Andrew Laming upskirting allegations: Queensland police find ‘no evidence of criminal offence’



Queensland police will take no action against federal backbencher Andrew Laming, who was accused of taking an inappropriate photograph of a woman while she was bending over. 

A number of people were interviewed as part of the investigation and a police spokesperson said detectives found no evidence to indicate an offence had been committed. 

“Investigators, having considered the interviews and all other information considered as part of the investigation, have determined there is no evidence to indicate a criminal offence,” a QPS statement said.

The woman involved in the incident lodged a formal complaint, and police said she has been advised of the outcome. 

Dr Laming has also been accused of – and has admitted to – harassing two female constituents and is now on leave to undergo empathy training at the request of Scott Morrison. 

Pressure continues to mount on the prime minister to expel the LNP MP for the Queensland seat of Bowman from the coalition. 

Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull said Dr Laming’s position in the coalition party room was untenable. 

He compared the circumstances to the handling of a rape allegation against NSW state MP Michael Johnsen

Mr Johnsen was booted from the coalition party rooms after the allegations came to light. 

Mr Turnbull said the same approach must be taken towards Dr Laming. 

“It’s pretty obvious that he should be sitting on the crossbench,” Mr Turnbull said. 

“His behaviour is so out of order.” 

Mr Johnsen has since resigned from parliament, after further allegations this week that he had invited a sex worker to visit him inside state parliament. 

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NBL and South East Melbourne will allow Mitch Creek to return to playing despite an ongoing criminal investigation



NBL player Mitch Creek is eligible to play on Thursday after being granted permission to “resume active team duties” after his criminal matters were adjourned to April.

Creek, who plays for the South East Melbourne Phoenix, has not played since he was charged by police in Victoria on March 15 with assault offences. 

The NBL and the Phoenix said at the time he would not be allowed to play until further notice. 

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, NBL and the Phoenix announced Creek would be eligible to play in Thursday’s match against the Illawarra Hawks. 

“The decision to allow him to play is not an indication to his guilt or innocence in relation to the criminal investigation being undertaken by Victoria Police, which the NBL and South East Melbourne are treating extremely seriously,” the statement read.

“Mitch Creek will relinquish his co-captaincy of the team and will not participate in any community activities with the Club until the matter has been determined by the courts.

“The NBL and South East Melbourne will continue to review the matter and will take into consideration any decisions or directions made by the courts.”

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The decision comes after Creek’s lawyers were told his preliminary hearing, which was scheduled for Thursday, had been rescheduled for next month. 

Creek is contesting all charges. 

Basketball Australia’s Integrity Unit, which had reportedly done a preliminary investigation into the matter, will not hold its hearing panel until after the matter has been through the courts, the statement said.

Creek, whose NBL career began in 2010, had brief stints in the NBA with the Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves.

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Suspect in Boulder Mass Shooting Had ‘Minor’ Criminal Record


Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa, the 21-year-old resident of Arvada, Colorado, suspected of being the gunman in a mass shooting on Monday in Boulder, Colorado, had what is described as a “minor” criminal record.

The Denver Post reported Tuesday:

Alissa has a minor criminal history in Colorado, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and court records.

He was convicted of misdemeanor assault in 2018 for an incident that happened in 2017, and was sentenced to two months of probation and 48 hours of community service.

Arvada police Detective Dave Snelling also confirmed the local department had at least two interactions with Alissa over the past several years, including cases of simple assault and criminal mischief, though additional details weren’t immediately available.

Snelling would not say whether local police had received any warnings or complaints about Alissa recently, however, and instead deferred the question to the FBI.

The list of 10 dead included Officer Eric Talley, 51, who was the first member of law enforcement to arrive on the scene at the King Soopers grocery store.

