Mother of Ahmaud Arbery files lawsuit, one year after he was killed while jogging in the US


The mother of Ahmaud Arbery, an African American man shot dead while jogging, filed a lawsuit Tuesday on the anniversary of his killing as President Joe Biden pledged to help make the United States safer for people of colour.

Wanda Cooper seeks $1 million in damages in the suit that names the three white men charged with killing her 25-year-old son, who was unarmed and out for a run when he was gunned down on 23 February, 2020 in the southern US state of Georgia. 

“A black man should be able to go for a jog without fearing for his life,” Mr Biden said. “Today, we remember Ahmaud Arbery’s life and we dedicate ourselves to making this country safer for people of colour.”

Wanda Cooper, the mother of Ahmaud Arbery, stands with a painting of her son during a candlelight vigil in his honour on 23 February, 2021.

The Augusta Chronicle via AAP

The lawsuit also targets local police and prosecutors whom Ms Cooper accuses of trying to cover up the killing, which became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement in a tumultuous year of mass protests demanding racial justice.

For two months after Mr Arbery’s killing, the police made no arrests and it was only when a video of the shooting went viral on social media that the investigation was taken out of their hands and an inquiry began into what had happened.

Gregory McMichael, a former investigator who had worked with the local prosecutor’s office, was arrested together with his son Travis, who could both be seen on the video clip. The man who shot the footage, William Bryan, was himself arrested two weeks later. 

They were charged with murder and aggravated assault and are in custody awaiting trial.

Ms Cooper’s suit alleges the men “hunted Ahmaud down. Based on a ‘gut feeling’ that Ahmaud was responsible for prior thefts in the neighbourhood, these defendants shot Ahmaud at close range with their shotgun and killed him”. 

“For nearly three months, …police officers, the chief of police, and two prosecutors conspired to hide the circumstances surrounding Ahmaud’s death and protect the men who murdered him,” the suit alleged.

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Amazon sues New York attorney general to preempt COVID-19 lawsuit



FILE PHOTO: An Amazon truck exits the company’s JFK8 distribution center in Staten Island, New York, U.S. November 25, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid./File Photo

February 15, 2021

By Jeffrey Dastin

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc on Friday sued New York’s attorney general to stop the state from filing its own lawsuit over the online retailer’s early response to COVID-19, including its firing of activist Christian Smalls.

In a complaint in Brooklyn federal court, Amazon accused Attorney General Letitia James of overstepping her bounds by threatening to sue unless it met several demands including surrendering some profit and slowing down operations.

Amazon said federal labor and safety laws take precedence over New York’s, and is seeking an injunction to block James from suing.

The Seattle-based retailer had drawn scrutiny 10 months ago when workers protested conditions at a Staten Island warehouse, and Amazon fired Smalls for violating a paid quarantine.

James said at the time that Amazon may have broken the law. New York City announced its own probe, and senators questioned Amazon’s actions.

In a statement, James said she is still reviewing her legal options.

She called Amazon’s lawsuit “a sad attempt to distract from the facts and shirk accountability for its failures to protect hardworking employees from a deadly virus. Let me be clear: We will not be intimidated by anyone, especially corporate bullies that put profits over the health and safety of working people.”

It is rare for companies to file preemptive lawsuits to short-circuit threatened regulatory actions.

The lawsuit shows Amazon’s belief it was unfairly maligned despite its many COVID-19 precautions, most recently tests and plans for vaccine administration, and how it will not back down from criticism of its workplace conditions.

According to the lawsuit, Amazon passed an unannounced city inspection of its Staten Island facility on March 30, 2020, the day of the protest, with the lead inspector concluding that complaints about safety were “completely baseless.”

Amazon also accused James of ignoring evidence of its safety-related reasons for acting against Smalls, including photos of him not social distancing.

Smalls has said he would keep protesting until workers were protected. In November, he filed a class action lawsuit seeking damages for Black and Hispanic workers.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Diane Craft)



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Ex-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell served at NC home with $1.3B Dominion Voting lawsuit


This article is published through the N.C. News Collaborative, a partnership of Lee Newspapers, Gannett and McClatchy newspapers in North Carolina that aims to better inform readers throughout the state.

