Christopher Leigh Brown pleads guilty to being an accessory after the fact to Billy Ray Waters’ murder


A Tasmanian man has admitted he played a role in concealing the murder of Launceston 19-year-old Billy Ray Waters almost three years ago.

Christopher Leigh Brown was 33-years-old when he was co-accused of murdering Mr Waters in August 2019.

Mr Waters’ body was found in bushland near Mayfield on August 16, 2019, and two teenagers are currently serving 26 years in jail for killing him.

Mr Brown had pleaded not guilty to the murder charge and was due to stand trial in the Supreme Court in Launceston from March 15.

But on Wednesday, Tasmania’s Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Linda Mason SC told Justice Michael Brett that the two-to-three weeks set aside for the trial would no longer be required, as a new indictment was being filed.

Mr Brown instead pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact of Mr Waters’ murder, trafficking in a controlled substance, namely cannabis, and dealing in firearms while not the holder of a firearms licence.

Mr Waters’ body was found in bushland near Mayfield in August, 2019.(

ABC News: Laura Beavis

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In making his guilty pleas, Mr Brown admitted he trafficked cannabis on or about January, 1, 2019 and on or about August 18, 2019, and that he dealt in a firearm, namely a 12-gauge single-barrel sawn-off shotgun, on July 31, 2019.

He also confessed to knowing Launceston teenagers William Adair Rothwell and Jacob Michael Breen had murdered Billy Ray Waters and assisted them to escape punishment.

The prosecution will no longer pursue the murder charge against Mr Brown.

Justice Brett remanded Mr Brown in custody until his next appearance in the Supreme Court in Launceston on March 19, which is when his sentencing submissions will be heard.

Teenagers serving 26 years’ jail

William Adair Rothwell and Jacob Michael Brennan, who were both 17 at the time of Mr Waters’ murder, are each serving 26-year jail sentences after they pleaded guilty to the murder in February last year.

The teenagers, who had been friends with Mr Waters, stabbed him 18 times and shot him in the back of the head at Mayfield on August 4, 2019.

They then hid his body in bushland near the Mowbray Golf Club. It was not found by police until about two weeks later.

In sentencing the two teenagers in February 2020, Justice Robert Pearce said they agreed to commit the murder for an ounce of cannabis.

“Both defendants agreed that they were paid an ounce of cannabis for the killing, which was divided between them,” Justice Pearce said.

Justice Pearce said in the months prior to the murder, Rothwell “was selling cannabis for another older man, who I will refer to as Mr B”.

“Mr B asked Mr Rothwell whether he knew anyone who would kill Mr Waters,” Justice Pearce said.

“After first responding that Mr B had asked the wrong person, Mr Rothwell approached Mr Brennan, who agreed.

Justice Pearce said Rothwell claimed the murder was “instigated by Mr B, who was ‘like his boss’.”

He said the shotgun was later returned to Mr B.

In sentencing the teenagers, Justice Pearce described the murder as “extreme, cruel and prolonged violence”.

“The murder involved a betrayal of Mr Waters’ friendship,” Justice Pearce said.

“He was tricked into going with the defendants and he would have had no hesitation in doing so.”

Rothwell and Brennan will be eligible for parole in 2035.

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Horse racing news 2021: Damion Flower pleads guilty, Cocaine ring, drug importation, Sydney Airport


One of Australia’s most high-profile racehorse owners pleaded guilty on Monday to his role in a cocaine smuggling ring operating through Sydney airport.

Damion Flower, a regular fixture at Australian racetracks, admitted in a Sydney court to importing a commercial quantity of a border controlled drug and dealing with proceeds of crime.

Flower has stakes in more than 50 racehorses, including the in-demand breeding stallion Snitzel, whose progeny have earned more than $85 million in prizemoney.

His arrest in 2019 shocked Australia’s horse racing industry and Flower had initially signalled his intention to plead not guilty and go to trial.

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‘I spoke the truth’: Jarryd Hayne maintains his innocence after being found guilty of sexual assault


Content warning: This story contains references to sexual assault.

Two-time NRL player-of-the-year Jarryd Hayne maintains his innocence after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in her Newcastle home in 2018, but accepts he is going to jail.

Hayne, 33, had denied assaulting the woman saying the incident in her bedroom had been consensual.

After nearly 18 hours of deliberations that began last Wednesday, the Sydney District Court jury found him not guilty of both counts of aggravated sexual sexual intercourse without consent inflicting actual bodily harm.

