substituting manslaughter.

But on Tuesday, Walter Sofronoff, QC, for the Crown, argued that Baden-Clay’s cold-blooded disposal of his wife Allison’s body and the lies he told police and continued to tell throughout his trial made him a man capable of murder.

Mr Sofronoff said Baden-Clay also used one of his three young daughters in an attempt to conceal his guilt, telling her the scratches Allison left on his face as she fought for her life were shaving cuts, which he asked her to apply band aids to.

This image of scratches and cuts on Gerard Baden-Clay’s face was shown in court.Source:Supplied

 

“It’s not just the conduct itself but the character of conduct that might give rise to an inference of intention, Mr Sofronoff argued.

“His preparedness to use his children, one could conclude about him he is someone who is capable of murder.”

Mr Sofronoff argued the Court of Appeal erred when it considered a number of circumstantial factors that could point to an intention to kill Allison in isolation, rather than collectively.

He said pressure was growing on Mr Baden-Clay the night his wife died.

He had, without his wife’s knowledge, recommenced an affair with mistress Toni McHugh, who he had promised to leave his wife for by July 1, 2011, in the days leading up to Allison’s death on April 19, 2012.

He was hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt and had been refused loans by friends and acquaintances in the lead-up to Allison’s death, which had put him in danger of losing his real estate business.

There was also the looming prospect that the day after he killed his wife, she and his mistress were due to cross paths at a Real Estate Institute of Queensland lunch.

He said the Baden-Clays were undergoing marriage counselling and just a week before he killed Allison, he told Ms McHugh he loved her and that he had every intention of standing by his promise to leave Allison by July 1.

“It was clear the defendant had found living with his wife intolerable and unendurable,” Mr Sofronoff said.

“In the case of this woman he made a promise to end his marriage he described as unconditional.

“We have cited in our outline a number of cases that evidence of motive, including evidence that a man’s longing to be with another woman other than his wife could be evidence of intent to murder.”

Interactive crime scene photographs, shown in court during the murder trial, go inside the western Brisbane home, including the main bedroom where Allison was last seen alive.Source:Supplied

The photos were taken by Queensland police officers at the Brookfield Road house four days after Allison was reported missing.Source:Supplied

 

But it was Baden-Clay’s conduct after his wife’s death that most pointed to the killing not being unintentional, Mr Sofronoff said.

Under the cover of darkness, he dumped the body of the mother of his three children in a creek, 14km from the family home.

Forensics experts were unable to determine a cause of death and it is still unknown whether Allison was dead or fatally injured when her body was disposed of.

Baden-Clay hid the continuation of the affair with Ms McHugh from police.

He told them scratches on his face were from a razor, as he had told his daughter, in a bid to give greater credence to the tale.

In fact, medical experts were unanimous in their agreement that there were two sets of marks on his face, one from a razor being dragged across, rather than down, and one most likely inflicted by fingernails.

And when it came to his trial, he continued to maintain he had no idea how his wife died.

“Did you kill your wife?” he was asked.

“No, I did not,” he replied.

“A reasonable jury could conclude (this behaviour) was inconsistent with the notion of a man who unintentionally killed his wife,” Mr Sofronoff said.

For Baden-Clay, whose presence was not required in court on Tuesday, Michael Byrne, QC, argued, as he successfully did on the Court of Appeal that there was insufficient evidence to point to intent to kill.

Unlike in the Court of Appeal, however, at least two of the judges seemed unconvinced.

“There is no evidence available that the accused intended to kill or do grievous bodily harm,” Mr Byrne said.

“All the evidence goes to show is there was an argument, then maybe a fight and she responded physically and she was dead.”

He dismissed the argument his client’s conduct after Allison’s disappearance pointed to him being guilty of intentionally killing her, saying thought there were “aspects of callousness” it did not prove murder.

“It’s important to note there was simply no evidence of violence between them and that came from their three children,” he said.

Justice Patrick Keane, one of the five judges who will decide Baden-Clay’s ultimate fate, appeared unconvinced by the change of tactic from complete denial of involvement in Allison’s death at trial, to admitting there was sufficient evidence to convict on manslaughter at appeal.

“He has had the opportunity to give the evidence, he has given the evidence, it is inconsistent with any notion at all that there was an unintended killing by him,” he said.

“Once he swears the circumstances of events were such the possibility of an unintended killing occurred … the evidence is inconsistent.”

Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction for the death of his wife Allison has been set aside on appeal and a conviction of manslaughter substituted.Source:News Corp Australia

An overwhelming body of evidence points to the fact it was he who took her life — the scratches she left on his face, the foliage from their garden found in her hair and the drops of her blood discovered in the family car he used to drive her 14km to a creek bed, where he dumped her body.

When Allison Baden-Clay was reported missing by her husband on April 20, 2012, suspicion fell almost immediately upon him.

It intensified 10 days later when her body was found by a kayaker on the banks of the Kholo Creek.

It took a further six weeks for detectives investigating the mother-of-three’s death to charge him with her murder, a charge he has denied since.

Baden-Clay continues to deny he had any involvement in his wife’s death. But after a Supreme Court jury found him guilty of murder after a six-week trial in 2014, his defence team mounted a controversial change of tactic in the Court of Appeal, arguing there was sufficient evidence to make a finding of manslaughter but not of murder.

In a sensational ruling in late 2015, the Court of Appeal, led by Queensland’s Chief Justice, Catherine Holmes, agreed with the defence, setting aside the murder conviction and substituting manslaughter.

It prompted a massive public outcry, culminating in a public rally attended by thousands demanding “Justice for Allison”.

In a highly unusual move, the Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions appealed the downgraded conviction in the High Court of Australia.

A five-member judicial bench will hear his argument for reinstatement of the murder conviction and the counter-arguments of Baden-Clay’s defence team.

The High Court has reserved its decision for a date to be set.

Allison’s parents Priscila and Geoff Dickie.Source:News Corp Australia


update 10/07/16

Gerard Baden-Clay: DPP files final documents in murder conviction downgrade appeal

Updated Fri at 6:48pm

The Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has submitted its final documents in the appeal case of convicted wife-killer Gerard Baden-Clay.

Last year, the Queensland Court of Appeal downgraded Baden-Clay’s murder conviction to manslaughter, saying the jury could not have proved beyond reasonable doubt the former real estate agent intended to kill his wife, Allison.

The DPP later lodged an appeal in the High Court against the manslaughter ruling, which it agreed to hear.

Baden-Clay’s lawyers argued there was no direct evidence to suggest their client caused Mrs Baden-Clay’s death or that he did so with intent.

But in reply, the DPP’s documents on Friday said Baden-Clay’s lawyers did not offer any explanation for Allison’s death throughout the murder trial itself and that their argument was that he did not kill her.

They said it was not permissible to now bring up “other possible explanations” for how she might have died.

The full bench of the High Court will now hear the appeal in Brisbane later this month.

 


update 12/05/016

Gerard Baden-Clay: Murder conviction downgrade appeal approved by High Court

Updated 35 minutes ago

The High Court has agreed to hear Queensland prosecutors appeal against the downgrading of Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction for killing his wife Allison.

The court decided today, in Canberra, to hear the appeal, at a date yet to be fixed.

The Director of Public Prosecutions argue Queensland’s Court of Appeal got it wrong when they downgraded the conviction to manslaughter last December, saying there was a strong motive for murder.

The former real estate agent had yearned to be with his mistress, and he stood to gain a life insurance payout, the director said.

Allison’s badly decomposed body was found in Kholo Creek in May 2012, over a week after she disappeared from the family home.

Baden-Clay was jailed for life in 2014 but that was quashed in December.

Allison’s cousin Jodie Dann watched the High Court decision from the public gallery, but would not comment afterwards.

Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath broke news to sitting MPs shortly after the decision was announced, but also would not comment further as the matter was before the courts.

There was huge support for the Director of Prosecutions to appeal, more than 73,000 people signed a petition and thousands rallied in Brisbane’s King George Square when Baden-Clay’s conviction was downgraded in December.

His lawyers argued there was not enough evidence to prove he intentionally killed Allison, who may have fallen and hit her head during an argument.

They then suggested a hypothesis that he covered up the death, by dumping it in a local creek, out of panic.

‘Let justice do its course’

Queensland Law Society president Bill Potts said Queenslanders could be confident the High Court made the right decision.

“This decision represents the best interpretation of the law, unaffected by bias or the relentless press of the 24/7 media cycle,” he said.

“It is important now to allow the final chapter of the legal process to play out according to the practices and procedures of the courts, and without hyperbolic media commentary.

“We need to remember that whatever people think of the result, this is the final act of a tragedy in which three daughters have lost a mother, two parents have lost a daughter, siblings a sister and we should not, as a community, allow this to turn into a sideshow.”

 

From the moment Gerard Baden-Clay killed his wife Allison on April 19, 2012 – accidentally, Queensland’s highest court has now ruled – his focus was on just one thing: self-preservation.
His wife had vanished after going for a walk, he told the television cameras in the days after her disappearance, as he tearfully pleaded for her return.

In truth, he knew exactly where she was.

Under the Kholo Creek bridge, 13 kilometres from their home in Brisbane’s affluent west, where, under the cover of darkness on April 19, he drove her lifeless body and dumped it on the creek bed.

The presence of Allison Baden-Clay’s blood in the family Holden Captiva provided almost irrefutable proof that is what he did, while the scratches she left on his face as she fought him that night told investigators it was he who had killed her.