After evading attempts for weeks by a civil process server that included being “pursued over state lines,” ex-Donald Trump lawyer Sidney Powell was served with a $1.3 billion lawsuit at her Biltmore Forest home, near Asheville, according to recently filed court papers by Dominion Voting Systems.

Dominion filed the defamation lawsuit against Powell Jan. 8 in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. But attempts to officially serve the Texas-based attorney with the summons took until Jan. 28, said attorneys for the company.

“Powell evaded service of process for weeks, forcing Dominion to incur unnecessary expenses for extraordinary measures to effect service, including hiring private investigators and pursuing Powell across state lines,” according to a Feb. 9 answer to Powell’s request for more time to respond to the complaint.

She is being sued over her false claims that the company, which manufactured electronic voting machines used by some districts in the 2020 election, changed votes for then-President Trump to votes for then-President-elect Joe Biden.

Powell’s wide-ranging conspiracy theory variously implicated Dominion, deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, the CIA and Chinese communists in a plot to rig the election against Trump. But federal and state judges repeatedly rejected, sometimes derisively, her efforts to prove her assertions in court.

Powell also is named in a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit by Smartmatic, a voting technology company, along with Fox News, three of its hosts and Rudy Giuliani, who served as Trump’s lawyer.

Powell’s Asheville connections

Powell had been active civically and professionally in the Asheville area, advocating for a new performing arts center and for domestic violence prevention. Little had been heard of her locally since 2014, when she was the featured speaker at a Buncombe County Bar luncheon.

She has owned the Biltmore Forest home with an appraised tax value of $812,700 since 2012. She also owned a home in Biltmore Park until 2017, county records show.

But in the weeks after the Nov. 3 election, she made national news with repeated claims of an anti-Trump plot and for being part of multiple legal efforts to overturn the results. She worked with the Trump campaign’s legal team for a time and appeared at a news conference with Trump attorneys Giuliani and Jenna Ellis.

But as Powell’s conspiracy theories drew national attention and ridicule, Giuliani and Ellis said in a Nov. 22 statement that she was “practicing law on her own.”

Court filings note that Biltmore Forest Police were present the night she was served with the summons. Police Chief Chris Beddingfield said officers were called after 9 p.m. about a suspicious vehicle near Powell’s house. The call was from a third party and likely a neighbor, Beddingfield said.

“We responded to the suspicious vehicle call, which turned out to be the process server, and was completely legitimate,” he said.

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Northwestern University cheerleader lawsuit, Hayden Richardson


Members of Northwestern University’s cheerleading team were forced to associate with drunk and belligerent fans without security, according to a lawsuit filed by a female former cheerleader against the university on Friday.

The 58-page complaint filed by former cheerleader Hayden Richardson in federal court and obtained by the Chicago Tribune alleged that members of the team were “presented as sex objects to titillate the men that funded the majority of Northwestern’s athletics programs.”

The suit says the team’s head coach, Pam Bonnevier, required them to “mingle” with the wealthy donors, who, Richardson said, touched her breasts and buttocks over her uniform and made “sexually charged comments”.

Richardson, who cheered for the school from 2018 to 2020, also said in the suit that Northwestern “forced its cheerleaders to behave in a degrading and demeaning manner intended to entice and captivate wealthy donors.”

Additionally, Richardson says men offered her alcoholic beverages even though she was underage in 2018-19, the time frame detailed in the suit.

According to the suit, which was filed in the Northern District of Illinois, Bonnevier stopped working for Northwestern in October, although the reasons for the departure are unclear. The university, which is located near Chicago in Illinois, confirmed to the Chicago Tribune that Bonnevier is no longer employed by Northwestern.

“This is not the highlight, by any means, of my life or time at Northwestern but it is certainly the most impactful,” the 22-year-old Richardson said.

“While there have been extreme detriments and times where I was very sad and hurt by the actions of the university, I am here, I am bringing the lawsuit forward and I’m going to do what is necessary to ensure other young women don’t experience the same thing that I did.”

