‘An accident is not a crime’: Tiger Woods will not face charges in crash



Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies inspect the vehicle of golfer Tiger Woods, who was rushed to hospital after suffering multiple injuries, after it was involved in a single-vehicle accident in Los Angeles, California, U.S. February 23, 2021. REUTERS/Gene Blevins

February 26, 2021

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Tiger Woods will not face criminal charges in the car crash that left him with serious injuries, the Los Angeles County Sheriff said on Wednesday, as the golf great recovered from extensive surgery to repair his fractured right leg and shattered ankle.

Investigators were still trying to determine what caused Woods, 45, to lose control of the gray Genesis sport utility vehicle he was driving on Tuesday morning. Woods was negotiating a curved, downhill stretch of highway that authorities said was notoriously dangerous when the luxury SUV he was driving veered across the opposite lanes, collided with a road sign and rolled several times before coming to rest.

“We don’t contemplate any charges whatsoever in this crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told a news briefing. “This remains an accident and an accident is not a crime. They do happen, unfortunately.”

Woods, celebrated as one of golf’s all-time greats, was pried from the crumpled SUV through the shattered windshield by rescuers and rushed to nearby Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

A statement posted to Woods’ official Twitter account on Tuesday night said he had undergone a “long surgical procedure” to his lower right leg and ankle and was “awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room.”

Dr. Anish Mahajan, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said in the statement that orthopedic trauma surgeons had stabilized fractures to Woods’ leg, ankles and feet with a rod, screws and pins.

Mahajan said surgery was also performed to soft tissue in the leg to relieve pressure due to swelling.

Despite the seriousness of Woods’ injuries, medical experts interviewed by Reuters said it was possible he could ultimately recover well enough to compete professionally again.

“He has the right psychological makeup and is obviously very focused and driven,” said Dr. Riley Williams, sports medicine surgeon at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery, who operated on and managed NBA player Paul George’s compound fracture in 2014.

‘MASTERS WITHIN REASON’

“Six months you do an assessment and I could see him being on the range 6-to-12 months after surgery,” Williams said. “The Masters next year is certainly within reason, again barring some unknown complicating factors.”

The Masters Tournament, held each April in Augusta, Georgia, is considered pro golf’s premier event. Woods has claimed the championship five times.

Woods is the only modern professional to win all four major golf titles in succession, taking the U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship in 2000 and the Masters title in 2001, a feat that became known as the “Tiger Slam.”

But he has suffered years of injuries and undergone multiple surgeries on both his back and knees, limiting his ability to compete.

Woods hosted the PGA tour’s Genesis Invitational at the Riviera Country Club over the weekend but did not play due to his back injuries. The wrecked SUV bore the Genesis Invitational name on its doors.

He was seen at the Rolling Hills Country Club on Monday with actress Jada Pinkett Smith, retired basketball star Dwyane Wade and comedian David Spade.

Golf Digest reported Woods had been shooting a TV show segment in which he was giving on-course instruction to the three celebrities and had been scheduled to resume filming on Tuesday.

He was the sole occupant of the vehicle when it crashed near the suburban communities of Rolling Hills Estates and Rancho Palos Verdes, the sheriff’s department said.

Sheriff’s deputies responding to the wreck found no indication that Woods had been under the influence of alcohol or drugs and said he was “lucid” following the accident. Weather was not considered a factor.

Woods has held the top spot in golf’s world rankings for a record total of 683 weeks, winning 14 major championship titles from 1997 to 2008. His 15 major titles stand second only to the record 18 won by Jack Nicklaus.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Additional reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Matthew Lewis)



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US charges Hong Kong-based businessman Winsman Ng with stealing trade secrets from GE




A Chinese businessman based in Hong Kong has been indicted for allegedly stealing millions of dollars worth of trade secrets from General Electric, the US Justice Department announced on Friday.Chi Lung Winsman Ng, along with an unnamed co-conspirator, stole proprietary semiconductor technology in order to set up a competing company on the mainland, according to the indictment.Ng, 64, who lives in Hong Kong and has not been arrested, faces up to 10 years in jail and a fine of US$250,000, the…

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Racing Victoria withdraws charges against trainer Richard Laming at Victorian Racing Tribunal


Richard Laming was relieved to put a 28-month legal battle behind him after Racing Victoria withdrew charges against the Cranbourne trainer.