The foliage from their garden found in her hair told them he had done it at their Brookfield home.

The growing forensic evidence in the case overwhelmingly pointed to his guilt.

But Baden-Clay’s focus never wavered. It was self-preservation above all else.

Rather than confess he accidentally killed Allison after kayakers discovered her body on the creek bank, 10 days after she disappeared, he stood beside their three daughters at her funeral and played the grieving husband.

He protested his innocence when, six weeks later, detectives charged him with her murder and continued his protestations through his subsequent committal hearing and trial.

When Baden-Clay stood before a jury at his murder trial in 2014, he swore, under oath, he did not kill his wife.

Despite the physical evidence pointing to his guilt, the cocky prestige real estate agent who prided himself on his lineage to Scouts founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell had no doubt at the end of it all, he would be a free man.

So, it was a violently shaking Baden-Clay who sat in the Supreme Court dock after his trial jury returned their guilty verdict in 2014 and listened as Justice John Byrne sentenced him to life in jail.

His plan had failed. With a non-parole period of 15 years set, he was facing at least the next 13 years behind bars.

It was a time to try a change of tactic.

Just more than a year later, in the Queensland Court of Appeal, his lawyers publicly conceded for the first time that perhaps their client did kill his wife. Accidentally.

Defence counsel Michael Copley, QC, argued there was sufficient evidence available to conclude Allison died unlawfully but not to thrust it into the category of murder, which indicates some degree of intent.

“There was sufficient evidence available … that he had caused the death and done so unlawfully,” Mr Copley said.

“What evidence was there that elevated the case from unlawful killing to intentional killing?”

Queensland’s Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Michael Byrne, QC argued the extreme lengths Baden-Clay took to cover up his crime and the continual denials he was involved in his wife’s death elevated it out of the realm of manslaughter and into that of murder.

In the end, however, appeal judges Chief Justice Catherine Holmes, Justice Hugh Fraser and Justice Robert Gotterson had no choice but to agree with the defence argument.

While there was sufficient evidence to point to the now 44-year-old killing his wife of 15 years, the evidence did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that he had intended to do so.

They found the murder conviction was an “unreasonable verdict”.


 

update 01/02/16

DPP appeals Baden-Clay downgrade

Published: 01 February 2016

baden

Queensland DPP lodges submission appealing Gerard Baden-Clay’s downgraded conviction

The Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) will today file a submission appealing the downgrade of Gerard Baden-Clay’s conviction from murder to manslaughter.

Baden-Clay was initially sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife Alison in 2012, but the charge was since downgraded.

Today, the DPP will provide an outline of arguments as to why the High Court should reinstate Baden-Clay’s original murder conviction.

The Courier Mail also released an article today which reveals the opinion of a retired Supreme Court judge, who claims Queensland Court of Appeal “got it wrong”.

“The simple fact is the Court of Appeal got it wrong,” the former Supreme Court judge told the Courier Mail.

The judge’s identity has been concealed to avoid controversy.

More to come.


 

 update 30/12/15

QUEENSLAND’S Director of Public Prosecutions will appeal Gerard Baden-Clay’s manslaughter verdict.

Baden-Clay, who was last year sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife Allison, had his murder conviction downgraded to manslaughter in a shock appeal ruling earlier this month, sparking community anger.

DPP Michael Byrne QC will make an application to the High Court seeking special leave to appeal the Court of Appeal decision.

The Courier-Mail exclusively revealed yesterday that Mr Byrne had privately told the Queensland Government he will appeal to the High Court to reinstate Baden-Clay’s murder conviction.

“I have been advised that the DPP intends to file the application when the High Court registry opens on Monday 4 January,” Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said in a statement on Wednesday. (scroll down for her full statement)

This will give the DPP 28 days to lodge an outline of argument with the High Court.

The defence will then be given 21 days to outline its argument before the High Court schedules a date to hear the applications.

Mr Byrne had advised Allison’s family of the decision to appeal on Wednesday morning after finalising his decision on Tuesday, Ms D’Ath said.

In its shock ruling, the Court of Appeal argued the jury that convicted Baden-Clay of murder last year couldn’t have known beyond reasonable doubt that he intended to kill Allison.

The decision outraged the community, with more than 100,000 people signing an online petition requesting the Queensland Attorney-General to file an appeal.

Thousands of people have also gathered in Brisbane’s CBD over the past fortnight to protest against the manslaughter verdict

BADEN-CLAY: Case for murder revealed

 

FULL STATEMENT

Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said today: “I have been advised that the Director of Public Prosecutions has advised the Dickie family this morning that he will be making an application to the High Court seeking special leave to appeal the recent Court of Appeal decision that saw Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction downgraded to manslaughter. This has been the result of the DPP finalising his decision yesterday.

Thousands have attended a rally to protest the downgrading of Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction.

“I have been advised that the DPP intends to file the application when the High Court registry opens on Monday 4 January 2016. The process then provides the DPP with 28 days to lodge an outline of argument with the High Court. The defence will then have a further 21 days to do the same.

“Subject to these processes being finalised, the High Court will then schedule a date to hear the applications.

“Given this legal process is underway, I will not be making any further comment in relation to this matter.

Gerard Baden-Clay and the high bar for prosecution

Updated about 3 hours ago

How is Gerard Baden-Clay able to argue that he might have killed his wife accidently, when, at trial, he denied having anything to do with her death? Arlie Loughnan explains the appeal court’s decision.

The Queensland Court of Appeal has upheld Gerard Baden-Clay’s appeal against conviction for the murder of his wife, Allison Baden-Clay. The court overturned the jury’s verdict that Baden-Clay was guilty of murder, and substituted a conviction of manslaughter for Allison’s death.

From the time of Allison Baden-Clay’s disappearance from her home, and the discovery of her body in April 2012, this case has attracted significant media attention. The crime and the trial coincided with increasing public awareness about family violence in general, and the deaths of women at the hands of their male partners in particular.

All the elements of the Baden-Clay case – the death of a much-loved woman with young children, and a middle-class family struck by infidelity, marriage problems, depression and debt – propelled the case to the front page in newspapers around the country.

Gerard Baden-Clay was tried for murder in 2014. As it was not possible to determine what caused Mrs Baden-Clay’s death, the trial hinged on circumstances surrounding her disappearance and death – the evidence of her blood in her car, the scratches on Gerard Baden-Clay’s face, and his account of his actions at around the time of the crime. A jury convicted Baden-Clay of Allison Baden-Clay’s murder. He was sentenced to life in prison and required to serve a minimum of 15 years’ jail time.

Baden-Clay appealed the decision. Arguing that the jury’s verdict was unreasonable, and questioning the trial judge’s summing up of the evidence, Baden-Clay sought to have his conviction overturned. Baden-Clay claimed that the jury could not have been satisfied to the criminal standard of proof – beyond reasonable doubt – that he had the necessary intent for murder.

In Queensland, murder requires a lethal act, and an intent to kill or commit grievous bodily harm. The issue on appeal was whether the evidence introduced at trial could support the jury’s conclusion that Allison Baden-Clay’s death was murder, not manslaughter – an unlawful killing that falls short of murder.

Allowing Baden-Clay’s appeal, the Queensland Court of Appeal concluded that the prosecution case had not ruled out the possibility that Gerard Baden-Clay killed his wife without intending serious harm, and that he disposed of her body at Kholo Creek, and lied about the causes of the marks on his face to cover up his actions. This meant that the jury’s conclusion that the killing was murder could not be sustained.

Although the finding that Baden-Clay was responsible for his wife’s death has not been questioned, his successful appeal has raised questions about our criminal justice system. It seems hard to understand how Baden-Clay is able to argue that he might have killed his wife accidently, when, at trial, he denied having anything to do with her death, and knowing nothing about how her body ended up at the creek.

It’s important to recall that, under our laws, the accused does not have to prove his innocence – it’s up to the prosecution to prove guilt. The presumption of innocence is a cardinal feature of our criminal justice system. It means that the accused person can test the case against him, and that his ‘defence’ can be that the prosecution have not made out the charge against him. This sets a high bar for the prosecution, but it is a protection against wrongful convictions.

Our criminal court system has to strike a balance between two fundamental goals. On the one side is the principle of finality – whereby a trial court’s adjudication of a matter concludes the legal issues for the accused and the victims. On the other side, the court system must also provide for review of any errors made by courts in trial or sentence.

This is where appeal courts come in – reviewing decisions where there may have been a mistake that affected the outcome, and safeguarding the high esteem in which our justice system is held.

The action of an appeal court overturning a jury decision is not that common, and does not cast doubt on the integrity and the value of jury decisions in criminal trials in general. Juries are central to the operation of criminal trials and the involvement of lay people in criminal justice is regarded as a positive feature of our system. Juries participating in criminal trials, and courts of appeal reviewing decision-making, are each key aspects of the legitimacy of our criminal laws and processes.

Arlie Loughnan is Associate Professor in Law at University of Sydney.

 

Major update 8th December 2015.

The day the Justice System proved it is BROKEN. please share your thoughts in the comments section!

 What justice? There’s none for Allison

NOW we know when a woman’s murder is not a murder.

It’s when a man who swore throughout his five-week trial that he had nothing to do with it and gets convicted of murder changes makes an appeal to argue his wife’s death was ‘unintentional’. And wins.

