NT police officer Zachary Rolfe’s lawyers request murder trial in Darwin


The murder trial of Northern Territory police officer Zachary Rolfe will be held over five weeks from July next year, the Northern Territory Supreme Court has determined.

Constable Rolfe has been charged with one count of murder, after the death of Indigenous teenager Kumanjayi Walker last November in the remote community of Yuendumu, about 270 kilometres north-west of Alice Springs.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains an image of a person who has died. Permission has been granted by the subject’s family to use the image.

Constable Rolfe’s defence lawyer, David Edwardson QC, made an application to the Supreme Court to have the trial held in Darwin, more than 1,500 kilometres from Yuendumu.

The reasons for that request have been suppressed from publication, until the trial judge has made a decision.

Mr Edwardson said he had no issue with the publication of the fact the application had been made so there was “at least some transparency” in the court process.

Prosecutors indicated the Crown would oppose the application to have the matter moved.

Kumanjayi Walker died after being shot in Yuendumu in November 2019.(Supplied: Facebook)

A hearing will be held at the Supreme Court in Darwin on December 11 in front of Acting Justice Dean Mildren to determine where the trial will be held.

Constable Rolfe’s defence team made a similar application when proceedings in the Alice Springs Local Court began last year. That application was rejected by Judge John Birch.

A link will be set up to the Alice Springs Supreme Court, to allow family members and the community to listen to next month’s proceedings.

Judge describes mandatory sentence as an injustice
Acting Justice Dean Mildren will determine where the trial will be held.(ABC TV)

Constable Rolfe was committed to the higher court last month, after a three-day committal hearing in the Alice Springs Local Court.

Judge John Birch suppressed his reasons for committing Constable Rolfe to trial.

Constable Rolfe remains on bail in Canberra, where he is suspended from the NT Police force on pay.

The trial is currently listed for five weeks, beginning July 19 2021.

An aerial shot of Yuendumu
The remote community of Yuendumu is about 270km north-west of Alice Springs.(ABC News: Hamish Harty)



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Queensland police charge Sunshine Coast man over alleged murder threat against Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk


Queensland police have charged a 70-year-old Sunshine Coast man with stalking and threatening to murder Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.

The Queensland Police Service’s Security Investigation Team said between September 15 and 22, letters containing direct threats were sent to Ms Palaszczuk and Chief Health Officer Jeanette Young.

“As a result, detectives executed a search warrant on two properties in Maroochydore on November 5 where it will be alleged a large quantity of documentation, letters, photographs and electronic media were seized,” a QPS spokesperson said.

Alexander Dietmar Willer was arrested and charged with two counts of written threats to murder and one count of unlawful stalking, for allegedly sending threatening letters to the Premier.

Mr Willer faced Maroochydore Magistrates Court briefly on Monday and has been released on bail.

The matter has been listed for committal mention in Maroochydore in January.(ABC News: Andree Withey)

His matter has been listed for committal mention in Maroochydore in January.

It follows the arrest in September of a Gold Coast man accused of making a threat to kill the Premier and Chief Health Officer.

Aaron David Marriage, 43, was charged with one count of using a carriage service to make a threat to kill.

In September Queensland police said they took all suspected threats seriously.



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Scott Austic’s lawyer flags compensation payout after Stacey Thorne murder acquittal


A West Australian man acquitted of murdering his pregnant lover, Stacey Thorne, may have a good case for a compensation payout, his lawyer says.

WARNING: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander readers are advised that this article contains the name and images of people who have died.

Scott Austic was on Friday acquitted of the 2007 murder of Ms Thorne after spending more than a decade in prison.

His lawyer Clint Hampson said Mr Austic was now enjoying life with family without a court case hanging over his head.

“They’re all just happy and relieved,” he said.

“It’s been a long fight but I think they’re just enjoying the company of each other in their family environment at the moment.

“He’s a very relieved man.”

Ms Thorne was pregnant with Mr Austic’s child when she was stabbed more than 20 times and murdered in the South West town of Boddington.

Mr Austic was sentenced to 25 years in prison and lost an appeal, but won a second appeal earlier this year.

Stacey Thorne was murdered in the South West town of Boddington in 2007.(AAP: WA Police)

The defence case at the retrial rested on claims that police planted important evidence.

Dr Hampson said WA Police needed to take this into consideration.

“[The jury] were relatively quick to acquit him,” he said.

