‘Like a jail’: Stranded sailors struggle with COVID-19 isolation




When Ritesh Mehra enlisted for a four-month stint as captain on a liquid gas tanker last July, he never expected to be stuck onboard until spring.
After being stuck at sea for eight months, he and his crew began to refer to their temporary home as a “jail”.

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Boggo Road Gaol (Jail)


School Holiday Experiences

Do something different these Easter school holidays with one of the fascinating experiences and tours on offer at historic Boggo Road Gaol (Jail).

Suitable for the whole family, including teenagers, there are 4 different experiences available, ranging from 1.5 to 2 hour guided tours. New features include over 30 visual displays including historical images, extra information and digital interactions.

History Tour – Step through the giant gates and hear all about the 116 year history of the gaol, the daily lives of the prisoners and the duties of its officers on this intriguing tour. You will also learn about the legendary Slim Halliday, Tripod the three legged cat, the rooftop protests and the hunger strikes. Walk through the Circle, the Gatehouse, the yards and the original cell blocks and cells. You will even get to step inside the cells and see the original graffiti on the walls dating back to the 1980s. Suitable for all ages. Daily @ 11am – 12:30pm

Escapes Tour – See where the first gaol-breakers went over the wall, and learn how the Houdini of Boggo Road, Slim Halliday, managed to escape No.2 Division, not once, but twice. You may have read about Slim in Trent Dalton’s ‘Boy Swallows Universe.’ You’ll get to walk throughout the gaol and stand at the exact spots that several inmates escaped. Suitable for all ages. Sunday 11 April @ 11am – 12:30pm

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IRC orders striking Goulburn jail officers back to work as lockdown takes effect | Goulburn Post


news, local-news, Goulburn, Correctional Centre, strike, safety, assaults, Prison Officers Vocational Branch, Dave McCauley

A union representing more than 200 Goulburn correctional officers says a culmination of issues, including safety, prompted them to walk off the job on Friday. Although the Industrial Relations Commission has ordered them back to work on Saturday, the Prison Officers Vocational Branch hasn’t promised anything. POVB industrial officer Dave McCauley, said ongoing issues at the jail, including safety and recent incidents, had sparked the strike. “We’ve had several reforms over the last couple of years which have deleted ranks and reduced numbers of correctional officers on the ground,” he said. “The staff feel that these restructures have put them in a less safe working environment than they would have had before these (changes) from corrective services. “There’s a build up of issues at that location going back to the last strike. “Inmate Bassam Hamzy had his sentence quashed for assaulting a correctional officer that was subsequently appealed against by the Department of Public Prosecutions. READ ALSO: More than $400 million in road safety funding en route for NSW “Not long ago, three correctional officers were assaulted by an inmate on separate occasions. “That inmate was charged with assault but when he went to local court, charges were dismissed even though the court agreed the officers actually suffered actual bodily harm. “They attributed that to Corrective Services’ departmental policies and procedures. Staff were obviously very upset with the result. “A couple of days ago, staff felt their governor treated them with disrespect for simply doing their job.” With complications threatening to cause a boil over back in February, it finally did this time. “It’s just a culmination of a lot of issues that eventually led to the strike and the staff felt they had no other option than to withdraw their labour to highlight their concerns to Corrective Services and the government,” Mr McCauley said. The matter was referred to the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC). “Orders have been issued by the IRC for them to cease their industrial action and return to work,” he said. “If the orders are obeyed, then the staff will be back on the weekend. If not, they will be back on Monday. “Currently, the Association’s in the process of trying to disseminate the information from the IRC to its members.” The union says it won’t be happy until multiple issues are addressed. “They want to have their stance on all of the issues that are affecting the staff at the location to be heard,” Mr McCauley said. READ ALSO: Christian Brother charged with alleged historical sexual assault “There are staff deficiencies. “They need to convert casuals to full time positions and address policies and procedures to further protect correctional officers in the event of inmates assaulting them.” In the meantime, the Goulburn Correctional Centre has gone into lockdown due lack of staff. Inmates would be locked in their cells, provided with their medical requirements and be fed through their cell doors. Several jails across the state also withdrew their labour to support Goulburn, including the South Coast Correctional Centre and the Cooma Correctional Centre. Corrective Services has been contacted for comment. Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up below.