It seems incredible that while Gerard Baden-Clay insisted he had no hand in his wife’s 2012 death during a trial involving hundreds of witness statements, he can say on appeal that he did cause it — by accident — and be believed.

You can’t have it both ways — be completely uninvolved but also have killed someone — but now you can, apparently. What a joke.

Where is the justice in this decision for the dead mother of three young girls? Where are the consequences for a man who may now be free in five years.

The shock felt by those close to the late Mrs Baden-Clay as they learned her husband would get away with manslaughter is echoing across social media as Australians react angrily.

Many are justifiably struggling to believe that Queensland appeal judges found there was not reasonable evidence Baden-Clay intended to kill his wife because it wasn’t proven he meant to do it.

One Twitter user summed up the sentiments of many when he wrote: “That’s one small step for low-life, one giant leap backwards in the fight against domestic violence #endviolenceagainstwomen”.


How disgusting that just a few years is all a woman’s life is worth if the injuries on her body are not bad enough to implicate intent to kill or there’s not enough blood in the house to imply a struggle, or no recorded history of domestic violence.

Newsflash Queensland justice system: Many woman never report abuse, and can you blame them when they see outcomes such as this.

As Australia grapples with an epidemic of violence against women that has claimed an average two women’s lives a week this year, this verdict is an insult to every woman killed by a partner or ex.

It’s a mockery of the pain of relatives of dead women and a message to women living in fear of death at the hands of their partner that the justice system has holes the size of Uluru.

As Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty and former Victorian police chief Ken Lay have kept family violence high in the public consciousness in 2015, prompting grumbles about too much talk of it dominating media.

But with findings like this potentially opening the cell doors after an obscenely short stretch for someone who killed their partner can there ever be enough?

Gerard Baden-Clay may soon be free to resume normal life with the children he caused to be motherless. Allison is still dead.

The fight for real justice for victims of violence against women in Australia must now go up a gear. This finding shames the lot of us.

Gerard Baden-Clay: Murder conviction downgraded to manslaughter over death of wife Allison

Updated 22 minutes ago

Former Brisbane real estate agent Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction for killing his wife Allison has been downgraded to manslaughter.

Court of Appeal Justice Hugh Fraser set aside the murder finding today.

During Baden-Clay’s appeal four months ago, his lawyers argued he panicked and unintentionally killed the mother-of-three during an argument at their home in Brookfield, in Brisbane’s west.

In delivering their findings, the Court of Appeal judges found that while Baden-Clay lied about the cause of the marks on his face and tried to hide his wife’s body, there was a reasonable hypothesis he was innocent of murder.

They found the jury could not be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the element of intent to kill or do grievous bodily harm had been proved.

Baden-Clay, 45, reported his wife missing in April 2012 and her body was found 10 days later beside a creek.

He was convicted last year and jailed for life, with a non-parole period of 15 years.

Baden-Clay’s lawyer Peter Shields said there was immense public interest in the case, and urged the public to read the findings before they criticise the decision.

“They were very considered reasons of a very experienced court,” he said.

“I do think the public understand that it is open justice.

“They can make their own view, based on the facts.”

Allison’s family said they were disappointed by the decision and remained supportive of the original findings of the court.

“[The family] await the legal process to play out in the hope that justice for Allison will be served,” a statement released by the Dickie family said.

“As always, the efforts of the family remain centred around the wellbeing of Allison’s daughters, who now face a further period of uncertainty.”

 FULL JUDGEMENT CAN BE READ BY CLICKING LINK BELOW

http://archive.sclqld.org.au/qjudgment/2015/QCA15-265.pdf


Appeal begins for Gerard Baden-Clay

Lawyers for Gerard Baden-Clay will argue his conviction was ‘unreasonable’

 

LAWYERS for Gerard Baden-Clay will today argue that his conviction for the murder of his wife Allison Baden-Clay should be quashed on the grounds it was ‘unreasonable’.

12.25pm: The appeal hearing has finished and the three judges have reserved their decision. They will give a written judgement, expected within three months.

12.23pm: Mr Copley, for Baden-Clay, said Allison’s blood in her car could have been from “some innocent incident” on another day.

12.21pm: Justice Catherine Holmes put to Mr Byrne the scenario that there had been an argument between Baden-Clay and his wife and that she had fallen, hit her head and died and that he had panicked.

“What’s wrong with that as a reasonable hypothesis,” Justice Holmes said.

Mr Byrne said the trial judge left murder open to the jury because there was such a long period of denials by Baden-Clay including his lengthy court testimony. Mr Byrne has concluded his arguments and defence barrister Michael Copley is addressing the court again.

12.05pm: Michael Byrne QC, the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions said the evidence suggested it was likely Allison was put in the third row of seating of her Holden Captiva and transported to Kholo Creek Bridge after a fatal attack.

“It’s a short series of dots to connect the proposition he drove her there but it is still not one that needed to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.”

He added that if the jury inferred the blood in her car was from after the fatal attack, it indicated there had been an injury to hide that may have been undetectable due to decomposition.

Olivia Walton, center, sister of convicted murderer Gerard Baden-Clay arrives at court wi

Olivia Walton, center, sister of convicted murderer Gerard Baden-Clay arrives at court with defence lawyer Penny White. Source: News Corp Australia

11.55am: Mr Byrne said the lack of conclusive opinion from experts on the finer scratches did not affect the jury’s ability to reach their verdict.

Moving on to the other defence arguments, Mr Byrne went through some of the key evidence against Baden-Clay.

He said the former real estate agent must have known of the possibility his wife and mistress would meet at a conference they were both to attend on the day he reported her missing.

“There are scratches to his face that were not there on the 19th (the day before she was reported missing).

“There is the leaf litter which is in our submission significant.”

The fact there were six different types of leaf all of which could be found in or adjacent to the couple’s property was a telling feature, he said.

When all the factors were put together, it was not necessary for the Crown to show Baden-Clay moved his wife’s body to the bridge for a murder verdict to be open.

11.44am: Gerard’s defence barrister has concluded his arguments and Michael Byrne QC, the Acting Director of Public Prosecutions, has begun addressing the court about the Crown case.

Mr Byrne, addressing the defence grounds for the appeal, said there had been evidence the broader marks on Baden-Clay’s face were older than the finer injuries.

It was open for the jury to accept the broader marks were from fingernails and the finer marks from a razor at a later time, and to infer Baden-Clay had attempted to disguise the scratch marks.

11.32am: Allison Baden-Clay’s death could have been from an unintentional killing arising out of an argument, making a murder conviction unreasonable, her husband Gerard’s defence barrister has told the court.

The argument could have been related to his affair with former staffer Toni McHugh and may have escalated to violence, resulting in the scratches on Baden-Clay’s face.

He was then left with a “dead wife”, and the situation of people knowing about the affair and his promises to Ms McHugh that he would leave his wife by July 1.

“And he’s panicked,” Mr Copley said.

“A jury could not rationally conclude he murdered his wife based on the fact he told a lie about how the injuries were inflicted.

“The possibility is open that everything he did in the days after the killing was attributable to panic.”

11.22am: Continuing his argument that the verdict was unreasonable, defence barrister Michael Copley said the couple’s daughters had not heard any screaming or fighting on the night and no blood was found in the house.

“There were scratches to his face but the contention is and was those scratches don’t reveal anything at all about the intention that he had when he was engaged in some sort of (altercation) with his wife.”

The scratches revealed only that Allison was “close enough” to inflict them and that there was some sort of altercation.

The “fact the doctor can’t determine the cause of death” was strongly in favour of a conclusion the death was other than intentional.

Prosecutors had argued the scratches were inflicted by Allison in self-defence “fighting for her life”.

But there were other possible explanations including that they were inflicted in anger or in the course of a struggle, Mr Copley said.

There was nothing to show if Alison had scratched her husband at the start or an argument or during the middle, with all possibilities open.

11.13am: The defence says the prosecution had asserted there was an accumulation of pressures on Baden-Clay, including from his long-running affair with his former staffer Toni McHugh.

But the evidence did not support that Baden-Clay was going to leave his wife, Mr Copley said.

“He told his wife in 2010 he no longer loved her. But…he didn’t act on the absence of love.

“He stayed in the marriage.”

The affair with Ms McHugh was discovered in 2011 and Baden-Clay still stayed at the home.

“The notion he was moving towards a departure from his wife is not sustainable.”

Prosecutors had also cited the business pressures on Baden-Clay and the fact he had borrowed money from friends and not paid them back.

“Sure there were financial pressures but my contention … is that hadn’t increased dramatically. That hadn’t changed substantially.”

11am: Baden-Clay’s defence barrister has told the court the murder conviction was unreasonable.

“What evidence was there that elevated the case from an unlawful killing to one of an unintentional killing?” Mr Copley said.

He said a premeditated killing had not been alleged, with prosecutors stating “there was uncharacteristic conduct engaged in by my client”.

There was no evidence of prior violence in the relationship and no evidence either party were abusers of illicit drugs or alcohol, he said.

10.50am: The next element of the appeal was that the jury should have been directed they needed to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt Baden-Clay put his wife’s body at the creek where she was found, before they could rely on that conduct as capable of proving he killed his wife.

Justice Holmes asked Mr Copley: “How do you get there?”

“Why couldn’t you come to the conclusion he was the killer without needing to know how it was the body arrived at the creek?” Justice Holmes said.