“Given the concerns we’ve always had about this case, I think there should be some sort of [independent] inquiry.”

Dr Hampson said a fresh investigation could strengthen a push for compensation in the form of an ex-gratia payment.

“I believe now that he’s been acquitted and the fact that he served 12 and a half years I believe that he may have a claim,” he said.

“That would have to be directed at the Attorney-General.”

Still no justice for Stacey Thorne

Meanwhile, Ms Thorne’s murder still needs to be resolved.

“We feel for Stacey Thorne’s family,” Dr Hampson said.

“We understand that they would be upset today. But essentially there should be a cold case review into this matter to identify who the real killer is.”

Sisters Hayley and Julie Thorne leave court.
Hayley and Julie Thorne, sisters of Stacey, leave court during Scott Austic’s appeal against his murder conviction.(ABC News: Joanna Menagh)

WA Premier Mark McGowan said he would consult with the Police Commissioner and the Attorney-General.

“I expect there will be further inquiries in relation to this matter,” he said.

“Clearly it’s a very, very serious matter and may involve the CCC.

“But obviously I’ll consult with the AG, we only heard about this last evening.”

AG to consider compensation request

In a statement, Attorney-General John Quigley said he expected Mr Austic would seek compensation “for this injustice”.

Mr Quigley said the Government would consider any such request, if and when it was received.

A bespectacled John Quigley wearing a blue suit, white shirt and blue tie with pink polka dots.
Attorney General John Quigley said the government would consider any request for compensation.(ABC News: Hugh Sando)

He said Mr Austic’s case demonstrated the importance of the Criminal Appeals Amendment Bill, which enabled those convicted in WA a second chance of acquittal if new and compelling evidence emerged.

“In April 2018 after receiving a petition on behalf of Scott Austic and seeking the advice of the Solicitor-General, I referred the 2009 wilful murder conviction to the Court of Appeal,” he said.

“Today my thoughts are with Stacey Thorne’s family. They will no doubt be grieving and searching for answers.”

In a statement, WA Police said it would conduct a review in consultation with the Director of Public Prosecutions.



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Homicide squad charge 81-year-old woman over Greensborough murder


Homicide Squad detectives have charged an 81-year-old woman with murder after a man, believed to be her son, was found dead in Melbourne.

Homicide Squad detectives charged the 81-year-old Greensborough woman with one count of murder in the early hours of Friday morning after she was interviewed overnight.

A 50-year-old man, believed to be the woman’s son, was found dead inside a house in Palmyra Court, Greensborough shortly after 11.30am on Monday.

Police also found the woman inside the house on the quiet suburban street and she was taken to hospital under police guard.

The woman is expected to face Melbourne Magistrates’ Court for a filing hearing on Friday.

Homicide Squad detectives investigate the circumstances surrounding a man’s death in Greensborough.
Camera IconHomicide Squad detectives investigate the circumstances surrounding a man’s death in Greensborough. Credit: News Corp Australia, Jason Edwards



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New Zealand man acquitted of Terri King murder now reportedly suspect in Dutch torture chamber case


A suspect in a multinational European organised crime investigation that uncovered a makeshift prison and torture chamber was previously acquitted of a high-profile Wellington murder in 1999, according to Dutch media reports.

Nine arrests were made after Dutch police discovered seven shipping containers converted into a makeshift prison and a sound-proofed “torture chamber”, complete with a dentist’s chair and tools including pliers, scalpels and handcuffs.

The June discovery in Wouwse Plantage, a small southwestern village in the Netherlands, further exposed the increasingly violent underworld of Dutch gangs and their large-scale production and trafficking of drugs.

Terri King, known most of his life as Trevor Heath, was killed, execution style, in the Tararua Ranges in Wellington in 1999. No-one was ever found guilty of his murder. (Stuff NZ)
William Jan H Haanstra, 43, has been named as one of nine arrested and identified by Dutch magazine Panorama as the main suspect in the unsolved murder of Terri King, whose body was found in the Tararua Ranges in April 1999.

He was charged over the murder of Mr King but was acquitted by a jury after a two-month trial in the High Court at Wellington. At the time, the trial cast a spotlight on the capital city’s drug scene.

Mr King, 31, known most of his life by his adopted name, Trevor Raymond Heath, was shot, execution style, in the back of the head while on Mount Holdsworth in the Tararua Ranges.