Trainer Richard Laming says Racing Victoria made the “right decision” dropping all charges against him for the alleged race-day stomach tubing Jamaican Rain in November 2019.

In a brief sitting on Thursday, Brendan Murphy, QC, acting on behalf of RV, told the Victorian Racing Tribunal his “instructions are to withdraw all charges”.

No reason was given for the decision.

Laming faced two charges in relation to a stable inspection in November 2019, while stable hands Marnu Potgieter and Zeyaur Rahman faced one charge each for the alleged breach.

Following RV’s sensational about-face, Laming’s barrister Damian Sheales, who also represented Potgieter and Rhaman, requested all charges be dismissed rather than withdrawn.

VRT chairman Judge John Bowman granted the unopposed application.

“We were very confident, even before the case started, we done nothing wrong,” Laming told News Australia and Racenet on Thursday.

“I don’t want to talk out of school and mention anything but there was something there that wasn’t right and their barristers picked up on it and made the right decision.”

The relieved 38-year-old continued.

“It dragged out for a long time and it’s very good for my family and friends and loyal clients, it’s good to have it behind us now,” Laming said.

“It affects your business, it affects everything, it‘s great to have it behind us to be honest.

“We can get on and train horses.

“My team has gone down in size, obviously, while the case was running, a lot of owners don’t want to support you while you’ve got that hanging over your head, now it’s behind us it’s great.”

The snap withdrawal followed an RV-led decision on Wednesday to halt proceedings midway through the five-day hearing, with Murphy citing information that could put the tribunal in “a difficult position”.

“I am making application that the matter be adjourned until tomorrow, but I will not indicate the basis of that application,” Murphy told the VRT on Wednesday.

“In our professional view it would be very dangerous to ignore the circumstances and it would put the tribunal ultimately, I would have thought, in a difficult position.”

Laming, allowed to train on a stay of proceedings, plans to appeal the three-month ban he received last week from the VRT for a cobalt presentation charge.

“Once again, we’re very confident of the right outcome there,” Laming said.

“It should’ve been a harsh fine in our opinion, and that’s probably what it should be and it wasn’t, we’ll definitely be appealing and we’re definitely confident there.”

Racing Victoria declined to comment on Thursday.

GELAGOTIS CLEARED ON DRENCHING COUNT

The Victorian Racing Tribunal has dismissed charges against trainer Peter Gelagotis, unable to be “comfortably satisfied” he illegally administered an alkalising agent on the horse Strong Influence.

Citing interviews stewards conducted from June 2019 and evidence heard by the tribunal last year, Judge John Bowman deemed Gelagotis, stable staff and the horse’s owner as “witnesses of truth”.

In a pre-race blood test taken at Sandown in June 26 2019, Strong Influence, who ran third on the day, returned a reading of 37.8 millimoles per litre in plasma on a threshold of 36 millimoles.

In its decision, which included a lengthy summary of evidence heard, the VRT said “the cause of the high reading remains a mystery”.

It also discounted “undocumented administration” within one clear day of the positive swab.

“Even if that is so, the question remains, by whom?” the decision reads.

“Further, can we be comfortably satisfied that the administration was by Mr Gelagotis or on his orders? Was it done with his knowledge?

“In our opinion, we cannot be comfortably satisfied that the evidence supports a conclusion that any administration was done by Mr Gelagotis, on his orders or with his knowledge.”

The tribunal said speculation the illegal stomach drenching was done by someone with a grudge or vendetta against Gelagotis “has led nowhere”.

A penalty in relation to the lesser charge – detection of a prohibited substance – Gelagotis pleaded guilty to will be handed down at a later date.

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2 Gay Chechens Held on Terror Charges Without Proof – NGO


Two gay men who were forcibly returned to Chechnya this month have been charged with terror-related offenses without proof and face up to 15 years in prison, a rights group said Wednesday.