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Too many young African-Australians are in jail. Some blame police, but the data tells a more complex story


There’s a concerning trend in the kids we’re locking up. For some, it’s clear evidence of racist policing.

While overall youth crime rates have declined in Victoria, the imprisonment of African-Australian youth has spiked.

African (predominantly South Sudanese) youth comprise at least 19 per cent of young people in custody despite being less than 0.5 per cent of Victoria’s youth population.

But are prejudice and police tactics behind numbers, or is the answer more complicated?

African-Australian youth say in surveys they’re being targeted by police because of their race.(

ABC News: Margaret Burin

)

In 2012, a number of young African-Australians lodged a complaint of racial discrimination against Victoria Police, alleging they’d been subject to ongoing racial profiling in the Melbourne suburbs of Flemington and North Melbourne between 2005 and 2009.

The case was eventually settled in 2013 with Victoria Police agreeing to review its practices with migrant communities.

Just three years later, the notion of racial profiling by Victoria Police was again thrust into the public sphere.

Between 2016 and 2018 a small number of African-Australian youth were involved in a number of highly publicised offences.

These incidents received extensive media attention — with some outlets criticised for politicising their coverage and demonising the African-Australian community.

For some commentators and community advocates, racial profiling was a factor in this sequence of offending, and the coinciding spike in African-Australian youth imprisonment — which has now reached concerning levels.

If racialised policing tactics are implicated, or even partly implicated, in rising African-Australian offending rates in Victoria, then this would be a gross violation of procedural fairness for a vulnerable population.

It also alleges a systemic bias of the sort that led to that 2012 discrimination complaint.

Young people say they’re targeted

In a number of recent community surveys, African-Australian youth say they’re being targeted and harassed by police in public places because of their race.

While the sample sizes of these reports are small, the concerns raised by the participants are similar to those expressed in the 2012 lawsuit.

For some African-Australian youth, perceptions of police are often an extension of how they see society at large treating them.

After all, if someone has experienced racism in the broader community, they can develop a sense of being rejected by society.

This can lead to feeling devalued and hyper-vigilant when they encounter law enforcement, and for some a justifiable sense of frustration.

For people who are regularly breaking the law, police attention is expected and should not come as a surprise.

But there are occasional incidents of overzealous policing, and perhaps isolated incidents of profiling.

Police behaviour can also stigmatise, even if it is unintended.

A young person who is publicly stopped and questioned on the street as part of routine police activity may feel signalled out and humiliated.

There is always room for improvement to ensure that people are treated with dignity and that procedural fairness is adhered to.

But it’s unlikely police services have the explicit intention to disfavour particular cultural groups.

For the most part, police are reacting to information given to them by the public.

So what is behind the over-incarceration?

Higher rates of African-Australian youth imprisonment are most likely because of an increase in violent criminal activity by some members that group.

A recent study pointed to the significantly higher rate of “crimes against the person” by South Sudanese-born youth compared to Australian-born youth between 2015 and 2018.

Crimes against the person include serious offences such as robbery and assault, which often involve less police discretion. They’re also crimes that tend to receive custodial sentences.

In contrast, rates for less serious crimes, such as public order and drug offences, have remained stable and relatively low for South Sudanese-born youth.

If police profiling of African-Australian young people is pervasive, one might have expected public order and drug offences to climb during a period of intense media coverage, given that such crimes generally involve more police discretion.

A person in shadow walks through a caged internal courtyard covered in more shadows.
African (predominantly South Sudanese) youth comprise at least 19 per cent of young people in custody despite being less than 0.5 per cent of Victoria’s youth population.(

ABC News: Jane Bardon

)

One may also expect to see over-representation right across the African-Australian diaspora if profiling was both rampant and regularly pulling kids into the justice-system.

However only specific African-Australian sub-groups (i.e., South Sudanese) have been over-represented in recent years.

This is likely the result of those groups being collectively exposed to a number of socio-economic and environmental risk factors that increase the likelihood of young people engaging in crime.

It is unlikely that alleged racial profiling by Victoria Police members is driving the imprisonment rates of African-Australian young people.

This does not suggest in any way that racial profiling does not occur at all. Some African-Australian young people have experienced adversarial confrontations with police, however it’s not known how widespread these experiences are across the community.