But Hayne was found guilty of two alternative counts of sexual intercourse without consent. 

Outside court on Monday, Hayne told reporters: “I’d rather go to jail knowing I spoke the truth than be a free man living a lie.

“It’s unfortunate, it’s disappointing but at the end of the day they’ve come to a decision and I respect that,” he added.

The Crown had argued the former State of Origin player felt entitled to sex when he went to the then-26-year-old woman’s Newcastle home, having left his friends drinking at a bucks party and also missing watching his old teammates in the NRL grand final that evening.

The woman testified Hayne was “rough, forceful and inconsiderate,” despite her protests of “no” and “no Jarryd,” and pushed her face into the pillow before ripping her jeans off.

Hayne testified that the woman had become “filthy” after finding out a taxi was waiting for him outside her home and knew she did not want sex.

But he wanted to “please her” and the pair kissed before he commenced consensual oral and digital sex, he said.

“She said she didn’t want to have sex. We didn’t have sex,” Hayne said.

He rejected the suggestion the woman was retreating up the bed to get away from him, saying she helped him remove her pants. 

Jarryd Hayne has been found guilty of sexually assaulting a woman in 2018.

AAP

The assault lasted for about 30 seconds before the woman started bleeding from her genitals.

The Crown argued Hayne had no reasonable grounds for believing the woman would have consented to any sexual activity that evening.

But Hayne’s barrister argued his client was content to “take it or leave it” and fully respected the woman’s wishes to not have sex after she found out about the taxi.

If you or someone you know is impacted by family and domestic violence or sexual assault, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000.

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Tasmanian woman Melissa Oates pleads guilty to dangerous driving after accident in which former partner Jari Wise died



Huonville woman Melissa Oates has pleaded guilty to a dangerous driving charge after an accident in which her former partner Jari Wise died.

The Supreme Court in Hobart heard Ms Oates was three times over the legal blood alcohol level and was driving double the speed limit when she hit Mr Wise on Wilmot Road on February 29, 2020.

Director of Public Prosecutions Darryl Coates said Ms Oates, who was visually impaired, did not have her glasses on when driving.

The court also heard it was dark when the accident happened and Mr Wise was wearing dark clothing.

Darryl Coates SC said Mr Wise had either walked or jumped out in front of Ms Oates’s vehicle and Ms Oates did not stop to check whether he was injured.

When she returned to the scene, police body cameras recorded her saying “why did you jump out in front of me”.

Ms Oates’s defence lawyer Garth Stevens said his client was “remorseful” about the incident and that she fully accepts responsibility for driving dangerously.

Ms Oates has been remanded in custody and will be sentenced on April 22.

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Alex Dion found guilty of murdering man whose body he dumped


Mr Phetmang’s loved ones, sitting in court as they did throughout the trial, gasped when the guilty verdict was announced. One woman wiped her eyes with a tissue.

Crown prosecutor Michael Barr said in his closing submissions that Dion told multiple conflicting versions of the death, which he now concedes are false, including claiming that a group of drug dealers threatened him, forced him to strip naked and made him dump Mr Phetmang’s body.

“The accused has mixed up fact and fiction,” Mr Barr said. “Once a person lies about one thing, it’s very difficult to accept him on anything.”

Mr Barr said circumstantial evidence pointed to Dion being responsible, including his shirt being found in Mr Phetmang’s mouth as a gag, his DNA being found with Mr Phetmang’s DNA and his dumping of clothing items in a stormwater pit.

The prosecutor said the Crown case was “relatively simple”: that Dion contacted Mr Phetmang to purchase the drug ice, then murdered him after an attempted robbery because he did not have enough money to pay for it.

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However, Mr Dion’s barrister Madeleine Avenell, SC, argued that Dion’s housemate was the person who killed Mr Phetmang when the housemate’s plan to steal drugs “turned into an absolute disaster”. Giving evidence, the housemate denied this.

Ms Avenell said Dion’s account was that he drove to his apartment block with Mr Phetmang, then went upstairs and left his housemate and Mr Phetmang in the parking garage.

In his evidence, Dion said the housemate came upstairs and told him there had been a “catastrophe”, and he helped to dispose of Mr Phetmang’s body because his friend was scared and shaking.

Ms Avenell said the jury might wonder why Dion kept Mr Phetmang’s body in his car for more than a day and later dumped it on the side of the road when he did not kill him, but “there are reasonable explanations for that”.

