Victoria records no new local COVID-19 cases on first day of eased restrictions



Victoria has recorded no new coronavirus cases today as the state wakes to its first day of eased COVID-19 restrictions.

No cases were detected state-wide in the past 24 hours – either in the community or in hotel quarantine.

The results come from more than 10,000 tests.

Victoria returned to its “COVIDSafe Summer” plan overnight, meaning masks will no longer be required except in high-risk indoor environments and gatherings of up to 30 people in homes are now allowed.
This is despite
Both were connected to the Holiday Inn outbreak and had been isolating in hotel quarantine, due to their household circumstances.
“They pose no risk to public health more broadly,” Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday.

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Melbourne man convicted of killing his girlfriend ‘looking for love’ on Elite Singles


A grieving mother has gone public to issue a warning to women after the man convicted of killing her daughter was found looking for love on dating apps.

Charles Evans, 47, has been out on parole for six months after spending two years and eight months for running down his fiance Alicia Lee in a Toyota Hilux in 2017 after she ended their relationship.

A murder charge was downgraded to dangerous driving causing death and fail to render assistance in a deal with prosecutors.

He had previously said: “Mental illness caused her death, not me”.

Upon his release, however, he’s wasted no time looking for a new partner.

On his Eilte Singles profile, Evans wrote he is “enjoying life” and looking for “love, happiness, friendship, chemistry”.

Alicia’s mother Lee is calling for more regulation for who is able to sign up for dating sites.

“It scares me that it’s so easy to get on these sites and start preying again,” she told 7NEWS.

“They should have a regulation for predators and perpetrators.

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Richmond scores historic first AFLW win with 47-point thrashing of Geelong


Richmond has created history with its maiden AFLW triumph courtesy of a 47-point thrashing of Geelong at Kardinia Park.

The Tigers, who entered the AFLW last year, had found themselves winless after 10 matches across their first two seasons.

But they posted their first triumph in style, defeating the Cats 9.6 (60) to 2.1 (13) in the opening match of the AFLW’s Indigenous Round, before enjoying some emotional celebrations with their legion of fans who had made their way to Geelong.

Captain Katie Brennan led by example with three goals, icing the win in the dying stages with her third of the evening.

Brennan also tallied 17 disposals and five marks.

Courtney Wakefield kicked two goals for the Tigers, while Kodie Jacques, Sabrina Frederick, Ellie McKenzie and Gabrielle Seymour each kicked one major.

Monique Conti was a valuable contributor for the victors with a match-high 27 disposals, 17 of which came in the first half.

Richelle Cranston and Amy McDonald kicked the only goals for the Cats, who could not muster a point in the opening two quarters.

Adding insult to injury for the Cats, star player Olivia Purcell (right knee) limped off the ground in the second quarter amid fears she may have ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament.

The result in the battle of the cellar-dwellers ensured the Cats remain winless from five matches so far this season, still searching for their own drought-breaking win, having not tasted victory in 358 days.

Geelong has already recorded 13 goalless quarters and eight scoreless quarters in what has been a disastrous season so far.

The Tigers pounced early, ambushing the Cats with exceptional pressure in the first quarter to register 10 of the first 12 inside 50s and take a 13-point lead at quarter-time.

They maintained their manic intensity in the second period and Geelong simply could not cope, with a raft of defensive errors — three of which handed Richmond goals — leading to a total capitulation.

The visitors dominated the first half with a whopping 47 more disposals (128-81), 14 more inside 50s (19-5) and 25 more handball receives as they opened up a commanding 39-point lead at the main break.

The Tigers then outscored the hosts by eight points in a far less eventful second half.

AAP/ABC

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Woman interviewed by police over alleged hit and run near Melbourne school that left lollipop man in hospital



A woman has been interview by police over the alleged hit-and-run of a lollipop man near a North Melbourne school this week.

Jim Tzimas had just finished helping a group of children to cross outside a school on Findon Road in Epping at around 9am on Monday and was removing flags when he was hit by a car.

READ MORE: Family of injured lollipop man calls on driver to come forward

The collision caused the lollipop man to fall hard into the gutter and hit his head, with his hip and upper body also badly hurt.
Witnesses allege the female driver of the small silver sedan stopped about 100-200 metres up the road and paused for 10 seconds before taking off again.
Highway patrol officers arrested a South Morang woman over the alleged hit-and-run yesterday.