Authorities in Russia’s restive region of Chechnya have come under fire in recent years from rights groups, which accuse officials of jailing and torturing homosexuals in secret prisons.

Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s authoritarian leader, says the region’s population is exclusively heterosexual.

The LGBT Network rights group said Wednesday that two gay men who fled Chechnya last year but were arrested and returned this month have been charged with aiding an illegal armed group.

Salekh Magamadov, 20, and Ismail Isayev, 17, face up to 15 years in prison if convicted, the NGO said.

“Investigators however did not provide any objective proof of Ismail Isayev and Salekh Magamadov’s guilt,” the rights group said in a statement.

The men, who are detained in the regional capital Grozny, told their lawyer that they had been forced to sign statements and testimonies incriminating themselves, LGBT Network said.

The group helped Magamadov and Isayev flee Chechnya for Nizhny Novgorod northeast of Moscow in June last year after they were allegedly tortured by Chechen police.

The rights group says Magamadov and Isayev were arrested and tortured by Chechen police in 2020 for their sexual orientation.

It said authorities officially accused the men of operating a Telegram channel critical of government officials.

After their arrest but before they left the republic, the men were forced to record a video apology in which they said “they weren’t men,” LGBT Network said.

The European Court of Human Rights earlier this month ordered Russia to take action on Isayev and Magamadov, saying they should be examined by independent doctors and access to them should be granted to their lawyer and family.

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Daniel Prude: US police who pinned and spit-hooded black man won’t face criminal charges over his death



Police officers who put a hood over the head of a mentally distraught black man, then pressed his body against the pavement until he stopped breathing will not face criminal charges after a grand jury declined to indict them.

Daniel Prude, 41, died last March, several days after his arrest by police in Rochester, New York. Police initially described his death as a drug overdose.

The 23 March video of the fatal encounter was initially withheld by police in part because of concerns it would inflame street demonstrations occurring nationwide over George Floyd’s death.

Ultimately released 4 September, it showed officers placing a mesh bag over Mr Prude’s head to stop him from spitting after they detained him for running naked through the streets. Mr Prude had been evaluated at a hospital for odd behaviour a day earlier, but he wasn’t admitted.

One officer pushed Mr Prude’s face against the ground, while another officer pressed a knee to his back. The officers held him down for about two minutes until he fell unconscious. He was taken off life support a week later.

Attorney General Letitia James, whose office took over the investigation, said her office had “presented the strongest case possible” to the grand jury, but couldn’t persuade it that the officers had committed a crime.

“I know that the Prude family, the Rochester community and communities across the country will rightfully be disappointed by this outcome,” Ms James said.

She said she was bound to respect the grand jury’s decision, but she also condemned a system that she said had “frustrated efforts to hold law enforcement officers accountable for the unjustified killing of African Americans.”

“What binds these cases is a tragic loss of life in circumstances in which the death could have been avoided,” said Ms James, who, like the mayor of Rochester and the city’s current and former police chiefs, is black.

“One recognises the influences of race, from the slave codes to Jim Crow, to lynching, to the war on crime, to the over-incarceration of people of colour: Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd. And now Daniel Prude,” she said.

Lawyers for the seven police officers suspended over Mr Prude’s death have said the officers were strictly following their training that night, employing a restraining technique known as “segmenting.” They claimed Mr Prude’s use of PCP, which caused irrational behaviour, was “the root cause” of his death.

The US Justice Department planned to review the attorney general’s findings, according to a joint statement from its Civil Rights Division, the US attorney in western New York and the FBI.

Ms James also issued a report recommending, among other things, that officers be trained to recognise the symptoms of excited delirium syndrome, which can make people vulnerable to cardiac arrest.

The attorney general also called for communities to minimise or eliminate police responses to mental health calls and to find alternatives to the type of “spit sock” officers placed over Mr Prude’s head. She said the mesh hood clearly added to Mr Prude’s stress and agitation.

The county medical examiner listed the manner of death as a homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint” and cited PCP as a contributing factor.