“Why couldn’t he have called someone … to aid him to take the body away?”

Gerard Baden-Clay’s father Nigel arrives at court.

Gerard Baden-Clay’s father Nigel arrives at court. Source: News Corp Australia

10.45am: Before moving on to the other grounds of the appeal, Mr Copley concluded that experts had not agreed definitively that the smaller marks on Baden-Clay’s face were caused at a different time and by a different implement.

The jury had been invited to infer guilt from evidence which had not been established, he said.

“The evil of that is for all we know the leading of that circumstance could have … tipped the balance in favour of a verdict of guilt in the minds of some or all of the members of the jury. We just don’t know.”

10.30am: In terms of the timing of when the facial injuries occurred, an expert gave evidence at the trial that he could not separate the various injuries from photos, Mr Copley said,

“If the experts couldn’t say whether those injuries … had been inflicted at a different time … how could the jury have been capable of resolving (the matter)?”

The prosecution had to show the injuries on Baden-Clay’s face were inflicted at different times and by a different implement, otherwise there wasn’t a disguising element, he said.

Justice Catherine Holmes suggested both sides agreed at trial that the smaller red marks on Baden-Clay’s face were razor marks, as Gerard had said he cut himself shaving.

10:20am: Defence barrister Michael Copley QC opened the appeal by discussing injuries on Baden-Clay’s face.

He said prosecutors left it to the jury to conclude he tried to disguise scratches on his face by making further smaller injuries with a razor, and that this was evidence he had murdered his wife.

He says the evidence didn’t establish that the smaller marks on Baden-Clay’s face were made at a different time than larger scratches.

Gerard Baden-Clay’s sister Olivia Walton (centre) arrives at court with defence lawyers P

Gerard Baden-Clay’s sister Olivia Walton (centre) arrives at court with defence lawyers Peter Shields and Penny White. Source: News Corp Australia

Earlier: At least 150 people have gathered in the public gallery of the Banco court, a half an hour before Gerard Baden-Clay’s appeal.

Geoff and Priscilla Dickie, Allison Baden-Clay’s parents, are in the front row with s large family contingent wearing yellow ribbons.


 Gerard Baden-Clay: Court of Appeal reserves decision over murder conviction

7th August 2015

Allison Baden-Clay and Gerard Baden-Clay

The Court of Appeal in Brisbane has reserved its decision on a challenge against Gerard Baden-Clay’s murder conviction.

Lawyers appealing against Baden-Clay’s life sentence, with a 15-year non-parole period, for the murder of his wife Allison Baden-Clay in 2012 today said it was possible he unintentionally killed her.

The appeal decision will be handed down at a later date.

Ms Baden-Clay’s parents, Geoff and Priscilla Dickie, were among the 200 people present in court as legal counsel for the former real estate agent appeal on four grounds, namely that:

  • The verdict of murder was unreasonable;
  • A miscarriage of justice occurred because the jury was not directed on evidence relating to the presence of Allison’s blood in the car;
  • The trial judge erred in law in not directing the jury over evidence relating to the placement of Allison’s body at Kholo Creek;
  • The trial judge also erred in leaving to the jury that Baden-Clay attempted to disguise marks on his face by making razor cuts.

Barrister Michael Copley QC, who alongside high-profile solicitor Peter Shields, was representing Baden-Clay, argued the fourth appeal ground first.

There’re no injuries on the body consistent with an intentional killing.

Michael Copley QC, representing Gerard Baden-Clay

Police had noticed scratches on the right-hand side of Baden-Clay’s face when they visited the family’s rented Brookfield home in response to his triple-0 call in April 2012.

Baden-Clay insisted he had cut himself shaving, but experts told the court during the six-week trial, they were more “typical of fingernail scratches” not “a razor blade injury”.

Mr Copley questioned the crown’s claim that scratches on Baden-Clay’s face were signs of Allison fighting for her life.

He said the scratches revealed that Allison had been close enough to scratch her husband and that their relationship was not in good shape.

But he said the marks did not reveal why she scratched him.

Mr Copley said there were no injuries on Allison’s body consistent with an intentional killing, which he said favoured an unintentional killing.

“A jury could not rationally conclude that he murdered his wife based upon the fact he told a lie about how the injuries were inflicted,” he said.

“There’re no injuries on the body consistent with an intentional killing.”

Earlier in the appeal hearing, Mr Copley argued that experts could not say whether two sets of marks on Baden-Clay’s face occurred at different times or were made by different implements, yet the jury was asked to do so.

“The jury was invited to infer a path of guilt to murder on the basis of conduct the evidence did not establish the appellant engaged in,” Mr Copley said.

Prosecutor Michael Byrne, who was acting for the Crown, said an expert did testify at trial that marks to Baden-Clay’s face were done at different times and open to the jury to consider.

He said medical witnesses were entitled to use their common sense and experience, and jurors were entitled to decide for themselves.

Mr Byrne said a lack of conclusive evidence from the experts was not prohibitive for the jury to act on.

‘No evidence that there had ever been violence between the parties’

In arguing the first point of the appeal, that the verdict of murder was unreasonable, Mr Copley said: “There was no evidence in this case that there had ever been violence between the parties.”

Mr Copley said part of the Crown’s argument at trial was that pressure from Baden-Clay’s mistress contributed to Allison’s death.

He said evidence in regard to Baden-Clay’s intentions concerning his wife and mistress were at best equivocal.

He said the notion that Baden-Clay was moving towards a departure from his wife was not sustainable from evidence at trial.

Mr Copley then moved on to financial pressures.

“Sure there were financial pressures … but they hadn’t increased substantially, they hadn’t changed dramatically,” he said.

Allison Baden-Clay was last seen on April 19, 2012.

Her husband reported her missing the next day, sparking a major police and SES search.

Ten days later her body was found on the banks of the Kholo Creek at Anstead.

Suspicion centred on Baden-Clay but it was not until nearly seven weeks later he was arrested and charged.

He has always maintained his innocence.

Baden-Clay was not at today’s hearing.

He remains at Wolston Correctional Centre where he has been since last year’s sentencing.

More on this story:

  • Baden-Clay launches appeal against murder conviction
  • Allison Baden-Clay’s family detail their pain and devastation
  • Allison Baden-Clay murder: family members detail pain and devastation in statements to court

    Timeline: Baden-Clay murder trial

    By Josh Bavas and staff

    Tue 15 Jul 2014, 2:53pm

    Former Brisbane real estate agent Gerard Baden-Clay has been found guilty of murdering his wife Allison in April 2012.

    Her body was found on a creek bank 10 days after her husband reported her missing from their home in nearby Brookfield.

    Baden-Clay was charged with murdering his wife and interfering with a corpse, pleading not guilty to both charges.

    And so began a month-long trial involving hundreds of witness statements and garnering massive public interest.

    Take a look back at how Allison Baden-Clay’s disappearance and the resulting murder trial unfolded.

    April 20, 2012

    Gerard Baden-Clay calls police about 7:30am to report his wife missing.

    Police seek public help to find 43-year-old Allison Baden-Clay, reported missing since the previous night.

    Authorities say she was last seen at her house on Brookfield Road wearing grey tracksuit pants and a dark top.

    April 22, 2012

    Inspector Mark Laing confirms Gerard Baden-Clay crashed his car into a bus terminal outside Indooroopilly Shopping Centre.

    April 23, 2012

    A major incident room is set up at Indooroopilly police station for investigation into Allison Baden-Clay’s disappearance.

    Her parents make a public appeal for help to find their daughter.

    Allison’s mother Priscilla Dickie makes an emotional plea to the media.

    “Please, please help us to find our dear Allison,” she said.

    Police ask local residents to search their properties for even the smallest piece of information.

    Superintendent Mark Ainsworth says Allison Baden-Clay’s disappearance is being treated as a missing person case; not a criminal investigation.

    He says Gerard Baden-Clay is not a person of interest.

    Allison Baden-Clay’s father Geoff Dickie praises efforts of police and SES in trying to locate his daughter over the previous weekend.

    “We are overwhelmed by the support in trying to locate Allison,” he said.

    “Please help us because there are three beautiful little girls – of Allison’s – wanting to see their mother as soon as possible.”

    April 24, 2012

    Gerard Baden-Clay speaks to the media outside his house.

    “I’m trying to look after my children at the moment, we’ve got three young girls. We really trust that the police are doing everything they can to find my wife,” he said.

    April 26, 2012

    A prayer vigil is held for Allison.

    Reverend Beverley Bell from the Anglican Parish of Kenmore says it is a difficult time for the community.

    “Just not knowing what’s happened and there’s that sense of helplessness; what can we do?” he said.

    Detectives seize bags of material from the Baden-Clay house and Gerard Baden-Clay’s office.

    April 27, 2012

    Brisbane police step up efforts to find Allison Baden-Clay by setting up a mannequin outside her family home at Brookfield.

    The mannequin is wearing clothing similar to what the 43-year-old was in when she was last seen by her husband.

    Emergency crews widen their search area.

    April 28, 2012

    Allison Baden-Clay has been missing for more than a week.

    Police say they still have few leads despite the major investigation.

    Gerard Baden-Clay releases a brief statement to media thanking the public for their support, saying his priority is the welfare of his wife and their three daughters.

    April 30, 2012

    A canoeist discovers a woman’s body on a creek bank under Kholo Bridge Crossing at Anstead in Brisbane’s west, 11 days after Allison Baden-Clay disappeared.