The 50-year-old was taken to Mernda Police Station, where she was interviewed by police about the incident.
She was later released pending further inquiries.
Mr Tzimas remains at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and is awaiting scan results to confirm any internal injuries.

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Keilor East home invasion with Melbourne family inside caught on CCTV


The terrifying moment a group of men used a sledgehammer to break into a Melbourne home as a family slept inside has been caught on CCTV.

On December 18 around 3.25am, a man is believed to have used a sledgehammer to force entry into the house on Nicola Court in Keilor East.

Two other men were with him and were armed with a tomahawk and a semi-automatic firearm.

A 44-year-old man and woman as well as their two young children were asleep inside.

Confronting CCTV footage from outside the front door shows the men smashing into the front door and screaming can be heard shortly after.

A male resident was then pushed to the ground and punched in the head.

The home invaders made demands for a number of items and stole more than $40,000 worth of property as well as the victim’s grey Audi sedan.

The vehicle, with the registration AWH013, was last seen travelling in a convoy with a white Dodge station wagon believed to have been stolen in a separate incident.

Victoria released the CCTV of the three men they believe can assist with the investigation on Friday.

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Geelong police officer David Magher spared conviction for assaulting man in custody


A Geelong police officer found guilty of assaulting a prisoner has avoided a conviction due to his “exemplary” history in the police force.

Sergeant David Magher was earlier this week found guilty in the Geelong Magistrates’ Court of two counts of assault, after kicking Andrew Birch at Corio Police Station in September 2018.

Magistrate John Lesser today sentenced Sergeant Magher to pay a $4,250 fine for the assault but decided not to record a conviction.

Earlier in the week, Magistrate Lesser ruled the first of three kicks delivered by Sergeant Magher was a reasonable use of force but the two kicks that followed were assault, describing the kicks as “gratuitous and unnecessary”.

During sentencing, Magistrate Lesser said police officers were required to confront people on a regular basis that were “often reactive and defiant” but the community was “required to trust that even in these challenging circumstances police must act lawfully, which requires a great deal of tolerance and patience”.

“Your character and past history to that point are exemplary, in terms of your employment, and in my view there is a likely impact of recording a conviction on both your social wellbeing and economic wellbeing and your future employment prospects,” he said.

“On balance therefore I have decided to exercise discretion not to record a conviction.”

Magistrate Lesser said he hoped if Sergeant Magher remained in the police force that he always remembered what constituted “lawful and appropriate conduct”.

Defence lawyer Stewart Bayles argued his client’s background, with no prior convictions and nine Victoria Police awards for exemplary work, should be considered when sentencing.

He also asked Magistrate Lesser to take into account Sergeant Magher’s dedication to policing over his 26-year career, including being part of a program to reduce mental and physical harm to police officers and offenders, and being in charge of a unit in Geelong to reduce youth crime.

Mr Bayles said Sergeant Magher still dealt with the impact of attending two teenage suicides in the years before the 2018 incident and saving someone from an attempted suicide on the West Gate Bridge.

He said Sergeant Magher had also been seriously injured “multiple times” throughout his career.

Mr Birch, who was 36 at the time of the incident, died a week after being released from custody from a suspected drug overdose.

In a victim impact statement, Mr Birch’s father Gary Birch said his son was “larger than life” and someone who showed “genuine remorse” when he did the wrong thing.

“Andrew’s four days in custody were very stressful for our family. We were aware something had happened but were not aware of any information. We were trying to help him but couldn’t,” Gary Birch said.

“To know he was treated so inhumanely days before his death breaks our hearts.”

Magistrate Lesser said he “felt great sympathy” for the Birch family for their loss, but noted that the family’s victim impact statement was within “a much broader context than just the charges [Sergeant Magher] must be sentenced on today”.

The magistrate said he hoped the sentencing brought “a conclusion to what has been a long and difficult process for you to follow”.

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Victoria’s COVID-19 restrictions ease despite two new cases linked to Holiday Inn cluster



Victoria has returned to its “COVIDSafe Summer” plan — reverting to the same rules in place pre-Christmas — after the state’s COVID-19 restrictions were eased at midnight.

Premier Daniel Andrews announced the wind back earlier on Friday, meaning masks will no longer be required except in high-risk indoor environments and gatherings of up to 30 people in homes are now allowed.

It comes after two new local cases were diagnosed in the previous 24 hours, both connected to the state’s Holiday Inn cluster.