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Daniel Prude’s Death Leads to No Charges for Police


The police officers who placed a mesh hood on a Black man last year and pressed his head down until he lost consciousness will not be charged in his death, officials said Tuesday, after a grand jury convened to investigate the case declined to bring an indictment.

The killing of the man, Daniel Prude, in Rochester, N.Y., touched off intense protests in that city and others during a national reckoning around racism and brutality in policing. Mr. Prude’s death was one of many instances in which Black men died in police custody in recent years.

Public records showed that the Rochester Police Department sought to conceal the circumstances — captured in graphic police body camera footage — of Mr. Prude’s death. The case led to the dismissal of the city’s police chief.

“We sought a different outcome than the one the grand jury handed us today,” said New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, who convened the panel to investigate Mr. Prude’s death.

Ms. James, speaking at a news conference at Aenon Missionary Baptist Church in Rochester, expressed clear disappointment with the result.

“The criminal justice system has demonstrated an unwillingness to hold law enforcement officers accountable in the unjustified killing of unarmed African-Americans,” Ms James said. “What binds these cases is the tragic loss of life in circumstances in which the death could be avoided.”

Mr. Prude, 41, was visiting his brother in Rochester in March when he had an apparent psychotic episode. He ran into the street naked and was handcuffed by officers. Mr. Prude, who had told at least one passer-by that he had the coronavirus, began spitting, and the officers responded by pulling a mesh hood over his head.

When he tried to get up, the officers forced Mr. Prude facedown on the ground, one of them pushing his head to the pavement, police body camera footage showed. The police held Mr. Prude down for two minutes, and he had to be resuscitated. He died in the hospital a week later, on March 30. His death was later ruled a homicide.

Credit…Prude Family Photo

But the circumstances of Mr. Prude’s death did not become public until September, and only after lawyers for his family pushed for the release of body camera footage.

“These incidents have challenged public trust and confidence in our criminal justice system, and history has unfortunately repeated itself once again in the death of Daniel Prude,” Ms. James said.

But her announcement confirmed that there would be no charges for any of the seven officers involved: Officers Josiah Harris, Francisco Santiago, Paul Ricotta, Andrew Specksgoor, Mark Vaughn and Troy Taladay and Sgt. Michael Magri.

The killing set off protests across Rochester, a small city just south of Lake Ontario. At points, police officers in riot gear fired chemical irritants at the demonstrators, most of whom remained peaceful.

Concrete barriers formed a reinforced perimeter around Rochester’s Public Safety Building on Tuesday as word spread that an announcement about the case was imminent.

In Rochester, Mr. Prude’s killing upended the political order.

Records released in an internal review of the episode appeared to show that Rochester officials had tried for months to suppress video footage of the encounter, and misrepresented the cause of his death.

“We certainly do not want people to misinterpret the officers’ actions and conflate this incident with any recent killings of unarmed Black men by law enforcement nationally,” a deputy Rochester police chief wrote in a June 4 email to his boss, advising him not to release the footage to the Prude family’s lawyer. “That would simply be a false narrative, and could create animosity and potentially violent blowback in this community as a result.”

The police chief replied minutes later: “I totally agree.”

For months, Mr. Prude’s death had been presented in police accounts as a fatal drug overdose. In his autopsy, Mr. Prude was found to have PCP, also known as angel dust, in his system. But the cause of Mr. Prude’s death, the medical examiner determined, was asphyxia.

Mayor Lovely Warren, who had already suspended the seven officers, fired the police chief and suspended several city staff members shortly after the revelations.

This month, Ms. Warren submitted a draft proposal for sweeping changes to the police force, following an executive order requiring communities across the state to investigate ways to reimagine policing.

Ms. James’ investigation was made possible by a 2015 executive order that empowered the attorney general to investigate and prosecute police officers when an unarmed civilian is killed. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the order after a grand jury declined to indict the New York City police officer who held Eric Garner, a Black man from Staten Island, in a chokehold until he died.