Zachary Smith holds a thin blue line flag in honor of Boulder Police officer Eric Talley who perished in the line of duty during an mass shooting at the King Soopers grocery store in Boulder, Colorado on March 22, 2021. – A gunman killed at least 10 people including a police officer at a grocery store in Colorado on Monday, March 22, police said, in the latest shooting to hit the western state — scene of two of the most infamous US mass murders. The shooter is being held in custody and was injured, said Michael Dougherty, district attorney for Boulder County, located 30 miles (50 kilometers) northwest of the state capital Denver. (Photo by Jason Connolly / AFP) (Photo by JASON CONNOLLY/AFP via Getty Images)

“The authorities identified the nine additional victims as Denny Strong, 20; Neven Stanisic, 23; Rikki Olds, 25; Tralona Bartkowiak, 49; Suzanne Fountain, 59; Teri Leiker, 51; Kevin Mahoney, 61; Lynn Murray, 62; and Jody Waters, 65,” the New York Times reported.

The suspect reportedly immigrated from Syria with his family and has lived in the U.S. from an early age.

Speculations about the suspect’s religious and ideological inclinations, based on alleged social media posts, cannot yet be independently confirmed.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book is How Not to Be a Sh!thole Country: Lessons from South Africa. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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Calls for criminal record reform to give vulnerable Victorians a second chance


Victoria is the only state or territory in Australia that does not have a spent convictions scheme         

A coalition of more than 50 health, legal, Indigenous, and youth advocacy groups is urging Victorian Parliament to pass legislation making it easier for people with minor historical offences to find work and housing.

The Smart Justice for Young People coalition has released a statement in support of the Spent Convictions Bill 2020, which would prevent eligible minor offences from showing up in a police check after 10 years, or five years for a juvenile offence.

This change – contingent on a person not re-offending during the period – is designed to stop discrimination against people with old criminal records when they apply for housing, employment or volunteer roles.       

When the bill was introduced last October, then-Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy said the reform would bring Victoria in line with other states and territories, which all have legislated spent convictions schemes in place.

“People who have proven they are willing and able to change and make a positive contribution to society should be given every chance to do so,” Hennessy said.

“We consulted widely with communities and stakeholders to make sure the scheme will balance the need to deliver reform that is fair and just, while keeping Victorians safe.” 

Smart Justice for Young People spokesperson Julie Edwards, the CEO of Jesuit Social Services, told Pro Bono News that the people with criminal records they worked with faced many barriers to reintegrating with society. 

“These people really want to be included, they want to be restored to the community and make a contribution, but are often kept on the margins,” Edwards said.

“And what we’re wanting to do is to ensure that [those eligible for the scheme] have that barrier taken away so that they can make a new start on their lives.” 

Smart Justice for Young People has said the bill would be especially impactful for vulnerable groups in society, such as those with a history of trauma or abuse, people experiencing mental health issues, and children who have been in out-of-home care.

Edwards said communities disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system – such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – would also benefit.

She added that authorities had a responsibility to help those with prior convictions to get back on their feet. 

“If we want to turn people’s lives around and help keep the community safer we need to do all we can to put them on a better pathway,” she said.

“And particularly for children and young people, to have them marked by this for their whole lives is really setting them up for exclusion and failure.” 

While the scheme applies only to minor offences for those over 15, it would remove all offences committed by someone under 15.   

This led shadow attorney-general Edward O’Donohue to raise concerns last month that this would clear the record for “heinous crimes such as rape, murder and terrorism”.

But Edwards said that the data showed it was “very rare” that a child under 15 committed a crime of that nature.   

“And there is a period of five years with no serious reoffending that is in place for the scheme,” she said.

“So if someone had committed something that serious, the next five years will be the testing period to make sure they don’t offend again.”

Edwards also noted that the provision to “spend” convictions did not get rid of them, it simply meant they were not disclosed for certain purposes.

“The police and courts will continue to have full access to criminal histories and records and these will be released when required to certain employers and third parties to make necessary risk assessments,” she said.  

“So we feel the necessary safeguards are in place.”

The bill is currently being debated in the upper house.



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Queensland to review how women are treated in the criminal justice system


Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced a wide-ranging review into the experiences of women across Queensland’s criminal justice system.

Ms Palaszczuk said she wanted to make sure sexual and domestic violence crimes were being reported and justice was being done.