Both cases are close contacts linked to the Coburg function outbreak.
The cases have been isolating in hotel quarantine due to their household circumstances. 
“They pose no risk to public health more broadly,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.


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Victoria COVID restrictions eased further with changes to gathering and mask rules weeks after snap lockdown


Victoria will wind back further restrictions two weeks on from the state’s third lockdown.

Despite recording two local COVID cases on Friday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said the state was still well-placed to revert to a COVID-normal set of rules.

From 11.59pm on Friday there will be changes to gathering limits, mask rules and the permitted number of workers on site.

“The short, sharp circuit breaker has worked,” Andrews said.

“We will return to our COVID-safe summer settings that were in place at Christmas time.”

Indoor gatherings have been allowed with a maximum of five people, but that will increase to a maximum of 30 from 11.59pm on Friday.

Outdoor gatherings including at the park or the beach will increase from 20 people to 100.

From Saturday, masks will only be required in high-risk settings.

That includes on public transport, in rideshare vehicles and taxis and in some retail settings including shopping centres, supermarkets, department stores and indoor markets.

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Mick Gatto loses defamation case against ABC over Lawyer X article


Well-known Melbourne identity Mick Gatto has lost a defamation lawsuit against the ABC, with Victoria’s Supreme Court dismissing a claim for compensation.

Mr Gatto launched legal action against the public broadcaster in 2019, after he was the subject of an article relating to Melbourne’s Lawyer X scandal.

Mr Gatto claimed the article made him out to be a “murderer” and “one of Australia’s most violent criminals” — submissions which were rejected by the Supreme Court’s Justice Andrew Keogh.

Justice Keogh ruled the meanings claimed by Mr Gatto were not made out, finding it was “neither necessary nor appropriate” to consider awarding damages.

The story in question, written by Sarah Farnsworth and former ABC reporter Nino Bucci, was published in February 2019 and remains on the public broadcaster’s website.

The article was based on a document which outlined police claims about the risks to Nicola Gobbo if her identity was uncovered, namely a secret police affidavit which contained evidence from Inspector Brooke Hall.

In the 2016 court document, Inspector Hall made a statement that Informer 3838 — now known to be gangland lawyer-turned-police-informer Ms Gobbo — would “almost certainly” be murdered if her former clients were told she had been speaking with police while acting as their lawyer, and that Mick Gatto, Horty Mokbel — the brother of Tony Mokbel — and others had threatened her.

“That group specifically stated that if [3838] were found to be a human source then [she] would be killed,” Inspector Hall’s evidence read.

The affidavit was from a court case brought by Victoria Police to prevent Ms Gobbo’s identity from being revealed.

Throughout the trial, Mr Gatto, 64, told the court the article had gone too far and damaged his and his children’s reputation.

“They crossed the line by calling me a murderer, a hit man and one of the most violent men in Australia,” Mr Gatto said.

“There’s nothing further from the truth.”

Justice Keogh said Mr Gatto was a “newsworthy and a legitimate subject of public interest”.

“The ABC were entitled to devote the report to those parts of the proceedings that concerned Mr Gatto, provided that in doing so the article was not so tendentious or otherwise slanted as to render it a distorted report,” he wrote.

“Far from being distorted, the article was entirely accurate and correlated with what occurred in those parts of the Proceedings which were reported.”

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More than 120 doses of Pfizer vaccine thrown out at Melbourne aged care home after delivery error



More than 120 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been thrown out after more than double the supply of required vials was delivered to a Melbourne aged care home by mistake in another rollout bungle.

The federal health department has confirmed 125 doses, or 25 vials, of the COVID-19 vaccine were thrown out, as it could not be guaranteed the required sub-zero refrigeration process had been followed.

A vial of the Pfizer vaccine is prepared for use.

9News understands the vaccines were delivered to St Vincent’s aged care in Werribee, in the city’s south-west, on Wednesday, with the facility receiving more than double the required number of doses to treat its 70 consenting residents.


“Aspen reported to the Commonwealth’s Vaccine Operation Centre that there were 25 vials unused and stored in an on-site refrigerator,” a Federal Government statement read.
“The Pfizer vaccine can be stored in a refrigerator at two-eight degrees celcius for up to five days.
“While refrigeration was maintained, it was not possible to verify that temperature was maintained throughout.
“Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, a medical decision was made not to use the remaining vials.”
Premier Daniel Andrews was quizzed about the error today but said he had no details about the incident.
“I think (Federal Health Minister) Greg Hunt is the person to talk to there,” he said.

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