    Police remove the body and confirm they are now treating Allison Baden-Clay’s disappearance as a homicide investigation.

    Investigators wait for formal identification.

    Superintendent Mark Ainsworth says police are taking seriously the possibility that the body belongs to Allison Baden-Clay and her family is notified.

    “They’re devastated. You can’t explain it any other way,” he said.

    Police appeal for information from anyone who may have seen anything in the area the night she disappeared, including either of the family’s cars.

    May 1, 2012

    Police confirm the body found is that of Allison Baden-Clay.

    Superintendent Mark Ainsworth says her death is officially being treated as a murder investigation.

    “At this stage we are looking at an unlawful homicide investigation – we have been looking at that for some time now; we believe it has reached that level some time ago,” he said.

    Gerard Baden-Clay says he is devastated by the loss of his wife.

    In a statement released by his lawyer, Baden-Clay says his primary concern now is the care of his three daughters.

    He says he just wants to provide his children with some stability and normality given the tragic news and despite “the unrelenting media barrage”.

    A few kilometres away at Kenmore, Baden-Clay’s parents emerge from their home and lower their Australian flag to half mast.

    Neighbours do the same before they all hug each other in grief.

    Meanwhile, a SIM card is discovered in bushland near the search area.

    May 2, 2012

    Police say they are confident they will find the killer of Allison Baden-Clay.

    Investigators say a mobile phone SIM card found at the scene has no link to the case.

    Police say a post-mortem examination on the body will determine the next phase of the investigation.

    Gerard Baden-Clay asks the media for privacy and to let police do their investigations.

    May 10, 2012

    Police are stationed at a roundabout near the Baden-Clays’ Brookfield home.

    Police set up a roadblock on Brookfield Road and speak to drivers, hoping to glean information which may help with their investigation.

    Detectives want to hear from anyone driving in the area the night before Allison Baden-Clay was reported missing.

    May 11, 2012

    A funeral service is held at St Paul’s Anglican Church at Ipswich, west of Brisbane.

    Hundreds of mourners come to pay their respects, including Allison’s immediate family and husband Gerard Baden-Clay.

    Her sister Vanessa Fowler says there are still many questions left unanswered about the circumstances surrounding the 43-year-old’s death.

    “We, your family, pledge to you that we will have these questions answered. We will bring you justice because you deserve nothing less,” she said.

    “Allison, your loss has been felt throughout the entire country by people who do not know you.”

    Mourners are asked to donate to an appeal to support the Baden-Clays’ three young daughters.

    The cause of her death remains unknown.

    May 18, 2012

    Police again say they are confident they will make an arrest over her murder, four weeks after she was reported missing by her husband.

    Police say the killing was not random and the killer was known to Allison but they are yet to make an arrest.

    It is believed police are still awaiting autopsy and toxicology results to confirm her cause of death.

    May 25, 2012

    Police say they are continuing to examine a wide range of evidence.

    May 29, 2012

    Detectives investigating receive the toxicology results but will not release them publicly.

    June 13, 2012

    Gerard Baden-Clay talks to police at the Indooroopilly police station for several hours.

    His lawyers say he is expected to be charged with her murder later tonight. They say he is devastated and will vigorously defend the charge.

    Baden-Clay tells police Allison disappeared after going for a late night walk from their home.

    He is remanded in custody, formally interviewed and charged with murder and interfering with a corpse.

    June 14, 2012

    Gerard Baden-Clay appears in Brisbane Magistrates Court charged with murder, about two months after first reporting his wife missing.

    Prosecution grants a forensic order to allow police to obtain a DNA sample from him.

    His lawyers say the charges will be vigorously defended, and lodge a bail application in the Supreme Court.

    Residents around Brookfield tell the media of their shock.

    June 21, 2012

    Gerard Baden-Clay’s bail application begins in the Supreme Court.

    June 22, 2012

    Gerard Baden-Clay loses his bail application in the Supreme Court with Justice David Boddice saying the accused posed a significant flight risk.

    Prosecutor Danny Boyle earlier argued that Baden-Clay had a financial motive for killing his wife and also cited entries in Allison’s journal suggest the couple may have discussed an affair he had been having with a co-worker.

    Mr Baden-Clay’s barrister, Peter Davis SC, says the Crown’s case is circumstantial and weak.

    June 24, 2012

    A fundraiser is held for Baden-Clay’s three daughters.

    Mike Kaye from the Brookfield Uniting Cricket Club says the fundraiser is important to the family.

    “It’s an opportunity for Allison’s parents Geoff and Priscilla and brothers and sisters to thank the community for their support and also for all those who were out there searching,” he said.

    July 9, 2012

    The case returns to Brisbane Magistrates Court for a hearing.

    Magistrate Chris Callaghan says he is “flabbergasted” upon hearing it will take five months for police to fully examine the financial affairs of Gerard Baden-Clay.

    The court hears there will be 330 statements tendered to the defence but the prosecution says it will not have a forensic accountant’s report until November.

    The prosecution has been ordered to provide most of the brief of evidence to Baden-Clay’s lawyers within six weeks.

    September 3, 2012

    The matter returns to court where Baden-Clay’s lawyers express frustration that prosecutors still have not provided them with all of the witness statements.

    Prosecutor Danny Boyle tells the court 446 witness statements have already been provided to defence team but five statements, described as crucial, remain outstanding.

    The prosecution is ordered to provide outstanding documents by the end of the week.

    September 5, 2012

    A Supreme Court Judge, Justice Glenn Martin, gives Allison’s father Geoffrey James Dickie temporary control of her estate, including her life insurance policy.

    If Baden-Clay is acquitted of his wife’s murder he will resume his role as executor of her will.

    If he is convicted, Allison’s parents will be able to go back to court for a permanent order granting them control of their daughter’s estate.

    December 14, 2012

    Gerard Baden-Clay’s defence lawyer lodges a bail application in Supreme Court for the second time.

    His lawyer argues the Crown case has been weakened by the results of a post-mortem examination.

    They say it shows Allison Baden-Clay had traces of an anti-depressant drug in her blood – leaving open the possibility that she took her own life.

    But Justice Peter Applegarth dismisses the application, ruling there was no material change of circumstances and the strength of Crown case was unaffected by the results.

    February 6, 2013

    The Federal Court orders nearly $800,000 from two life insurance policies for Allison Baden-Clay will be held in trust by the court.

    Justice John Dowsett agrees the court should hold the money until after Gerard Baden-Clay faces trial.

    March 11-20, 2013

    Gerard Baden-Clay’s committal hearing begins.

    The Crown alleges Baden-Clay killed his wife because he wanted her insurance payouts to clear his debts and to be with his mistress.

    The court hears his wife had suffered from depression and had used medication to cope and that her marriage was troubled.

    Witnesses tell the court about hearing a woman yell the night Allison disappeared.

    A forensic expert says he believes injuries to Gerard Baden-Clay, which were photographed by police after he reported his wife missing, were caused by fingernail scratches.

    Allison’s friend Kerry Anne Walker is the first of more than 40 witnesses to testify.

    Queensland MP Dr Bruce Flegg tells the court he heard a woman scream on the night before Allison was reported missing.

    Speaking outside the court, Dr Flegg explains his decision not to report it to police that night, saying: “There was nothing to suggest it would be a criminal or police related matter.”

    Dr Flegg says he has known Gerard Baden-Clay “for a long time”.

    A senior Queensland Health forensic expert says some of Baden-Clay’s facial injuries may have been scratch marks but says it is possible some were caused by shaving.

    Two former real estate partners testify Baden-Clay was in debt and was warned to leave his wife or mistress or he would lose their business association.

    Queensland Police Service forensic accountant Kelly Beckett tells court Gerard Baden-Clay’s net financial position was about $70,000 and he owed more than $300,000 to family and friends.

    Baden-Clay’s former mistress Toni McHugh tells the court he told her to lay low in the days after his wife’s disappearance and that he could not afford a divorce.

    His lawyer says he is determined to clear his name.

    Outside court, Baden-Clay’s sister Olivia Walton defends her brother after speaking to the media for the first time.

    “Gerard is an innocent man and I’m here because I continue to support him,” she said.

    Outside court, Baden-Clay’s lawyer Darren Mahony says he believes the cross-examination of 40 witnesses went in his client’s favour.

    “We’re of the view that the evidence against Mr Baden-Clay has been significantly weakened by cross-examination during the court process,” he said.

    December 19, 2013

    Supreme Court Justice James Douglas argues marriage counsellor Ms Carmel Ritchie from Relationships Australia should give evidence at a pre-trial hearing about anything said during counselling sessions.

    Ms Ritchie tries to prevent evidence from the sessions being used in court, arguing it is protected by confidentiality provisions of the Family Law Act.

    February 3-4, 2014

    Gerard Baden-Clay’s re-trial hearing begins in Supreme Court.

    The court hears from pathologist Dr Nathan Milne who conducted the autopsy on Allison Baden-Clay.

    Counsellor Carmel Ritchie also gives evidence, saying Allison told her she had taken an anti-malarial tablet during her honeymoon that had caused psychotic episodes, depression and panic attacks.

    Ms Ritchie tells the court Allison spoke of: her husband’s affair with an employee; how she had confronted him when she found out; and he was now honest and taking responsibility.

    Ms Ritchie also speaks of a separate counselling session with Gerard Baden-Clay where they discussed the affair.