Over-involvement in serious crimes most likely explains the concerning trends in African-Australian youth imprisonment.

But while Victoria Police may not be part of the problem, they can be part of the solution.

How police can help

Police are often expected to deal with the outcomes of entrenched social problems.

Young people with complex needs often end up in the criminal justice system because there are few opportunities to intervene in other ways.

An emerging approach from overseas has provided us with one. Developed in the US, the model encourages strong partnerships between law enforcement and community service providers to address urban violence.

While aspects of the model are not new (similar versions have been trialled in Scotland to counter knife violence) the combination of three principles are pivotal to the intervention:

  • ‘Focus’ requires police to expend their energies and resources on the people and places where offending is likely to occur. By observing higher-risk individuals, they are less likely to cast a wide net and profile law-abiding young people.
  • ‘Balance’ involves police immediately connecting high-risk young people with trusted service providers and mentors that can address the young person’s complex needs and offer them pathways out of crime. This provides a non-punitive intervention for young people who are at-risk for a serious offence.
  • ‘Fairness’ has police earning the support and legitimacy of the communities that experience the most intervention. This involves relentless outreach, transparency, and an open line of communication with the community to ensure that trust is maintained. Importantly, the community needs to be reassured that policing is held accountable and that avenues for complaint are taken seriously.

There are already examples of this approach being piloted in parts of Victoria on a smaller scale.

Officers in the South and West of Melbourne are working alongside youth workers who provide initial support and referrals to services for high-risk young people who have contact with police.

These efforts should be given the time and resources to determine their effectiveness with different culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

There needs to be a broader commitment and investment from policy decision makers, to ensure that more African-Australian youth can reach their potential and are not lost to the justice system.

Police are the gatekeepers to our criminal justice system. But they cannot ignore serious acts of violence that threaten the safety of the community.

However they can assist young people coming into contact with the justice system who have complex needs and are at-risk for serious violence.

Through proactive community partnerships with trusted community-based cultural, health and legal service providers, police can help re-orient the delinquent pathways of vulnerable young African-Australians.

Dr Stephane Shepherd is a forensic psychologist, an associate professor at the Centre for Forensic Behavioural Science at Swinburne University and an ABC Top 5 humanities scholar for 2021.

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Victorian teacher Neil Lennie, who faked qualifications for decades, spared jail


A former and much-lauded headmaster who lied about his qualifications and faked his way through a 24-year teaching career has been spared jail.

Neil Lennie dropped out of university and used his father’s legitimate teacher registration in Victoria between 1976 and 2000.

He taught at some of Melbourne’s most prestigious schools, including Mount Scopus Memorial College, Haileybury College and Overnewton Anglican Community College.

Lennie also spent years as a headmaster at Caulfield Grammar School through the 1980s and 1990s.

The 73-year-old was spared jail in Victoria’s County Court today, after he admitted obtaining $843,567 in renumeration by deception.

Instead, he was handed a suspended three-month sentence and year-long community correction order.

Judge Patrica Riddell said Lennie’s case was unique among fraud cases.

While his lies were premeditated, deliberate and rather brazen, Judge Riddell said Lennie caused no harm to and in fact greatly enriched the schools at which he taught.

Former students “speak of you with one voice as one of the most outstanding and influential teachers they were fortunate to have”, the judge said.

She rejected prosecutors’ arguments Lennie was motivated by personal benefit, ego or beating other teachers to jobs.

“You did see teaching as a vocation, a calling,” Judge Riddell said, adding COVID-19 showed the hard work of teachers had long been undervalued.

“It would be difficult to find any teacher who enters that position because of greed.”

One of Lennie’s students from Mount Scopus became a leading infectious diseases expert and an inaugural director at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity.

“I often credit Mr Lennie with my enduring love of science, pursuit of academic excellence and self-belief in my own capabilities in science,” Sharon Lewin AO wrote in a letter to the court.

“I remember him very clearly telling me that I was capable of doing anything in life and to shoot for the stars.

“As a young woman in the 1970s, I now understand that this kind of encouragement for women in science was most unusual.”

Judge Riddell noted none of Lennie’s employers sought to verify his qualifications.