When contacted by the paper, Northwestern said it could not comment on the suit, but “it is committed to fostering an environment in which all members of our community are safe, secure and free from discrimination or harassment of any form” and that “reports of discrimination or harassment are confidential in order to protect the individuals involved.”

Richardson had earlier in her Northwestern cheerleading career spoken glowingly of her involvement with the program before she left the school in 2020.

She alleges in the lawsuit that the inappropriate behaviour began in her first season of college.

The report states that the lawsuit names the university, Bonnevier and three other university employees as defendants and is seeking damages for emotional distress suffered by Richardson as well as lost career and learning opportunities.

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Lawsuit filed after off-duty officer, ‘mob’ allegedly tried to force way into Black teen’s home


Two people have been criminally charged for the incident.

A former North Carolina police officer who was fired and criminally charged last year after he allegedly gathered a group of armed people and tried to enter the home of a Black teen who he thought was a suspect in the case of a missing person, has been sued by the victim’s family Tuesday.

Attorneys for Monica Shepard and her 18-year-old son Dameon filed the civil suit in North Carolina Tuesday contending that their clients were racially profiled and terrorized by former deputy Jordan Kita, and 14 other white defendants, some of whom were armed, who said they were looking for a missing woman.

Kita was off-duty but in uniform and had his sidearm when he came to the Shepard’s Pender County home on May 3, 2020, along with the group, according to the suit.

Kita told Dameon he was looking for a Black suspect with a different name than Dameon’s and tried to force himself into the home even though the teen repeatedly identified himself and said the suspect didn’t live in the address, the suit said. Monica Shepard eventually forced Kita out of the doorway and the crowd dispersed, according to the suit.

The missing girl was eventually found safe, according to the New Hanover and Pender County District Attorney’s office.

“When a dozen or more white men and women with guns invade a Black family’s property, terrorize the people that live there, and refuse to listen or leave, the situation can easily spiral into tragic and deadly racial violence and death,” Mark Dorosin, an attorney representing the Shepards, said in a statement to ABC News.

The New Hanover County Sheriff’s office fired Kita and prosecutors charged him with “forcible trespass, misdemeanor breaking and entering, and willful failure to discharge duties” for his role in the incident.

At least 13 other white men and women were part of the group, including Kita’s father Timothy, but none of those persons have been charged, according to the suit. Timothy Kita and a dozen “John and Jane Does” who were allegedly involved in the incident are also named as defendants in the lawsuit

The defendants are being sued for trespass; assault; intentional infliction of emotional distress; negligent infliction of emotional distress; invasion of privacy; and violations of North Carolina’s civil rights and fair housing statutes, according to the court documents.

The Shepards are seeking relief in excess of $25,000 and punitive damages that will be determined by a jury, the court document said.

An attorney who represents the Kitas did not immediately return messages for comment.

Another person charged following the incident was Robert Austin Wood, who was allegedly standing behind Kita and holding an assault rifle when the off-duty officer confronted Dameon at the door, according to the suit.

Wood, who is also a defendant in the suit, was charged with “going armed to the terror of the people,” by the DA’s office. Wood pleaded not guilty on Dec. 4, according to his attorney.

Woody White, an attorney representing Wood, said in a statement to ABC News that seeking damages from his client “over this huge misunderstanding is racial extortion.”

“Nothing bad befell the Shepard family; no racial slurs were used, no voices were raised, no threats were conveyed. It was a brief and seemingly uneventful misunderstanding that lasted less than 2 minutes last May,” White said in the statement.

The criminal cases against Kita and Wood are ongoing.

The suit also contends that the Pender County Sheriff’s Office did not do enough to investigate the mob or the incident.

A captain from the sheriff’s office allegedly did not attempt to question the members of the mob while they were outside the Shepard home and told the family the next day, “it was complicated to apprehend or arrest anyone who had been there the previous night,” the suit said.

A representative from the Pender County Sheriff’s office declined to comment about the suit.