    June 2, 2014

    The pre-trial hearing continues.

    The court hears potential jurors will be polled prior to their selection and will be asked:

  1. If they or their immediate family lived in Anstead, Bellbowrie, Brookfield or Chapel Hill in April 2012;
  2. If they have ever contributed funds relating to the disappearance or death of Allison Baden-Clay;
  3. Whether they have ever expressed a view as to the guilt or innocence of Gerard Baden-Clay.
  • June 9, 2014

    A jury of seven men and five women, plus three reserves, is selected.

    June 10, 2014

    The murder trial begins.

    Gerard Baden-Clay officially pleads not guilty in the Supreme Court to murdering his wife more than two years ago.

    Justice John Byrne tells jury members to ignore all media coverage of the case during the next four weeks.

    July 9, 2014

    After a month-long trial, the prosecution and the defence finish wrapping up their final arguments.

    Justice John Byrne begins summing up the case for the jurors.

    July 15, 2014

    Baden-Clay is found guilty of murder.

Flowers for Allison, may justice has been served

Flowers for Allison, may justice has been served

Appeal date set August 7 2015 for Gerard Baden-Clay over murder of wife Allison


Many hundred pages and thousands of comments have been made about GBC on this site. Use the Menu up top follow the history folks or start here…

https://aussiecriminals.com.au/category/gerard-baden-clay/

May 19, 2015

Gerard Baden-Clay will appeal his conviction over his wife Allison’s murder in August.

The Queensland Court of Appeal has confirmed the year’s most hotly anticipated hearing will take place on August 7.

A jury convicted the former prestige real estate agent of his wife’s murder following a high profile trial last year.

Police photograph of Gerard Baden-Clay.Police photograph of Gerard Baden-Clay. Photo: Supplied

He was sentenced to life in prison with a non-parole period of 15 years.

Mrs Baden-Clay’s body was found under the Kholo Creek Bridge 11 days after her husband reported her missing on April 19, 2012.

Gerard Baden-Clay has always maintained he is innocent of his wife’s murder.

Following a 21 day trial in the Supreme Court of Queensland last year, Baden-Clay was found guilty of killing his wife at their home in the leafy western Brisbane suburb of Brookfield.

Her body was dumped about 14 kilometres away, on the banks of Kholo Creek at Anstead.

Baden-Clay’s trial heard he was embroiled in an affair with his long-time mistress Toni McHugh and was under significant financial pressure, owing hundreds of thousands of dollars to friends, family and ex-business partners at the time of his wife’s disappearance.

His murder conviction marked a dramatic fall from grace for the former real estate agent, who prided himself on his lineage as the great-grandson of famed Scouts movement founder Lord Robert Baden-Powell.

His lawyers lodged an appeal two days after the guilty verdict was returned.

Baden-Clay claimed he was the victim of a “miscarriage of justice”, in the appeal papers lodged by his solicitor Peter Shields.

He has appealed his conviction on four grounds, including that the verdict of murder was “unreasonable”, because the jury was incorrectly directed about evidence relating to blood found in the boot of Mrs Baden-Clay’s four-wheel-drive.

“A miscarriage of justice occurred because the jury should have been, but was not, directed that the presence of the deceased’s blood in a motor vehicle was only relevant if the jury was satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the presence of the blood was attributable to an injury sustained to the deceased’s body on the evening of 19 April 2012, or the morning of 20 April 2012,” the application reads.

Baden-Clay has also claimed that presiding judge Justice John Byrne misdirected the jury about the injuries which appeared on his face on the morning he reported his wife missing, as well as evidence relating to the discovery of Mrs Baden-Clay’s body on the banks of Kholo Creek at Anstead.

“The trial judge erred in law in not directing the jury that they needed to be satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant placed the body of the deceased at Kholo Creek in order to use such a finding as post-offence conduct going to guilt,” the application says.

“The trial judge erred in leaving to the jury that the appellant attempted to disguise marks on his face by marking razor cuts.”

The prosecution alleged Baden-Clay cut his right cheek with a razor in a failed attempt to disguise the scratch marks his wife had left on his face while fighting for her life.

Baden-Clay has maintained the injuries on his face were shaving cuts, but four forensic experts told his trial the abrasions were more consistent with fingernail scratches.

Baden-Clay’s trial, and his eventual conviction, was one of the biggest news events of 2014.

The father-of-three wept and shook violently after the seven men and five women of the jury delivered their guilty verdict.

His three young daughters with Allison, who are now being cared for by her parents, were not in court to hear the jury foreman declare their father guilty of their mother’s murder.

In February, it emerged the three girls remain unable to access their mother’s dual life insurance policies, collectively valued at nearly $800,000, until their father exhausts his legal avenues to have his conviction overturned.

 

The Job Seeker Training Con- New legislation on track to stop the RIP OFFS


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

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

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

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


UPDATE 11/03/15

New legislation to ban training providers from offering ‘miraculously’ short diploma courses

Training providers will be banned from offering “miraculously” short diploma courses, and from offering students incentives to sign up, under new legislation to be introduced by the Federal Government.

Assistant Training Minister Simon Birmingham said he was “very concerned” the Government’s vocational education loans scheme (VET FEE-HELP) was being abused and announced a range of measures to crack down on rogue providers.

“I’m very concerned about the range of distortions and abuse of the VET FEE-HELP scheme that’s occurring around Australia,” he told the ABC.

“I’ve had all too many examples of students who are being ripped off, vulnerable people taken advantage of, all of it being put on a tab for the taxpayer.

“So these reforms are designed to clamp down on dishonest behaviour, unethical behaviour amongst vocational education and training providers and make sure we restore integrity to a very important system.”

VET FEE-HELP is a HECS-style loans scheme that requires students to repay the Commonwealth once they earn a certain amount.

Senator Birmingham said he had heard “horrible stories” about dodgy training providers offering students laptops, meals, prizes and cash to sign up for courses that they did not need or would not lead to a job.

In some cases, he said students had been told the course in which they enrolled was free, when it was not.

“There’s no doubt that especially in relation to incentives and inducements for sign up, that has been a widespread activity over the last few months, if not couple of years since Labor opened up this system in 2012,” he said.

“Our reforms will shut the door on that.”

Under the changes, training providers would be required to have a minimum number of units of study in their diplomas and advanced diplomas, they would be banned from offering inducements or incentives to encourage students to sign up for courses, and they would be required to “properly assess” a student’s educational abilities before enrolment.

If the cost of these reforms is we see some dubious providers go out of business, then I’ll be quite happy to see that occur as long as we see a system that’s sustainable for the long haul.

Assistant Training Minister Simon Birmingham

Training providers would also be banned from accepting course fees in a single up-front transaction, to give students more time to consider their options.

“We are addressing the gaping holes that existed in the guidelines when Labor opened the scheme up in 2012 and making sure that through doing that, we restore some quality to the system,” Senator Birmingham said.

The Government estimated the changes would prevent students from taking out $16.3 billion in bad loans over the next 10 years, but Senator Birmingham admitted it would come at a cost to the sector.

“That will come at some cost to the industry, but ultimately I’m determined that these measures will shut down bad business models,” he said.

“If the cost of these reforms is we see some dubious providers go out of business, then I’ll be quite happy to see that occur as long as we see a system that’s sustainable for the long haul.”

According to Government figures, more than 180,000 students accessed the VET FEE-HELP scheme last year, taking out more than $1.6 billion in loans.


Update 4 Mar 2015

Evocca College under investigation by the Australian Skills Quality Authority after reports of low graduation rates

Update 4 Mar 2015

Figures obtained by the ABC show Evocca College has a graduation rate of about 10 per cent despite claiming more than $290 million in government funding via the VET FEE-HELP student loan scheme.

The figures show out of 38,213 students who signed up to its diploma courses in the past four years, only 2,058 were handed diplomas by October 2014.

There were 16,567 students who officially cancelled and 3,897 who timed out of the course.

The college said about 15,000 were still on track to graduate.

More than 20 former Evocca employees spoke to the ABC about questionable practices at the college after concerns about the training provider were first aired in January.

Since then the graduation rates of the college have been the subject of debate.

Now more allegations have come to light including that it enrolled students ill-equipped for diploma level courses without enough support, that it enrolled students who did not pass the required literacy test, and that it backdated tutor qualification forms to pass federal government audits.

Former staff claimed the college actively sought to hamper students who wanted to leave the college and cease adding to their government training debt.

An email obtained by the ABC shows the college sent an email to staff stating that “cancellation is a banned word”.

There’s a large amount of tax-payers’ money going into these colleges, it’s crucial tax-payers are getting value for money.

Australian Skills Quality Authority chief commissioner Chris Robinson

The college rejected suggestions it was taking advantage of the the VET FEE-HELP student training loan scheme, which was opened up to diploma courses in recent years.

In a statement, a company spokesman said they had a team of people dedicated to reaching out to students who were not attending.

“In cases where we have been through all possible processes endeavouring to re-engage a student, but have not been able to do so, we will cancel their enrolment, and have many thousands of documented cases to back this up,” he said.

The spokesman said the enrolment figures were not accurate and did not take into account “the flexible model that we deliver in allowing students more time than many other providers to complete their courses at no additional cost, which provides for differing levels of ability and also a variety of personal circumstances”.

It comes after a senate inquiry into the training loan scheme handed down its interim report on Monday.