Ms. James said that her office would pursue several reforms to policing aimed in part at addressing barriers to “holding officers accountable who use deadly force without justification,” including raising standards on when the use of force by officers is deemed acceptable. “The cornerstone of this effort is to amend the use-of-force law from one of subjective, simple necessity to one of absolute last-resort,” Ms. James said. “Our goal is to preserve lives.”

Dan Higgins contributed reporting from Rochester, and Troy Closson from New York.

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Child protection police officer pleads not guilty to grooming charges of 15yo girl


On the first day of his District Court trial in Brisbane, 33-year-old Matthew Paul Hockley pleaded not guilty to two counts of child grooming and one count of using the internet to procure a child under 16.

During opening submissions, the prosecution told the court Mr Hockley was a serving senior constable at the Inala child protection and investigation unit in Brisbane’s south-west in 2019, when he interviewed the teenager in relation to an incident involving the sharing of explicit images of her and her ex-boyfriend.

Crown prosecutor Judy Geary said shortly after the interview, Mr Hockley had added the teenager on the social media application Snapchat, telling her who he was and adding that he wanted to “make sure she was being safe online” before sending her a photograph of himself.

The court heard the teenager had told her mother about the communication, who told her that it was “good” he had added her, and who later thanked the officer for “looking out” for her daughter.

Ms Geary said the prosecution would allege that over the course of several weeks, Mr Hockley sent a series of messages to the teenager that escalated from innocuous to a mostly sexual and inappropriate nature, and that the 15-year-old became “increasingly uncomfortable” with their communication.

On one occasion, Ms Geary told the court Mr Hockley, who would refer to the teenager as “cute” and “beautiful”, had sent her messages about “young girls” being sexually involved with “older men”.

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Mark Bomber Thompson interview, sons, family, A Current Affair, drugs charges, court


An emotional Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson has recounted the beautiful act of love, during the AFL great’s darkest days, by his son that helped him begin to turn his life around.

In a lengthy TV interview with A Current Affair, Thompson said he hit “rock bottom” in January 2018 after police seized 481 ecstasy pills and ice during a raid of his Port Melbourne home. In July 2019, he was found not guilty of trafficking, but guilty of drug possession.

Thompson’s former housemate, Thomas Windsor, was sentenced to jail after pleading guilty to trafficking a drug of dependence and possessing equipment for trafficking.

Bomber’s emotional interview | 00:52

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Thompson, as he admitted in court two years ago, said he took drugs after his coaching career ended but denied ever being a dealer, reiterating on Monday night: “I never thought I’d get to prison at all. I was a drug user. At no point did I ever sell drugs.

“Thinking back now, I had no idea of the law. I had no idea that under my roof,

they (the drugs) are in my name.

“If I go back in time, should I have let that guy (Windsor) into my house? No.”

Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson avoided jail in July, 2019. Picture: Daniel PockettSource: AAP

Following the police raid three years ago, Thompson received a visit from former Essendon colleagues James Hird and Adrian Dodoro — “they just arrived and said ‘we’re taking you let’s go’” — who took him to see Melbourne-based psychologist, Sandy Rae.

Rae diagnosed Thompson with post traumatic stress disorder following the disastrous Essendon supplements saga, which eventually led to 34 past and present Bombers players copping 12-month bans and Thompson being fined $30,000 for his part in the program.

After walking away from the Bombers following the 2014 season, Thompson isolated himself away from family and friends and began to use ice.

“I was completely lost,” Thompson told Channel 9’s A Current Affair. “I lost faith in everything. In the end I didn’t have much hope for the future. I was fighting the fight I couldn’t win.

“It (drugs) took away my pain, let me get through every day without thinking about it every minute of every day.

Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson in front of his Port Melbourne warehouse. Picture: Mark StewartSource: News Corp Australia

“It was a long time ago and I don’t want to go back there.”

As part of his treatment in 2018, Thompson was urged to reconnect with his family and friends, including sons Daniel and Michael.

“Maybe they (Thompson’s sons) thought they lost me a bit because I sort of went away from them,” a teary Thompson said.