His registration was cancelled in 2009 after the Victorian Institute of Teaching discovered discrepancies in his records.

The institute in 2014 charged him over another role as headmaster at a different school, again without qualification.

He was fined $8,000 and in 2015 referred to police for possible criminal charges, which were laid in May 2020.

Judge Riddell said there had been almost no attempt to explain the lengthy delay by authorities.

She also cited intense media scrutiny on Lennie’s case, and the public disgrace and scorn suffered.

AAP

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Troy O’Meara sentenced to 20 years in jail for rape and murder of Gold Coast woman Linda Reed


The man who raped and killed Gold Coast woman Linda Reed almost four decades ago has been sentenced to 20 years in jail, but could be released next year.

In the Supreme Court in Brisbane last week, Troy James O’Meara admitted to murdering the 21-year-old while she was on her lunch break from her retail job at the Pacific Fair shopping centre,  at Broadbeach, in December 1983.

O’Meara, who was 17 at the time, approached Ms Reed when she was sitting in her car and violently forced her to drive to an isolated area, the court heard.

He then bound her hands behind her back and sexually assaulted her before drowning her in a nearby creek bed.

When Ms Reed did not return to her workplace, her colleagues raised the alarm and she was reported missing.

Three days later Ms Reed’s body was found in bushland in Gaven.

O’Meara was not charged over Ms Reed’s death until 2018, making it one of the state’s oldest cold case murders.

It was also revealed in court that almost two years after killing Ms Reed, he murdered another woman, Vanessa O’Brien, 22, in similar circumstances in Brisbane.

He was arrested for that crime in July 1985 and has been servicing a life sentence since.

When determining O’Meara’s sentence, Justice Glenn Martin noted there had been significant changes to legislation, and took into consideration that O’Meara had been a child at the time of committing the offences despite being charged as an adult.

He also took into account how long O’Meara had already spent in custody for his other crimes.

Justice Martin said the sentence could not be determined by a “strict mathematical calculation” but that another life sentence would be “excessive”.

“If the defendant had committed the two offences of murder in the recent times as an adult then he would be required to serve a minimum 30 years in prison,” he said

“A sentence of life imprisonment is not appropriate given that it would require the defendant to serve a further 15 years imprisonment before becoming eligible for parole.”

Justice Martin said a “substantial head sentence” was still needed “in order that the appalling nature of the conduct be recognised”.

O’Meara will be eligible to apply for parole in July 2022.

The prosecution asked the judge to accept O’Meara was determined to “go out and kill a woman at random” the day he murdered Ms Reed, as this is what he admitted to police when he killed Ms O’Brien.

Justice Glenn Martin said he did not need to rely on that admission to know what his motive was.

“The manner in which he treated her in the short time before her awful death is sufficient to demonstrate the vile intent he held that time,” he said.

Justice Martin said he acknowledged O’Meara’s guilty plea, but said it did not indicate remorse.

“The plea does demonstrate some co-operation. The plea comes after consistent denial,” he said.

Detective Senior Sergeant Tara Kentwell of Homicide’s Cold Case Investigation Team said they had investigated the murder for 35 years.

She said the investigation changed focus in 2014 when fingerprint evidence first identified O’Meara as a suspect.

Over the next four years, the team re-examined 150 exhibits with contemporary forensic techniques, and more than 100 witnesses were re-interviewed.

“The cooperation and patience of witnesses as well as the family and friends of Linda Reed with Queensland Police has been integral to providing justice for Linda,” she said.

Outside court, Detective Senior Sergeant Kentwell praised the investigators who “never gave up”.

“I would like to acknowledge all the good work by many members of Queensland Police Service over the passage of time,” she said.

Ms Reed’s widower, Robert Reed, became emotional as he thanked police, prosecutors and the community who “stuck by us”.

“I’d also like to thank the witnesses who came forward,” he said.

“And the media for putting it out there, for making it known what has happened.”

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Drunk driver who killed passenger gets fewer than three years’ jail


Defence barrister Carl Martinovic argued Pilot’s below-average intellect made him susceptible to impulsive control issues and instances where he did not properly assess the situation.

A psychological report showed Pilot did not have significant cognitive impairment apart from isolated difficulties in processing complex verbal information and complex problem-solving.