Under VET FEE-HELP students can borrow up to $96,000 from the government for training, plus a 20 per cent loan fee, but not make repayments until they earn more than $53,000.

The loans attract interest in line with inflation (indexation) and the level of debt accrued can affect people’s ability to take out some types of loans in the future.

Free iPads ending up at pawn shops

One of the key criticisms of many new players in the diploma-level training market is the use of incentives such as free laptops and iPads to sign students up to courses, and ultimately training debts.

In Sydney’s west the Mega Cash pawn shop around the corner from Evocca’s Mt Druitt campus sees up to five students a day trying to pawn their computers.

“I was getting about five a day, last week,” manager Dean Rasmussen said.

“We can’t take the iPads because as the college tells us, they still own them until the student finishes the course so they cannot legally sell it or loan [it].”

There are similar reports in other states.

Evocca has 40 campuses around Australia and enrols about 15,000 students.

Evocca said the computers were loaned to students in line with a scheme with Federal Government approval.

“They are provided as a necessary tool with which students may become familiar with technology and also complete their studies, especially as many do not have the immediate wherewithal to purchase their own,” a spokesman said.

Former employee Steven Fogerty said the computers were useless as learning tools because they did not come equipped with relevant learning software such as Microsoft Office.

“The concept of giving students an iPad is purely an incentive because they’re a toy,” he said.

Regulator to investigate

The federal regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority, said it has been investigating a number of complaints about Evocca.

Chief commissioner Chris Robinson said some related to recruitment practices and others related to its operations.

He said the ABC raised new allegations the regulator was not aware of.

“We certainly are concerned about some of [the allegations],” he said.

“It would be very good if people have information and concerns in the way Evocca has operated to come through ASQA.”

He said the regulator audited 4,000 colleges in the past three years and suspended or chose not to renew many providers.

“Certainly not enough providers are fully compliant at all times,” he said.

“There’s a large amount of tax-payers’ money going into these colleges, it’s crucial tax-payers are getting value for money.”

Staff come forward

More than 20 former Evocca employees have come forward to the ABC with concerns about the college’s operation.

Mr Fogerty was a business management tutor at Mt Druitt campus for six months.

He said they regularly discussed at morning meetings the low educational ability of students recruited by the company’s sales agents.

“We’d all say we know this is wrong,” he said.

In vocational training, students typically progress through Certificates I to III or IV before undertaking a diploma level course, unless they have extensive workplace experience.

Mr Fogerty said he had one student who had vision and hearing impairments who was enrolled despite not writing 100 words as required by the Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) entrance test.

This student was then given little or no extra support despite his impairments.

“They would let anyone into this college. Your intellectual abilities were not even considered,” he said.

“If you were an Australian citizen and you could sign your name, you’re in.”

Other students included migrants with poor English skills, single mothers and elderly people, many of whom he said did not get appropriate learning support.

Evocca said it had a thorough pre-enrolment process that ensured students understood the requirements and were capable of completing the course.

“It is due to these self-imposed standards of closely vetting any potential student that, although we receive many thousands of inquiries annually, only 14 per cent of these result in enrolments,” a company spokesman said.

Claims of backdating forms

Former Queensland branch manager Michelle Naylor said when the college was audited by the Australian Skills Quality Authority it deliberately backdated staff qualification paperwork to pass the audit.

“We were asked to go through everyone’s qualifications,” she said.

“If they didn’t have qualifications we were asked to sign a form called Working Under Supervision and unfortunately I had to backdate a couple of those to the term the tutors commenced work.

“I didn’t know I was supervising them, I thought they had qualifications and experience.

“I knew I was doing the wrong thing.”

The college denied any wrongdoing and said it would “update” paperwork of those who were required to be supervised while they were in the process of obtaining their Certificate IV in Workplace Training.

“This was an internal administrative process, which was in part designed to ensure some transparency and accountability for those who were undertaking this training, to ensure that it was completed in a timely manner, and that those being supervised were of an acceptable standard,” a spokesman said.

Students say they lose out

Dylan Palmer would travel three hours each day to study digital gaming at Evocca’s Brisbane campus.

He was referred to the course by a friend who received $100 cash from Evocca and Dylan received a free laptop.

“It was a lot of fun at first but as I went on it kind of jumped from point A to point C without ever really explaining point B and it just got really confusing for me,” he said.

I did struggle. It was very, very hard. There’s nothing for disabilities. They’ve got nothing in place, no protocols, nothing.

Leanne Fraser

The 21-year-old has Asperger’s syndrome and said he did not receive sufficient support.

“Sometimes they’d just say ‘watch the video again’.”

He now has a $27,000 VET FEE-HELP debt.

Also in Queensland, single mother Leanne Fraser would travel two hours each day for a diploma in tourism.

She has multiple sclerosis and said there was no help for students with a disability.

“I did struggle. It was very, very hard,” she said.

“There’s nothing for disabilities. They’ve got nothing in place, no protocols, nothing.”

A college spokesman said the Evocca teaching model was based on doing everything it could to support students.

“[There is] a robust system in place for the ongoing management of students, including regular one-to-one catch ups with tutors, to ensure that these objectives are achieved.”


23rd February 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

23/02/15

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

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

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

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

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

Rupert Taylor-Price

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rupert Taylor-Price

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s absolutely vulnerable to exploitation.

Former senior departmental investigator

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In 2011–2012, $8.34 million was recovered.

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

And last year, another $9.12 million was reclaimed.

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

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

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

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

Background Information

RESPONSES TO FOUR CORNERS

Statement by Catholic Care in response to Four Corners

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

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

Statement by the Department of Employment in response to Four Corners

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

RESEARCH

Letter of concern regarding the Job Network | November 1999

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

Labour Force Figures, January 2015 | Australian Bureau of Statistics

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

ACOSS submission to APESAA | 2012

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

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

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

Wage Subsidies | Job Access

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

MEDIA

Unemployment | Topic Page | ABC News | Regularly Updated

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

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

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

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

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

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

RELEVANT LINKS

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

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

Max Solutions Training

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

Featured


Update 07/07/16

Greyhound racing has no future in ACT, Chief Minister says

4.35pm

The ACT is set to follow New South Wales’ lead and ban greyhound racing after Chief Minister Andrew Barr said there was “no future for the industry” in the territory.

Greyhound racing will be banned in NSW from July 1 next year, with Premier Mike Baird saying the “widespread and systemic mistreatment of animals” could not be tolerated.

In a statement, Mr Barr said the ACT Government agreed with the NSW Government’s decisions and would consider the findings of the NSW report before announcing a timeframe to ban the practice.

“The Government cannot continue to support an industry that is turning a blind eye to the sort of behaviour and cruelty uncovered by the special commission of inquiry,” Mr Barr said in a statement.

“It is untenable for the ACT Government to continue allowing, and financially supporting the practice of greyhound racing.”

The NSW decision comes after a special commission of inquiry found overwhelming evidence of animal cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and live baiting.


Greyhound racing to be banned in New South Wales, Baird Government announces

Updated 13 minutes ago

http://www.justice.nsw.gov.au/Pages/media-news/media-releases/2016/Greyhound-Racing-to-be-Shut-Down-in-NSW.aspx

http://www.greyhoundracinginquiry.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/fact-sheet-greyhound-racing-industry-nsw-special-commission-of-inquiry.pdf

http://www.greyhoundracinginquiry.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/q-and-a-transitioning-nsw-greyhound-racing-industry-to-closure.pdf

The New South Wales Government has announced it will end greyhound racing in the state from July 1 next year.

It comes after a special commission of inquiry found overwhelming evidence of systemic animal cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and live baiting.

Premier Mike Baird said the findings of the report were damning.

He said the industry was not capable in the short or medium term of reforming and in the coming months the Government would be working toward an orderly shutdown.

NSW will become the first Australian state or territory to ban greyhound racing.

More to come.

Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in NSW

The Honourable Michael McHugh AC QC was appointed by Letters Patent issued in the name of the Governor of New South Wales on 6 May 2015 to inquire into the Greyhound Racing Industry in NSW.

Commissioner McHugh AC QC provided his report on the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in NSW to the Governor on 16 June 2016.

Transitioning the NSW greyhound racing industry to closure

The NSW Government has decided to shut down the greyhound racing in NSW following the report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry.

The Special Commission of Inquiry found overwhelming evidence of systemic animal cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and live baiting. The inquiry’s report concluded that the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry has fundamental animal welfare issues, integrity and governance failings that can not be remedied.

The NSW greyhound racing industry will be transitioned to closure over 12 months to allow appropriate management of animal welfare and transitions for industry participants. Racing of greyhounds will be permitted until 1 July 2017.

The NSW Government will announce a detailed industry shutdown plan during the second half of 2016 following consultation with stakeholders in industry and animal welfare organisations. The plan will include:

  • A welfare plan for existing greyhounds;
  • A support package for industry participants; and
  • A transition arrangement for existing Greyhound Racing NSW assets that will ensure they are used for open public space, alternative sporting facilities or other community use.