Police alleged Mr King, who was well known in the Wellington drug and party scene, had been seen going into the mountains with Mr Haanstra in search of a buried stash of MDMA, also known as ecstasy.

Two months later a hunter stumbled upon his decaying body, which showed a severe head wound.

No murder weapon was found and it was six months before Mr Haanstra, an unemployed model, was arrested and charged over the death.

In 2002, coroner Jock Kershaw ruled that Mr King’s killer was “unknown”.

Dutch police say they have arrested six men after discovering sea containers that had been converted into a makeshift prison and sound-proofed torture chamber complete with a dentists chair, tools including pliers and scalpels and handcuffs. (Netherlands Police via AP)

In 2010, a police officer involved in the trial, Detective Sergeant Ross Levy, told The Dominion Post after he retired that Mr Haanstra “wasn’t found innocent, he was found not guilty”, and police were not looking for anyone else in relation to Mr King’s murder.

In Panorama, Dutch journalist Eric Slot alleged Mr Haanstra was one of nine arrested in June, after a joint operation by Dutch and French police to infiltrate an encrypted phone system, EncroChat.

The BBC reported that British and Dutch police had already arrested hundreds of suspects based on the encrypted messages, seizing more than 8000 kilograms of cocaine, 1200 kilograms of crystal meth and dozens of firearms, and dismantling 19 synthetic drugs labs.

After intercepting millions of messages, police found the containers in April in Wouwse Plantage, near the Belgian border, and put them under observation. Police discovered multiple men were working on them almost every day.

William Jan Haanstra arrives at court in 2000. He was the main suspect in the murder of Terri King, but was acquitted of the crime. (Craig Simcox/ Evening Post via Stuff NZ)

Data from the encrypted phone network included photographs of the container and the dentist chair, with belts attached to the arm and foot supports.

The messages called the warehouse the “treatment room” and the “ebi”, a reference to a top-security Dutch prison.

The messages also revealed identities of potential victims, who were warned and went into hiding, Dutch police said.

Mr Slot reported that Mr Haanstra was also a suspect in the disappearance and suspected murder of a Dutch man, Remco van der Torre, in 2008.

Police believe Mr van der Torre wanted to sell 20 kilograms of weed and had invited people to his home before he disappeared.

“Traces of blood were found in his home and someone had tried to set it on fire,” Mr Slot said.

Mr Haanstra was arrested, along with another man, but both were released because of a lack of evidence.

This article originally appeared on Stuff and has been republished with permission.



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Maureen Enright Granted Bail After Proving Murder Case Non-Existent

gavel

Last October, Maureen Enright, 76 years of age, was arrested and charged with the murder of her son Peter. Maureen was allegedly responsible for the death of her son at Inala around 1968 or 1969.

Justice Peter Callaghan from the Supreme Court in Brisbane granted Ms Enright bail, as he describes the crown case for murder as “at the very least weak”. “In the face of my specific request, the DPP [Director of Public Prosecution] cannot identify a case of murder against her,” Justice Callaghan added.

He even wanted to emphasize that he might opine that it is not just weak, more so non-existent.

Prosecutor Mark Whitbread seconded that was no substantive evidence about how the boy died, saying that “there is no evidence as to what mechanism caused the death of the child”.

Given the various versions from the Crown and Ms Enright, it all comes down to the child missing from a certain day.

Outside court, defence barrister Andrew Bale said the genesis of the case seemed to be just rumours and innuendos. “I thought His Honour made some really strong observations, particularly in relation to the complete lack of a Crown case against her for the offence of murder,” Mr Bale said.

From the court’s perspective, they cited that Ms Enright is an unwell elderly lady that has no case to answer, and she should be left alone. Given, that she has not been coping well in custody, her family was relieved today as the bail was granted with no conditions.

“She’s got a lot of hurdles to face from here on, but it’s an important step today to at least get her out so she can go back to be with her family so she can get the support and treatment she needs.” Mr Bale stated.

As Justice Callaghan told the court, the advanced years of Ms Enright does not suggest as someone who might commit further offences. Whilst there is always an incentive for someone charged with murder to abscond it is also not contented there is any real danger of her failing to appear.