Mr Martinovic asked for a six to 6½-year sentence, arguing Pilot had “extremely good character references”, long prison time would impact his mental health and he already spent 21 months in custody while awaiting the outcome of his court case.

Crown prosecutor Judy Geary argued Pilot’s intellect did not account for his actions that night.

She proposed a sentence of eight to 10 years’ imprisonment and emphasised Pilot’s excessive speed, high level of intoxication and the “horrific” consequences of his actions.

Judge Ian Dearden sentenced Pilot to 8½ years in jail. His 634 days already served and six of the eight months he served for a previous conviction were taken into account.

His driver’s licence was suspended for five years.

Pilot will be eligible for parole on October 16, 2021.

Outside court, Mr Gundy’s mother Suzanne Gittoes said she disagreed with the judge.

“Nothing is going to bring my son back. I’m just happy with the outcome. I hope he [Pilot] is suffering as much as me and my children are suffering,” she said.

“He’s been inside for this long, he had time to write something down and say it out loud in court, but at his last court hearing it was just: ‘Sorry to the Gundy family’.

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“It didn’t feel like he was sorry for the loss of my boy and what he did to Daniel and Christine, and I’ve got no remorse for him or his family.”

Judge Dearden urged Pilot to become an educator and tell his story to try to help others to ensure they did not make the same mistakes he did.

“Even if you save one other life, the universe will be grateful … you will have done something to repair the damage,” he said.

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Drunk driver who killed passenger gets fewer than three years’ jail


Defence barrister Carl Martinovic argued Pilot’s below-average intellect made him susceptible to impulsive control issues and instances where he did not properly assess the situation.

A psychological report showed Pilot did not have significant cognitive impairment apart from isolated difficulties in processing complex verbal information and complex problem-solving.

Mr Martinovic asked for a six to 6½-year sentence, arguing Pilot had “extremely good character references”, long prison time would impact his mental health and he already spent 21 months in custody while awaiting the outcome of his court case.

Crown prosecutor Judy Geary argued Pilot’s intellect did not account for his actions that night.

She proposed a sentence of eight to 10 years’ imprisonment and emphasised Pilot’s excessive speed, high level of intoxication and the “horrific” consequences of his actions.

Judge Ian Dearden sentenced Pilot to 8½ years in jail. His 634 days already served and six of the eight months he served for a previous conviction were taken into account.

His driver’s licence was suspended for five years.

Pilot will be eligible for parole on October 16, 2021.

Outside court, Mr Gundy’s mother Suzanne Gittoes said she disagreed with the judge.

“Nothing is going to bring my son back. I’m just happy with the outcome. I hope he [Pilot] is suffering as much as me and my children are suffering,” she said.

“He’s been inside for this long, he had time to write something down and say it out loud in court, but at his last court hearing it was just: ‘Sorry to the Gundy family’.

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“It didn’t feel like he was sorry for the loss of my boy and what he did to Daniel and Christine, and I’ve got no remorse for him or his family.”

Judge Dearden urged Pilot to become an educator and tell his story to try to help others to ensure they did not make the same mistakes he did.

“Even if you save one other life, the universe will be grateful … you will have done something to repair the damage,” he said.

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Flinders Street driver who killed grandfather loses appeal to leave jail early



A man who drove into pedestrians on Flinders Street in Melbourne, killing an elderly grandfather, has lost an appeal for an early release from jail.

Saeed Noori, 37, is serving a minimum 30 years prison for the murder of Antonios “Anton” Crocaris just days before Christmas in 2017.

Saeed Noori has lost an appeal to be released from prison early.

He appealed for an early release from prison which was today denied by a judge.


Noori drove down the busy street on December 21 of that year and injured 15 people, including a four-year-old boy, during the rampage.
Antonios “Anton” Crocaris, 83, died from head injuries sustained during the attack.
During his initial sentencing Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth said it was fortunate the father-of-three did not hurt or kill more people during the incident.

Noori pleaded guilty to one count of murder, 11 counts of recklessly causing serious injury and five counts of conduct endangering life in 2019.

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Jail threat needed for boys to get that no means no – lawyer



A Queensland sexual abuse lawyer says boys should be warned they could end up in jail for breaking consent laws, as a state review into school sex education gets underway.

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