More information


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)

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QLD

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

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

Tom Noble I am ashamed

Tom Noble I am ashamed

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

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

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

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

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

TONY MCCABE, TRAINER,

JAMES HARDING, TRAINER

MICHAEL CHAPMAN, TRAINER

GREG STELLA , TRAINER

STEPHEN SHERWELL, TRAINER

GERRI CRISCI, TRAINER

ANTHONY HESS, TRAINER

STEVEN ARNOLD, TRAINER

MICK EMERY, TRAINER

SAMANTHA ROBERTS, TRAINER
NSW

Liar, trainer and live baiter John Thompson

Liar, trainer and live baiter John Thompson

JOHN THOMPSON, TRAINER, Shannon Brook, NSW

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

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

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

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

trainer Harry Sarkis

trainer Harry Sarkis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DENNIS DEAN, TRAINER,

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

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

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

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

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

It makes a joke of this page they boast

http://www.greyhoundracingthefacts.com/


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

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

GRV MOVES TO SUSPEND GREYHOUNDS

17/02/2015

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

update 17/02/15

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Other injured animals were stuffed into small boxes.

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

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

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

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

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


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

ABC live-baiting investigation draws blood

Written By 9 hours ago

Queensland wrap-up:

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

Victoria wrap-up:

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

New South Wales wrap-up:

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

Aftermath:

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

Post program:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mon 16 Feb 2015, 9:47am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Greyhound Racing Victoria CEO Adam Wallish

This behaviour constitutes cheating under the laws of greyhound racing.

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

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

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

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

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

‘This story will be explosive’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Tooradin track closed after claims greyhound trainers used live bait

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Live animals allegedly used as bait in greyhound racing

February 15, 2015

Natalie O’Brien

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 RESPONSES TO FOUR CORNERS

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

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

Greyhound Racing NSW’s response to Four Corners

MORE INFORMATION

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

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

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 | Victorian Government

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

Own motion investigation into Greyhound Racing Victoria | Victorian Ombudsman

Legislative Council Select Committee on Greyhound Racing in New South Wales

Animal Welfare Guidelines | Greyhound Racing Victoria | 2014

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

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

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

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

Queensland Animal Care and Protection Act 2001

Victorian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986

Greyhound Racing Information | Animals Australia

MEDIA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allegations of doping in greyhound racing industry | 9 November 2012

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

Grandmother accused of trying to kill step-grandson, 11, three times


None of this sounds like multiple coincidences does it? Grandmother or not, What sort of person would allegedly and continually try to kill children in their care and not expect to be caught. I shudder to think what may of happened if this woman was not arrested prior to the festivities of tonight! She can’t be named but the dad(s) are outraged as they should be that this has been allowed to fester over several years after suspicions were first raised. More to come

(Please not this is not the same grandmother that is charged with murdering 8 family members recently. This is another tragic crime in QLD.)

 KATE KYRIACOU, THOMAS CHAMBERLIN
courier mail logo
Woman charged over attempted fire murders

BRISBANE’S “house of horrors” grandmother tried three times to kill her 11-year-old step-grandson – once in a fire and twice by suffocating him in his bed, police will allege.

The 58-year-old Caboolture woman will face court today charged with four counts of attempted murder, attempted arson and interfering with a corpse.

Police this month revealed they were investigating the deaths of two boys, one aged three years and the other seven months, at the Morayfield home, as well as the attempted murder of two boys, aged 11 and nine, in a fire.

WARNINGS IGNORED: Children not separated

Police will allege the 11-year-old boy woke on two separate occasions to the grandmother trying to smother him in his bed. They will claim she used a pillow and a tea towel in her attempts to murder the boy.

They said both deaths and the fire occurred when the grandmother was at the house.

It is understood investigators will rely on the boy’s version of events – a version denied by the grandmother.

Eleven year old boy involved in the incident.

Eleven year old boy involved in the incident.

Detectives yesterday confirmed they were continuing their investigations into the suspected murders of the two younger children – one being the woman’s seven-month-old grandson.

“Today is one step, there are still further steps to be taken in the investigation, so today is just one step,” Detective Acting Inspector Ben Fadian said.

The Courier-Mail can reveal police charged the woman with interfering with a corpse under the belief she lied about how and where the youngest boy died.

Police renewed their investigation into the death of the three-year-old boy, who died in July 2013 from a suspected infection, following a fire at the family’s Morayfield home on February 27.

The two older boys claimed to have been trapped inside their bedroom during a fire that broke out when they were being cared for by their grandmother. Police enlisted the help of the fire brigade to recreate the fire in an effort to determine why the boys had been unable to escape from the bedroom.

“Investigations to date show the children’s escape from the bedroom was intentionally impeded,” police said.

The seven-month-old baby who died with his grandmother and his father.

The seven-month-old baby who died with his grandmother and his father.

The father of the two older boys said he was horrified to learn the woman had been charged with attempting to murder one of his sons on three occasions.

“No one has called me,” he said. “I have no contact details for them (the boys). It’s pretty bad.”

The three-year-old boy died on July 27 after suffering flu-like symptoms. He was taken to hospital but went into cardiac arrest.

On September 27, seven months after the fire, the children’s mother found the baby boy dead in his cot.

The baby’s father at the gate to the property yesterday.

The baby’s father at the gate to the property yesterday.

The grandmother is believed to have told police she put the child to bed with a bottle the night before and got up at 2am to check on him after hearing him stir.

She said she woke at 7am to the sounds of the boy’s mother “screaming hysterically”.

The boy’s father said this month that he believed his mother was not capable of killing “anything”.

He said he woke one morning to the news his son was dead.

Yesterday, the man walked out of his house carrying a sign with the words “private property no entry”, saying he would expose “lies” and “corruption” in the case.

Police yesterday questioned the children’s mother about whether she had taken steps to protect the children.

Solicitor Tim Meehan, from Bosscher Lawyers, said the grandmother was “assisting police”.

Additional reporting Chris McMahon and Trenton Akers

Memories of laughter where there are children no more

NESTLED among stands of trees and tropical palms, at the end of a winding drive, is Brisbane’s “house of horrors”.

It’s a place where boys once laughed and played. Where a large block of garden provided endless room to run and chase. But there were no children behind the wire fence of the Morayfield home yesterday – the home where police suspect two children were murdered and another two locked in a fire.

It was once home to the children’s grandmother. Police say she was there when the three-year-old boy died.

She was there when a fire broke out inside the house, threatening two boys in their beds. And she was there when the youngest – an infant of seven months – died at night.

She was the last to see both boys alive and the only adult home when the fire started.

The woman’s son – and the father of the youngest boy – walked the neglected yard to place a sign at the property’s front gate. He said he would expose “lies” and “corruption” in the case.

In a previous interview, the man said his mother was a beautiful kind-hearted person.

“I highly believe my mother would not be capable of killing anything,” he said. “Why would she all of a sudden? She is still the same person from 20 years ago.”

The sign he held yesterday – “private property no entry” – warned media to keep away. It was a repeat of an earlier warning when a visitor threatened to assault journalists waiting in the street.

The home’s four bedrooms are no longer home to those who played and slept there. Two little boys are dead. Two older boys are now in a “safe house”.

The Courier-Mail was once invited inside, viewing the small room where the fire took hold. There was no sign of the flames the family claimed began when someone threw an object through the window.

The grandmother has denied any wrongdoing – both with the fire and the deaths of the two boys


Cops investigating murder of two children and attempted murder of another two children from same Morayfield family

Detective Acting Superintendent Damien Hansen talks to the press on the murder of two chi

Detective Acting Superintendent Damien Hansen talks to the press on the murder of two children and attempted murder of another two children at Morayfield earlier this year.

POLICE are investigating the murder of two children and attempted murder of another two children from the same family at Morayfield, on Brisbane’s northern outskirts.

Acting Detective Superintendent Damien Hansen said nobody has been charged yet.

On July 27, 2013, a three-year-old child was reported dead at the home.

On February 27, 2014, there was a suspicious fire in which another two children, aged 9 and 11, had their escape blocked.

He said the QFES has assisted in a reconstruction of the burning bedroom where the two kids where sleeping.

“Through our investigations with Queensland Fire and Rescue … forensically we are able to say the fire was deliberately lit,” Det Supt Hansen said.

“The children couldn’t open the door at the time.”

“The children were inside the room and could not exit the room.”

One of the children suffered burns to their lower limbs and was treated at the Caboolture Hospital. Both children were treated for smoke inhalation along with other occupants of the house.

Then, on 27 September, 2014, a seven-month-old was found dead.

Det Supt Hansen said the investigation escalated from police “linking all three incidents”.

“It was certainly something more than a coincidence,” he said.

He said the homicide squad was involved and the Coroner had also agreed to re-investigate the deaths as suspicious deaths.

“(They were) initially thought to be SIDS deaths,” he said.

He said the parents had been cooperative.

“I regard murder as one of the most serious offences, if not the most serious offence that can occur. To have it happen to defenceless children is just mind-boggling,” he said.

“They are all from the same family, with all the incidents occurring at the same home.”

“I can’t name the family for legal reasons or give the address but I am making an appeal that anybody who knows this family, anybody who happened to be in the Morayfield area on the evening of February 27, 2014, and saw anything suspicious … if they can contact investigators through crime stoppers.”

Police have released a video as part of the investigation, they say, “in order to bring this investigation to a close”.

Det Supt Hansen said: “We are very confident we have the right line of inquiry with this investigation and will have a conclusion in the near future.”

“The recreation of the burning bedroom is a key focus for our investigation and it is where we have developed strong leads and our main focus.”

Police say the investigation has been comprehensive and protracted and has been led by the Homicide Group with the assistance of the Child Trauma Taskforce and regional and forensic investigators.

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