Man accused of murder to re-appear in Goulburn court | Goulburn Post

news, local-news, court, murder, allan, beattie, Goulburn, good hope, crime

A man accused of murder will re-appear in court after a case conference. READ ALSO: Hume police cycle in more than $6K for charity William Luke Allan, 34, of Glenroy Road in Good Hope, was before Goulburn Local Court on November 11. Allan was accused of murder in relation to an incident that occurred at a property in Good Hope in January, 2020. CHECK OUT: Council puts hard word on owners of overgrown properties Magistrate Geraldine Beattie said a plea offer had been made and both parties would undertake extensive negotiations at an upcoming case conference. Allan will re-appear at Goulburn Local Court on December 16, 2020. READ MORE COURT AND CRIME

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Second man charged with murder after victim found dead in embankment


Police then began an extensive search, and found a 45-year-old man linked to the vehicle early on Monday and took him into custody.

By 10am, a 43-year-old man was found dead down an embankment at a property on Burns Road.

Police arrested a 36-year-old who had been taken to hospital, and charged him with murder, assault occasioning bodily harm and wilful damage.

A second man was arrested and charged following a manhunt. Police found the 38-year-old Island Plantation man at the Mackay Harbour just before 3pm on Sunday.

The man attempted to flee from officers, but instead was arrested and taken into custody.

The 38-year-old man was taken to Mackay Watchhouse and has since been charged with one count each of murder, assault occasioning bodily harm while armed and wilful damage.

He is expected to appear at Mackay Magistrates Court on Monday.



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Jarrod Turner’s killer Shannon Duffy sentenced to life in prison for ‘execution-style’ murder


On a dark country road, after a night of drinking, Jarrod Leigh Turner was shot dead — murdered— by his friend, in what the sentencing judge called “cold-blooded”, “callous” and “in the worst category of the crime”.

Mr Turner’s killer, Shannon Duffy, has been sentenced to imprisonment for the term of his natural life, with a non-parole period of 18 years.

Duffy previously pleaded guilty to murdering his friend Mr Turner, whose body was found on Colebrook Road, near the southern Tasmanian town of Richmond on April 14, 2019.

Sentencing Duffy in the Supreme Court in Hobart on Friday, Justice Michael Brett said it was a “cold-blooded and callous killing carried out in the style of an execution”.

Justice Brett said Duffy shot Mr Turner with a 12-gauge shotgun at close range and left him to bleed to death on the side of the rural road.

Jarrod Turner’s body was found in April last year.(Facebook: Jarrod Turner)

Justice Brett said Duffy had agreed to another person’s suggestion to shoot Mr Turner, but not kill him, as punishment for a perceived grievance.

But he said that was not the motive for the murder.

Justice Brett said Duffy formed a plan to murder Mr Turner, when a 14-girl told him that Mr Turner had sexually assaulted her.

“You decided you would kill Mr Turner in retribution for what you believed he had done,” Justice Brett said.

“You arrogantly took it upon yourself to end the life of this man who was only 22 years of age … you committed this act to ingratiate yourself with her [the girl].”

Justice Brett said Duffy sent Mr Turner a text message on April 13, arranging to pick him up later that night to drink alcohol together.

“I infer that you arranged this as a ruse,” Justice Brett said.

“You betrayed your friendship with Mr Turner by using it to deceive him.”

At 2:31am on April 14, they were at Five Mile Beach where Mr Turner uploaded a social media video which showed the men drinking and acting in a friendly manner towards each other.

“On the return journey, after 3:36am on Colebrook Road near Richmond you asked the female driver to stop … so you and Mr Turner could urinate,” Justice Brett said.

He said while Mr Turner was urinating on the side of the semi-rural road, Duffy retrieved the shotgun from where he had hidden it in the car and shot Mr Turner very close to head under his right ear.

Attempts to resuscitate Mr Turner when paramedics and police arrived about two and a half hours after the shooting were unsuccessful.

‘It doesn’t bring my son back’

Justice Brett said the murder had profoundly affected Mr Turner’s family, and deprived his young children of a father.

Speaking outside the court, Mr Turner’s mother Michelle Bradley said Mr Turner meant everything to his family.

“The sentence Shannon Duffy received today doesn’t bring my son Jarrod home to us or his two boys,” Mr Bradley said.

“He [has] never done what he was accused of with that young girl.”

She said she wanted harsher sentences for murderers.

“Change murderers to life, no parole — they’ve taken a life so they don’t deserve a life either,” she said.

Mr Turner’s sister Lakeisha Pearce said her brother was her best friend.