“One in five Queensland women have experienced sexual violence since the age of 15 and one in four women have experienced violence at the hands of their partner,” she said in an early-morning Tweet announcing the review.

“We know that the experience of the criminal justice system for women as victims, survivors or accused is different than it is for men.

“We also know that women and girls are disproportionally affected as victims of sexual assault, but it remains one of the most under-reported crimes.

“Only a small proportion of reported cases are prosecuted in court and achieve a conviction.

“Women also face a range of barriers when they seek help, which can draw out the legal process adding to their trauma.”

The review will be conducted by the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce, headed by former president of the Queensland Court of Appeal Margaret McMurdo.

It is due to report on how to best legislate against coercive control by October and to deliver recommendations to Government on how to best improve women’s experience in the criminal justice system and by March next year.

Founder of Sisters Inside, Debbie Kilroy, said the focus of the reform should include all women, particularly those most marginalised.

She said many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women needed support both in and out of the prison system.

“They are the most violated group in our community, but will they have a voice?” she said.

“These are the women who have been violated horrifically but because they are incarcerated, they are deemed as perpetrators.”

Ms Kilroy often worked with women who have not reported crimes against them or who have been turned away from police.

Ms Kilroy said that she worked with an Aboriginal woman just yesterday who had sought support from police and was told to stop “bothering” them.

“That’s not something new,” she said.

“This is what happens to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women all the time.

“We must address the fundamental racism.”

Ms Kilroy said she believed justice could be sought by moving away from police and towards other systems.

“There is a lot of women who actually don’t want to use the police because they feel more violated,” she said.

“Police don’t stop violence against women, we as a community must do that.”

Ms Kilroy said the police’s budget outweighed the amount spent on social housing.

“We need clear recommendations about … what needs to be done to stop violence against women and that could be many different forms of transformative justice,” she said.

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Four charged over alleged criminal syndicate as $6m cannabis seized


A man accused of directing a large criminal syndicate shipping cannabis across NSW has been charged after nearly $6 million of the drug was seized.
The 28-year-old was arrested at a unit in Rhodes, in Sydney’s inner west about 6am.

About an hour later a rural property in Schofields, on the outskirts of the city, was raided and police found about 2000 marijuana plants.

Nearly $6 million of cannabis was uncovered at Schofields on the outskirts of Sydney today.
Nearly $6 million of cannabis was uncovered at Schofields on the outskirts of Sydney today. (9News)

“They seem from the outset that they are a rural property, growing any normal plantation,” Detective Acting Superintendent Jayne Doherty said today.

But detectives instead found cannabis is worth an estimated $5.8 million, and two men and a woman were arrested.

“Each crop is earning this syndicate millions of dollars,” Detective Acting Superintendent Doherty added.

She said the syndicate is allegedly linked to a property in Minto – which was raided last month – and $7 million worth of drugs were seized.

“We’re talking millions of dollars going into serious criminal organised crime… it’s not just cannabis, these groups are funding other criminal activity within our country and that’s why we will take every step to address them and to cut them off,” Detective Acting Superintendent Doherty said.

Yao Lim Boo is the alleged mastermind behind the syndicate.
Yao Lim Boo is the alleged mastermind behind the syndicate. (9News)

NSW Police believe additional properties may be linked to the syndicate, and more arrests are likely to follow.

Yao Lim Boo, 28, was charged with eight offences including two counts of cultivate prohibited plant – large commercial quantity – cannabis and three counts of use/consume/waste electricity without authority.

He has also been charged with two counts of enhanced indoor cultivate cannabis for commercial purpose and a count of knowingly direct activities of criminal group.

Police will allege in court that the man directed the activities of an organised criminal syndicate involved in the large-scale cultivation and supply of cannabis across the state.

He was refused bail to appear at Burwood Local Court today.

The other three people arrested today, two men – aged 24 and 29 – and a 39-year-old woman were taken to Riverstone Police Station.

There were around 2000 plants at a semi-rural property.
There were around 2000 plants at a semi-rural property. (9News)

All three were charged with cultivate prohibited plant (large commercial quantity – cannabis), supply prohibited drug (large commercial quantity), participate criminal group contribute criminal activity and use/consume/waste electricity without authority.