“Experiencing this kind of terror at your home – the one place you should feel safe – is simply unconscionable,” Jennifer Nwachukwu, an attorney representing the Shepards, said in a statement. “We filed this lawsuit today to make it clear that Black people should not be subject to living in fear at the hands of an armed white mob without accountability.”

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Judge REJECTS Parler’s lawsuit to restore Amazon service — RT USA News



Social media platform Parler is facing more bad news as a federal judge has rejected a lawsuit from the company seeking to have Amazon restore hosting services following ties being severed after the US Capitol riot.

US District Judge Barbara Rothstein has sided with Amazon in the dispute, saying it is within the company’s right to suspend hosting services to the social media platform, which had become relatively popular with conservatives and Donald Trump supporters for its hands-off approach to moderating content.

“The Court rejects any suggestion that the public interest favors requiring AWS [Amazon Web Services] to host the incendiary speech that the record shows some of Parler’s users have engaged in. At this stage, on the showing made thus far, neither the public interest nor the balance of equities favors granting an injunction in this case,” Rothstein wrote. 



Also on rt.com
‘Hello world, IS THIS THING ON?’ Parler reappears online after finding new host, vows to restore free-speech platform ‘soon’


Parler argued in its lawsuit that Amazon, one of many companies to sever ties with the social media platform following the protest at the Capitol on January 6, that Amazon’s decision was based on “political animus” and was meant to benefit competitor Twitter, which many users left in favor of Parler, citing political bias concerns.

Amazon argued that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects internet companies from being sued over what users post, allows companies the legal right to reject hosting certain content. 

“That is precisely what AWS did here: removed access to content it considered ‘excessively violent’ and ‘harassing,'” attorneys for the company wrote in a submission to the court. 

Amazon, which suspended services to the company on January 10 following Google Play and Apple doing the same, argued Parler had received multiple warnings about content posted to their site, including violent threats from users against public officials, but refused to remove the posts in question. 

Parler CEO John Matze has called the suspension of his platform by multiple companies “shocking” and support for the bans “disgusting.” He also said he has received death threats and was forced to leave his home following critics’ linking Parler to events at the Capitol.



Also on rt.com
Whose fault is that? Establishment cyber-police drive Parler off the internet, act surprised when it works with THE RUSSIANS


“People are threatening my life,” he told Fox News this month. “I can’t go home tonight. So this is really a lot, you know. This is not just our civil liberties. [Big Tech] can shut down a billion-dollar company, half-a-billion dollar company overnight.”

On top of the company’s lawsuit being rejected, Thursday also held the bad news of the House Oversight Committee’s chairwoman calling for the FBI to investigate Parler’s role in the US Capitol riot. She also alleged, though presented no proof, that the social media platform has ties to Russia, claiming that it’s using it to sow division in the US.

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Parler files lawsuit against Amazon


The website of the social media platform Parler is displayed in Berlin, Jan. 10, 2021. The platform’s logo is on a screen in the background. The conservative-friendly social network Parler was booted off the internet Monday, Jan. 11. (Christophe Gateau/dpa via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:34 PM PT – Monday, January 11, 2021

Parler is firing back at Amazon after the company blocked the social media app from its web services. Parler officials filed a lawsuit Monday, alleging Amazon violated anti-trust laws and breached its contract by suspending the app, which is frequently used by conservatives.

The social network claims Amazon is using a politically-motivated double standard compared to its treatment of other mainstream social networks like Twitter.

Amazon took Parler offline over the weekend after alleging the social network was not doing enough to remove posts that incite violence. Since then, Amazon’s stock has fallen as investors remain concerned over Big Tech’s allege bias.

Meanwhile Twitter shares have also taken a nose dive after the app moved to permanently ban President Trump from the platform. Investors may also be keeping an eye on downtown San Francisco Monday amid reports that local police were bracing for a possible protest by pro-Trump supporters outside Twitter’s headquarters.

MORE NEWS: German chancellor calls Trump Twitter ban “problematic”



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DOJ slams lawsuit that wants Pence to void Biden win for Trump


Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and members of the House Freedom Caucus conduct a news conference to call on Attorney General William Barr to release findings of an investigation into allegations of 2020 election fraud, outside the Capitol on Thursday, December 3, 2020.