“I remember getting a message from my son (Michael), saying: ‘It doesn’t matter, Dad … we’re 100 per cent behind you.’ And I was so proud of that kid.

“To me, that was so powerful that my child could do that for me when I’d probably given him a fair bit.”

Thompson said being able to reconnect with loved ones was “the most powerful thing that’s ever happened to me” and that years of emotion and anger was “released”.

He said he learned a crucial lesson, which he wants others to hear: Don’t suffer in silence.

Mark ‘Bomber’ Thompson. Picture: Wayne LudbeySource: News Corp Australia

“Think about what you’ve done and know that people who love you will forgive you for whatever you do – because they love you,” he said.

“Don’t avoid them, don’t hide from them, don’t do anything except for engage with them.”

Thompson has turned the corner, taking up woodwork and making tables and cheeseboards to keep himself busy.

His connection with his family has also strengthened.

“One of the best things that has happened is that I’ve found what I want to do. I’ve got the purpose and the purpose is to come and do some woodwork with my mates,” he said.

“I don’t know what round it is (of my fight), but I’ve thrown enough punches and I’m raising my body off the chair in the corner and putting myself back in the ring. Yeah, I’m winning the fight.”

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Dutch farm case: Prosecutors drop abuse charges against 'too ill' father



Charges are dropped against Gerrit-Jan Van Dorsten in a case that drew global attention.

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Ash Barty charges into Australian Open quarter-finals, beating Shelby Rogers in straight sets


World number one Ash Barty has made the Australian Open quarter-finals for the third consecutive year following a straight-sets victory over Shelby Rogers.

Barty was at her clinical best for much of her 6-3, 6-4 triumph over the unseeded American on Rod Laver Arena on Monday evening, taking an hour and 11 minutes to book a spot in the last eight.

She only lost one service game against Rogers, surprisingly when she served for the match at 5-2 in the second set.

Barty will next play the 25th-seeded Karolina Muchova, who defeated Elise Mertens — the tournament’s 18th seed — 7-6 (7/5), 7-5 in their fourth-round encounter.

The top half of the draw continued to open up on Monday following the surprise exit of fifth seed Elina Svitolina, who lost to Jessica Pegula in three sets.

Barty is the only seed inside the top 10 to reach the quarter-finals in her half.

The 24-year-old is looking to become the first Australian to win the women’s singles championship since Chris O’Neil in 1978.

A tennis player looks straight at the ball as she prepares to hit a backhand during a match.
Barty dropped serve just once in her win over Rogers.(AP: Andy Brownbill)

She reached the semi-finals last year but lost to eventual winner Sofia Kenin in straight sets.

Barty only returned to the WTA Tour in the week before the Australian Open after sitting out 11 months of the 2020 season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

She won the Yarra Valley Classic, a lead-up tournament at Melbourne Park, giving her a confidence boost ahead of her eighth Australian Open campaign.

“It’s really exciting to be through to another quarter-final,” Barty said in her on-court interview.

Barty again wore a bandage and tape on her left thigh but as with her past two matches showed no signs of physical discomfort on court.

In contrast to her wins in the second and third rounds, Barty held serve in the opening game.

Rogers did likewise with her first service game but she soon found herself chasing Barty, who quickly took command of the first set.

A cross-court forehand iced a break of the Rogers serve that saw the Australia lead 3-1.

Rogers had two break points when she trailed 2-4 in the seventh game, but Barty refused to panic and got herself out of trouble to hold serve.

Barty made no mistake when serving for the first set 5-3, closing it out in just 29 minutes.

She was cruising to victory when she served at 5-2 in the second set with the luxury of two match points and a double break.

A tennis player outstretches her racquet with her right arm in
Shelby Rogers refused to quit against Barty in the late stages of the second set.(AP: Andy Brownbill)

But Rogers, who gave Barty a stern test during their Yarra Valley Classic quarter-final earlier this month, did not roll over when staring at defeat.

She won four consecutive points to claim her first service break of the match before holding in the next game.

An unfazed Barty, however, rebounded by serving to love to earn a quarter-final berth against Muchova.

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