Police will allege the group were involved in the cultivation of cannabis at the Schofields property.

All three were refused bail to appear at Blacktown Local Court tomorrow (Wednesday 10 March 2021).

Investigators are working with the Department of Home Affairs regarding the visa status of the group.

Inquiries under Strike Force Hyperion are continuing.

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International Criminal Court to probe possible war crimes in Occupied Palestinian Territories


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“My office will take the same principled, non-partisan, approach that it has adopted in all situations over which its jurisdiction is seized.”

Bensouda, who will be replaced by British prosecutor Karim Khan on June 16, said in December 2019 that “war crimes have been or are being committed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip”.

The UN recognises the Occupied Palestinian Territories as the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip – disputed territory claimed by Israel.

She named both the Israeli Defence Forces and armed Palestinian groups such as Hamas as possible perpetrators.

The next step will be to determine whether Israeli or Palestinian authorities have investigations themselves and to assess those efforts.

‘Long-awaited step’

Israel’s government on Wednesday called the court “morally and legally bankrupt”.

“The decision to open an investigation against Israel is an exception to the mandate of the tribunal, and a waste of the international community’s resources by a biased institution that has lost all legitimacy,” Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said.

There was no immediate comment from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When the court ruled on jurisdiction, he said: “When the ICC investigates Israel for fake war crimes, this is pure anti-semitism.”

The Palestinian Authority welcomed the prosecutor’s investigation.

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It is “a long-awaited step that serves Palestine’s tireless pursuit of justice and accountability, which are indispensable pillars of the peace the Palestinian people seek and deserve”, the Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The Islamist militant group Hamas defended its own actions in the conflict.

“We welcome the ICC decision to investigate Israeli occupation war crimes against our people. It is a step forward on the path of achieving justice,” Hazem Qassem, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza, said.

Balkees Jarrah, associate international justice director at Human Rights Watch, said ICC member countries needed to stand by to fiercely protect the court’s work from political pressure.

The ICC is a court of last resort established to prosecute war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide when a country is unable or unwilling to do so.

The prosecutor’s office was targeted by sanctions under former US President Donald Trump in response to its investigation in Afghanistan, which is examining the role of US forces.

Reuters

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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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AFL champion charged with criminal damage over Kardinya house fire


West Coast premiership player Daniel Kerr has been charged following a house fire in Perth.

Police were alerted to the blaze at a Kardinya home just after 4pm on Wednesday.

“Department of Fire and Emergency Services personnel were already responding to the fire at that time,” police said in a statement on Thursday.

Kerr, who police said was “linked” to the property, was arrested a short time later in Cottesloe.

Arson squad detectives charged the former West Coast Eagles player with criminal damage by fire.

Kerr, 37, was refused bail ahead of his appearance in Fremantle Magistrates Court later on Thursday.

AFL champion Daniel Kerr is now facing an arson charge in addition to a string of other offences. Picture: Angie Raphael/NCA NewsWireSource: Supplied

Kerr had been due to face court on Wednesday over domestic violence charges, but he failed to show up, with his lawyer saying he had suffered an asthma attack.

A similar explanation was given at a previous court appearance.

Kerr is yet to formally enter pleas to a string of charges, but he has repeatedly indicated he will plead not guilty to all offences, including assaults allegedly committed against his ex-partner Michelle McAtackney over several years.

The former midfielder is facing offences including aggravated common assault, criminal damage, and with intent to harm did an act likely to endanger life.

Daniel Kerr is the brother of soccer star Sam Kerr. Picture: Michael Wilson/The West Australian.Source: The West Australian

Kerr played 220 games for West Coast and was runner-up for the Brownlow Medal twice.

He was part of the Eagles’ premiership winning team in 2006, before retiring in 2013.

Kerr is the older brother of Matildas soccer star Sam Kerr.

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Former Myanmar leader faces second criminal charge



Former Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi is now facing a second criminal charge after being deposed by a military coup.

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