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Three men found guilty of murdering Iuliana Triscaru and Cory Breton in toolbox killing


Trent Thrupp, Stou Daniels and Davy Taiao were on trial in the Supreme Court for the murders of Iuliana Triscaru, 31, and Cory Breton, 28, whose bodies were discovered in Scrubby Creek in Logan in 2016.

The three men were also found guilty of their torture.

Waylon Walker was also accused of their murders but was found guilty of their manslaughter.

Prosecutors told the court the pair were lured to a unit at Kingston over a drug dispute, where they were physically assaulted and bound with zip ties and tape.

Earlier, the court heard the pair was forced into a metal toolbox before it was loaded onto a ute and driven to Scrubby Creek and then sunk.

Ms Triscaru and Mr Breton are believed to have drowned, but a forensic pathologist told the court they could not rule out asphyxiation as the cause of death.

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Porsche driver pleads guilty to three charges relating to fatal Eastern Freeway crash



Porsche driver accused of filming and taunting a dying police officer on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway has pleaded guilty to three charges.

Richard Pusey, 42, has admitted to outraging public decency, reckless conduct endangering serious injury and drug possession at the scene of the single largest loss of life in the history of Victoria Police.

Richard Pusey released on bail

Pusey had been pulled over for speeding when a truck swerved into the emergency lane, killing four police officers on April 22 last year.

The 42-year-old today appeared in Victoria’s County Court via video link, taking a deep breath before pleading guilty to the three charges.
The outraging public decency charge relates to Pusey
He admitted to reckless conduct endangering serious injury to other motorists by driving at high speeds, as well as possessing drugs, including MDMA and ketamine.
In October, he was committed to stand trial after pleading not guilty to the same offences.
Pusey’s lawyer Dermot Dann QC said his client would now be seeking “significant credit” because he had admitted his guilt.
“Without his efforts to resolve this matter, it had the potential to drag on for years,” he said.

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Eastern Freeway Porsche driver Richard Pusey pleads guilty to three charges


Richard Pusey, the Porsche driver who swore as he filmed the final moments of a police officer who died on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway, has pleaded guilty.

Pusey today appeared in the County Court where he accepted responsibility for his actions almost a year after the horror smash that left four police officers dead, in April 2020.

After months of negotiations with prosecutors, Pusey has now pleaded guilty to reckless conduct endangering serious injury and possessing a drug of dependence.

As part of the deal, he has also pleaded guilty to the controversial charge of outraging public decency, which his legal team initially argued did not exist.

The 42-year-old now accepts that he breached public decency standards by using his phone to create recordings of the dead and dying police officers, while saying: “There you go, amazing, absolutely amazing. All I wanted to do was go home and have some sushi and now you f***ed my f***ing car.”

Pusey today appeared from the Melbourne Remand Centre and before the hearing got underway, took a deep breath.

“Guilty,” he said, three times.

Today’s development means an end to the tragic story is now in sight.

Had Pusey not pleaded guilty, his trial would have been scheduled for late 2022 because of the immense pressure the coronavirus has put on Victoria’s justice system.

His legal team will now argue that Pusey should be given a sentence that would allow him to be released by the end of the month, but it is unclear how this would work as he is also facing other court matters.

His defence barrister, Dermot Dann QC, today said Pusey’s plea was valuable.

“I know there are different views of the legal and factual validity of that charge of outraging public decency, but on one view of the world there is a dubious legal, factual validity of that charge,” Mr Dann said.

“He should be given very significant credit for taking the step that he has, particularly in circumstances where without his efforts to, or decision, to resolve the matter … the potential for this matter to drag on for years was very much apparent.”

County Court Judge Trevor Wraight said Pusey’s plea carried weight.

“Mr Pusey has facilitated the course of justice by pleading guilty in circumstances where there was a basis to argue,” the judge said.

“These sorts of legal arguments can go on for years. So I acknowledge that.”

Pusey is also facing a lower level speeding charge as part of the deal, but that matter is yet to reach the County Court, and he is yet to formally enter a plea.

In April last year, Pusey was pulled over by Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor and First Constable Glen Humphris for allegedly driving his Porsche at 149 kilometres per hour on the Eastern Freeway.

Two other officers — Senior Constable Kevin King and Constable Joshua Prestney — arrived at the scene and were standing in an emergency lane when a truck veered into the lane, killing all four officers.

It was the single biggest loss of life in the force’s history, and an incident that plunged Victoria into mourning.