Jarrod Turner's family speaking to the media.
Mr Turner’s mother Michelle Bradley said Mr Turner meant everything to his family.(ABC News)

In his sentencing remarks, Justice Brett said Duffy’s crime was in the worst category of murder, and he described Duffy’s criminal record as “appalling”.

He said Duffy had a dysfunctional childhood, had been diagnosed with fetal alcohol syndrome and a mild intellectual disability.

“Those aspects of your life deserve sympathy but they also suggest that there is little probability or home [for rehabilitation],” he said.

He warned that while he had given Duffy the chance to apply for parole, it did not mean it would be granted.



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More than 500 ‘murder hornets’ collected from first known nest in US


More than 500 Asian giant hornets have been collected from the first known nest of the invasive species in the United States, officials announced Tuesday.

Washington State Department of Agriculture entomologists discovered the nest of “murder hornets” last month in a tree in Blaine, north of Seattle, near the Canadian border.

After eradicating the nest, during which the crew vacuumed out nearly 100 hornets, the entomologists removed the portion of the tree with the nest and opened it the following week to collect any hornets that had remained. The crew had pumped carbon dioxide into the tree during the nest removal to kill or anesthetize any remaining hornets, and many were still alive, officials said.

Upon opening the tree, the team determined that the nest was about 14 inches long and up to 9 inches wide. Hornets in various life stages were collected, including approximately 200 queens, Sven Spichiger, the agency’s managing entomologist, told reporters during a virtual press briefing Tuesday.

“As far as we can tell, we got there just in time,” Spichiger said. “We know from the literature that a small percentage of these will go on to form colonies next year, should they have been given the chance to escape.”

In total, the nest contained 190 larvae, 112 worker (female) bees, nine drone (male) bees and six unhatched eggs, Spichiger said. There were 76 queen bees, and 108 capped cells with pupae, most of which were believed to be of new virgin queens.

Spichiger said there is “no way of knowing” how many queens there were in total, and if any had escaped.

“From accounts we have, we’re very close to having the majority of them,” Spichiger said of the queen bees, who typically produce most of the bees in a hive. “But I can’t give you an absolute, certainly, that we got every single one from the nest.”

The findings from the Blaine nest come about a month after the first giant hornet was detected in the region. The agency placed live traps in the area in early October after a homeowner reported a specimen, Spichiger said.

Four live hornets were caught in the traps, after which entomologists were able to attach radio trackers to three of them, and one led them to the nest — located in the cavity of a tree on private property — on Oct. 22.

After the team observed dozens of hornets entering and leaving the tree, the property owner gave the agency permission to eradicate the nest and, if necessary, remove the tree, officials said.

On Oct. 24, the agency announced that that the removal of the nest “appears to have been successful,” and that 85 specimens were vacuumed out of the nest.

Despite this success, state entomologists believe there are additional nests in the state, based on additional specimens captured in different regions.

Hundreds of traps have been set throughout Washington by agriculture department staff, scientists and others, in an attempt to eliminate the pest from the state. At 2 inches, the world’s largest hornet can kill an entire honey bee hive in just hours. With bee populations already in decline in the U.S. due to what’s known as “colony collapse disorder,” the killer hornets pose another threat to the ecosystem if they become established over several years.

Agency officials say they’ll continue to keep their traps up through Thanksgiving, at which point it typically becomes too cold for the hornets to fly. But Spichiger said it’s possible they could find another nest before the end of the year, as the first hornets in the state were detected last Dec. 8.

“The more people are outside and looking at this time of year, the more chances we have,” he said.

Officials said the agency will continue to trap for at least three more years to ensure the region is hornet-free — and to prevent the insects from becoming a costly problem.

“Just look at gypsy moths,” Spichiger said. “In the East, when gypsy moths get out of control, it costs millions of dollars. At least for long term, the smart path here is to eradicate it if we can.”

The invasive species has been found as far away as British Columbia, though the “epicenter” appears to be in Washington, experts said.

For humans, the giant hornet’s sting is more painful than that of a typical bee or wasp, and people are advised to use caution near the insects and not attempt to remove or eradicate nests themselves.

It’s not known how the killer hornets, which are native to Asian countries including China and Japan, arrived in the Pacific Northwest — but a likely theory is that they came in via international cargo. Another less likely theory is that someone smuggled the hornets in to raise them as food, Spichiger said.

“These are sought-after food items in their native range,” he said. But, he added, “I think most people don’t want to travel with such a thing.”



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