Tom Williams | CQ-Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images

The Department of Justice on Thursday slammed a desperate Republican-led lawsuit to reverse President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College win, calling the case against Vice President Mike Pence “a walking legal contradiction.”

The DOJ said in a new court filing that Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, and 11 Arizona Republicans have “sued the wrong defendant” — Pence — in the case.

And top DOJ officials urged a judge to reject the request that he issue an emergency injunction that purportedly would empower Pence to ignore the Electoral College votes from a handful of battleground states who have given Biden his margin of victory over President Donald Trump.

Pence next week is scheduled to preside over Congress when it meets to certify Biden’s win.

Gohmert’s suit asks federal Judge Jeremy Kernodle, a Trump appointee in U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Texas, to declare that Pence has the “exclusive authority and sole discretion” to decide which electoral votes from a given state should be counted.

The Republicans ask Kernodle to deliver that power to Pence by striking down key sections of the 1887 Electoral Count Act, a law they claim contradicts the 12th Amendment.

Gohmert’s claim conflicts with legal experts who say that Pence’s role, or the role of any vice president, is to preside over the counting of the votes submitted by the Electoral College, not to judge which ones are valid or not.

Pence is the sole defendant in the case — a fact that John Coghlan, the deputy assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s civil division, highlighted as he argued against the injunction being issued.

“These plaintiffs’ suit is not a proper vehicle for addressing those issues because plaintiffs have sued the wrong defendant,” Coghlan wrote in a court filing.

“The Vice President — the only defendant in this case — is ironically the very person whose power they seek to promote,” Coghlan wrote.

“The Senate and the House, not the Vice President, have legal interests that are sufficiently adverse to plaintiffs to ground a case or controversy under Article III. Defendant respectfully request denial of plaintiffs’ emergency motion because the relief that plaintiffs request does not properly lie against the Vice President.”

Coghlan also suggested that if there was any proper target for Gohmert’s suit, it would be the House and Senate, not Pence.

“Indeed, as a matter of logic, it is those bodies against whom plaintiffs’ requested relief must run.”

Later Thursday, a lawyer for the House of Representatives filed his own brief, which urged Kernodle to dismiss the case.

“Setting aside Representative Gohmert’s claims — for which he clearly lacks standing — this case is simply another attempt by defeated Arizona electoral nominees to overturn the results of the popular vote in their state,” wrote Douglas Letter, general counsel for the House.

“The Arizona plaintiffs have tried and failed to overturn the election in suits they filed in federal and state courts in Arizona,” Letter wrote.

“Thus, they now ask this Court in Texas to help them achieve what they failed to do in Arizona. This Court should reject plaintiffs’ bid to overturn a cornerstone of our Nation’s democratic processes.”

The last-ditch Republican suit follows dozens of failed attempts from Trump’s campaign and his allies to have courts reverse or invalidate electoral votes for Biden.

Numerous House Republicans have supported some of those efforts, most notably a bid from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to have the U.S. Supreme Court cancel the results of four key swing states. The high court refused to hear that case.

Some Republican lawmakers are planning to contest the election results when Congress meets next Wednesday. Missouri Republican Josh Hawley this week became the first senator to take that step.

If one House member and one senator jointly object to a state’s slate of electors, the two chambers must separately debate and then vote on the objection.

Experts say there’s no real chance of overturning the outcome of the election. Pence has shown no indication that he will entertain those objections or otherwise seek to overturn the election.



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Apple Suffers Loss in Lawsuit Against Security Experts



Tech giant Apple has suffered a loss in its recent lawsuit against a security start-up that offered “virtual” iPhones to researchers for testing purposes. The judge wrote that Apple’s copyright claims were “puzzling, if not disingenuous.”

Engadget reports that last year tech giant Apple sued the security start-up company Corellium, accusing the company of violating copyright law by offering researchers access to “virtual” iPhones that could be used to find bugs in iOS products. A federal judge in Florida has now tossed Apple’s copyright complaint.

The decision is a major victory for Corellium. Apple also accused the start-up of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) for allegedly bypassing iPhone security measures to create the iPhone emulator. This complaint has yet to be addressed by the court.