The truck’s driver, Mohinder Singh, was charged over the officers’ deaths and has since pleaded guilty. He will face a pre-sentence hearing next week.

The ABC can now reveal the discussions behind the shift in Pusey’s position, which were suppressed, after he initially vowed to clear his name.

During a hearing in the middle of Victoria’s snap five-day lockdown last month, Pusey indicated he would plead guilty to the charge of outraging public decency in order to “avoid the prospect of this matter dragging well into next year.”

“He’s instructed me to indicate that he is willing to plead guilty to that charge in an effort to resolve this matter,” his barrister, Mr Dann, said during that hearing.

“I think there’s significant utilitarian benefit in the plea of guilty to that charge … this case, if not resolved, would go on for a very long time,” Judge Wraight said.

“I’ll be submitting that he deserves very significant credit for that plea for that charge in particular,” Mr Dann said.

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Troy O’Meara pleads guilty over 1983 rape and murder of Linda Reed on Gold Coast


The man accused of raping and killing Gold Coast woman Linda Reed in one of the state’s oldest cold case murders has pleaded guilty before it was revealed he had killed another woman two years later.

Ms Reed, 21, was last seen taking a lunch break from her retail job at Pacific Fair in Broadbeach in December 1983.

Her body was found in bushland at Gaven three days after she disappeared.

After 35 years, police arrested and charged Troy James O’Meara, 54, in 2018.

On Monday morning, O’Meara pleaded guilty to her rape and murder.

During a sentencing hearing, the court was told O’Meara, who was 17 at the time, randomly approached Ms Reed when she was in her car, before threatening her and forcing her to drive to an isolated area.

The court heard he then bound her hands behind her back, raped her, then dragged her into bushland and forcefully pushed her head into a creek bed.

She had inhaled mud and debris into her lungs and died of either drowning, smothering, strangulation or suffocation, the court heard.

Two years after killing Ms Reed, the court was told he murdered another woman, Vanessa O’Brien, 22, in similar circumstances in Brisbane.

He was arrested in July 1985 and was serving a mandated life sentence.

Crown Prosecutor Jodie Wooldridge said: “This day has been 37 years coming for the family of Ms Reed.”

Victim impact statements from Ms Reed’s widower, Robert Reed, and her mother, Nancy Fein, were read to the court by Ms Wooldridge.

Ms Fein’s statement said her family had lost a “beautiful and loving daughter”.

“What can I say after 37 years, a thousand tears, anger and many prayers wondering what my daughter went through in the last minutes of her life,” the statement read.

“Linda was a wonderful daughter, sister, and for a short time also a wonderful wife.”

Ms Fein thanked investigators who had worked on her daughter’s case and the witnesses who came forward over the years.

“My only regret is Linda’s father never lived to see this day,” she said.

Mr Reed said in his statement: “No-one could possibly know the pain and anguish that I’ve been through.

“Troy James O’Meara murdered my wife, my future children and my chances at being a father.

“I vowed never to have children with anyone else.”

The court heard while in custody, O’Meara had committed further offences including assaults on guards and escaping jail for one day.

O’Meara’s defence lawyer, Damien Walsh, told the court his client “wants to get out of jail”.

“It is his hope to one day be released to at least see his mother again in the outside world,” he said.

Supreme Court judge Justice Glenn Martin reserved his sentence decision for a date to be set.

Justice Martin said the murder involved a “high level of violence” but he would need time to consider his sentence due to “unusual circumstances” surrounding legislation changes in the last three decades.

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Victorian man found guilty of murdering 26-year-old girlfriend



A Victorian man has been found guilty for murder after strangling his girlfriend and sending messages to her sisters pretending to be alive.

A The jury today unanimously found Adam Margolis was responsible for the death of Mai-Yia Vang after he fatally strangled her in February of 2018.

The two met online in 2018 and had only been living together for a week in his Bendigo home when he killed her.


Margolis blamed his partner for provoking him, saying she caused him to have a PTSD flashback from his abusive childhood.
After he choked Ms Vang, the 41-year old pretended to be Ms Vang online, talking to her sisters in Facebook messages.
“Am really sick now. Flu I think. I’m being looked after,” he wrote.
Instead, the body of the former chemical engineering student was left on Margolis’ floor for two days while he tried to garner sympathy from friends.
Margolis emailed his friends, saying “I have killed a woman”, and describing his girlfriend as being “vicious” and “prone to delusional hysteria”.

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