The emulator offered by Corellium allows security experts to run virtual iPhones on a browser on their computer giving them deeper access to iOS even without having a physical iPhone at hand. Apple also claims that the company was selling its product indiscriminately thereby compromising the security of the platform.

Judge Rodney Smith, however, ruled that Apple’s claims are “puzzling, if not disingenuous,” writing in his ruling: “Weighing all the necessary factors, the Court finds that Corellium has met its burden of establishing fair use. Thus, its use of iOS in connection with the Corellium Product is permissible.”

The judge also noted that Apple tried to acquire Corellium in 2018 and tested the company’s products before negotiations fell through. The ruling also discussed how Corellium vets and investigates its customers before selling them software.

Read more at Endgadget here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com





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Daniel Rawlings awarded $97,000 from Royal Caribbean Cruises after lawsuit over consensual threesome


A Sydney tradie who was detained on a cruise ship for six days amid wrongful rape claims has been awarded almost $100,000 for the great “distress” the incident caused him.

Daniels Rawlings sued Royal Caribbean Cruises in the NSW District Court over the ordeal aboard the cruise from Sydney to Vanuatu in November 2016, which stemmed from a threesome in his cabin.

Mr Rawlings, then 28, was held in solitary confinement at the orders of the ship’s captain Richard Sullivan over suggestions he had sexually assaulted a young woman, known as ‘Ms A’.

He was locked up for the majority of the luxury 10-day cruise of the South Pacific he had booked 12 months before with his best mate.

Mr Rawlings was never charged following a police investigation and has now been awarded $97,344 in damages.

He was confined against his will between November 15 and 20, 2016, when the ship docked in Sydney, first in a boardroom then an isolated cabin.

For two days the airconditioning tradesman was dressed only in shorts, while security checked on him every 30 minutes while confined in the windowless cabin.

It came after staff decided there was “serious doubt” Ms A had consented to sexual activity with him on November 15 due to her level of intoxication after she was found wandering the ship naked and disorientated, the court heard.

When found early in the morning she told security she was looking for the toilet and believed she was still dancing at Dizzy’s Nightclub, the ship’s bar where she had met Mr Rawlings.

Ms A’s mother was also concerned her daughter may have been drugged.

Ms A had little recollection of the threesome but the other participant, a woman, told staff, police and the court the sexual activity was consensual.

She said the trio left the nightclub talking and laughing before they took turns having sex with each other, saying Ms A “knew exactly what she was doing”.

Mr Rawlings told the court he pushed the two single beds in his cabin together and the three had sex for “several hours”, including in the shower.

He said Ms A at one point became sick and he helped her throw up in the toilet before they returned to the bed.

Mr Rawlings’ friend and cabin-mate Matthew Champion, who left the room when the three arrived, said he heard giggling and laughing.

Judge John Hatzistergos found Mr Rawlings’ initial questioning and detention was justified but said his continued deprivation of liberty was “unreasonable”.

He accepted Captain Sullivan, overseeing more than 3000 passengers and crew members, was attempting to investigate “serious” allegations and protect others on board.

The captain told the court during the hearing Ms A’s mother threatened to throw Mr Rawlings overboard if she came across him.

“It was a highly charged and emotional response. We needed to make sure they didn’t meet,” he said.

However, Mr Rawlings’ days spent in confinement was based on an investigation that was “extremely lacking” and hinged on the “suspicion of a crime rather than any evidence”, the judge said.

Mr Hatzistergos said even a “cursory” investigation into Ms A’s movements on the night in question would have revealed “no evidence of foul play at all”.

The court heard Captain Sullivan made the call to continue detention for another three days even when advised by a senior investigator to release Mr Rawlings on November 17.

“In my view detention comprising conditions akin to solitary confinement for the remainder of the journey back to Sydney as described was not reasonable in the circumstances,” he said.

The court heard the incident had caused Mr Rawlings great distress both during his detention and after, as he remained uncertain about whether he could face criminal charges.

The matter will return to court for a costs hearing in 2021.



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